Happy Earth Day!

with 9 Comments

Happy Earth Day!
by Lidia Sari

My dog Lenny and I often go on long hikes in the morning after I take my daughter to school. Our favorite trail is one that is only a short five minute drive from our house. Some mornings we are delighted to see fog still lingering on the trail. I love the soft, hazy outlines of the trees that are just visible through the mist.

Whenever I see this kind of scenery, I am left feeling peaceful and blessed to live in such beautiful place. I often think of the people I love and wish that they could experience the same joy of looking at the trees and hearing the birds chirping. I hope that the beauty of our earth will always be preserved and enjoyed by our children and grandchildren.

This tutorial is inspired by what I see and feel during those hikes and by the beauty of trees. Today I am going to show you how to make a grungy tree using the Lasso tool and some brushes. Let’s get started!

For this tutorial, I’m using a special set of brushes.

  • Download the brush set here.
  • Install the brush set. Click here for installation instructions.

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Open a background paper of your choice (File > Open). I am using a paper from Live, Love by Kitty Designs.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose File > Duplicate and click OK. (Photoshop: Choose Image > Duplicate.)
  • Close the original document (File > Close).

Step Two: Create the Tree Trunk 

  • In the Menu Bar, choose View > Rulers to show the rulers.
  • Get the Lasso tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the Add to Selection icon, set Feather to 0 px, and check Anti-Aliasing.
  • On the document, click and drag to start drawing half of a tree trunk at the left edge of the paper. Continue dragging until you are back at the beginning of the selection and let go of the mouse to close the selection outline. My trunk is approximately 2 inches wide at the bottom and 0.5 inches at the top.


Step Three: Add and Subtract Branches

  • On the document, click inside the selection outline and drag to draw the outline of a branch. End the outline of the branch back inside the trunk selection outline.
  • Repeat for additional branches.

The following three images show the additional branches that I added.




  • If you need to subtract from the selection outline, while holding down the Alt key (Mac: Opt key), click and drag around the part of the selection outline that you’d like to subtract.


Step Four: Paint in the Tree

  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.
  • In the Layers panel, click on the Create a New Layer icon.
  • Get the Brush tool.
  • In the Tool Options, open the Brush Preset Picker and choose the EarthDayTree-1-DS brush. You could also use any soft speckled brush. Set the Size to 1500 px, the Mode to Normal, and the Opacity to 100%. (Photoshop: Also set the Flow to 100%.)
  • On the document, click—do not drag—inside the selection outline until the selection is filled.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the Brush Settings icon. Set the Angle to –90˚. (Photoshop: Click on the Brush panel icon to toggle open the Brush panel. In the Brush panel, set the Angle to –90˚.)
  • On the document, click—do not drag—inside the selection outline until the selection is filled.
  • To change the brush Size, press the right and left Bracket keys.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.


Step Five: Add Small Splatters to the Tree (Optional)

  • In the Layers panel, hold down the Ctrl key (Mac: Cmd key) and click on the Create a New Layer icon. This will create a new layer below the tree layer.
  • In the Tool Options, open the Brush Preset Picker and choose the EarthDayTree-2-DS brush. You could also use any small splatter brush. Adjust the Size as desired.
  • On the document, click once—do not drag—near the right edge of the tree trunk.
  • Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get the Transform options.
  • On the document, hover your cursor near the corner handle of the bounding box until you see a curved double arrow. Click and drag in a circular path to rotate the brush.
  • Click and drag inside the bounding box to adjust the placement of the brush.
  • Double click inside the bounding box to commit the transformation.
  • Repeat the above steps using the other EarthDayTree brushes to create more interest around the trunk and branches of the tree.

Note: Always remember to make separate layers when working with the Brush tool. That way, if you don’t like the result, you can easily delete the layer.


Finally, here’s my layout with the tree I made. Add some leaves here and there, and the tree is all set! I love how, even though the tree almost covers the whole page, our eyes still immediately go to the message written in the middle and then to the faded photo.


Page & Photo: Lidia Sari
Tutorial: Happy Earth Day! by Lidia Sari
Kit: Live, Love by Kitty Designs
Extras: Brushes, leaves, pencil doodle and overlays by Lidia Sari
Fonts: Copperplate Gothic Bold and Chapparal Pro
Software: Photoshop Elements 13 and Adobe Photoshop CC 2014

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial


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Lidia SariAuthor: Lidia Sari | Contact Us
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9 Responses

  1. Shirl
    | Reply

    This is so interesting, especially for Earth Day. Love your proverb that is so true. My sad face, I cannot control the lasso tool. Thanks for this truly appreciated tutorial. Hugs. 🙂

  2. Terri
    | Reply

    Had a great time working on building a tree. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  3. lynda
    | Reply

    it was actually fun and something new 😉 lynda

  4. Donna
    | Reply

    Lidia, thanks for this tutorial. I love your tree and will try it soon.

  5. Victoria Johnston
    | Reply

    This is lovely and timely for a project I am working on. But can you point me in the direction of creating the “faded photo” piece?

    • Lidia Sari
      | Reply

      I am so glad you like this tutorial. It is actually very simple to create the “faded photo” piece. I know there are some other ways to do it but what I did for this layout I used Soft-Round brush to create the mask. Set the Brush size to be around 1250 px, and the Opacity to around 75%. Click once any where you desire and click once more in a place where you want your photo to be more visible. In the Layers panel reduce the opacity to around 45%. Open a photo you want to use on this mask and clip it to the Brush layer. Adjust the Opacity of the Brush layer again if you like. Hope I will see your layout in the Tutorial Gallery. 🙂

  6. Terri
    | Reply

    Oh, how clever. I’ve got to give your idea a try.

  7. Lainey8
    | Reply

    There is soooo KOOL! 🙂 I always wanted to do my “own” Tree!

    Thank you so very much 🙂


  8. Jen Juris
    | Reply

    Such a fun idea!! 🙂

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