Brilliant Birdies: Exploring Luminous Watercolor Techniques | Lisa Hetrick | Skillshare

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Brilliant Birdies: Exploring Luminous Watercolor Techniques

teacher avatar Lisa Hetrick, Watercolor Artist + Surface Designer

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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 (35m)
    • 1. Brilliant Birdies: Introduction

    • 2. Brilliant Birdies: Supplies

    • 3. Brilliant Birdies: Technique Practice Handouts

    • 4. Brilliant Birdies: Practicing Techniques

    • 5. Brilliant Birdies: Creating the Final Project

    • 6. Brilliant Birdies: Final Thoughts + Thank YOU!

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About This Class


In this class, you will learn how to paint and create a whimsical, brilliant birdie in watercolor and metallics. We'll create a fun 3D project together that can be turned into frameable art or a greeting card.

We’ll take a deeper dive into:

  • Watercolor paints and their unique qualities

  • Papers, brushes, and supplies

  • Simple, easy-going watercolor techniques you use over and over

  • Working with a limited color palette

  • Five watercolor painting techniques that will help your brilliant birdie GLOW

We’ll cover five essential techniques that will help your paintings glow:  

  • Wet in Wet

  • Wet on Dry

  • Layering and Glazing

  • Layering Metallic Watercolors

  • Painting Brushtroke Bits

I’ll demystify and walk you through each technique step-by-step before we paint the final project together. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lisa Hetrick

Watercolor Artist + Surface Designer


Hi, my name is Lisa Hetrick, the owner of Indigojade Art. I'm so grateful you've stopped by.

I paint. I teach. I make things with my hands. I use my creative spirit to bring more JOY and positivity into life. 

I'm a watercolor artist, surface pattern designer and papercrafter focused on creating “Art that Makes you Feel Good.”  I believe we all need a bit of light, love, and encouragement in our daily lives. My art brings word and image together in an inspiring, JOYful way. 

It is my intention to help you create more JOY in your life through painting and creating with your hands!

I love this community of makers, teachers, and artists who so openly share their gifts here on Skillshare. I am grateful to be here.... See full profile

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1. Brilliant Birdies: Introduction: my friends at least a huh trick. Welcome to brilliant birdies Exploring luminous watercolor technique. In this class, you will learn how to paint and create. Ah, whimsical, brilliant birdie in watercolor and metallics will create a fun three D project together that could be turned into frame a Balart or a greeting part. We'll take a deeper dive into watercolor paints, papers, brushes and supplies and will create simple, easy going watercolor techniques that you'll use over and over again. I'm sharing in depth details about working with a limited color palette and how to understand how watercolor and pigments work and flow will cover five essential watercolor and painting techniques that will help your brilliant birdie glow all the mystify and walk you through each technique step by step before we paint the final project together. Watercolor is my favorite medium to work with, and I know it can sometimes be challenging. I'm here to help you have more fun and experience more joy with watercolor. May you find pause from the hustle, pure joy and inspiration here. Welcome. Let's get started and have some fun 2. Brilliant Birdies: Supplies: Okay, let's get started by talking about the basic supplies you'll need for this class. Grab your favorite watercolors. It can be anything in your stash to paints, hand watercolors, liquid watercolors, whatever you prefer. I am going to be using to watercolors in this class, and I'm going to be using the Daniel Smith brand for the most part. But remember, you can grab your favorite pan set, and it doesn't matter if it's artist quality or student quality. Just use what you have so that we can have some fun. Okay, you also need some round watercolor brushes. I use the silver black Velvet line. I have a couple of different sizes here, and you're going to need some watercolor paper. I'm using 100% watercolor paper because we're gonna be doing some really thirsty techniques today. Here are two brands and I'm really digging. This is the Artaza 100% cotton cold press brand. It's a really nice brand for paper crafting projects. And of course I have the Arches brand, which is one of my favorite 100% cotton that use what you have. You can still do this project. Okay, Some of the pens, pencils and markers. You just need a pencil with an eraser. And I have to white pens here. The unit ball, signal pen and gel pen and a Posca white pen. I also have a black liner pen that we're going to use for the details of the legs and the eyes in the birdie. I also have some white wash here, but you can use the white pen instead. I'm gonna show you techniques with both. So you know how to use both white mediums for your project. And this is kind of an optional thing. I'm gonna be talking a lot about luminous colors and how to create luminosity in the project. So grab your favorite pan of metallic watercolors. It doesn't matter what brand you use. Just grab some of metallics that might be in your stash. I'll have a list in the supply list of some of my favorites. I'm going to be using this set from Gonza TEM by, um, It's got a really fun set of gem watercolors, but there are lots of really great metallic watercolors on the market that you can use for this project. Okay, let's go ahead and move on. 3. Brilliant Birdies: Technique Practice Handouts: okay, if you've taken a class with me before, you know that I supply handouts and lots and lots of practice handouts for you to download . So this class has a Siris of practice handouts of what as well for you to paint the fun little birdie that we're gonna paint today. So I'm just gonna run through them real quick. I have a sheet that is going to go through the limited color palette that I'm going to be using. And I'm going to talk a little bit about that with you a little more in a few minutes. And I have a handout where we're going to practice each technique that we're going to do in this class and you can practice them right on the practice hand down. I've got the brilliant birdie composition sketch for you. So the sketch is provided in a variety of sizes and shapes and different, um, different. It's flipped. So you have different different directions for the sketch, and you can easily transfer the sketch with a light box, or you can print the birdie out onto the piece of watercolor that you want to use. Okay, so let's go ahead and talk about choosing your color for your color palette for this project. And basically I picked a rainbow of colors between blues and yellows and pinks and greens, and I'm also going to talk about the metallic colors, the jemmy metallic colors that we're gonna use to create that luminous, luminous effect at the end of the project. So the first color have chosen is Daniel Smith, French Ultra Marine. So basically, what you need to do is choose a blue for your project. I have all of my colors in this little porcelain palate, just a little dab put into the palate that I'm gonna be using for the project. So I have Daniel Smith, French Ultra Marine and in the color handout that I have. I have all of the details for all of the colors listed out for you in case you're interested in the Daniel Smith brand. I chose the French Ultra Marine because it's transparent, it granulated. It's a really, really nice blue, so I chose to blues and two yellows. I have a magenta agreeing a purple, and I have opera pink, which is a really, really hot pink. So let me just go ahead and go through the rest of the colors that I chose for the project . So next after the French ultra Marine, I have mag unease. Blue hue, and that's a Daniel Smith color PB 15. Its light fast. It's very, very transparent. I really like it. It's a light blue, so basically for your blues, you're looking for a light blue and a little bit of a darker blue. Now for your yellows. I chose Daniel Smith lemon yellow, and I have all the details about this color. But again, you can use the water color you have on hand, and you just need a bright, bright yellow. Now, the orange toned yellow that I chose is Daniel Smith, Aussie Red Gold. But basically you're just looking for in orangey like color, so you could just replace that color with anything in your stash. I also chose Daniel Smith quinacrine own magenta loved this color. There's lots of really great properties with this Daniel Smith brand, but basically you're looking for like a magenta color in any of the colors that you have. The Daniel Smith fellow Yellow Creen is a really fun color. It's a bright yellowy green just like it says, Um, and all of the details about this particular brand of color is listed there, but you're looking for a yellow green in your stash. An Imperial purple Daniel Smith Imperial Purple. I love this purple color it granulated really well, and you're able to get a lot of variety in the value of this color. And it's just a really great fun purple toe work with Now. Daniel Smith Opera Pink is sort of a wild card color, and I use opera pink a lot for bright ning other colors as a finishing technique. So this is optional. But you can really just get like hot pink out of your watercolors, and you'd be good to go. I also have some details on this hand out about granule ation and how you can use all the colors or any of the rain Bowie light colors that you have in your stash. I also have a clickable link in the hand out to the mixed palette color Siri's on the YouTube channel, where I really died deep into color families and color property so you could learn a little bit more about color, and it's just a really fun six part series about different colors and different color families. So it's a clickable link in the downloadable Pdf. So I hope you enjoy that. Okay, so I want to go ahead and move on and talk up it about metallics and working with metallic watercolors. So there's lots of different metallic watercolors on the market. I have these in my stash again there from guns I TEM by two really challenging word to say . But, um, there really, really great for paper crafting. I've enjoyed using them over the years. I haven't used them as much as I'd like, but I thought they would be really, really fun for this class because they have all of these gemlike colors, which is basically the rainbow off colors that were going to be using in the birdie project . So I'm just gonna swatch these out a little bit so that you can see Ah, the difference between the metallic watercolors and like, water color. So the metallics are going to come out when you paint them. They're not very opaque. They're very, very transparent. So work going to be using them in the class as a finishing technique. So after we paint with our watercolors and the water colors have tried, we're going to use the metallic colors overtop of what we're doing just to create that final finish of pop. Beautiful metallic, luminous color. But I just watched out this set so you could kind of see how these are very, very transparent. But they also have a little bit of shimmer and shine. Different metallic watercolors are going to have different levels of luminosity. This set is a really good that nice price set, and it really does give you some really nice shine. So let's go ahead and move on to the next lesson. 4. Brilliant Birdies: Practicing Techniques: Okay, in this lesson, we're going to practice the watercolor techniques that we're going to be using. Four are brilliant. Birdie. So you want to go ahead and pull out the exploring luminous watercolor techniques sheet, and we're going to go through some easy going watercolor techniques. If you're not doing the techniques on your sheet, that's okay. Just get out your sketchbook and doing there. Okay, So the first technique is wet and wet, and I've pulled in really tight on this shot here. So your paper, you're going to saturate your paper with a wet brush, and then you're gonna drop in your color. So I've got a wet brush here, completely wet, no color. And you can see that I'm dropping in the water color and it's moving and doing its that. Okay, The next technique we're going to talk about is wet on dry. The paper is dry, the brush is wet and the brush is going to have the pigment in it. So the brush has the watercolor. So pulling in a little tighter here, wet on dry, is just a much more controlled way to watercolor by brushes. Wet. I've got a loaded up with pigment. My paper is dry, so you can see that I can get a nice even wash of color. But eventually, with a thirsty paper like this, you'll run out of pigment on your brush. Eventually, the brush will no longer be wet. And the paper just You can get some really interesting texture based techniques that way. Okay, so we're gonna go ahead and move on to layering and glazing, which is basically the same layers create glow with watercolor. The more you let your watercolors dry in between each layer and you add another layer on top, the more you can get your watercolor to glow. So I'm doing two different glazing techniques here. I've got some ultra marine blue over here on the left and a little bit of in lemon yellow over here on the right, and I'm letting them dry in between and showing you as I add another layer on top. The color gets a little more saturated and begins to glow. So the more layers you add, the more glow an intensity of color you can create. Now, I've got this little ultra marine blue patch that I just washed that I just put down and I'm just gonna go ahead and let that dry and we'll come back to it. But I want to move over to the right here and talk a little bit about glazing with metallics. So I've let that lemon yellow dry and I'm going in over top of it with that gold metallic. This is the primary technique we're going to be using in adding the luminosity and the metallic glow to liberty. We're gonna beetle using the metallics as a layering color over top. Now we're gonna move on to talking about what I call the brush stroke. It's and these are the pieces that were going to using to create the pedals and leaves the puddled flowers for our birdie project. We're going to use our brush and the strokes of our brush to create these pieces. So I've got the puddles here, and I've used this have shown this technique in many of my other classes, but it's always a favorite of mine. You're going to use the entire belly of your round brush to create the pedals and the leaves. So right here I'm just doing that again with the brush strokes and you can see that I'm using the entire belly of the brush and laying it down from the right and then laying it down again from the left and swooshing it in to create that kind of heart shaped looking pedal. So here we go, get so down from the right and then again to the left to create that kind of heart shaped looking pedal. Now let's go ahead and do it again for the five petaled flower, and you can see I'm just dropping. Ah, pedal down with the belly of the brush. It looks a little bit wonky, but you can clean off your brush and go in and just go around the edges to just kind of finish off that pedal and then draw all the color into each other into the center to can create that final centerpiece. Now I'm coming back to this layer of blue that's completely dry to show you how I'm layering another round of that French ultra Marine over top to create that intense level of color. And that's how we're going to be doing the glazing technique throughout this project. So once you've gone through and finished up all of the techniques. You'll have this sheet as a great reference tool for the future, so let's go ahead and move on to the next lesson. 5. Brilliant Birdies: Creating the Final Project: Okay, We're gonna go ahead and move on to creating the final project together. So let's paint this brilliant birdie and all of her beautiful floral friends. So I have transferred my birdie sketch onto a piece of watercolor paper, and I'm going to go ahead and start in with painting the head. So we're basically going to start from the top of the bird down to the tail feathers and then work on the flowers and the pedals in the leaves. So I'm going in with my lighter blue first. So for me, that's mag unease. Blue hue and I'm doing wet on dry, so my brushes wet. My paper is dry, and I'm basically painting in the color so you can see that I went around the top of the head towards the beak and just put a layer of color in that I cleaned off my brush and it's just got water in it now. And I'm pulling that mag unease. Blue hue color in towards the bottom of the head. We're going to be using the what on dry technique throughout the entire painting of the birdie, so I'm moving on to the body of the bird and I'm using lemon yellow and you can see that I'm going in with my wet brush loaded with the lemon yellow pigment, and I'm going down to the top off the body towards the bottom. Now I'm not painting in the entire body in a solid color. I just put a little bit of color in their cleaned off my brush and then added a little bit of water to pull that color down. You can see that the color is mixing a little bit with the blue in the head, and that's okay. And while it was still wet, I'm doing a little bit of wet on wet technique with the Aussie red gold or the orange color that you might be using and just putting a little bit of the top of the body of the bird right underneath the beak just to add in a little bit of variation and color. And we're gonna come back to that. So let's go ahead and move onto painting the tail feathers so we're going to move through, paging all of the tail feathers in a very similar way. Amusing Imperial Purple here and I loaded up my brush, but Russia's wet my papers dry. I loaded it up with a little bit at the tip there and then I just drew the rest of that color down to the bottom of the feather. I like to call that bold toe bleed. So I'm putting a layer of bold, bold color in that very tip you can see here. I'm doing it again with the quinacrine Oh, magenta and that I'm cleaned off my brush And I'm using a wet brush and dragging that pigment down to the bottom so you get a little bit of a difference in the value of color from light to dark. So I'm gonna go ahead now that the head is a little bit more dry, it's bone dry now, and we're gonna go in and do a little bit of glazing. So I've got the French ultra Marine blue and have added a little bit of that color at the top of the head and I'm cleaning off my brush here. So I'm getting all the pigment off, and I'm just ragging that ultra marine blue to the bottom of the head here so that we can get that variation in color from light to dark and, um, glazing the birdies head so that we can get that luminosity off blue color. So I don't want overwork This a little bit of a tendency to do that. So I'm just gonna let that dry and go back toe working on the tail feathers. And now I brought in a little bit of sap green I wanted on a color that was a little bit more of an olive V like green instead of the yellow light green. Because I wanted a little bit of, um, more of a contrast between that yellow and that feather so used a little bit of that sap green and did that dry technique that old to bleed technique that I've been doing with the feathers. And I'm doing it again here with them agonies blue hue, which is a light blue. And we're going to do it with both of these little tail feathers that I have here just putting a lot of color at the top of the tail feather and then cleaning my brush and then coming back in and dragging that color down so we get a variation of color from dark toe light, That old toe bleed color that we're getting with that went on dry technique. Okay, so I'm going to move on and do a little bit of color mixing here. I life love this Aussie red gold. And I love that corn Accredo, magenta. So I wanna mix the two of those colors together, and you could see me mixing them here to get a deeper, more like an Albert gene or deep, deep wine color, Um, for this top feather. So I'm saturating that color at the top, cleaned off my brushing up, pulling it down into the bottom of that feather just to get a little bit of variety from the value of the color from dark to light. And I've gone back in and I'm just kind of touching up some of these tail feathers with adding a little bit more color Now that the body on the head are dry, I'm gonna go back in and do a little bit of glazing. So I'm taking the Aussie Red gold here, and I'm glazing it, layering it over top of that yellow body just to make the color pop. The more layers you add with really transparent watercolor, the more you're going to be able to make that watercolor pop. So I'm doing that with the body in a minute to another layer here with the head. So adding a little bit of that French ultra Marine and this is the dry. I'm working with the dry paper and I'm adding wet on dry. Now let's go ahead and move on to the brush strokes. So we're painting the leaves and the flowers, and I'm using the yellow green, and I'm using the sap green and the entire belly of the brush to create these big honkin leaf elements. And it's OK if they've kind of just nested themselves together, we're gonna be cutting them out for our final project. So I'm not so worried about how they look, and we really do want them to look kind of water calorie and fun. So remember, we're not going for perfection here. We're going for washy, washy watercolor funds ease. I've got a little bit of imperial purple here, gonna move on to creating the pedals for our flowers so you can see that I'm laying down the brush to create that kind of heart or C shape here to create the four petaled flower. So I'm just working my way around the flower and I'm turning my paper so that I can get Ah , good positioning for creating the pedals for this flower. And I'm just kind of digging it and it's OK, I've got a little bit of color. That is just kind of a variation here. I'm adding a little bit here and there, and it's I'm just digging it because we're just going to be cutting these flowers out. So I'm just going to drop in a little bit of opera pink, just adult, another level of color to this flower and just kind of mobile into the next flower. After I finished adding some of purples and pinks to this one and remember with watercolor when it dries, it's going to drive back several shades in its color. So the more you layer, the brighter and more luminous the color is gonna be okay, So I'm taking my, um, rush here and creating another flower with the brushstroke pedal effect, and this one's just kind of fun. It's got a little bit of a short pedal here for the flower and Let's just go ahead and do that one again. And I'm using the Aussie red Gold. So we're gonna have three flowers and several pedals, and I'm creating that C shape, working my way around to create the four petaled flower. Just pull little bit of color in the center to bring all of those pedals together, drop in a little bit of water and let the water color do its magic. Okay, so now we're moving into some finishing techniques, and we're adding details with white Penn gel pen or with white washed paint. So I'm working with the pasta penne first. I love the Posca white pen of dropping in a few little dots here. This is the bullet nib pen. It's a pretty fine point, and you can see that I'm adding a little bit of color here and you can make that move. You can make that paint pen move with a little bit of water, and I'm just adding a little bit of that white to the belly of the birdie just to add a little bit of variety in color between the darks and the lights again. And I added this little drops of um, a little color in the in the head there, and I noticed that it might I forgot a tail feather. So I just dropped a little bit of that yellow green watercolor in there just to kind of color in that little tail feather. And now we're just going to add some illustrative stroke detail to the feathers to kind of make them look a little bit like leaves so that this birdie is kind of organic and natural and kinda has the feel of leaves beautiful colored leaves for her feathers. And I just love that technique. I'm dropping in a few little polka dots here and just using the pen to create that flow. Okay, I want to show you here. I'm going to drop a little bit of the wash paint down onto my map and just show you how you conduce this technique with the wash pain, the quashes and opaque watercolor. And this is white. If you have opaque, if you have a white acrylic, you could use that as well. And you could do the same thing that you can with the brush with. Ah, I mean, with the pen with the brush so you can create that illustrative look with the brush as well . I like using the pasta penne because it helps. It's a very controlled way. We're very used to using pen, so sometimes we have a little bit more control with our hands using pens. Um, but I like to do it both ways, too. So I'm dropping a few dots into the flowers and the leaves and just dropping a few little illustrative marks in tow. All of the's pieces and especially the leaves here just kind of creating a little bit veins in the leaves with the pasta, penne and just creating some of those finishing looks. So now we're gonna move into adding a few glazing details with the metallic watercolors. So I'm using the gold watercolor and I'm just the gold metallic watercolor, and I'm just adding a little bit off that metallic sheen on the body of the birdie. We are not going to paint the entire bird with metallic, but we are gonna use some of the color here. I'm using some of the blue now cause I'm gonna go back into the head of the birdie and just add a little bit of of that shimmer and shine on top of the head. So we're just adding a little bit of these metallics throughout the bird and the flowers just to create some finishing techniques that are luminous and just make it pop. So I'm digging it, digging it, Damian. Okay, moving on toe, adding the black details. Now you could use a black paint or Blackwater color and add these black details into the legs in the eyes in the beak. I'm just choosing to use this black pen just because I have a lot more control using the black pen, and it's just a great way to just kind of finish this off. So I'm in a color in the beach with the black pen and also going to go back in and color the eye in, and I'm just, you know, you could use your watercolors and easily do this technique. But I really wanted to pop thes features to pop, so I'm just gonna go ahead and use my black Pento. Add these details now, the I can be really, really difficult to do sometimes, so just make sure and I've felt that into the illustration. Make sure you leave that little tiny white space if you happen to go over it with your a pen just added back in with your white pen or your white paint just to create that little bit of glimmer back into the eye. So we just finished off the final features of the birdie and I'm gonna go ahead. We're gonna cut out all of the watercolor pieces. They're gonna cut out every single piece that we painted. And now we have all of these fun embellishments so that we can move on and start to put it all together into our card project. Now, I've also shown a sample of you can do this entire project and create a, um, piece that you can frame. So I'm showing you two different ways. Here. We've got our card projects. So this is a piece of watercolor paper cut to anay to size, which is for in 1/4 by 5.5. And I have a piece of white card stock cut to an A to size card as well. So we're just gonna take all of our embellishments that we have created our watercolor pieces and we're going to just create this little greeting card. Now, this is perfectly frame a ble you can frame. This is an art piece. Or you can just make this a little bit larger and you'll see the sample idea of this in your hand out and have also shown it, and I'm gonna show it again at the end. So you have lots of options here you can create. Use all of the pieces that you created and make a greeting card. You can create a frame, a ble piece of art that you can put in a shadow box. Um, so lots of really fun things that you conduce you with this project. You can also just paint this in your sketchbook and use the little birdie. As for a practice peace, I like to cut things out and create three D elements and just create a little bit of whimsy with my creations. So really, really have a lot of fun with this, so you can see all of the pieces that I cut. I'm just kind of nesting them together and using a little bit of tacky glue and phone tape and just popping them down onto this card front. Now I'm going back in with a little bit of my watercolors, my metallic watercolors, and I'm just playing around with some of colors because I'm gonna go back in and add a little bit more details to the flowers now that they're on the final greeting card. And just this little glazing technique with the metallics is just adding a little bit more luminosity to the final project. And it's just also adding a little a sparkle and fun. And, uh, I'm digging the way that this projects coming out. I love all the shimmer and shine and the glazing techniques that we did with water colors have really jacked up the look and feel of that birdie. Now we're gonna do some finishing techniques with splatter. So this is just add a little bit of extra Sham Powell to the final project. So I'm mixing up some imperial purple and I'm mixing up some of those metallics, and I'm just tapping it on to the final project here just to get a little bit of pop. Okay, so here is our final project two ways. So we have our greeting card on the right, and we have our frame a ble piece of art on the left, so let's go ahead and move on to our final lesson. 6. Brilliant Birdies: Final Thoughts + Thank YOU!: Hi, friends. I want to thank you so much for joining me for the brilliant birdies class. I hope you found great joy in creating this project together. If this is your first time joining me for a class, I hope you'll take a look at my other watercolor class offerings and I'll see you next time .