Watercolors in Illustrator

    ●   Some Vector portraits look cold and clinical because the lines are so precise.

    ●   The trick is to use brush textures to make the lines more natural looking.

Learn About:

Paintbrush Tool Transparency Colors Template Layers

•   This tutorial is used in the CD Cover, We Can Be Heroes!, Monster Mesh, and Picture Perfect Projects and is part of a series.

1 - 102-pencil-line-art-ai.htm - 2 - 140-brush-libraries-ai.htm - 3 - 141-watercolor-ai.htm

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.

water color example water color example watercolor example watercolor example

Step #1: Open your Illustrator Document ~

Open your line drawing in Illustrator …

Step #2: New Layer ~

Make a New Layer BELOW the outline layer by holding down + and clicking

Lock lock your other layer(s) …

Step #3: WaterColor Brushes ~

Open the Brushes panel and click the Brush Libraires Menu. …

… go to: Open Brush Library > Artistic > Artistic_Watercolor, and select a brush that looks good.

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Step #4: Short Stroke~

Choose a Stroke color in the Color panel, and draw a short stroke with the Brush Tool somewhere on your composition.

stroke face

Step #5: Blending Mode

With the brush stoke selectecd, click Transparency or go to: Window > Transparency


… and change the stroke’s blending mode to Multiply, and lower the Opacity to around 60%.


Step #6: Start Painting ~

Paint your face …

… now change the Transparency to Overlay …

… change the color and brush size and keep painting.

Step #7: Warp Tool ~

Get the Warp Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letters (Shift⇧+r)

… and Double-Click the icon itself warp tool small to bring up the Warp Tool Options. You may need to lower the size of warp tool brush.


Now you can push your brush stroke around to get it where you want it.

Last Step: Save and Attach ~


save as

Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects using the following naming convention:

  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.

  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.

Other Resources: http://vectips.com/tutorials/free-watercolor-brushes-and-tutorial/