Pen Tool

Human Face Silhouette!

Tutorial by Irvin Durana, Graphic Design Extraordinaire.


One tool that is very powerful and can let you draw almost anything precisely is the pen tool. It allows for creating smooth curves and very fine details on your illustrations. This tutorial will give you the opportunity to master the pen tool. What we'll be creating is a silhouette of the girl below (humanFace.jpg). In the end, the final image will be a traced silhouette.


1. First, copy the image into an empty document.


2. Select the pen tool (P).



3. Before we start, we'll start with a practice run. First, select a black color. Then, click on three areas on the document. This created a simple triangle.


4. Now, hover your cursor over the first point you made until you see a small circle appear below your cursor. This completes the shape you have made. Try it out a couple more times using more points. After, delete the shapes, then move onto the next part.


5. Next, create 3 points on your document. This time, drag as you click. Doing this will create what is called a bezier curve. Try and create a circle with bezier curves. Practice this a couple more times using more points. After, delete the shapes, then move onto the next part. (27.jpg)



6. Now, we'll move onto making the silhouette of the girl. Basically, we're going to use the pen tool and trace around her. We'll start with the edge of her arm held out. Zoom (Command (CTRL) +) to make a point on her arm precisely.


7. Next, click on where the arm is slightly bent on the elbow, and drag. Drag just enough so the line is hovering over her arm, and you'll see a sliver of black.


8. Before you move onto the next point, hover on the point you just made until you see a small arrow below your cursor. After, click it. This will reset the pen tool, so you can make the next curve seperate from your previous one. This is useful for adding pointed edges to curved surface. Do this on her shoulder.


9. Now, try and trace the right side of her face until you reach the top of her hair.


10. You are half way there! But, there is one thing you must do. If you continue, you'll eventually have the entire shape cover the rest of her body. It's going to be hard to figure out which part to trace next. So, to fix this, we'll need to lower the opacity of your shape temporarily.


11. Select your shape with the Selection Tool. At the top, there is an "Opacity" option. Bring it down to a number low enough to see her face, as well as see your shape.


12. Once you've done that, continue with the rest of her face.


13. Once you've traced her entire face and body, increase the opacity back to 100.


14. Congratulations! You've now gained knowledge on how to use the pen tool. It's very useful in situations similar to this tutorial, so practice it as much as possible.


This tutorial was designed by Irvin Durana, Graphic Design Extraordinaire.
All Rights Reserved.