I've never used the path tool before and this class was super helpful and insightful!
In order to practice, I scanned this watercolor painting:
And used the pen tool to create a vector mask over the layer, so that the negative space between the feathers is masked out. After using the pen tool around this many shapes, I started to get the hang of it. I love the super smooth digital edges alongside the hand painted watercolor.
Since the white space is masked out, I can change the background color to whatever I like.
Until now I've been masking out the background using the magic wand, brush tool, etc. This gives it a different smoother more "digital" look. Now I have more options! :-)
Then I tried again by stroking the paths, so that I can use the pen tool along the path between the shapes rather than around each shape. This way the distances were uniform and it's faster to do, too: