Practice is the perfect way to hone your Photoshop skills, and I’m sure we’ve all had enough practice with common, rudimentary tasks such as cropping corporate headshots, building margin and padding into document designs, and adding drop shadows to punchy marketing copy. Instead of practicing the same old tasks, let’s try a more unusual one that doesn’t hit your desk (or your inbox) every day. This tutorial is primarily an exercise in Photoshop’s Pen Tool (after all, we unfortunately can’t eat the ice cream once we’re done). We’ll be using various Pen Tool filters and layer styling to hone your Pen Tool prowess.
Let’s have a look at our final result:
Create a new document with a 600px width and a 700px height in Photoshop.
Set #e3a55d as your foreground color. Now, select the Pen Tool, click on the “Shape layers” option from the options bar, and draw the cone shape shown below.
Click on this cone layer and go to “Layer” > “Layer style” > “Blending options.” Use the settings provided below. You can also open the layer style window by double clicking on the cone layer.
Next, we’ll create stripes for the cone biscuit. Firstly, select #f5c28a as your color and then pick “Hard round brush” with 3px size. Now, select the Pen Tool, choose “Paths” from top options bar, and draw a slightly curved line like the one below. After that, right-click and select “Stroke Path” > “Brush.” Then, press “Delete” to get rid of the path.
Double-click on this new line layer and use the settings below to cast a shadow.
Now, we need few more copies of this line. To do this, take the Move Tool over the line and press the Alt key. You’ll notice double arrows; now simply drag the line a bit. Repeat this step to get the desired copies of the line.
Collect all of the stripe layers into a single group, duplicate this group, and go to “Edit” > “Transform” > “Flip horizontal.” After that, press Ctrl + “T” to activate the Free Transform Tool. Tilt these duplicated stripes group to form the crisscross pattern common to waffle cones.
Merge both “cone stripe” groups together. You can do this by selecting the groups by holding the Shift key, then right-click to open the options window and choose “Merge layers.” Once you are done, click on the merged layer and then press Ctrl + the thumbnail of cone layer. Now, click on the “Add layer mask” icon found at the bottom of the layers panel.
Now, we’ll move ahead to create different flavored (and different colored) ice cream scoops. Select the Pen Tool with the “Shape layers” option to draw the shape as shown below. Use #ffeb8a as the color for this.
Double-click on the scoop layer and use the settings below to add Inner Glow to the ice cream.
Next, draw some shadowing and highlights over the scoop using the Pen tool. You can approach this step roughly and imprecisely to get the proper imperfections for ice cream. I’ve used #fec22b for shadows and #fbfec6 for highlights. Once you are done, right-click on the scoop layer, choose “Copy layer style,” right-click on rest of the shape layers, and select “Paste layer style” to apply the same inner glow effect on them.
Merge all the layers that comprise the scoop of ice cream, then go to “Filter” > “Artistic” > “Palette Knife.” Use the following settings.
Duplicate the scoop layer, turn it black using “Color Overlay,” change the blending mode of this layer to “Multiply,” and then reduce its opacity to 40%. Place this layer below the original scoop layer; drag it a bit downward and go to “Filter” > “Blur” > “Gaussian blur.” Use a 1.5px value for the Gaussian blur. You can erase unwanted shadow area.
You can create more scoops using the same technique from steps 5 through 8. Add as many scoops as you dare. Reducing the overall size of each new scoop will make the cone look balanced.
Now, we’ll create chocolate syrup over the ice cream scoops. Draw the shape shown below using the Pen Tool with #753700 as your chosen color.
Double-click on the newly-added chocolate syrup layer and use the following settings for “Satin.”
For additional toppings (and additional Pen Tool practice), we’ll create sprinkles over the chocolate. Set any bright shades as your foreground and background colors, I am using red and yellow. Then, use these settings within the brush panel.
Apply the brush as shown below. Carefully drawing your brush over the ice cream should result in an even, multicolored sprinkling of… well… sprinkles on your ice cream.
Next, we’ll create a cherry to place at the top. Set #ce6d80 as your foreground color. Select the Ellipse Tool to make a circle. Then, use “Add anchor point tool” to add anchor points and adjust the circle shape as below. Once you are done, duplicate this layer, reducing the size of the new duplicate slightly using the Free Transform Tool, and changing its color to #d6030c. Now, select the Elliptical Marquee Tool and fill it with #710000 to form the depressed area on the top of the cherry. After that, go to “Filter” > “Blur” > “Gaussian blur” and use the value of 1px to apply a blur effect.
Use the following settings to add an Inner Glow to all of the layers comprising your cherry.
Now, draw a cherry stem using your Pen tool with #c9c770 and #b9824a as your colors.
To give the cherry stem some texture and character, click on the green stem layer and apply the following layer style settings.
Use these settings for Inner Glow on the brown cap at the very top of the stem.
To create few highlights, select the Soft Round Brush Tool and apply it on a new layer. Change the blending mode of this layer to “Soft Light.”
Merge all layers forming cherry together, and reduce the cherry’s size as needed using the Free Transform Tool. Place it nicely over the ice cream at an angle. Erase the lower edge of the cherry to give the impression (no pun intended) that it’s embedded in the ice cream.
Collect all of the layers forming your ice cream cone into a new group, and duplicate this group. Now, merge the duplicated group. Reduce its size and arrange it at an angle using the Free Transform Tool. Now, use the same technique from step 8 to create shadow for the ice cream cone. My shadow is shown below.
Now, we’ll create a subtle background. Set #e7e7e7 and #ffffff as your foreground and background colors, respectively. Create a new layer and fill it with #e7e7e7 using the Paint Bucket Tool. Then, go to “Filter” > “Render” > “Fibers.”
Next, go to “Filter” > “Distort” > “Glass.” Use the following settings for it.
Lastly, click on the appropriate icon to “Create new fill or adjustment layer” found at the bottom of the layers panel, and select “Curves.” Use these settings to adjust the tone.
That’s all guys. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial, polished your Pen Tool skills, and learned something useful. Don’t forget to share your thoughts, and possibly your ice cream as well. Have fun, and enjoy your ice cream!