Real watercolor effects are possible in Photoshop without multiple overlays, layer effects, imported textures, and other ‘cheats.’ The image above was created simply with my custom Real Watercolor brushes and a Wacom drawing tablet. The textures are built right into the brushes. They respond to pen pressure, direction, and tilt and by combining different brushes (the above image was created with two wash brushes, the ‘Wamazing’ brush, the ‘Weird 90’ brush, and the ‘Color Magic’ brushes), you can truly achieve a natural watercolor painting with nothing more than a drawing tablet and a single Photoshop layer.
OK It’s time to throw down!
First off: Photoshop is Photoshop, and nothing is “cheating.”
I purchased Kyle’s set, but found it had problems and didn’t offer me the control I wanted.
They get really really slow on 300dpi documents, which I consider to be standard resolution. I want to work at letter size or larger, just like I do with real watercolors.
Because the textures are built into the brushes, you can’t use a blending tool without having the textures vanish into a blur. When I work with real watercolors, I add water or mix colors on the paper. You should be able to do that in Photoshop.
Because the edge effects are built into the brushes, you can’t pick up your pen without causing the next stroke to overlap. I don’t want every single stroke to overlap, I want more control.
Why is multiple layers a bad thing?! This is Photoshop. If you can work at high-res without slowdown, having multiple layers isn’t a liability. Using multiple layers can be more similar to the process of real watercolor painting, where you can wait for an application of paint to dry and then build up more washes. The nice thing about doing this in Photoshop is that the lower layers stay “wet,” giving you the option of erasing, blending, adjusting color and all the other Photoshoppy goodness — without altering the other parts of the painting.