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How to Make Watercolor Brushes for Procreate 5

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Learn how to make watercolor brushes for Procreate 5. Watercolor brushes allow you to create digital illustrations that look like watercolor.

If you like this tutorial, you might like my other Procreate brush tutorials.

You might also like this post on installing brushes in Procreate.

pin image - making watercolor brushes for procreate from paintings

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Would you rather just buy a set of watercolor brushes? Check out my premium watercolor brush set with 30 brushes!

I’ve been trying to figure out how to make watercolor brushes for months. All of the existing tutorials that I can find use an older version of Procreate, so the information is confusing and doesn’t work.

In the latest update, the Brush Studio expanded the offerings to include “Rendering” and “Wet Mix.” With so many new options, it’s hard to figure out what the old tutorials are referencing.

I’ve finally made several watercolor brushes that I love. A free download for a set of 3 brushes is at the bottom of this post.

By the way, if you want a brush that behaves like watercolor, try Adobe Fresco. The color spreads like wet paint.

How to Make Watercolor Brushes for Procreate

Make the Shape Source

It’s necessary to break out traditional painting mediums to make beautiful watercolor brushes for Procreate.

Supplies Needed

Read more about my favorite watercolor paints.

Directions

  1. Paint different shapes on watercolor paper, varying the sizes, shapes, and opacity.
  2. Make the shapes large for best results.
  3. Let dry.
watercolor swashes for making brushes

Tips for Making Good Shape Sources

  • Make your shapes large. Smaller shapes will result in smaller (or blurry) brushes. Use at least half a page for each brush image to get the best high-quality image.
  • Experiment with different colors. Some colors granulate, and the effects are really cool when turned into black and white.
  • There are plenty of variations. Make light and dark shapes. Make different shapes (round and rectangular swashes). Make drips and spatters. Make solid shapes and blotchy shapes.

Scanning the Art into an iPad

You’ll need a scanner app for bringing art into Procreate. You could use an actual scanner, but I prefer to do it all on my iPad to save time. I use the Scanner Pro app. It costs a few dollars, but it’s useful for importing illustrations. My husband even uses it instead of our real scanner because it’s so easy to use.

  1. Open the app.
  2. Photograph each spot in good light. Move the camera close to the watercolor shape to make it as big as possible.
  3. Set it to Black and White.
  4. Edit the photo if needed.
  5. Save the photo.
  6. Be sure to save the photo to your photos.
  7. Repeat for all other images.

Bringing the Art into Procreate

  1. Open Procreate and make a new square document. I made mine 3000 x 3000 pixels.
  2. Import the photo.imported watercolor spot in procreate
  3. Use the eraser to turn off any spots you don’t want. If the corners of your photo are too dark, this is a good way to remove those too. Turn off the background layer to see more of what needs to be removed.erase shadowy background
  4. When you’re happy with the image, turn the background back on and copy the canvas. erased background for watercolor spot

Making Watercolor Brushes in Procreate

  1. Create a new brush folder.creating new brush folder in procreate
  2. Create a new brush. creating new brush
  3. In the shape menu, edit the shape source. editing shape source
  4. Paste the image. pasting image of watercolor spot
  5. Use a 2 finger tap to invert the image. invereted image of watercolor spot

You have to invert the image because it acts like a clipping mask for the grain. If you don’t invert the image, you’re drawing with the grain (a solid square by default.)

Here’s how the brush looks before you play with the settings.

making a watercolor brush

From there, you can start playing with the settings. For a typical brush, here’s what I change.

  1. In the stroke menu, I lower the spacing and raise the streamline. Lowering the spacing creates a smoother stroke, but it also reduces how large the brush can be. Raising the streamline removes any shakiness from your hand.
  2. In the shape source, you can raise the scatter and rotation to add a rougher edge. This can make it look more realistic than a smooth line. adding texture by adding scatter to brush
  3. Grain can be changed by editing and choosing a paper source from the source library. This creates a textured look. (I typically leave it as is, though.)changing grain for brush
  4. In the rendering menu, you can change the opacity of the flow. A light glaze creates a transparent brush. Intense blending creates an opaque brush.light glaze setting for watercolor brushintense blending for brush making
  5. Raising the wet edges level makes the brush work more like watercolors because the color builds on itself. Raising the burnt edges makes the edges slightly darker.
  6. Don’t forget to name your brush!
variations for brushes

Variations for Watercolor Brushes

When you have a brush you like, duplicate it and make variations.

Variations for watercolor brushes

Tapered Brushes

Create a Procreate brush that behaves like a round paintbrush by adding tapered ends. Be sure to raise the size for the taper.

adding taper to brush

Stamp Brushes for Textures

Some shapes are better as stamp brushes, like spatters and drips.

See my full tutorial for how to make a stamp brush.

Color Changing Brushes

It’s possible to make color-changing brushes by playing with the settings in the Color Dynamics tab. The effect can be intense or subtle, depending on your choices.

For a realistic look, try slightly altering the Saturation and Brightness in Color Pressure.

using color dynamics in brush studio to add painterly look

This shows up the best in colors that are a bit muted.

demo of color changing brush

Buy The Whole Watercolor Brush Set

New brushes are added all the time!

Be sure to check out my watercolor brush set! It contains 30 brushes (15 strokes, 6 tapers for lettering, 4 paint splotch stamps, 3 paint splatter stamps, and 2 paint drip stamps.)

Download a Mini Set of Watercolor Brushes

watercolor brush on ipad, sitting on tropical leaf

You will receive a mini pack of watercolor brushes for Procreate. This set includes:

  • Large spatter stamp brush
  • Spot Stamp
  • Tapered Wash Brush
using watercolor brushes on ipad

These downloads are for personal use only. Please do not redistribute or sell.

Dear teachers and students: this download will not work if you try to access it when logged into your school email account. Try a personal email account instead.

Download this Pack of 3 Watercolor Brushes

Here’s how to install downloaded brushes for Procreate.

More Procreate Brush Tutorials

Pin for Later!

pin image - watercolor brushes on procreate

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