This was a really shabby, dull and dark picture of my daughter who had fallen asleep in the back of the car. There was no way I was ever going to use it on a layout, but it intriged me, because the picture really showed of her soft, long eyelashes. I came across a watercolor tutorial showing how to turn your photo into an artsy splattered work-of-art. This picture immediately sprung to mind! Here is how I did it:
– I converted my photo to black and white.
– Adjusted the levels to make the whites and blacks even whiter and blacker. Try not to lose all detail while doing this!
– I added a layer mask and filled it with black. This makes the photo disappear from your page (aaah), leaving an all white canvas. It is supposed to do this, don’t fret…
– Choose a brush. I went for the grungy type brushes (Just Jaimee offers some beautiful grunge-brushes on her blog).
– With the layer mask selected (this is important!) and my foreground color set to white, I started brushing carefully. The black-and-white photo reemerges where the brush is ‘stamped’. I only painted the eyes, nose and mouth ‘back’.
– Choose another brush. This time I selected Messy splatters by Happy Scrap Girl and some gorgeous Lace brushes (found on Deviantart).
– Set your foreground color to black.
– Start stamping on your brush in a new layer above the photo layer. I made different layers for different brushes, for the lace brushes I even created a layer for every lace ‘stamp’. This makes it easier to move thing around until you are satisfied. I varied the opacity of the brushes.
– Above the brushes layer I created a Gradient fill adjustment layer, made a gradient (purple, orange, yellow) and chose an angle. Set the blending mode to Overlay. This instantly colors all the black brushes and the photolayer!
– The photo was a little ‘lost’ in this gradient, so I decide to create an extra Gradient fill adjustment layer with a gradient which was almost the same, just with a little black added. I clipped the adjustment layer to my photolayer to give it a little boost.
– I added a little bit of black splatter and lace on a new layer above all other layers. On another layer I added the ‘you are my inspiration’ wordart (in a very low opacity).
– Type the title (I struggled with the font for this, but in order to let the picture take the podium I decided on a very basic Helvetica Ultralight) and added ‘I love you’ wordart.
Done! Now show me yours 🙂
6 thoughts on “How to make watercolor portraits”
Thank you so much for sharing how you did this,
I love this technique, I don’t know much about gradients but can see I need to start learning more about them if this is the effect you can get to colorize brushes. Thank you so much for giving me inspiration.
Love this idea! Thank you for the steps. I have one in progress, having a bit of trouble getting it right but I love a challenge.
Thanks for sharing.
Hi Bobbie, if you have any questions, ask away, I’ll try to help where I can. Would love to see the result!
This is AMAZING!! I can’t wait to try!
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