Turning a photo into drawing with Gimp

A new filter in version 2.10 makes the operation very easy...

The classic method is to create a duplicate of the image on which the outlines are shown. For this we make the image monochronous and we use the edge detection function of Gimp. At this stage we obtain a pencil drawing that we can use as is.
To add the colors we make the image in the semi-transparent layer and the initial image that we copied in the second layer appears between the pencil lines.
Melanie Iglesias, original Melanie Iglesias, dessin
Original photo

Make a pencil drawing

Melanie dessin crayon

The manual method allows to play on the multiple parameters of image enhancement, but it only gives good results if the image is simple, poor in detail. However it allows to obtain a drawing in pencil.

  1. Load the image.
  2. Duplicate the layer.
  3. Select the original image by clicking on the layer.
  4. In the Colors menu, click on the "Desaturate".
    In the dialog box, select the "Average" mode.
  5. On the Filters menu, click "Edge Detection" and then "Sobel".
  6. In the layer window and still on the original layer, choose the "Darken only" mode.
  7. Merge layers in the Layers menu.
  8. Export the new image.

New simplified method

The availability of a new filter in Gimp 2.10, easy the operations a lot...

  1. Load the image.
  2. In the Filters menu, and the Artistic submenu, click on Cartoon. You have options to refine or enlarge the lines.
  3. In the Color menu, select Auto -> Color Enhance.
  4. Optionally if the photo has too much noise, you can improve the sharpness. On the Filters menu, Enhance, click on Despeckle .
  5. Export your image in PNG or JPEG.
Vignette original
Vignette crayon
Vignette couleurs
Colored drawing
Reinforced colors

You have also the option to produce a pencil drawing with the artistic filter "Photocopy". By playing on the percentage of black and white, you make the image more or less close to a drawing.
Again by installing the Beautify plug-in you add the Beautify filter which can do it also.

More experiences with Cartoon filter

An abandoned chapel:

Petite chapelle

Path in a dark forest:

Chemin dans la forĂȘt sombre

See also...