Turn Your Photos into Sketches with Edge Sketch

Turn Your Photos into Sketches with Edge Sketch

There’s something about the understated loveliness of a black-and-white pencil drawing that never goes out of style. It’s like the belted trench coat of the photo world: simple to achieve, elegant in effect.

That’s why, instead of cheering from the rooftops, we’ll give a classy how-do-you-do to our newest Premium effect: Edge Sketch, which lets you turn photos into sketches.

Turn your photos into sketches with PicMonkey's Edge Sketch effect.

Where to find it

Located amongst our Artsy effects (because seriously, where else would it be), Edge Sketch is actually a veteran PicMonkey effect from our long-ago roots as Picnik. You guys never forgot about Edge Sketch, and now it’s back by popular demand, here to spread its minimalist, gorgeously illustrated message to the masses once more.

How to use it

Our Edge Sketch tool in the Editor, with a spotlight on the Thickness, Fade, and Level of detail sliders.

Go to the Editor and open an image in need of sketch-ifying, select Edge Sketch, and watch it monochrome! Things only get better from there. As you bask in the glow of achievement, you’ll notice three sliders: Thickness, Level of detail, and Fade.

Fade, per usual, adjusts the strength of the effect. Level of detail and Thickness are pretty self-explanatory as well: play around with each until you get the sketchedy goodness you’re looking for.

What kinds of images work best

We don’t wanna tell you how to live your lives, PicMonkeyers, but we’d feel super bad if we kept intel about making sweet pics to ourselves. So here’s the lowdown on our very favorite types of images to use with Edge Sketch.

Edge Sketch’s unique look can end up anywhere from “best Etch-a-Sketch art you’ve ever seen” to fine-grained, hand-drawn illustration. Either way, images that play particularly well with Edge Sketch share at least a few of the following traits:

  • Sharp, clear lines (think architecture and geometry)
  • High contrast
  • Low detail (think not a portrait)
  • Broad swathes of the same tone

Check out these before-and-afters and see how it’s done.

Turn photos into sketches: this before-and-after shows Edge Sketch used on an image of a sunflower.


Turn photos into sketches: this before-and-after shows Edge Sketch at three different Fade levels.

Beautiful, right? Just don’t go on an Edge Sketch spree and then tell people you took a few art classes and now you’re pretty okay, whatever.

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

We won’t tell.


Upgrade to Premium and this sketchy goodness will be yours, all yours!

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Elisa Chavez
Elisa Chavez is a content writer here at PicMonkey, where she hopes to change the world one dinosaur selfie at a time. She is also a nationally ranked slam poet, champion shopper, and doting dog mama.