Deke’s Techniques 054: Turning a Photo Into Line Art

If you scroll to the bottom of the home page and click on the last » button, you’ll be taken to the first test articles I created for this site, “Creating a Photo-Realistic Line Drawing, Part 1,” and the same, “Part 2.”

Frankly, I love those techniques so much that A) I wrote them up as an exercise in my book Photoshop CS5 One-on-One and B) I have long felt a persistent desire to document them in video. Which is precisely what I do today.

Here’s the official description from

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 photographic 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 apply some advanced layer effects. The result is a technique that promises to work on any striking portrait. For example, check out how this unsuspecting Photo Booth poser (upper image, below) transforms into a Nagel-esque woman (below below).

Colleen as captured in Photo Booth

The same image rendered as line art in Photoshop

For members of, Deke offers an exclusive movie in the Online Training Library that really sells the illustration effect called “Adding a Crosshatch Shading Pattern.” By the time you go through Deke’s meticulous steps, you’ll take the dramatic photo on the left and turn it into the deadly (but awesome) line drawing on the right:

Comparing the final line art in Photoshop

Naturally, Deke will be back with another killer technique next week.

Happily, for those of you who are members of this site, both techniques are documented in step-by-step articles. For the first movie, “Turning a Photo Into Line Art,” check out this link. For the second movie, “Adding a Crosshatch Shading Pattern,” go to this link. Either way, enjoy.

Next entry:Eat This, Not That: Photoshop Style

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  • How about a Lichtenstein dot pattern

    Hi Deke et all
    How would you do a dot pattern line-ish art simular to a Lichtenstein painting.
    Sorry if you have all ready shown this or i’m posting in wrong spot.

    Thanks Eh.

  • Those are some evil-looking

    Those are some evil-looking women you have there, Deke!  LOL Interesting video!  Thank you!


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