Create this spring-inspired abstract photo manipulation by Jenny Le! This tutorial will show you how to combine stock photos and splatter brushes together, apply textures, and more.

Preview of Final Results


Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document and fill it with white. I use the size with 1200×800 but feel free to make your own. Open paper 1 stock, move it into our white canvas then rotate it (choose Edit-Transform-Rotate 90 CCW) . Right click this layer, choose Convert to Smart Objects. Then choose Flip Horizontal:


Lower opacity to 30%:


Step 2

Open paper 2 stock, use Rectangular Marquee Tool to make a selection on the top left of it and use Move Tool (V) to drag it into our picture and lower opacity to 30%:


Step 3

I use an adjustment layer to change color of the picture. Go to Layer-New Adjustment Layer-Hue/Saturation:


Step 4

Extract model and place her at the center section then I use layer mask to remove hard edges and blend her with background:


Step 5

I use some adjustment layers (Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, Curves) with Clipping Mask for model to reduce saturation and brighten her:


Then I use soft black brush with opacity 100% and 20-30% to erase some parts on Curves layer mask. You can see how I did it on the mask and result on picture:


Step 6

Drag watercolor 1 into top of our picture, place it under model layer. Convert it to Smart Objects and change the mode to Multiply 100% then remove some hard edges with layer mask:


Duplicate this layer and move it to the right after flipping it horizontally. Use layer mask to create the look below:


Step 7

Take watercolor 2 and set it under model layer then clear unwanted parts with layer mask:


Duplicate this layer and flip it horizontally. I use layer mask to remove some parts and now we have nice shoulder-like effect:


Step 8

Isolate branches 1 and place it on the top of model head after converting it to Smart Objects and downsizing it (still under model layer). Add layer mask to this one and use Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to make a selection at the edge of the branches then use hard black brush (don’t use soft brush) to remove the bottom and some branches as shown:

Pages: 1 2 3 4

81 responses to “How to Create an Amazing Watercolor Artwork in Photoshop”

  1.  Avatar

    the butterfly is gone… it looks nice

  2.  Avatar

    Great Job!!!! So creative!!!! I will be trying it!!! Thanks so much!

  3.  Avatar

    Thanks for this tutorial

  4. Barrack Obama Avatar
    Barrack Obama

    this tutorial is so poopy, i actually had a seizure while trying to read the directions, now i have to take meds daily so i don’t shake and die, thanks.
    Sincerely, Barrack O.

  5. haamidreza Avatar

    its awesome

  6.  Avatar

    Excellent tutorial Jenny! ??

  7. Ashley Avatar

    The model photo is not available for free anymore

  8. apu Avatar

    wwwwwwwwwwoooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh its really awesome

  9. Colin Avatar

    Nice and clear tutorial

  10. Joseph Avatar

    HI, It was great to try out the example. Is there any chance we could get PSD .

  11. Ahmed Avatar

    Good one

  12. Emi Avatar

    This is absolutely amazing! Love it! Great job Jenny! I want to give this a shot. Love how you’ve provided step-by-step instructions!

  13. Lordan Avatar

    Wow. What an awesome picture! And I love how you broke it down, step-by-step. And though it may take some time, the effort definitely looks like it’s worth it! Thanks so much for this post. I’ll definitely be giving it a shot this weekend when I have some free time.

  14. Shohel Rana Avatar
    Shohel Rana

    Excellent tutorial indeed on photo manipulation and create nice watercolor. I have tried it several times and now I am able to do make watercolor artwork like this. Thank you so much for sharing. Great!

  15. Paula Avatar

    i love your website thanks you very much sir create this website wornderful tutorials

  16. André Avatar

    Unfortunately the result of the clouds/pixelate/polar coordinates gives me a complete different result :( any ideas?

  17. Eclipse-Web Avatar

    very nice

  18. Bennyqibalart Avatar

    This is awasome explain

  19. Jo Avatar

    one of the resources are not available

  20. ASHWIN KUMAR Avatar


  21. mashell Avatar

    amazing like alwways

  22. Arlene Shipley Avatar
    Arlene Shipley

    PSD file please – amazing job

  23. Onno Veerman Avatar
    Onno Veerman

    Thanks, very useful and instructive workshop. My result is here:

  24. Noroz Mayar Avatar
    Noroz Mayar

    Nice work.. related to some work at site . work is good and Awesome .keep it up

  25. skullboy Avatar

    For those having trouble with step 12, getting the clouds to show foreground and background colors…
    I had this same problem. Go to Image – Mode – 8 bit. That trick only works with 8 bit files, not 16 bit.

  26. YazolinoGirl on DeviantArt (.com) Avatar
    YazolinoGirl on DeviantArt (.com)

    Wonderful!! Thank you so much for the effort to create this tutorial… would love to see some video tutorials (with voice and slow/ not the fast ones, please). Your work here is just beautiful and the concept is striking. Thank you so much.

  27. clippingpatharea Avatar

    I like the idea of this tutorial, it’s very creative and the result looks great.

  28.  Avatar

    psd file please

  29. Maidul Islam Avatar
    Maidul Islam

    wow.. Fantastic steps.. I really like it. keep up :-)

  30. Milana Avatar

    Thank you for the tutorial! I have made it a bit different, as a beginner I am missing some information here – where exactly to place each layer, in which sequence – above or under the main and etc.. Here is my version:

  31. Thruchelvam Avatar

    Thank you so much this become inspiration to create poster for my friend birthday

  32. Ben Hughes Avatar
    Ben Hughes

    I Like Watching And Not Knowing Interesting New facts from photoshop tutorials can you recommend any Good ones

    Sincerely Ben Hughes

  33. Hen poughes Avatar
    Hen poughes

    Greetings I have taken this tutorial into account and it has interested me much.

    Many thanks Hen Poughes

  34. Withinboy Avatar

    nice work, appreciate this tutorial

  35. A.Blum Avatar

    This is a real good Tutorial. I did it with a picture of me and it works :) see it here.
    Thank you!

  36. PGJ Avatar

    In step 7, which blend mode is used on the new layers?

  37. Meg Avatar

    Hi jenny,
    just trying to work through your tutorial and in step 12, i am filling in the right colors for background and foregound just when i do Filter-Render-Clouds and so forth it looks a bit different and my end result after Filter-Distort-Polar Coordinates it turns out more like a few bumpy semi circles emerging from the base rather than the shape you have. Are there any ways to fix this or have i missed something?
    Thank you so much for your time

    1. skullboy Avatar

      I had this same problem. Go to Image – Mode – 8 bit. That trick only works with 8 bit files.

  38. Lloyd Street Avatar
    Lloyd Street

    Very nice work, thank you for the inspiration.

  39. Edino Avatar


  40. Karina Avatar


    First of all thanks for the brilliant tutorial both in subject matter and in your way of presenting each step. I am however miserably stuck on step 12. Everything is fine until I get to the polar coordinates then it looks nothing like yours. Mine are waves upon ways of rounded off squares. I have no clue what I’m doing wrong here. Everything is set us as in the tutorial. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

    Thanks :)

  41. Sandi Avatar

    As a retoucher I went through hundreds of tutorials through the years and this is one of the easiest to follow because of the way you explained it and showed every screen shot with setting and even your masking. Great job!

  42. emma alvarado Avatar
    emma alvarado


  43. meimei Avatar

    I Like this tutorial. So I want to make this art.

  44. Tyler Avatar

    I have no idea what you did to do step 4.

  45. leila Avatar

    How I do step 12!!! My cloud goes black and white!!!!

  46. leila Avatar

    I don’t know how to do step 3

  47. flobee Avatar

    Had fun! Your directions were simple to follow and usually that never happens for me.

  48. Callie Avatar

    Hi! I followed your tutorial and got a really nice image. My friend wanted to know if he could use it as an album cover, and I’m going to be tweaking it a little to make sure none of the images I used are copyrighted. Would you mind me using it? I just wanted to ask because I learned how to do it from your post.

    1. Jenny Avatar

      Of course you can, thanks for asking :).

  49. bartolomeus Avatar

    Really nice tutorial! It turns out really good!
    Next time you could think about mabye using stock photo providers that don’t need a paying registration.
    And i feel sometimes that you just assume that the reader know how to do a special command or feature.

    Otherwise, really one of the best so far! :D

    Thank you very much! :)

  50. thais estevão Avatar
    thais estevão

    keep these cool tutorales coming!

  51. Anil Chauhan Avatar
    Anil Chauhan

    psd file please

  52. El Duce Avatar
    El Duce

    I’m newer to photoshop and having a small issue with step 4 and getting the picture to fade like it does with the layer mask. Any tips? I’m using a different photo but a similar post. I’ve extracted the photo correctly but just can not get that same effect.


    1. Jenny Avatar

      Hi El,
      First i used soft brush with 100 opacity to remove the hard edges of the woman then i lowered brush opacity and flow (about 30-50%)when painting on the head, shoulders and hands. Hope it helps :).

  53. Anil Chauhan Avatar
    Anil Chauhan


    But why photoshop tutorial do not give the downloading for these pages as it is…
    PSD file required net connectivity to see it again…

  54. jeff Avatar

    I wouldn’t say that if looks anything like Garrets.

  55. Akram Mellice Avatar
    Akram Mellice

    very nice tutorial, i’ve followed it with couple of changes, you can see the result on my 500px:

    thanks again!

  56. Akram Mellice Avatar
    Akram Mellice

    very nice tutorial, I’ve done it with couple of changes. you can see it on my 500px:

    thanks again!

    1. Anonymous Avatar


    2.  Avatar

      I really want to see your work but the link isn’t working :(

    3.  Avatar

      Can you repost your work?

  57.  Avatar


  58. parveztrina Avatar

    Your tutorial is so easy to understand and you express it very cleanly. Photoshop is really a wonder

  59. Rob Avatar

    This looks difficult

    1. Jonathan Deitch Avatar
      Jonathan Deitch

      It’s not. I completed a photograph in under 2 hours. It’s mainly layering watercolor paint images, set to multiply and mask out what you don’t want; in a nutshell.

      See it here:

  60. Walter Avatar


  61. Garrett (Zef) Avatar
    Garrett (Zef)

    hmm similar to a poster i made back in July

    1.  Avatar

      not really though

    2. michiel Avatar

      Naaahh this one is much better

    3. Alma Avatar

      Yes, you have used similar texture …but where or what is the concept of your artwork?

  62.  Avatar

    Jenny, all I can say is WOWWWW!!!!

    Thank you!

  63. ashs Avatar

    is there any fees for tutorials

  64. Raouf Avatar

    The psd file please

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