back to top

12 Best Apps to Turn Photos Into Sketches and Drawings 2024

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 11 min read
ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little money. Need more info? See how it all works here.
Subscribe Below to Download the Article Immediately

You can also select your interests for free access to our premium training:

Your privacy is safe! We will never share your information.

Some photographers want to turn photos into sketches but aren’t as skilled with a pencil as they are with a camera. Not to worry, we have 12 incredible iOS and Android apps that turn photos into sketches in just a few clicks.

A laptop showing a sketch

How Do You Turn Photos Into Sketches?

If you’ve never tried photo-to-sketch apps before, then you’re in for a treat!

For the most part, everything that these apps do is automatic. All you have to do is pick a photo you want to turn into a sketch. Then the program will convert it for you.

Each app has a different method of converting images into sketches. Some trace the lines and digitize the colors in your photos through algorithms. Others rely on artificial intelligence to create better renditions of your pictures.

Now, let’s go through the list and see which apps are ideal for you!

1. Watercolor Effect

This app is one of the simplest options to use. All you have to do is browse through the dozens of presets and tap on the one you like.

It has about 30 filters that turn your photos into artwork. It doesn’t have a lot of editing tools, but it lets you adjust how much of the effect you want to add.

What makes Watercolor Effect unique is that it lets you paint the photos yourself. You won’t need any filters as you will be tracing the image with your fingers to create digital art. Not a lot of other options on this list have this feature.

Watercolor Effect allows a 3-day trial. After that, you have the option to subscribe weekly or per year.

  • User-friendly interface allows you to create art quicker than other apps.
  • Includes Oil Painting presets if you want to turn your photos into frame-ready artwork.
  • Fewer controls mean less time to fidget around. Just pick a preset, and that’s it!
  • Presets feature various painting styles from impressionism to cubism.

A screenshot of Watercolor Effect App for turning photos into sketches
Android | Apple

2. Clip2Comic

Clip2Comic is an excellent app that can turn photos of your favorite people into caricatures. This app has a very simple user interface, making you more likely to use it on your portrait shots. Unfortunately, it is only for iPhone users.

Tap on an image (the original photo) to open it and quickly transform it into a comic book-style drawing.

For turning your photo into a cartoon, this drawing app is one of the best iPhone sketch apps out there.

  • Create cartoon-style photo effects and caricatures
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Editing tools for cropping, color, and brightness
  • Live preview cartoon camera option
  • Price: Free with in-app purchases

A screenshot of Clip2Comic App for turning photos into line drawings

3. Toonme

This app has similar features to Clip2Comic in that it can also turn regular photos into cartoons and caricatures.

What makes Toonme different is that it uses artificial intelligence to create realistic effects. It lets you choose from dozens of styles and even tweak them to create different results.

Unlike Clip2Comic, Toonme is available on both iOS and Android. That means you can use it on virtually any smartphone you may have!

You can download Toonme for free. But you may have to buy some extra features and presets through in-app purchases. You also have the option to subscribe to Toonme Pro. The price is a bit steep for one app, but if you end up using it a lot, then you should consider it.

  • Apart from cartoon-style photos, it also offers hand-drawn options.
  • Includes dozens of layouts that you can use on anything from profile pictures to Instagram Stories.
  • Allows you to customize your art to make it look more authentic.
  • Adds new presets regularly, so you never run out of options.
  • #toonme challenge lets you share your work with other Toonme users.

A screenshot of Toonme app for turning photos into cartoons
Android | Apple

4. Painnt

This drawing app holds more than 2000 filters that turn your portraits and landscapes into beautiful masterpieces. Over 90 of these filters are sketch styles, giving your images that popular pencil drawing look.

Using the free version of this image editor gives you a limited range of filters. For the entire collection, you will need to purchase a weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription.

To use the app, load your image, scroll through the styles, and tap on the one you want. It’s that easy.

The only drawback with this Android and iPhone app is that you need an internet connection. The app sends photos to the company’s servers for processing.

  • Over 2000 artistic filters
  • Over 90 sketch filters that can turn your photo into a hand-drawn masterpiece
  • A wide range of editing tools for filter effects
  • Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

A screenshot of Painnt drawing app homepage
Android | Apple

5. PhotoMania

If you just want to have fun and play around with different effects, then PhotoMania is for you.

Apart from the fact that it can turn your photo into a sketch, it also lets you add frames you can use for your profile photos. If you’re into sending e-cards, PhotoMania also offers dozens of options you can use.

All in all, PhotoMania has about 400 presets, including sketch effects and even vintage looks. But perhaps the best part about this app is that it also doubles as an editing tool. It’s ideal even for adjusting your exposure settings.

Oh, and did we tell you that PhotoMania also has a mask tool? You can use it to apply sketch effects on certain parts of your photos. It’s quite a neat feature that a lot of other apps on this list don’t have.

PhotoMania is free to download and use. But it does require some in-app purchases for some presets.

  • Lets you tweak your sketch effect to get the best results.
  • Apart from the sketch effect, it can also turn your photo into a painting, giving you even more artistic options.
  • Includes advanced photo editing tools and presets such as HDR and Lomo.
  • Adds textures to your photos to create a more realistic look.
  • Features holiday templates you can use for special occasions.

Android | Apple

6. Waterlogue

If you love watercolors, then you will love this drawing app. It was among one of the best apps in 2014 and continues to impress photographers far and wide in 2022.

Most smartphone apps simply turn your photo into a sketch. With Waterlogue, it transforms your images into an incredible work of art.

The sketch effect that Waterlogue creates is so good that you can’t tell they originally came from photos at all.

Furthermore, the app is very user-friendly. That means you are more likely to use it to transform your photos and keep coming back.

Waterlogue also includes editing tools that turn your photos into more realistic artwork. You can even adjust the amount of the effect to help you achieve the results you want.

It’s a great way to create some cool gifts for those who prefer paintings over digital photography.

The only downside is that it’s not compatible with Android phones. But it’s so good that it will make you want to switch so that you can use it.

  • Specific watercolor drawing app.
  • Lets you tweak the image and customize it.
  • Simple and easy to use.

A screenshot of Waterlogue drawing app to turn photos into sketches

7. Brushstroke

Brushstroke can turn your photos into a wide variety of painting styles, color palettes, or choices of canvas surfaces.

What we like is that you can order a canvas print directly from within the app.

This iPhone app doesn’t create sketches or drawing outlines. Instead, it will turn your photo into a drawing and then paint the image.

A pencil outline sits on top of the lines from the photograph, making it seem hand-drawn.

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Paint styles inspired by famous painters.
  • Seven style groups.
  • A wide range of styles.
  • Sign your prints for authenticity.

A screenshot of Brushstoke drawing app to turn photos into sketches

8. Enlight Photofox

This drawing app is perfect for those who want simple photographic edits. But it’s also an excellent option for those who want to turn their images into amazing pieces of art.

Enlight Photofox includes drawing effects, image correction, painterly effects, and photographic filters.

To turn your image into a painting, head to the artistic part of the app, and choose Sketch.

The great thing about this Android and iPhone app is you can further tweak any of your filter settings, making it fully customizable.

  • 16 preset sketch tools.
  • Mask your image to apply specific and local effects.
  • Combine photos and text to create graphics.
  • Allows you to create double exposures.
  • Save images at high resolution for the highest quality possible.

A screenshot of Enlight Photofox editing app to convert pictures to drawings
Android | Apple

9. Prisma

Prisma is a great drawing app that lets you turn your photos into popular painting styles from some of the best artists in the world.

Do you want to turn your photos into a Picasso or Van Gogh painting? These filters give you options with exciting patterns.

All you have to do is open your photos and choose from the various filters, and you’re good to go. They have some of the most creative names for sketch effects, such as Curly Hair and Heisenberg.

Prisma also includes a few editing tools. You can use your finger to adjust the intensity of the applied filter on your photos.

The only downfall with Prisma is that you can’t save images in full resolution. It’s a problem for those who want to print large sizes.

  • 30 different artistic filters to choose from.
  • Download new styles from the Store.
  • A user-friendly app similar to Instagram.
  • Online Prisma community.
  • Works with videos and photographs.

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

10. Photolab

Photolab is a great Android and iPhone app. It’s one of the best choices if you want to turn your photos into a sketch, painting, or even a watercolor image.

Apart from the filters, you can also add borders, frames, and montages to turn your photos into realistic works of art.

Photolab features effects categories to help you find the presets you like much more quickly. Each will have several options to browse through, giving you full control over your photos.

On top of the original drawing app features, you can use its essential editing functions. Things like color adjustment, crop, rotate, and touch-ups are also possible.

  • Choose an image from your Camera Roll or take one through the app.
  • Over 800 effects.
  • E-card templates allow you to create greeting cards for the holidays.
  • Additional photo filters include digital rain and jigsaw puzzle.
  • Save your artwork or share it on social media from within the drawing app.

A screenshot of Photo Lab filters to turn photo into sketch
Android | Apple

11. Artomaton

Artomaton lets you choose your drawing resolution and image size, with a maximum size of 4096 pixels. It’s great for keeping the resolution high for social media sharing and printing.

Once you apply the filter, you can tweak your image by using density, line thickness, and stroke settings. It can also add vignettes to your photos if you’re into that sort of thing.

What we like is that you can even change the angle at which the light hits your digital canvas. This is a great iPhone app for converting your photo to a drawing.

  • Five possible art tools.
  • 11 possible canvas materials.
  • Filter options include color pencil, charcoal, marker, oil, and sketch.
  • A scale allows you to distort your photos.
  • Save your image in high resolution for high-quality images.

A screenshot of Artomaton app e to turn photos into sketches

12. iColorama S

Want the best app to turn your photos into sketches? Then you should try our top pick, the iColorama S. It not only sounds professional but also functions as a legitimate editing suite.

What’s great about the iColorama S is that you don’t need to turn your photos into a low-resolution file. It lets you keep a high resolution for better quality.

A simple tap on the Menu brings up all the categories. For the Sketch tool, head on over to the Style section. Once you have chosen your preferred sketch style, you can adjust the strength by using the opacity slider on the bottom.

The Set icon allows you to change the edging and shadow levels. One thing to be aware of, the exported image will be the same as the imported ones, so use big images.

  • Several painterly styles including a sketch style for a drawing filter.
  • 14 Sketch options to choose from.
  • More than 300 effects.
  • Import and use brushes from Photoshop.
  • Huge iColorama S Facebook community.

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


This is our list of twelve of the best Android and iOS drawing apps to turn photos into sketches.

Remember that you don’t need to stick to a single app. Feel free to use a combination of these options to get the effect that you want. Don’t be afraid to experiment and turn your pictures into beautiful artwork!

You can learn to create breathtaking images with our Wow Factor Photography course!