Posts Tagged ‘ water color ’


I have been feeling freakishly prolific lately. Hunkered down in my fortress of awesomeness, living off Junior Mints, white tea, and lots of rad music, I’ve been so completely absorbed in my various projects, I might as well be in another dimension.

Sweet, right?

Most recently I’ve done up a trio of spacescapes. They’ve all been uploaded to my gallery on devaintART, but I am admittedly, possibly insufferably, pleased with these pieces at the moment, so I thought I’d share them here too, along with the layer breakdowns. Each of the breakdowns can be viewed full-size, just click the image. They’re not walkthroughs, exactly, as the process behind things I make is actually pretty darn haphazard. I add and delete layers completely randomly until I come up with something I like. So the breakdowns just give a basic idea of what elements make up the final piece. I thought it’d be kind of cool to show them as well, instead of just throwing up a finished design. Who knows, maybe they’ll even be helpful to some other artist out there or something.

So first up, I created “Marvel”. I had just watched, like, six Marvel movies in the past week before making this particular ‘scape. One of them was playing in the background when I was trying to come up a name for this piece…I think you see where I’m going with this…

Marvel layer breakdown by Karissa Cole ea1701 2013

The day after finishing “Marvel,” I dove right into created this next piece, “I Drop Gems”. Named after “I Drop Gems” by _ensnare_. There really are no words apt enough to describe how awesome this song is. Seriously, if this is your bag, check it out. You may very well fall in love. Don’t judge right away, though. Let it’s awesomeness build up and surround you first.

Besides being named after one of my favorite pieces of music, this work of mine is inspired by eatenwaffle, who I wish had more videos. (You can find eatenwaffle under a different name on deviantART.) There’s not too much of it, but this artist’s work is really stunning. I definitely recommend checking it out if you have the time.

So, here’s the breakdown of my “I Drop Gems”:

I Drop Gems layer breakdown by Karissa Cole ea1701 2013

Finally, after finishing “I Drop Gems,” I thought to myself I should really do a third piece, as three seemed like a nice round number of new designs, so I got to work on “Dreamscape”:

Dreamscape layer breakdown by Karissa Cole ea1701 2013
Of all the ways I could think of to spend three days, traversing the galaxy without even having to change out of my pajamas isn’t all that bad an option.

I’m in Love

All rights reserved. May not be copied. © Karissa Cole 2013.

All rights reserved. May not be copied. © Karissa Cole 2013.

All rights reserved. May not be copied. © Karissa Cole 2013.

All rights reserved. May not be copied. © Karissa Cole 2013.

All rights reserved. May not be copied. © Karissa Cole 2013.

All rights reserved. May not be copied. © Karissa Cole 2013.

So I’ve been thinking about this kind of shoot for a little while (about 3 years or so), and, well, today seemed just right to go ahead and give it a try.

I have to say, I feel pretty good about this considering it’s a first attempt. I think I learned a a bit about blurring and composition. Eventually I hope to reproduce this macro photography setup and put to good use what I learned from this session. Of course, I believe I promised a yeti story/pattern, so that’s probably what I really should be working on first. (To any wondering where the aforementioned yeti is, he’s coming, I promise! Was even working on it earlier today.)

Next time I do this, think I’ll use a tripod and some really shimmery paper as a backdrop, because, as I have discovered, one can’t really go wrong with shimmery paper.

Now I suppose I should go clean up the mess I made. In retrospect, I might’ve poured out a bit too much glitter. . .

Photoshop Tutorial – Photo to Watercolor Painting

“Watercolor Works” Photoshop Tutorial.

Preview Image Watercolor Photoshop Tut by Karissa Cole 2012

How to turn a photo into a watercolor-style painting in a few simple steps. Earlier this week I found a super simple way to bring new life to old photos. I posted my pieces here. And now, in my first tutorial, I’ll show the steps behind how I did them.

Tools used:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 (almost any graphics editing program capable of making and using custom selections and brushes will work, including GIMP, older versions of Photoshop)
  • Digital photograph of your choice (I recommend a photo with few but vibrant colors and a simple composition to start) I used a personal photograph
  • Watercolor brushes (I suggest making your own. In lieu of that free high quality brushes can be found at at Brusheezy or deviantART.)
  • Paper texture (again something that can be made at home or downloaded for free at deviantART or CG Textures.) I used Paper0007 (Texture: #6807) from CG Textures

Get your materials ready and then open up your editing program. (When clicked, the instructional images will open in a new tab so they can be seen larger.)

1. Bring your photograph and paper texture together in one document

With your materials ready open up your photograph in Photoshop. Press ctrl+A to copy the entire image, then ctrl+c to copy. Open your paper texture. Press ctrl+V to paste the photograph. Close the original photograph window. [Alternatively, if you know what size document you want create it and bring both photos in by copying and pasting.] Resize and position the photograph if necessary. Rename Layer 1 “Photograph.”

Save your PSD before continuing.

2. Select a color range, create a new layer, and begin painting

With the brush tool active (B) alt+click the part of the image you’d like to paint first. Once you’ve selected the foreground color, hit (X) and select the background color. The colors should be similar. [Selecting two slightly different tones directly from the image and then switching between those tones while painting helps create depth.] For my piece I selected two of the green tones found in the leaves of my image.

Now it’s time to make a selection based on these colors.  Go to Select>Color Range. . . a dialog box similar to the one below should appear

Select “Sampled Colors” from the dropdown box. Adjust the fuzziness setting as you see fit. Higher numbers = more is selected. 90 worked the best for this part of my image. Click OK when ready.

Without deselecting, create a new layer and name it after the color or part of the image you’re creating. [Since I was working with green my layer was aptly named “Green (1)”]. Hide the Photograph layer. On your new layer, with your range still selected, use  your water color brushes and begin randomly painting. Only “dab” the brush – do not drag it around. Leave a few spots empty to help build up the desired effect. If you have two tones, one foreground, one background, alternate between the two. When you’re satisfied  crtl+D to deselect. Painted too much? Use a watercolor brush to randomly erase any excess color. Also be sure to gently erase any hard edges.

Continue this process for each color you wish to represent. You will need to show the photograph layer in order to pick the next color range, then re-hide it as you begin painting on a new layer. (Layer order is unimportant. Keep each layer’s blending mode on “Normal”.)

3. Enhance colors and textures (optional step)

Duplicate the paper texture and the photograph layers, bringing them above all your other layers. Set them both to Soft Light.

Make color adjustments as you see fit. I ended up using a photo filter and a color balance adjustment mask to saturate the colors. Once you’re satisfied save your image.


the Butterfly - Watercolor by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved

Enjoy your result. I’ve found these kinds of images make great greeting cards and wall art pieces. Vary your subject matter, though, and you can do anything. Try working with photos of people or a cityscape to get some really awesome results! Also, try leaving one main color out of your image to create an interesting 3Dish effect.

Watercolor Works

I feel the need to be creative. Granted, this isn’t really a revelation or anything. But I think it’s become more apparent to me in the past few days. This is mostly because, although I don’t exactly have mounds upon mounds of free time sitting around collecting dust, my somewhat loose-knit schedule of late has led me to (re)discovering StumbleUpon – one of the best ways to use up free time while at the same time being one of the best sources of inspiration.

Most of my interests are settled around Arts, Crafts, Graphic Design, and Design. Every page brings me to new, crazy, amazing designs and creations. The one downside to this is that as I flip through each insanely creative Stumble after Stumble, I become more and more aware of how tiny the creative bit of my brain actually is. I’m so not that awesome and artistic. I’ve always been pretty good at mimicking things. But coming up with my own, fresh, unique ideas? Yeah, I totally suck at that.

Somehow, though, I did manage to come away from an hour of art & design surfing with a not exactly new but still completely usable idea. At one point I stumbled across this cool little watercolor-type image. I was in a stumbling groove, so I didn’t give it too much attention. But it got me thinking that it’d be neat if I could play around with some photos in Photoshop and give them with a watercolor effect. If I could, this would be especially gratifying since I cannot actually paint to save my life.

There are plenty of tutorials and actions out there, I’m sure, that deal with this. But I wanted to find my own simple, hands-on method. You know, getting as close to genuine painting without . . .  well, the genuine part. After a few minutes of playing around, this is the image I came up with:

The Flower (wc) by Karissa Cole 2012

I thought this was kind of neat, and really quick to do, so I kept playing with the idea. Here are some other pieces I ended up making:

Garden Flower Rain wc by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved

Just to See (1) by Karissa Cole - all rights reserved

One Ocean wc by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved

Color Me WC by Karissa Cole all rights reserved

It turned out to actually be a really easy technique. And it’s a great way to bring a bit of life to old pictures. Plus it was nice to create something that’s not a space-themed piece or a boring, yet cute, amigurumi critter. Not that I plan to stop making either of those things, of course.

Immersing myself in new types of art has been pretty invigorating. I don’t know if that euphoria will last, but for now I’m feeling pretty energized. There’s so much out there I can do and try. Why limit myself to just two things or even three, or four things?

Why limit creativity at all?

Love, imagine, create, scrap, live.

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