Drawing Basics
Getting Acquainted with Shapes, Pattern Fills, Layers, and Brushes

Start a new document (File > New > Blank Document):

File New Document

At the new document dialog box you want to set up the document to appear on a 8.5 X 11 inch document set to landscape. Fill in the information shown below:

Document Setup

Now locate your layer's palette. It should appear at the right of your document. If you do not see it, click on Window and select Layers. Notice below that layer has a check beside it. That means that the palette is already open.


Click on the Shape tool (highlighted in red below) to open the drop-down menu of the many shapes that are available in Elements. Select the Rectangle Tool.

Shape Tool


On the color palette choose a foreground color that you want your house to be. Don't waste too much time on this because later we will fill the house in with a pattern fill. I choose a light beige.

Color Palette

Click on the canvas and while holding down the left mouse, drag out the bottom of your house.

House Base

At the layers palette you will see that Layer 1and a layer name Shape 1 above it. Double click the name Shape 1 and rename it House Base.

Layers Palette House Base

Click back on the shapes tool and select the Polygon tool Polygon Shape. On the settings panel at the top of the document window make sure you set 3 for the number of sides. Notice the color you selected for your foreground color is shown in the option settings:

Polygon Setting

Now again simply left click you mouse and drag out your triangle. Don't worry if it does not appear the way you want it to. We will use the free transform tool to set the triangle correctly on top of the house. Once your triangle is drawn out select Image > Transform Shape > Free Transform Shape (Ctrl + T).

Free Transform

Click on the handles (highlighted in red) to resize of turn the roof until you get it where you want it. Click in the center of triangle, while holding down your left mouse to move it (highlighted in green). Click the green check box when you are happy with your alterations.

Free Transform

Double click Shape 2 and name it Roof. Your layer's palette should look like the one below:

Roof Layer

Now comes the fun part. We are going to use pattern fills to make the house look realistic. Click on the link below to open the Pattern Fills tutorial. When you are finished saving your patterns, close the window and return to this tutorial.

Creating and Saving Pattern Fills

Click on the House Base layer to select it. Your House Base layer will appear blue. Select Edit > Fill Layer:

Fill Layer

Select Patterns from the Preset Type

Beige Stucco Selected

Select the beige stucco pattern. Your House Base should now appear to filled with the beige stucco pattern. Click on the Roof layer and fill this layer with the roof pattern. Your picture should be similar to the one below:

Pattern Fill

Select the rectangle shape tool and to create a window. The color doesn't matter because we are going to fill it with the Yellow Stained Glass pattern. We will only create one window then duplicate the layer to have two windows in all. Draw out your window, then select Edit > Fill layer. Fill the layer with the yellow fill.

Yellow Window

Next we will add a black line to create the illusion of panes. First select black as your foreground color. Then select the line tool Line Tool from the shapes drop-down menu. While holding down the Shift key (this will allow you to draw a straight line) drag across the window horizontally. Then repeat drawing the line vertically. Your window should now look like this:

Window Pane

Now we want to group the window with the lines. If you notice in you layers palette that they are on two separate layers that contain you window. One with the lines and the square with the pattern fill. We will merge these layers and then rename the layer window. First click on the eye icon Eye Icon on the Roof and House Base layers to hide them. The eye icon should disappear along with your roof and house base on the canvas:

Combine Layers

Now go to Layer > Merge Visible:

Merge Visable

Your window is now merged and is given the default name of Layer 1. Click on the text Layer 1 and type in Window for the layer name:

Merged Layers

Click on the space where the eye icon appeared before to turn back on the layers visibility on both the Roof and House Base layer. Now all we have to do is duplicate the Window layer to have two identical windows. Simply right click on the Window layer and select Duplicate Layer. Leave the default name of Window copy.

Duplicate Layer

Now drag the Window copy in the document window to where you want it to appear on the house.

Two Windows

Now select the rectangle tool and drag out a door. Fill it with the wood pattern. Name this layer door:

Wood Door

Select the oval tool and drag out the door knob. The color doesn't matter because we are going to use the wow chrome filter that comes packaged with Elements. At the Artwork and Effects palette select Layer Styles from the Special Effects drop-down menu, then select Wow Chrome. Double click the Wow-Chrome Shiny Edge filter shown below to apply this chrome to the door handle.

Chrome Filter

Your house should now look similar to the one below:


Now we want to add a landscape to your picture. First we will create a brush that will be the trunk of a tree. Now you could just draw a tree trunk with the brush tool if you are creative, however will create a brush that will represent the trunk. Click on the link below to learn how to create custom shapes.

Creating Custom Shapes

Click on the brush tool Brush Tool then in the option settings located at the top of your document window click on the show select brushes preset the scroll down until you see the tree trunk brush you just saved.

Tree Trunk Brush

Change the foreground color of the color palette to brown. Make the brush the size that will complement your house. I used the settings below:

Brush Settings

Now you have created a tree trunk brush. Next we will apply it to the canvas. Click on the canvas where you want the trunk to appear. Don't move your brush! Click several more times to get a darker picture. Then place another tree on the other side of your house if you like:

Tree Brush Shape.

Now we need to add some leaves to the trees. We will use another brush for this. First select a foreground color for your leaves. I choose orange. Next choose the brush. The brush is called the maple leaves brush found under the default brushes shown below.

Maple Leaves Brush

Now we need to decide how scattered (how far out) the leaves will span. Click on the More Options at the top of the document window. Turn down the scatter way down. I used five as my scatter percent.

Brush Scatter Options

Now begin clicking around the limbs to add leaves. Change the foreground color, I choose green, and click around the limbs again. Here is what I have so far.


Now we will add some sand and grass. Click the new layer icon New Layer to create a layer that the sand and grass will appear. Name this layer yard. Drag the layer to the bottom of the layers palette by left clicking on the layer and pulling it under the House Base layer:

Drag Layer

Select a light sandy foreground color for the ground. Click on the brush tool and select a soft round brush size 65:

Soft Round Brush

Lower the brushes Opacity to 74%.


Start dragging the brush across the canvas to cover the yard area.

Brush Sand

Now we will add some grass to the sand. Create a new layer called Grass. This layer should be just above the sand layer. We will use another brush, the grass brush:

Grass Brush

Choose a dark green foreground and light green background color and adjust the size of the brush on the options panel to about 60. Set the Opacity to 100%. Click around on the grass layer to add grass. Try holding down the mouse and dragging back and forth. Here is what I have so far:

Grass Brush

Add another layer named sky and drag it to the very bottom of the layers palette. We will use the Gradient tool Gradient Tool to create the effect for the sky. Set the foreground color to a blue with the background color white. Click on the gradient tool from the tool bar, make sure you are on the sky layer, and drag the mouse from the top of the painting down to just below the ground horizontal line.

Drag Gradient

Now we are going to add some simple shapes to the picture. Click the custom shapes tool:

Custom Shapes

In the options panel at the top of your document window, click the arrow by the Shape box More Shapes, click on the more options button More Options, then select the Nature option.

More Options Custom Shapes

You should now see the shapes shown above. I want to add clouds to my drawing. FYI - If the shape is solid black, that indicates that the foreground color will show where the black is. If the shape is white, that means that the foreground color will be just on the outline and be transparent where the white shows. First we need to make sure the settings are correct for our shape. Pick a color for your cloud. Click the down arrow next to your style drop down and click Simple Outline.

Simple Outline

Simple click on the canvas and drag out a few clouds. Next select one of the sun shapes, remembering to change the color. Feel free to add flowers or other shapes. Here is what I have so far:


Now we want to add a frame to your masterpiece. Create a new document the same size as your drawing, 8.5 X 11 inch. At this new document, click on the Decorate with Frames, Backgrounds, Graphics and Shapes button Decorate with Frames on the Artwork and Effects palette. Select Frames from the first drop-down list then select show all. Scroll through the frames until you find one that will compliment you drawing.


Double click the frame to apply it to the document. Once the frame appears on the document you will need to stretch it to cover the entire page. Click Image > Transform Shape > Free Transform Shape.

Transform Shape

Using the sizing handles drag the frame out to fill the document window. Click the green check to confirm your sizing.

Frame for House

Locate your photo in the photo bin at the bottom of the document window. Simply click on your drawing and while holding down your left mouse, drag the picture up and into the frame.

Drag Drawing

Once the photo appears inside the frame you will notice a slider at the top of the frame. This adjust the size of the drawing. Play around with it until you get the size you want. Click the green check when you have it like you want.

Resize Photo

Here is my finished masterpiece!!!


Back to Paintshop Elements Tutorials