All the content on this Toy Kitty site is protected by International Copyright laws. If photos or graphics were created by anyone other than Susie, it will be noted and the copyright will remain with the creator. Please respect these copyrights. Any similarity to any other tutorial is coincidental. You may download my tutorials for personal use. You may share them within a group, if you write and ask my permission first. The image you create from this tutorial is yours to do with as you please.
Let's draw a toy kitty!
This tutorial will show how to make a small toy kitty using vectors. There is not much node manipulation, but for what there is, I will give as detailed instructions as I can. There will also be many screen shots, so this page is rather graphic intensive. I also will be giving suggestions on some things, so that you can use your own creativity to make this little kitty all your own.
I wrote this in PSP version 9, but I am sure it will work with other versions as well. There are no other supplies needed. You do need to know how to work with layers and a minimal knowledge of vectors.
To save on my typing, for the colors, I will just use the words stroke and fill - stroke referring to the top color box which is the foreground and fill referring to the bottom box which is the background. Also since this is a toy animal, it can be virtually any color/colors you choose. You can even use a pattern for the fill. My favorite color is green, so that is what I will be using for this one. You will be working on a transparent image, but so the screen shots are easier to see, I will be using a white background.
Open a 400x400 transparent image. This will give us some room to play with and we can crop later.
Add a vector layer, name it body. At this time, I would suggest you save this as a pspimage, and to save each time you add a new layer. I won't remind you very often, but I will try to remind you to save.
Open your preset shape tool, selecting the ellipse with the following settings: Retain Style-unchecked; Create as vector and Anti-alias - checked; solid line style; Width - 0.5. We will be using these same settings for each of the shapes we draw until we get to the face parts (eyes, nose, mouth).
Stroke - black; Fill - lite green #80ff80 or color or pattern of your choice. Draw your ellipse about 150 x 100 in the lower center of your image. As you are drawing your ellipse, look at the bottom of your screen and you will see the numbers as you pull your ellipse into its shape. If you let go of the button on your mouse, before you are finished, you will lose your numbers though.
Click on your pen tool to edit and activate the nodes. You will see the nodes appear - little square boxes - left click on the bottom node and "handles" will appear. Click on the right end of the right handle and pull it slightly straight out to the right - this will give you a rounded square appearance to the lower part of the body, as well as flatten out the bottom line of the ellipse. Then do the same to the left handle, but don't pull it out as far.
Click on the node at the left of your ellipse. When the handles appear, pull the top end up until you have a "neck" for your kitty.
Add a new vector layer, name it front leg. Use your ellipse tool again, same settings, same colors - draw an ellipse near the front of the body - size 30 x 70.
Activate the pen tool. Click on the bottom node, and your handles will magically appear. Pull on each one to flatten out the bottom of the leg.
Click on the left node to activate it, still using the pen tool. Tap the right arrow key 5 times to "nudge" the node over. Then tap on the opposite right node and tap it 5 times to nudge it over. This will give us a slight curve in the leg. If you would undo it, it would say undo nudge, that is why I call it nudge. I find it easier to do these slight moves with the arrow keys than to use the mouse. It gives me more control over the movements.
Activate the object selector tool, so that you can angle the leg a bit.
Duplicate this layer and move it below the body layer. I often right click on the ellipse layer and click on Select None then I can see the move easier and also can highlight exactly which layer I want to work on.
Activate the copy of front leg layer. Toggle off the visibility to the front leg layer by clicking on the little eye icon in the layer palette. Activate the Object selector tool and move the copy leg a bit to the left so that it will show up beyond the front leg.
Click on your front leg layer eye icon with the red x on it to turn the visibility back on and this is what you should have in your image.
Activate your body layer and add a new vector layer, name it back leg. Using the preset shapes tool and the ellipse shape, draw an ellipse about 65 x 65, with the same settings. Once drawn you can move it into place while the dotted box is still around it.
Click on your pen tool to manipulate or move the nodes.
Click on the left node and pull the bottom handle out and down to the left.
Click on the bottom node, pull the left handle straight out to the left. This will help to flatten the bottom of the leg.
Pull on the right handle - straight out to continue to flatten the bottom of the leg and shape the back of leg.
Click on the top node, tap the up arrow key about 10 times.
Click on the left node again, pull the top arrow up and to the left.
Tap the down arrow key 3 times to lower the node. You can play with these handles and nodes to get the shape you want. It doesn't have to look exactly like mine.
Activate the body layer, add a new vector layer, name it head. Using the ellipse shapes tool, same settings as previously used, draw a circle about 90 x 90.
I left my head as a circle, but you can manipulate the nodes to make the shape a bit different, if you want. This is a good place to play and practice your node manipulation - and remember, you can always use the undo!!
Activate the body layer again, add a new vector layer and name it ear. Use the ellipse tool again, with the same settings and draw a small ellipse about 24 x 34. Pull on the handle that is sticking out of the box up to angle your ear.
Activate your pen tool to alter the nodes. Right click on the top node, and the following screen will appear (as in the screen shot), left click on the convert to line. Your ear is now shaped!
Duplicate the ear layer and mirror or move to the other side of the head.
Activate your bottom raster layer, add a new vector layer, name it tail. Using your ellipse shape again with the same settings, draw an ellipse about 155 x 20. I drew mine below my kitty image to have room to play with it.
Activate your pen tool to move the nodes on the tail. Click on one of the nodes at the end. You will have to look hard to see the tiny handles, but as you move your cursor over the ends you should see two tiny arrows meaning you can pull on that - pull each handle up or down to widen the end of the tail. Do this on each end. To make it easier to see these handles, zoom your image to about 300%.
Activate either the top or bottom middle node, and use your up and down keys to tap 10 times on each of these nodes. This will give you a curve in your tail. Add two more nodes - one on the top and one on the bottom, midway between the original top and bottom nodes, and the right end node. To add a node - hold your cursor over the line and you will see a small wavy line, hold down your control key and the little word ADD will appear where the wavy line was - click to add the node.
Activate each node in turn and tap the up and down arrow keys 15 times - I clicked down on the two nodes to get my shape of a modified S, but if you click up, the tail will curve around the other direction, but still in an S shape.
Your tail can be finished now, if this is a shape you want. If you would like a bit more shape or curve, now is the time to play with it. If you activate the right end node and tap the up arrow about 3-5 times, it will move it straight up from where it is now. However, it now is pointed. To make it rounded again, pull on the little handles until you get the shape you want - mostly the top handle would be up and to the left and the bottom handle would be to the right. These are small moves, so be careful.
Using the Object selector tool, move the tail in place and then using the handle, move to the angle you want the tail to be.
Our vector kitty is finished for drawing the shapes. You can now save it as vector shapes to make it easier to draw the kitty again with change in size or colors - but be sure you rename each ellipse layer to what part it is or you will lose your ellipse for a shape. If you want to adjust or change the shape of any part, now is the time to do it.
Now it is time to convert each layer to a raster layer. I had you use a 0.5 width of black for the stroke, this was to make it easier to see each part as they went on top of each other. You can leave this in or you can remove it prior to converting to the raster layer. I think it looks better without it. To make it easier to see my shapes after they are converted, I do a cutout on each layer, right after I convert it.
If you want to remove the black line, double click on each ellipse sub-layer and then click on the box for the stroke - this will remove it, then click ok.
I start at the bottom of my layer palette and work my way up. So the first layer I work on will be the tail. I removed the black outline, and converted to a raster layer by right clicking on the tail layer. Click on Convert to raster layer. Go to Selections, Select All, Float. There are now marching ants around my tail!!
Go to Effects, 3D Effects, Cutout - using these settings - V & H - 1, Opacity - 30; Blur - 10, Shadow Color - black. Click ok. Repeat the Cutout, changing the V & H to minus 1. Then deselect by either going to Selections, Select none, or by clicking on the Ctrl key and the D key.
Do the same to each of the other parts/layers - except change the blur on the body to 15. Remember to repeat the cutout, changing the V & H to minus 1.
Once you have converted all the layers, and added the cutout to each one, this is what your kitty should look like now.
Oops, I lied to you - we do have some more vector layers, but minimum or no node adjustment. Activate your head layer, add a new vector layer, name it muzzle. Change your fill color to a lighter color or what ever you want - I used a paler shade of green, #b8feb8; stroke - off or null. Use your ellipse tool again, and draw an ellipse about 65 x 35.
Once you have it placed where you want, convert it to a raster layer. Selections, Select All, Float. Effects, 3D Effects, Cutout. V & H - 1, Opacity - 30; Blur - 20; Color - #008000, or color of your choice - just make it a darker shade of the color you are using. You can use black if you want but the shading won't be as subtle.
Activate your muzzle layer, add a new vector layer, name it eye. Stroke - black; Fill - black. Using the ellipse preset shape with the same settings, draw a small ellipse about 15 x 15 - you can make it a bit smaller - like 12 x 12 if you want.
Move it into place, then convert to a raster layer. Effects, 3D Effects, Inner Bevel. Choose the preset for round, or if you don't have that preset, use the settings in the screen shot and save them as a preset naming it round. That way you will have the settings for future use.
Duplicate the eye and move it into place.
Again, activate the muzzle layer, add a new vector layer, name it nose. You can use the same colors and shape as you did for the eye, or you can use a heart shape and black or pink shades for the color. I am using the heart shape. If you start your heart shape from the top, you will have to flip it to get it in the right position. If you start the drawing from the bottom, it will show up in the correct position. I used heart 1 from my preset shapes. I used a shade of bright pink #ff40ff. Turn off the stroke color - make it null. Size 18 x 18.
Move it into place and convert to a raster layer. Effects, 3D Effects, Inner Bevel.
Activate the muzzle layer again, add a new vector layer, name it mouth. I used the same colors and shape as I did for the nose. This time, put the pink or whatever color you choose for the stroke, background null (turned off). Change the width to 2, and again draw the heart shape upside down by starting the heart at the bottom and draw up. Size 45 x 20. This will give us an outline of the heart and we will delete the point part to give us the mouth.
Convert to a raster layer once you have the size and shape you want. Then apply the Selection tool as a rectangle or I use the Point to Point Freehand Selection tool to draw around what I want to get rid of. Once you have your marching ants in place, hit delete and the point of the heart will disappear.
Add a new raster layer above the mouth layer, activate your pen tool. Pink or whatever color you made the mouth in the stroke, fill still being null. Select the straight line and draw a line from the nose to the center of the mouth. If you use the straight line, just click on the lower part of the nose where you want your line to start, then click on the center line of the mouth - you will have a straight line! There will be no real drawing! My mouth was a little too close to the nose, so I moved it down some. Once you have your line drawn as you want it - I redid mine a few times - then right click on that raster layer and left click on Merge down - it will then merge into the mouth layer.
Time for some whiskers. I find the easiest way to do these are to do one side, duplicate it and mirror it. If I want straight whiskers, I use the straight line - the easiest, but some times I want them curved, so then I make sure the zoom is at 300% so that any shakiness is not noticed when it is at its actual size!
Add a new raster layer, name it whiskers. Pen tool either for straight line or free hand, stroke black, fill null!
Here is our kitty so far.
Now it is time for the fine tuning. If you look closely at your image, you might see that it is a bit out of proportion, and since the back leg is in a sitting position, the rear needs to be lowered.
If yours looks disproportionate as my image does, activate your body layer. Use the raster deform tool and do the resizing with it. You can also the same tool to angle the rear end down so it looks like he is actually sitting.
I also need to do the same procedure with my back leg.
Now we are going to merge all the face parts together - click on the top layer of your face parts which should be "copy of eye" - right click on this layer, and then click on Merge Down - your layer should say eye, but will have both layers merged. Continue to do this, merging one layer at a time into the one below it until it just says muzzle - you can rename it face, or leave it as muzzle. I resized the muzzle layer 85%. You can either do it this way, or use the raster deform tool again, as I showed for the body and the back leg. You might also have to adjust the placement of the face/muzzle. To my eye, these three places seemed out of proportion to the rest of the kitty, but if you are happy with what yours looks like, just skip this part.
Here is what the kitty looks like now.
Now move the tail, and the front legs to where they look better - to the left for the tail and the front legs up and to the right. Use your imagination! This is what my kitty looks like now.
You are now finished. I save my image as it is, but duplicate it by holding the shift key and click the D key. I then merge the duplicated image to export as a tube.
If you would like to have your kitty sitting upright, please continue on to the remainder of the tutorial. The easiest way to do the other version, is to duplicate your original pspimage Then activate your body layer and turn off the visibility to it. Add a new vector layer on top of your hidden body layer and follow the directions below. Save it as sittingkitty.pspimage or whatever name you want.
If you would like your kitty to be sitting up, the following directions will make the variations in the body.
Using the ellipse shape with the same settings, and the same colors you used before draw an ellipse 100 x 125.
Activate the pen tool to edit and move the nodes. Click on the right side node to edit, and pull the handles until you get the shape similar to what is in the screen shot.
Right click on the same node, change to symmetric. That will change the point to a smooth line.
Click on the left node and tap it to the right 10 times. Your body should be shaped for the kitty to be sitting.
Once you have the body shape the way you want it. Double click on your ellipse sub-layer, and when the properties box appears, click on the stroke box to turn the stroke off. Then convert it to a raster layer.
Selections/Select all. Selections/Float. We will be using the same cutout that we have used before, but here are the settings again. V & H 1; Opacity 30; Blur 15; shadow color black. Reapply the cutout, changing the V & H to -1 (minus 1).
You can use the other parts to complete this kitty. Make sure you use the parts you might have done the fine tuning to, so the proportions will look right.
The kitty sitting up is now finished. I think it is a cutie. I hope you do, too. I saved this image as it is, and then duplicated it by holding down the shift key and clicking on the D key. I then closed my original pspimage. I merged visible the duplicated image and exported it as a tube. If you think you might want to animate the tail to show it moving a bit as cats sometimes do, highlight the tail layer, copy and paste as a new image. Export it as a tube. Then turn the visibility off to the tail, and highlight one of your other layers, right click on the highlighted layer, and Merge/Merge visible and you can then export that as a tube.
I hope you enjoyed creating this little toy kitty and have fun playing with him.
Note: I have added some further explanations on vector nodes on the following page.
This tutorial was created February, 2007.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions. Send email to susie