How To Turn a Photo Into a Line Drawing In Photoshop

How To Turn a Photo Into a Line Drawing In Photoshop

Turning an image into a line drawing in Photoshop is not an easy task but I can assure you that the end result is very pleasing and can enhance the style and appeal of your eCommerce site. To make a line drawing of a photo doesn’t require knowledge of professional drawing. Line drawing an image is a process of tracing the lines of a photo that becomes easy with adobe Photoshop cc.

Today I am going to present you a Photoshop tutorial on how to turn a photo into a line drawing. The Photoshop tool I am going to use in this tutorial is “Pen Tool”. So if you don’t know, “what is a pen tool?”, I would suggest you learn about this tool first and then continue this tutorial. I know you all are intelligent and assume to know about the pen tool enough. So let’s get started…

Turning Photographs Into Line Drawings

I have divided this tutorial into two major parts to make the process a little bit easy to understand.

Part 1: Prepare the Image

Prepare The Image In Photoshop

First thing first and that is preparing the photo to execute the line draw process on it. To prepare your image, insert it into Photoshop software first. To insert an image just drag and drop the image on the software workspace or go to the top Menu bar and insert your photo.

go to the top Menu bar and insert your photo

After inserting the image into adobe Photoshop cc, we need to Duplicate and create three new layers apart from the original one. But before creating a new layer we need to tweak our image a little bit and fix some minor issues like hue and saturation. 

We can’t allow much grain and blurriness to our photo because these will create problems in drawing paths later. So if your image contains grains you can read our How to fix grainy photoarticle to fix the issue. 

If you are still reading this then I assume you have fixed your grainy photos and interested to learn the line drawing. 

Now that you fixed all the issues, we can create three duplicate layers of the original image. To create a duplicate layer press Ctrl+J and you will get a duplicate version of your image.

We will set the name of the first layer to “Line art” and create a second layer with a solid white color and call it Background. Now we will see three-layer one is the original and the other two are the “Line Art” and “Background”  that we created just now.

We will keep the Visibility Off for the layers “Line art” and the solid white layer “Background

Visibility Off for the layers "Line art"

Now we are done the image retouching process and preparing the image for the line drawing.

Create The Line Drawing

Create a line drawing from the photo is like an artist doing a sketch on the paper. The line drawing image editing process needs patience and eye for attention to detail. The perfect way to start the line drawing is from the focus point of an image. The focus point varies from photo to photo. For this article, I am using a headshot of a model and in my photo, I will start drawing paths from the lips.


To start creating the lines or paths select the “pen tool” and set it to Create New Work Path. Now start drawing the line around the edge of the lips and always pay attention to the curves and angles because these small things can enhance your line drawing and produce an outstanding output.

Try to draw short paths because short lines can make your line drawing more accurate than large lines. So as I am drawing lines over lips I am using a short path to get the angles and curves perfect.

short path to get the angles and curves perfect

After completing the line drawing over the lips now create a shape layer. Go to path menu (as per the photo) and create a path selection

Now select the paint bucket tool and create a shape to the selection and deselect the selection.

select the paint bucket tool and create a shape

Let’s go to the eyes and create a line drawing. Just select the brush tool to select the brush stroke.

Now go to the path menu and select stroke path with the brush.

Follow the same steps to draw the full image. after completing the full image turn the white layer on

Select the line art layer and turn the visibility off and delete the work path line.

Now turn the visibility on and Boom!! here is your line art drawing

Now turn the visibility on and Boom!! here is your line art drawing.

Play with different pen tools and try different shapes, lines that match with your photo. Use the stroke path or the fill path where you need and complete the line drawing according to your requirements.

After finishing save the image and there you go. Your line drawing is ready to use and impress your viewers.

Your line drawing is ready to use and impress your viewers

This is the final line drawing an image that you will get after following this tutorial.

Here is the video tutorial for better understanding

Emma Rivett

Emma Rivett


“Emma Rivett is a brand photographer and copywriter who has a strong tendency to prepare, change and teach. Her photographic works were published in Uppercase, Travel + Leisure, Gayot Guide, Paula Deen Cooking, Design Guide, the NHOME Magazine, Urban Home, etc. Helping creative businesspeople create an online brand and PS”

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