There’s just something irresistible about country clipart or primitive clipart. They have such a home-ish feel to them, soft and comfortable and all earth tones, that they compel me.
Country or primitive clipart can be used in so many ways, too, which makes them even more fun to create. Crafters use them in their many projects, auction sellers adorn their layouts with them (a great touch because the layout looks professional and polished but without the sales pitch), and any number of other things.
In this guide, we’ll be drawing an easy little house in the primitive clipart style. You’ll only need a copy of Photoshop – version 7 or higher – and a little bit of imagination.
Drawing a Clipart House – The Steps
- New Canvas – Open a new canvas that is sized about 500 x 500 pixels, in RGB mode, with a white background. More than likely, you’ll never use a graphic this large. It’s always better to start out quite a bit larger than what you need, though, so that you can size the graphic down later and not lose quality.
- Set Colors – Decide on two base colors for your house. I’m going to go with a tan for the walls, and a country blue for the roof. So my foreground color is #e3cd9b and my background color is #595b5a.
- Draw a Wall – In order to have a house, we need to have a wall. Make it more rectangle than square. Also be sure that you are using the shape tool, not the marquee tool. Using the shape tool will cause the wall to go on its own layer, making everything else we’ll be doing to it possible. After you draw the shape, right-click its layer and choose “Rasterize Layer”.
- Draw a Roof – Technically, we’re only going to be using half of a roof so that it becomes perfectly symmetrical … but don’t panic, we’ll get there in a second.
First, create a new layer (Layer, New, Layer) and switch your foreground and background colors. Then, pick up your polygonal lasso tool. Now, draw out a roof shape above your wall. Don’t worry about getting both sides identical – it would be a miracle if you could make it happen.
Once you’ve drawn out the roof, fill the selection with your foreground color and deselect the roof (click “Ctrl” and “D” on your keyboard at the same time). Then, use your rectangle marquee tool to select 1/2 of the roof – the side you don’t like as well – and hit the backspace key on your keyboard to erase that half. Now, right-click the roof layer and choose “Duplicate Layer”. Head right to “Edit”, choose “Transform”, and click “Flip Horizontal”.
All that’s left is to slide the roof into place. Do this by selecting your move tool, and then using the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the roof left or right. Doing this prevents the roof from going up or down, making it harder to match up. When you have it in place, right-click the layer and choose “Merge Down” to make the roof all one piece, on one layer again.
Reference Illustration 01.
- Optional Step – This step is totally optional. Here, I’m going to draw a little tower and a roof on that tower. Each of these is done in the same way as steps 3 & 4, but you don’t have to do them. Reference Illustration 01.
- Add Windows & Doors – The door will be the same color as your roof, and the windows will be black. Space them out in a way that makes sense to you, using your rectangle shape tool, and rasterize each layer when you’re done – we’ll come back to them in a minute. Reference Illustration 01.
- Set New Colors – Now we’re going to start adding some highlight to the elements (everything except the windows, anyway) in the easy style that country clipart uses. Seriously, I’m talking eassssy here. So, first, set your foreground and background colors to a lighter shade of the same color they already are. The easiest way to do that is to double-click the color box, and choose the “B” radial button – this controls how bright a given color is. Move the slider up to make it lighter, and then do the same thing with your other color. So, my roof color becomes #3a576a (blue) and my wall color becomes #f4dca7 (tan).
- Paint the Centers – Create a new layer (Layer, New, Layer) and grab a regular round paintbrush. Now, you get to color around the elements. Don’t get too close to any of the boxes, and change your colors out appropriately – but, as you can see, it doesn’t have to be anything resembling perfect. Do it all on the same layer and don’t do anything to the windows. Because I want double doors, I’ve painted it in two halves. Reference Illustration 02.
- Gaussian Blur – That highlight is … sure, it’s alright. But it’s kind-of … out there. So. We’re going to blur it a little bit, making it look like it’s supposed to – highlight, not strange painted focus. Click “Filter”, choose “Blur”, and pick “Gaussian Blur”. In the box, enter about 4.0 to 5.0. Just watch your preview – you want the painting to become blurred, not for it to wash away into nothingness. Reference Illustration 02.
- Add Accents – Our last step is to add little accents to the house. You can add wood into the windows to make them look more window-like, a little round knob on the front door, and anything else your imagination leads you to.
With just a little bit more work, you can outfit the little house with a garden. Maybe a little bed of pansies? You can find a tutorial on how to make them on my producer page.