During this Design Cuts Live session, we had the pleasure of being joined by the immensely talented Lisa Glanz, an Honest Designers co-host, artist, and designer of all things cute and fuzzy.

This week, she dropped one of her most beautiful Procreate packs yet, the AquaReal Watercolour Brushes. So for the purpose of this session, she showed us her techniques for digital watercolor painting using her new set of realistic stamps and brushes. Follow along to get an insight into how Lisa creates her magic!

Let’s make your art look like a fine art gallery piece. Ever struggled with watercolor painting in Procreate?  With this article, you can learn some really amazing techniques to create realistic looking Digital Watercolor Painting in Procreate with the amazing Lisa Glanz using her popular Procreate pack: AquaReal Watercolour Brushes. Even if you're an existing watercolor fan, get your notepad out because this session is going to be super informative and fun! 

How To Get A Realistic-Looking Painting

The first thing that's very important with getting a realistic-looking Procreate painting is that your finished piece needs to look dry. There are some brushes out there that don’t give you that look. Once you finish a painting it obviously dries up, taking away the realistic watercolor look. The lovely hard-edged imperfections and color variation is what gives it a more realistic look. The best way to achieve that is to use a combination of brushes, real watercolor splotches, shapes etc. This brush set has a collection of few brushes because you can achieve a variety of styles of watercolors just by using them without feeling overwhelmed.

Start with a base color. Layer in and apply stamps as you go. It's all about clipping masks and blending modes. Use Multiply and experiment by adding in shapes and color variations. Once you harden the edges, you’ll see a more authentic look and it's the deliberate imperfections that constitute a dry look. When you see everything dry, you’ll know that's exactly what you're trying to mimic. Use splatters and shadows to give the painting a more in-depth appearance and stick to a limited color palette to achieve the dry look. 

When beginning your artwork, use a light base color. The reason for this is that when you’re creating stamps, you’ll notice the color gets darker and darker every time. So, it's wise to start with a light color initially. Stamps also give you a natural watercolor look. Start with a light base color, just as you do with a real watercolor and then build it up from there. Don't be scared of imperfections and adding color variation. Imperfections make it look realistic!

Don’t be afraid to use stamps in a creative way. For example, with the bear, you can use a band stamp across the eyes and create a contrast for a dramatic bleeding. 

Use a lot of stamps to create a contrast. For example, start with a darker color and use smudge tools to blend it in with the background to make it look like a part of your work. That's a great way to use stamps too. So, you don't have to use it as a clipping mask, you can use it as your beginning shapes. This is a fun way to stretch your imagination and make your work more abstract. 

Let’s Do Watercoloring Together

Use the Sketching Detailed Brush and start by drawing a butterfly. You don't have to make the butterfly symmetrical. Ease in and draw one to make it look more realistic. Draw a centre line and loose curves on both sides. Use the Liquify Tool and draw the top wing and the other shapes. Again, neither of these needs to be perfect in order for it to look realistic. Then, use the All-Rounder Shape to draw in.

With the Watercolor Brushes in Procreate, continue to draw without lifting a pencil. In case you do, you can use the Smudge Tool to fill in the gaps. Fill in color in the wings without overlapping. 

Use the Wig Blending Brush and blend in the overlaps and fill in the white areas. Adjust the brush size wherever needed. Jiggle your pencil in the bottom by changing the color to a darker tone. Make sure the edges are darker. 

Add a New Layer and choose a Clipping Mask.

Set it to Multiply.

Choose a bright blue and pick a big sketchy stamp. 

Stamp once and you’ll see some imperfections with sketchy edges. Add a new clipping mask and set to Multiply. 

Pick a different color and flip it. Use the Smudger to smudge color out wherever needed. Play with the blending modes and pick a darker color, creating a contrast in your piece. You could go darker in some places, so experiment where you wish to. 

Add darker colors to the bottom and remove the halo created on top. Create another clipping mask and use a Blooms Stamp Brush. You could rotate, resize and experiment as you like. Stamp around and see how it looks and adjust accordingly. 

Go back to the base layer and use the Smudge tool to smudge in, making it look realistic. Use splatters and a different stamp to add in the details at the bottom of the wings. Make it look as realistic as you can. Bring the brush size down and make an abstract body in the centre. Blend this in as well. 

Use a Bloom Effect using a blue color. 

Take the Bloom Stamp and stamp it out. Go darker with the stamps as it takes the most intense part of the pigment and bleeds it out. This is exactly what you want to mimic. 

If you want something to be more intense, duplicate the layer and it’ll intensify the colors as they get duplicated and added twice. Use the Bloom Accent Stamp and tease the colors in. 

Create another clipping mask and use the Build Up Bloom Stamp. Underneath the brown area, create a white color bloom to accentuate the differentiation in the color. Use the splatters at the edges. To add darker edges, add a new layer, set it to multiply and choose a darker color. Use the Bloom Accent Brush and tease the color, making it look natural. Add a darker color, with a large size and change it to a brown so it matches the brown you’ve already used before. You may go as dark as you like to add in pigments for variation. 

Add a new layer and set it to Multiply. Use the Sketching Detail Brush and draw some wings. Using a gray color makes it look like a pencil. Add the pencil effect to the butterfly by adding in details to the wings. These can be inconsistent again to make it look realistic. You don't need to use the Symmetry Tool. 

Add a new layer and set it to Multiply. Use the Splatter Brush and pick a dark color. Now choose a blue and add splatter details on the wings.

 And it's done. A beautiful, realistic butterfly is all ready to fly!

This Procreate set by Lisa Glanz, AquaReal Watercolour Brushes, is perfect for both beginners as well as advanced learners! It includes an amazing combination of 8 painting brushes along with some stamps, shapes, watercolor palettes and 3 pre-made canvases. It has a limited set of brushes so that it doesn’t overwhelm you with hundreds of options. Each brush is essential and can be used in many ways.