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Convert Images into GIMP Ink Drawings!

Updated on September 13, 2014

How To Make Ink Drawings From Your Own Picture

Here I have written a small tutorial how to use Ink Pen script in Gimp. Basically you can turn any good quality image into ink pen drawing.

All you need is GIMP (2.8). and extension package(which contains loads of different kinds of features to have fun with). I have to warn you, you might get hooked on creating beautiful images.

At first I have to say, I am not a professional. I have just been playing around with GIMP, trying all the cool features, and by accident learned what it takes to create pretty ink drawing . I will show you few examples of what kind of image work best for ink drawing images.

I wrote this small tutorial for people like me, who might not have the skills or the time to learn how to draw by hand. I can barely draw a stick figure, and my family is full of people who are so good at drawing...

Well with a bit of luck, and some amazing photos, you are only few minutes away from being talented artist, without learning how to draw!

All images taken by Marja79

First attempt to turn image into an ink drawing.

This was my first attempt of turning image into a ink drawing. By accident I nailed it. Otherwise I think, I would not have tried it again.

Picture of a twig wreath I have made

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Simple large image. (2304x3072 pixels)I choose the ink pen script.You can adjust the color of the ink, lightness and stroke length. I find the default setting best. Blue grid is not necessary.After few seconds or minutes depending on your computer the image looks like this.
Simple large image. (2304x3072 pixels)
Simple large image. (2304x3072 pixels)
I choose the ink pen script.
I choose the ink pen script.
You can adjust the color of the ink, lightness and stroke length. I find the default setting best. Blue grid is not necessary.
You can adjust the color of the ink, lightness and stroke length. I find the default setting best. Blue grid is not necessary.
After few seconds or minutes depending on your computer the image looks like this.
After few seconds or minutes depending on your computer the image looks like this.

How to avoid smudgy GIMP ink pen drawing

My second attempt of turning image into ink drawing failed. It only took me few minutes to figure out why. Here I have demonstrated conditions that might lead to a failure.

I have not adjusted the brightness of any of these images, before turning them into ink drawings. That could work in some cases.

-Here the lightning is poor. It is late noon, light comes from left, that creates shadows, which look smudgy.

-I shrinked the image to cut the time of turning the image into ink drawing. Makes the outcome look smudgy.

- On small images the blue grid is large. It looks like a page from a notebook.

Lightning matters

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Simple large image (2304x3072)Small image. Blue grid setting on.Large image, but looks a bit smudgy, because it is later at noon, light comes from left.
Simple large image (2304x3072)
Simple large image (2304x3072)
Small image. Blue grid setting on.
Small image. Blue grid setting on.
Large image, but looks a bit smudgy, because it is later at noon, light comes from left.
Large image, but looks a bit smudgy, because it is later at noon, light comes from left.

Conclusion

- Large images work better , even though converting them might take more time

- Lightning matters, prefer bright daylight

- Background should be light. On dark background objects get smudgy.

My favorite picture

This is my all time favorite picture of my BabyCat. As a kitten she used to "pose" a lot. Unfortunately she does not do that anymore, and she is not a kitten anymore.

This was medium sized image, which seems to work quite well, but the lightning is a problem. Light comes from a window on right. Although it actually saves the picture, because BabyCat is mostly white. But the shadow on the facial area is problematic. I could not fix that which you can see in the next set of images.

Turning a picture of my cat into GIMP ink drawing

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Medium sized image (1536x2048 pixels). Not very good lighting. Too much shadows.It turns out pretty good regardless of the lightning. Only issues that the shadow over the facial area is a bit too dark.
Medium sized image (1536x2048 pixels). Not very good lighting. Too much shadows.
Medium sized image (1536x2048 pixels). Not very good lighting. Too much shadows.
It turns out pretty good regardless of the lightning. Only issues that the shadow over the facial area is a bit too dark.
It turns out pretty good regardless of the lightning. Only issues that the shadow over the facial area is a bit too dark.

Trying to fix the shadow on facial area

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I choose dodge/burn tool and try to erase that shadow.Basically it should work...But in reality it does not. Adjusting the lightness and stroke length has no effect.
I choose dodge/burn tool and try to erase that shadow.
I choose dodge/burn tool and try to erase that shadow.
Basically it should work...
Basically it should work...
But in reality it does not. Adjusting the lightness and stroke length has no effect.
But in reality it does not. Adjusting the lightness and stroke length has no effect.

I tried every possible tool to fix the problem, but the outcome does not look as good as the first version.

Making Christmas cards from picture of Santa Claus

I had an idea of making a Christmas card of this picture. This image has been taken indoors without flash. Light comes a bit from my left, so in ink drawing a part of beard looks plain white. Otherwise, I really like this picture.

Turning picture of Santa Claus ornament into GIMP ink drawing.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Just some random picture of Santa Claus ornament. Making sure that the light comes from behind me.It actually looks really cool. Used the default settings of ink pen script.Cool, it makes pretty cool Christmas card.
Just some random picture of Santa Claus ornament. Making sure that the light comes from behind me.
Just some random picture of Santa Claus ornament. Making sure that the light comes from behind me.
It actually looks really cool. Used the default settings of ink pen script.
It actually looks really cool. Used the default settings of ink pen script.
Cool, it makes pretty cool Christmas card.
Cool, it makes pretty cool Christmas card.

What did I do with GIMP ink drawings?

My Zazzle Store

One beautiful image can be used on so many products!

black and white merry christmas card

Elegant stamps

Personal elegant wrist watch

Black and white christmas card post card

Framed wall art from GIMP ink drawings

I could not resist printing and framing these images. Especially the picture of my cat is my favorite, even though it is not perfect, but it is really artistic in my eyes.

I wish I could draw, but I am content about the outcome of these pictures, it is definitely the second best option.

I have lots of different kinds of frames. And I have many great ideas of what kind of images I will doing with GIMP in the future.

Instructions:

1. I have few of these old frames. No idea where I got them. They have been laying in my closet for ages. But perfect for this project. I painted the background with white acrylic paint, because the back had gotten yellowish during the years.

Frame itself was blue, so I painted it black with acrylic paint. Those dry really quickly!

2. I measured the exact place for the image I printed. I did not use glue, I wanted to attach the print only with masking tape.

3. Now it looks pretty much the way I wanted to. I am going to paint that masking tape black, so it looks like frame inside of the frame!

4. Carefully with shaking hands I managed to paint the masking tape black without making a mess. Well I have to say, I was supervised by the best boss every. The BabyCat herself. She sat there until I had finished up painting and framed her picture.

5. My idea works. It really looks "artistic".

6. Did the same thing with this image. I had small frames, which I just painted black.

All comments are welcome!

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    • profile image

      Narcis 2 years ago

      Como o pessoal veste a cmisaa do software que usa como se fosse uma nacionalidade . Foi sf3 uma brincadeira, mas sempre vem os caras com essas guerrinhas. Windows x Linux, Java /.Net e Delphi. Android x iOS.Cada um usa o que quer, o que achar melhor e fim. Uso Linux em casa, Windows no trabalho e iOS no celular. Desenvolvo em Delphi e C# na empresa, em casa fico brincando no Java e no Php, se aparecer um proposta melhor pra desenvolver em Ruby ee estudo a linguagem e aprendo. Quando vejo pessoal discutindo, sem ser em tom de brincadeira, por essas ferramentas me de1 um grande dese2nimo. c9 como se um pedreiro discutisse com outro qual marca de cimento e9 melhor.