Turn a Photo Into a Sketch with Edge Sketch

Turn a Photo Into a Sketch with Edge Sketch
May 16, 2017 Elisa Chavez

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 trenchcoat 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 magnificent photo effect: Edge Sketch, which lets you turn a photo into a sketch.

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

Get sketchy


edge sketch, photo editing, effects, turn photo into sketch

Here’s how to turn a photo into a sketch:

  1. Open your image in the PicMonkey Editor.
  2. From the Effects tab on the left, select Edge Sketch from the Artsy effect group.
  3. Your photo will be transformed into a monochrome sketch.
  4. You can fine-tune the look by adjusting the Thickness, Level of detail, and Fade sliders.
  5. Play around until you get the sketchedy look you’re after.
  6. When you’re happy with how it looks, click Apply and save it for posterity.

What kinds of photos makes the best sketches

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 turning all your photos into sketches and then tell people you took a few art classes and now you’re pretty okay, or whatever.

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

We won’t tell.


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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.