A drawing of oranges, drawn using Photoshop.


Photoshop drawing techniques.

Photoshop offers dozens of painting, drawing, and vector graphics tools that work on any device — so you can unleash your inner muse.

How to draw in Photoshop with painting and sketching tools.

Whether you’re on a desktop computer or an iPad, you can draw and explore your creativity with Photoshop endlessly, without having to use a single sheet of paper. There are two primary ways you can draw in the app: pixels and vectors. Let’s start with pixels — that is, individual points that are filled with color information (like in digital photographs). The following free-form pixel drawing tools await you the second you make a new layer. 

Brush tool panel superimposed on a drawing of a red apple.

1. Use digital paintbrushes.

With the Brush tool and a massive array of brush options (you can even make your own) you’ll be able to replicate any kind of drawing tool. Control it all, including Size, Flow (opacity), Mix (how much colors mix as you paint), smoothness of lines, and more. 

Pencil tool icon superimposed on a black-and-white drawing of a pineapple.

2. Pencil it in.

Want to create pencil drawings or simulate the effect of pencil-like strokes? No problem. Use the Pencil tool to create delicate or detailed drawings.

Paint Bucket tool being used to color a drawing of a lemon.

3. Fill it up.

Color options come in to save the day and save you from tedium. With the Paint Bucket tool, fill in a single color or a gradient in an area with a click, regardless of image size. 

An image of fruit separated in three vertically. The first third has been sharpened, the middle third has been blurred, and the last third has been smudged.

4. Sharpen, blur, and smudge.

Once you’ve got your drawing down, you can keep pushing those pixels around with tools that let you sharpen details, blur areas, and smudge lines. 

Steps to make a custom brush.

Photoshop has hundreds of custom brushes as well as user-created ones you can import. Want to make your own paintbrush? Here’s how. 

1. Create it:

Create a new Photoshop document with a white background by selecting File › New and making a default document.

2. Select it:

Select the Brush tool in the side toolbar. Make sure that you have black chosen as your Foreground color, since Photoshop brushes use grayscale as their default — you can press D as a shortcut. 

3. Size it:

In the top menu bar, select the Brush Settings icon. From here, you can select a preset brush to start with, and then adjust size, spacing, texture, and dozens of other options.

4. Draw it:

Once you’re happy with your settings, draw either a line, a single dot, or multiple lines, depending on how you want your brush tip to look. What you draw becomes your brush. 

5. Preset it:

Once you’re happy with the baseline for your brush, select Edit › Define Brush Preset and name your brush. You’ll be able to draw with this brush and change its color each time you do. 

Draw with vectors in Photoshop.

The other way to draw in Photoshop is to create vectors on your canvas. Vectors are lines and shapes made with math equations, so they don’t get pixelated when you zoom in close. The app offers dozens of ways to create digital drawings with vectors — here are a few. 

A drawing of an orange cut in half created using the Pen tool.

6. Wield the mighty Pen tool.

The Pen tool allows you to create paths, which are powerful vector lines that you can use to select, fill, and create compelling artwork or graphic designs. 

A blue square, a green triangle, and an orange circle.

7. Make shapes for every vector.

With the Rectangle, Ellipse, and Polygon tools, you can create perfect vector shapes that defy the laws of physics and draw perfect circles in an instant. 

An image of colorful vertical lines, created using the Line tool.

8. Line it up.

With the Line tool, you can make lines at any angle, with different weights (thicknesses), strokes (colors), and more. And once you’ve made them, they’re easy to tweak and edit. 

Adobe Photoshop

Do more with Adobe Photoshop.

Learn more drawing tips and tricks.

Looking to get more creative with your drawing? There’s plenty to explore in these Adobe Fresco tutorials.

A line drawing of a person sitting poolside.

Line art for beginners.

Learn how to create beautiful line drawings with Photoshop tools and expand your foundational digital art skills.

A watercolor painting of a forest.

Watercolors for all.

Controlling and manipulating texture in your work is a powerful skill. This tutorial will show you how to emulate watercolor with digital painting. 

A black-and-white drawing of a dog.

Woof woof.

Learn to draw a dog in a few easy steps, with Photoshop providing the canvas. 

A photo of a paintbrush painting watercolor on paper.

Need an idea?

This guide will show you nine easy things you can draw to get the creative juices flowing. 

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