Abstract Watercolor Doodles: a Watercolor + Line Drawing DIY Art Project | Annette Brown | Skillshare

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Abstract Watercolor Doodles: a Watercolor + Line Drawing DIY Art Project

teacher avatar Annette Brown, Embrace + Express Creativity

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

6 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project Supplies

    • 3. Line Drawing References

    • 4. The Watercolor Background

    • 5. The Ink Drawing

    • 6. Thanks + Your Project

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About This Class


Personalize your home or office space with an abstract watercolor painting and ink drawing. 

I often use an architectural reference to create my line drawings. In this class I'll share that process with you so that you can create your own unique wall art. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Annette Brown

Embrace + Express Creativity


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1. Introduction: Welcome to the second class in the Personalize your space. Do it yourself. Siris in this class will combine watercolor backgrounds with the doodles to create abstract wall art. I'll show you the process I used to create lines and shapes inspired by architecture. Er well, then combine a watercolor background with those architecturally inspired lines and shapes to create a final piece that you can hagan your personal space. I hope you'll join me click and roads, he began. 2. Project Supplies: here the supplies will be using for this project. This is £140 cold press watercolor paper. It's pretty smooth. So I will suggest using a smoother paper as opposed to rock paper, because when you make your marks over it, you want to do that with this least. Resistance is possible. Also, these are watercolor brushes. This is a number three round, and this is a number six round. You also need a paper towel and a jar toe. Hold water. You can use either to paints or pain paints. Whatever you have on hand, I would just suggest that you consider the color palette that you will live to use and allow that to help you decide what types of paints to use. If you're using to paints, of course, Abbas suggests having a plate or something to hold the color for you. And then, lastly, for our thinking pens, um, to make most of the marks. I'll be using my Cron's. I have a 01 as a three and 05 and this is how they look. Is there a one that 03 and 05? No, that's better. OK, so those other primary colors. I used to make marks. And then when I want to fill in larger species, I'll use this favor Castle brush pin. Um, because you don't have to strain your hand as much. Okay, and I have this alcohol based ink pen, but I suggest you stray away from alcohol based pins because the lines are less defined and they tend to expand once you make a mark on the paper because they're alcohol based. So I would stray away from thes. And since you're will be using these to hang on your wall, you may want to use acid free paper and also pins that are have archival ink in them and our fate proof and waterproof. So that helps with the longevity of your final piece and additionally, in terms of paper size, the size he uses up to you. If I use this, this is like nine inches by 12 inches. So when I use this science paper, I normally cut it in half so that I can preserve my hands because doodling can be a bit strenuous on the hands. So I would suggest that you keep that in mind when determining what size paper you would like to use. 3. Line Drawing References: before we go further, I thought I'd go over the process. I used to reference architecture in order to create line drawings. When I referenced architecture for lying, drawing inspiration, a sense of focus on four broad areas. The first is the buildings. Shape is a rectangular. Is it round? Are they're stacked layers to it? Um, I also consider motifs such as any sculptural elements or ornamentation that might jet out from the building. I consider structural additions such as balconies or ledges, and how that relates to the overall shape of the building. And I also consider functional elements like the antenna are windows are different doorways onda how that also relates to the overall shape of the building. You might be wondering how this helps. Well, when I reference architecture, I draw inspiration from the buildings lines and how they indicate movement. I look at the ways to the different shapes, relate some one another, and I consider how I feel when I'm looking at each building. Do I feel intimidated? Wife feel welcomed, and then I asked myself, How can I incorporate those feelings into my final piece? And then, lastly, I also consider the surrounding elements like, Ah, lot of the buildings that I'll show you soon. A lot of them are in the downtown area, and there is a lake downtown as well. So how does the water also influence the environment in which I find the building? So these are just some questions that I tend to acts myself. I don't necessarily write down the answers, but I just consider all of these things when I'm referencing the building in order to create my line drawings. And, of course, there are alternatives, like the images that I will show you are in an urban area. It's urban architecture, mostly status scrapers. Summer break. But most aren't. But I welcome you to reference what you see around you. Or you can also search for images online, such as on Pinterest or Google images or flicker. And you can also reference your own photographs like if you have a favorite trip you took and you sit some images of architecture, and you want Teoh create a memorable piece of wall art from that that you might want to reference those photographs in order to complete your project. So in the next series of slides, I'll show you examples of photos I've taken and the types of lion drawings I create based off of those photographs. So here in this first image, you'll see that I used the central elements here of the building in order to create simple shapes and shading. And so it's just an abstraction of what I see and I want to highlight to that I'll only be showing you examples of what I see. When I look at these images, when you look at them, you might see something totally different, and that's completely fine. The whole point is just to give some inspiration about different shapes. And, um, the different ways that you can relate shapes toe one another when you're creating your line drawing, and here you can see I use the structural element off the building in order to create perpendicular lines. I see a lot of repetition, and I also played around with spacing. So here this is an image of the Marina Towers and you can see, see again is a lot of repetition. So I see a lot of curved lines. I see a lot of shading from the shadows, and so I just created this abstract shape in order to communicate what I see when I look at this building, and I don't know if this is really clear in the image, but there are a lot of street lamps towards the bottom of this image. So as you can see to the right, I combined a lot of the elements from the light fixtures in order to create shapes that I normally wouldn't create just on my own. And so there's also a building. I don't know if he can see it all that well, that there's a building in the middle of the rectangle is around it. And so I see a lot of undulating lines. Sunless, curvy, Some look straight. And so I created thes stacked lines in reference to that image or that architectural structure. And so here you'll see. This is the John Hancock Building, and it has two huge antennas on top, and so I just created an abstraction of that of the top portion of this building. And so mostly what I wanted to do was look at the relationship between the top portion of the building and the antenna, so that's what I create used to create the abstracted line drawings that you see to the right. And so looking at the, um, I believe this is a residential building next or near the Hancock building. And so here I just I looked at the spacing between I suppose those air windows I can't really tell from here, but I'm guessing those on windows. So I just looked up the spacing again and looked at repetition. And you can take artistic license and just create what you we either what you see or an abstraction of what you see or, um, combined different elements from various buildings and create shapes that way as well. And so here I focused on overlapping shapes and lines. So just as in life, right, if you look at a neighborhood or, um, the downtown area, you'll see you makes have the perfect shot of a building, and then you try to capture the building, and there's this huge lamppost that's in the way, and it's kind of like that's life, the right, like we there are on always unexpected elements, that kind of my block, our view of what it is we really want to see. So here I wanted to focus on overlapping shapes and lines in order to create the live drawing that you see to the right. And then I used the elements from the building in the background to create the bottom portion of the line drawings that you see here. And so I focus on the balcony. How it of course, it jets out from the rest of building, and then it has, like, two really slender antennas. So, um, I created an abstraction of that as well in here again, like you could see these electric lines or these phone lines are kind of disrupting the view off the building. And so I just used that to play on the concept of breaking up space, and you see lines going in various directions. And so I created thes alternating lines that you see to the right. And here there are a lot of Finn eels and ah, lot of ornamentation on the buildings that you see in downtown Chicago. So there are two separate buildings here. The top one is are the stock exchange. So the goddess of grain is on top of that and then on the stone or brick building towards the middle of the image. Um, from that one has ornamentation on top of it as well. So the females that I created are not shaped exactly the same. But that's kind of the point. This is You can take in what you see and then create something that's a variation of what you see. And this is the seal I was going to say. Serious Tower is actually now it's been renamed the Willis Tower. And so this is the antenna that you see on top of that building. So I created an abstraction of that. And also you can see here that although there isn't any cross hatching on the building the way that the the Windows air so close together and then, um, the air conditioning system looks a bit like a screen like that, there's a screen over it. So from those elements, I just was inspired to create the cross hashing in this stated area here, where you see the shadow inspired me to create the narrow lines that you see here. I don't know if you can see very well here, but the windows just are a little different towards the very top of the building. So I created these, um, rectangles and squares and summer shaded in, and some aren't in order to communicate what I see there and then. Lastly, the skeletal structure of the building here has different areas. Some areas look ah, lighter and darker than other areas, So that's what I used to create the bottom most right picture. So now it's your turn. You can use the images that I've shown you here, or you can do some research and find your own images online. Use your own personal images, whatever you like, or you can just walk outside and see what's around you. And so what I would suggest is that you look at the structures that are around you and just create line drawings based on those structures. And so the point of this is just to get you thinking about different types of lying drawings that you can create so that once you make your final piece, you don't have to strain too much to decide what types of lines and shapes you'll create. You already have in Arsenal, so to speak that you can use when you're creating your final piece and I welcome you to share your line drawings in the project gallery below. And you can also let me know what you think about this process of what the process was like for you and whether or not you feel this, though, it helps you create your final piece. 4. The Watercolor Background: I use the wet on what technique to create my watercolor backgrounds. So here I'm just adding water to the water cover paper, and now I'm dropping in pigment, and you can do this as a wash. Or you could do it sporadically like I'm doing. And keep in mind that the colors won't dry as dark as they appear when they're wet, so this may look like a striking contrast, but once it dries, it'll be lighter than this. And you want to use no more than three or four colors because using more than that will cause it to look pretty muddy. But just choose colors that complement your decor or the persons decor whose painting this will become and right here adding more water to the outer edge in order to expand the amount of pigment that is on the paper. And I'm going to do the same thing in the middle. Just add a little water and then the pigment starts toe run in the direction of the water, okay, and so I just I thought that that space was a little too narrow, so I wanted to expand it, and I took a few seconds just to look at the piece to see if it was balanced. And so then I decided to add a little more pigment. Once you think you're done, then you can let the painting dry. I think this one took about 30 minutes to dry, so you wanted to drive slowly before you think over it. 5. The Ink Drawing: So this is how the water cover background looks once fully dry, and I'm using a ruler here to create a few lines that I used to help guide my line drawings . I don't have a specific science to choosing how to place the lines on the paper, but I simply look at the painting and try to determine what would look best based on the amount of color, how concentrated it is in certain areas and how a line drawing would complement those areas . And I chose three lines for now, but I might add lines going forward, but it's totally fine. Teoh simply start with one or two lines or three like eyes it and then see where that takes you. This video is in time lapse. I won't talk much for the remainder of the video. I just want you to keep your mind what we discussed in previous videos about using the architectural elements to help you determine what types of lines and shapes to create in your final piece. And I just want to note that I'm not referencing a photo as I'm drawing this. You can if you want to, or you can reference the sketches that you created on your practice sheet. I'm simply going off memory for this one because I just find that to be a bit more relaxing for me as I'm creating. But the practice she comes in handy. Before I created this, I did spend time creating line drawings so you can use whichever met that you choose if you want to reference a photo as you draw, if you want soon, simply reference your sketchbook drawings or your practice sheet. That's fine, um, but just use the system that works for you for the sake of time. I'm going to increase the speed of this video a little bit more way , - way , way, - way , - way I was going to remove this clip, but I think it's important to show that I had to take some time to think about the piece as a whole. Like How is it flowing? What needed to be added that I need to create an area where there are thicker lines where there's more contrast, so it's OK to pause and take some time to consider how you would like to move forward with your piece. After coming this far, I decided to take a break so that I could clear my head decide was shapes to create Next way Yeah, yeah. 6. Thanks + Your Project: thank you for enrolling in this course. I hope you enjoyed it. Found it helpful and have a final piece that you can hang on your wall. Please share your final piece with us in the project gallery below and optionally you can share the image reference you used and the line drawings that you created inspired by your image reference. If you enjoy this course, please give it a thumbs up when you see the opportunity so the others can know that they might also enjoy the course as well. There's also a practice sheet that you can download in order to help you create your line drawings for your final piece. Thanks again. Please let me know if you have any questions, and I hope that you will consider enrolling in my future courses.