If you took my Watercolor Branding Skillshare class, you learned how to digitize watercolor textures – from scanning them in, to color adjustments, to removing the background correctly so they could be placed on anything. When a watercolor texture is scanned in, you’re limited by the greatest size and resolution your scanner is able to scan at. For large applications (think billboards, signage, posters), if a professional scanner wasn’t used, resolution is likely too small for the texture to reproduce as crisply as you might wish. Enter vectorized textures. Since vectors (which are point based instead of pixel based) can be rescaled infinitely without losing quality, they make a great alternative to finding a high res scanner and going through the process of color editing + removing the background again. Watercolor textures are super detailed, so finding a happy medium with file size and a similar outcome to the raster (pixel) based image is key when vectorizing. In this tutorial, I share my exact method onΒ how to vectorize watercolor textures using two different textures. We’ll go over what toΒ lookΒ for when you vectorize your own.

Resources: Textures used in this tutorial were circle #4 from the original Watercolor Texture Kit + abstract #6 from Watercolor Texture Kit Vol.2

How to Vectorize Watercolor Textures

Written by
Every-Tuesday designer + founder. I help ambitious graphic designers and hand letterers level-up their skills and creativity.
Latest comments
  • I would love to pin the tutorials for reference on Pinterest …. but it only brings me to your Pinterest page and the tutorial is not posted there,… Any suggestions?

  • Hey, love your tutorials! I have a question, do you think it’s worth it to vector a watercolor when I’m going to clip into a text? I’ve created some of my own watercolor texture and when I clip it into the text it looks funny with all the dots lol ( I try to grab the text and all the dots appear).

    Thank You,

  • Nice and helpful tutorial, I shared it on twitter.

  • Hi,

    Clhow do i use the vectorized water color effect with the blob brush ? I am thinking of using just like the paint bucket effect. Thank you

  • Just came across this tutorial and it’s great, thanks! Two questions: 1) is there a way to change the color of the texture once it’s vectorized? Or do I have to make sure it’s the exact color I want before doing that? I’ve tried changing color after vectorizing and it becomes a flat colored object, losing all the texture. 2) I purchased your kit, live traced one of the textures, and AI was moving at a snail’s pace, I guess due to file size. Is there a way to get around that?

  • Hi Teela,
    I always watch your youtube, it’s so nice. I just curious to ask, when u record ur tutorial and ur voice. what program do u use? and do you use video editing software like adobe premiere? thanks so much. for share. I just newbie in Illustrator, so I want to record my progress to re-watch back and forth until I get it. it’s sound silly maybe, but yes it is my way,I hope u dont mind if I ask. just Envy with ur daily day as graphic designer. good job ever πŸ˜€ another question when u want to vectorize a doodle, do you first scan them, what type of image,when u scan them, (Jpg, PNg, or what else? ) and what do you do when clean itin photoshop. sorry ask u many thing. but thank you I enjoy ur class.

  • Hi Teela thanks for answering my question. πŸ™‚ have a nice day.

  • Hi, I love your tutorial but I had a problem when tracing my watercolor texture. I made the texture in photoshop with a brush, then saved it as png and tried to vectorize it in illustrator. But when i traced it there were too many holes on the texture for me to handle, and increasing the number of paths didn’t really help πŸ™
    Can you help me?
    Thanks πŸ™‚

  • This video was super helpful. Thank you for taking the time to create it and then be willing to share it! πŸ™‚

  • Hi Teela, i bought these watercolor textures, live traced it, but i need to make a clipping mask. i feel like I’m missing a step. can you help?

  • Hello,
    I am glad I found you. My question is in order for you to digitize your water color art do you only have to use Photoshop? I do not have Photoshop. Which particular Photoshop are you talking about and good to use to digitize art work. And is there any other program that less expensive? If I must use photoshop then do you know what is the cheapest way to get it. ? Sorry I have too many questions. Once I have Photoshop I will enroll myself to your classes. Thank you so much.

    Ellya

  • Hello Teela,
    I just discovered your super helpful tutorial. Thank you for sharing your knowlegde : O)
    I do have one question. I selected a watercolor motif (that I’ve painted and then photographed) in photoshop and dragged it as a psd file to illustrator in order to vectorize it. Is that advisable or should I first convert it into a png with transparent background before switching to Illustrator ? Thank so much !

  • I saw this on ebay. Is this good for the tutorial you are giving? Thank you. If it is okay I am going to buy it.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brand-New-Adobe-Photoshop-CS6-for-Windows-Full-Version-D-V-D-/322271735201?hash=item4b08e46da1:g:xTsAAOSwCGVX5oPr

    Your reply is highly appreciated.

    Thank you very much!
    Ellya

  • Hi Teela…, Yes it is only for one down load. But I already purchased it.
    Thank you for the reply. Anyways I am excited to sign up for all your classes now. Because it is on its way.

    Now I know for future reference.

    Thank you bunch,
    Ellya

  • This is SO helpful. Thank you so much for making this!

  • Great tutorial! I have a few questions:
    – What kind of scanner do you use?
    – What settings do you scan these watercolor paintings in?
    – After scanning and before vectorizing it, do you drop out the white space outside of the watercolor shapes first?

    TIA!

  • I’ve been struggling with the issue of file size regarding my watercolor art and this tutorial was a huge help. I scan in my florals and did discover, through this tutorial, that image trace can pretty faithfully reproduce the image! Thank you so much! I might stick with a png scanned image when I’m just using one blossom, but for pattern repeats, the patterns get too large.

  • Wow wow wow, Amazing Work and tutorial Keep it up πŸ™‚ and thank you,
    I was just wondering what kind of paper do you use when you paint and scan, do you have any recommendation !!!
    Thanks in advance

  • Really love it! And your voice is adorable!

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