Working with Watercolor Textures & Brushes

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Hello everyone. I wanted to do a little tutorial that shares the process I've developed when working with watercolor textures and brushes. I've created a nice little bundle of pre-made watercolor textures and a set of Photoshop watercolor brushes. There are tons of ways these types of assets could be used, but it might be helpful to know some techniques to help you achieve a specific look. I'm going to walk you through how I created the cover image for my Watercolory Goodness Bundle to show you how you might go about getting some custom container shapes for the watercolors using both the pre-made textures and the Photoshop brushes. This method works for any texture background and texture brush too. If you are interested in the bundle, here's a link: https://creativemarket.com/jheglund/793970-Watercolory-Goodness-Bundle

Before you begin, make sure you have your PSD brushes loaded.

1 // Setup your document to whatever dimensions needed. I've pasted my vector artwork into the document and turned it gray so I can see where to make my watercolor container shape. What I plan to do is make a custom watercolor shape that bleeds past the boundary lines of the box. Inside this shape will be one of my pre-made watercolor textures. The background of the whole piece will have a different watercolor texture for contrast.

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2 // Make a new folder and name it "Texture"

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3 // Draw a selection for your container and add a mask to the folder. You can do this by clicking the mask button at the bottom of the layers panel. This rectangle is just my starting shape. I plan to extend the edges of the rectangle using watercolor brushes to give it a natural look.

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4 // Navigate to your texture library. Below is a screen shot of all the pre-made watercolor textures from my Watercolory Goodness Bundle. Pick one and drag it into Photoshop. Make sure it comes into Photoshop as a smart object so you can resize the texture without worrying about resolution.

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5 // Position the placed texture inside your "Texture" folder. Now is the time to resize the texture so that it fills the space in a way that you think looks good.

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6 // Open your brushes panel (F5) and find a brush that has a nice and fairly even edge.

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7 // Start brushing the edge of the rectangle mask to give it that organic watercolor-bleed look. Zoom in if necessary. Rotate the brush and just work the mask so that there isn't a hard edge left. Remember, you want this to look natural and organic. Happy accidents are definitely welcome at this point. Pro tip: using the "X" key on your keyboard changes the foreground and background. This will allow you to paint in textures or erase textures from the mask.

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8 // Switch up the brushes to get different edge qualities and just keep applying the technique from the last step until you are happy with your container shape. Below, I've added some additional watercolor washes/bleeds to the edge. I probably used 5 or 6 different brushes to get the effect below.

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9 // Now that your container shape is done, pick a contrasting texture for the background. I placed the texture file as a smart object and resized using the free transform tool. As you can see from my layers panel, I've added a vibrance adjustment layer to make the texture background a little more vibrant. I also adjusted the colors of my vector art.

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10 // If you want a little more pizazz, use a watercolor brush to add in a few extra washes to the edge of your artboard. I work with masks often so I added a Color Fill layer, set to purple, and basically used the watercolor brush to stamp in some additional texture.

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There you go. Once you done this method, it's pretty easy to apply to other projects quickly. The brushes really help to allow you to "shoot from the hip" and add in additional watercolor textures. Hope you enjoyed this quick little tutorial. Send me a message if you have any questions or comments. Thanks!

Be sure to check out my Creative Market shop for more goodies. https://creativemarket.com/jheglund