How to Draw in Photoshop CS5


Adobe Photoshop includes several tools for drawing on images or for creating your own artwork on a new blank document. The Elliptical and Rectangular Marquee tools can be used to draw basic shapes. For drawing freehand, the Paintbrush and Pencil tools can be used for tracing lines on a photograph or scanned image of artwork. While the Pen tool may seem difficult for many beginners, it is very useful for drawing curved or complex lines. Experiment with the Pen tool. Once you are comfortable with it, it can save you a lot of time when drawing complex shapes and lines.

Drawing Circles and Squares

  • Open a new Photoshop file, or create a new layer on an existing image by clicking the “New Layer” button at the bottom of the Layers Panel.

  • Select either the “Elliptical Marquee” or “Rectangular Marquee” tool from the Toolbox.

  • Drag the tool across the canvas while holding down the mouse button. Pressing the “Shift” key will confine the dimensions to a circle or square.

  • Click the “Edit” menu, then “Stroke.” The Stroke dialog box opens. Click the “Color” swatch to open the Color Picker. Select a color from the palette and click “OK.”

  • Click the “Width” and type a pixel width for the stroke. Select “Inside,” “Center,” or “Outside” to determine where the stroke will appear in relation to the marquee line. Click “OK.”

Freehand Drawing

  • Select either the “Paintbrush” or “Pencil” tools from the Toolbox.

  • Click the “Brush Size” menu to select the diameter of the brush. Click the “Color Swatch” to select a color from the Color Picker.

  • Click the “Opacity” menu to change the opacity of the brush. Use “100%” for an opaque brush, for example, or “50%” for a semi-transparent brush.

  • Drag the tool across the canvas while pressing the mouse button to draw with the tool.

  • Undo any mistakes by clicking “Step Backward” under the “Edit” menu. Alternatively, select the “Eraser” from the Toolbox and drag it across the lines to erase them.

Using the Pen Tool

  • Select the “Pen” tool in the Photoshop Toolbox.

  • Draw a straight line by clicking the Pen on two different points on an image or blank layer. This creates a straight path between the two anchor points you selected.

  • Draw a curved line by clicking and holding the mouse button. Drag the mouse to create a slope line. The length and angle of the slope line determines the curve of the line you are drawing.

  • Click and hold the Pen on a second point on the image. A curved line appears between the two points. Without releasing the mouse button, drag the Pen to add a second curve to the line, or release the mouse without dragging it to accept the curve already present.

  • Close the path by hovering the Pen over the first anchor point. A small circle appears on the bottom-right corner of the cursor. Click the anchor point.

  • Leave a path open by holding the “Ctrl” key and clicking on any blank area on the layer.

  • Add anchor points to a path by clicking on the path with the "Add Anchor Point" tool, found under the "Pen" tool in the Toolbox. Use the "Convert Anchor Point" tool to move lines or anchor points by dragging them. Use the "Delete Anchor Point" tool to remove anchor points by clicking on them.

  • Select the “Paintbrush” from the Toolbox. Set the width and color as described in the above Section.

  • Select the path in the Paths Panel. If you can’t see the Paths panel, select “Paths” under the “Windows” menu. Click the circle-shaped “Add Layer Mask” button at the bottom of the Paths Panel. The path is stroked using the selected brush.

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