In this tutorial, we will create realistic watercolor brushes for Photoshop from scanned paper using watercolor brushstrokes and washes.
But what if you need ready-to-use, professional watercolor brushes for Photoshop? Scroll down after this watercolor brush Photoshop tutorial to discover a great selection of premium watercolor brushes from Envato Elements.
If you prefer watching this watercolor brush Photoshop tutorial in action, follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:
Prefer to use Adobe Illustrator? Try this article instead:
What You Will Learn in This Watercolor Brush Photoshop Tutorial
- How to make a watercolor brush in Photoshop from scratch
- How to make watercolor brushstrokes on paper
- How to digitize watercolor brushstrokes
- How to create and use a watercolor brush in Photoshop
You will need the following in order to complete this watercolor brush Photoshop tutorial:
- a sheet of watercolor paper
- any medium-sized brush
- a small jar with water
- any set of watercolor paints
- a scanner that has the ability to scan A4-size paper
1. How to Create the Strokes on Watercolor Paper
Prepare your brush, paper, and paints, and then pour the water into the jar.
Put a small amount of water on the paper with your brush.
Start adding paint to the water on the paper using the edge of your brush.
Continue to add paint until your stroke looks like the picture below.
Now let's create a second watercolor stroke. Draw a long stroke with one horizontal movement.
To create the last one, use sharp movements by holding the brush by the tip.
Now we need to wait a while for it all to dry.
2. How to Digitize Watercolor Brushstrokes
We need to prepare the scanner glass to avoid stains or unwanted elements on your brushes. You can use a wet wipe to clean the glass.
Once you have cleaned the scanner glass, put your paper on the scanner.
Set the following settings in your scanner preferences: A4 paper size, 300 dpi. Then start scanning. The color of our scanned paper can be different from the color of our strokes, but it is much more important for us to preserve the structure.
3. How to Create a Watercolor Brush in Photoshop
We're one step closer to learn how to make a watercolor brush in Photoshop. Now, it's time to use our scanned images. Use Control-N to create a new document and use the following settings: 1500 x 1000 px; 300 dpi.
Go to File > Place and put your scanned paper into the document.
Resize your scanned paper to the borders of the document, so one of the brushes will be placed in the center, and click Enter.
Select your layer and use the Shift-Control-Alt-B key combination and set the following settings: Reds: 40%; Yellows: 60%; Greens: 40%; Cyans: -25%; Blues: -25%; Magentas: 80%.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and use the following settings: Brightness: 35; Contrast: 25.
Right-click on the layer and then select Duplicate Layer.
Create two more duplicates of your layer using Right-click > Duplicate.
Make all scan layers Invisible except the first.
Select your first layer, go to Select > Color Range, and click on the white area on your image. Click OK.
Now the white background of your image is selected. Delete it using the Delete button.
Then click on any part of your document to Deselect the previous selection and select your stroke using the Lasso Tool.
Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset, select any name you want to use for your brush, and hit the OK button.
Our first brush is almost ready to use. Select Brush Instrument and then select your watercolor stoke. After that, hit the Brush Settings icon.
Put ticks on Shape Dynamics, Color Dynamics, and Transfer.
Go to the Shape Dynamics panel and set Size Jitter to 90% and Angle Jitter to 50%.
Go to the Transfer panel and set Opacity Jitter to 25%.
Now our brush will create realistic-looking washes:
Now we need to cut the second stroke from the background as we did before, and after that go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and create Watercolor Brush 02.
Open the brush settings and go to Dual Brush, and then select your first brush. Set the Mode to Multiply, Size to 450 px, and Spacing to 72%.
This way, we can combine the brushes and add grunge scrapes to our brush texture.
Now we need to cut the second stroke from the background as we did before, and after that go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and create Watercolor Brush 03.
Open the brush settings and go to Shape Dynamics, and set Size Jitter to 100% and Angle Jitter to 75%.
With these brush settings, we can create ink splashes.
Awesome Work, You're Now Done!
Using these methods, we can create different types of watercolor brushes for Photoshop using a scanner, watercolor paper, and paints.
5 Best Watercolor Brushes From Envato Elements and Envato Market
You've learned how to make watercolor brushes from scratch in this watercolor brush Photoshop tutorial. Now, if you want watercolor brushstrokes ready to use in Photoshop, we've got you covered.
We'll review some of the best watercolor brushes from Envato Elements. If you're a digital creator, you'll love our subscription-based marketplace.
For a low monthly fee, enjoy unlimited downloads of the best watercolor brushes. You can also get unlimited premium fonts, graphic templates, actions and presets and more. Now, let's review some watercolor brush Photoshop sets from Envato Elements:
1. 202 Watercolor Brushes (ABR)
If you're looking for a complete watercolor brush set, this is the one for you. This watercolor brush Photoshop pack comes with 202 unique brushes: 106 abstract, 22 floral and 74 extra brushes. Use them to create your own brush masks and digital works of art.
2. AquaFlow Watercolor Generator (ABR, AI, ASL, EPS, PAT)
This is another complete watercolor brush set for the digital artist. These are some of the best watercolor brushes we've got. This watercolor brush toolkit can be used on Photoshop and Illustrator, and has everything you need for watercolor creations. In this pack, you'll get:
- 54 brushes (ABR)
- 36 seamless watercolor patterns (PAT)
- 108 photoshop layer styles (ASL)
- 150+ bonus vector illustrations
- 50+ brushes and patterns for Illustrator
3. Watercolor Brushes for Photoshop (ABR, PNG)
Do you like tropical paintings and illustrations? Then this fun watercolor brush set is perfect for you. Create beautiful and colorful watercolor illustrations in no time!
This watercolor brush Photoshop pack comes with 15 hand-drawn brushes and 15 flora and fauna PNG illustrations.
4. Watercolor Brush Set (ABR)
Check out this watercolor brush Photoshop pack with 50 unique brushes. The watercolor brushes are handcrafted and easy to use.
You'll get 50 dynamic watercolor brushes and 50 stamp watercolor brushes in this set.
5. Creative Masking Kit (ABR, PSD)
This watercolor brush set is from GraphicRiver, where you don't need a subscription. You can buy watercolor brush Photoshop packs like this one at a time. Here you'll get 102 handcrafted Photoshop brushes:
- 43 strokes
- 11 small mask brushes
- 14 dynamic brushes
- 2 painting effects: watercolor and oil painting
- and more
Explore More Brushes and Start Creating Today!
I hope you've enjoyed this watercolor brush Photoshop tutorial! Now you know how to make a watercolor brush in Photoshop from scratch.
If you want to check out more awesome resources, we've got these for you:
- Photoshop Actions25 Cool Photoshop Watercolor Effects & Filters With TextureMelody Nieves
- Photoshop BrushesHow to Make a Brush in Photoshop From an ImageDaisy Ein
- Photoshop BrushesHow to Make a Bokeh Brush in PhotoshopMarko Kožokar
- Photoshop BrushesHow to Create a Dust Brush in PhotoshopMarko Kožokar
- Photoshop BrushesHow to Create a Bubble Brush in PhotoshopMarko Kožokar
- BrushesHow to Make a Cloud Brush in PhotoshopMonika Zagrobelna
- Photoshop Templates1,000+ Best Photoshop Textures From Envato Elements (Textures, Overlays, Brushes)Nona Blackman
- Adobe Photoshop50+ Free Photoshop Brushes to Download Now!Melody Nieves