What Are the Drawing Tools in Photoshop?

Photoshop is a powerful image creation program. The first step towards unleashing your inner artist is to understand what the drawing tools in Photoshop are, and how to use them.

The Brush tool

The Brush tool is a great place to start drawing. The menu at the top of the screen gives you access to various brush style presets. Depending on what you choose, you can mimic the feel of pencil, pen, marker, watercolor and more.

Note: The Brush tool creates raster images. For vector designs, choose one of the other options.

The Pen tool

Another essential tool to master in Photoshop, the Pen tool will help you include vector images in your drawings. Here’s how to use it:
  1. After selecting the Pen tool, left-click where you want to start your line or object.
  2. Click again to make a line.
  3. Continue adding nodes to create your shape.
  4. To complete a shape, return to the first node.
  5. To draw curves instead of straight lines, hold down the mouse button and drag every time you create a new node.
If you want to move nodes or curve handles afterwards, hold Ctrl/Command (Windows/Mac) as you drag any of the nodes.

Other Pen Tools

If you hold down the left mouse button while hovering over the pen tool, you will see several specific pen tools:
  • Curved Pen tool: This tool makes it easier to draw curves automatically.
  • Freeform Pen tool: If you have a digital tablet for drawing manga or anime, this tool lets you sketch freely.
  • Magnetic Pen tool: A “smart” tool, the Magnetic Pen snaps to areas of high contrast. It’s very good for tracing and creating precise masks.
​​​​​​​Shape tools

Photoshop also assists in drawing vector-based shapes. Here are a few:
  • Rectangle tool
  • Rounded rectangle tool
  • Ellipse tool (for drawings circles and ovals)
  • Polygon tool (for triangles, pentagons and more)
  • Line tool
For beautiful examples of what vector clipart can do for your documents, check out the immense Shutterstock library. All Shutterstock vector images are compatible with Adobe Photoshop.

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