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Vector Drawing Tutorial for Paint Shop Pro - Page 1
Paint Shop Pro Tutorial by Arizona Kate

Pretty Kitty by Arizona Kate

"Pretty Kitty"

We will be creating the pretty kitty shown here while learning to draw with the vector tools in Paint Shop Pro. This tutorial was written for those who are new to vector tools and each step is explained in detail. It may appear to be a very long tutorial ...but don't let that scare you away ....we'll only need a few shapes to create our pretty kitty.

Tutorial was written for Paint Shop Pro version 8. Version 9 vector tools are similar and users shouldn't have any trouble following along. These newer versions of PSP have a different interface than version 7, with some new tool palettes, so I've included notations, where needed, for users of PSP 7.


With Paint Shop Pro, we can create 2 different types of graphics ...raster and vector. Raster graphics are made by editing individual pixels (sometimes called bitmap). Vector graphics are a combination of shapes (called 'objects') that are created with lines and curves mathematically drawn using x-y coordinates. Luckily, Paint Shop Pro silently calculates the coordinates for you as you draw the vector object!

Vector drawing may involve a different set of tools and a different way of drawing than you're used to. One of the major benefits of working with vector objects is that they can be resized, smaller OR larger, without losing image quality. Another benefit is the ability to change your colors, line widths, etc., mid-way thru project ....always an advantage for the creative mind!! ;-)


Open new image, 300 pixels wide by 400 high, 72 ppi, 16 million colors, raster background checked. I like to use a solid white background while I'm drawing, I find it easier on the eyes than checkerboard (transparent). When drawing is done, the background is easily changed to another color (or transparent).

PSP 7 users: The New Image dialog box will not include the 'raster background' checkbox ...all backgrounds are raster.

Note: Vector objects must be on vector layers. If you try to create a vector object on a raster layer, PSP will automatically create a new vector layer.

The next step is to create a new VECTOR layer; name it CAT. Blend mode normal, opacity 100.

layer palette

PSP 7 users: Your Layer Palette will look a little different but functions, for the most part, the same as PSP 8.

Preset Shapes

The first tool we'll be using is called Preset Shapes and is found in the toolbar along the left side of your workspace.

3 ellipse

Select the Preset Shapes tool and draw 3 ellipse shapes, any size, any placement on canvas. When you select the tool, a new toolbar appears above your work area. Use these settings:

  • Shape - ellipse
  • Retain style - UNchecked
  • Anti-alias - checked
  • Create as vector - checked
  • Line style - solid, width 1, join miter

Select your colors from the Materials Palette: Foreground/stroke color=black and background/fill=any color. We may decide on a fill pattern for kitty later, but for now let's use a solid color.

PSP 7 users: The Materials Palette in PSP 8 has the same function as the Color Palette in PSP 7 (it just has a new name & more options!).

Object Selector

The next tool we'll use is the Object Selector. With this tool you can select one or more objects for editing. Once an object is selected, a bounding box with handles will surround the selected object(s). Use the handles on the bounding box to resize, rotate, or distort an object. To select a vector object with the Object Selector:

  • Click the object you want to select.
  • To select multiple objects, press Shift and click on each additional object
  • You can also drag the cursor to create a selection rectangle around an object or you can drag the cursor around multiple objects to select more than one. The selection rectangle must enclose all objects completely or they will be left out of the selection.
  • You can also select objects from the Layer Palette.... we'll explain that in a moment!

You'll notice that when the Object Selector is active, a new tool palette appears above your work area with options for aligning vector objects and setting vector Properties. Shown here is the Properties icon found at the far right of the Object Selector tool palette. We'll be selecting this later when we change from a solid fill to a pattern fill.

PSP 7 users: A new tool palette does NOT appear when Object Selector is active. Change properties in PSP 7 using the Properties button in the Tool Options dialog box.

edit shapes

Use the Object Selector to position and shape your 3 ellipses similar to and in approximately the same positions shown in the screenshot above. To re-size and re-shape, click and drag one of the corner or edge handles of the bounding box (which appears when object is selected). The ellipse shape on the bottom layer will become the tail, the one in the center will become his hips and back feet and the ellipse on top will be the front legs and head.

rename layers

Let's be tidy and rename those 3 objects on the Layer Palette. To the left of the layer button for CAT is a + sign. Click that and all the sub-layers will appear. Select each button, right click to Rename each button as FRONT, REAR, and TAIL. As you select each button, notice that the bounding box appears around the object in your drawing. Having the buttons named for each object becomes especially helpful when you create something from many, many objects! You can also re-arrange the position of the layers from top to bottom, by simply dragging the sub-layer button on the Layer Palette to a new position within it's 'parent' layer.

Continued on page 2...

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