Photoshop is about all kinds of shapes and patterns, one of which is the curved arrow. Here are two easy methods to follow for the newbies looking for how to make a curved arrow in Photoshop.

Key takeaways

  • After adding the Layer mask to your Ellipse 1 layer, invert the layer mask.
  • When you select the shape tool, choose the Polygonal tool to make a triangle to attach it to one of the ends.
  • If you want a thicker curve, choose a greater size.
how to make a curved arrow in photoshop featured image

Instructions on how to make a curved arrow in Photoshop

White canvas in photoshop

Create a new canvas

To get started, your first step is to create a new canvas for work. To do that, proceed to the top-left side of your screen and click on Files. In the drop-down menu that shows up, click on New, and move to the main screen to fill the dialogue box that will appear on your screen. Once filled, proceed to click Ok. A fresh canvas is now ready for you to use.

Black circle on the white canvas

Method I

Step 1: Creating an Ellipse

To create an ellipse shape on your canvas, proceed to the left-hand side of your screen and pick the Ellipse tool. Once you have the tool, drag it on the canvas to create your shape. The Fill for the shape is Black, but it does not have the Stroke feature. 

If you want to know whether a shape or image has either Stroke or Fill, proceed to the top part of your screen at the menu bar, you’ll see the names Stroke and Fill showing their presence and absence.

Black outlined circle on a white canvas

Step 2: Changing the Stroke and fill

To change the Fill, on the same menu toolbar, click on the Fill menu and change it to None. As for the Stroke feature, on the menu toolbar, click on Stroke and change it to Black.

Thick black outlined circle on a white canvas

Step 3: Changing the stroke size

To change the Stroke size, click on the Stroke feature and change the Size from the original 3 pt to a more thickened size of 7.23 pt. Remember that the Size you pick is convenient for you.  

A dotted rectangular shape with the circle

Step 4: Employing the lasso tool

Scroll to the left-hand side of your screen to select the Lasso tool – the Polygonal lasso tool. With it, draw out/mark or out/select the part you wish to cut out from the main circle on your canvas. The selected area is the one you’ll cut out from the main circle in the following steps to come.  

A black curved line on a white canvas

Step 5: Add the layer mask

To get the Layer mask, scroll to the right-hand side of the screen right beside the Adjustment layer. Click on the Layer mask option to activate it for the layer named Ellipse 1.

Half circle on the white canvas

Step 6: Invert the layer mask.

Right after adding the Layer mask to your Ellipse 1 layer, you’ll need to invert the layer mask. To do that, press Ctrl + I to reverse the Layer mask area to cover the area you marked with the Polygonal lasso tool.

Arrow added on the curved circle

Step 7: Select the Polygon tool.

For the next step, you need the polygonal tool. Scroll to the screen’s left-hand side, select the Shape tool, and pick the Polygonal tool. Once you do that, fix the Size of the sides of the Polygonal tool. To do that, right at the menu toolbar, where the Fill and other options are, at the end of the line, you’ll see Size; click the box and fix the Size at 3. With it, create a triangle and use it as the pointed arrow. Place it at one of the ends of the cutout shape.

A curved arrow on a white canvas

Step 8: The curved arrow

Once you place the created triangle at the tip of one of the cutout shape ends, you will have successfully made a curved arrow.

A curved arrow on the left side of the white canvas

Method II

Step 1: Copy the curved arrow from the original work.

The first step is to get an example to use. For this, the graphic designer can copy the newly created curved arrow on the canvas to a side of the screen.

Using a pen tool next to the curved arrow

Step 2: Use the Pen tool

First, to use the pen tool, create a new layer; afterward, proceed to pick your Pen tool at the screen’s left side. Once selected, use it to draw a curve.

Window box of the brush tool

Step 3: Brush tool

After drawing the curve, find your Brush tool on the left side of the screen. To use the brush tool to colour the curved arrow, you need to fix its colour, it can be whatever you prefer. For this illustration, the selected colour is black. To edit the colour of the curved arrow, go to the Brush settings. Go to the menu bar on the icon beside the Mode. Select it, and on the dialogue box, make your changes.

Change the Hardness to 100% and the Size to 25 pixels. Remember that the greater the Size, the wider the curve drawn will be. Once done, click on, Ok.

Stroke path dialogue box

Step 4: The stroke path

Right after using the brush feature, right-click on the screen, and on the menu, pick the Stroke path feature. On it, make sure that the Tool feature is Brush. Once you have that, click Ok.

A curved arrow and another curve on the white canvas

Step 5: the stroke path feature

The curved line drawn is now bold with the brush feature in effect.

Selecting "delete path"

Step 6: Delete path

Once you finish with the Stroke path feature, once again right-click, and on the drop-down menu where you choose the stroke path, this time select Delete path.

2 black curved arrows on a white canvas

Step 7: Create a triangle

Create a triangle as done in the first method using the same feature. Once drawn, place it right at the top end of the curved line.

2 curved arrows on the white canvas

Step 8: A curved line

As in the image above, this second method also works to create a curved line in another way.


How to convert a path to a shape

How to edit a gradient in Photoshop


With Photoshop, you can create anything from straightforward shapes and designs to curved ones. To get a curved arrow made, follow the above steps and methods, and make the perfect curved arrow in the style you want.