How to make a digital watercolor splash.

Say goodbye to messy materials and learn to create colorful watercolor splashes digitally with Adobe Fresco.

Drawing of butterflies with a digital watercolor splash

Make a splash with watercolor splatters.

Physical paints can be unpredictable, but sometimes natural paint splashes are just the aesthetic you want. Watercolor backgrounds and splatters can draw the eye and add interest to any illustration or design. But you don’t need messy paints to capture the perfect splash design. 


The watercolor live brushes in Adobe Fresco work like real paints, allowing you to achieve a watercolor splash with a digital medium. So whether you’re painting delicate pink watercolor flowers on a flowing blue background or bright and bold abstract watercolor shapes, Fresco can help you blend colors and paint digitally.


Explore cutting-edge tools.

Adobe uses science and math to analyze watercolor texture and brushstrokes. Now, colors bleed and blend in Fresco just as they would if you painted on paper. And the layers never dry, so you can always go back in and rework a painting at any time. Plus, you can layer images of paper textures into your digital paintings to get the appearance of real paper.


Find your own watercolor style.

Unlike traditional materials, digital watercolors give you complete control. Change the size, Flow, and Water Flow of your brush to blend and mix watercolors differently. Undo, erase, or replace colors after they’re already on the canvas. And go back in with a “clean” wet brush to reblend colors without adding more pigment to the page.

Digital watercolor painting of flowers
Digital watercolor painting of a person
Digital watercolor painting of large rocks

Create unique watercolor brushstrokes.

When you paint, no two brushstrokes are ever exactly the same, and the same is true for digital watercolors. Every mark of your digital pen or paintbrush is distinctive and dependent on pressure, motion, and settings. For a smooth watercolor splash, use the Watercolor Wash Soft brush. Or use the Wet Splatter brush for a more sprinkled, painterly effect.


Use your watercolor splash background in other projects.

Don’t limit yourself to one medium. Combine your naturalistic watercolor strokes with vector illustrations in Adobe illustrator. Or pull your watercolor paintings into Adobe Photoshop, and use them as textures or washes on objects and shapes.


How to create a watercolor splash background.


Start it:

Open a new project in Fresco.


Select it:

Choose a Live Watercolor brush, and then select the Watercolor Wash Soft or Wet Splatter setting.



Adjust it:

Fine-tune your color, size, Flow, and Water Flow to get the opacity and pigment you want.



Paint it:

Make quick, short brushstrokes across the page and overlap colors to blend hues.


Import it:

Pull in a textured image of paper and place it on top of your watercolor splash.



Tweak it:

Decrease the opacity of the image and adjust overlay settings to achieve the look you want.


Save it:

Export your watercolor background as a PNG, JPG, or PSD (to open in Photoshop).


Experiment with more watercolor tutorials.

Whether you’re creating graphics for business cards or art to frame on your wall, take your digital watercolor skills further.


Mix and blend colors.

Learn how live brushes in Fresco blend like the real deal with this video from graphic designer and painter Yellena James. Explore how delicate lines and blending forms can create alluring environments.


Make realistic paintings.

Gain insight into translating paint and water into the digital space. Change your brush settings to experiment with new looks and textures and try your hand at more natural painting techniques. 


Create a tie-dye watercolor wash.

Combine watercolor splashes with photographs to create an abstract background or watercolor stain. Then apply it to a sample fabric design in Photoshop.


Design vector watercolor splashes.

Live brushes are where the watercolor effects really shine, but you can achieve a similar look with vector graphics. Use vector brushes in Fresco for a natural drawing or painting experience that can scale to any size. Then export your vector painting for use in Illustrator.

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