Design Abstract Text Effect with Pen Tool and Grunge Brush Decoration in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you the steps to design this abstract text effect with pen tool and grunge brush decoration in Photoshop. Along the way, we will practice using Pen Tool to draw some nice hair-like lines, as well as apply grunge brushsets for some cool abstract effect for our texts.

This is an intermediate level tutorial so some steps can be tricky, but why not have a try!

Note: The Photoshop tutorial is done in CS6 – therefore some screenshot may have slighting different layout as in the earlier version. Some brushes are exclusive to Photoshop CS6.

Here is a preview of the final effect I have for this tutorial: (click to enlarge)


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OK Let’s get started!

To complete this tutorial, you will need the following stocks:

Grunge Brush (Pick one set from the list)

Splatter Brush (Pick one set from the list)

Step 1

Create a new document with 1200px * 600px with a light grey background. Use a soft white brush to paint a spot light in the centre:

1 highlight

Create a new layer and use the grunge brush you download, paint some texture over the light, and scele it download to form a support ground:

1 scale

Step 2

Use any font you like, type some texts over the document:

2 type

Right-click and convert this layer to a “Smart Object”:

2 smart

Skew the text layer as shown below:

2 skew

And here is the effect so far:

2 after skew

Step 3

Use the grunge brush you downloaded as an eraser:

3 erase

Apply the following opacity and flow settings to this eraser:

3 op

Add a layer mask to the text layer, apply some grunge eraser effect over it:

3 erase 2

Go over the text, and this is the desired effect you should be aiming to achieve:

3 effect

Step 4

Now we can add the hair lines onto the image. Grab the Pen Tool and draw a path as show below:

4 pen

Use the following brush to stroke this path, make sure you tick the “Simulate Brush” setting when stroking:

4 pen brush

After the stroke, duplicate this layer several times and group each line layer together, use the free transform tool to distort, scale them until they form the following hair-like effect:

4 pen effect

Continue to add more lines to the text:

4 more effect

Use the splatter brush you downloaded, add some splash effect to the text:

4 splash

Step 5

We want to spice up the text a little more – so grab a 3px 60% hardness brush as shown below:

5 brush

Paint some random lines around the text, as shown below:

5 paint

We can also add some particle effects around the canvas with a particle brush:

5 part

5 part 2

and here is the effect so far:

5 effect

Step 6

OK we’re almost done! For some final touches, I simply flattened the image and duplicated the background layer, then applied the “Patchwork” filter as shown below to the duplicated layer:

6 patchwork

And this is the effect you will have:

6 after patch

We want to mask out the majority of this layer, just leave the lower half of the text visible, as shown below:

6 mask

Then add some colours to the image with the following adjustment layers:

Selective Color

6 sel white

6 col neu

6 black

Layer mask on the selective colour layer:

6 sel mask


6 curves

6 red

6 green

And this is the final effect I have: (click to enlarge)


Hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful. Drop me a comment below if you have any question.

Till next time, have a great day!


  • My name is James and I have been using Photoshop since version 5.0 (long time ago!). PSD Vault is my spare time hobby and I write majority of the Photoshop tutorials and articles here. I hope you enjoy my blog, and feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.

  • Show Comments

  • Mazz Add

    WoOoW amazing effect

  • mx

    Thank you ..Wonderful

  • Stacy Summers

    cool! thanks

  • Iduehe Udom

    wooooooow, nice colour combination UNN

  • Slizeer

    Interesting lesson :)

  • ClimbableCoder1

    I don’t understand this: “We want to mask out the majority of this layer, just leave the lower half of the text visible, as shown below:”
    Please help!

  • tehvalter

    I don’t understand this: “We want to mask out the majority of this layer, just leave the lower half of the text visible, as shown below:”

    Please help!

  • tini

    nice tutorial but sorry, quite bad explained…

  • shahab ebrahimi

    whats the Grunge brush name ?
    can someone give me link !please

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