How To Create a Digital Watercolor Collage in Procreate

design team - julie procreate Nov 03, 2022
Make a watercolor collage in Procreate

Procreate has so many great features and today we are going to use the clipping mask to create a watercolor digital floral collage. We are going to combine watercolor painting and Procreate tips and tricks. Let’s get started!

My name is Julie Malizia and when I tell you I am obsessed with collages, I mean it. What I love about using Procreate to make a collage is that the amount of final pieces are endless. The same watercolor wash can be used over and over to keep creating magical and fun pieces of art.






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Step 1: Paint Your Watercolor Wash


The first step in this easy process is to paint your watercolor wash. You will start at the top and just work your way down, alternating colors and levels of saturation. Allow the paint to do its thing to create blends, bleeds and blooms onto the sheet. Avoid any urge to create seamless blends, though. Trust the process!

Once your sheet is dry, take a photo of it and upload it to your iPad. Now the fun starts!



Step 2: Insert Your Photo Into Procreate


Now that the photo of your watercolor wash is on your iPad, you are going to insert it into Procreate. After selecting a blank canvas (I chose an 8.5” x 11”), you are going to click on the little wrench icon in the top left corner next to “Gallery.” Scroll down and select “Insert a photo.” Your photo will appear on its own layer. You can adjust the size or select “fit to canvas” to make it take up the page.



Step 3: Adjust Your Photo’s Saturation and Brightness


Even with the best lighting and camera, you might need to make some adjustments to your photo. Select the magic wand icon in the top bar and scroll down to “Hue, Saturation, Brightness.” I like to kick up the saturation and brightness about 10%. 

You can also play with “hue” which will change the colors of your watercolor wash. This is a nice trick to use so you can keep using the same watercolor wash over and over with different results!



Step 4: Sketch Out Your Floral Design


Before you start sketching your design, click the little check mark on your photo layer so that it disappears. Create a new layer (by pressing the +) and select a monoline brush in black. 

In the center of your page, sketch out your florals, stems and leaves. Remember to leave a little negative space in between each flower. By selecting the cursor icon at the top, you can adjust your design to be sure it’s centered where you want it.

I have opted to go a more whimsical, minimalist approach with my florals. Feel free to use any style you want! I would suggest that you do use some bold shapes, however, to make sure your watercolor wash can come through and shine.



Step 5: Create a Duplicate Layer


Once your design is finished, fill in any empty spaces with your color dropper. Make a duplicate of this layer by swiping left on your layer and selecting “duplicate.” We will use this later, so just click the little check mark to make it disappear for now!



Step 6: Use Clipping Mask


Turn on your watercolor wash layer by selecting the check mark. Press and hold that layer and drag it above the floral design. Click on the layer and select “Clipping Mask” from the pop-up list.

You will see your floral design fill up with your watercolor wash. Perfect! You can select the watercolor layer (using the cursor icon) and move it around, stretch or flip it until the florals look how you want them to. You can even paste two watercolor washes next to each other if you’ve got a large floral design.



Step 7: Create a Drop Shadow


Now we are going to use that duplicate floral layer that we made earlier. Make sure it is in the layer below your watercolor florals. Click the check mark to turn your layer back on and use to cursor icon to select it. Move the florals slightly down and to the right to form a shadow. Next, select the layer and press the “N.” Scroll down to “Opacity” and turn it down to about 20-30%.

To blur your shadow a little, select the magic wand at the top and scroll down to “Gaussian Blur.” Slide to add about 5% of a blur to that layer.



Step 8: Add a Textured Background


An optional step once your design is finished is to add a textured background to your piece. This will add a little interest to it! Add a new layer above your shadow layer and below your floral design layers. Select your texture of choice in a color darker than your background color. My background was white, so I chose black watercolor paper texture and turned the opacity way down.



You’re finished! I hope you enjoyed making this watercolor collage in Procreate with me. Please tag me if you share your beautiful work of art on social media! I can’t wait to see what you create!


See all of Julie’s tutorials here!

Julie is a self-taught, multidisciplinary artist living in California with her husband and three daughters. She is inspired by the beauty of the mundane and the chaos of motherhood. One of the greatest joys in life is sharing her art to help ignite the creative spark in others.