photoshop creative

How to create art with the Pen tool in Photoshop, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
April 15, 2014

Use Photoshop’s Pen tool to create detailed work that is made up of simple shapes a photo

Download all the files you’ll need for this tutorial


Begin by opening a new document in Photoshop, we have used a canvas that is 120mm x 140mm and 300dpi. Next place ‘Headshot.jpg’ on to your page and alter the position accordingly.


The Pen tool has a number of settings, the two we will use for this tutorial are ‘Shape layers’ and ‘Paths’. To begin with we will need to select the ‘Paths’ option. This will allow us to roughly crop our model away from her background.


We can now begin cutting out our model. Begin by clicking a point on the background, then you are going to follow around the model, which can be fairly rough at this point. If you should make a mistake, don’t worry, just hit Cmd/Ctrl+Z or Edit>Undo to go back to your last point.


When cutting out our model’s hair it’s useful to curve the path the Pen tool creates. To do this, click and hold your mouse then drag. You’ll notice that anchor points appear when you move your mouse in any direction. Drag the mouse where you want your line to curve and release to create a new point.


Cmd/Ctrl+click anywhere inside your Pen tool path to confirm, then hit Make Selection. We have opted for a 0.5 pixel Feather Radius. Hit OK and you will notice a flashing border around your selection. Press Cmd/Ctrl+J. Anything inside that selection will be duplicated and put onto a new layer of its own.


Open your Swatches palette (Window>Swatches). Click on your foreground colour and select a slightly off-white colour. Hit Add to swatches. It will now appear in your right-hand Swatches palette. Do the same for a mid grey colour and a black (we used a black with the following CMYK values: C – 40, M – 0, Y – 0, K-100).

Continue to part 2…

  • Sammy Lane

    Love PHOTOSHOP.I just fuc*ing love it!

  • 323ver1

    … and I just … love how you put it. So sexy & yummy.