I am using Photoshop cc 2017 and I always use the pen tool to make vector illustrations (yes I know I should be using illustrator). until now I have always made a shape, made a selection then use a big brush to fill in the shape until I found out the pen tool has a "shape" feature that creates the shape for you.

My problem is I: want the shape to stay on the same layer because I am making line art and I don't want to merge layers constantly. The drop down menu for new layer, combine shapes etc. will not let me pick anything but new layer which is where I'm guessing is my problem. any help is greatly appreciated!

3 Answers 3


When you use the Pen Tool, in the options along the top, change the Path Operations option from "New Layer" to "Combine Shapes".

Then when you begin a new shape, it will be on the same layer.

Screenshot of Pen Tool and Options


The shape button on the pen tool creates exactly what is says it does; a shape. And one shape is not by default connected to another. You either want to use paths to draw out your linework, or just create multiple un-connected shapes and merge them later, however, this might give you issues later on.

I would suggest you look up some tutorials on making linework in Photoshop, there are multiple techniques, find one you like.

Also, no you should not be using illustrator, you should be using whatever you feel comfortable working with. Photoshop is most definitely capable of creating linework.


In the top left corner when you press the pen tool it says "shape" change that to paths.

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