How to Make a Color Photo Look Like a Pen and Ink Drawing

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Adobe Photoshop offers features that greatly expand how you can manipulate your digital images, including color photographs. Several available filters simulate pen and ink drawing techniques. One is the "Crosshatch" filter, mimicking the popular diagonal cross-hatch technique. Here's how to add the filter to your photograph.

  • Launch Adobe Photoshop and open your color digital photo file. You may want to adjust the contrast in your image to give you a better rendering in grayscale. Choose Image > Adjustments > Brightness and Contrast from the Photoshop menu. Adjust the sliding scales to achieve your preferred contrast and click "OK."

  • Duplicate your original photo onto a new layer. This step will allow you to keep a copy of your original photo in tact until you are satisfied with your filter settings. Select your entire photo using the rectangular marquee tool. Choose copy from the Edit menu. Create a new layer by selecting Layer > New. Paste your photo into the new layer.

  • Convert your color photo to Grayscale. With your copied photo layer selected, choose Image > Mode > Grayscale from the Photoshop menu. Click "OK" in the warning message box to complete the conversion.

  • Add a Crosshatch filter to your photograph to achieve a pen and ink drawing look. With the copied photo layer selected, choose Filter > Brush Strokes > Cross Hatch from the Photoshop menu. You will see a preview of your filtered photograph in the dialog box. You may change the scale of the preview by clicking the "+" or "-" boxes in the lower left corner of the preview box. Experiment with your preferred settings for Stroke Length, Sharpness and Strength using the sliding scales in the right of the dialog box. Click "OK" when you are satisfied with the look of your cross-hatched image.

  • Flatten and save your filtered photo. If you would like to use it in a web-based application, convert it back to RGB format by clicking Image > Mode > RGB.

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