Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Hello & welcome to our tutorial for November! Here in New York, we've had some really blustery, windy days lately. From my office window, I am watching the beautiful autumn leaves fall and blow away. Soon there will be nothing to look at but brown grass and bare branches.

After enjoying months of summer's vibrant colors and autumn's rich jewel hues, November leaves me nostalgic for color! So, if I can't see it outside, I am determined to create some color inside ... with Photoshop! I hope you'll consider playing along and creating some colorful pieces of digital art with me.

I have Photoshop CC open, but this can be done in PSE too and guest CT Hélène is sharing how she created the same effect in GIMP.

I am using a lovely piece of white stitched word art created by Mirjam of Pink Reptile Designs. My PS document also has a paper made by Mirjam too. Under the stitched word art, I pulled in some gesso from the Under the Weather Collab. [You can use any brush you like!]

I want to make this piece of stitching really vibrant and colorful, so I am going to use a gradient. As you can see in my screenshot below, you need to click on the half white, half black circle at the bottom of your layers palette & select Gradient from the drop down box.

Once you do that, you are now ready to select the look of your gradient. If your foreground and background colors are set to the default black and white ... your gradient will probably default to something like this image below. Simply click on the gradient to edit.

Now you are ready to create an awesome gradient in any colors you can imagine. Or simply choose one of the many gradients that are already available to you. I choose the transparent rainbow.

Once you have the look and colors set, click OK. Next you want set the type of gradient. I decided to go with radial, as you can see in my example below. You also need to scale the gradient so that it fits the element or object which you are trying to color. I set mine to 86% and it covered the stitching perfectly.

Now you just need to clip the gradient to your object. In my case it is the word art stitching. In your layers palette, use Alt or (Option on a Mac) Click, while hovering over the space between the gradient and the word art stitches (or your object) to clip the gradient to the word art stitches. That's all there is to it. Look how vibrant and colorful those stitches look now!

You can do this with just about any element or brush. Here's how the Under the Weather gesso looks with a splash of color added via a gradient. (Note: I turned off the gradient for the stitches, so you can see the gradient clipped to the brush a bit better.)

I am starting with the same word art and paper as Jen, I am just adding a layer above my word art and I will work on this layer to add my color.
Then I am selecting the gradient tool.

There's several default gradients offered in the tool. Pick the one you want to use [in this example I am using the Full Saturation Spectrum CCW gradient] and change the orientation.

Up to this step, the gradient is not yet visible in the layout.
So to create this gradient and the lenght of this one, you need to trace this one on the layer above the word art. The length you trace will be the length of the radius if you choose the radiale shape. You can find the perfect radius for your word art by trying different options and experimenting a bit.

Now we optain a gradient above your word art. Something like this:

Now you just need to adjust the gradient to your word art. In your word art layers, select the pixel by right clicking in the layer and selecting Alpha selection in the options box.

Then select your gradient layer, inverse the selection by ctrl + I and remove the selection.
The final step is to change the layer mode of the word art from normal to screen

If you decide to play with coloring your brushes and elements with gradients, we'd love it if you share your pages with us! Link us up to what you create!

And if you enjoyed this tutorial and are coveting that awesome Stitched Word Art, make sure you come back on the 15th for our November Challenge. Hint Hint ... there just may be a little something special waiting for you! 

Until then, there's still time to play in the October Monthly Challenge.


  1. Wow...thank you for this tutorial! I had no idea what I could do with the gradient tool.

    1. Did you try it Dolores? I'd love to know what you made!