Book Cover illustrated by Tarsila Kruse.
Bliain na nAmhrán (Year of Song). Songs and Rhymes of four seasons. Written by Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin and illustrated by Tarsila Kruse, Christina O Donovan, Brian Fitzgerald and myself (Jennifer Farley). Published by Futa Fata.
Each illustrator was responsible for creating pictures for songs and rhymes for a different season. I made the pictures for winter. Some of which you can see below. This was a wonderful project to work on and the resulting collaborative book is beautiful.
The title spread of the winter section of the book.
Mummy deer looks on as baby dreams about Santa on his sleigh.
A walk on a wild and windy day.
The animals sleep and dream in winter.
The book is available to buy in good bookshops and also from the Futa Fata website here.
Adding text on a path is an important technique which designers use to create interesting text effects and it is especially useful with logo design. I’ll show you how to easily create text on a path in Photoshop using both the Pen tool and a Shape tool. You’ll see how to create text on an open curvy line, on the outside of a shape and on the inside of a shape.
Adding Text To An Open Curved Path
If you’re new to the Pen Tool in Photoshop and haven’t used it before, read my tutorial on how to create curves with the Pen Tool. Otherwise, follow along below.
1. Create a new Photoshop document. I made mine 1000 px x 1000 px at 72 ppi.
2. Select the Pen tool in the toolbox, or press P as the keyboard shortcut.
3. In the Options Bar at the top of the screen, you can choose either Shape or Path from the first drop down. If you choose Shape, choose any colour for the Stroke, BUT make sure that the Fill colour is set to none. Otherwise, Photoshop will start to colour-in your curve as you draw it and it can be a bit confusing. If you choose Path, there will be no colours involved and you will simply draw a path.
3. Draw a simple curved path with the Pen Tool.
4 Select the Text tool in the Tools panel or press T on the keyboard as a shortcut.
5 In the Options bar (below), choose options such as font and alignment before you type. You can always change options settings after you’ve typed the text. As you are putting text down on a white background, make sure to change your Font Colour to something other than white, otherwise, you won’t be able to see it.
6 If you chose a left text alignment, which is the default alignment, click near the left side of the path with the Text tool, then start typing. If you chose a centered text alignment, click near the center of the path you drew, then start typing. Notice how the Text tool cursor changes to an I-Beam with a path through it.
As you type you’ll see that your text follows the direction of the path.
7. When you’re finished typing, click the checkmark icon on the Options bar to commit the text (or any changes you made) and to deselect the text.
Now the path you originally drew has disappeared and your text is floating beautifully along an invisible path.
Editing Text on a path
Editing text on a path is the same as editing “normal” text in Photoshop. To change the font face, font size, or font colour of existing text, first use the Text tool to select the text by clicking and dragging to highlight the piece of text, then change the settings.
Reposition text on a path
Often your text won’t appear exactly where you want it on the path, so you can move it along the path you’ve drawn by using the Path Selection Tool (black arrow).
1. Make sure your text layer is selected, then choose the Path Selection tool.
2. Hover the cursor near the beginning of the text. Notice that the cursor changes to what’s known as an I-beam-and-triangle. This indicates that you can now drag the text along the path.
3. Drag the text along the path. It will almost feel like you’re pushing it. You’ll see the text move along and follow the curves you drew.
Adding Text Around A Shape In Photoshop
Again this is another technique frequently used by designers, particularly in logo design. Let’s take a look at how to add text around a shape. In this case, I’m adding text around the outside of a circle, but you can do this with ANY vector shape.
1. Create a new document in Photoshop. I made mine 1000 x 1000 px at 72ppi.
2. Select the Ellipse Shape Tool.
It is hidden under the Rectangle Shape Tool, so click and hold on the Rectangle Tool in the toolbar and the hidden tools will appear. Choose the Ellipse.
3. Click and drag out a circle on your document.
Tip: Hold down Shift to get a perfect circle as you drag.
4. Select the Text tool in the Tools panel or press T on the keyboard as a shortcut. Choose your text settings as before.
5. Move your Text Tool cursor over the circle shape and notice how it changes to indicate Type On A Path. Start typing.
6. As we saw previously with Text On A Path, you can select the Path Selection tool and move the text along the path.
Move type to the inside of a shape
We’ve seen how to add text to the outside of the path. But how do we set the text inside the shape? Here’s how:
1. Start with some text on a path, as above and move the text to the position you want.
2. Drag the Text tool across the text on a path to select it.
3. On the Character panel, go to the Baseline Shift field, and enter a negative number. In my case, I found that -35 moved the text down and across the path into a position I wanted. Lower the Baseline Shift until you are happy with the alignment of the text with the inside of the shape.
4. You might find that after reducing the Baseline Shift, the letters are now very close together. You can adjust the space between letters by adjusting the value in the Tracking field on the Character Panel.
5. Deselect the text. If you can still see the ellipse shape, go to the Layers panel and turn off the visibility on the ellipse shape layer. Your text should now look something like this:
Move text to the inside bottom of a circle shape
We’ve seen how to add text to the outside of the circle and how to move inside the circle. How do we put text on the inside at the bottom of the circle? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s how:
1. Create your circle vector shape as before and add some text to the outside.
2. Select the Path Selection tool in the Tools panel and position the cursor over the text.
3. When the cursor changes to an I-beam with double arrows, click and drag the text downward until it flips upside down.
Sometimes when you flip the text over, you might find the text runs away from you and starts sliding around the circle.
4. Your text is inside the circle, but it’s upside down and at the top. To get the text to the bottom of the circle and the right way around, continue to drag the text down the side of the shape, all the way to the bottom of the circle. It will automatically appear upright.
Again, if necessary, turn off the visibility of the Ellipse layer to hide the path. Your final text should look something like this:
I hope you found this article on creating text on a path in Photoshop useful. I would be really grateful if you would share it. Thank you! 🙂
The Pen Tool is often avoided by new Photoshop users because it can be a little tricky to use at the beginning. It is, however, a really important tool to have in your design arsenal for both drawing vectors and for making selections.
In the last part of this guide, we looked at how to draw straight lines using the Pen Tool, but in this lesson, we’ll look at how to draw curves. You’ll learn how to draw
- a gently curving open path (easy peasy)
- a close circle path (easy)
- a complex path made from curves and straight points (a bit more tricky, but an essential skill)
Once you’ve gained an understanding of how the curves work, combined with some practice, you’ll soon find yourself becoming a Pen Tool Master!
How curved paths are created
Unlike straight paths, which are simply a matter of clicking once, then picking where you want your next point and clicking again, curved paths are created by clicking and dragging out direction handles. The first time you click and drag, you set a starting point for the curved path and importantly, you also determine the direction and size of the curve. As you continue to add a point and drag, a curved path is drawn between the previous point and the current point.
Two things happen when you click and drag with the Pen tool.
1. An anchor point is placed on the artboard when you click.
2. Direction lines and direction points are drawn when you drag.
We use the direction lines and points to determine the direction and shape of the curved path we’re drawing.
Drawing Curved Vector Paths With The Pen.
Let’s start by drawing a gentle curving line.
1. Select the Pen tool (P) from the toolbar.
2. Choose Path mode in the Options bar at the top of the screen. Note that we could use Shape mode here, but in that mode, Photoshop fills the path with colour when you start drawing and it can become confusing as to where your anchor points are. I’ll talk about drawing shapes in another post.
3. Click once to put down your first anchor point.
4. Move your pointer to the right of your first anchor point, then click again and drag up and to the right. This creates a slight curve in the path and as you can see, two handles appear either side of the second anchor point. These are the direction handles and the control the direction of the curve and the size of the curve.
5. Add another point farther to the right and click and drag in a downward direction. You should now be seeing a nice gentle wave-like path.
6. Add one more point to the right and drag out horizontally.
7.To finish drawing your path, just Ctrl + Click (Windows) / Cmd + Click (Mac). Notice how the Pen Tool cursor changes and a small asterisk appears. This indicates that when you start to draw again, you will be starting a new path.
How to draw a closed circle path with the Pen Tool
A closed vector path is simply a path where the first anchor point is the same as the last vector point, for example, a circle, a rectangle, a star. We’ll draw a circle.
1. Select the Pen tool (P) from the toolbar.
2. Choose Path mode in the Options bar at the top of the screen.
3. Click and hold and drag the pen tool pointer upwards. In this example, we’re creating an upward curve.
An anchor point appears where you first clicked and two direction lines extend above and below the anchor point.
4. Continue the curve, by clicking to add a new anchor point and holding and dragging downwards.
If you make a mistake while you’re drawing, choose Edit > Undo New Anchor Point or press Ctrl +Z (Windows) or Cmd + Z (Mac) to undo the last point you drew, and try again.
5. Move your pointer over your first anchor point and notice how a small circle appears below the pen tool cursor. This indicates that if you click on the first point, you will close the path. So go ahead and click on the point.
Your path is now closed and you should have a near perfect circle, or at least a reasonable elipse shaped path.
Remember you want to use as few anchor points as possible to get smooth curves when drawing with the Pen Tool.
Tip: If you hold down Shift as you click and drag, you constrain the slope of the directional line to 45° increments.
Combining curved and straight path segments with the Pen Tool.
Now we’ll draw paths that combine straight corner points with curved or smooth points. Curved anchor points have directional lines that are opposite each other, 180° apart. Corner points either have no directional lines, only one directional line, or two directional lines that are at an angle that is not 180°. ( A little bit confusing, I know!)
Probably the most difficult part of drawing with the Pen Tool in Photoshop is joining up two curves on a corner point. If you can do this, then you can do any type of drawing with the Pen. For his exercise we’re going to draw the path below.
1. Select the Pen tool.
2. We’re starting with a straight segment, which is dead easy, so click once for your starting point (don’t drag) and then click again to put down your second anchor.
3. Now we’re going into a curve. Move the pointer over the second anchor point and hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac), the cursor changes to show what looks like an upside down “v”. This indicates that you are going to convert the point from being a straight point to a curved point.
4. Click on the same point and drag upwards in one motion to start the curve.
5. Then click and drag downwards to create your next anchor point and finish the curve you started.
Now we need another curve. However, you will find that if you simply click and drag a new point, the curve is going down.
6. To prevent this happening and have our curve go up again, we need to start a new curve by holding down Alt / Option + Clicking on the last anchor point.You will again see the little upside down “v”. This basically resets the curved point to a straight point.
7. Click on the anchor point again and drag upwards to create a second curve going up. It will look as though you have dragged the new handle over the previous handle.
8. Add a new anchor point and drag down to finish the second curve.
9. Repeat step 6, 7 and 8 to create a third “upwards” curve.
10. To finish up, we need to convert from a curved point to a straight point. Once again, hold down Alt / Option and click once on your last anchor point.
11. Click again to put down your last anchor point. You should now have made a path that looks like this;
12. Ctrl / Cmd + click anywhere to complete the path.
You’ve no successfully joined straight and curved segments in a path drawn with the Pen Tool. This is the hardest part of drawing with the Pen Tool and the one you need to get the most practice with.
There is, of course, lots more to learn about the Pen tool, but at this stage, lots of practice combining straight segments and curves will turn you into a Pen-jockey really quickly.
A really good way to practice combining curves and straight points with the pen tool is to try drawing the outlines of letters. Start with easy ones like I and Z, then try lowercase T, S, P and so on. This is an exercise I give to my classes and they find it useful.
I hope you’ve found this tutorial on how to draw curves with the Pen Tool in Photoshop useful. There are more Pen Tool tutorials coming!
I’d be really grateful if you would share this post. Thank you! 🙂