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Cartoon Whale

Tutorial for PSP 7


In this lesson we will cover:

  • Drawing, Sizing and Rotating shapes

  • Layering shapes

  • Duplicating shapes

  • Drawing curves

  • Editing curves

  • Fitting text to a curved line

Create a new image - 600x400 white background

Layers – New Vector Layer

On the colour pallet, set your Foreground colour (left box) to a dark shade of blue, and set your Background colour (right box) to a light shade blue.   Make sure both foreground and background colours are set to be solid colours.

Make sure your Tool Options pallet is turned on (showing). Press the O key on your keyboard to toggle it on/off


Draw The Body:

  • Select the Shapes tool

  • On the Tool Options, make sure Create As Vector is ticked and that Retain Style is NOT ticked

  • From the pull down list on the Tool Options pallet, choose the Tear Drop shape tool – you will probably have to scroll a long way down the list to find it.

  • Point somewhere in the upper left area of your image and drag diagonally down to the right lower area to draw a large tear drop shape.

  • Click on the Object Selector tool

  • Click on the tear drop (you will know it is selected when there is a fine line around it with handles on the corners and sides)

  • Move your mouse pointer over the tear drop’s rotation handle, and when the  pointer changes shape to rounded arrows, drag the rotation handle down and to the left to turn the tear drop on its side, with the point of the tear drop to the right. (this is the whale’s body)

  • Adjust the size/shape of this shape (by dragging the handles) so that it fills about ¾ of the space and is nearer the left end of the space than the right.


Draw The Tail:

  • Click the Preset Shapes tool – it should still be set to the tear drop shape.

  • Click in the clear space at the right of the image and drag diagonally downwards to draw a tear drop shape approx. half the height of the whale’s body.

  • Click the Object Selector tool.

  • Click on the shape you have just drawn and rotate it so that it is leaning just to the right of vertical, with its tip pointing downwards.  Then, move it, so that its tip touches the tip of the whale’s body.

  • With this object (the small tear drop) still selected, click the copy button on the tool bar or press Ctrl-C on the keyboard.

  • Press Ctrl-G and then click the mouse in the clear area in the lower right area of the image.

  • Rotate this 2nd small tear drop so that it is on its side, with the point to the left, and then move it so that its point meets the point of the whale’s body.


Make The Flippers:

  • Press Ctrl-G on the keyboard and click the mouse in clear area below the whale.  Make sure you have the Object Selector tool, and rotate this shape so that the tip of the tear is pointing diagonally up to the left.  Then, move this shape into position (at the widest part of the whale’s body and overhanging the lower edge) as one of the whale’s flippers.

  • With the first flipper still selected, press Ctrl-C then Ctrl-G to make a copy of it.

  • Move the 2nd flipper shape to the left of the 1st and rotate it so that the tip of the tear is pointing diagonally up to the right.  It’s bottom half should overhang the whale’s body.

  • Click the Objects menu, Arrange – Send To Bottom.  This pushes the flipper behind the whale’s body

The Whales Mouth:

It is very important when drawing curves, that you DRAG to make the straight line between the ends of the curve and do NOT click the mouse at the start.  You must point where you want to start, and hold the button down, and not release it until you are at the other end of the curve.

  • Click on the Line tool.

  • On the Tool Options, select the option for Bezier Curve

  • Drag with the mouse, from left to right, to draw a line 1/3 of the way up the face of the whale (the fat end of the body), about 1 inch across (from points A to B).

  • Then click ¼ inch below the line, ¼ inch from the left hand end and again ¼ inch from the right hand end, ¼ inch below the line (at points B and C).  Finally, click on the object selector tool.

  • Click on the Properties button on the Tool Options.

  • Turn off the fill colour.

  • Change the Stroke colour to black and the Stroke Width to 3

  • Click OK

The curve needs to made tighter at the left hand end:

  • Click Node Edit on the Tool Options

  • Click the Node at the left hand end of the curve.   An arrow will appear which passes through the node point.  Drag the right hand end of this arrow downwards a little.  Right click the mouse and choose “Quit Node Editing” from the pop-up menu, to Exit Node Editing mode.

  • Adjust the position of the mouth if necessary so that it just touches the left hand edge of the whale’s body.











Make The Whale’s Eye:

  • Click the Preset Shapes tool

  • On the Tool Options, select the Ellipse tool

  • Drag diagonally to draw a small oval.

  • Click the Object Selector tool

  • Click the Properties button on the Tool Options

  • Change the Fill colour to black

  • Adjust the size/position of the eye if necessary

  • With the eye selected, press Ctrl-C and then Ctrl-G to duplicate it.

  • Click at the top of the whale’s head to place the duplicate there as the whale’s blow hole.

The Spouting Water:

  • Set your foreground colour to dark blue and your background colour to white.

  • Click on the Line Tool

  • On the Tool Options, select the Bezier Curve option

  • In the space above the whale’s body, drag downwards to draw a vertical line about 1 inch long (points A to B). Then click the mouse ¼ inch from the top and to the left of the line (point C), and again to the right of the line, ¼ inch from the bottom (point D).

  • Click the Object Selector tool

  • Click the Properties button on the Tool Options pallet.

  • Turn off the Fill colour

  • Change the Stroke colour to Gradient.  The default gradient is Foreground – Background colour, which is what we need.

  • Click on the gradient swatch, and click the Edit button to modify the gradient.  Move the slider on top of the colour bar so that it is slightly nearer to the blue end than the white end.

  • Click on OK to exit the gradient edit, click OK again to exit the gradient settings.

  • Change the Stroke width to 3

  • Click OK on the properties box.

  • Move the ‘S’ shape into position so that its bottom tip just overlaps the blow-hole.

  • Press Ctrl-C then Ctrl-G to duplicate it.  Position the duplicate near the original and rotate it slightly, so that the tops of the lines are further apart than the bottoms.  

  • Repeat Ctrl-G, position and rotate twice more.   You can make some of the ‘S’ shape lines slightly smaller than the others if you wish.



Text on a Wavy Line:

  • Turn off your background colour and make sure your foreground colour is turned on (it doesn’t matter what colour it is)

  • Click the Line tool, and select Bezier Curve on the Tool Options pallet.

  • In the blank area below your whale, drag to create a curve across the full width of the whale – Drag from point A to B and then click at points C and D

  • Click the Object Selector Tool

  • Drag the bottom, right corner of the image window down and to the right to make the window bigger than the image (make it as big as you can).

  • Click the Node Edit button on the Tool Options pallet

  • Click the node at point A, then drag the point of the arrow down and out a little to make the curve fuller. Then, do the same for the node at point B.  Right click the mouse and choose “Quit Node Editing” from the pop-up menu.


  • For the text, set your background colour to the Fill colour you want for your text and the foreground colour to the line colour you want to use, if any.  I used a dark blue for my foreground, and white for my background and set my background to gradient. 

  • Click on the Text Tool

  • Click between the wavy line and the whale.  Set your font to Comic Sans MS size 20 and then type your text in the box (clearing any text that is there first).  You should see a preview of your text on the image.  When you are happy with your colours, font and text size, click on the OK button.

  • Click on the Object Selector

  • Use the handles on the text object to adjust its size so it is just slightly longer than the wavy line.

Make The Text Follow The Line:

  • Hold down the shift key while clicking on the wavy line.  You should now have a selection box around both the text and the wavy line.

  • Click the Objects menu and select Fit Text To Path

  • Move the text so it is in position underneath the whale – or wherever you want it to be.

Make The Line Invisible:

  • Turn on your layer pallet.

  • Click the + sign next to the vector layer symbol. 

  • The top item should be the text, and the one below it should say Bezier.  Click on the word Bezier just below the text.  You should see the selection box move to be around the wavy line.   Click the spectacle symbol to turn off the line.

  • Finally, adjust the position of the text up or down a bit if you need to.


That’s the whale drawn.  If you want to keep the vector objects when you save, then save in PSP format.  Or, for use on the web, save in .gif or .jpg format.

To convert the whale into a tube, first go to Layers menu and choose Convert To Raster Layer, then delete the background layer - this should leave you with the whale on a transparent background, so you can export as a tube (File, Export, Picture Tube).