My most favorite graphics are always the flowers. In large part, they’re my favorite because they look like they should be so difficult to create – and yet, if you know the tools to use, they’re actually very easy.
This guide will help you create colorful, lovely pansy clipart in Photoshop. You won’t need any special plugins, filters, shapes, or anything else. What you will need is Adobe Photoshop, version 7 or higher. This tutorial is being written using Photoshop CS3, so some tools may be located in different spots if you’re using an older version of the software – but they’re all there, I promise.
Drawing Pansy Clipart – The Steps
- New Canvas – Open Photoshop, create a new canvas (File, New) that is sized about 500 x 500 pixels, in RGB mode, with a white background.
- Set Colors – Your basic colors can be anything that you like. I’m going with a standard purple pansy, so have set my foreground color to hex #9b8695 and my background color to #836a7f.
- Circle Shape – Use your circle shape tool (it’s very, very important that you use the circle shape, not the marquee – if you don’t see the circle shape tool, right-click your square shape tool and select the circle from the list) and draw a circle on your canvas. This is the start of a petal. DO NOT rasterize this layer yet.
- Warp Transform – We’re going to make our petal look a bit more like a pansy petal using the warp transform tool. Click “Edit”, choose “Transform Path”, and then click “Warp”. The transformation handles you get on this tool are different than any other transform you’ve seen in Photoshop – and with good reason. You can move every single handle, as well as the individual squares in the grid, in any direction that you want.
What we’re going for is a basic petal that is pointed (sort-of) at the bottom, and wider and flatter at the top. See Illustration 01 for reference.
- Duplicate & Rotate – With our basic petal made, we want to make 4 more petals. A pansy has a total of 5 petals, with the one at the center top being the one in the very back. So, right-click your petal’s layer (still don’t rasterize!) and choose “Duplicate Layer”. Repeat this 4 times, so that you have 5 petal layers.
Now, click “Edit”, choose “Transform Path”, and select “Rotate”. Going through your petal layers, set your two top-side petals first, and rotate the two bottom petals last. This way, all your petals are in the right order (starting at top center, each petal goes in front of the next one to the bottom petals). Reference Illustration 01 – a stroke has been added to the petals early, just to let you see how they’re laid out.
When you have situated all of the petals, right-click each petal layer and choose “Rasterize Layer”.
- Stroke & Color Overlay – This step is really quick and easy. First, select your first petal (the top, center one) and go to your layer styles – “Layer, Layer Styles” – and choose “Color Overlay”. Set the overlay to your background color so that your top center petal is darker than the others.
Before you click OK, go to the “Stroke” setting. Set the color of your stroke to black, and the size of 1 pixel. Then, click OK. Now, go through the rest of your petals and apply the same stroke setting.
- Petal Second Color – Pansies have these really pretty darker areas on their lower petals that usually match the color of that top, center one. Go into your custom shapes and pick up your raindrop shape. Draw it out long and thin, using your background color, and then transform it to echo the angle of your petal. Then, duplicate the rain drop 3 times and apply it to each of your lower four petals.
When these are drawn, rasterize the layers and apply the same stroke setting that you did on the full petals in the last step.
Reference Illustration 02.
- Draw Flower’s Center – What would a flower be without a pretty yellow center? Use a bright yellow and your circle shape tool to draw an oval in the center of your pansy. Rasterize the layer, and apply the same stroke that we’ve been using. Reference Illustration 02.
- Draw Stem – Our flowers are nearly done. At this point, you may need to resize the petals so that there is actually room for a stem and leaves. To make life easy, click the very top layer in your layer palette, hold your shift key down, and then click on the layer right above your background layer. This will highlight all of the “art” layers. Then, right-click and choose “Merge Layers”.
Now, we’re going to make a stem. Grab your square shape tool and draw a long, thin rectangle behind your petals in a green color. Do not rasterize this layer yet. Instead, go to “Edit”, “Transform Path”, and choose the “Warp” tool again. We want the stem to ripple just a little bit, instead of looking like a straight line drawn in green crayon.
Finally, rasterize the stem and then apply (yet again!) the stroke setting we’ve been using. Reference Illustration 03.
- Add Leaves – Our very last step is to add a pair of leaves to our pretty pansies. Just use your custom shape tool and use any of the leaves that come included with Photoshop for this. Use the same green as you used for the stem, and rasterize the leaves once they’re drawn so you can add the stroke setting for the last time.
You can easily change the color of your pansy by going back into your Layer Styles (Layer, Layer Styles) and choosing “Color Overlay”. Set the color, and then change the mode to “Color” or “Hue” to quickly change the petals without having to re-draw your flower.