Watercolour with the Mixer Brush

Replicating a real watercolour style in PS or similar has long been a challenge for me.  Mostly because I am not a painter and have no real understanding how paints work in the real world.

So eventually I did a course on painting with watercolours and it taught me a lot.  Plus I have Rebelle, some software that mimics w/c about as realistically as you can get.  But you still need to THINK like a painter, and I don’t.

Yesterday, while trying to solve another problem, I came across a video that showed you how to use the Mixer brush to give you a more water colour effect.

So today I decided to give it a go.  I like the sketched out style so I did a sketch using Akvis Sketch – it has much more control and level of detail than Find Edges has, but Find Edges is free and included in PS 🙂

Then many layers of colour were dabbed down, brushed about and mucked around with.

Its a first proper experiment so made all kinds of mistakes but I still like how it came out and understand better how it can work.


Here are all my layers as I built up the different stages of colour.

The sketch appears twice, once as a base so I knew where my lines were, and then blended softly on top with Multiply to finish it off.


Here is the original photo for comparison

Should I keep going with working on this style?  Think its got potential?

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About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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2 Responses to Watercolour with the Mixer Brush

  1. green_knight says:

    First off, this is – I speak from experience – harder than it looks, and I love the fluffy cloudy watercoloury texture you’ve achieved.

    I can see two areas of weakness: the sketch has a dark hole in the right corner of the building – I can see where it’s coming from, but the photo does not emphasize it as much, so I’d bring in lighter colours. And the other thing I noticed was that you leave an empty area at the bottom of the building; I’d like it to be more connected with the ground.

    The sketch is marvellous; most computer filters (at least, most of mine) end up looking somewhat blobby and chunky.

    I’m experimenting with watercolour myself, and the more I use Rebelle, the less enarmoured I am with it – try as I might, I cannot get a watercolour look from it that I truly love.

    • Yes Rebelle is much harder to get a really good watercolour effect from than it seems it should be. It frustrated me SO MUCH I actually did a real life watercolour paints course just so I could understand how the paints do work. TBH I have more fun playing with them and am building up a range of colour dabbles to scan and bring into digital format to turn into textures.

      So I havent paid for an upgrade with Rebelle to V3 – it worked very well as a watercolour overlay on top of a photo and I liked the outcome I got there but you do have to fiddle a lot with the load and water settings on the brush and it seems to process the flow very slowly too.

      The sketch is done via Akvis sketch and its fantastic – you have a whole range of presets which you can modify as light or heavy as you like, and then when it applies it, it draws it out in stages, and each stage is a frame and you can pick through to see which frame you like the most and work with that.

      I was trying to mimic the Find Edges style in PS so went with a lighter option for this one.

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