Sketchy Pastel Photos

with 24 Comments

Sketchy Pastel Photos
By Nannette Dalton

In my last tutorial I showed you how to turn a photo into a sketch drawing. As promised, today I am going to show you how to take that sketchy photo to the next level and turn it into a pastel drawing.

I love the soft effect this technique gives, and you will not believe how easy it is to achieve!

Step One: Open the Saved Sketch


Step Two: Colorize the Sketch

  • In the Layers panel, activate the bottom color photo.
  • Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the color photo.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Arrange > Bring to Front.
  • In the Layers panel, change the Blend Mode to Color and lower the Opacity to around 60%.


Step Three: Add Some Texture

  • Click on the image below to download the file. Inside the folder, you will find five different water color papers.


  • In the Layers panel, make sure that the top layer is activated.
  • Open the watercolor paper that matches the color tones in the photo. I used ND-Watercolor-05.
  • Get the Move tool.
  • On the document, while holding down the Shift key, click on the paper and drag it onto the sketch photo document.
  • Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get the Transform options.
  • On the document, click on one of the corner handles of the Bounding Box and drag outward to resize the paper as needed to cover the photo. (Photoshop: Press and hold the Shift key while resizing to maintain proportion). Double click inside the Bounding Box to commit the transformation.
  • In the Layers panel, change the Blend Mode to Multiply.

Step Four: Save the Flattened Image

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Flatten Image.
  • Choose File > Save As.
  • In the dialog box, choose a name and location for the new colorized sketchy photo, set the Format to JPEG, and click Save.


There you go. I told you it was quick and easy. Here is the same layout that I did in my last tutorial, this time using the colored version of the sketch.

Page & Photos: Nannette Dalton
Tutorials: Sketchy Pastel Photos by Nannette Dalton, Stenciled Effect by Syndee Nuckles
KitThankful by Karla Dudley
Extras: Water Color Paper by Nannette Dalton, Photo Mask Pk Vol 1 by Jen White
Fonts: Homestead, DJB Nann Script
Software: Photoshop Elements 12, Adobe Photoshop CC 2014


Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

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Nannette-DaltonAuthor: Nannette Dalton |
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24 Responses

  1. Maureen
    | Reply

    This has been a wonderful tutorial!!! I am wondering if my image has the amount of texture that yours shows, particularly the first image where mainly the little girl’s eyes are showing. Is there a way to increase the amount of texture?
    Thank you so much! I am hooked on your tutorials now.!

  2. Judy Collier
    | Reply

    I LOVE this! I am using this technique on a portrait of my daughter for the high school graduation layout on which I am working!

    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Sounds wonderful Judy… hope you will share it in the gallery!

  3. Maureen
    | Reply

    I am so excited to be trying this !!! I have what is probably a very basic issue. I’m not successful moving the paper onto the sketch. Do I open it with PSE before moving or open it to the desktop? Thanks!

    • Maureen
      | Reply

      I am using PSE 11. and a Mac.

      • Maureen
        | Reply

        I found a way to do it! Thanks!! So fun!!!!

        • Nann Dalton
          | Reply

          Oh Good!

    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Hi Maureen,
      Thank you for the kind thoughts about the tutorial.
      There are several ways to add the watercolor paper. I would suggest that you Open (File > Open) the paper in your PSE program while you have the layered Sketch layout you are working on also open. Get the Move tool and move the paper over your Sketch layout while holding down the the Shift key so that it centers it for you, then close the watercolor paper file.
      Let me know if you have further questions.

  4. Diana
    | Reply

    If you’re using PSE13, make sure you have the latest update to version 13.1 (Help>Updates). In the original version of PSE13, the Minimum filter didn’t work, so you couldn’t adjust the Radius. That makes a difference in the width of the lines in your sketch.

    • Teachinglaffs
      | Reply

      I checked and I have 13.0. I went into my updates and PSE 13.1 is not there. How do I get an update? I followed the directions in the help>updates for my app folder.

      • Nann Dalton
        | Reply

        Here is something else to look at. If your photo is not a High resolution photo you may have problems with this tutorial. The photos needs to be crisp and have high contrast. The filter is looking for strong lines in your photo and if it is very pixelated it has a hard time finding them.

  5. Nina Graff
    | Reply

    Another winner! Wow….thanks so much for these wonderful lessons! Sure am enjoying them. 🙂

  6. Cropalot
    | Reply

    I know I must be doing something wrong. But I’ve tried it three times with two different pictures. The sketch came out so light, that one can barely see it. I thought perhaps when I did the second class and put back the color, it would work, but is doesn’t. I wish I could show you what I mean.

    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Hi Cropalot,
      There were others with the same problem from my previous tutorial. I think I found something that will help photos with not enough contrast. Apply a levels adjustment layer to the original photo. Play with the middle slider until you get a bit more contrast. Merge the adjustment layer with the original photo layer. When you get to step Four change the Radius to around 6. Hopefully that will give you a better look.

  7. Kathy
    | Reply

    Wow, I have enjoyed your wonderful tutorials and playing with different photos. Thank you so much for sharing the tutorials and the papers!

  8. Glorie
    | Reply

    Wow, that was the perfect touch to make my LO look oh so very lovely!! Thank you so much for your talent here!!!

  9. Nann Dalton
    | Reply

    Thanks everyone for all the kind words. I am thrilled that you are enjoying the tutorials.

  10. Terri
    | Reply

    Nann, I tried the first sketchy tutorial and just loved working with it. I could hardly wait for the second one. I just have to give it a try. You are so clever!!

  11. Doris
    | Reply

    Oh what fun! Thank you for the papers also. What a great tutorial.

  12. Lisa
    | Reply

    These 2 tutorials are great and I had a lot of fun playing. Thanks so much for posting them.

  13. Luisa (ouisiekelly)
    | Reply

    Awesome tutorial Nann. It truly looks like pastel work of art.

  14. Jackie
    | Reply

    I love these two posts. I have had so much fun playing with some photos of my grandkids and some grad photos I took earlier in the year. Thanks for this awesome tutorial, I learn so much from your site.

  15. Kelie Linn
    | Reply

    Wow, Nan, this is great and thank you for the papers!

  16. Christine Bishop
    | Reply

    Another wonderful tutorial, Nannette. Thank you.

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