30 Watercolor Tutorials and Brush Sets for Photoshop

Through the use of brushes and various combinations of often pastel and neutral colors, creating that digital watercolor style in Photoshop can be a fun and rewarding experience. If you’re interested in creating this technique, try following along with one of the many tutorials listed below. To help you gather resources, I’ve also included 15 of some of the best Photoshop watercolor brush sets available, located just below the tutorial roundup. Enjoy!

Photoshop Watercolor Tutorials

In an effort to only bring you the best watercolor tutorials available, I spent quite a bit of time hunting down the collection below. Most of these tutorials will require the use of Photoshop brushes to execute the technique and offer links to the ones used. If you want to change things up a bit and use a different brush, make sure and check out the roundup of PS brush sets below this collection of tutorials.

Super Cool Watercolor Effect In 10 Steps

“Last year I wrote a Photoshop tutorial for PSDTUTS showing how to create a very nice design using watercolor brushes. It was inspired by the work of guys such as Bruno Fujii, Margot Mace, Raphaël of My Dead Pony and Stina Person. This time I will create another effect but it will be using Masks and Watercolor brushesl; it’s inspired by another great digital artist, the master Scott Hansen the mind behind ISO 50 and also some images from the daily inspiration.” – Fabio Sasso

Create a Grungy, Translucent Web Portfolio Design

Not only have watercolor brush strokes become a popular trend in modern web design, but so have advanced layers of transparency (or what is called, translucence). The new Envato design has received a lot of kudos for using this effect, and this tutorial will show you how to create a similar effect, while combining it with other popular web trends.

Transform a Photo into a Chinese Painting

Follow along with this tutorial using Photoshop brushes and images to create a watercolor inspired Chinese painting featuring a Tiger. There are only 8 steps from beginning to end and all links to images and brushes are included.

Creating an Abstract Watercolor Wallpaper

There are plenty of ways to create a Watercolor Effect in Photoshop. Some are very cheesy and you can easily tell that a simple filter has been used. In this tutorial, we will be using Layer Masking. It is one of the most fascinating and powerful Photoshop method, to use layer masks in your designs.

Create a Nature Inspired Painted Background

“When I first saw the Viget Inspire Blog, I was very impressed. The background just grabs and pulls the reader right in. After studying it for a while, I still couldn’t determine if it was made from an actual painting or if it was all created from scratch in Photoshop. Regardless of how it was created, it makes for a great looking design. In this tutorial, I will you show you my own technique for creating this type of background.”

Brilliant Matte Dispersion Effects

In this tutorial, you’ll be taken through, step by step, the creation of some custom brushes, and application of them to a stock image to create a matte dispersion effect.  You’ll learn how to create and save brushes, utilize complementary colors, and manipulate stock images for a visually stunning final result.

Create a Watercolor-Themed Website Design

Watercolor in graphic design has become very trendy the last couple of years, many websites and incredible designers are using this style and taking it to another level. Even knowing the technique is important in this kind of design, is more about creativity and experimentation. You will learn how to use the Art History Brush and combine it with watercolor custom brushes to create a nice background header image and more. Check out the screencast for the tutorial as well.

Watercolor Text

Follow along in this Photoshop tutorial as you learn how to create a watercolor text effect with a watercolor paper background. You’ll learn about a few of the the Brushes palette options and how they can help achieve a realistic watercolor result

Create Cool Watercolor Effects in Photoshop

“Some time ago I wrote an article on my blog listing some fashion-style illustrations from really amazing designers such as Bruno Fujii, Margot Mace, Raphaël of My Dead Pony, Stina Person, and others. The coolest thing in their design work is their use of watercolor effects. So in this tutorial I will show a quick way to simulate that effect using only Photoshop and some brushes.” – Fabio Sasso

Create a Beautiful Vibrant Watercolor Web Layout

Use of watercolor in website can really lighten up your design. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to combine textures in your layout to create a beautiful watercolor layout. You will see how integrating the element of painting in your webpage can make your layout very artistic and creative.

Design A Grungy Floating Island

This tutorial will walk you through how to create a grungy floating island, complete with a watercolor textured background. The tutorial focuses heavily on how layer blending modes can be combined to great effect.

Dynamic Recessed Watercolor Typography

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to mix vector elements and watercolor effects with text to create a stunning design. It’s a quick process that depends heavily on good choices of images and colors.

Easy Watercolor Painting Effect

In this Photoshop tutorial you’ll learn how to easily make a photo look more like a watercolor painting. This photo effect works best on images where maintaining rich colors and strong contrast is more important than keeping any fine details, since you’ll be losing a lot of detail with this effect.

Design Watercolor Effect Menu

This is a two-part tutorial on how to create an artistic and un-typical CSS list menu as seen on Web Designer Wall. In the first part (this article), you will learn how to design a watercolor effect menu in Photoshop. Then in next tutorial, you will learn how to slice the menu and code in CSS.

Fascinating Watercolor Effect in Photoshop

Watercolor is one of those effects that can be difficult to replicate digitally, but with a little practice and experimentation you’ll find it to be rather fun. This tutorial will be based around creating a really cool watercolor effect, but this technique works just as well when creating paintings in Photoshop.

Photoshop Watercolor Brushes

So you’ve seen the tutorials and maybe completed one or two. Now it’s time to make your own digital watercolor creations. To help you get started with some resources, here is a collection of 15 Photoshop watercolor brush packs.

Watercolor Brushes Vol. 1

A pack of 20 watercolor brushes at a resolution of 1000px wide. You may not use these brushes commercially without the authors permission.

Watercolour Brushes Set 1

A collection of 26 high resolution watercolor brushes at a resolution between 1480px – 2500px. You can find set 2 here.

Hi-Res Watercolor Photoshop Brushes

A collection of 20 high resolution water color Photoshop brushes at a resolution of 2500px. This is set 2 of the collection. Set 1 can be found here.

WaterColor Reloaded

A huge pack of 83 watercolor brushes with a resolution of 700px – 1200px. Compatible with PS7 and up.

Artistic Photoshop Brushes

18 Photoshop watercolor brushes made to imitate watercolor droplets and brushstrokes, globs of paint, ink drops, acrylic brushstrokes and various other artistic media.

Watercolor 2 Brushes Pack

A combination of 25 Photoshop watercolor brushes compatible with PS 7 and up.

Watercolor II

This collection includes 9 watercolor Photoshop bushes created in CS3. The PSD file is included for those who have earlier versions.

Watercolor Splatters

Complete set of 32 high resolution Photoshop splatter brushes. Created with artist-quality watercolor paint on cold press watercolor paper.

Hi Res Watercolor Brushes

A large collection of high resolution watercolor brushes ranging from 900px – 2000px in resolution.

Watercolor Brushes

Realistic collection of 10 Photoshop watercolor brushes.

Watercolor Brushes 2

Large collection of 40 watercolor Photoshop brushes ready to download.

Starwalt Watercolor Brushes

5 watercolor brushes for Photoshop created in CS4.

HQ Watercolor Brushes

Brushes range in size from 400px – 1000px and were originally painted on paper using poster paint.

Free Watercolour Brush Strokes

A collection of 14 brushes in an extremely high resolution ranging from 1597px – 2500px. PSD source files included.

Watercolor Splodges and Drops

A set of 4 high resolution watercolor brush sets (22 for premium members) each characterized by lots of beautiful details including shades, contrasts and enhanced edges.

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  1. Ericka April 21, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    I’m about to try out the “Super Cool Watercolor Effect In 10 Steps” tutorial. Thanks for including the brush packs too. Nice little bonus.

  2. Antoine April 21, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    Just downloaded the Watercolor Brushes Vol. 1 and they work great. Thanks for the wonderful resources!

  3. Kurt Strube April 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Hey Shawn! Great roundup you’ve put together here. I’ve always been a fan of watercolor since I was young and made the transition to digital with it a few years back. Picked up a few brushes and a tutorial from the list. Thanks!

  4. Alex Flueras April 21, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    Superb tutorial collection. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. eric May 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    thanks for resources and thaks to ericka por su guapa mirada

  6. nati June 8, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    mil mil gracias

  7. miami web design October 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    great selection of tutorials man. Gonna shoot these over to one of the employee’s he’s into this a lot. TY

  8. Web Developer January 28, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    Some amazing effects and art, just wish i had such creative skills!

  9. webdesigner May 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    very great brushes and skills. thanks for this post.

  10. Thomas Beal May 11, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Nice articles and brushes selection

  11. honour chick August 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    very useful collection. thanks for sharing them.

  12. Urdu Poetry boy September 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    This is one beautiful collection of tutorials i really liked the watercolour effect menu…

  13. Seru December 13, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    That’s cool! Amazing collection. Thank u dear.

  14. Eden January 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Thank you for these terrific tutorials. I’ve had a lot fun with these. I

  15. Sara June 8, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    O..M…G!! this is an AMAZING collection!! I’m an artist with a passion for water color and I just started using photoshop, and these are just amazing!! Best collection ever!! Thank you so much!! I’m so glad I found this website <3333

  16. meki November 7, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    thanks for the brushes. appreciate it man!

  17. Nalin November 8, 2012 at 3:54 am #

    Its nice of you to share these all,thanks a lot.

  18. Aaika May 21, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Great! Wonderful

  19. designposts January 4, 2015 at 6:52 am #

    beautiful collection of watercolor effect photoshop tutorials, really help me to add effects on my graphics

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