Tutorial: The Pen and Paths on Adobe Photoshop

This is an easy tutorial for anyone who want to edit and rearrange the images with the pen and path tools. How to use the pen tool and other features and functions on Adobe Photoshop will become very useful for future projects or artworks.

Tool and Features used are:

  • pen tool
  • Paths
  • layers
  • place
  • Free Transform

let’s get Started! 

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Step 1. Click file > New. Select sizes for example A4 sizes paper then click OK. change the orientation of the paper by image > image rotations > 90 CW. the paper will turn landscaper. This section is optional, use whether portrait or landscape.

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Step 2. Click File > ‘Place…’ it will open your computer files,  select one image then click  ‘Place’. The image will be place as new layer. Move the image or scale it larger or smaller by the corners of the image. Once you have decided, press ‘Enter’ on the keyboard.

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Note: the set the image completely, you have to click on the image with a brush tool (keyboard short cut ‘B’). A window will ask if you want to change it click ok. Now the image is set. Do not worry, you can resizes the image for later.


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Step 3. Click on the Pen Tool along the tool panel (normally on the left side) or (keyboard short cut ‘B’)

Next go to the Path layer on ‘The Optional bar’. Which is located nears to Layers  or click on Windows > Paths.

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Once you click on Paths, Click on the icon at the bottom to ‘create a new path’.



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Step 4. Zoom in or out Command ‘- + ‘(mac) Control ‘-, +’ (PC). With the pen tool start clicking around the figure making a trace. I started by clicking around the cats face. Do not click and hold as it will drag the lines.

If you made a mistake press command (MAC) Control (PC), Alt,  Z  to undo.

Note: You do not have to trace the whole image, just trace the area you want to focus on, for example, I just tracing the cats head.

Most importantly do not forget to save. Save project as a format file Photoshop (PSD)  to resume the project for later.


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Step 5.  Join the last dots with the first dot making a link together to complete the path.

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Step 6.  Click on “load paths as selections” located at the bottom of the Path layer.

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Step 7. click on Select > Inverse, then Edit >  Cut (control X PC/ Command X Mac)

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Ta Da! An accurate cut of the cat’s head, now we can get very creative by adding background or re scaling the image. Click back on Layers (key F7) on optional bar or go to Windows > Layers.


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Step 8. Right click on the selected layer, click on ‘Duplicate Layer’ to copy the layer.

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Step 9. Press V on keyboard for the Move tool. Click on the image and move it across. You will see to copies of the image but on different layers. Click back to the first layer and press command, T Mac / control, T PC for Free Transform  right-click > flip horizontal.

Note: To deleted a Layer just simple select the layer, right-click > delete layer.


silhouette (optional)

You have already create a path of the figure. why not add a silhouette of the cropped image

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New layer (Shift, command, N MAC / Shift, control, N PC) then go to Path tool on the optional bar as in Step 3 select the path layer you created earlier. At the bottom, Click on Fill path with foreground icon.

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Another cool tool on Path is stroke line, just click on Stroke Path with brush to create and outline. Make sure the foreground is not the same colour.


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That is the basic of using Pen and Paths tools on Photoshop. You can create very unique college. Practice and see what you will create.

Once you totally finished your work or practice. Click on File Save as… choose a different. File JPEG to save it as an image file.

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Choose the quaintly of the image you want it to be. the higher the quality the larger the file will be.

cat college

If you have any suggestion or feedback back on this tutorial please make comment. Also anymore Photoshop tutorial you want me to do on please make a suggestion or idea, i be very happy to do it.

Watercolour Practice: HollyHock Flowers

HollyHock Flower, by Rebekah Joseph, 2016
HollyHock Flower, by Rebekah Joseph, 2016

This weekend I was experimenting watercolour painting with colour and negative space techniques. I learnt using this techniques from Jean Haines’s Atmosphere Watercolours painting freedom, expression and style book ( I written a review on this book see post) on this book Jean painted Hollyhock flowers by painting on the negative areas. Creating an outline of the flower and using colours to create atmosphere. I have done the same topic but tried to be creative with colours and not to over paint certain areas.

I enjoyed doing this exercise, I learnt watercolour paint more on negative space, it is a good method to construct the painting.

Love Harajuku Fashion

Love Harajuku Fashions

One thing I will do in Tokyo, is visit Harajuku. The town is know for its unique fashion style and costplay. I would bring my pens and sketchbook and draw people on the street wearing unique styles.

TokyoFashion.com has photos of young Japanese people expressing themselves with creative clothing. It feel such a cool place to be, If I was living in Japan i would be express myself with clothing. I do not have to confidents to be creative in London. In Japan they sen to embrace the creativity with clothing.

I have been looking at Japanese street fashions for years and always get my fashion inspiration. It would be great if could be an illustrator or blogger in Japan. I almost got a job opportunity from agent but it was not the right time. Plus I needed to have a very good level in Japanese first before adventuring in Japan.

When illustrating Harajuku people’s fashion, I try to capture the essence of their character. This week I focusing on drafting Harajuku fashions to prepare for water colouring.

I will create a project post will all the Japanese illustration


Creative Plan and Actions for this Summer

Header image was done on Photoshop 

My creative actions plan for this summer is getting back into rhythm of doing watercolouring and drawing again, more on doing the thing I always do naturally after I graduated from university and will continue to pursue it. I have time to establish myself online and maybe on to selling my work.

A self-help book called  ‘I can make you happy’ by Paul McKenna  has really helped me enjoy the thing i really like doing. When I was in university I had pressure trying to pass my course and to live up to expectation of an artist and what type of art will make the most success. I was so condition to think in the certain way that  was not my true expression. I don’t mind doing commercial work such as food illustrations. I just feel very stressed out after graduated from university. It is every hard for young people, like myself getting out there finding work.

Luckily I had two commissions this year, it was good experience but I wanted to take a break mentally and sort out other issues. I think I will consider job searching in my late 20s or 30 when I have enough experience to face the real work. I am considering starting by doing volunteering work to get experience and build on skills such as communications and team work, then search for paying work.

The Paul Mckenna self help book ‘I can make you happy’ put things into perspective and de-stressed from negative thoughts. I feel more happier, being happy feel very positive and bright. I do not suffer from anxiety as much, I get good sleep and i regularly exercise to improve my strength.

Now I have the energy for creative writing this blogs and continue practising water colouring and drawing. Plus also I am working on posting watercolour or Photoshop tutorials.

Art Book Review: Jean Haines Atmospheric Watercolour, painting freedom, Expression and style


The best watercolouring book I brought is Jean Haines’ Atmospheric Watercolour, painting freedom, Expression and style’ . It is a fantastic book for techniques and tricks in water colour painting. it is a big book, visually descriptive, easily explains, this book is a little unconventional than the other watercolour books. It has inspirational quotes and has Jean’s beautiful watercolour paintings. She has a different approach to watercolouring which will be good for anyone who is interested in contemporary or expressional art works.

There are other book by Jean Haines available on Amazon store or bookstores.


Continuing Studying Japanese and Watching lots Japanese Youtube Channels

Minecraft Screenshot June 2016
Minecraft Screenshot June 2016

There are lot of interesting channels on Youtube for watching or listening native Japanese people. My favourites Youtube channels is HikakinTV and SeikinTV, both are very entertaining to watch. It has really helped me absorb the language in more and enhance my vocabulary. Another channel I like to watch is https://www.youtube.com/user/tomo0723sw ( I think is Tomo the name) Gamer who play all kind of games including Minecraft.

On Minecraft, I insert Japanese’s vocabulary to help me remember common phrases and words while i playing the game. It is much more fun and effective strategy.

My next target will be on learning Katakana and Kanji. I learnt Hiragana. Now I need to advance by practising writing. I’d printed a Hiragana and Katakana worksheet from Yesjapan.com. I know there are workbook to buy but I have to research the right workbook to learn from.

Next month I am going to the Hyper Japan festival in London again hyperjapan.co.uk. This time is at the Olympia, Kensington 15-17 July. I hoping to get more informations on Japanese course or holidays. I am also buy Japanese goods. It could be an opportunity to speak Japanese as there will be Japanese people in the event. I just hope to pick up the confidents to speak to them in Japanese.


Simple Atmospheric Manga Portrait Watercolour tutorial

Watercolour is a beautiful medium, you can create spontaneous washes and effect with watercolours. Why not with manga, some manga artists uses watercolour as their preferred medium. On this tutorial is about brush control and colour washes to create unique, experimental watercolour work if you are interest in both watercolours and manga.

Lets go!

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Step 1. Draw lightly the face with a pencil, do not draw too hard. Use heavy weight paper for better absorption.  Use either Cold press or Hot press watercolour paper, 300grams or up.

Note: Watercolour Postcards are ideal for quick water colouring. You can buy them at art shops and is not too expensive. 

Make the drawing simple, you don’t want too many pencil marks when watercolouring.

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Step 2. Outline the drawing with a black liner pen. Leave some lines untouched, focus on what really need detail which is the eyes, nose, mouth, hair and ears.


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Step 3. When you have completed the outline, erase the pencil lines underneath the pen lines.

Note: I left the pencil line on the eyes for guide.

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Now is it ready for watercolour!

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Step 4. With a medium size brush start painting the edge with a single colour and apply shadow to the face. no need to paint area again once you have made a stroke.

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Step 5. Blend the edges of the colours with a clean damp brush. Let the colour bleed into the white surface.

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Step 6. Take your time building up the surface with the same colour and use a damp clean brush to bleed the colour in more.

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Step 7. With a smaller brush colouring in the eyes. apply shadow to the nose and lower lip.

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Step 8. Choose a similar but darker colour to paint the darker area on the hair and around the body.

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Step 9. Use a damp clean brush to spread the colour around the figure, creating background wash.

Do not worry if the colours blends into unnecessary areas. Just let the colours flow and make happy mistakes.

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Step 10. With a smaller brush add darker hue on the eyes.

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Step 11. apply more colours on the body and with a clean wet brush blend in the colour.

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Do not be afraid to add in an another colour on different areas. Be spontaneous with the colours.

Watercolour is all about the use of colours.

When the paint is dry, you can add final details with a white gel pen to highlights the eyes or hair.

Ta Da! You have completed a manga portrait with watercolours! 

Experiment more watercolour portrait on friend or families. Have fun with this exercise and see what you will create.


Manga portrait, by Rebekah Joseph
Manga portrait, by Rebekah Joseph