Watercolor-style Illustration in Simple Mode (with video)




Hello everyone. This time I'll show you how I do watercolor-style illustration on my iPad with Simple Mode. You can also use the information here for android and mobile phone.


If you’ve never used Simple Mode and/or don’t know how to add more brushes aside from the default ones, see the Appendix section.

The video version is here:

1. Line drawing

Sketch your drawing using any brush you like.

1 - Lower the opacity of the sketch layer

2 - Create a new layer for the line art

3 - Switch it to Multiply mode

4 - Draw the line art

5 - using a pencil brush.

I want to have some flowers as the background quickly.

1 - I create another sketch layer.

2 - Choose a flower brush:

3a - From the default Decoration brushes, or

3b - download from Clip Studio Asset.

4 - Add brush here (see Appendix B)

5 - A flower brush I downloaded from CSP Asset.


I draw some flowers using the brush on the sketch layer.

1 - Lower the sketch layer’s opacity

2 - Create a new layer

3 - Draw the flower

4 - with a pencil brush.

If you want to erase, use the Kneaded Eraser. It leaves some pencil mark and make the drawing looks more realistic. For example, I want the flowers’ line to be lighter/erased in some part to make the girl stand out more.


Before erasing:

After using the Kneaded Eraser:

Finished line art:

2. Watercolor paper

The drawing will looks more convincing if we can mimic real watercolor paper.


Click on the Paper thumbnail, then Change paper color.

I suggest a warm cream color. Tap Done when you’ve chosen your desired color.

Next, we’ll add watercolor paper texture. To demonstrate the effect of the texture, I add some flat color here.

a. Using default paper texture

Select the line art layer (the top most layer)

Tap the square on the top right corner > Monochromatic pattern.

Select one of the three paper patterns: Drawing paper C, Rough paper or Drawing paper.

You’ll be taken to a screen to resize the texture. Drag one of the blue dot handle of the square to resize, then tap OK.

Change the Blending mode of the texture layer to Overlay (scroll down if you can’t see the Overlay option).

Now anything below the Rough paper layer with get the texture.

b. Using custom texture - Greyscale

You can also use the watercolor texture that you’ve downloaded from Clip Studio Asset. They are in the Downloads section, or you can find them by typing their name into the search bar.

You can mark them as Favorites (blue heart icon) for easier finding later, or find your recently used ones in History. Here, I choose the Seamless Texture Watercolor 02.

Since this is a seamless texture, you’re taken to the resize screen. Resize using the blue square and then tap OK.

Again, choose Overlay for the Seamless Texture Watercolor layer. (I’ve hidden the old Rough paper layer; use only one texture paper at a time)

The result is very watercolor-like even without using watercolor brushes.

c. Using custom texture - Colored

You can even use colored watercolor texture.

This texture is not seamless and tile-able, so it’s inserted right away without switch to the resize screen. To resize it, tap the Move tool.

You’ll be taken to the resize screen. Use the blue rectangle’s handles to fit the texture as you wish.

Tap OK when you’re done.

Change the Blending mode to Overlay.

The texture affect the color you draw underneath too! But you may notice that it also change the color of the line art.

In this case, drag the colored texture layer to below the line art layer.

If the texture effect is too strong, you can also lower its opacity.

3. Coloring

Clip Studio Paint already has nice watercolor brushes. They often have a watercolor border to mimic real watercolor washes.

Scroll down if you don’t see the brush you need in the Brush category.


Round watercolor brush and Flat watercolor brush: the common brush.

Soft blend: has a feathered instead of a hard edge.

Wet wash and rough wash: Change the opacity harshly. Maybe good for accent colors.

Watercolor splash: add random splash to the drawing.

Watery brush: it’s more like an eraser, lightly remove the color with a watercolor texture.

Dry ink and Watery ink: Sometimes I use those to draw the watercolor edge or accentuate the pencil line art.



Wet blotting ink: Interesting edge.

a. Coloring inside the line

Sometimes it’s hard to color inside the line of complicate drawing. I tried to color the hair with the Round watercolor brush. The color goes outside the line, and if I lift my hand then draw again, the colored areas overlap.

Here’s how to color inside the line:


Create a new layer on top of the Paper layer with Normal Blending mode. Fill the whole layer with a dark color.



Create another layer in Normal Blending mode. Tap the Pen/Brush tool > Pen > Textured Pen. Select the color White.

Use both the Textured pen tool and Fill tool, fill the area you want to color with white. You can erase any mistake by choosing the Transparent “color”.

Hide the dark background layer and switch the white base layer to Multiply Blending mode.

Creat a new layer in Multiply Blending mode. Tap Clip to layer below to clip it to the white base layer. Now you can draw with watercolor brushes on the newly created layer without fear of going out of the line art.

But the coloring done this way has no watercolor edge:

The solution is to create a new layer in Multiply Blending mode, choose the Dry Ink or Watery Ink brush and draw the edge on.

You should draw along the pencil line and on the border of the colored area.

Don’t need to draw all the edges, just here and there.

If you want to erase some part afterward, for example I want some highlight on her hair:


Go back to the white base layer. Use the Textured pen and select Transparent “color” and erase where you want. You can also use the white color to “draw” the colored area back.

Draw the watercolor edge for the newly drawn white highlight.

b. Gradient

Select the watercolor layer. Tap Lock transparent pixels. Select the Soft brush.

Draw using another color.

Do the same with the watercolor edge layer.

c. Backwashing

Select the Watery brush and draw on the watercolor layer.

You can also use the Spray brushes with the Transparent “color”.


Running color spray:




d. Darker color

You have modified the watercolor layer a lot with gradient or backwash but now you want the color to be darker and still keep the modification. Simply duplicate it …

… then reduce the opacity as you want.

e. Imported brushes from Clip Studio Asset

Clip Studio Asset has many interesting watercolor brushes. Below are some brushes that I’ve downloaded.



●水彩マーカー/二色 and ▲水彩マーカー/二色 are dual brushes that use two colors and have built-in blender.

Now I have show you how to draw in watercolor style with Simple Mode. You can color the rest of the drawing with these techniques.

It really looks like watercolor right :D

Appendix A: Simple Mode guide

To switch from Studio Mode to Simple Mode: From CSP icon on the Menu Bar > Switch to Simple Mode.

If you want to use more features, switch back from Simple Mode to Studio Mode: Tap the […] icon on the upper right corner > Switch to Studio Mode.

A quick note about Simple Mode’s features:

1 - Pen, pencil and brushes

2 - Eraser

3 - Move

4 - Selection

5 - Fill

6 - Main color, sub color and transparent


(When choosing Pen/Brush to the left)

7 - Different categories of pen/pencil/brushes for easier finding. We draw and paint with these tools

8 - Decoration brushes. Can be helpful as a guide to draw

9 - Different brushes in each category. You can scroll up/down to see more brushes. Add brushes with the plus sign.


(When choosing a layer by clicking its thumbnail)

10 - Layer's name, can be changed

11 - Blending mode. To mimic watercolor, set to Multiply.

12 - Layer's opacity

13 - Other layer properties, scroll up/down to see


(Layers, drag left/right to hide/show/expand it)

14 - New Layer and New Folder

15 - Layers' thumbnail. Tap to select a layer. Tap again to open its properties

16 - Common layer properties: Show/hide, Delete, Blending mode, Clip to layer below, Lock transparent pixels, All, Layer opacity


17 - Brush Size and Opacity

18 - Save

19 - Import Image/Texture

20 - Can export finished drawing from here

Appendix B: How to add brushes

After downloading from the Clip Studio Asset website, switch to Studio Mode.

Find your brush(es) and add it to a sub tool group. I added to the Realistic Watercolor group.

Switch back to Simple Mode.

Tap the plus mark.

The brush is added to the Download group. You can also drag-and-drop it to other groups like the Brush group.

Appendix C: Assets compilation

A big thanks to all the authors!

That’s it! Thank you for reading. If you want to, you can meet me here:



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