In this tutorial I'll show you how to create an abstract piece featuring an eagle with watercolor, strokes and the combination of black, white and red colors. You'll learn how to make some abstract things, work with watercolor, enhance the color, contrast and more.
Create a new 1500x1000 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color and pick the color #bababa.
Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and increase the lightness. On this layer mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) and select a soft round one with black color. Use this brush to paint from the top left to the bottom right of the canvas, leaving the effect visible on the top right only.
Open the mountain image and drag it into the main canvas using the Move Tool (V). On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to remove the hard edges on the top and the bottom, also reduce the mountains' visibility in the middle.
Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Bring the Saturation values down to maximum to desaturate the mountains.
Add a Curves adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to brighten the mountains a bit.
Cut out the eagle and place him in the right section of the working document. Use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to rotate it to the right as shown below:
Make a Curves adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) to brighten the eagle. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to paint on some parts of the wings and body to keep the shadow there.
Create another Curves adjustment layer to increase the contrast on the eagle. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to remove the dark effect on the wings and refine some details on the feathers .
Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation values to -46:
Open the textures 1 image pack and select the texture-23 image to add to the main canvas. Convert this layer to a Smart Object and use Ctrl+T to make it much thinner to make it look like a column. Place it on the right wing of the eagle (from the viewer).
Duplicate this layer and move it to another wing of the eagle.
On the first of these two layers, click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Change the brush to the paint ones and select several brushes you like to paint inside and outside of the columns to reveal the head of the eagle and reduce the columns' visibility, remembering to vary the brushes' opacity and sizes to make an abstract feel.
Come back to the eagle layer and use several paint brushes to paint on the top and the lower of the right wing (from the viewer)
Select these layers and hit Ctrl+G to make a group for them. Change the group mode to Normal 100% and make a new layer within this group. Use a paint brush with black color to paint on the top of the eagle's wing. Press F5 to change the setting of this brush:
Add a mask to this layer and use this paint brush with a lower opacity (about 50%) to reduce the effect on the left of this part.