Photoshop Sketch Action

A new addition to my Photoshop armoury, is the Uniqum Sketch Painting Multi Action. This action creates a sketch and painting effect over which ever parts of your photo you highlight and makes some interesting pictures. The cost is $6 and is available from  as a download zip file.

Inside the zip file are the actions and the brushes. It is necessary to install both in the preset files in Photoshop before you begin.

Once loaded up you need to select a picture to work on. The action works best at over 3000 px and 300 dph. Once selected, create a locked background. Then, add a layer which you call “profaction.” With this layer active, select a large soft brush and brush over the areas of the photo you want to show up as a sketch. You can do this with any colour brush.

That done, you need to make sure the correct brushes are loaded. To do, right click on the canvas or press B to bring up brushes. At the top right of the brushes panel, click on the arrow and then select “replace brushes” with the Uniqum brushes you put into the preset file. Close and activate the background layer. Now you start the action for your version of Photoshop and let it go.

Once, I got started I found the action worked well. My advice is to take the time to do something else like make a cup of coffee or sort out your laundry as watching the action is pretty boring.

Here’s what I have made on practice runs:


Dancing House, Prague


Old workshops, Cieszyn, Poland

With my new actions, and renewed interest in Lomography, my interest in photography has been rekindled.I am going to try it out on some more photographs.



Rediscovering Patti Smith

I was a teenager in the 1970s. It was the era of Bruce Springsteen singing Because the Night, Patti Smith’s Horses and Easter, Joan Baez in Hanoi, Annie Leibovitz, Susan Sontag, Fran Lebowitz, The Ecologist and CND. We studied Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes during the A level course. I read Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar, her poetry collection Ariel  and  Patti Smith’s poetry book Babel. I was a thinker, writer, philosopher and would-be photographer. Then, I went to university where it was all about history and religion.

The music, the poetry, the novel, the photography all stayed with me and followed me across Europe. They are part of who I am. Part of how I see the world. Part of the way I think.

Last year, I read an article about Patti Smith and a review of her book M Train. I pre-ordered it on Amazon and was excited when it came. I have so far only read the first chapter waiting, I think, for the moment when she will speak to me. As I am going through a retro phase, I purchased a personal CD player an d updated my CD collection. I now have CD versions of the albums I listed to as a teenager. And more. Patti Smith still speaks to me near 40 years down the line.

For me, though, Patti Smith is as much about her Polaroid photos as about music,writing and poetry. Patti Smith is an observer, a collector of memories and an archivist. She has photographed Sylvia Plath’s grave, architecture, an empty beach or an abandoned street, an empty café, shoes, flowers, chairs and cutlery. Whenever, I see her photos I am inspired. Whenever I hear her music, I am inspired. Patti Smith is food for the soul.

This is an archived page of some of her photographs in The Guardian. This is a link to her Guardian interview. This is Patti Smith on Land Photographs. Patti Smith on Open Culture.