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How to Create a Charcoal Drawing From a Photo (With a Photoshop Action)

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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

Welcome to our Photoshop in 60 Seconds series, in which you can learn a Photoshop skill, feature, or technique in just a minute!

Photoshop in 60 Seconds: Charcoal Effect

Traditional art takes years to master, but you can create a beautiful charcoal effect for any photo or background using a simple Photoshop Action. In this quick video below, I'll show you how to use this Photoshop Charcoal Action to convert a picture to a charcoal sketch quickly and easily.

Our charcoal Photoshop tutorial isn't the only one we've got. Don't forget to check our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel to watch more useful video tutorials. 

Learn how to modify your initial result using the Photoshop charcoal sketch effect. Also, browse the incredible selection of Photoshop Actions available through GraphicRiver and Envato Elements for more wonderful effects.

How to Create a Charcoal Effect Using an Action

Let's start our charcoal Photoshop tutorial and learn charcoal drawing from a photo. First, open your photo in Photoshop. I'll be using this Football Athlete Stock at 2000x1333 pixels.

Football Pixabay StockFootball Pixabay StockFootball Pixabay Stock
Football Athlete Stock

Now go to Window > Actions and load your Charcoal Photoshop Action into the Actions palette. This Photoshop charcoal sketch effect also requires a set of brushes, so select the Brush Tool (B) and then go to Replace Brushes under the gear icon to replace your current ones with the new set.

New Brush Set For ActionsNew Brush Set For ActionsNew Brush Set For Actions

Create a New Layer and name it "brush." Use a Soft Round Brush to Fill your subject and any area where you would like the action to occur with color. When you're ready, select one of the action styles from the list (Style 5) and press Play.

Fill Your Subject with ColorFill Your Subject with ColorFill Your Subject with Color

The Photoshop charcoal action will take a few seconds to fully play out. Once it's done, modify your result by experimenting with the Adjustment Layers in the new action Group created. I decided to increase the Opacity of the photo layers to show the athlete more, and use the brushes from the original set to add more random brush strokes. You can play with the charcoal effect Photoshop and convert a picture to a charcoal sketch as many times as you wish.

Paint More Brush StrokesPaint More Brush StrokesPaint More Brush Strokes

Here is the final result of the photo to charcoal drawing online tutorial. See how easy is to use the Photoshop charcoal sketch effect?

Charcoal Photo Effect Photoshop TutorialCharcoal Photo Effect Photoshop TutorialCharcoal Photo Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Want to see this charcoal effect in Photoshop in real time? Check out the video above to see this lesson at work!

Discover More Awesome Photoshop Tutorials

I hope you've enjoyed this photo to charcoal drawing online tutorial. Learn more from our Photoshop experts and check out the following tutorials below.

Additionally, if you're interested in Photoshop actions and would like to know more, you can check our learning guide dedicated to this topic: Learn Photoshop Actions.

60 Seconds?!

This tutorial on charcoal drawing from a photo is part of a series of quick video tutorials on Envato Tuts+ in which we introduce a range of subjects, all in 60 seconds—just enough to whet your appetite. Let us know in the comments what you thought of this Photoshop charcoal action video and what else you'd like to see explained in 60 seconds!

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