A BRUSH WITH NATURE: Nature Journaling 101 | Joy Neasley | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

A BRUSH WITH NATURE: Nature Journaling 101

teacher avatar Joy Neasley, Watercolor Wildlife & Nature Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (1h 16m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Field Sketching Tips

    • 4. Starting your First Pages: Gopher Tortoise

    • 5. Sketching Identifying Clues: Gopher Tortoise

    • 6. Drawing What You See: Gopher Tortoise

    • 7. Adding Watercolor: The Foundation Layers

    • 8. Watercolor: Evening out hues and tones, adding texture, and creating depth

    • 9. Watercolor: Adding the illusion of details to create realism

    • 10. You Did It

    • 11. Bonus Video: Where do I get my reference photos for painting?

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Whether for school, enjoyment, or professional artwork sketching opens the eyes and heart to the world around you.  This course gives you the basic skills to draw and paint nature in pencil or watercolor right in your own back yard or park.  Several files are attached to the project to help you with the first pages of your nature journal. Grab a journal and let's get started.

   1.   Intro:  Let's get started

   2.  Supplies: What you need and more

   3.  Field Sketching Tips

   4.  Class Project:  Gopher Tortoise Journal Page Spread

           Starting the first pages

           Sketching Identifying Clues

           Drawing What You See

           Adding Watercolor:  The Foundation Layers

           Watercolor:  Evening out hues and tones, adding texture, and creating depth.

           Watercolor:  Adding the illusion of details to create realism

   5.  You did it!

   6.  Bonus:  Where do I get the photos for my paintings?

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Joy Neasley

Watercolor Wildlife & Nature Artist


Watercolor Wildlife and Nature Artist (full-time), and photographer (part-time).


 Currently based out of Tennessee, Joy Neasley is a watercolor artist specializing in Tennessee wildlife and nature.  She enjoys painting in the outdoor natural sunlight with a small pallette of quality watercolor paints, white gouache, and 100% cotton, archival HP watercolor paper.  

     Many ask if she has painted all her life.  The answer is no.  Born in East Texas, as a teenager Joy would often disappear to a nearby farm field to read, write, and draw.  By the time she was 19, Joy let drawing take a backseat to motherhood and family life.  It was not until 2009 that she began drawing again.  From 2009 she focused on... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro: way. Welcome to my class. My name is joined easily. I'm a wildlife artist, nature artist in water color. That's my speciality. I also drawn sketch pets and people sometimes, but I'm here today to teach you about nature journaling, or at least the beginning of it. Um, how to get started and to help you get your first page up and going in this class, I'm going to go over a few basic techniques for getting your sketches down. Also, uh, different ways to Nature Journal. Sketching is just one option. The benefits of nature journaling and help you get your first page in your nature journal itself. State parks, backyards, botanical gardens are all places zoos that air wonderful for drawing and painting and sketching in nature. There are also great for short little hikes, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure. There are a lot of benefits to be in out here. If you have Children, it's often a great way to get them outside without arguing with them over video games or whatever else it is that they're doing for the day. But it gets them outside and enjoy it, so they look forward. Teoh number State Park This is part of their butterfly hummingbird garden looking for things to draw. I know. I want to look for turtles today and when, uh, Because there's a project for this class, I'm hoping will be a go for tortoise on turtles have a lot of similar features. So I thought I'd come up here taking observe a gofer Portis. They're only in the south, east, down by Florida, Alabama, Georgia. I thought I would practice with totals. As you can see behind me here we have beautiful lake. There's also traffic if you hear background noise. I'm sorry, but, uh, here we go. And I'm gonna walk around now and find the turtles. I know there's a few logs where I can always see them, and, uh, we'll get to sketching and practice drawing techniques located eternal. He was sitting there all night. Some pretty duck started messing lady, and he turned around. I think he's getting right out. Back into the water for the duck is one of the I took some great photos with my camera before the duck showed up. When I get back, I can use that. I'm gonna go find a picnic table and we'll get started 2. Supplies: supplies for nature journal in can be a Z simple as a piece of paper and a pencil. Where is it? Describe it, Striper. Gaitan is complicated and as you wanted to be So I'm gonna share with you what I take and a few extra things, and you can just take it from there. See, Starting with paper, there are many kinds of paper you can use. And I mean, you may want to start with just a piece of typing paper out of your printer. The, uh right here I use a lot of water color. This isn't a watercolor brand that isn't expensive and perfect for learning. However, I have found it on the cheaper papers. There is a finish on there that the water color does not absorb this Willis, I would like. And since I paint professionally, I also prefer to use professional papers. Professional papers also tend to be archival, which means they will last for hundreds of years without turning yellow. This is another inexpensive paper my grandchildren love Teoh. Come on, dude, with me and I can report of these out for them when I'm at the park, it's small square paper also an expensive paper perfect for learning. This right here is a phone core board like the Pope poster boards with foam in the middle that you found at any pretty much department discount store hobby store. You're an office supply store. I use this when I take just a small sheet of paper with me. If I'm not just gonna draw on, I'm going to use watercolor. I use masking tape to tape it down to this. And this is extremely like Wait, I cut it, too. I have several of various sizes. This one's for a five by seven piece of paper, so I can easily put that. But now here's one of my favorite papers. My two favorites are Stonehenge Hot Press and Arches Hot Press, and these are archival papers that you're not cheap. So if you're learning, this may be something you want to wait. Work up to such a waste paper on drawings and things that you don't like. But I love these because hot press is a very smooth paper, and it's also perfect for water color. Smooth papers enabled me to get more detail, which is my style of painting. So you may like that there are also great for drawing. They don't have his minute grooves as what's called Cold Press Cold presses better, more for landscapes. In my opinion, um, sometimes portrait's things like that I prefer hot pressed for my own personal use. Uh, paper comes this one. Here's a flock. This block comes in a stack, See if you see this a stack that comes unglued on one end so that it stays together and I can use it like that. And I don't have to worry about paper buckling from the water color. Now, when I draw, put this away. When I draw in a sketchbook, there are different kinds Have yet to find a sketchbook that I actually like. I tend to make my own. I'll show you that later not how to make it. But what I do on the reason why is because I'm so picky about my papers. Most don't. Now, this is a sketchbook that I use. This is a sketchbook that you will see me using later for, uh, Nature journal. We know it's a thistle there that I was working on some various outdoor things, just quick sketches. I was studying shadows and shapes their different strokes with just practicing different leaves, mixing greens and the water color practicing and playing around here. When you have two pages of a sketchbook that's called a spread, I like to plan mine out that way. It has a decent composition or look to the page that's pleasing to the eye. When I finish another one, I use IHS this barrel, doctor. The reason for this is it's great for learning. It has the dots. The grids helps you, um, just a little bit withdrawing, drawing techniques and things, Keeping things in scale. You'll see here. I used the dots to make squares so that I could practise different drawing techniques. I could practice the tree and use the dots to help with size braids. Others Fox will get into that a little. Now, this is a professional sketchbook. I don't remember who may still men and burns. It is one of the few sketchbooks you will be able to find with archival papers and also hot press. Yeah, you see where I practice studying some bulbs. When there was structure of a death section, I watched it grow practice and shading while I was waiting for It took a row so I could draw sketches there. It is a little bit later when it was peeking out of the bulbs, but you can see kind of how I do this. We get one more here for you, This one ISS I think this is also Stillman and Burns. Well, let's see. Not 100% for sure, but this is also a archival papers. My only beef with Chris Waas. It is cold breast, which means that the pages have a little texture on and for my style of drawing, I prefer not having that texture. But you'll see. I do use this one to practice more my the habitat of some of the animals and flowers I draw clouds, this guy, different ones, some water. Just, uh, that's a fun lettering, so I just have some fun in this journal on Teoh brushes and watercolors. This is my favorite water cover to take in the field. It is a Windsor and Newton ISS, Windsor and Newton Pan watercolors. The pan watercolors means that they come in a little dry squares, and you just use a little bit of water to mix your paints with. I like this one because it is small you can see compared to my hand here, that is not big at all. And it's perfect for carrying around like Wait, Now those Air Commons, Windsor Newton watercolors that means their student grade. They will last a long time that perfect for nature girling. But if you doing professional paintings with them, they are as long lasting archival as these. Are these Air Windsor on Newton's professional Siri's? What I do with these is that five them in tubes. I poured some into the well, and then I drive for two or three days before I use it. I create my own Pam pastels that way. That way, I want to take all these two different tubes with me and not sure where the blue came from . Along these tubes. I don't want carrying those with me. So do pants side a lot. I have to go to parks and paint, even if I'm working on a project rather than painting from something there. I love the natural light, but you can see how I used this. This is my primary I hate set for, especially at home brushes are just brushes, I find at the local hobby store made specifically for water color. I have a couple of women here for Kralik just because I like to use those to scrub. And I'll show you that in a water color video. We have clips that you hook onto the sides of your sketchbook journal and that keeps the wind from blowing changes around While you're trying to draw. I keep a little one in case it's one side of my book. Doesn't need that much pencils. Very simple. I used the cheapest mechanical pencils I can find, and the reason why is I don't have to worry about sharpeners out in the field, and I tend to not drawn years. Much is I just get the basic outline out with pencil, and then I move on my pains, a kneaded eraser, and this is used when you draw to just lighten up your pencil so that it doesn't show so much under your painting. And then I have different pens that I like to keep for writing. Say, I want to talk about the weather or the habitat, or what the bird was doing or something special I noticed These are pens with permanent ink are probably that I can use specifically to pray with. I also have a silver and a gold one. And somewhere in here somewhere I have a little white one. Here it is because I like to used one of these has a brush instead of a tip and I can make the background black And then you swipe on top for labels at a separate racer. I found these pen Tell erasers to be perfect because they're very soft. They do not break the paper. When you race and create a whole s notes, you need a bag. I just use a cheap canvas bag that I put everything in. That's lightweight. The handles are large enough to where I can put this on my shoulder, and I just I don't pack a lot. I keep most the time. I just take my pencils, my small water color, a few of my brushes and a plastic container to put water in. And I watched cough to dry my brushes with quick tip. This is my favorite reference book for nature, Darling. It's the laws Guide to Nature, drawing and journaling by John your laws and I use this as a reference I ordered this fall was learning to drop on. I had, actually is what got me interested in nature journaling. But my favorite aspect of this book is that what I'm painting or drawing out in the field. Sometimes I bring it home after I've taken photographs to finish the drawings that I've done, and the photographs do not always show the detail I need. However, here I can go on look especially at the anatomy of different animals, and check them out, and I'm able to fill in the gaps with my drawings. That I wasn't able to get from the photos said, is an excellent reference. If you have one now, it's Let's get ready. This is the end of the materials. So are you ready to get started? We have a project ahead that will get you going and hopefully get your first few pages of your journal 3. Field Sketching Tips: found a picnic cable and a sketchbook here that I've brought with me. I kept it simple today, so I didn't want to carry a lot with me. You can see we have been out here before. Um, a lot of these a black and white. I do do a lot of water color and a different journal. This journal the paper doesn't quite work for water color. Very well. It tends to buckle, and I just don't like it. So I tend to use a different one. And I've explained that in the materials and supplies for your journal kits video. But let's see what we got here. Rand going, Teoh, I took some pictures over on the lake because the pigment cable is away of some turtles I've found on a log I found some adorable baby turtles on it Looks like the one I found is a red eared slider. And, um, let's see. I'm going to start with some basic sketching techniques. The 1st 1 is to look for shapes in my turtle. Turtles on their shell tend to have 1/2 moon shape unless you're looking down at it and then it's more of a 123456 of a elongated octagon. Um, for the turtle that I'm looking at on a log, we have logs. Oh, let me show you real quick. I can find it in my little bag to keep these pages secure while I'm drawing, I use clips of different sizes, the big clips. I got these at an office supply store and they work really well when you have quite a few pages to fit under and then these little clips. Also, I think these were a hobby store. You're really well keeping your pages from moving when you're drawing and painting outside so that you don't have to worry about the wind blowing and trying to keep everything in your hands. See, I'm gonna show you here if you could see it with this video. The turtle. I've also included it. Um, with this course in one of the other videos that I did showing what we found here, Number cave. But let's say we have our logs and, um, the turtle I'm gonna look, I'm looking for shapes. I'm also looking for hiss, posture and position. Now the log is going this way, but the turtle. It's sitting pretty much straight this way where his head get my turtle back here with his head, pointing about that angle right there from it. Now his head is going to be kind of an oval that gets a little skinny neck attached to it. And like I said before, the shell is roughly we want to pay attention to where it starts. It goes across here and then kind of half moons there now to keep my perspective straight. Ally, look here, in here. I wanna look here in here and make sure it matches the posture. Now, for your nature journal, this can get is accurate. Oh, are however you want it, um, you can get fussy with it, or you could just stay generalized with there's benefits to both by doing stay in general with it. See, I want to go down because this goes down here a little. By staying general with it, you will find that you learn a little bit about like when birds are flying, you can pay more attention to the overall pattern that they fly the way their wings flap, Maybe how they hold their legs and their heads for the turtle busting general. I can learn a lot about the structure of the turtle about his habits, his personality. Even these animals each have personalities just like we do. Um, let's say he has. I don't really see his front leg here, but I do see a hind leg that's going back there behind the log. I'm gonna move my Lord a little bit. So we have a hind leg, it's going down here behind the logs, and this is actually gonna come out further. Then I had it in the beginning so that I can compensate because he's actually not all the way on the log. Now the front legs. I do see them. One of them is just coming a little bit out here. The other one, We have some of his under shelf here. The other one is coming out right here. Now, this looks to me to be a red eared slider. They have a little yellow area right here and underside and they have something I want to get down here. This little guide IHS Red eared sliders have right here a little red streak with some yellow on each side of it. and it kind of goes back. So I want to record that. Now keep in mind this drawing I'm doing just to get a generalization of this turtle, I'm not doing this as a as a finished drawing. I will show you that later. In the course with the gofer turtle that we're gonna do for the project. Which, for your project, you can do the gofer, turtle, Or if you find something in your backyard or, um, a pond or lake like I did. You can easily do. You pay your project on that? Um, the whole point go for turtle is sometimes, uh, I'm going to show you the details of how to paint it. Also, how to notice in parts that you may want to include in your journal so that you know, um, a little more for a finished painting. If you decide you want to do a more realistic, detailed turtle are toward us, it go for tortoises toward its not a turtle. Um, also, uh, if you want to just keep it as a general page, um, to sit down, drink your coffee in the morning, on the back porch or something. You may want to note the day. Today is what day is today. Today is Tuesday, and you might want to put the month. Today is Tuesday, August 27th getting so close to fall. And it's a very cloudy day with, uh, thunderstorms on the way, so I won't be able to spend too long out here. Uh, and that's one of the reasons for bringing my camera. I always bring my camera with me when I'm out, even if it's just for a short walk. Because they always see things that I can't stop and draw or paint right then but want to do later. And they're slow months, especially cold days during the winter. Why don't get out as much rainy days in the spring, there's chunks of time with lots of thunderstorms. Maybe you're in an area where that time of the year you get quite a few thunderstorms or monsoons or hurricanes in the area. This is always good to have for photos so that you can still sit by a window or something and just draw. One of the things I do when I met my son's house is I dio, um he had lives in an apartment with a balcony. So I've got to hanging plants out there and on the floor of the balcony. Some B bomb, which is from the MIT family, and I sit out there and draw the hummingbirds in the butterflies and bees as they come by. Now, this is my painted turtle, and I'm gonna pretty much leave him like that. Keep this nice and easy for you, but you can see See, you can include There is some, like in the green stuff on the log that I want to make sure I remember if you wanted to, and turtles air slow enough. That's one of the reasons why I chose this for an example that if you sit there with the binoculars or scope or even your phone zoomed in, if you're close enough, you might be able to see his eye and draw some details. You might be able to see if he has scales or how his legs are. Some have scale. Some don't the shell. You might be able to see the different parts of his shell and his under show. You might be able to see parts of it noticed details. You can put all of these in here. So this is just a quick drawing. Very fast one. I'm going to get a little more detailed with the drawings that you can see. Um, when I paint the gofer toward us here, coming up soon and in one of the videos, uh, let's see, What are a few things I can share with you about drawing? The shapes are always good to get down. Um, like I said, the posture proportion. You always want to make sure if you're sitting out there that, say, your shell, you can hold it up to the turtle at a distance and then kind of gauge okay and then hold it up to his head and kind of gauge and then put it down and see if the proportions are pretty good that way. You know, you don't have say the head's too big or too long. The leg might be too short, like this one is maybe too skinny. These are things you can easily see just using your pencil. He added. A park or something like I am. You can easily do some sketches like I just did, and you'll find quite a few I've seen butterflies, Dragonflies, ducks. I think I saw Aaron back at the lake. And all these things are so easily sketched quickly. And then you can take them home and finish it up. Um, maybe tomorrow, uh, winding down your day. I'm in the balcony or on your porch. Um, or you can start your day with your cup of coffee. Just adding a few doodles or finishing touches, and I'll show you how to do that with the gofer toward us coming up soon. 4. Starting your First Pages: Gopher Tortoise: Let's get started with their gofer toward us. I'm going to start using pen at this point so you can see the drawings a little easier. And if you notice I've created a layout on here of different bits of information that I want for the gofer tortoise that will lead up to my actual painting of the whole tortoise. And the reason why is because in my sketchbook I want to learn to see the details and the details fall on. The smaller parts of the tortoise also want to observe the shape, maybe the different parts of the tortoise. Ah, the location of the tortoise, Um, where it's ranges. I know this particular go for tortoise is and will not endangered. It's threatened in many of the southern states, and I believe Florida has it under review for its threaten for a threatened status. So I've created a map with the range for that. And as you can see right now, I am sketching the upper shell of the tortoise, and I'm doing this from reference photos. I found one reference photo that was public domain on flicker website in public domain means that I can't that is a copyright. That means that I can freely use that image. Um, I do provide credit for images when I have the name of the person that took the photo. Now I always prefer to draw from observation first. And then if I need to reference photos, and the reason why is because that you understand a lot more about your subject when you see it in person first, a good place to see go for toe turtles would be the zoo. Or, if you happen to live in the small range within the United States and south southeastern United States, you can ah easily find them in state parks and things, however, do not touch them. Like I said, they're threatened. It is illegal to touch them, to do anything with them. Stay away. Ah, use your binoculars or your scope to view them. Now, as faras layout, you'll see the title above the map, and I have a Pacific place that I prefer to put my title. So I usually measured that out in advance to get it nice and neat. I also like an eye please, uh, very pleasing composition. So that that way, when I look at this in the future. I like Teoh to me. It just makes me happy to see it. Now, on this particular ah page, I am drawing on Stonehenge, a piece of 12 inch by 16 inch Stonehenge, watercolor, hot press paper and often times when I take a finished page into the woods or into the park or in the backyard. Um, I don't want to carry a sketchbook, so I'll fold a 12 by 16.5 and create a manageable page that's very lightweight. And I'll take that with me and I'll create a spread of spread is two pages, uh, in your sketchbook or journal that face each other. 5. Sketching Identifying Clues: Gopher Tortoise: we're going to begin the drawing of the gofer toward us, starting with parts of the gofer tortoise that make it a little different from other turtles and tortoises. Here, you'll see me drawing the go for toward us hind foot. I've already sketched the four foot. I will also be doing these in pen so that you can see them a little better here. I have taken the shape and the reference photo, which is included with the project here in the lesson. If you would like to download it to sketch from, I've taken the shape and created sort of a rectangle and then turn that rectangle toe kind of create the perspective and the knee joint of the tortoise. If you look notice, the go for tortoise has a foot, that's a lot like an elephant, So I wanted to make sure this characteristic was brought out in the drawing. 6. Drawing What You See: Gopher Tortoise: in this portion. I'm in my dot grid journal real quick to do some preliminary sketches before I put them on my actual journal page spread. Uh, I just want to get a feel for the tortoise and the shape and what it is that makes the go for tortoise the gofer toward us, the different parts. So we've already drawn the leg both the front and the back. We've noticed that the front leg has scales and we've noticed that the back legs resembles an elephant. Now, another very important section toe toe look at is the eye. The eye is what on your journal page will draw you toothy animal. It's what we is people connect with. So I always like to practice the I A. Make sure I include a few highlights in the eye. Teoh, give it a realistic look of the field sketching techniques that we went over in another video to show you how I apply them here. I'm first we observe, we watch the tortoise or the turtle. If you can't do this in person, I recommend video. YouTube is a great resource for typing in the topic you want. I noticed that They have a lot of videos of go for tortoises and a lot of information. Factual information regarding them, too. If you'd like to take a peek. If you're new to drawing, you might want to make sure that you take note of the basic shapes when you start drawing. This will help you identify quick, easy ways. You start with the general shape and you get a closer and closer with more details as you go through and you check your proportions as you go. I use my finger or my pencil kind of held in the air, as I mentioned in the earlier video, to check if the proportions to the body, the head, the flowers. If you're doing flowers to the stems and leaves, if they're all correct, one thing you might want to use if using a reference photo to draw from like one of them that's included with this class, you could use a ruler to verify that chip proportions are correct. The straight edge of the rulers perfect. And also, uh, you can also begin to add detail to the drawing. Um, I start really loose with my drawings and then and broad and then I slowly become more detailed. I remember to be selective with the details you choose to add. You don't want to give too much detail. You want to give the illusion of detail what you'll keep the focus in your drawing. If you give too much detail, you're drawing will it flat? Whereas if you have a focus such as the I, as you see here that I'm practicing, the focus will go right there and then a little less detail. I should go out just like if you were taking a picture with a camera. The focus is on what you want to look at. And then it gets a little blurrier as you go out and it will give you drawings. A more realistic look. Now I'm going to start doing this portion and pen so that you can see it. But I've sketched thes out where on my actual journal, spread the page in the composition that I'd decided earlier, and that way I've got what I I know what I want to include on this page by doing the little preliminary sketches we did earlier. So enjoy the process. I encourage you to have fun and send me images in the project section or on instagram of your progress to If you have any questions, feel free to message me. My instagram is listed in this project. It's join easily studios and also you can talk to me here on skill share, have fun drawing. And in the next video, we're going to start the full image of the gofer toward us. And I'm gonna take you step by strip step through Cem watercolor painting. 7. Adding Watercolor: The Foundation Layers: Okay, I've put together the full page. I've also sketched my go for tortoise that I would like to have us my main image on my page . You do not have to do this for your nature journal. Your nature journal should only be what you include and should also include what makes you happy. If it's going to stress you out, take a step back. The whole point of this exercise is to be fun with it. Uh, the go fraternal off drawn. If you would like to draw the same one, I've included a reference photo with a public domain copy right for us to use in the references with this product on the skill share page. So just take a look for that. Download it and have fun sketching it out. I like to include water. Cut a watercolor finished image. This is a complete reference. Images. If I was looking at the turtle in the wild rather than just sketches in parts and this gives me a full, rounded out journal page for me to go back and reference. Say, I see after on 12 turtles here in Tennessee and painted, um, And when I see one in the wild. I don't always remember what that one is to identify it. However, I can go back and look on my journal pages. I've got the parts to help me identify it, and I've got my full sketch to compare it to my full painting, which will be as realistic as I can get it again. You do not have to do this. Um, you can add water color and keep it simple. You can go very loose with it, or you can do, like, ideo and come out with a fully finished sketch. Um, to get started, we're going to use the kneaded eraser I showed you in the supplies and I'm going to lighten up these pencil lines. The reason why is because they don't want thes pencil lines showing through my watercolor. Once you paint over the lines with watercolor, you cannot erase them. Now, I've included in my sketch the main points of the drawing, not the details other than a few scales and the face, because those details are very important. And the reason why iss I used fine detail. Brush is usually ranging between a zero and a Syria zeroes 00 which is four zeros to get the detail in my paintings. And I can pretty much draw with my watercolor once I get my foundational layers down. Foundational letter layers are very loose. I will start with a very white wash of water color. We're almost there. Here we go. And the layers, the foundational layers, which is what I'm going to show you here, coming up include highlights and the darks. I love to start with the highlights and the darks, and I do those fairly loosely except where I want the white of the page to be m very picky about that. So here we go. That should be light enough. I don't know if you'll be able to see it from here on out, but you'll be able to see as I paint and sketch it. Now I'm going to mix some black because a gofer tortures. Tortoise starts out and this will be a young one. A hatchling, maybe not a hatchling, but close to they start out yellow and get darker and darker with age till they end up a grayish black color as adults. Now they age of maturity. If I remember right was like 9 11 years of age, something like that. When the show reaches about nine inches, it was the age of maturity. See mixing blacks here. I start with one of my blues. It doesn't really matter which one. It depends on the shade of black you would like add a little red, which is going to give you a purple. Then I go back here to one of my neutrals. This I am horrible with the names of the water colors. I have tried for years to remember them, and it just I just mix. I've gotten toe worth mixed him enough. Think I know what turned out and I don't remember the names. So what I'll do is include a reference download for you with this lesson that gives you the names of all my preferred palette in case you want to use him. Now I encourage you to use what makes you comfortable. I like to mix my paint. So if you notice most of mine are your primary colors red, blue and yellow. I have white wash and I have a couple neutrals. This one's Sienna. No, I'm sorry. Sepia. This one's burnt number and over here. I'm out of my burnt sienna. So I have in the Scotsman's my burnt Sienna right there. Those are the ones that I like to use. Um, anything that is a color in between. I mixed them myself. That way I get the exact colors because nature doesn't always fit in a tube. Okay, I have some black here. I can make that darker by adding some of this or some blue that could make it a little lighter about going through the rounds again. Um, I don't want to add too much water, cause I wanted thick enough that it gets down there. This first layer is gonna be very light, so let's see. I've noticed the yellow same Struse Enbrel, the yellow Oakar. Get rid of this green that I previously had on here. Here we go. Now I'm gonna use yellow Oakar on the majority and thats too dark. So lighten it up with water and use ample water for the first round. You'll want to experiment. Probably until you get to know your water colors on a little side piece of paper before you put it on the on the page. Currently, because the water cut the it takes a little bit getting used to exactly what you do and don't need. Now back to my foundation, my foundational lawyers 10 to be very light. Always pay attention to where you want the sun because that is going to be where your greatest highlights are. Um I add a layer of lights leaving a few areas that I want highlights like right in here. You'll see. And right in here you'll see it on the drawing on the reference photo. I'm sorry. Now, if you get it too dark, you can easily with some water and a towel, lift up some areas. I'm not too picky here because the majority of this guy Yeah, Okkert is a good base. And then we're gonna have blacks and Seppi ous maybe a touch of sienna and a few spots here . So the mixing for this guy is going to be very easy now, while I do the rest of these highlights, I'm gonna speed up this video for you. Feel free to stop it at a point that you think you are ready. And when you're finished with that section, start back and at this section where the dark start and I'll talk to you again when we get to the dark fortunes of the paintings. Now, make sure before you get ready for the dark portion of the painting of the foundational layers that you let this these highlights and the base color dry completely. And by that, I mean not just toward doesn't look what? But when you touch it, it should not be cool any longer. See, in a few minutes. Well, the paint on the highlight color has dried, so I'm going to start adding the darks. Now when I add the darkest darks, which is the other portion of my foundation of the water color, then I know that they're not going to. His dark is they probably should be. Um, I will adjust them as I go on with the painting. However, by getting those down on the highlights down, it provides me with a bit of a road map to be able to even out the Hughes and things as I paint. Now I tend to start my darkest darks with the I. The reason why is there is usually a dark black or deep color. Somewhere in there Now I know I'm going to do this, A little dryer without as much water and with the black that we mixed earlier with the Reds blues and a neutral, and you just play with those mixing those until you get some color you want about doing this notice. I didn't do the corner there because usually there's a little skin and to give your eye, which is usually the focus of your painting, a realistic look. I want to make sure and leave the little edges because that the skin usually will curl in and create a little edge there and curl over and create a little edge there. And there's usually little area between the skin and the I. Uh, that connects it all right there and in the back, so that gives us a start. What I didn't do that I should have done was leave a little white for a highlight, but I will fix that like you're like wash. I used washed mostly the white wash. It's not his transparent watercolor, so I use it. Mostly, Teoh create texture and things. I try to leave white, where I would like the highlights I was talking to You didn't quite do that there. Although there is an area I can use for highlight there just gotta make sure corresponds with where the sun's coming out on my eternal here for the other highlights. Now, that was a very small, uh 0000 brush for the I. I'm gonna switch back to what is this? My medium rigor. And I used this to paint on some of these other highlights. I'm gonna go with sepia as my dark color. That's got a nice start color to it. And I can add just a touch of black to that to give it a nice color to Duthie. Details on Hiss show. Now there are proper names for all these parts of the tortoise. We'll get into those later. See, I'm gonna draw in some of these. We have. I should go. There we go. That's what I was looking for. I want to make sure my center of the turtle stays in the center and that will help me get my perspective straight. See, it looks like it's right there to there. So I'm gonna work in that area first to make sure that I have everything that direction it should be. That's as I put these darks on. I'm just remember, I'm just creating the basic layer. Things do not need to be perfect. Water color is not as fussy as a lot of people make it out to be. So I intend to. You are able to correct mistakes and to cover things up, so it doesn't have to be as finicky as people make it out. Now, here, you're gonna see kind of mixing my blacks and my sepia here. And the reason why is because nature rarely has even color. It's gonna fake rather than realistic. If you stick with just one color, you want different shade. You wanna mix that you don't want it Perfect. It's the imperfection that creates the realism. Okay, I'm gonna speed it up from here so you can watch me do it. Just stop the video whenever you decide that you're ready to start yours. Refer to the reference photo in the PDFs that are included with this class 8. Watercolor: Evening out hues and tones, adding texture, and creating depth: Yeah, I hope you enjoyed painting the foundation. We're going to start layering, and by layering, I mean, we create one layer of water color and let that dry, and then we go over that with more watercolor. Let that dry and go over it with more. And by doing this, you're creating depth. You're creating texture. You're also by doing this, letting each layer dry so that you can go over it and enhance the painting. Create the bring out the vibrancy in the painting in the water colors versus creating a muddy mess. I hope you're enjoying this process. Um, just remember nature. Journaling is meant to be fun. It's meant to be enriching. Um, take your time with it If you choose to use the water colors. As with any other skill, it takes a little time to learn. But with practice, you'll get there and enjoy it in the process. Also, um, I'll be back at about 75% finished with the painting. When we're done with these layers and we will get started on the detail and I'll show you how to do that a little more in depth 9. Watercolor: Adding the illusion of details to create realism: Okay, We've got the tortoise, the gofer toward us to about 70. 75% finished. Now, when I get to this point, what I usually do is a water wash, and I take a clean brush that has no pain on it and clean water. And I do a very light glaze over the that image that I'm painting in this case, the tortoise. Now, what this does is it kind of unifies everything, giving it a very light touch. And then when this is dry, be able to start adding details. I know we sort of have a few details in here, but what I mean by details are the little things that bring out the realism in the pain. I'll show you those as soon as this brief washes dried. Usually also at that time, I will take that time to check out shadows. Make sure got them right. Uh, tweak a few things that maybe need a little work on it. For instance, I know I want to bring out a little more on the scales here. A little more The elephant look on his hind foot and I added a background while I was waiting for the last round to dry. I did a green background just to kind of give this overall continuity. And I'm adding a little background to bring out the gofer toward us. Uh, here. Now I've laid down the first layer. I'll probably do one or two more layers on this, This bottom, the background for the tortoise. So I'll see you in just a few minutes or when this dries. A soon as it's not cool to the touch anymore, and we'll start those details. Okay. I've assumed in a little bit for you here so that we can see the details. And this means that we're down to about 25% of the painting left or my image go here, bring it back there. It ISS okay. What I want to do here is go in with some of the dark and I'm not going to add all the details, but I do want to make sure that I am adding enough. Okay, that this turtle is coming to life. Yeah, See here I'm gonna add a little at the top, and you don't want just consistent lines. Um, just bring in the lines that draw out what's going on here? Mixing some sepia here. Each of these little pieces of his shell I'll have dimension. And we do want to bring out that dimension. And we want to keep him where the highlights are. I will go back and add a few more of those here a little bit. See, he has a few more here. I'm not bringing. I want this to still look like a painting. It's one thing I like about my work when I paint ISS that keeping it looking like a painting yet adding detailed. Or if you saw one of these in the wild, you would know what it is to be able to identify it. Okay, I think we're just about done with that one. I have one here and then, uh, there, these little pieces on a shell. It's not just one line that we're looking at. It's 2 to 3 lines. I don't want that so pronounced in each one with little highlight in there. Okay. And if you don't have an exact that's OK, point. Yes. Being able Teoh, identify this little guy. When you see him and have fun, I find this part of the process. Very meditator. I get so involved in it. Sometimes I look up and it's two hours later. I don't know if that's a good thing or not, but I do enjoy it. Somewhere in this cup has what in here? I'm using a small brush for the details you can use smaller, as large as you're comfortable with. It depends on how loose your painting is as to what you're gonna want to use. I see a lot more Brown that. But I just want to include these little guys. They start out yellow in life. And this is a young guy now. Not sure which, but he will over time, turn blackish gray. All this yellow will disappear in his show. So right now, though, there is a lot of yellow. We're client. A bit of this brown starting to creep in. Okay, I'm doing a little more detail right there back here. I said I'm not getting this exact, but I am doing it in a manner toe. I'm gonna remember what this guy looks like. If somebody else looks at this drawing, I want them to be able to say that's a gofer, Turtle. I'm gonna speed this up and this will be our final layer or two as I do the details sometimes, like, find a few things and decide I want to go back and touch up a few more. She could do that all day and continue touching and touching up. Never be done. So anyhow, I'm going to speak this up and you can watch me finish up the details, and I guess it be sure and share your progress with me. If you have any questions, let me know. This isn't a watercolor class. This particular classes a nature journaling class, but watercolor is included in it because it's a very easy medium to transport and take with you out in the field. Mata. In the future, I would love to put a post or published here on skill. Share some watercolor classes, so show you support. Go to, uh, my profile. Click follow, and you'll know when new classes come out and you'll also be able to come back and take the class a few times, re few it and share with me everything you're doing. I'll be back in a little bit 10. You Did It: I hope you have a lot of fun with this class. I know I did. I had a lot of fun with Go for tortoise. I always enjoy getting outdoors and painting and seeing the wildlife out here. I've even found, if you see in the background here, my next project. Um, stay tuned. Go to social media. Uh, join easily. Studios on instagram join easily studios on Facebook, and, uh, follow me here on skill share. I'm gonna regularly start posting, uh, classes for watercolor drawing and many more nature journal pages. So I'll see you again Sing. 11. Bonus Video: Where do I get my reference photos for painting?: e. I've been asked quite often where I get the reference photos for my paintings. Well, to answer your question, I'm gonna take you on one of my morning walks. I always prefer to get the reference photos myself. However, that's not always possible. And I do seek permission of other photographers to use. They're reference photos when necessary. But when I can, this is what I dio. Okay, so here we go. Um, getting ready to head towards a meadow on my morning walk so that I can take a look, See if the meadow larks are out there. There's a pair of them. There's also usually Cem King birds and goldfinch is there's a few beautiful wildflowers along the way that I can use to take reference photos today. Okay, if you can hear me over the traffic, I'm coming up to the field here. And let's see, we have a nice, bright, sunny day hoping to catch a few birds on the way. I hear you. I love this more. And I tend to get birds here that I don't get more wooded areas which wasn't able to get any birds today. Good reference photos, but I was able to get a beautiful photos of hope lead. And but I believe maybe a morning glory we'll see later. And also the mess Thistle was passed. I'm hoping that it, uh, died on its own, that it wasn't pesticide because the birds eat it. That would affect Booth. So we'll say, I know it's a invasive weed that is non native, so we don't like it growing here, but it does offer a lot of gold finches and things like that. Butterflies on it, Um, if they did get rid of it on hope, wishing they would have pulled it out rather than pesticide. But it's not my land anyhow. I also got photos of a few other wild flowers, so we'll see those later. So did manage together redwing Blackbird and a few turkey out in this field. On my way back home from my morning walk, we'll get home and see how the photos turned out. If they turn out okay, I'll show Teoh