Are you wanting to achieve a “painting in progress” look with your photos?

It’s really very easy.

There are lots of ways to go about it and here is my approach to this technique:


Starting with a 12×12 canvas.

Import your base photo.

Duplicate the photo layer [Layer > Duplicate Layer] and turn off the visibility on the original photo layer by clicking on the eye icon in the layer palette

Now we are going to paint the photo. I used the Watery Spots No. 2 and Watery Spots No. 3 brushes. To get started painting, you’ll want to hide the entire image by masking it out [Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All]

Select your paint brush, making sure the mask is active and the foreground color is white, and begin painting.


Now we are begining our sketch.

Duplicate the base layer and drag it above the painted photo layer.

Apply the Find Edges filter [Filter > Stylize > Find Edges]


To make it resemble a pencil sketch more, we will convert this layer to grayscale [Image > Adjust > Desaturate]

To make the lines more defined I adjusted the levels [Image > Levels] bringing the dark arrow in towards the center and the white arrow in towards the center.


Now, change the blend mode for the sketch layer to Multiply.

Again, prepare to paint by masking the entire image [Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All]

Select your brush. I used a brush from Watery Spots No. 2 for this one.

Begin painting in the mask layer until the desired affect is achieved. I didn’t paint over the dancers because I didn’t want them to appear overly defined. I painted into the edges of the painted photo. It also helped draw the eye in to the dancer rather than focusing on everything going on around her.

Simple as that! You have your painting done and ready for title, journaling and any embellishments to be added in.


Be sure to check out the other Painting Tutorials available In the Studio!

Note: This tutorial is done with Photoshop CS3 and some steps may be different in newer versions as well as PSE but the end result should be able to be achieved in those applications.