How to Draw with the Pencil Tool in Photoshop Elements 9

7 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Creating Artistic Effects in Photoshop Elements 9

Drawing with the Pencil tool in Photoshop Elements creates hard edges. You can’t get the soft, feathery edges that you can with the Brush tool. Keep in mind that if you draw anything other than vertical or horizontal lines, your lines will have some jaggies when they’re viewed up close. The Pencil tool can erase itself, and it’s great for digital sketches.

1

Select the Pencil tool from the Tools panel.

You can also press the N key. By default, the Pencil tool’s brush tip is the 1-pixel brush.

2

On the Options bar, select your desired brush from the Brush Preset Picker drop-down panel.

You aren’t limited to the standard old brush strokes. Check out the Assorted and Special Effects brushes found in the Brushes drop-down menu on the Brushes panel.

3

Choose your brush size.

A preset brush’s pixel diameter is shown as text below a thumbnail image of the brush shape. If you want to change the size of that brush tip, drag the Size slider or enter a value.

4

Select a blending mode.

Blend modes alter the way the color you’re applying interacts with the color on your canvas.

5

If you want the background to show through your strokes, adjust the opacity by dragging the slider or entering an opacity percentage less than 100 percent.

The lower the percentage, the more the background images show through. Your strokes must be on a separate layer above your images for you to be able to adjust the opacity and blend modes after you draw them.

6

(Optional) Select Auto Erase if you want to enable that option.

This option removes portions of your pencil strokes. For example, say that your foreground color is black and your background color is white, and you apply some black strokes. With Auto Erase enabled, you apply white if you drag back over the black strokes. If you drag over the white background, you apply black.

7

Click and drag with the mouse to create your freeform lines.

To draw straight lines, click at a starting point, release the mouse button, and then Shift-click at a second point.

When you use the Pencil tool, you benefit immensely from the use of a pressure-sensitive digital drawing tablet. The awkwardness of trying to draw with a mouse disappears and leaves you with tools that behave much closer to their analog ancestors.

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The Essentials of Creating Artistic Effects in Photoshop Elements 9

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