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How to Apply Sketch Effects to Photos in Adobe Illustrator

written by: Amanda Presley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/23/2009

In this tutorial you will learn how to turn your photos into sketches using Adobe Illustrator. You will learn how to apply the sketches and adjust them.

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    Adobe Illustrator has a sketch menu that allows you to turn digital photos into sketches. You can use one photo for this tutorial and keep undoing the effects. To undo an effect, click Edit > Undo. To begin this tutorial you will need to open your Adobe Illustrator program and load the photo that you want to use. The sketch menu is located under Effect > Sketch >.How to Apply Sketch Effects to Photos in Adobe Illustrator - sketch menu How to Apply Sketch Effects to Photos in Adobe Illustrator - photocopy Photocopy Sketch Effect

    Let’s take a look at the Photocopy Sketch first. Click your photo to select it. Go to the top of your window and click Effect > Sketch > PhotoCopy. When the box opens, you will see a small preview box. Zoom out by clicking the minus button. Zoom out enough so you can see what the photo is. Now you can adjust the Detail and Darkness settings to get the sketch that you are looking for. Once you have the sketch like you want it, click the OK button. That will apply the PhotoCopy sketch to your photo.

    Torn Edges Sketch EffectHow to Apply Sketch Effects to Photos in Adobe Illustrator - torn edges 

    Now we will take a look at the Torn Edges Sketch Effect. Click Effect > Sketch > Torn Edges to open the properties box. Again, you will need to zoom out, so you can see what you are working with. You will see the three bars in this box. Adjust the bars to create the sketch that you are going for. You have to get these bars just right to create a nice looking sketch. This is one of the harder sketches to create. Play around with it and see if you can get the sketch that you are looking for. If you can’t, go to another sketch effect.

    How to Apply Sketch Effects to Photos in Adobe Illustrator - charcoal Charcoal Sketch Effect

    Open the Charcoal Sketch Effect by clicking Effect > Sketch > Charcoal. Again, you will see the settings box and you will need to adjust the settings in the box to achieve the sketch that you are going for. Don’t forget to zoom out so you can see what you are working with. If you still can’t make heads or tails of it, click OK to apply it and just undo it if it’s not what you want.

    Using Sketch Effects

    There are many different sketch effects that you can use in Adobe Illustrator. The main thing with using the sketch effects is adjusting the settings to get the photo to look right. I can’t tell you to use a particular setting for a particular sketch effect because it will differ with each photo. Instead you will have to keep adjust the settings to get it to look right.