• Wes Odell

How to Create a Fine Art Line Drawing

There are several methods to convert a digital image into a “Line Drawing” image, some of which will qualify for being Fine Art Digitally produced images. Most common of the methods involves the use of an “Artistic Filter” such as Poster Edges and Ink Outlines from Photoshop Elements or other photo editors. The method described in this Blog Entry uses the Filter “Smart Blur” and is excellent for creating THIN line drawings. (And then after doing these steps, if you want to continue and make some lines more bold, you can go on to Ink and Poster.)


1. If not already done, convert your image into a Black & White rendition. (Not all images will be suitable to convert, but you’ll get the “hang of deciding which” after a few tries.)

2. Do some experimenting with the standard filters such as Levels and Brightness/Contrast to improve the ability of the Smart Blur filter to find edges.

3. Select Filter > Blur > Smart Blur and set the Quality to High and Mode to Edge Only. The result will be white lines on a black background. In the dialog box where a Preview Window exists, click and drag the subject around so that you can see if the critical parts of the image appear as you want them to be. You can adjust the appearance (the conversion) by sliding the Radius and Threshold sliders around. A reasonable starting point for these settings is Radius of 3.0 and Threshold of 25.0. Click OK to apply the settings.

4. Invert the White Lines on a black background image by selecting Image>Adjustments>Invert

5. Crop and do your “Final Steps” such as borders, strokes, vignettes, and sizing, before printing. If you think your image is a Fine Art image, then be sure to use a heavy weight matte paper, such as one around 300 gsm. Red River Papers has several and in different sizes.

6. As mentioned above, should you want to make all the lines darker and wider, select Filter > Artistic > Poster Edges and start with Edge Thickness of 0, Edge Intensity of 10, and Posterization of 0. If you want even thicker edges, repeat this step once or twice more.

After the above process has been completed:

The original B&W image prior to the above process

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