Best App to Turn Photo into Sketch: A Detailed Comparison

best app to turn photo into sketch

Technology has made it remarkably easy to transform photos into digital artworks. Apps to turn photos into sketches utilize advanced algorithms to quickly create appealing AI portraits. This process is fast and convenient, catering to the instant results we often seek. 

However, at Photo2Painting, we specialize in something a little more timeless and personal: handmade sketches. These aren't just ordinary portraits; they're unique creations that embody the essence of artistry and personal touch

While digital tools offer speed, our handcrafted sketches provide unmatched uniqueness and charm. It’s a testament to craftsmanship and patience, often taking 10-15 days, but the wait is worth it. Each sketch is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that captures more than just a likeness—it captures a story.

However, for those interested in exploring digital options, we are here to assist you as well. Here is a list of apps that can help you turn a photo into a sketch

Best App to Turn Photo into Sketch: Complete List

Clip2Comic: Great for turning photos into fun, cartoon-like sketches. It's user-friendly and offers a playful comic book style.

PainntThis app boasts a wide range of artistic filters, including sketch effects. It's perfect for those who want to experiment with different artistic styles.

Prisma: Known for its high-quality filters, Prisma can transform your photos into sketches resembling famous art styles. It's great for artistic reinterpretations of your images.

ToonMe – Cartoon Photo Editor: As the name suggests, ToonMe specializes in converting photos into cartoon versions, offering a fun and quirky twist to your images.

Fotor: A versatile app that offers sketch effects along with a variety of other photo editing tools. It's good for those who want more than just sketch transformations.

Watercolor Effect Art Filters: This app focuses on turning your photos into beautiful watercolor paintings, ideal for a soft and artistic touch.

PhotoDirector: Touted as one of the best apps for turning photos into sketches, it provides a range of sketch effects and is praised for its ease of use.

Vivid AI: Excelling in creating line drawings from photos, this app is perfect for those who love minimalist and clean artistic styles.

BeFunky: Known for its creative capabilities, BeFunky offers a variety of sketch effects and is great for those looking to add a unique flair to their photos.

Photo Lab EditorThis app is popular for its filter options, including sketch effects. It's user-friendly and great for quick transformations.

Photo Sketch Maker: A top choice for Android users, this app is straightforward and efficient in turning pictures into sketches.

Pencil Photo Sketch: Specializing in pencil drawing effects, this app is perfect for those who love the classic look of pencil sketches.

Not so Popular still Powerful Photo-to-Sketch Apps


Waterlogue is a unique app that transforms your photos into watercolor sketches. It stands out for its ability to emulate the fluid and translucent qualities of watercolor paintings.


Watercolor Effects: The app offers a range of watercolor styles, from light washes to deeper, more saturated hues.

Simple Interface: Waterlogue is designed to be user-friendly, making it easy for anyone to turn their photos into watercolor art.

Customization Options: Users can adjust the intensity of the watercolor effect and play with color palettes to suit their preferences.

High-Resolution Output: The app supports high-resolution images, ensuring that the final artwork is of high quality and suitable for printing.

Ideal For: Waterlogue is perfect for art enthusiasts who love the aesthetic of watercolor paintings and want to see their photos transformed into soft, painterly sketches.


Artomaton is an artistic app that offers a variety of sketch and painting effects. It's known for its ability to mimic different artistic techniques and mediums.


Diverse Art Styles: The app includes a variety of styles, from pencil sketches to oil painting effects, providing users with numerous artistic options.

Real-Time Effects: Artomaton allows users to see the effects in real-time as they apply them, offering an interactive experience.

Customization Tools: It comes with sliders and settings to fine-tune the artistic effects, giving users control over the final look of their artwork.

Animation Feature: Unique to Artomaton, this feature lets users watch their photo being painted or drawn in the style they’ve chosen, adding an engaging aspect to the experience.

How to Turn a Photo into a Sketch on Mac & Windows for Free

For Mac Users

Using Preview:

  • Open your photo in the Preview app (default image viewer on Mac).
  • Click on the 'Markup Toolbar' button (pencil icon).
  • Select the 'Sketch' tool to manually sketch over your photo.
  • Save the edited photo.

Using GIMP (Free Software):

  • Download and install GIMP, a free and open-source image editor.
  • Open your photo in GIMP.
  • Use the 'Filters' menu, navigate to 'Artistic', and select 'Photocopy' or 'Cartoon' to apply a sketch-like effect.
  • Adjust the settings as needed and save the image.

For Windows Users

Using Paint 3D:

  • Open Paint 3D, a free app available in Windows 10 and later.
  • Click on 'Menu', then 'Open' to select your photo.
  • Use the 'Artistic' tools to apply sketch filters or manually sketch.
  • Save your edited image.

Using GIMP (As Above for Mac):

  • Follow the same steps as mentioned for Mac users.

Online Tools to Turn Photo into Sketch (For Both Mac & Windows)


  • Visit the Photopea website, a free online photo editor.
  • Open your photo in the editor.
  • Use the 'Filter' menu, select 'Sketch', and choose a sketch effect.
  • Adjust settings and save the image.


  • Go to the Fotor website.
  • Upload your photo and choose the 'Effect' tab.
  • Select the 'Pencil Sketch' effect.
  • Adjust the intensity and save the edited photo.

Turn Photo Into Real Handmade Sketch

The Uniqueness of Handmade Sketches

One-of-a-Kind Art: Every handmade sketch is unique. Unlike digital prints or AI-generated images, no two handcrafted portraits are the same. This exclusivity adds to their charm and appeal.

Personal Touch: A handmade portrait goes beyond mere replication of a photo. It carries the personal touch of the artist, infused with their interpretation and emotion, making each piece deeply personal and special.

Reflection of the Artist's Skill and Style

Individual Style: Each artist has their style and technique, which is reflected in their work. This means that a handcrafted sketch is not just a representation of the subject but also a display of the artist's unique approach to art.

Skill and Craftsmanship: The skill and craftsmanship required for creating a hand-drawn portrait are significant. The artist's talent in capturing the essence of the subject is a key element that adds depth and life to the sketch.

Emotional Connection and Legacy

Emotion and Energy: When you look at a handmade sketch, you can feel the emotion, care, and energy that the artist put into it. This emotional depth often creates a strong connection between the portrait and the viewer.

Cherished Héritage: Handmade sketches often become cherished family treasures. They are passed down through generations, holding sentimental value and memories, making them timeless treasures.

Worth the Wait

Customization and Detail: Handmade portraits can be customized to a high degree. The artist can capture subtle details, making the portrait not just a likeness but a true representation of the subject.

The Value of Patience: While creating a handmade sketch takes time, often days or weeks, the result is a masterpiece that holds far more value and significance than a quickly generated digital image. This patience and anticipation add to the overall experience of owning a handcrafted portrait.

Comparing the Quality of Sketches: Apps vs Handmade

No AI tool can give you the flavor real hand-made sketches offer. Due to the same reason, we at Photo2Painting are working with 100+ sketch artists to turn your photo into a real sketch. 

Let’s understand what changes when you move to AI tools from handmake sketches and decide for yourself.

Analysis of Sketch Quality from Apps

Quality and Durability: Sketches from apps depend on the technology used and the algorithms programmed into the software. The quality is consistent but lacks the depth and texture that come with physical materials. These digital sketches are also dependent on digital storage, which might not have the same longevity as physical art.

Expertise and Craftsmanship: While apps can mimic various artistic styles, they don’t require the same level of expertise and craftsmanship as handmade sketches. They are based on preset filters and styles, lacking the personal touch and skill of an artist.

Emotional Value: Digital sketches may not capture the same emotional essence as handmade ones. The process is automated, missing the artist's emotional investment in the creation process.

Uniqueness: Sketches from apps can be somewhat limited in terms of uniqueness. Since they rely on predefined algorithms, similar inputs can lead to similar outputs, reducing the singularity of each piece.

Control Over the Final Product: Users have some control over the outcome, like selecting filters or adjusting settings, but the control is limited compared to the vast possibilities in handcrafting a sketch.

How Do Handmade Sketches Compare?

Quality and Durability: Handmade sketches, created with high-quality materials like professional-grade paper, pencils, or paints, have a tangible quality that can stand the test of time, making them more durable and valued.

Expertise and Craftsmanship: Each handmade sketch reflects the artist's skill, training, and personal style. This craftsmanship brings a level of sophistication and uniqueness that is hard to replicate digitally.

Emotional Value: The emotional value of handmade sketches is high, as they capture the artist's interpretations, feelings, and thoughts. This emotional depth often resonates more with the viewer, making these sketches more impactful.

Uniqueness: Handmade sketches are inherently unique. Even when the same artist tries to replicate a sketch, each piece will have variations, making every handmade sketch one-of-a-kind.

Control Over the Final Product: In handcrafted sketches, the artist has complete control over every aspect of the creation process, from the initial strokes to the final touches. This allows for a level of customization and refinement that apps cannot match.

Use of Quality Materials: Artists can choose specific materials that enhance the appearance and longevity of the sketch, like high-quality paper and long-lasting inks or pencils. This use of superior materials contributes to the overall quality and feel of the sketch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an app that turns a picture into a sketch?

Yes, there are several apps available for both Android and iOS devices that can turn a picture into a sketch. Some popular options include Prisma, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Sketch Me!, and ToonCamera. These apps use various filters and effects to convert photos into sketch-like images.

How do I turn a picture into a sketch?

To turn a picture into a sketch, you can use photo editing software or apps that offer sketch conversion filters. Here are the general steps:

  • Choose a photo you want to convert into a sketch.
  • Open the photo in your preferred photo editing app or software.
  • Look for filters or effects related to sketch conversion. These may be labeled as "Sketch," "Pencil Sketch," or something similar.
  • Apply the selected filter or effect to the photo.
  • Adjust any settings or parameters to achieve the desired sketch effect.
  • Save the edited image.

Can I turn a photo into a sketch on an iPhone?

Yes, you can turn a photo into a sketch on an iPhone using various apps available on the App Store. Some popular apps for sketch conversion on iPhones include Prisma, Adobe Photoshop Express, and BeCasso, among others. Simply download one of these apps, open your photo, and apply the sketch effect using the app's features.

What AI turns pictures into sketches?

Several AI-based tools and software can turn pictures into sketches. Some notable ones include:

Deep Dream Generator: This online tool uses deep learning algorithms to transform photos into dream-like and artistic sketches. DeepArt allows you to apply various artistic styles, including sketch styles, to your photos using AI algorithms.

Runway ML: Runway ML offers a range of AI models, including those for sketch conversion, that can be used by artists and designers to create unique visuals.