How to Paint a Watercolor Flower in Photoshop

Written by charles carswell
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How to Paint a Watercolor Flower in Photoshop
Use one of Photoshop's resident tools to create flowers. (flower painting image by Kit Wai Chan from

Adobe Photoshop provides many very interesting and exciting ways to create watercolour and impressionistic images. You will not have to purchase or download any filters, scripts or third-party brushes for this effect. When done, the finished effect will look very much like a watercolour painting and you can vary the technique for an even more striking and colourful effect. The resident Photoshop brushes, particularly the Art History Brush, can provide a very interesting rendition to your image.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Launch your copy of Photoshop and drag a photographic image of a flower into your workspace by either clicking and dragging it into Photoshop or using the "Open" selection from the "File" tab on the main menu.

  2. 2

    Create a new layer by simultaneously holding down the "Shift" and the "Ctrl" keys and pressing "N." Type a name in the "Name" text field. In this instance you can name it "Transparency." The "Color" should be "None," the "Mode" is "Normal" and the "Opacity" 100 per cent. Click "OK" and a new layer is created above the "Background" layer as indicated in your "Layers" tab. If you do not see the Layers Tab, press "F7" and the "Layers" dialogue window appears. Fill this layer with white by making the foreground colour white and using the "Paint Bucket" in the "Tools" submenu. Change the transparency of this layer by varying the "Opacity" slider in the Layers dialogue window to 72 per cent. You can vary the percentage to your preference.

  3. 3

    Select the "Art History Brush" from the "Tools" submenu and choose a brush size of 20 pixels from the Brush Preset picker on the main menu. Use the following settings for the "Art History" tabs on the main menu: set the "Brush" to 77 pixels, "Mode" to Normal, "Opacity" to 100 per cent, select "Dab" from the "Style" drop-down selection menu and finally, set the "Area" to 27 pixels. You are now ready to create a watercolour from the photograph.

  4. 4

    Start painting the image using the "Art History Brush" with the current settings. Paint loosely and without regard to the flower's actual borders; there will be some overlap to make the image appear as a genuine watercolour painting. Stroke the areas broadly and quickly. The image background is now created. Change the "Brush" size to 20 pixels, the "Opacity" to 100 per cent, the "Style" to "Tight Short" in the associated text selection drop-down field, the "Area" to 20 pixels and "Tolerance" to 0 per cent. With the "Art History Brush" selected, begin painting the flower and its petals by stroking the brush outward on each image. You can select different preferences to make your creation more subdued or more dramatic.

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