playing with bits one byte at a time

Working with Painterly Overlays

I was recently asked how one would use my Painterly Overlays. It’s been way too long since I’ve written anything, so I decided to do a tutorial and show you 2 ways to use them.

First the quick way. I started by opening up one of my Sunprint Papers (Papers – Sunprints 4 … paper 4).


I then used Gaussian Blur to blend away most of the detail because  I was only interested in the play of colors and light. There’s no set amount for the blur, just play around until you get something you like.


I then placed one of the overlays (Texture Overlays – Painterly 2 … overlay 5) on top of the background and set the blend mode to Overlay. Again, just play with the different blend modes until you get something you like, but these overlays typically work very well with the Overlay blend mode. When you’ve gotten something you like, you now have a painterly paper.


The second way to use the overlays is to use one as the background. For this paper, I used overlay 4 from my Texture Overlays – Painterly 3 pack. I then made a new layer and set the blend mode to Overlay. I like working on layers with the blend mode already set because I can see what I’m getting in real time. I can always change the blend mode later, but I typically don’t.


I then selected a soft edge brush …


… and started painting.


I chose a new color, created a new layer and set the blend mode to Overlay. I use a new layer anytime I change colors … at least to begin with.


When I get close to something I like, I then start using a darker or brighter color on the top layer to bring out the paint pattern in the overlay. I also play around with the order of the layers and blend modes. Most of the time, the only change I make to a blend mode is to set a layer to Soft Light because it’s not blending in with the rest of the layers. This particular paper ended up with 11 layers but, as you can see, one of the layers is turned off. When you get something you like, you’ve got your second painterly paper.


And your reward for making it through this tutorial are the 2 papers I created. These are personal use only and you can download them by clicking on the preview below.




  1. Thank you Jill. Now I know how to use all those wonderful overlays I have!

  2. Hi Jilbert….thank you for this tutorial…great effects.

  3. Thank you. I’m trying to learn everything you have to teach. These are lovely.


  1. New CU Products – Week of July 28th - Jilbert's Bits of Bytes - […] Painterly 1 — This is the pack that started this popular series of textures out. I even wrote a…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *