Create a Photo Sketch with Edge Sketch

Create a Photo Sketch with Edge Sketch
August 14, 2019 Kevin Rexroat

Edge sketch examples

With all of the cutting-edge design tools available, there are still a lot of trends that cop looks from back inna day. You’re probably already making your brand images stand out by applying cool retro effects like Polaroid film, black and white, and pixelate, but if you want to go full-on olde skhole, you can give your digital work a hand-drawn look with our Edge Sketch tool. Apply it to all or part of your images for some amazing effects — and do it in less time than it takes to sharpen a new pencil.

How to turn a photo into a sketch with PicMonkey

Edge sketch interface

As with most PicMonkey tools, the basic steps for creating a photo sketch are totally easy. After opening your image in PicMonkey:

  1. Click the Effects tab on the left, then click Edge Sketch.
  2. Fine-tune the look by adjusting the sliders.
  3. Click Apply to save your changes.

That will get you started, but you can do a lot more if you’re open to some tinkering.

Get the best look for your photo sketch

Edge sketch controls

The Fade slider controls the amount of the effect you see. At 0%, you see the entire effect. At 100%, the effect is completely faded out. As you increase the fade, the original image starts to peek through. If it’s a color photo, this brings some color into your new sketch. This is sort of a midpoint in the process of converting picture to sketch that you can use to get a nice washed-out look.

If you want more of the original photograph in your sketch but you don’t want any color, apply a black and white effect before using Edge Sketch. Black and White, Super B&W, and Tri-X will be great. Then as you increase the fade, more photographic details come in, but you retain the monochromatic sketched look.

Choose the best image for a photo sketch

Properties for the best photo sketches

We don’t wanna tell you how to live your lives (and seriously, mess around with whatever pics you want), but not every image is a good candidate for a photo sketch. If you want the best results when you turn a photo into a sketch, look for images with the following traits:

  • Sharp, clear lines and edges (think architecture and geometry)
  • High contrast
  • Broad swathes of the same tone

Creating sketches from portraits can be tricky — they often have lots of fine details and smooth contours rather than clear lines. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try a few. With the right lighting and editing, you can get some great results.

How to combine sketches and photos

Combining photos and sketches

You can also sketchify specific parts of images while leaving other parts untouched. The simplest way to pull this off is to apply the effect, click the brush icon in the upper left, select the eraser, and erase the effect from everything that should not look sketched.

Beautiful, right? Now go forth and create. Just don’t make a bunch of photo sketches and then tell people you took a few art classes or stacked your design team with artists from Pencil U.

Actually, wait. That’s exactly what you should do.

We won’t tell.

Browse our stock photos and find something to transform into a sketch >

Animal stock photos at picmonkeyAnimal
beach photos freeBeach
moon photos picmonkeyMoon
rose stock photos picturesRoses
Butterfly Stock Photos PicMOnkeyButterfly


marble background photos free picmonkeyMarble
aesthetic background photos free picmonkeyArtsy
heart photos free picmonkeyHearts
galaxy background photos free picmonkeyGalaxy
pink background photo freePink


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Kevin Rexroat
Kevin is a technical and creative writer with experience writing for Redmond and Hollywood. He is by all accounts a terrible vegetarian, mainly because of pepperoni pizza. He has never seen "The Sound of Music," but he has seen pink dolphins. In addition to being an accomplished writer, his acting and singing have been described as "fine."