Articles, Blog

Photoshop Tutorial: Use the Pen Tool & Brush Tool to Create Smooth Lines & Shapes (in-class demo)

October 21, 2019

Here in Photoshop we’re going to have a
look at how we use the pen tool to make a vector line in Photoshop and then
how we stroke that with a brush, basically. OK, so at the moment we’re
just using the brush tool and a lot of the time we’re painting with the mouse,
which is kind of clunky and awkward a lot of the time. OK, so you can’t get a
nice smooth flowing line. So one way of remedying that if you don’t have access
to a pen tablet, that you can use as a interface to drawing to the computer, is
to use the pen tool in Photoshop. OK, so I’m just going to deselect this by doing
Command + D and grab the the pen tool on the bottom left down here, and basically
the pen tool allows us to draw a vector line so we can draw from point to point,
OK, and at the moment I’ve got this set up just as a path so it’s not even going
to be visible in our final exported out Photoshop document it’s just going to be
the vectors there but there’s nothing on that vector. There’s no kind of stroke on
that or anything like that. OK, so it’s set to path at the moment. We’ll use this
for making shapes a little bit later on but what we can do with the brush tool
is actually stroke this path, OK. I’m gonna to make a different path, before I
stroke it. OK, so basically with the Pen Tool we can make a curve, a smooth curve,
OK, and the way we do that with the Pen Tool is by clicking and holding, OK, and
you can see I’m dragging out these handles along the edges of this vector
line, OK. So you can see I’ve got a lot of control over how I draw that line and
the angle that I have that, and it’s not just a question of kind of moving
through it and drawing it, OK. It’s not sometimes as nice as using a kind of
physical pen tablet and drawing into the computer but it will give you a nicer
result if you spend a bit of time with it. OK, once we’ve drawn our line before
we stroke it we want to look at how we can edit it, OK, so how we could kind of
adjust the points or the angle of the points. And you do that by using
this tool down here the direct selection tool which is what we used last week for
editing the points on the polygon that we created, OK
So basically this can be used to move these points around so we can
manipulate it along with the handles here into the shape that we want it to
be, OK. So, this is similar to the kind of Bezier,
the kind of Bezier lines that you would be creating in Illustrator, OK. The
difference is that once we’ve made that we can grab the Brush Tool, we can set up
our brush a certain size and hardness. OK. And then we can stroke that path
with, with that brush, OK. So once we got the brush selected in our Layers Panel
on the bottom right, if we click there you’ll see we’ve got three tabs we’ve
got the Layers, Channels which we’ll come to little bit later on and Paths which
is where we’ve drawn this kind of path. Which at the moment is gonna be
invisible if we print it out or export this out But we’re going to select that
path, the work path, and then come down to the bottom of the past tab there and
just click this button “Stroke path with brush”, OK. And basically it’s gonna
stroke that brush along the path. So we can pick any colour that
we want, and it says… …stroke the path with it, OK. And if we
wanted to we could make slight adjustments to the path. Which is one
nice way of using this, so we could stroke it once make some slight
adjustments to it, to the angle of some of these points, come back to the Brush
Tool select a different colour, okay, and then come down and stroke it again, OK.
So we can manipulate that that path and get a nice smooth flowing line
in this way, okay. So click and hold, OK, and unless we
save that work path it’s gonna delete it once we’ve used it, OK. So you can
see I’ve got a new work path there, which is this one, but my old work path has
been deleted. If I wanted to save it I drag it down to this New Layer button
here in the paths panel and then that’s going to save it as path one, OK. It’s
not work path anymore, it’s a permanent path that I can use and reuse, OK. So I
can come back to my brush tool select a different colour. And then come down, and
stroke it and then go ahead and move this adjust it, and then use it again with the Brush Tool to make a different
shape, OK. And you can see that you’re getting a nice smooth flowing line which
you’re not getting probably when you’re painting with the mouse or other… with
the mouse when you’re using the brushes at the moment, OK.


  • Reply 2s7a2m7 January 28, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Is it possible to stroke a path, then adjust the path and have the stroke move/adjust with it?
    Also be able to live edit the brush that you're using for the stroke?

  • Reply Quentin L May 2, 2017 at 6:40 pm


  • Reply cmlahaye May 27, 2017 at 12:36 am

    When I did this my anchor points stayed once I created my path with the brush tool. Is there a way to delete them?

  • Reply John Whitelam July 29, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Thank you Ben for your excellent cheerful and to the point tutorial. Helped me do exactly what I needed to do!

  • Reply Andrey Aunmag November 6, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Thanks! That was very helpful!

  • Reply Kilyén Balázs January 1, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    I was so lost! I am used to make stuff in Illustrator, but with this i am going to do some amazing stuff! Thank you !!!

  • Reply Sleishman January 16, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Hmmm… wifi off that's fishy did you torrent this?

  • Reply 뿡뿡! ^__^ February 17, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    It doesn't work. It doesn't let me even select the option to add a stroke to the path.

  • Reply A Cosmic Castaway June 4, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    You can get pressure sensitivity esque with pen lines in Photoshop? I just saw sone speed paintings and I think that some hatches were made that way and it seems pressure sensitivity was on, but I can't confirm.

  • Reply PeachyPink June 14, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    the thing at the bottom that you use to draw on the path isnt on mine

  • Reply Naimat Khan June 23, 2018 at 11:36 am

    good sir
    great job

  • Reply jason yeo July 6, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    why is the curve line that i created are some part thicker and some part smaller?

  • Reply Tails Prower July 8, 2018 at 12:02 am

    THANK U!

  • Reply Coding with sam July 24, 2018 at 11:47 am

    cannot thank you for your work bro…. you are amazing

  • Reply dave Wettlaufer August 11, 2018 at 11:57 am

    I had to watch the video 3 times, but I got it. Thank You

  • Reply Aryan Yousefi October 17, 2018 at 7:39 am

    thanks broo , it was helpfull to me

  • Reply haritha hulangamuwa October 24, 2018 at 1:36 am

    Thanks a lot 🙂 🙂

  • Reply nunavyour biznas October 30, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Wonderful video, the simple task of drawing a curved line in PS was driving me mad!
    As much as I love photoshop, when it comes to doing dead simple tasks – MS Paint

  • Reply Mikhail Konstantin November 24, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    so how to make it thin at the both side ?? and in the middle normal ?

  • Reply Patrik Rasch December 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you:)

  • Reply Glenn Carmichael December 9, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks, Helen. I could never have worked this out by myself. Christmas cards are now sorted.

  • Reply சகோதரன் காணொளிக் காட்சியகம் December 10, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Is any mobile app available with pen tool

  • Reply Ana January 6, 2019 at 3:35 am

    Thank you so much

  • Reply Reprogramming Mind January 23, 2019 at 7:41 pm


  • Reply Dimitar L. February 10, 2019 at 3:58 am

    THANK YOU simple and straight to tth point

  • Reply buyzilla February 21, 2019 at 10:38 am

    When you edit path/reshape it creates another shape but how to reshape existing path without creating a new one.

  • Reply swimmindonut March 28, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    I tried to draw a book using line using pen tool on photoshop. I was expecting to draw only the half and to duplicate, and to flip that in order to make it symmestric. However, when I tried to select and flip the half drawn shape( like a heart shape), It kept saying that it doesnt select any pixel. Help me sos

  • Reply Official.Vj.Rahul.Forever April 20, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    bro how to curve in arch door with brush tool in photoshop cc….i send a video error so send your email id…if possible

  • Reply Erushmie Karunaratne August 8, 2019 at 4:20 am

    thank you so much for this video!

  • Leave a Reply