How can I repli­cate the look of wa­ter­colour dig­i­tally?

Jemima Dice, US

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation Artist Q&a -

An­swer Den­man replies

When try­ing to repli­cate tra­di­tional medi­ums on the dig­i­tal can­vas, we need to first pick apart what makes that par­tic­u­lar medium unique.

Wa­ter­colours are typ­i­cally a trans­par­ent medium, and when painted wet on dry, of­ten have gran­u­lar dif­fused brush­strokes with a dark edge. The dark edge is caused by the pig­ment col­lect­ing due to sur­face ten­sion. A pop­u­lar ap­proach to wa­ter­colour is the ap­pli­ca­tion of washes or glazes of colour, to achieve de­tail and colour vari­ance.

First let’s get a nice paper tex­ture and im­port it into our can­vas in Pho­to­shop, be­cause that also plays an im­por­tant part of the tra­di­tional ef­fect. Take a photo of wa­ter­colour paper with a light wa­ter­colour wash to cap­ture that grainy pig­ment tex­ture, or find a free wa­ter­colour photo tex­ture on­line. Next let’s sketch in our sub­ject. I’ve de­cided to go with a mer­mage (mermaid and mage – I know, it’s ge­nius!).

As for when to use this method, use it when­ever you like! But gen­er­ally, it’d be for any fin­ished il­lus­tra­tion that needs to have a soft, tra­di­tional aes­thetic.

By us­ing tex­tures, trans­parency and Pho­to­shop’s layer modes, you can achieve a wa­ter­colour ef­fect.

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