Creative Lines with the Pen Tool for Photoshop & Illustrator

Once you’ve mastered the pen tool in Illustrator or Photoshop, you’re going to want a variety of lines to use for different types of illustrations. Here is a good selection of tutorials to get you started. For borders and maps, you may want to learn how to create dashed and layered lines. If so, there’s a good video tutorial called Dashed Lines by Dave Cross. For neon lines, see the tutorial by Meghan Murphy called Night Lights: Creating a glowing effect in Illustrator. Learn how to create thick and thin lines with Todd Ferris’ video called Adding Personality to Cartoon Lines. The Spoon Graphics blog has a nice tutorial on Creating Road Maps in Illustrator.

Using the pen tool in Photoshop is similar but not exactly the same as Illustrator. Here’s a tutorial on creating line art in Photoshop by acaraluv. Sometimes you need to illustrate lots of hair. Here’s a Hair Tutorial with the pen tool. Veerle shows us how to create thick and thin lines with Creating simple art brushes in Illustrator.

Are you new to the pen tool? Whether you use Photoshop or Illustrator, most of the basics are the same. Learn how to start using it with Matthew Richmond’s video Using the Pen Tool. Once you’ve seen that, try practicing with Veerle’s Illustrator Pen Tool Exercises. Remember, practice makes perfect! Be patient and persevere—you’ll master the pen tool before you know it!

14 thoughts on “Creative Lines with the Pen Tool for Photoshop & Illustrator

  1. Hi,

    I want to draw my own vector drawing in illustartor, then copy and paste on to an image in photoshop, selecting that as the fill and then copyand pasting to a new document.

    I can do this with preset shape tools, but so far I can’t fill the line work of my own.

    I was able to create a stroke of the line work with the image I pasted it onto. In other words, I pasted a hibiscus outline on to a photo, and was able to move only the lines extracted from the photo in the hibiscus shape, not the filled path.


  2. is there a way for example your water on top to lasso or magic that and keep its various levels of shade colors and replace htem with blue , green and all the related differnt levels, variances of shades tgo a different color set ?

  3. For some weird reason i downloaded the trail for CS4 illustrator and i can’t seem to find the pen tool, there is pencil tool and all the others…can someone help????

  4. Question: I created a beautiful line (a wave as part of a logo) with Wacom tablet and stylus, but need to shear off one end of it vertically. Can’t do it. Tried pathfinder, which has the great “subtract from shape area” when using shapes. What to do when using strokes? When I try that feature, it connects the two ends to close the path! Thx!

    • PS. I created that in Illustrator, and need it to have a transparent ground (otherwise, I just add a white shape over one end of the image to create the illusion of a sharp vertical end.

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