Over the Christmas holiday, the kids and I did a lot of playing around with pictures of our family on the computer. We’re big fans of Picnik because it’s free and you can make a lot of funny faces with it. Have you tried the Gooify tool? Hilarious what it can do to facial features!
Anyway, I was looking for a rainy day project, and I remembered there is a tool that will transform any ol’ photograph into a black and white sketch. So then I thought we could just make some coloring pages for the kids… here is the simple (and free!) step by step:
***** See update to this post at the bottom with the latest disappointing announcement that Picnik is closing on April 19th (or in some aspect moving to Google+) that came the day after this tutorial was posted.
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It’s best to start with a high resolution image (1000+ px) since you’ll be printing these as 8 x 10s on letter size paper. First, upload your image into Picnik and change it to a black and white image under the Effects tool. You can also use the Boost tool to add a little more contrast between the blacks and whites.
Next, scroll down under Effects and apply the Pencil Sketch tool. Push the ‘radius’ bar all the way to the right for thicker lines and ‘strength’ bar all the way to the right for more dynamic contrast. I applied the Pencil Sketch tool twice.
You can also use the Exposure tool under Basic Edits to soften or create more contrast between light and dark.
Just below the Pencil Sketch tool is the Doodle tool, which is similar to the Brush tool in Photoshop. You can use the Doodle brush in various sizes and levels of opacity to remove pixels. Here I’ve removed some of the pixels from my daughter’s face. The tool is helpful for blending skin tones, pixelated clothing, etc.
Finally, you can use the same Doodle brush tool to remove any distracting background if you just want the child or children on the page.
Crop your image to whatever size you want and print it out for your kids to color on, pretty simple. They can make pictures for their friends or birthday cards, or you can use these at parties, etc.
A very fun idea for a snow or rainy day!
Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, this would make a great gift too if you printed up 10-20 images of a child and had them bound up in a “Coloring Book of Me” sort of thing.
And grown ups… this is another great tool for turning photographs of people or animals or places into black and white sketches like I did with this Eiffel Tower image.
Viva la Pencil Sketch!
And no, Picnik didn’t pay me, they don’t have a clue who I am, I’m just a fan of their free online tools. Happy sketching!
*** So the announcement that Picnik is closing renders this tutorial moot after April 19th (unless the same exact tools are available in Google+ Creative Kit, which to date they are not.)
BUT… I went in search of a similar program and found it on Fotoflexer. Use the Sketch Tool there under Effects, and the Eraser tool to remove any background like shown above to achieve the same sketches from photos. Or you can use iPiccy, under their effects they have a very Picnik like sketch tool too.