Photoshop Effects: Charcoal Drawing Look

A charcoal drawing once took a lot of time and talent to make. But now, Adobe Photoshop allows anyone to turn their favorite photos into charcoal drawings. Follow the steps below to achieve this effect.

Step 1 - Open Your Image in Photoshop

Go through your digital photos and select the one you wish to turn into a charcoal drawing. Then launch Photoshop. When Photoshop is loaded go to 'File'-> 'Open' and find the image on your hard drive.

Step 2 - Create a New Layer

Go to 'Layer'-> 'New'-> 'New Layer'. Use the color picker and paint tool to fill this layer in with the color of your choice. This new layer is going to be the color of your "Charcoal Paper". 

Step 3 - Stack The Layers in Proper Order

Because the "Charcoal Paper" layer is on top of your original image that solid color is covering the entire work area. Click on the 'Background' layer and then go to 'Layer-> 'Duplicate Layer'. A new layer called 'Background Copy' is created. Drag that on top of the "Charcoal Paper" layer. 

Step 4 - Add the Glowing Edge Filter

Apply the 'Glowing Edge Filter' to your new layer by going to 'Filter'-> 'Stylize'-> 'Glowing Edges'. Adjust the values in the filter's sliders to suit your tastes. 

Step 5 - Make It Black and White

Invert the "Background Copy" layer by going to 'Image'-> 'Adjustments'-> 'Invert'. Then Desaturate it by going to 'Image'-> 'Adjustments'-> 'Desaturate'. Desaturating all the colors will make the image black and white.

Step 6 - Change the Blending Mode

Go to the Blending Mode in the Layers box and change it to Multiply.

Step 7 - Copy the Background Layer Again

Copy the 'Background' layer again and move the new copy to the top of the layer stack. Desaturate the layer and then add noise to it. 'Filter'-> 'Noise'-> 'Add Noise'-> 'Monochromatic & Gaussian'. Set the opacity for this layer to 75%.

Step 8 - Add a Layer Mask

Add a 'Layer Mask' on top of the new layer by choosing 'Layer'-> 'Layer Masks'-> 'Hide All'.

Step 9 - Create the Charcoal

Select the 'Brush Tool' and set it to a large diameter with white as the brush. Use this tool to reveal the subject underneath the Layer Mask.

Step 10 - Alter the Layer Mask

Click the ' Layer Mask' and apply motion blur by going to 'Filter'-> 'Blur'-> 'Motion Blur'. Then apply the  'Crosshatch Brush Strokes' filter to that same layer by doing 'Filter'-> 'Brush Strokes'-> 'Crosshatch'. 

Step 11 - Create a Charcoal Paper Pattern

Click on the 'Charcoal Paper' layer and select 'New Fill Layer'-> 'Pattern'. Choose any pattern you like and then change the layer's blending mode to multiply. 

Step 12 - Finalize the Color

Duplicate the 'Charcoal Paper' layer and place it on top of the stack of layers. Change the blend mode to 'Color Burn'. This will make the color of the image uniform. Make whatever necessary adjustments from here that you see fit in making sure that the layers all blend together in a charcoal drawing look.