How to Change a Photo into a Pencil Drawing: a Personal, Simple, and Cheap Wall Art Idea
Inspiration: What makes a good subject?
After my grandparents died, one of the pieces that we inherited was a vintage line-drawing print of Pisa from their travels in Italy. We loved the print, so we framed it and put it on our wall. Due to the size of our wall though, we needed some additional art to fill up the space.
Using the Pisa sketch as inspiration, I decided to take a photo from my trip to Monaco and turn it into a sketch. Since I have zero drawing ability, I had to rely on photo editing software. is a great option, however, I use a free alternative software called Adobe PhotoshopPaint.net. Follow the instructions below for a fun, easy, inexpensive piece of art.
Edit your Photo: Crop, color, and style with software
- Open your photo editing software
- Select the photo you wish to modify from your computer
- Crop the photo to the desired subject matter. Use the "Rectangle Select" from your "Tools" menu to outline your desired area and then use the "Crop to Selection" feature in the "Image" dropdown menu or CTRL+SHIFT+X to crop.
- Auto-adjust the light balance in the photo. From the "Adjustments" menu, select "Auto-level" or click CTRL+SHIFT+L
- Change the photo to black and white (if desired). From the "Adjustments" menu, select "Black and White" or click CTRL+SHIFT+G
- Select "Pencil Sketch" from the "Effects" --> "Artistic" menu. You can play with the pencil tip size and the range to get a more customized effect.
- Adjust Brightness and Contrast. From the "Adjustments" menu, select "Brightness/Contrast" to change the brightness and contrast of your pencil sketch as needed
- Save the pencil sketch
Print your Art Work: online or in-store
Depending on the size of the art work you are printing, you can order your print online or in a store. For printing in a store like Walmart, Target, or Walgreens, generally the largest size I have seen them do is an 8x10. However, online you can order prints up to 24"x36". Also, I've often found better deals online (including shipping costs) than I can find in the store. Here are some online sites that I recommend for ordering prints:
** Please read my hub on How to Save the Most Online for finding the best online savings.
Hang your Art and Enjoy!
After you've gotten your printed piece of art, it is ready to hang. I used a frame I already had for my piece, but it is easy to find an inexpensive frame and matting at your local craft supply store. I've manipulated several photos with slightly different styles and hung them with the Pisa painting for a gallery effect. Since the photos were ones that I took from my adventures, I treasure the art each that much more.