Destiny's Photoshop Pen Tutorial

Thank you for stopping by I hope this helps!

This use to be a tutorial on how to use the shape tool to outline your art sketches. Now I have found that the pen tool is a better and more efficient tool. For my example (so that the visual tools are vivid), I will be tracing an actual neopets image.

Why? Two reasons...

1. My sketches are so light that they wouldn't be very visible in a screenshot.
2. The final product I was going for was a "fake pb color" and so I wanted the exact pose needed.




First of all, this is how my program looks. I am using Photoshop CS. I know CS and above can do this and I am hope that lower versions can as well!

Familiarize yourself with the toolbar. Yours MIGHT be a little different if you have another version than CS.
The button that we are most concerned with is the one that is selected. It is called the Pen Tool. It allows you to create smooth, curved, and straight lines when you are drawing digitally. It takes you sketch and converts it into wonderful lineart!


The setup of my workspace that you see above is the most comfortable to me. Side toolbar on the left, work in the middle and layer box on the right. Make it to how you are comfortable. If at any time you need to stop before you are finished, or if you are worried that you may lose your work, always save it as a .psd file because that saves the layers seperately and you can come back at any time. First, you'll want to bring up your sketch (or in my case the art I will be working with. Work with a big image or blow up the image...you can always shrink the lines later. Also go ahead and make about five or six layers above that bottom layer. It will help you out later. To do this go to Layers on the top menu and select New, the Layer. Look at your layer box. Your sketch layer most likely have a lock next to the tile. If so, double click it and hit ok when the new layer box comes up. Then drag one of your blank layers to the bottom and use the paint bucket tool to fill it with white. This will serve as your background layer.

Ok lets get lining! Pick a starting point for your lining. I choose the left side of his head. Select your Pen Tool and when you hover over your image you will see that same pen symbol with and x beside it. Check the top toolbar to make sure the right options are chosen. See below:





Click your tool where you want the line to start. A tiny box will appear like below. It is called an anchor point and the end of the line will not move unless you move it.





Next you want to click where you want to end your line and a straight line will appear like below.





Now that we have a line, we need to make it match the line on the face right? on the straight line we made, click where you want the line to bend (if it needs to bend in more than one place, pick the first bend). I am not going to put an image up...basically you have a line with thre anchor points. Now holding down your Crtl button, click and drag your bend box until you get it to bend like you want it. I lightened the grundo image so you could see the line better.





Now you can create more bend points until you get the line how you want it. Remember to hold down Ctrl to move the points, else you will move the whole line. You may have to play around with the bend points to get it exactly right. To delete a bend point, click on the point. When you are satisfied with that line, hold down Ctrl and click on the image away from the line.





Now you can start you next line in the same way. Try not to get too close to any beginning or ending anchor point because the lines might merge when you don't want them together. If this happens undo that step and then create an anchor point away from the other line them move it holding down Ctrl. Create all your lines in this way and you will get something like below!





You can get rid of your sketch/bottom image at this point if you want. Just drag the layer from the layer box to the little trash can at the bottom of the layer box. Otherwise you can just click the eye next to the sketch layer to hide it.

Make sure you are working with the top most blank layer. Now go to your brush tool. It is the little paintbrush looking thing on the right side of the side toolbar, fourth one down. If you don't see a brush there, right click the tiny arrow in the corner of that button and choose the brush. On the top toolbar you will see some options. This has to do with line weight. Now for most images I use a 3 px line width. Now if you are planning on keeping your image large, you may want to use 4 px. It is all preference. Make sure the mode on the top toolbar is normal and that both the opacity and flow are 100%. Now go to the color box on the sidebar, the swatch that allows you to choose your color. Click on it and choose black. Once that is done, go back to your pen tool. Select it and right click on the image anywhere. You will get a menu. Choose Stroke Path. Make sure the brush tool is selected and that you do NOT have the Simulate Pressure box checked. Click ok. WHOOSH! A line appeared where you used the pen tool!





If you are satisfied with a line that has no depth to it (which some people do) then you can right click again and choose Delete Path. HOWEVER, if you want some wispy weight to your line, here is how you do it. Go back to your brush tool. Choose the weight that is ONE PX higher than the regular line. So if you chose to have a 3 px line, choose 4 px. Then after going back to the pen tool, right click and select Stroke Path again. This time you want to check the Simulate Pressure box. Click ok. Now you have wispy, varying line widths instead of a uniform line. Now you can delete the pen path, just right click and choose Delete Path.





If you messed up somewhere, you can always create a second lining layer and once you make the corrections, go back to the first layer and erase your mistakes.

Ta-da! You now have crisp and clean line art! Use the other blank layers for color. I suggest at least one layer for the base color, one for shadows, and one for light. I am not going to cover coloring in this tutorial, but I am sure there are really wonderful tutorials for those! Oh here I found one!

And here is an example of how the finished work can turn out with the wonderful lining potential of the PEN TOOL!






That is basically it. If you have any questions, feel free to neomail me on my main, x_seabee_x.



Link to me?





Not to leave out the poor MS Paint users (rofl jk)...here is a tutorial I found for you guys.



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