How to Sketch and Draw from Photos with the 12 Best Apps in 2023

Related Training: Convenient Reference Guides for Quick Captures

Some photographers wish they were as proficient with a pencil as they are with a camera and therefore would like to convert their photographs into sketches. But have no fear, because we have 12 amazing apps for iOS and Android that can quickly and easily transform your photos into sketches.

A laptop showing a sketch

In what ways can photographs be used to generate sketches?

What a treat it will be for you to try a photo-to-sketch app for the first time.

The vast majority of these apps' functions are fully automated. Select the photo you'd like to have transformed into a sketch, and that's it! If you input it into the program, it will automatically undergo a conversion.

Images can be transformed into sketches in a variety of ways, depending on the app. Some use algorithms to digitize the colors and outlines of your photos. Some people use AI to make art that looks like your photos.

Let's go down the list and figure out which programs work best for you.

First, the Watercolor Effect

In terms of complexity, this app is among the simplest. You can choose from a wide variety of predefined settings by simply tapping on your preferred option.

Around 30 unique filters are at your disposal to transform your photos into works of art. Although it lacks in editing features, it does allow you to control the intensity of the effect.

Watercolor Effect is unlike any other app because it allows you to paint your own pictures. You can make digital art by simply tracing the image with your fingers, without the need for any special effects or filters. Not many of the other choices here offer this convenience.

An initial free trial of Watercolor Effect is available for 3 days. Thereafter, you can choose between a weekly and yearly subscription.

  • Its intuitive design makes making art much faster than with competing programs.
  • Supports predefined oil painting styles for quickly transforming your photos into museum-quality artwork.
  • When there are fewer options to tweak, there is less opportunity for distraction. You can quickly and easily get the desired result by selecting a predefined setting.
  • These presets offer a wide range of popular painting techniques, from impressionism to cubism.

A screenshot of Watercolor Effect App for turning photos into sketches

Android | Apple

To add, there's Clip2Comic

The fantastic Clip2Comic app lets you quickly and easily create cartoonish versions of your pals from photos. This app's straightforward interface encourages its use for taking portraits. Unfortunately, it's restricted to Apple's iOS platform.

Simply by tapping on a photo, the app will open it and instantly convert it into a cartoonish drawing.

This is one of the best sketch apps for the iPhone if you want to turn a photo into a cartoon.

  • You can make photo manipulations and caricatures in a cartoon style.
  • User-friendly design
  • Devices for altering contrast, saturation, and saturation
  • Animated camera with a real-time preview
  • Free with optional in-app purchases

A screenshot of Clip2Comic App for turning photos into line drawings


3. Toonme

Like Clip2Comic, this app has the ability to transform regular photos into cartoons and caricatures.

Toonme is unique because it employs AI to produce photorealistic effects. You can pick from a wide variety of formats, and then modify them to get a variety of outcomes.

Toonme, in contrast to Clip2Comic, can be used on both iOS and Android. Consequently, you can use it with almost any mobile device.

Toonme is available for no cost to download. However, there may be optional upgrades available for purchase within the app. Toonme Pro is another service available to you. The one-time payment may seem excessive, but if you find yourself frequently utilizing the app, it may be worth it.

  • Images in a cartoon style are just one of the many options available; hand-drawn illustrations are also included.
  • Offers a wide variety of designs that can be applied to Instagram posts ranging from profile pictures to highlight reels.
  • Facilitates alterations to works of art for a more genuine appearance.
  • Constantly updating with new presets to ensure you have plenty to choose from at any given time
  • By participating in the #toonmechallenge, you can showcase your work to the Toonme community.

A screenshot of Toonme app for turning photos into cartoons

Android | Apple

4. Painnt

The more than two thousand filters in this drawing app can make even the most mundane subject matter look like a work of art. The majority of these effects are sketch styles, which can be applied to your photos to make them look like the increasingly popular pencil drawings.

The free version of this image editor has few options for editing photos. A weekly, monthly, or annual subscription is required to access the entire collection.

Simply import a photo, browse the available filters, and select the one you like best to begin editing. In other words, it's that simple.

The requirement of an active internet connection is the sole disadvantage of this Android and iOS app. Images taken with the app are uploaded to the developer's servers.

  • There are more than 2,000 filters available for artists.
  • There are more than 90 different sketch filters available to transform your photo into a work of art.
  • Editing filters with a wide variety of available options
  • Cost nothing up front, additional content available for purchase within the app.

A screenshot of Painnt drawing app homepage

Android | Apple

Five. PhotoMania

You should use PhotoMania if all you want to do is have a good time experimenting with various filters.

In addition to transforming your photo into a sketch, you can also add custom frames to use in your profile. PhotoMania also provides a wide variety of e-card options for those who enjoy such activities.

About 400 different looks have been built into PhotoMania, from sketch effects to vintage ones. The fact that this app can also be used as an editor is probably its best feature. It works wonderfully for changing the exposure.

Did we mention that PhotoMania has a masking feature? It can be used to add sketch-like effects to specific regions of your photographs. That's a cool function that you won't find in many of the other apps here.

A copy of PhotoMania can be had and used without cost. However, additional presets can be purchased within the app.

  • Offers a wide range of controls to help you fine-tune your sketch effect.
  • In addition to the sketch feature, it can also convert your photo into a painting, expanding your creative potential even further.
  • Features high-end photo-editing options like HDR and Lomo filters, among others.
  • Improves the realism of your photos by allowing you to layer textures on top of them.
  • Includes holiday-themed, editable templates for all your celebrations

Android | Apple

Waterlogue, No. 6

This is a drawing app that will appeal to those who enjoy working with watercolors. It was a top pick in 2014 and still wows photographers around the world in 2022.

Almost all photo-editing apps for smartphones merely sketch your photo. Using Waterlogue, your photos will be magically transformed into a stunning piece of art.

You can't even tell that these sketches were made from photos, that's how good Waterlogue's sketch effect is.

Not only that, but the app is incredibly simple to operate. That makes you more likely to utilize its photo-altering capabilities and stick around for additional updates.

Your photos can be transformed into photorealistic works of art with the help of Waterlogue's editing tools. Adjusting the strength of the effect can help you fine-tune it to your needs.

It's a fun way to make presents for people who would rather receive a painting than a digital photo.

Unfortunately, it's only drawback is that it won't work with Android phones. However, its quality will compel you to make a change in order to take advantage of it.

  • A Dedicated Watercolor Drawing Program
  • Allows for adjusting and personalizing the image
  • Very straightforward and simple to use

A screenshot of Waterlogue drawing app to turn photos into sketches


7 - A Brush With It

With Brushstroke, you can transform your photographs into works of art in any one of a number of different painting techniques, color palettes, or on any one of several different canvases.

Our favorite feature is the in-app canvas printing option.

You won't be able to make sketches or outlines with this iPhone app. As an alternative, it will convert your photo into a sketch and then paint it.

The lines from the photograph are superimposed with a pencil outline, giving the impression of a hand-drawn sketch.

  • Simple to use design
  • Famous painters' styles in paint.
  • There are seven distinct fashion categories.
  • Multiple variations on styles
  • Seal your prints as proof of authenticity

A screenshot of Brushstoke drawing app to turn photos into sketches


Topping the list is Enlight Photofox at number 8.

For quick and easy adjustments to your photographs, try out this drawing app. However, it is also a great choice for those who wish to create stunning works of art from their photographs.

Drawing tools, image editing, painterly effects, and photographic filters are all part of what Enlight Photofox has to offer.

Visit the app's creative section and select Sketch to make your photo look like a painting.

The flexibility of this app for Android and iOS devices lies in the fact that you can adjust any of the individual filter parameters to your liking.

  • There are 16 different sketching tools that come pre-configured.
  • Apply localized effects to your image by masking it.
  • Visuals can be made by combining photos with text.
  • Enables you to make double exposures
  • High-resolution image saving ensures the best possible picture quality.

A screenshot of Enlight Photofox editing app to convert pictures to drawings

Android | Apple

9. Prisma

The Prisma app is a fantastic drawing tool that can transform your photos into works of art in the styles of famous painters.

Do you want your photos to look like paintings by Picasso or Van Gogh? You can choose from a variety of fun patterns thanks to these filters.

Simply launch the app, select your photos, and apply one of many available filters. Curly Hair and Heisenberg are just two of the fantastic effect names they've come up with for doodling.

A few simple editing tools are also built into Prisma. Your photos' filters' strengths can be modified with a finger swipe.

Prisma's one and only drawback is that low-resolution saves are the only option. Those who need to print in large sizes have a problem.

  • There are 30 distinct visual enhancements available.
  • Fresh threads are available for download in the Shop.
  • An Instagram-style app that's just as simple to use.
  • Membership in the Prisma Network
  • Compatible with visual media

A screenshot of the Prisma photo editor iphone apps to convert picture to drawing

Android | Apple

Ten. A Photolab

The Photolab app is fantastic, and it's available for both the iPhone and Android. Among the best options for transforming photographs into the appearance of a sketch, painting, or watercolor painting.

Your photos can be transformed into works of art with the help of the filters, borders, frames, and montages.

You can quickly locate the perfect presets for your photos with the help of Photolab's effect categories. You'll have a lot of leeway in deciding how your pictures look because each will offer a variety of options to choose from.

Additional editing tools are available in addition to the standard features of the drawing app. There's room for improvement with tools like color correction, cropping, rotating, and touchups.

  • Select a photo from your gallery, or snap a new one right in the app.
  • Well over a thousand after-effects
  • It is now possible to send holiday greeting cards to friends and family with the help of e-card templates.
  • Digital rain and jigsaw puzzle are two more photo effects that can be added.
  • You can export your drawings directly from the app or share them on social media.

A screenshot of Photo Lab filters to turn photo into sketch

Android | Apple


Your drawing resolution and image size are completely up to you in Artomaton, with a maximum size of 4096 pixels. It's perfect for maintaining a high resolution while posting to social media or printing out a hard copy.

You can adjust the image's density, line thickness, and stroke after applying the filter. Those interested in such things can also use it to add vignettes to their photographs.

The fact that you can adjust the direction of light hitting your digital canvas is another perk. The iPhone app lets you easily transform photos into sketches.

  • There are five potential mediums for creating art.
  • Eleven potential canvas materials are discussed.
  • Colored pencil, charcoal, marker, oil, and sketch are all viable choices for the filter.
  • Photographic distortion is made possible by a scale.
  • High-quality images require high-resolution files.

A screenshot of Artomaton app e to turn photos into sketches


Twelve iColorama S

You can use the best photo-to-sketch app if you: If so, we highly recommend the iColorama S. Not only does it have a legitimate editing suite's sound, but it also works!

The iColorama S is great because it eliminates the need to downsize your original photo files. In other words, it allows you to maintain a high resolution for enhanced image quality.

You can access each section with a single tap of the Menu. Click the "Style" tab to access the Sketch app. After selecting a sketch mode, you can tweak the intensity with the opacity slider.

You can adjust the border and shadow values by clicking the Set button. Keep in mind that any image you import will appear identical in your exported product, so it's best to work with large images.

  • Several painterly techniques, including a sketch mode, are available as a drawing filter.
  • There are 14 different sketches from which to select.
  • There are over three hundred aftereffects.
  • Allows Photoshop brushes to be imported and used
  • The iColorama S Facebook group has a massive following.

A screenshot of iColorama app for turning photos into drawings or sketches  Apple


Listed here are the top 12 photo-to-sketch apps for Android and iOS.

Keep in mind that you can use as many different applications as you like. You can use as many or as few of these as you like to achieve the desired effect. Use your imagination and don't be afraid to try new things to make your photos into works of art.

With the help of our Wow Factor Photography Course, you can learn to take pictures that will blow people away.

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