photoshop creative

Draw vector shapes with the Pen tool

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
April 3, 2017

Amp up your imagination and create a not-so-ordinary illustration with the help of the Pen tool, shapes and the Custom Shape tool

1. Create a guide

Make a sketch. Create a guide in the centre of the canvas to ensure symmetry. To create a guide, hit Cmd/Ctrl+R to bring up your rulers, then click and drag from the left-hand ruler and move to the centre.

2. Make the base

Use the Ellipse tool to create two circles for the body and head. Then grab the Pen tool, making sure ‘Subtract from shape area’ (-) is selected from the top Options bar. Now draw one half of the inner shape of the face.

3. Reflect a path

After you have drawn the first half of the inner part of the face, grab the Direct Selection tool, hold down Alt/Shift and drag your new path to duplicate it. Go to Edit> Transform Path>Flip Horizontal. With the Direct Selection tool still selected, move the duplicate path to place, using the guide.

4. Draw the neck

Grab the Pen tool and create your first anchor point from the bottom half of her face. Make a second point between the head and body. When creating the second point, click and drag your mouse round to create a curve. Next, make the third curve point around the top half of the body.

5. Complete the neck

Once you’ve made your third anchor point for the doll’s neck, click on it while holding down Alt to change the direction of the point. Now, as in step 3, you want to duplicate, flip and move your duplicated path to place. Use the Pen tool to link the two curved paths together.

6. Plot the body wings

Using the Pen tool, trace around the sketch to draw the right wing of the doll; use the techniques from step 4 to help create the curved edge. Next, draw the inside part of the wing, ensuring ‘Subtract from shape area’ (-) is selected to cut it out from your first shape.

7. Finish the body wings

Make the Foreground colour a golden-yellow and use the Pen tool to draw a smaller wing to fill the inner part of the wing cutout area. Once you’ve drawn one wing, duplicate the shape layers (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and go to Edit>Transform Path>Flip Horizontal. Move the duplicated shape layers into place using the Move tool.

8. Make body shapes

Start by lowing the opacity of the body to 40% so your sketch is visible. Start with the flower chest piece; instead of drawing a flower use one from the Custom Shape tool. In the Custom Shape drop-down menu, select Flower 1 and draw it onto your doll in white.

9. Finish the flower

Use the Ellipse tool and a dark red to draw circles in the flower, then head back to the Custom Shape tool and draw in nine triangles around the middle of the flower. Then draw a final yellow circle in the centre of the flower to complete it.

10. Complete the body art

Use the Pen, Custom Shape and Shape tool to finish off the doll’s body art. The good thing about an illustration like this is that you only have to draw one half, then simply duplicate and flip to the other side (use the techniques from step 7 to help).

11. Draw the face

With the help of the Pen tool, draw around the base of the right eye using a dark red. Once you have closed the path, open up the Layer Style window for the shape layer, select Stroke and change the size. Now draw out the rest of her face.

12. Merge together

Start by hiding the sketch and hit Cmd/ Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to merge the shapes together. Move the new layer to the bottom of the Layers palette. Then go to Edit> Transform>Scale and make it 10% bigger. Open the Layer Style box and change the colour of the layer to red using Color Overlay. Make the layer Opacity 15%.

13. Add texture

Create a new layer and make sure it’s at the bottom of the Layers palette. Fill it with a light grey. Next, open a grunge texture, copy and paste it into your illustration canvas, and change the blend mode to Overlay.