How to Create Digital versions from Watercolour illustrations in Pro Create

Here’s a personal walk-through tutorial of how I use ProCreate on the iPad pro to create a digital version from a watercolour paining original.

I’ve bee really enjoying creating artwork for products on Society6 lately.

My only issue has been how to best use my random watercolour illustrations I’ve created over the years, and apply them to printable artwork.

I’d tried photographing them, using lights, white backgrounds, daylight, everything I could get get a high quality, crisp image. But it never worked. There were always shadows and pieces slightly out of focus, or imperfections that bugged me.

So I tried something new.

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I snapped a quick photo of the original watercolour using my iPad. I wouldn’t worry too much about perfect lighting, I would just try to get it straight and centered. Then I’d open up a new custom canvas on ProCreate (around 4800x4800px at 72dpi, RGB for those that want to know the details!). From there’ I’d import the photo into the canvas and scale back the opacity to around 30% and begin recreating the image.

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My favourite tools to use for this type of artwork are the Technical pencil brush, and the watercolour brush. I’ll use colour swatches from the original watercolour in order to create the most authentic representation.

For the lettering it will depend on the image, but for this image I used a calligraphy brush created by Ryan Hamrick. Sometimes I’ll just use the monoline pen brush, or one of the other calligraphy brushes within ProCreate.

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Finally I’ll turn off the original image layer, create a duplicate of all the new digital image layers and begin to tidy up the edges. I’ll re-scale the image, tweaked it slightly and tidy up edges. Then export it, and it’s done!