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Design an Artistic Watercolor Blog Layout

Design an Artistic Watercolor Blog Layout

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Create a new document (1200X1200px).

Lay out some guides to help structure your layout:

Vertical Guides:

100px, 175px, 750px, 800px, 1100px.

Horizontal Guides:

10px, 50px, 250px, 1100px.

Step 2

Now fill your canvas with e7eff0.

Create a new layer called ‘background pattern’. Now download an attractive blue pattern, and lay it over your canvas:

Now download the watercolor brush set from the resources section for this tutorial. Apply the brushes over the edges of your canvas, using a brush at around 25% opacity:

Now create a new layer and apply even more watercolor brush marks over your canvas, building up a nice background effect:

Now create a new layer called ‘highlight’. Drag out a white to transparent radial gradient in the top center of your canvas:

Now reduce this layer’s opacity to 35% and change the layer blend mode to ‘overlay’.

Step 3

Now time to setup our menu!

Using your guides, select the top 10px of your canvas. Create a new layer called ‘top bar’ and fill this selection with 02c1e9.

Create a new layer called ‘menu’. Now select the 10-50px at the top of your canvas, and fill this area with a linear gradient ranging from 09a2c1 to 00687d.

Now apply a drop shadow and inner shadow blending option to your menu bar layer:

Drop Shadow Blending Option:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Color: 000000
Opacity: 15%
Distance: 3px
Spread: 0%
Size: 5px

Inner Shadow Blending Option:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Color: 000000
Opacity: 15%
Angle: 90
Distance: 5px
Choke: 0%
Size: 5px

You can see a close up of your menu below:

Now we want to make our menu look a little more 3D. Start by option+clicking on your menu layer in your layer’s palette. This will select your entire menu. With your selection in place create a new layer called ‘menu highlight’. Drag out a radial gradient (white to transparent) in the center of your menu. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce it’s opacity to 25%.

Now create a new layer underneath your menu layer called ‘shadow under menu’. Paint in a subtle shadow under the center of your menu, using a soft black paintbrush.

Now apply some text to the center of your menu.

Menu Font Settings:

Font Face: Dancing Script
Styling: Regular
Size: 24pt
Kerning: -50
Color: ffffff

Step 4

Create a new layer called ‘content area’. Use your guides to create a rounded rectangle (white fill, 10px radius).

Now use your pen tool to create a wavy area at the top of your content area:

Step 5

Create some logo text over the top of your content area.

Logo Font Settings:

Font Face: Dancing Script
Font Size: 200pt
Kerning: -50
Color: 000000

Now apply a drop shadow, gradient overlay, and stroke blending option to your text layer:

Drop Shadow Settings:

Blend Mode: Multiply
Color: 000000
Opacity: 75%
Angle: 90
Distance: 5px
Spread: 0%
Size: 5px

Gradient Overlay Settings:

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Gradient: 021a74 to 54a3c2
Angle: 90

Stroke Settings:

Size: 3px
Position: Outside
Opacity: 100%
Color: ffffff

Step 6

Now add some text in the top left of your content area. Also apply one of the arrows from the sketchy arrow brush set in the resources section for this tutorial:

Step 7

Now apply some blog post text over your content area.

Blog Post Title Text Settings:

Font Face: Arial
Styling: Bold
Size: 36pt
Kerning: -50
Color: 173d88

Main Post Text Settings:

Font Face: Arial
Styling: Regular
Size: 14pt
Kerning: -50
Color: 7a7a7a

Now paste in a 200X200px thumbnail image next to your post text:

Finally, apply a watercolor brush mark behind your post title layer, using a low color brush:

Step 8

Now select all of the layers that comprise your post content. Hit ‘option+g’ to group all of these layers into a layer folder. Call this layer folder ‘post 1′.

Then duplicate this post folder and move it’s contents beneath the original. Call this duplicate layer folder ‘post 2′.

Step 9

Now post your polaroid photo into the top right of your content area:

Now paste in a photo of yourself. Rotate and resize the photo to fit over your polaroid, and then crop it to fit correctly:

Step 10

Now apply some text to the right part of your content area:

Step 11

Finally, add some text to your footer.

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome.

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. Weird coincidence– that guy with the blue hair wears it exactly the same way I do– huh… : )

    Great layout, Tom, well done!

  2. Stephanie says:

    A nice design and there are some elements in there that I would definitely use. I really like the fonts and brushes used in the website design and would be using those, however I am not sure about the footer as its quite simple. Designing for blogs the layout needs to be simple and I think this definitely does this. I will be taking notes on this one, thanks!

    • Tom says:

      Thanks Stephanie. I agree that the footer is perhaps a bit simple, but I was really going for a header driven website with this one, which also allowed for a focus on blog content. I too like simple blog designs, although in my next layout tutorial I may opt for a more complex, detailed design.

  3. Chris says:

    I really like the use of colors and the typography! Very effective design.

  4. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 3 post on Aug. 23, 2011. Thanks again.

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