Create a Watercolor Robin's Nest | Karen Ciocca | Skillshare

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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

5 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Watercolor Bird Nest

    • 2. Masking Fluid & Glazing

    • 3. Second Wash, Foliage background

    • 4. The big reveal, removing the mask

    • 5. Let's finish this! Details & leaves

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About This Class


This is a watercolor class will teach you how to paint complex areas in watercolors such as a bird's nest using masking fluid and glazing. Creating depth of color and form, letting the transparent watercolors shine. It is super fun to watch your painting come to life.

This is a class fairly easy but you should have basic watercolor skills. There are many great classes here on Skillshare that show you how to start with watercolor. But if you are adventurous,  just dive right in, that is basically how I handle everything! It's only paper!

Masking fluid is such a fun tool to have in your watercolor kit. 

The recommended items for this class:

  • Watercolor masking fluid any brand
  • Regular bar soap-just a bit
  • Basic watercolor paints -green- brown-yellow- blue-black
  • #6-ish round watercolor brush or a  medium and small brush
  • 140lb watercolor paper- I used Arches Watercolor square block cold pressed
  • Pencil or watercolor pencils to draw your nest

Colors I used:

Pthalo Blue, Cerulean  Blue, Paynes Grey, New Gamboge,  Burnt Umber,
Yellow Ochre, Sap Green, Hookers Green

Brushes I used. 

#6 + #8  round sable watercolor brushes -Silver Black Velvet (squirrel and black synthetic)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Karen Ciocca

Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Fine Artist


Hello Friends!

I am presently the Art and Marketing Director at a Granola-Nut company who also distributes organic and all-natural nuts, seeds and fruit to supermarkets and chains nationwide. 

My career has been as a corporate and boutique agency in-house graphic/package designer and digital illustrator. My packaging illustration and design work have been on retail and supermarket shelves for over 30 years. Including Pilot Pen, Bigelow Tea, Perrier, Lindt Chocolate, Poland Spring, Aurora Products.  

I am also a professional fine artist and I love to paint animals and nature. Having been commissioned numerous times. 

I am excited to share my skills as a Graphic Designer and Fine Artist here on Skillshare! 

 <... See full profile

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1. Watercolor Bird Nest: Hi there. My name is Karen's Yokohama graphic designer and illustrator and fine artists. And in this video, we're gonna be creating this lovely little Robin's Nest. And I took the photo in my our last year, and we're gonna be focusing on creating this complex area in here using masking fluid and blazing techniques. So if you love water color and you want to learn new techniques, I'll see you inside. 2. Masking Fluid & Glazing: So to create this beautiful little painting, we're going to need a 1 £40 cold press watercolor paper. It can be anything, but I like to use arches, and this is a seven by nine inch square block. I like to use a few of my brushes. This is around watercolor brush. And in number eight and number six, I like to draw with water colored pencils, but you can use a regular pencil if you like. The colors I use. Our fellow blue cerulean blue, Payne's gray burnt number yellow Oakar, new Gambro shows Ah, hooker green and a sap green. So I created a wash using the yellow Oakar and the burnt umber, and I made it very watery. So it's very light and I'm going to neatly go around those egg shapes. But I'm not gonna care so much about being meat going into the nest area, so I'm just gonna brush it on lightly. It's gonna be a very light wash. It's our first color, our first value that we're putting down, and our we're just gonna get darker and darker as we go on border calorie usually go from light to dark. Um, in oil painting years ago. From dark to light and acrylic, you go from dark to light, so now I'm adding some bright yellow okra to the edge. It's kind of dry, and it's just going around the rim, and I'm letting it bleed into the rest of the nest area in the middle. I grabbed a little dot of my fellow blue, and I just started it in there and let it blend in with that brown mixture in the middle. No, I'm not being so needed and so precious, but I am gonna go in just show a little bit of branches here and there. Little Brown sticking out for later on Justin idea where I want TEM, and even though I have a picture in front of me, I'm not really copying it perfectly. Um, I'm using my imagination and what I've seen, so here's a top view of where we were, and this is completely dry, So please wait for this watercolor to dry completely before you put your mask and fluid on it. It's very important, So I took a very inexpensive watercolor brasher craft brush, and it's a tiny point is probably a three or four, and I dipped it in regular bar of soap. And then I'm going to dip it in my masking fluid, and I'm going to start drawing in all of those little bits that the bird puts in to create the nest. So she starts with mud, and then she brings in grasses and twigs and hey or whatever she uses. And I'm going in the direction of how she creates her nest. It's a circular motion, and I'm switching my hands so you could see I started my right hand. And then I went to my less dominant hand and started drawing in more branches because they're not perfect, and I don't want them to be perfect. I want them to look a natural and organic is possible. Okay, if I decided to grab my mask because it makes a very tiny lines. So I wanted a variety of thicker lines and smaller lines to show the variety of types of material the bird might bring in. And I love the mass pen because it has that little needle. Fine tip, but you can also use a calligraphy pen. You know, the ones with Nibs on the top to create some tiny lines or just grab something very tiny, like a needle or just be creative. I've always just grabbed whatever over the years. You don't have to buy anything too expensive, - so we're going to do the same thing we just did. But we're going to go a little darker and values. So like I say, the water colors you're building up from light values to dark values, and the light of the paper is usually the light of the sky or white of the sky. And then the dark obviously, are the shadows. And so now we're just building a little. It's still a watery mixture, but it's got a little bit more pigment in it, and I'm doing the same exact thing going carefully around those eggs. I'm gonna drop in a little blue shadow, and I'm just gonna finish painting this and exactly the way we just did. So let that dry when you're done and I'll see you in the next video 3. Second Wash, Foliage background: All right, so now we're going to repeat the last steps. We're going to make darker and darker values. So we're going from light to dark. We've already painted in two values of the lightest colors, and we're just going to start getting a little darker. We're going to grab our craft brush and we're going to dip it in our soap and back into our masking fluid and continue this layer of painting in the twig branches that the bird builds her nest with. And the reason you put your brush in soap is because it makes psycho little resist barrier for the masking fluid, which is like a rubber. And when you go to rinse it off, it'll just like slide off the brush and not ruin the bristle hairs of your brush. But I don't recommend using your, you know, $30 brush to do that. Just use the pure two-dollar brush to do that. And you can use other utensils as well too. In your masking fluid, I would experiment. Sometimes you use Q tips because that creates a different effect too. So, yeah, just go in the spiral way, that ear that the bird would be weaving and stay away from the edges because that's going to be a more muddy area. We don't want to really go all the way to edge. We're just kind of staying in the middle and just organically drawing around. So with my smaller brush, I created a Robin's egg blue color using the new gamboge, just a tiny bit of it and my civilian blue and my fellow blue together and all I'm doing is creating a line around my edges of my egg and just filling it in. It's a very watery washy, light. 4. The big reveal, removing the mask: - So we're taking some Berber number and we're just going to add that all around the nest, the edges, It's gonna be kind of wet. Go right in up to those pegs. We're gonna grab some of that Payne's gray and just dab in round just in that, you know where the eggs are touching together. It's gonna be dark over there and in the shadow rim at the top. So let's say the sun is coming down into the nest. And so it's a shame that top edge of the nest going and trying to make it look around now. And I'm just gonna go hold Angela just slightly, but more so near the top part. And I was gonna keep going with that until I'm happy with how the shape is going. So now I'm also on, you know, the bottom part of the nest on the very bottom. You want to add that dark color, so I have to pay a little bit around my leaves there. But it's no big deal, and it's still a little bit so it's just going to blend together on its own. - Okay , - Okay . - So I am waiting for my painting to be completely dry. I used to heat gun or hair dryer, and then I even waited another hour to go back and make sure it's trying, because if you're paper is even a little bit wet underneath inside the paper and you try to remove your mask, your mess is Flintridge paper right off the top, and you're painting will be ruined. So I know this because it's happened to me and it's not. It's not really find when you put all that work into it and ruining your painting at the end. So just use your very clean fingers. Just gently rub it and it should start to come off. And then you could use those little bits of rubber to even get the rest. So here I'm defining my eggs one more time. So I'm going to do is just wait around the edges of them and fill them in and just add a little bit of dark to the bottom of each egg so that, um, it just pops. So we're just We just keep glazing these things until we have the right of that, because every time it dries, you just don't know Watercolor. What you're left with so you can always glaze over. It's harder to take stain off, but you can always plays over so very gently here, going around the edges. And I did the opposite one sided, born in the top, one of the bottom. And then I'm I'm adding some dark to it, and I'm taking a very wet me not what, like slightly damp crashing, just softening that edge. And I let that those two dry and I'll go back and do the other to the same way. I was very happy with my eggs where they turned out. So now you can see that I am going back over the nest with some other washes of paint. So I added some shadow area to the top part of it, and the bottom under the eggs and just adding little washes here and there. You can even go along each little stem here and there. Just put shadow that here and there just to make it pop a little bit more. Okay, 5. Let's finish this! Details & leaves: hi again. So here I am. We're looking at it from above and where I'm painting the egg area so you can see that I'm going to wet one a completely with water. And then we'll wait a little bit while figuring out where I'm going to put my branches so on, placing ranches around around the nest in different areas to figure out where I'm gonna put them, in which direction I'm going to put them. And then I'll start painting in the leaves and I'll come back to that wet egg because at that time it has try just slightly. There was still a slight sheen on it, but it's still wet enough where it's going to lead and make some soft edges from the shadows in watercolor. Sometimes it's beneficial to use your heat gun or your hair dryer to speed along the drying of your your marks that you put down because sometimes it will bleed too much if you let it dry on its own, and then you'll not have that effect that you painstakingly put down. Or sometimes you have these objects that are close to each other, where you want to just speed it along so you can get them done more quickly. Okay, so by doing multiple blazing on objects in your paintings, you can control your shadow areas. And right here is a little bit more than if you were just doing a wet on wet approach. Really best I like to do glazing for small, different areas of my paintings and let some areas be loose like you see, here you have the leaves, the background kind of losing wash. It's just doing what watercolor does and in the front where your focal point is really trying to tighten it in. And do you know small glazes that are very controlled? As I speed up my recording, you can see that I'm gonna be in the rest of the leaves around the nest. We're going to start off with our medium value, and it's it's less wet, and there's more pregnant pigment in it, and I'm painting a line for where I want my step to go. And then I'm just going to basically stamp on believe shapes on the side of my brush. I'm going to start with my medium values, and then I'm gonna add more pigment as I go and make them darker, and this way it's going to push the leaves to look like they are. You know, far there are nearer to us and give it that contrast that we need in our painting. - In this illustration, we learned how to use watercolor glazing techniques to build our forms from light to dark. We also learned how to use masking fluids to retain the lights. As we build our glazes for the class project, I would love to see your version of a bird's nest painting. Using these techniques, I provided the photo that I use for this. But maybe you have taken a photo of your own. Hey, guys, thank you so much for taking my class. I love to share my watercolor techniques with you. At least I can share to help me create more classes for you. Thank you again and be well