Friday, February 24, 2017

7 Handy Tools to Transform Your Favourite Photos Into Sketches

Clipart Image of a Stick Figure Girl Holding a Drawing
"When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family." Jim Butcher

Family for most of us is everything. In part, I suppose, because they are there for you when you need them most. They might never forget your misdemeanours, nor let you, but they will forgive and accept.  Though they might be quick to throw a dart, they are also likely to be the first to take one for you if someone else tosses it in your direction. No poison can come from outside the circle. No one will defend you with as much ferocity.

Of course there are exceptions, but most of us can count on our family, from siblings and parents, to cousins and in-laws. Like anything else in life, however, the family you have today might not be forever. Time and circumstance has a way of changing the players. It might be a divorce, a new marriage or the arrival of a baby or two that alters the family you see today from the one you will know a year from now.

Regardless, they are the faces we most love to see.  Several years ago, while visiting an acquaintance's home for the first time, I noticed the grouping of family portraits she had on her wall. There was one featuring her, her husband and their three adult children, then one of each of her kids with their spouses and their offspring. They are updated every three years, she said, because little ones change so quickly.

A brilliant idea, I decided, and booked a sitting immediately for my brood and their families. At the time, our eldest was married with three teenage stepchildren, our daughter had just had a baby, their little sister was newly engaged and our youngest was single with a son.  By the time we were ready to update three years later, two new babies had come our way, as well as a new in-law.

Since then, though, I've had difficulty keeping up with the players.  When it comes to who's coming into this family and who's not, it's been a bit of a revolving door.  Efforts have been made to update the portraits as necessary but the result has been a mish-mash of styles.

After much thought,  I've decided, therefore, that at least for now,  I'm going back to the old days. While, the grandchildren's pictures will be put into a collage suitable for framing once I know we've been blessed for the last time, the portraits will be of my kids. Alone.

The idea also struck me that perhaps a sketch, rather than a photograph, might give those pictures enough of an artsy vibe that they could hang in place for eons. I considered commissioning an artist,  but having seen the good and bad of this type of work, was reluctant to shell out cash for something that looked absolutely nothing like the subject. Then a friend told me  she has had great results turning pictures into sketches with image editing.  Since I have some fantastic photos of my kids, I decided it might be worth a try.

Here are some tutorials and tools I found to get me started. Most apps have versions for Apple and Android.

This popular photo editing app has many stunning photo effects

Photo Lab
This picture editor has more than 600 awesome effects for your photos.

Super easy, super fast: I gave this one a quick try using a photo of my beautiful granddaughter to see what it might do. Here were the results.
Sketch of a Little Girl from Snapstouch.comPhoto of a Pretty Little Girl in Pigtails

Use this popular editor's artsy effects to transform a picture into a black-and-white pencil drawing.

wikiHow: Make a Colour Image Look Like a Sketch in Photoshop
Just one other effect that can be achieved with the magic of Photoshop.

Another online photo effect that turns your photos instantly into a sketch. Since little time was required it was another one for me to test out.
Photo Transformed to a Sketch with PhotoFunia
This one might be my favourite. Simple but with extra effects to further enhance the final results.
Photo Transformed to a Sketch Using Lunapic
There are limitless options when you search online for ways to change a photo into a sketch.  These are just a few examples that a quick look revealed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Irish Eyes Will be Smiling Over These 8 Great St. Patrick's Day Clipart Collections

Clipart Image of an Irish Woman in Green Holding a FlagSuch a treat the past few days have been weather-wise in this little corner of the world. As we celebrated our Family Day long weekend we were welcomed by temperatures well above freezing at a time of year when the chill of winter is so damp and deep it normally seeps into our very core.

Where typically we are buried under snow, longingly looking ahead to warmer days and burgeoning life as we enter the last week of February, currently we are seeing patches of boggy lawn with streets lined by banks of crusty grey snow. Rather than shivering and shaking we've been out and about in light jackets —  bareheaded and un-mitten-ed.

And it sounds like we can enjoy more of the same for several days to come. Temperatures are actually expected to soar into double digits later this week.

No matter what the rest of winter has in store for us, though, there's no question that we have become inspired to gaze expectantly ahead. We look to spring, to that time of year when existence just becomes a little more carefree. We will doff the heavy outwear and cumbersome boots, our worries over travel on snowy roads ends and we surge forth from our winter cocoons.

Spring is in the air and our daydreams colour with shades of pastels and green. The latter plays a big part in a celebration that arrives just days ahead of winter's demise. St. Patrick's Day, with its images of happy leprechauns, cheery rainbows and verdant shamrocks is a fun and lively party.  Like a charming ebullient friend, the Irish holiday chases away any leftover weight of woeful winter to lighten our hearts and brighten the end of the season.

When I think now of St. Patrick's Day, my mind first wanders back to my childhood school days, when the theme was prominent in our arts and crafts. We didn't understand much about the occasion, nor did we know anything about its origins. The story of Ireland would be buried deep in the roots of some of our family trees, but few of us were aware.  March 17 was something we celebrated regardless of our lineage. What we did know was that there was something endearing about the day.

St. Patrick's Day is still almost a month away, but with February drawing to a timely, and lovely, close it's not too soon to turn our thoughts that way. Particularly when it comes to preparing. Whether you're an educator looking for images for the classroom, or an establishment contemplating how to promote that green beer, you'll be in need of a great graphics resource. Here are some great collections from and, royalty-free subscription services.

Clipart Image of a Cute Little Child Wearing a Green Irish Hat and Sitting on a Shamrock
Clipart Image of a Leprechaun With a Pot of Gold
Clipart Image of a Cartoon Leprechaun


Clipart Image of Green Shamrocks on a Black Background

Clipart Image of a Shamrock Mug for St. Patrick's Day

Clipart Image of a Cartoon St. Patrick's Day Dog Holding a Mug of Green Beer

Clipart Image of a 3D Green Irish Hat
Clipart Image of a St. Patrick's Day Background With a Green Hat and Shamrocks