Pracken's Paint Shop Pro Tutorials

Art Nouveau Peacock Feather


The inspiration for this tutorial was an art nouveau stencil I saw in my travels around the web. It's a fairy easy tut to do, but does involve some simple drawing and shading. I provide screenshots to guide you along the way.

For this tutorial, you will need the following:

Paint Shop Pro. I used version 7.04 but if you are familiar with PSP, you should be able to convert the tutorial without problems. You can download the latest PSP version demo here.

My preset shape. Place this in your PSP preset shapes folder You may download it here.

Step 1. Open up a new image 400 x 300, background color of your choice.

Step 2. Add a new layer.  Set your foreground color to #285176 and your background color to null.  Select the draw tool with these settings: freehand line, width 3, antialias checked. Draw a curved line.

Step 3. Add a new layer.   Set both your foreground and background colors to #285176.  Choose your preset shapes tool, rectangle, and draw a small shape. Rotate it and place it on top of the line.

Now to do the top of the feather. You can draw it freehand (or with vectors) if you wish, or you can use my preset shape. Choose your preset shapes tool and navigate to the shape you downloaded.

Step 5. Align  the shape on top of your feather.  With your selection tool, draw all around the shape and then click anywhere inside it to select.  You'll see marching ants around it.  Keep selected.

Step 6. Add a new layer. Now you'll need to create some  shading on your feather.  There is no right or wrong way to do this, just personal preferences.  Choose whatever  colors you like.  I'll give you the ones I've used, but feel free to improvise.  Choose your airbrush, and use these settings: shape-round, size-10, hardness-30,  opacity-30, step-25, density-30.

I usually start by spraying around the  outside edges and use a darker color  for this (here I've used #2D4D7C).

Step 7. Spray another ring inside that, using color #2D4D7C.

Step 8. Then spray another small ring inside that using color #ADAED9.

Step 9. Once you have the colors you like, then you smudge them around.  Choose your retouch tool, smudge brush with these settings: shape-round,  size-20, hardness-25, opacity-30,  step-25, density-100.  Smudge using a circular motion. When done, you should have  something like this:

Step 10. You can leave it like this if you like, but I decided to add a few little lines.  Using the airbrush tool, same settings except the size is 1 (I used color #2D4D7C.  Draw little lines inside the center like this.  I then smudged mine a little bit, but that's a personal preference.

Step 11. Add a new layer.   Set your foreground color  to #5794B7 and your background color to #296368.  Then turn off your background color and choose gradient as your style. Choose foreground-background, angle 180, repeats 0.  Use the freehand draw tool, line width 3, antialias checked.  Start drawing lines around your stem, and the top of your feather, like this:

Step 12. You can leave it like this if you  like, but I wanted the ends of the lines  to be a bit more tapered looking.  Use the eraser  tool, with these settings: shape-round,  size-2, hardness-100, opacity-70,  step-30, density-100.  Go around and erase bits of the ends.  You may want to smudge them a bit too. When done, you should  have something similar to this.   If you're satisfied with your result, merge all layers (except the background) and save.  Done!

If you want to make the composition I made at the top of this page, here's what I did - First, I increased the saturation a bit (you can use the variations filter if you have it, or just the color>adjust>hue/saturation/contrast feature in PSP). Then, duplicate the feather and mirror it. Finally, draw a smaller feather for the center (I changed the feathers a bit). Final step is add a drop shadow of your liking, and that's it! .

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial.  As always, please let me know if you have any questions, and I'd love to see what you create.

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This tutorial was posted on October 31, 2003.
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ŠPracken, 2003-2012.