Useful Digital Skills for Artists

Imaging Skills

Print& Scan

Web Skills

Cynthia Beth Rubin

Basic Painting in Adobe Photoshop

1. Open up a new Document in Adobe Photoshop

  • Use the Pressure Sensitive Pen to Launch Photoshop, so that it will know that you have a tablet (otherwise you will not be able to paint properly)

  • Click on the Launcher to Open Photoshop
    (or go to Applications on Hard Drive)
    (or go to Graphics Applications under the little Apple in the upper left)

  • Under FILE go to NEW

  • Under FILE go to Preferences and make sure that the following preferences are selected:
    • SAVING FILES change to Append File Extension ALWAYS
    • DISPLAY and CURSORS: change to Brush Size and and Precise
    • UNITS to Pixels (keep traditional)
    • TRANSPARENCY and GAMUT set grid size to Medium, Color to Gray

  • Choose:
    • a small size (600 x 400 pixels)
    • white background
    • RGB

2. Select your brush to make a simple line or form in Adobe Photoshop.

  • Choose the Brush tool

    note: Photoshop 7 has a new (not intuitive) interface. These instructions are for Photoshop 6. New instructions coming ....
  • The menu at the top of the page will change to look like this:

    To choose your brush, press on the little arrow next to the window with the image of the brush, and the brushes window will appear. Click on an anti-aliased brush (one with soft edges)

  • Leave the Mode on Normal, and do not choose wet edges.

  • If you are using a pressure sensitive pen, the opacity should always be at 100% in this window - instead use the window below.

    To Make the Brush pressure sensitive, go to the far right of the top menu, and press down on the little arrows, and choose stylus for pressure (and size if you prefer).

3. Choose the Paint Color

  • At the bottom of the Tool Bar you will find the color box. .
  • To Change the Paint Color, hit the upper color in the color box (red in the example above). This brings up the Color Picker.
  • Click on the Color that you want to choose value and saturation, and slide the bar up and down the color bar to choose hue.
  • To have Black and White as your colors, hit the small Black and white box next to the color box.

4. Begin Painting!

  • Change Colors as you go along.
  • Change Brushes as you go along.



  • SAVE your page in the right folder (the one that you defined). Make sure that everything that you need is in the right folder.
  • Under FILE, go Down to SAVE.
  • Get in the Habit of SAVING as you go along.

6. Experiment with Transforming your Image

  • SAVE another version of your Image.
    • Under FILE, go Down to SAVE AS.
    • Give your image a new name with a variation.

  • Transform your Image:
    • Under EDIT go down to TRANSFORM and over to SCALE
    • Pull on the little boxes until the image is slightly larger. Then hit the RETURN on your keyboard, or the . in the upper right of the menu

  • Follow the same method for rotation, etc.

7. Adjust the Colors of your Image

  • Under IMAGE go down to ADJUST and down to Hue/Saturation
  • Adjust all of the Colors under "Master" (dialog box opens with this)
  • To adjust just a single color range, hit on "Master" until the names of other Colors appear and select these colors.
  • Under the Same Menu you will find other ways to change Color (Color Balance, Levels, Curves)