[Windows] Turn your photos and images into cartoons or sketches with XnSketch [Linux, Mac OS X]

XnSketchThere are a lot of free image editors in the market. Some of them feature a wide variety of photo filters and photo effects. If you are specifically looking for a simple image editor that could easily turn your photos into cartoon-like or sketch-like images, then you might as well consider using this simple tool called XnSketch.

What Is It and What Does It Do

Main Functionality

What is XnSketch? It is a simple image editor that will instantly turn your photos into cartoons or sketches. It is created and developed by XnSoft. This software has a total of eighteen different photo effects. It also provides the necessary tools for adjusting the image contrast, gamma, exposure, saturation, opacity, color and brightness.

Take note XnSketch works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. We specifically reviewed the Windows version.


  • Neat and well-designed UI, easy to use, easy to install
  • Features 18 different photo effects – Black&White, White&Black, Neon, Pastel, Dull Pastel, Mono, Sketch B&W, Sketch 1, Sketch 2, Sketch 3, Sketch 4, Pencil, Cartoon 1, Cartoon 2, Photocopy, Halftone 1, Halftone 2, etc.
  • Allows you to adjust your photo’s contrast, brightness, gamma, exposure, saturation, color, opacity, etc.
  • You can easily share your cartooned or sketched photos via Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Imgur, Tumblr, ImageShack, Email, etc.
  • Provides a photo rotate and photo zoom tool, supports drag and drop
  • Can open and save images in .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif and .bmp formats
  • You can save your photos in different sizes – original, 256px, 512px and 1024px
  • Works multiple platforms: Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X


  • Doesn’t have the tool for cropping and flipping images
  • You cannot add text or watermark to your cartooned or sketched images
  • It would be much nicer if there’s a tool for adding frames and borders


XnSketch Share optionsXnSketch is a very useful image editing tool especially when you have a lot of photos that you want to convert into cartoons or sketches. It works great on any types of photos but I noticed that its sketch effects work best on black and white (grayscale) photos. I have already tried a lot of image editing tools but when it comes to cartoon and sketch effects, this software really does wonders. It’s like the sketched images were really hand-drawn. The same goes for its cartoon effects. I actually see a lot of uses for this software. It is a handy tool especially for cartoonists and photographers.

Moreover, this software features a very light and responsive user interface. If you want to start editing a new photo, just drag and drop it into the XnSketch UI, choose the effect that you want and voila! It’s done. If you want it to look even better, you can adjust its gamma, exposure, brightness, contrast, color, opacity, etc.

That’s not all. This software also features a built-in share tool so you can easily share your photos to your friends on Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Imgur, etc. You can also send your cartooned or sketched photos via email. Another good feature of this software is its ability to save your photos in different sizes. You may not be able to set a custom image or canvas size, but you can choose among its default image sizes. You can also opt to save your photo in its original size.

Nonetheless, this software also has its own downsides. As a matter of fact, it lacks some important tools for cropping and flipping images. There’s also no tool for adding simple watermarks or even simple texts. This means that you may need to load the sketched image again on a different photo or image editing software just so you could add the rest of the elements that you want to be included (ex. watermarks, property tags, labels, etc.). It would also be great if this software has a tool for adding frames and borders. This way, the sketched and cartooned photos would look more stylish and elegant.

All in all, I like XnSketch simply because it is very easy to use and it has the effects that I want. It offers an easier way to create cartoon-like images. Of course, there are more advanced image editing tools like Adobe Photoshop, Photo Pos Lite, Illustrator, etc. but still, if you do not how to properly edit photos and graphics, it won’t be easy for you to get the type of images that you want.

Conclusion and Download Link

I highly recommend XnSketch to those that are looking for a quick and easy way to turn your photos into cartoons and sketches. It is a very straightforward software that just works. As for those who are currently looking for a more advanced photo editing tool, you might want to check out these best free image editing programs.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.14

Supported OS: Windows (all versions), Mac OS X, Linux

Download size: 16.8MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/46

Is it portable? Yes

XnSketch (Desktop Version) homepage

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