Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's not about the brush: Digital Watercolor in Photoshop

What I've been messing around with the most for the past 3 years is with Photoshop. I've been researching, experimenting, and trying to figure out ways to get a watercolor-ish looking method to paint that was fun for me and not so processor intensive for my computer.

I eventually came across Zoe Piel's video tutorial series about how she approached digital watercolor painting. It was a revelation to me. It looked good and it was simple. It wasn't about the brush at all. After that I found Tony Cliff's tutorial about using an overlay texture layer.

The way I now paint, as seen in the video demo, combines both methods. The video is about 11 minutes but you can stop watching half way through. After the half way mark I'm done explaining how I do things and just ramble on while I'm finishing up the sketch. I hope it's helpful to you!

TracyBishop-WatercolorDigitalPainting from Tracy Bishop on Vimeo.

Here are the brushes that I use in the demo for you to download: I know the point of the demo was that the specific brush was kind of secondary, but it's still fun to try out new brushes. Here are some of my favorite brushes:

Free:

Paid Brushes:

34 comments:

  1. This is a great post! thanks for the info.

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  2. Also, what set of color swatches do you have open in this?

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    1. I'm glad that you found the post useful!

      I think I'm using this Copic Marker color set that I found on Deviant Art: http://g45uk2.deviantart.com/art/Copic-markers-palette-129848718

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  3. Thanks so much, Tracy for sharing your process! Wonderful demo!

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  4. Tracy! This is so helpful..what a treat to see your demo. Thanks for sharing your tips and technique with us!

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  5. Thank you, Bobbie and Shirley! I'm glad you guys like it.

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  6. Thanks so much sharing this Tracy, this is really helpful!!

    I was not able to download your brush to my MAC unfortunately, but I did find the NKS5 set for anyone using CS6 also: http://nkurence.com/blog/2012/06/nks5-natural-media-toolkit-for-photoshop-cs5-cs6/

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    1. Hi Kelli,
      Sorry you weren't able to download the brush. It worked for me and I'm on a Mac also. Have you tried it on different browsers?

      And thanks for the extra links :-) I'm so glad that you found the video helpful!



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    2. That was it! Tried it again using Firefox this time, & it downloaded perfectly.

      Thanks again for sharing!
      Kelli

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  7. Thanks for posting this! I have been wanting to get some texture into my work and I think this is just what I have been looking for!

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    1. Thanks, Doug! Yay, I'm glad that the video helped out :-)

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  8. Great video Tracy, very helpful! and I love what you said about little imperfections and spontaneity :D

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  9. Thank you very much for this! I was already starting to think that it was impossible to get a watercolor-ish looking digitally, but you proved that it's possible. It was very helpful, thank you, thank you =)

    ~K

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  10. Wonderful tutorial! I just did my first ever digital water colour using your instructions. I was so happy with the result, I really want to learn the basics now! (I'm no artist, I just found your tute on Pinterest!)

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  11. Great method, will try this, thanks Tracey!
    I discovered last night you can put watercolour paper on to your pen tablet and the brush becomes a little more texture-y.

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  12. The tutorial was nice, but I liked the ramblings even more. :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm so bad at recording myself. It's good to know that people don't mind my crazy ramblings :-)

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  13. Thanks for the tutorial! I too use a watercolor technique but in a different way. I LOVE watching other illustrators work and seeing how they use the tools and techniques! I think I'll be trying out some of your techniques, especially the high pass filter one. Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it. I try to do demos because I love looking at how other artists work too.

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  14. Hi Tracy,

    Thank you so much for this amazing demo.
    I had been searching for a proper watercolor digital painting tutorial from quite some time and I finally stumbled upon this one.
    Could you please tell me which brush you used for water color highlighting (sketching)

    Thanks
    Richa

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    1. Hi Richa,
      I don't remember specifically what brush I was using. I think in this particular demo I used the same brush throughout and changed things like opacity to fit what I wanted to do. The download link to the brush I was using is in this blog post.

      Tracy

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  15. Thank you, such a helpful video!

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  16. Could you share the watercolor scan you used on the tutorial if you still have it? :D
    great tutorial, i've been using this technique for a while and it works wonderfully for my personal style!

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  17. Dear Tracy, I think you would benefit from my latest watercolor set. It requires no textures, overlays, or anything else: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5G24zeWtLs

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  18. Hey Tracy, any chance you can post a high-res image of the watercolor wash you used to make the texture? Thanks!

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  19. Thank you so very much for sharing this. It means a lot to me when other artists share what they know. Sometimes I feel like everyone knows something that I don't. I'm just starting out, could I ask you how you get your watercolor paintings onto the computer? Do you take photographs of them? Or scan them? I have tried scanning several of mine, but then I get all of the grain and specs of dust all over. I don't know how to clean it up in photoshop?

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  20. Thank you for sharing your work and methods, Tracy :-)

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  21. This is incredible! I have Creative Cloud and I cannot get either link for the NKS5 to work. It says it is not the right kind of file. Can anyone advice how to install these brushes into CC? Thank you!!!

    Dina

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  22. Thank you so much for your tutorial XD I've been trying to paint watercolour digitally for some time now, but all the other methods I tried simply didn't work out. I have the same problem as you - my computer is not the fastest.

    This one FINALLY worked! XD Thanks so much!

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