arleigh takes you behind the scenes


set 1
I wonder if you wonder whether I paint each watercolor page by hand. Well, no, but I do start with watercolors. I scan them in, then I turn them into Photoshop brushes, and I also look for brushes online.
For the September Planner and Dori, I included some watercolor by my neighbor, Gary Thomas. He is a watercolor artist, and, with his wife Cinthy, runs a CSA (look that up, there might one near you!) and a farmer’s market stall in the summer.
Check out Gary’s watercolors online
I scanned in his watercolors, and made brushes. If you have Photoshop, try this (P.S. you can use a photo of something, doesn’t have to be a scan).
Here are the steps I take to create a watercolor brush.
Image 1. Scan them in. These are four of Gary’s watercolor samples.
Image 2. Make them Greyscale. (Image > Mode > Greyscale)
Image 3. Using Contrast or Curves or Levels in an adjustment layer, turn the contrast way way up.
Then use your Eraser tool on the image layer to remove the edges and other little marks.
You do need to use an adjustment layer because you’re going to turn the contrast back down again after this. Adjustment layers are awesome. Nondestructive editing is very powerful.
Image 4. Play with the contrast until you have a nice range of black, dark grey, and white. I avoid middle and light grey because they’re so light when you use them, you can’t see them.
In my example here, I would use 3 of these, then add more contrast to the bottom right one before turning it into a 4th brush.
Image 5. Select and Define Brush.
Make sure you save the brush.
Here’s the Adobe Help Page about Brush Presets. I don’t want to confuse you with my explanation.
Here are some of Gary’s Brushes for you to use on your projects.
This post is authored by arleigh.

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