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How To Design a Thanksgiving Pumpkin in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a realistic pumpkin icon with the help of Filters and Layer Styles. This tutorial is written for users who have a basic understanding of the tools and techniques used in Photoshop. Enjoy!

The Final Image

This is what we will be creating:

Pumpkin Icon: Final Image

Step 1: Setting Up the Document

Start by creating a new document (File>New) that is 950×750 pixels (72 dpi)

New Document

Step 2: Adding a Background

Fill the background with a gradient. I used the colors: #39160f and #f68f6c

Pumpkin Gradient

Step 3: Starting the Pumpkin

Create a new layer and call it ‘Pumpkin’. Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to make an oval selection. The idea is to make the general shape of the pumpkin.

Pumkpin Ellipse

Step 4: Defining the Selection

With the selection still active, hold shift or opt/alt to add or subtract from the top and bottom of the selection. You want to use these tools to shape the pumpkin. Use the images below to help you through this process

Fine-tuning your selections

To get those exact placements with the selection tools, try holding down the Spacebar while making a selection.

Final Selection

Step 5: Defining the Pumpkin

Fill the selection with a nice orange color.

Orange Pumpkin

Double click the ‘Pumpkin’ Layer to bring up the ‘Layer Styles’ panel and add the following effects:

Pumpkin Effect 1
Pumpkin Effect 2
Pumpkin Effect 3
Pumpkin Effect 4

The result should resemble the following:

Pumpkin Defined

Step 6: Adding Highlights

Create a new layer and name it ‘Highlights’. Select the Paint Bucket tool and fill this layer with the ‘Washed Watercolor paper’ pattern. You can do this in the top toolbar by selecting ‘Pattern’ in the drop down, and then selecting the pattern’s thumbnail in the second drop down.

Selecting a Pattern

Your image should resemble the following:

Filling a Pattern

Step 7: Still Adding Highlights

Select the ‘Add Layer Mask’ at the bottom of the layers panel and press Cmd/Ctrl+i to invert the mask.

Pumpkin Mask

Step 8: Painting Highlights

Use a large brush with a 0% hardness set to the color white and paint in some highlights. Don’t worry about going outside of the pumpkin

Painting Highlights

Step 9: Finishing the Highlights

Set the layer’s opacity to 65% and make this layer a clipping layer by holding down the opt/alt key and selecting in-between the two layers

Clipping Layer

Step 10: Adding a New Clipping Layer

Holding down the Cmd/Ctrl key, select the ‘Create a new Layer’ Icon. Name it ‘Lines’

Color Overlay

Mac vs. PC

By creating a new layer with the above method, a Mac will place the new clipping layer above the previous one, while a PC will place it below. Make sure the new layer is at the top of the stack.

Step 11: Following the Contours

Use the Elliptical Marquee tool and try to make a selection on the pumpkin that would follow the natural contours. Use the image below as a guide:

Selecting Contours

Step 12: Defining the Contours

Fill the selection with any color (it doesn’t matter what color) and give it the following effects:

Contour Blending
Contour Shadow
Contour Glow

Your image should look like this:

Defined Contour

Step 13: Blurring the Lines

Give this layer a Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur)

Blurring the Lines

Your image should look like this:

Blurred Contour

Step 14: Copying Layers

Copy this layer by dragging it from the layers panel into the ‘Create a new Layer’ icon. This will make a duplicate layer, preserving effects and clipping.

Blurred Contour

Step 15: Adding More Contours

Adjust this layer’s opacity to 30% and transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) this layer to add a new set of ‘lines’ to the pumpkin.

More Contours

Give this layer a Gaussian Blur

Repeat Effect

Instead of going back through the filters menu, simply press Cmd/Ctrl+F to apply the last Filter used—which, in this case, was the Gaussian blur filter

Your image should look like this:

Blurred Contours

Step 16: Doing all again

Copy, transform, and blur the layer again. Set the opacity to 20% . Your pumpkin should resemble this:

Repeat Contours

Step 17: Creating a Stem

Create a new layer and name it ‘Stem’. Using the Rectangle Marquee tool, create a rectangle and fill it with a dark olive color.

Starting the Stem

Step 18: Defining the Stem

Give the layer ‘Stem’ the following effect:

Satin Stem

Step 19: Merging the Effect

Right click the fx icon in the ‘Stem’ layer and select ‘create layer’. This will expand the effect on to its own layer

Expanding the Stem

Select both ‘Stem’ layers and press Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge.

Merging the Stem

Pay Attention!

Just a reminder to make sure that the ‘Stem’ layer is not a clipping layer.

Step 20: Warping Fun

Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to begin to transform the new ‘Stem’ layer. Select the icon in the top properties bar to switch to the ‘warp’ mode and warp the layer to resemble a pumpkin stem.

Warping Stem

Your finished stem should resemble this:

Finished Warp

Step 21: Adding a Top

On a new layer, use your Brush tool to paint in the top of the stem, using a darker color. I used black for illustrative purposes. You do not need to make it this dark.

Top of Stem

Step 22: Finishing the Stem

On the layer that has the top of the stem painted in, add the following effects:

Top Shadow
Top Gradient

On the ‘Stem’ layer, use the following effects:

Stem Shadow
Stem Gradient
Stem Pattern

When your done, go ahead and move both stem layers below the pumpkin (just above the ‘Background’ layer). Your image should resemble this:

Finished Stem

Step 23: Adding Shadows

Create a new layer below the ‘Stem’ layer and name its ‘Shadows’. Set it to Multiply and use the Elliptical Marquee tool to add some shadows to the bottom of the pumpkin.

Selecting Shadows

Fill this selection with black and give it a blur.

Defining Shadows

If you want, you can add another shadow that’s larger and has more blur. Here is an example:

Defining Shadows

Step 24: Burning the Base

Use the Burn tool (or any other method you like) to add some shadows on the base of the pumpkin:

Burning the Base

Step 25: Merging a Copy

Select all Layers and press Cmd+Opt+Shift+E (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E) to merge a copy of all layers. This will preserve all of our work, and give us a merged copy to work with.

Finishing Effect

Step 26: Finishing Effect

Use the Elliptical Marquee tool with a 10px Feather and select the center of the pumpkin.

White Dots

Delete the selection and give the layer a Gaussian Blur. This will add a nice depth-of-field effect to our image:

White Dots

Step 27: The Final Image

Pumpkin Icon: Final Image

Download the PSD (or source files)


  1. Add point Subtract point

    Photoshop tutorials, from beginner to advanced. photo manipulation, icon design, text effects, interface, layout, painting, photo effects, psd tuts, maxon cinema 4d, designing.

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  2. Add point Subtract point
    Painting Houston (1 Point) November 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I just hope you could make another post related to this. This is definitely good blog.

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  3. Add point Subtract point
    Web Design (1 Point) April 26, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Stephen your awesome!! great tutorial . thanks a million!

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  4. Add point Subtract point
    Alicerose (3 Points) April 1, 2010 at 5:51 am

    thanks for this tutorial.Now i can easily understand importance of graphics essentials and hope can draw pumpkin for my friends as well.I will try to use them on my site like

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  5. Add point Subtract point
    icon collections (1 Point) March 8, 2010 at 9:42 am

    really a meaningful knowledge sharing. Thanks Stephens for teaching us .

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  6. Add point Subtract point
    ppt directory (2 Points) March 4, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Solche Kürbis wächst auf einem Gemüsegarten meiner Großmutter.


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  7. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุด (1 Point) February 2, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    thanks for sharing. So mush123

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  8. Add point Subtract point
    โค้ดเพลงhi5 (1 Point) February 2, 2010 at 1:26 am

    thanks for sharing. So mush116

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  9. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุดเดือนนี้ (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 2:43 am

    thanks for sharing. So mush111

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  10. Add point Subtract point
    مركز تحميل (1 Point) January 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Wonderful and beautiful
    Thank you

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  11. Add point Subtract point
    kamalika (1 Point) January 1, 2010 at 9:35 am

    wow greate job….
    thanks for sharing this….

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  12. Add point Subtract point

    Such pumpkin grows on a vegetable garden of my grandmother! He he:))Thanks! You are the best!

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  13. Add point Subtract point
    pdf content (1 Point) December 8, 2009 at 9:39 am

    a very cute picture, with the basic technic but the result is very cool … regards…

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  14. Add point Subtract point

    WOW – Very nice! Thanks!

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  15. Add point Subtract point

    Wow… Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  16. Add point Subtract point
    Vince Sholomi (1 Point) November 30, 2009 at 11:27 am

    it looks like a ShamWow Lol. good tut

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  17. Add point Subtract point

    i thought it was great. thanks. -Mandy-

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  18. Add point Subtract point
    Zen Elements (1 Point) November 26, 2009 at 5:55 am

    I liked the result in the textures used. Nice tutorial, thanks for sharing. Alex.

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  19. Add point Subtract point
    NewBloggerTemplates (2 Points) November 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    pumpkin pictures very good and tutorials are very interesting to be try and hopefully tutorial more interesting every day..thank you..

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  20. Add point Subtract point
    Silver Wolf (1 Point) November 17, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Good tutorial, i like very much the explain, congratulations it’s very good

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  21. Add point Subtract point

    Excellent work.. Great tutorial. Thx…

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  22. Add point Subtract point
    designfollow (1 Point) November 16, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    thank for the tuorial

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  23. Add point Subtract point

    nice… thanks for sharing…

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  24. Add point Subtract point

    I love this Tutorial…thanks for sharing! Keep up the good work.

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  25. Add point Subtract point

    Thanks for sharing.. nice and awesome tutorial

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  26. Add point Subtract point

    Nice tutorial! Looks just like a thanksgiving pumpkin!

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  27. Add point Subtract point

    Very nice tutorial!!! I’m going to try it out later today.

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  28. Add point Subtract point

    I noticed a small typo on the big green Download the PSD button. It says “Downlaod”.

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  29. Add point Subtract point
    Andrea Austoni (1 Point) November 16, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Hey this is a nice tutorial although I really don’t like the outcome.
    Some people were talking about Halloween pumpkins so if you’re interested you can check out my recent tut on that subject:

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  30. Add point Subtract point

    Awesome tutorial ;) thanks a bunch

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  31. Add point Subtract point

    Awesome tutorial, great work… Thanks!

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  32. Add point Subtract point

    Wow, this tutorial is amazing… Not to mention, Thanksgiving is on my birthday this year :D

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  33. Add point Subtract point

    Shouldn’t it be designing a thanksgiving Turkey?

    Seems to me like someone is just recycling a tutorial for Halloween.

    It’s a good thing we love recycling.

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  34. Add point Subtract point
    Ocky Dede Widiantara (1 Point) November 16, 2009 at 10:15 am

    great ….!!!!
    glade to know this site….

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  35. Add point Subtract point
    Lawren M (1 Point) November 16, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing.

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  36. Add point Subtract point
    Print Radar (1 Point) November 16, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Nice.. Although it looks a bit like a plastic one imho.. Maybe too perfect.. But still very nice tutorial and a great example of PS usage..

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  37. Add point Subtract point
    Nicholas Ritchey (1 Point) November 16, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Great tutorial — I’m learning a lot from this site :)


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  38. Add point Subtract point
    Jan Cavan (1 Point) November 16, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Love the tut, thanks for sharing!

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  39. Add point Subtract point

    OMFG … this tut is awesome … thanks a lot!!!!

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  40. Add point Subtract point
    Oscar Martell (1 Point) November 16, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Great resource, thanks for sharing. Greetings

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