How to Draw a Line in Photoshop

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Image Credit: Hero Images/Hero Images/GettyImages

Photoshop is a dynamic program with robust capabilities. The software enables the user to draw shapes, including straight and curved lines using multiple methods. The method you choose depends largely on your preference and the greater purpose behind your drawing and media project. Regardless, it is easy to draw a line in Photoshop using the arsenal of drawing tools available within the program.


Line Tool in Photoshop

View the Photoshop toolbar and locate the icon with a line. It is nested with other shape tools, so if you don't see it, look for the rectangle or oval shape tool icon and click and hold on the tiny arrow in the lower corner and select the line tool. This tool provides a quick and easy method of drawing a straight line in Photoshop. Click on the line tool to activate it and then draw a line using one of two methods. Click on the canvas while holding down the mouse and drag to form a line. Alternatively, you can draw a straight line while holding the shift key, which allows you to change the direction of the line. Select the line drawing to adjust the overall direction, color and thickness if desired.


Video of the Day

Brush Tool

Another way to draw a line in Photoshop is with the brush tool or the pencil tool. They are nested together on the toolbar, so look for a pencil or brush icon and select the one you want by clicking the tiny arrow. You hold down the cursor and drag to draw a line with this tool. This is a free-form process; just click on the canvas and start drawing. If you want to add a straight line, press the shift key as you drag. Release the shift key to return to free-form curves. The color and weight of the line can be adjusted. The brush and the pencil work the same way with some different effects. Any line drawing requiring color and creative design can benefit from the brush tool settings.


Pen Tool

The pen tool in Photoshop works like the pen in Adobe Illustrator. Use it to draw vector lines by clicking and dragging on one point and then clicking and dragging on a second point to generate a curve or shape. Select the pen tool icon from the toolbar, click on the canvas and drag the pen. Then, click on a second point and drag. Adjust the resulting shape by selecting and moving the points that form it. Although this feature is less intuitive than the other tools you use to draw lines, it is capable of much more complex line drawings. If you've ever drawn in Illustrator, you already know how this tool works. If you haven't, you may need to run through an online tutorial or two.