Quick Tip on Blending Watercolor Digitally

I was in Karen Bonaker’s Paint with Me class recently and was working in watercolor. Frequently, I will mix watercolor and digital watercolor variants to get the look I want. I guess I never noticed this before, or never tried it with watercolor, but the Pickup Underlying Colors option was active in the layers panel. And when I began to paint with a digital watercolor variant over the watercolor layer, it picked up the colors and began to blend them. I know what most of you are thinking. He never tried Pickup Underlying Colors before, right? Well, I have; I use it all the time with other media, but for some reason I had not used it with watercolor.

“And you think I am going to believe you?”

“Kevin, leave me in peace. May I write one blog post without your interruptions.”

“I’m just trying to keep it real.”

“But, you are not rea….”

“I am to real! We established that with Uncle Tim. I am a good virus like Glenda the good witch in the Wizard of Oz,” he screeched.


I turned back to my computer and began typing, but I guess you know that. Sometimes I get confused and wonder who I am talking with, the imaginary virus or the imaginary folks who may be reading the blog. But I digress.

So I was in Karen’s class, and I started applying paint using my Splashing Water > Digital Sq Pool Blender and was shocked to see very rich colors and some cool blending happening. As you would expect, color from the previous layers added to the richness of the current layer colors. To demonstrate, I didn’t know which would be better, a painting or a video. I decided a video, but in the video, I mentioned that I hadn’t used the technique in a painting, which is only partially true. There was the painting in Karen’s class, but I haven’t actually finished the painting. That means I haven’t actually used it in a painting, right?

“Exactly, now do you see why I cannot believe you. Your thoughts are so frigging convoluted.”

“Oh good grief.”

To continue: I then decided it would be fun to use the Kaleidoscope Painting tool and make a finished example, which I did. However, even though I used the blending technique, it doesn’t show very well. I lost myself in the pretty colors. That Kaleidoscope Painting tool is addictive. It is hypnotic. I know it can be used to make beautiful paintings; one of my students used it to make an umbrella being held by a bathing beauty. It was terrific and very creative. I was just playing for the sake of playing. Hey, I’m retired, I can do that.

Next is the image I made and following that will be the video tip. I hope you enjoy them. Don’t be afraid to leave comments.

Watercolor blended Kaleidoscope
Painted in Painter 12 with Real Watercolor variants and Digital Watercolor variants.

Next is the quick tip video.

That’s it for this post. I am getting a fair number of hits these days and I really appreciate the visitors. Stop by often.


9 responses to “Quick Tip on Blending Watercolor Digitally

  1. Terrific, Skip! I love those blends. I really do need to make a new category for my favourite brushes – I keep forgetting those I like in the previous sets. Either that or a new brain, Lol! Great stuff!

    • Hey Hilary,
      Thanks my friend. I need to do a bit of organizing, too. I have been saying I was going to make a fav’s group, too, but every time I make a new brush it is my fav…LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by,

  2. Wowee !! I just found this……What a great tip and such beautiful colors……LOVE , love all your tips ! Thanks Skip ! I’m off to try this……Ok move over Kevin, I know you don’t want me to leave, but I just have to try this new tip ! See you later !! 🙂

    • Hey Judi,

      Check out Karen Bonaker’s blog, too. She has some tips on blending watercolors, too. Kevin has been pouting for a whole day now. I’m sort of glad; he is a very quite pouter, unless he is into some mischief. I guess I better go check on him.

      Enjoy those watercolors, skip

  3. Hi, Skip!

    It’s about time I drop you my first comment to say thanks, since lately I’ve been visiting your blog almost daily, downloaded your brushes and have watched a lot of the videos in your Youtube channel.
    I’ve been painting digitally for a couple of years and have tried different tools: Photoshop being the one I’m most comfortable with… But lately I’m interested in digital watercolor, so I got Painter, which seemed great for that purpose. I see its huge potential but I also see that it has a steep learning curve and it’s less intuitive than Photoshop (and SAI and Artrage, both of which I have tried). So your blog is helping me a lot! Thank you so much for everything you share! It’s obvious that you really care about your readers.
    The thing that made me decide to write today is that I’ve just tried the digital watercolor blending brush that you show in this post, and I can’t believe how useful it is! I spent all night trying watercolor brushes and organizing my favorites into custom palettes, and now that I discovered this one, I think I’ll be using it 90% of the time! LOL
    I’ve sent you a friend request on Facebook because I’d like to follow your updates. In case you only accept people you know personally, no problem, I totally understand!
    Please ignore any mistakes, since I’m from Argentina and English is not my first language.
    So thanks so much again! Have a great day.

    • Hi Alejandra,
      Thanks for the friend invite…I have accepted it and look forward to seeing your posts of FB.
      Thank you bunches for the wonderful comment. I like that brush, too, but I don’t use it as often as I once did. That is the nature of brushes; they are hot one day and cool the next. Keeping your favs in a custom palette is a very good thing to do. That way you don’t lose a brush. I mean by that, if I don’t have the brush out and easily available, I forget about it. I’m hoping to publish a basic watercolor set someday. I’ve been working on it for a while…LOL. Maybe I will finish it soon.

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