How do I create a curved arrow in photoshop...

Can anyone please explain how to create a curved arrow similar to what appears in this picture:

as I would like to be able to have a curved arrow in Photoshop I can change size/shape/colour...

Or did they just use some sort of clipart with a transparent background for the curved arrow and put it in a separate layer?

How would I make clip art arrows in Photoshop or Illustrator like this?

looks hand drawn, or at MOST, an attempt at using the pen tool... just do that, then it looks like they just blurred the end... i'm sure you can come up with something MUCH better than that... that one doesn't look very professional....
How to create a curved arrow in photoshop tutorial

Correct, that's a matter of using Paths (pen tool).

However, there are a couple ways to go about it.

If you want a simple outlined head...
1) Draw a curved path, deselect it, then draw an angled path for the arrow head. Select both Paths and Stroke them using a brush that's the width/size you want your lines to be.

If you want a solid triangular shaped head...
2) Use the Line tool and set the Options to use the "Vector Shape Layer" setting (1st icon button on the far left of the bar).
In the Line tool settings also, open the Geometry Options menu and set your line to have an arrow head at the end of it.
Now draw a straight line, that starts and ends where you want your arrow to start and end.
Zoom in close on the middle of the line.
With the Pen tool selected, hold down the ALT key and click on one side of the line. Then click again on the opposite side of the line. This adds 2 new nodes to your path.
Hold the Ctrl key down and drag out a selection around these 2 new nodes. Then while still holding the Ctrl key, click-&-drag either of the nodes in the direction you want your arrow line to bend.
Click outside the shape to deselect it.
Now hold the Ctrl key again and drag out a selection around the 3 corner points on the solid arrow head (tip and both side corner).
Press Ctrl+T. Click-&-drag on the outside of the Distortion square to rotate your head so it's better aligned to your arrow line. Press the Enter key to apply, then deselect the path nodes.

You now have 2 types of fully editable curved arrow lines.

Hope that helps.



Power User
Here are some curved arrows that are in a Photoshop PSD file:

Each curved arrow is on it's own layer and they are editable. You can change the color shape etc. of each arrow easily. Download the PSD file here:
View attachment

Using the pen tool to make curved arrows in Photoshop is very good because shape is always editable. More users should use this kind of approach. Selections are not as flexible as vectors. I work with vectors more and more and it's all about learning how to create or modify paths. It takes a while, but it's really worth it. It also makes it easier to make the jump to Illustrator and to make beautiful things like this:

[saywhat] Are you kidding me... did you zoom right in on that illustration? Can you BELIEVE the DETAIL in that thing?! OMG! The shear pixel size of that file must be astronomical! Wheeeeew!

Unbelievable work. Very very nice. Thanks for the eye-opening link Elysian. \:]


Well-Known Member
WOW! Talk about phenomenal work! The detail in all of his work has me stunned! Thanks for the link. Everyone should look... truly inspirational.

[stuned] [stuned] [stuned]

Re: How to create a curved arrow in photoshop tutorial

I have an application where I need arrows such as you have supplied here...I have downloaded the PSD file, but I cannot change the color...the image comes in gray. What am I doing wrong?