In this Photoshop tutorial, we will draw realistic pencils and break them apart and rearrange them into word look like an beautiful typography using colorful art. The pencil is created in separate file and imported as a smart object to maintain its quality.
Before we start take a look at the image we’re going to create. Click here or click on the image to see it in full size.
- Time Needed: 45 minutes
- Software Used: Photoshop (CS2 above)
Souce Files Needed:
Step 1: Creating Pencil Tip
We’ll start by creating the pencil in separate pencil. Create new file, size: 782×25 px. At the end of this file, draw a triangle using polygon tool with sides: 3.
Create new layer and hit ctrl+alt+G to convert it to clipping mask. This way, everything we draw in this layer will be inside the pencil tip layer. With low opacity brush draw black in indicated areas to give the pencil tip 3D look.
Using small brush draw crown shapes in areas where the pencil’s tip and main body connects. Using hard brush (hardness: 95%) draw black in the end of the pencil tip.
Use pen tool to draw two poligon for reflection on the pencils tip. Change layer opacity to 30% to keep the reflection subtle.
Step 5: Draw Pencil’s Main Body
For the pencil’s main body draw a long rectangle and at the end subtract it with a crown shape. I use yellow for the pecils color. You may use any color you want, at the end of this tutorial we will learn that we can this color easily.
Create new layer and hit ctrl+alt+G to convert it to clipping mask. Draw black to white gradient. Change layers blending mode to Overlay with opacity 30%. This gradient will add 3D effect to the pencil.
Using rectangular marquee select middle part of the pencil. In the Layers panel, click Add Adjustment Layer icon and choose Levels. Drag white slider in Output Levels to 224. Hit ctrl+alt+G so only the pencils body affected by this adjustment layer.
This is similar to our previous step. Using rectangular marquee, select pencils lower body and add adjustment layer Levels. Right now, use smaller number in Output Levels.
Step 9: Draw Eraser
Pencil is always has an eraser on top of it. Create a red rounded rectangle at the beginning of the pencil. Make sure it is placed underneath the pencils main body. Create a new layer and convert it to clipping mask (ctrl+alt+G). Using soft brush, draw 1 px line on left side of the eraser, next draw some soft shadow with bigger soft brush.
Step 10: Draw Metal Connector
The eraser and pencil’s body is connected with a thin metal. Drawing this metal connector is quite unique. Start by creating a rectangular selection and fill it with black to white gradient. Open Curves (ctrl+M) and create a very wavy curves. Make sure the preview check box is selected so you can see the result instantly. Do this until you have a nice reflection on the metal.
Create a new shape layer then add two vertical rectangles and some small rounded rectangles. Add Bevel and Emboss with setting below and change fill layer to 0%.
Create new layer. Draw 1 px line next to the metal connector. This small line will add convincing 3D look.
Step 13: Draw Highlights
Activate pen tool and make sure you select path icon in the option bar. Draw a straight line on the pencil’s main body. Activate brush tool and set brush size to 3 px with hardness 0%. Create new layer. In the paths panel, right click path and choose Stroke Path. In the dialog box make sure you select Simulate Pressure.
Do the same to draw another reflection on lower part of the pencil. This time use smaller brush size and shorter path.
Step 15: Add Wood Texture
Our current pencil loos very clear and glossy. It look as if it is made from metal or plastic. Easy way to give this pencil a realistic look is by adding wood texture. You can search free wood texture from Mayang’s Free Texture Library. Download “light coloured wood texture” and paste it above the pencil. Select pencil without the metal connector and click Add Layer Mask icon. Change blend mode to Overlay with opacity 50%. As you can see, we now have a very realistic pencil. Save this file in psd format. Because we don’t need it anymore, you may close it.
Step 16: Preparing paper and text
Create a new file with size 3.368 x 1.024 pixel. Grab grunge paper texture and paste it on the new file, change layers opacity to 20%. Add text “LEARN” on it. Lower text opacity to 30%.
Step 17: Placing Pencil
Click File > Place and choose the pencil file we have created earlier. In the paste dialog box option choose Smart Object. Place the pencil on the L character. To make it realistic, try to give it more angle.
There’s no need to place another pencil file. Hit ctrl+J to copy first pencil and rotate it for the lower part of “L”.
This pencil is too long so it’s our job to break it. Activate lasso tool and create rough selection on part of the pencil that we will remove. Inverse the selection by pressing ctrl+shift+I and click Add Layer Mask icon to remove it.
Add new layer and make sure it is underneath the pencil layer. Set foreground color to black. Draw back part of the pencil using brush tool with brush size 2 px and hardness: 90%.
Repeat this step to another letter.
To make the pencils look realistic, make sure that every broken pencil has their own pair. You can see this in the picture below.
So far, here’s what we have.
I found that one color make the scene seems too boring. I want to give some pencils different color. In the Layers panel, click Add Adjustment Layer icon and choose Hue/Saturation. Move the hue slider untl you find the pencils color that you like. Now, fill the adjustment layer mask with black. Set foreground color with white and paint on the pencil you want to change.
Keep on painting the pencil you want to change. You can repeat Step 24 and use different hue setting for another color.
Finally, I want to add spotlight effect to the image. Add new adjustment layer Levels and change grey parameter to 0.63 (a). This setting makes overall image darker. Create elliptical selection on center of the image and fill it with black (b). Click Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a very big radius (c). These steps will add a big blurry black in the center of the mask and Levels only affect outer part of the image, thus creating a spotlight effect.
You can see that I draw a lot in this tutorial, sometimes using 1 px brush, some people may prefer to use layer style to achieve similar effect. However, that’s your personal choice, use techniques suit you best. I hope you like the final result and learn one or two techniques from this tutorial. If you have trouble, don’t hesitate to write a comment below.
Click here or click on the image to see it in full size.