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Rebelle 3 tutorial – Slovakian Bride digital watercolors process {video}

Why Rebelle 3?

I feel very often torn between digital and traditional media. I like to mix them with each other and experimenting with delivering rules of using one media to another. I spend a few years searching digital medium which could simulate watercolor painting effect. I used various media and brushes, sometimes with quite good results, but I was never satisfied enough until I found Rebelle.

I found it by accident. I tried demo version with great curiosity. At the moment I saw how the paint is spreading over the sheet – I was lost. It was so natural and looked just like magic. I bought it on the same day.I recorded my first trial and you can watch it on YouTube.

In this way, I could observe a huge improvement of the software from Rebelle 1 to Rebelle 3 (released this May). I prepared video which explains my painting process in this software. I showed the most important tools and panels form my point of view. For the detailed description of my process. I invite you to watch the video below.

My favorite tools and features in Rebelle 3


There are 8 types of brushes. Each one of them is based on traditional media and really looks like one. You can customize them in Properties Panel or create your own in Brush Creator.

Watercolor Brush is my favorite. Using it reminds watercolor process a lot! And it is definitely one of the most impressing in whole software. When it is loaded with water, it gets harder to control, but also then watercolor magic is happening, It makes bleeds, interesting textures, beautiful color mixes. Although using it can be tricky at the beginning, it is definitely worth to practice with it a little bit!

Acrylic Brush (just like the real one) is more opaque. Loaded with water can also spread over the sheet. When it has less water in it – can behave more like oil. With impasto effect added to it – make great, natural impression.

Pastel brush is second of my favorites. It has really great grainy texture and again looks so believable and natural! It is also much easier to handle than watercolor or acrylic brush, so it will be perfect for beginning if you don’t feel comfortable with other brushes yet. I love to start paintings from building the sketch with pastel brush.

Pencil works exactly like its real equivalent. It is perfect brush for making sketches and painting details. Just like in case of other brushes you can set parameters of it in Property Panel and make it less/more grainy or choose a different shape. I use it to define the sketch before painting it with watercolors and for painting details. Just exactly the same as in my painting process with traditional media.

The marker will be great for lettering or paintings in the more graphic style.

Airbrush gives more digital feel which you know from other graphics software. It has very soft edges so it will work for building gradients and gradual colors.

Eraser, of course, erases everything on a layer. Having a possibility to set various pressure and shape or texture of it also can give interesting effects, so it’s worth to experiment with settings.

Stencils – are very fun to play! You can find the Stencils panel in menu window and chose from various shapes or create your own. Painting on the stamp will leave only the shape inside it visible . It is also the tool which will be very friendly for beginners.

Water in Rebell 3 is very important. It is the aspect you probably will not find in other software, but so important in the traditional process! Especially when you want to paint in a watercolor style. Adding water to the layer causes the paint is spreading a lot more on the surface, making bleeds, and combining with Tilt Panel – you can show it the direction of flow. It adds to digital word touch of traditional unpredictability, which makes the painted works looking so believable.

Sheet isn’t a plain white canvas like in most of graphic software. It has tint and texture to simulate traditional artistic papers. You can choose from various textures and tints. It is very important, because texture will be visible more or less under the painting and it is one of the reasons why artworks created in Rebelle are so traditional looking.

My main rule to make digital process effects similar to real watercolor is to follow the main steps of traditional watercolor process (you can find out more about my watercolor process in Coffee Shop -watercolor illustration tutorial)

If you will be patient enough to watch my explanations of using main tools in Rebelle 3 where I introduce other useful tools like Blend, Blow, or Smudge – you can also watch my process of digital painting of Slovakian Bride.


Traditional vs digital?

I love traditional media, but it is so many times when I look for ctrl+z to undo bad move!
Here I can control my illustrations a lot more with all advantages of graphics software like undo and redo, layers, blending modes, copy, paste, free transform… it is much easier and makes me feel more free and confident when I know, that one bad move doesn’t spoil many hours of work.

Both techniques have own pluses and minuses, and I do not consider them competing with each other. It is good to have an opportunity to use both and to use what we have learned in one to another, and vice versa.
It is also a very interesting thing, that after painting in Rebelle 3 I often feel like going back to traditional watercolors to check some tricks and new ideas.

Did you try Rebelle 3? What is your favorite tool