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Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge Week 7 – Turn your photo into a Sketch

The graphite pencil has a long history and with it, the art of sketching.

Sketches can be made in any drawing medium. The term is most often applied to graphic work executed in a dry media such as silverpoint,graphite, pencil, charcoal or pastel. But it may also apply to drawings executed in pen and ink, ballpoint pen, water colour and oil paint. The latter two are generally referred to as “water colour sketches” and “oil sketches”. – wikipedia

And of course, with mobile app and digital imaging technology, we now have features in our apps that lets us turn photos into sketches. Personally, I find this very useful for blogging. Some photos that don’t work so well as photos actually don’t look half bad as a sketch! ;P


snappy happy photo challenge logo black and whiteWelcome back to Week 7 of the Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge hosted by weliveinaflat and firebonnet ;)

This challenge asks you to (1) share a good photo that you took or edited last week, (2) run it through a photo app on your smartphone or mobile device and share with us the result. We’re back to the theme of Art effects this week – Sketch effects

Most of my photos filtered with the sketch effect is done using Camera360. Whatever complaints I have with the app, the Sketch effect in it is seriously useful. The photo usually comes out looking rather refined as a black and white sketch. I love it because ugly, unwanted details in the background are usually diminished.

Camera360 photo app – Sketch effects

sketch of dog with bone
Above: Can hardly see the ugly storage boxes behind Donna, yah? ;P

Camera360 also gives a more refined black and white sketch effect. See if you can guess for the picture below, which one is the result from Camera360, and which one is not.

camera360 vs paper camera app - dog and tv sketch up

Camera360 is a free app that offers 15 categories of Multi-effects. You can access them by tapping on the Multi-effects button (screen i) after you have loaded up your photo in the app. From there, pick the Sketch option (screen 2) from the Effects menu. You then will get a choice of 9 sketch effects (screen 3). My favourites are Surreal (which is black and white) and Colour.

camera360 sketch screenshot
Screenshots from Camera360

Surreal gives you a black and white sketch like this: camera360 app - dog on floor sketch

And Colour gives you a result that is somewhat like a refined colour pencil sketch:camera360 app dog in crate sketch

I like that in both cases, the original ugly photo now looks more like a work of art.

The Sketch options in Camera360 are limited to nine filters. There is no option to tweak any of them. Just tap and apply, that’s it.  Simple to use, but doesn’t really give you any sort of experience or appreciation of the art of sketching.

Paper Camera photo app – Sketch effects

The paid app, Paper Camera, is more interesting in this respect. Offering 14* different filters, Paper Camera also gives you the option to play around and experiment with variables like – strokes, vignette, edges, contrast, brightness and lines.

*Out of the 14 filters, I only found 2 of them useful. I don’t really think I will use the other 12 that much as the styles didn’t appeal to me ;) You can see the filters in their video on their website here if you are thinking of whether you want to buy it.

paper camera app sketch up screenshot 1
paper camera app sketch up screenshot 1
Screenshots from Paper Camera. This screen shows the Sketch Up filter being applied. The slider bars under the Variables -Strokes, Vignette, Edges, Contrast, Brightness and Lines – can be adjusted to tweak the intensity of the variables.  

The result – you can create something that ends up looking more like a rough sketch, instead of a finished sketch that Camera360 always gives you.

paper camera app - dog on floor sketch up
Above: Donna on the floor using Paper Camera’s Sketch Up filter. You can control the strokes, lines and edges. It looks very much like a rough sketch, doesn’t it?

camera360 app - dog on floor sketch
Above: Donna on the floor using Camera360 Surreal Sketch effect. The sketch looks like it is coloured in and the strokes are not determinable compared to Paper Camera. 

Here’s a another result from Paper Camera Sketch Up filter. This time with the Vignette effect. I do have an issue with the vignette which did not white out the edges of the image like I expect it to.

paper camera app - shopfront sketch up
Just for fun, you may remember the original photo from last week’s photo challenge, for your reference here:
shophouse in kyoto

Paper Camera also has colour sketch filter options. I found that the filter Pastel Perfect worked well for some of my photos. Here is the same shopfront rendered with Pastel Perfect. Notice the the strokes across the photo:paper camera app - shopfront sketch pastel perfect
Compare that to the same shopfront using Camera360 Sketch effect – Colour in the photo below. The photo is outlined to look like a sketch but without the strokes. I think it looks more like an inked comic in this case, rather than a colour pencil sketch. camera360 app - shopfront sketch

Further experimentation with Paper Camera showed that it delivers well when it comes to rendering more of a vintage, stylized effect for photos of flowers.

camera360 vs paper camera app - hydrangea sketch vs pastel perfect
Paper Camera – Pastel Perfect filter (left); Comic Boom filter(right)

But because Paper Camera tries to replicate the the lines and hardness of strokes when it comes to sketching, details will be obscured like in the result below. You get the rough sketch of the shape of the dog but miss out much of the details.

paper camera app dog in crate pastel perfect

Where it comes to getting a result that looks more finished and pleasant, I definitely still do prefer Camera360. Below you an see clearly Donna’s sleepy expression and her eyes, as well as the gentle detail in the curves of her side and in her paws.

camera360 app dog in crate sketch


Get Inspired!


Go get it!
Photo apps for your mobile devices

iPhone users

Android users

  • Apps reviewed in this post – Camera360 Free, Paper Camera Paid Only
  • Sketch Guru – wrote about this in the watercolour post, it has pencil sketch filters too. 

Host Challenge Post

Photo of the Week 
hand wall vase
Hand, edited with Snapseed, VSCOcam M3 present (adapted) and Photoshop. 

App Challenge Image 
hand wall vase sketch
Hand, Paper Camera Pastel Perfect filter, using the original photo, not the edited Photo of the Week. 


Hand, Paper Camera Pastel Perfect, using the edited Photo of the Week. The hand does not stand out as cleanly from the shadow as the image filtered using the original photo. I prefer the former because of the raw quality of the sketch and because the feathered bud comes out clearer than the latter.


Now it’s your turn to share!

Create your challenge post from now until Sunday, 30 Mar end of your day. Post your Photo of the Week and your App-ed version of that photo on your blog. (You can follow my format above if you like).

Pic 1 – Your Photo of the Week can be taken with any equipment – a regular camera, a DSLR, a smartphone, hack even a pin-hole camera if you so choose!

Pic 2 – Pic 2 is optional. The theme this week is Sketch Effects, but if that is not your cup of tea, you are free to choose other app effects for your app-ed photo. In all cases, it would be helpful if you can name the app effect used so we can understand what you are doing ; )

Add the challenge badge and link your post to the host and co-host sites. Be nice and visit with some of the other challengers for this week! :) And do remember to leave me your blog post link in the comments below, in case I do not receive the pingback/trackback from your link.

For more information, you can read in detail more about the challenge and the instructions at the About page here. You can also grab the badges here.

Questions? Feel free to pose any questions in the comments below or email me at weliveinaflat@gmail.com. Next up, what happens after you have linked up? Why you start getting your challenger photo grid filled up!


Challenger Photo Grids

Every week, challenger grids get updated with the new photos! At the end, you get to grab your grid off this blog for your own pleasure. :D Meanwhile, you can view one another’s photos on the blogs by clicking on the linked numbered weeks above each challenger’s photo grid. I will try to keep it up to date as quick as I can ;)

Host| weliveinaflat.com
[ photos tagged “snappy happy” ]
weliveinaflat's Snappy H'appy Photo Grid

Host| firebonnet.com
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
firebonnet snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| Blogagaini
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
Blogagaini snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| Little Dogs Laughed
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
Little Dogs Laughed snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| 1stworlddog.com
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
1st world dog snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| completelydisappear.com
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
completelydisappear snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| LivingWithMyAncestors.wordpress.com
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
Roxy the Traveling Dog snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| Roxy The Traveling Dog
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
Roxy the Traveling Dog snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| Zeke’s Adventures
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
Zeke's Adventures snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| ForestWoodFolkArt.wordpress.com
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
Roxy the Traveling Dog snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| sassmuffins.com
[week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12]
sassmuffin snappy happy photo challenge photo grid

Challenger| Claim your photo grid, join the challenge today!

Next week, we’ll get Snappy H’appy with Mirroring effects! Thanks for checking out this Photo Challenge and making it all the way to the end of the post! ;) 

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21 Comments

  1. I love Donna! She is definitely a great model not to mention “too too cute”.
    PaperCamera is on my shopping list. Thanks for turning me onto that app.
    Here is Wk 7 sketches: http://blogagaini.com/2014/03/27/snappy-happy-wk-7/

    • The few photos of her here are taken when she is too lazy to move ;) No prob about Paper Camera, I hope it doesn’t disappointment… filters are such a mixed bag of delights sometimes ;)

      I’m enjoying the music with your sketches ;) Thanks for sharing!

  2. The hand sketches are so different. The first one concentrates more on the forefront, and the second one really sketches the background light (in a broad way). Both are very effective… of course the original image is really striking! Here’s mine for this week: http://firebonnet.com/2014/03/27/snappy-happy-7-sketching-bougainvillea-blossoms/

    • I had ran the same photo using Camera360 as well. As usual the background come out really light, so I’m thinking Paper Camera is a better option for darker images and Camera360 for when I want the focus on the subject on a light background ;)

      Your bougainvilla… I think the coloured sketch is very vibrant and pleasing to the eyes ;)

  3. Those are really cool effects. I cannot decide which I like more.

  4. You’ve done some really great effects! Here is my little contribution this week!
    http://livingwithmyancestors.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/snappy-happy-photo-challenge-sketch/

    • Thanks Linda, the parrot is a great subject matter for colour pencil, thanks for taking the time to check out and join the challenge!!

  5. I like this effect. Since I didn’t want to buy paper camera, I came up with this from Camera 360
    http://roxythetravelingdog.com/snappy-happy-photo-challenge-week-7/

    • I actually use Camera360 more often than Paper Camera when I want the sketch effect, simply because it looks more refined and finished. From that sense, I agree that Paper Camera is not really worth the expense unless one is a real fan of its effects ;)

      Those are lovely sketches of Roxy and Torrey ;) Love Torrey’s eye in the last one. :)

  6. Donna is so fierce with her teeth bared! The hand photo is so eerie, I love it! Sorry to hear you were sick-glad you’re feeling better now!
    Here is week 7 for me: http://gretchensite.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/week-7-of-snappy-happy-photo-challenge-sketch-effects/

    • It looks fierce but I think she was just trying to get rid of something caught in her teeth :P That hand vase is something different, and I am better now thank you so much! Love that Zeke is so relaxed on his photocopy grass ;)

  7. Mel

    What a great idea! Love the challenge idea and the Camera 360 app. Already tried one out with Surreal. So glad I stopped by!

    • I saw your photos on Instagram, Surreal is one of my favourite photos out of the Camera360 app and I’m glad you’re enjoying it :)

  8. I am a little late- having just found this challenge, but posted a link here anyways… Thanks for a great fun idea to play with our photography. http://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/snappy-happy-photo-challenge-week-7-turn-your-photo-into-a-sketch/

    • Welcome to the party ;) Feel free to check out the previous posts and I hope the next four topics will not disappoint ;)

  9. Just gorgeous Mrs. P and Donna makes the perfect model and sketch. :D

  10. Well, here is one of the challenges I missed! Sketches: http://sassmuffins.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/snappy-happy-photo-challenge-week-7-sketch-effects/. One part of the grid completed!

  11. Oops…should have given you this link on my new website, rather than wordpress.com site:
    http://sassmuffins.com/blogs/posts/14170201-snappy-happy-photo-challenge-week-7-sketch-effects
    thanks for encouraging me to try and complete my grid!

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