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

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

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

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

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 to use Photoshop Action. In this quick video below, I’ll show you how to use this Charcoal Photoshop Action to transform any photo fast and easily.

Learn how to modify your initial result, and browse the incredible selection of Photoshop Actions available through GraphicRiver and ThemeKeeper Elements for more wonderful effects.

How to Create a Charcoal Effect Using an Action

First open your photo into Photoshop. I’ll be using this Football Athlete Stock at 2000×1333 pixels.

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

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

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

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.

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

The 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.

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

Here is the final result below.

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

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

A Bit More Detail

Learn more from our Photoshop experts. Check out the following tutorials below:

  • How to Create a Charcoal Drawing from a Photo (With a Photoshop Action)
    Photoshop Actions
    How to Create a Quick and Dirty Sketch From a Photograph With a Photoshop Action
    Melody Nieves
  • How to Create a Charcoal Drawing from a Photo (With a Photoshop Action)
    Adobe Photoshop
    How to Create an Architectural Drawing From a Photo
    Melody Nieves
  • How to Create a Charcoal Drawing from a Photo (With a Photoshop Action)
    Adobe Photoshop
    How to Apply a Halftone Effect to Your Images With a Photoshop Action
    Melody Nieves
  • How to Create a Charcoal Drawing from a Photo (With a Photoshop Action)
    Photoshop Actions
    How to Create Artistic Backgrounds From Photos With These 3 Photoshop Actions
    Melody Nieves

60 Seconds?!

This is part of a series of quick video tutorials on ThemeKeeper 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 video and what else you’d like to see explained in 60 seconds!