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I've seen thousands of watercolor style drawings which were made using computers and graphic tablets on sites like Artstation, Pixiv, Devianart, Behance and I'd like to know how the pros do it.

I couldn't find any drawing streams/timelapses which would explain why the artist is using that software or the other, or which approaches are better for which cases. All I could find in google are low quality basic tutorials from inexperienced artists where the resulting work does not look watercolory enough to call it that. Most tutorials I've found explain how to apply a watercolor(-like) effect to existing photos, and I haven't seen that done in the pros' drawing timelapses where the result is of desirable quality.

So if you know a quality tutorial where it's explained which software and approach should be used, I'd like to see that. Or if you're a pro artist yourself, please post your guide. I'd love to learn from the best.


I know stackexchange hates list questions but it's either that, or asking for a detailed tutorial to be posted as an answer here. Personally, I'd be happy with either option, but please tell me if I could improve this question.

  • apparently there is no watercolor tag and 300 rep is needed to invent it – user1306322 Apr 8 '17 at 20:53
  • We also don't have 'acrylic' or 'oil' tags. – Lucian Apr 8 '17 at 21:04
  • I know. This site might be the wrongest place to ask this question. – user1306322 Apr 8 '17 at 21:11
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    I think most may use Corel Painter. It has features specifically designed to mimic real-world mediums such as watercolor, acrylics, oils, etc. As with most digital artwork though, it ultimately comes down to what you yourself fprefer without any hard and fast rules why one application is better than another. – Scott Apr 8 '17 at 22:41
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    If you are looking for good tutorials, the digital artist David Revoy has quite a few where he uses Open Source software - there's at least one for watercolour painting using MyPaint - his website is here davidrevoy.com/categorie5/tutorials - he also uses other software such as Krita, and GIMP. – Billy Kerr Apr 9 '17 at 11:03
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You've asked for software or tutorial. And you've got some links for both. I'd just like to focus on one particular piece of software because:

  • it's free
  • it has proven record of watercolor capacity
  • it has good designated tool sets for watercolor

I'm talking about Krita which was already mentioned by Billy Kerr. As well as David Revoy who has proved this piece of software can do watercolor.

To be more precise:

Watercolor Brush Set

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It is all about the correct software.

Probably the most complete program is Corel Painter http://www.painterartist.com/en/product/painter/

Some other options are PD Particles http://www.thebest3d.com/pdp/

Paint tool Sai http://www.systemax.jp/en/sai/

Clip Studio (Manga Studio) http://www.clipstudio.net/en

The already mentioned rebelle: http://www.escapemotions.com/products/rebelle/

MyPaint http://mypaint.org/

Or an experimental one Verve Painter http://www.taron.de/forum/

Some of them have a trial period and some are free. So probably the best option is to try them yourself.

There are some other options like using special brushes on Photoshop with different transparency and blending modes.

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One software category is "painting simulator" that tries to emulate how water, color and paper interact. A low cost item in that category is Escape Motions Rebelle. It does not offer to you anything but an empty paper, some colors and brushes to start from. And the water, of course. One can continue straight from the skill level that he or she had achieved when last time tinkered with real watercolors.

enter image description here

As you see, I have not much to tell about the painting, but hopefully a piece of plausible software is interesting, too.

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Adobe Fresco is a new software package that produces extraordinarily lifelike results in all kinds of medium - particularly watercolors. Below are a few tutorials to check out to see if they fit what you'd be looking for from a digital watercolor solution.

https://create.adobe.com/2019/9/24/how_to_make_a_waterc.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jHEolUBdQ0

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