Making a Watercolour-Paint Photograph in GIMP

This tutorial requires a little bit of creativity and imagination for the painting step, but don’t worry it is all very easy to get the hang of and the rest is a breeze!

Watercolor - Paint Photograph in GIMPWatercolor – Paint Photograph in GIMP


1. Download Texture + Download Watercolour Brushes

2. Preparing Images in GIMP + Adding Layer Mask

  • Now open up your photograph that you’ll be using – preferably one with some depth to it!
  • And open the Old Paper Texture, File –> Open as Layers (Ctrl + Alt + O):
  • On the ‘Paper Texture’ layer, *Right Click* > Add Layer Mask: White (simply hit enter):
Preparing Images in GIMP + Adding Layer MaskPreparing Images in GIMP + Adding Layer Mask

3. Painting

  • Remember to Refresh your Brushes if you do not see the brushes!
  • Select one of the brushes, with settings: FG: White, Scale: 2-6 (vary dependant on brushes)
  • Begin painting! Try to stay in the middle of the paper!

4. Add Colour

  • Now select the ‘Paper’ layer (not the layer mask!):
  • Choose around 4 colours, and trace over the strokes with the same brushes, but off slightly (highlighting)!
  • My colours: Purple: 8c27f4 Orange: c83913 Blue: 21bbdc Yellow: f2fb06
  • Once finished all adjustments, Apply Layer Mask, *Right Click* > Apply Layer Mask:
Add ColourAdd Colour

5. Alignment + Cropping

  • Now that you can see through, align your photograph (select photograph layer) by using the Move Tool (M):
  • Crop any excess off using the Crop Tool (Shift + C):
Alignment + CroppingAlignment + Cropping

6. Levels (Contrast/Saturation)

  • To add contrast to the paper and image simply select the layer then, Colors –> Levels:
  • Move the middle slider to the right and the right slider to the left:
Levels (Contrast/Saturation)Levels (Contrast/Saturation)

That’s It!

If you prefer Photoshop checkout the tutorial over at Abduzeedo: (my inspiration)!

If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!


3 Responses to Making a Watercolour-Paint Photograph in GIMP

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  3. what a great abstract tutorial….go opensource!

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