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By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Deke's Techniques: Turning a photo into a line drawing in Photoshop

This week Deke shares one of his most asked-for techniques, how to turn an ordinary portrait into a line drawing. It seems that when people encounter wonderful photo-realistic line drawings out in the wild, they immediately equate said photo-realism with Photoshop. And, if nature didn’t endow you with the ability to draw, then applying some careful Photoshop effects to a well-chosen photo is indeed the way to go.

In this week’s free movie, you’ll see how to take a photographed portrait, apply the Photocopy filter and then adjust and finesse your drawing with the Levels command, Gaussian Blur, a little hand-work (you’re calling it a “drawing” after all), and finally some advanced layer effects. The result is a technique that can work on any well-defined portrait. For example, check out how this unsuspecting photo booth poser in the upper image can become the proto-Nagel woman you see in the lower image below (while doing some fairly wonderful things to my chalkboard in the process).

Colleen Wheeler strikes a pose

Photo transformed into line drawing with Photoshop

For members of lynda.com, Deke has an exclusive movie in the Online Training Library® this week called Adding a crosshatch shading pattern that really sells the illustration effect. By the time you go through Deke’s meticulous steps, you’ll take this dramatic photo on the left and turn it into the deadly (but awesome) line drawing on the right:

Adding a Crosshatch shading pattern with Photoshop

See you back next week with another technique from Deke!

Interested in more? • The entire Deke’s Techniques collection on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next: • Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery• Photoshop for Designers: Layer Effects• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced BlendingIllustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials

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