I saw a Celtic Knot and found both the simplicity and beauty of it very
This started me wondering if it was possible to draw
one with PaintShop Pro.
My curiosity led to lots of Google and
Bing searches and a few hours on YouTube. There
sure were a lot
of instructional videos that demonstrated how to create one with paper
and pencil but I never did find one that explained how to draw a Celtic
knot with a computer program.
As time went on I tried many
different techniques (using my Intuos Pro tablet) with varying success
ranging from really, really bad results to just plain bad results.
It certainly seems that a good product, like the tablet,
compensate for poor drawing skills.
Another approach was needed.
this project was bubbling about in my head I was also working on the
Pen Tool tutorials and learning
more about vectors and suddenly voila - the solution and the method
To successfully create a Celtic
knot with PaintShop Pro it was necessary to use the Pen Tool, Vectors
that was needed, then, were some clear, easy to follow Celtic knot
instructions and, as the saying
goes, "when the student is ready the teacher will appear" was both
accurate and appropriate.
Debbie Hodge is the very creative person who wrote fabulous
that were easy
to follow. Her instructions have been adapted to work with
Drawing a Celtic knot with PaintShop Pro is a fun project.
We'll be mostly using Vectors with Pen Tool with
lots and lots of Layers. Don't let Layers or the Pen Tool to
terrify you -
the project is quite long but it's mostly easy to complete.
Let's get to this fun project ...
Setting Up The File
with a new file with a white background that's in landscape
is the file is wider than it is tall). Any of the presets that
are labeled horizontal
fine. Mine is 7" wide by 5" high.
Then go View >
turn on the grid and then View
Change Grid, Guide and Snap Properties ... and change the
numbers to the ones in the image.
This simply gives you something easy to work with.
In this step we're going to add some dots to our guidelines with the
Brush Tool so we'll know where to draw the lines.
My Celtic knot page is 9 dots wide X 7 dots high. You can use
number you wish ( 7 X 5 or 11 X 9). You can even go bigger if
feel particularly adventurous! For these instructions I'll
go with a 9 X 7 dot pattern.
Create a new layer (call it something like dots) above the
Background, select the Brush Tool with a size about 20 pixels
and set the foreground color to black.
Start somewhere in the
top left and make a single dot where two grid lines cross, count over
two grid lines and do it again. Repeat this pattern until
are 9 dots across the top.
Getting the dots exactly centered on the grid lines is not crucial but
your end drawing will be much more precise if the dots are perfectly
Now choose either corner and with the
existing dot being number one, add 6 more dots going vertically, making
sure you skip every other grid line.
Now fill in the rest of the dots across the bottom and up the other
Change the foreground color to anything you want and fill in the inside
dots as shown (it can be done on the existing dot layer or on a new
layer). Notice that each outside dot gets an inside dot
for the four corner dots.
When you've got the dots done save the file as a .psimage and give it a
unique name (I chose knot-dots.psimage)
which preserves the layers and gives the file an easy to remember name
- this is my Celtic knot template now.
Now is the time to start connecting the dots, so to speak!
can draw a Celtic knot freehand using the Brush Tool if you wish or you
the Pen Tool and use vectors. It's likely that freehand will
be less refined
unless you've got a very steady hand. I don't so the Pen Tool
the one for me.
If you select freehand then create a new layer and move past the Pen
If you are using the Pen Tool then here are the options with the Pen
What we are doing is connecting the inside dots on diagonals using the
Lines and Polylines selection in the Options Bar - first
from right to left and then from left to right.
note about brush size (for both freehand and Pen Tool). If
made your dots 20 pixels then perhaps choose a smaller brush size for
the rest of the steps, perhaps about 10 pixels. I kept my
at 20 pixels for the example and feel they are a bit too thick.
It's easier if you zoom in really close so the starting and ending
points are exactly where they need to be. If this aspect is
messed up then the final product may be a bit messy.
the upper left corner and follow the pattern below. As soon
you set the first node the program will add a Vector layer.
each line is drawn make sure to right-click and select Apply or click
on the Apply button in the Options Bar.
When all of the lines are drawn give this layer a name - 45 degrees seemed
like a good idea.
Save your work as your-namev1.pspimage.
next step is to add more diagonal lines from left to right.
a new Vector layer and start the second set of lines (if you do the
second set of lines on the same vector layer as the first set then
editing the knot at the end will be very challenging),
Follow the example below.
I started in the top right corner - the new lines are
highlighted in red to make it easier to follow. Things are
along nicely. After these lines are completed give the layer
a name and -45 degrees seemed like a good idea.
Save your work as your-namev2.pspimage.
This step is preparation for the next step.
Add a new raster layer, select the paint
brush and a nice bright
color. Now zoom in and add some guide dots as shown
will be our guides for the corners and round edges.
Save your work as your-namev3.pspimage.
Part 1 Video
those little dots were added to help make the corners of the Celtic
knot uniform and even.
With the Pen Tool selected and the Bezier Curve option set zoom in on
one of the dots (I chose
dot 1 as
shown in the graphic) added in the last step and
click or tap with your pen. This will set a starting node.
easiest procedure is to set the second node at point 2 and without
releasing the mouse button or lifting the pen off of the tablet, draw
out the adjusting arm so that a nice, smooth curve is created between
point 1 and 2. I made sure that the curve just touched the
of the dot half way between dots 1 and 2.
Click on the Apply check mark in the Option Bar.
Now place another start node on point 3 and the next node on point 2
and draw out the curve as before.
Click the apply check mark to accept the curve.
Your first corner is done - now do it three more times to arrive at the
Save your work as your-namev4.pspimage.
this step we
are adding the scalloped edges of the Celtic knot.
It would be wise to create a new Vector layer (name it
select the Pen Tool and set the Option to Bezier Curves.
the first node at position 1 and the second at position 2.
Without releasing the mouse or lifting the pen from the
pull out the adjusting handle so that the curve crosses through the
grid line immediately above the dot between points 1 and 2.
Do this all the way around the figure and when you're finished it
should look like this ...
Save your work as your-namev5.pspimage.
Just for fun, start turning off the guide layers to see what you've got
to this point!
In this step we're going to add the inside curves at the corners and
then along the sides. All of the corners and inside curves
done with the Pen Tool.
Add a new Vector layer and name it scallops, or whatever you wish.
To aid in placement of the inside curves, the opacity of the the Vector
layers were lowered so the guides were easy to see.
The next thing I did was add a new Vector layer and then drew the guide
line on all four corners with the Pen Tool set to lines and polylines
and the size of the line was decreased. Adding the guide line
made it much easier to create the inside corner.
Another Vector layer was added and a node was place on point 1 with the
Pen Tool set to Bezier Curves. A second node was added and
without letting go of the left mouse button or lifting the pen, draw
out a curve making sure the curves peak is over the top of the guide
Do the same thing for all of the corners.
Now it's time to add the inside scallops.
A node was placed on point 3 and a second on point 4. Without
letting go of the mouse or lifting the pen, draw the curve up to make a
The same procedure is followed around the inside of the celtic knot
until all of the inside curves are completed.
This is the end of the drawing of the knot so increase the opacity of
the dimmed out Vector Layers, zoom out and have a look.
This is where things stand now with the celtic knot ...
Save your work as your-namev6.pspimage.
We no longer need the grid lines, dots and some of the lines.
This is where having a lot of named layers makes the project
much easier than doing all of the work on only a few layers.
Firstly, go to the View menu and turn off the grid and remove the
visibility of the Raster Layers with the dots. This is what
you've got and there still are some things to do to complete the
Now is when some creative erasing will happen. All of the
will be done on the 45 degree layer and the -45 degree layer.
goal is to erase the hard corners around the curves.
When you turn off the visibility of the -45 degree layer then all
that's visible are the 45 degree lines.
is how the Celtic knot will look with the
-45 degree layer turned off.
Highlight the 45 degree vector layer, zoom in close, grab the eraser
and erase the short little lines where they go beyond the curves.
As soon as you start erasing, PaintShop Pro will ask if you want to
convert the vector layer to a raster layer - click OK.
Methodically work your way around the knot and when all of the little
lines have been erased you're done with the first part.
Turn on the visibility of the -45 degree layer, turn off the visibility
of the 45 degree layer and highlight the -45 degree layer.
As before, erase the lines where they extend beyond the curves.
Work your way around the knot and when you're finished and the -45
degree layer is turned on again then you'll happily arrive at the
graphic below ...
Save your work as your-namev6.pspimage.
This where we are going with this - it may look challenging to go from
Step 9 to the finished Celtic knot but with a bit of care it really
isn't too difficult.
The first thing to do is choose a starting point and then following the
over then under and so on until you end up back at the starting
point. When you do that then you will be finished other than
If you start in the top left corner and head down toward the bottom
corner you will see that the strand in continuous and follows a pattern
of over then under then over then under until a fully formed and really
attractive Celtic knot appears out of the chaos ...
Here's why having all of those layers comes in handy. In the
above image I want to have the strand appear to go over the first
strand it meets. This is how to get started ...
Select the vector layer that has the lines running from the top right
to the bottom left and then lower the opacity of that layer.
Lower the opacity of this layer until there's a visible difference
between these lines and the lines running in the other direction.
Select the Eraser tool and erase the light lines as shown
When you first start erasing PaintShop will tell you that if you want
to use the Eraser on this layer then the layer has to be changed to a
Raster layer. Click OK.
Erase the first two lines (as shown).
As we travel along the strand it will go under the next set of lines.
Highlight the Vector layer with the lines running from the twp left to
the bottom right at -45 degrees and lower the opacity of the layer as
Grab the Eraser tool once again, click OK when asked to change the
layer to a Raster layer and carefully erase the light lines.
Increase the opacity of the layer, sit back and admire your awesome
Keep doing the preceding two steps until you arrive back at the
Zoom out and prepare to be amazed by your fabulous Celtic
Video Part 2
You can stop here or do some additional things to spice up your Celtic
knot, such as ...