Decorative Watercolor Feathers: Quick and Easy Painting Techniques | Garima Srivastava | Skillshare

Decorative Watercolor Feathers: Quick and Easy Painting Techniques

Garima Srivastava, Artist and Illustrator

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13 Lessons (41m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Research for Reference

    • 4. Feather Study

    • 5. Basic Concepts and Techniques

    • 6. Monochrome Feathers

    • 7. Colorful Feathers

    • 8. Colorful Feathers-II

    • 9. Decorating Techniques

    • 10. Feathers with Flowers

    • 11. Bonus Video: Extra Tricks

    • 12. Your Project

    • 13. Conclusion


About This Class


In this class I’ll teach you how to paint beautiful watercolor feathers in my unique loose style and elaborate ways to effortlessly decorate them. Apart from plenty of painting and decorating techniques you will also learn how to research and study your reference. My goal is that by the end of this class you would be able to come up with unique designs by yourself without any reference.

Along with each step I will share my tips and tricks that I have learnt over the years.

As a class project you will learn to research and create your own watercolor feather illustration that you can use to decorate your stationery projects or as a beautiful wall art piece.

This class is geared towards anyone with a basic knowledge of watercolors but beginners can join as well as we will cover all the basics.

See you in the class, let’s paint some feathers!



1. Introduction: hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops. It'll Hi, my name is Gary Rush arrested, and some of you might also know me as the artist behind instagram account. Man of Basil That studio, My stun of painting dances very softly between lose it really uniquely defined shapes made with energetic and confident brush strokes and use of vibrant colors. Welcome to my first skill share class Fear. I share with you my process off painting the beautiful subject of feathers, using my signature technique on elaborate ways of decorating them using simple supplies. But there you're new to watercolors or have already been playing with the medium. I'm sure you will love this class is there's something for everyone will cover supplies. Research for your reference on practised lots of breast strokes, followed by elaborate ways of painting and decorating the feathers. As a project for this class, you would be able to come up with a spread like this person thinks monitor like this, using the techniques he would learn in this class and then later use it for your lettering . Projects are as a finished artwork in itself, without much further ado, let's get started 2. Supplies: Let's quickly covered some of the supplies you'll be needing. I'm using Watercolor 300 Years and Gold newspaper. You'll need kitchen paper towels for mixing tree. I'm using a wide ceramic plate in the name of brushes. I'll mostly be using a mock brush, which has got quite a fine tip, but you can also use a good quality round brush for the fine tip. I'll also be using a fine detail. Synthetic brush, a rigger on for dry brushing techniques have got a bunch of old drive for the damaged rushes that I keep quite dry Today. We will be using dupe colors, but you can equally use your pound colors. It doesn't matter on pick whichever colors you would like. It doesn't need to be the exact ones I use. I'll be using burnt amber cobalt blue di axes in violent Indigo Green, aka John Gold. But it's gray Berman intros and it serene crimson sap green, blunt, black and for decorating, I'll be using It Isn't Gold by Daniel Smith, some white Wash Bivins and new to also be decorating. Using the's Joe opens so a good, wide open Onda Gold one as well. I'll also be using masking fluid from Vincent Newton. Lastly, but not the least a jar of clear water for you diferencia brushes as a bonus video. Also be using some simple supplies for some special techniques, so we'll cover those supplies in that later video. 3. Research for Reference : When you're starting to paint a new subject, you look for references there, two ways of doing it. One is, too. Look what somebody else has painted on. The other one, which I would encourage you to do, is to look for photographs of the actual feathers and study them. You can do it in a couple of days, whether you search for it on Google stock images or make a board on Pinterest. The let me share with you would I did when I was starting to paint watercolor feathers, agreed it Avengers board off photographs of feathers that stood out to me because of their color combination shape or a very unique pattern, and also some of the feathers from birds that I already knew that had quite interesting patterns on them. For example, these are you would Becker's feathers on them? Also, guinea fall has quite interesting patterns on the feather. And then I studied them, painted them a couple of times, and after a while what I saw is that I could just remember things on make different unique combinations out of the parents, I remembered. So in the next video, we're going to do a small exercise where we're going to write down things that weaken, remember from a feather. And then I'll show you what you can do with different combinations of them in the later videos. So I'll see you with my notebook in the next video. 4. Feather Study: Now that we have looked at different feathers list, you're a quick study off their shapes and patterns that I remember. So the shape of the feather starts for the hollow shaft. That paper says it becomes righteous. The barbs come out from the center, and together they make the rain at the bottom are really soft after feathers, based on where the feathers located on a bird's body, the length of barbed varies between the two sides. It's equal length when it comes with tail feathers. But for the pink feathers, one side might have shorter barbs, and the other one would have the longer. Then there are control feathers, which have combination of tighter barbs on softer ones at the bottom. Then there are really close to the skin. Fuzzy down feathers were barbs, literally go everywhere, so this is just based on where they're located. On the boats body. Some birds have triangular feathers. Some have quite tapered once leafy wants, and some have quite fuller kinds that these are just the shapes. You can fill them up with colors, obviously. Now let's cover polka dots. The distribution of polka dot can be quite uniform in some off them, but there are some which have very distribution, so one side would have quite densely to located once, and then some would have on one side scattered there once that I'm only on the edges, somewhat like would picker, then there. Once fair, the polka dots are located so close together that they looked like stripes running along the righteous. So these are just your book adult combination that I remember. Next are the stripes. So in some of the feathers, stripes are quite uniform, running horizontally from one edge to the other. In some of them, they start wider on one edge, and it tapers as it reaches to the other edge. You'll see a few words start whiter and the outer part, and it reaches middle and become state bird. There, some bitch of good alternating stripes so one side would have positions 135 and the other one would go in between like do for six. So these are just the stripes. So if you combine shapes, dots stripes on add colors to them, you can come up with so many combinations that you won't even need to look at reference photographs for painting unique feathers. There might not be a bird out there. Rich has patterns like this. Parties will be quite unique. Decorative designs off course. When you're painting an actual bird's feather, it's completely fine to look at a photograph as a reference for the exact positioning off the pattern on the colors. So create a little study for yourself, something like this, and refer to it in your initial stages, and later you won't even need to refer to something like this. In the next video, we're going to start practicing some off the brushstrokes that you will need to paint the feathers, so I'll see you there. 5. Basic Concepts and Techniques : Let's cover some of the concepts of watercolor and techniques will be using to paint the feathers in my mixing. Trey have got some indigo mixed. Read some water based on the amount of water add to this mix. I can vary the values, so if I have more water and less color, more like a T consistency, I get lighter values. I can have more water to this and go even lighter than that. If I want a bit darker value. Have allowed less water more color, more like a milk consistency. And that will give me a darker value now for the darkest value of big, very less water, more like a creamy consistency of the color. And that will give me darkest, valuable place. Dark wrist on the lightest value. So you see, with the use of just one color and varying the values, I'm able to create different designs and also using just one brush so we'll be using this technique for your monochrome feathers. They're do ways of putting the color down on paper. One met. The paper is dry and you put wet color on it. This is called wet on dry. It gives you re definitive shape. The other one is returned. Bet when the paper is wet because you had rented the paper or the underneath washes. Still that so you put a watery wash of one color. Here it's indigo, and while this washes still that I'm going to introduce some violet makes into it on. This technique is called wet on Wet. It will give you nice, smooth blends, but you can also achieve the concept of bleeds and blooms. So we're going to be using both of these techniques to paint the feathers. So if you're somebody like me and don't like to carry too many brushes with you, a mop brush can come really handy. You can create really fine lines with it, but also create quite take Mark's just by varying the pressure that you can go as thin as this. But also asked, Take Is this so Hold your brush from the bottom. Andi. Rest your wrist very firmly on the paper so that with just a flick off your hand, you're able to achieve really find marks, which you can use for the stock and the ravages of the feather. Now let's practice a little Ah, variation in the pressure. So with very gentle movement, you can get I find lights and then push the brush down for the ticker marks. Fine and the Thinker. So practice this press stroke quite often. So with full pressure, I'm able to achieve the feather on with 10 Line the Righteous. So now let's start with the feather. What we do is create it really. 10 line brought from the bottom goes group, and now, with one burst stroke, I'll be able to make a feather, so push the brush down completely and left. You can also do both sides separately, so one brush stroke on the other one on the other side. If you leave a little bit of gap between the two sides, it will give you the bite. Dratch is now onto the fun part and my signature technique. I use a little wet makes and deposited at the bottom off the feather. You can also do this when the wash of the feather is still red. So something like this it's still met. And then I use a really dry and fuzzy old brush and then found these after feathers out very gently. A little bit to the bottom on some to the top. This gives you a very natural fuzzy look to the feathers. So these are some very basic concepts and little brushstrokes that you can practice before we get started. On day, you will soon gain quite a bit of confidence with them. In the next video, we're going to start painting some monogram feathers, so I'll see you then. 6. Monochrome Feathers: in this video, we're going to be painting some monogram feathers. What that means is you'll be painting the whole feather with just one color, and by changing the value of that color, you'll be able to create quite a few unique designs. So in my mixing trade, I have got some indigo mixed. I will also show you some binds, graze feathers. So let's start with a slightly picker, a mix off indigo, not too much water in it, and we'll create righteous with it. So, just as we saw earlier, you start the righteous slightly vita at the bottom, and as you go up lift, you can increase the length slightly. Now. Create a really watery mix off this indigo color for the very base layer of the feather. So where you want the feather to start, start from top on left as you go on the bottom, you can increase the Vitez well. Let's deposit some color at the bottom for fanning it out. So the after feathers that face towards bottom are shorter in length, and the ones that face upwards are sort of a bit longer inland. Now, while these two areas are still that I'm going to introduce some deeper tones into it. So I've got a bit taker mix for the top one and also for the bottom. The top one is almost tried so you can see quite definitive line and quite 401 for the bottom, which is still very red. The middle part of the feather is almost dried, so you can create really definitive stripes for the door dots. I'm just going around with my own imagination for some dramatic effect. Sometimes I give another layer off after feathers it and then found it out, and it kind of gives it a bit more off volume, while this whole feather will dry a bit lighter so you can go one more layer off little dogs and stripes over it. So you see, with just one color, we were able to create this whole design. Now let's move on to the next feather. Let's paint another indigo feather, started religious and then paint a more triangular shape. This time will be playing with both adults in this one, so place them along the edge. If the paper is dry, they will be quite definitive on fuzzier. If the paper is wet underneath, so at the bottom, deposit some color and now found it out after a while of using the same brush for the founding technique, it will start getting red. That's your cue to change the brush and get another dryer brush. Now let's paint some pines. Grace feathers by his grace. Quite a cool. Great. So I've got some by its grain. A bit taker makes in my brush and let's greet the ranches first. Now I've picked up a bit watery. Mixed. Agreed one side of the barbed first. Now, as I go on the other side, I'm leaving a little bit right in between. That's deposit a little bit more color at the bottom and now found things out. Based on how big your brushes for fanning, you can get a different length off these after feathers, so bigger brush that would mean bigger after feathers. So now most of the feather is dried amusing. Quite a take makes to create little patterns with the stripes and placing the colors at different places. It doesn't need to be in a particular pattern. You can do with your own imagination. Let's start with another one, a bit more fuzzier and fuller this time stocked with righteous upon top creates sort of a leafy shape to it. Make it does because you would like and maybe a bigger brush will help you with that. And while this washes still vet, use your dry brush and go all along the contour of the feather. So you see, this has got quite a natural and fuzzy look to it. Now for the midriff, you can either use quash to recreate that line. Our water alcohol are even the same color in a bit. Sort of deeper value, less water and greed. That line based on how wet the paper is on how much water was in your brush, this line will spread more water means the line will spread more now with the same color in my pressure. Put some dots on the feather. They'd be fuzzy. Everett, the paper is vet un more definitive shape Prayer. Um, the paper is already tried. This one here, you will see, is now quite dried so I can go one more layer upon top off it to create more details. Let me show you how to use water to create righteous again, so create a feather. Use of water makes for the hole shape. Now, while this layer is wet, take a rigger, read it but not completely loaded with water and now run it along the righteous. So the red brush has kind of caused this color to push towards the edges, and you have a lighter value in between. You can use the same technique with alcohol as well. You'll have slight different effects with it. Use a different brush for alcoholic, denser damage brushes. Now I can either wait before I add any more details, or I can also be impatient and pick the color and start adding dots where the paper is wet so you can be impatient with watercolors. Just learn to use it to your own benefit. They'll be fuzzier where the paper is Rhett and more definitive shapes fair. The paper is already dried. You can also recreate the righteous. So these were you monogram feathers in next one. Let's play with some colors 7. Colorful Feathers : in this lesson will be playing with different colors to create the feathers. So at first, I've got some masking fluid mixed up in a little bottle camp. It was quite think so. I have added some water to it. Don't have too much water because it will break the bond and it won't protect your paper anymore from the color. So I've got a little bamboo pen that I'm going to use to create little dots all along the imaginary feather shape. What mosque include? Always be careful both when you're putting it on and when you're removing it, the paper underneath should be extremely dry. Else. It's going to rip the paper out so you can see it's all in little feather shape, and now we're going to wait for it to dry in this next, whether I want to show you how to double load your brush, using two different colors to paint your feather. So for this one, I've got indigo and permanent True's to Let's first start with the righteous, and then as you will press, you will have slight touch of Rose in it. Let me show you how to do that. So you pick some rose from your plate on. Then at the end, just take a little bit off indigo and let's try doing it on the other side. You see, I think I think too much of indigo, so you cannot see the Rose. We'll try this technique one more time while it's still wet. Let's find it out now. You conveyed with this feather to dry before you add little details with quash or gold to it. So let me show you one more time how to do double loading picks, um, permanent rose in your brush and then just a touch of indigo. And with one swipe, you can get two different colors in your breast stroke in the other side of got a bit more indigo. So while this is still red, I will quickly add a little bit off more details with the same color makes. I've got so some deeper indigo just for the dots. On further, more detailed travel ad, when's this'll? One dries completely. Now let's move on to painting one of my favorite feathers. That's a woodpecker's feather. It's quite a unique one. So for the bottom part of the feather, I've got good knock drawn gold on some burned number mixed, so I'll start with the righteous first. For that, I picked up some burned number, so you start a bit wider at the bottom and then lift as you go up for the bottom part of the federal good. Kawanakajima rolled on point number mixed and late in the shape off the bottom of the feather and found it out. My washes quite dry, so I'll have to re vet it a bit as the founding becomes difficult. So now it's much easier. I'll deposit a little bit more color upon top. Now I will big some lump black and members, and starting from an imaginative tip off the feather, I'm going to start creating alternating black stripes. You can create a little reference shape with pencil, if that makes it easier. So just with the white of paper on some love black, I'm able to create black and white alternating stripes. I'll just give a bit more definition to the stripes and now defined the righteous a bit more, and now I will deposit the same lamp black mixture onto both the sides because I want to found the edges out completely, so going along both of the sides and now using my dry pressure to found it out. So I want to give a bit more definition to the righteous. So deposit just a little bit more color here on a bit more towards the bottom on this side , and that's fan it out. This words woodpecker's feather and the next lesson will continue playing with some more colors to create the feathers. 8. Colorful Feathers-II: So let's play around a bit more with some more colors. So I've got some indigo on burnt umber mixed in my brush. Onda, let's make the bottom of the feather. First, we'll deposit a little bit more color and now a big some clear born number in it and from top to down. This time that's found it out loud, making the fuzzy looking one. So now we'll read for this to dry completely before we add any details to it. Now I've got a little teal greenish teal color in my brush, so let's make one upside down. Have a little bit more color. Um, duh. It's at some details that there's no heart in first rule, you can go with righteous first or later destroy different techniques, although I tried to stick to making ratchets first on them further later. So I've got some pines gray on the dirty mix of the same green, so let's make another one. If you want to do something like this very intentionally to have two different colors, try to play with the lighter color first and then pick the darker indigo. In this case, that will give you two different shades in one brushstroke. Well, I'm working on, multiple said. This one is starting to dry, so let's quickly add some more color to it. I've got some indigo on a little bit of, um, Violet in it. So stop making without the matches making the stripes first said, this is just out of my pure imagination of a B, just adding a little bit off permanent true's for their at their sides stripes. So apart from woodpecker's feather, all of these feathers are just out of my imagination. I create the designs as I go, so you can do something similar. Just give it a bit more definitive shape and then confound it that so this is now quite a unique looking one. Now the masking fluid has dried so we can add some color. I'll be adding pure love black. Do it for the best contrast, so I'll just make the righteous first. And now with one smooth and soft breastroke, cover all of the feather and every place where you had put the masking fluid, and you have to now wait for it to completely dry before we removed the fluid. So be patient with this one I'm trying to paint all of their one this one sheet so that we can have a good collection on one paper so you could do something similar and play around with all of these techniques. It's quickly pained, a sort of from my D one. Now I'll add a little bit of permanent rose. Now I'm adding a bit of finds, Craig for random spots. One of these designs I'm just making out of imagination. There's no reference for these, so you can do something similar. Play around with all of these. Stick makes all of these designs. Let's add a little bit water to the ranches, so it becomes slightly more emphasised. Now let's quickly paint another quick one. I've got some violet and pines great on my brush, so I'll make the righteous first. And now, with one brush stroke, I'm able to get smooth gradation off the two colors in a while. The base layer still mental at some violet for the bottom part, and I'll big. Some finds great for the top, and I'm just very randomly and sort of in an abstract fashion, adding them and small dining out the edges a little bit and now we'll found attempt. I might make the righteous a bit more rhythm. In the next video, we're going to stand adding some details with quash on gold to all of these feathers, so I'll see you there. 9. Decorating Techniques : So now let's add some embellishments. I've just painted a few more of the feathers to show you all of the techniques. So I've got some wide wash just freshly squeezed out of the tube and very less water in it . Onda, here's iridescent gold. So we'll be using these. Do take great. So just added some white and gold dots on some of these feathers. And now we're going to try to do something similar for some of these other ones have got quash picked up on my synthetic small detail brush, and I'll just start making little dots. So what I'm doing is I'm varying their size. Some are smaller, some are bigger on also how I'm placing them on the feather in some areas there, quite densely located, and in some I'll place them in a more scattered fashion so you can play around with how you're placing them, and I'll also try to make the righteous again with the same quash so that it can become a bit more visible. I've removed the masking fluid from this one, but I have another one that I will show you how to remove masking fluid from I've got some gold baked onder. I'm just placing little dots at the bottom of this one, not at the top, because I like how it looks so just randomly scattered at the bottom. And sometimes I just believe it's simple. Black. Andi. I'm just adding little dots on the edges. So always be attention. How the colors have dried and play around with your hard edges and used them for your own benefit. And now just adding a little bit more of thes black dots, giving this feather two different color dots. Let's turn it around for some feathers. You can play but dots and dashes to give your feather. Sort of a Native American look on. You can always refer to an actual photograph for more accurate and authentic. Look, I'm just going by my own imagination. It's quite a playful technique, so I'm just simply playing around with little dots placed quite closely together and making little triangular shapes. I also put metal dashes, and you can also go with the bit solids Tribe Sometimes, so make use of all of these combinations down. Sure, you'll be able to come up with quite unique designs for these. You can also add little circular shapes in between these spaces. Now I want to show you how to remove these masking fluid dots from this one. The color has completely dried, So with just a nudge of my finger, I will be easily able to remove these starts so they're coming off quite easily. Always test your masking fluid with the paper you intend to use because they behave differently with the grain of the paper. On the My trip off your papers always does before you use it for the actual project. So with just the use of masking fluid if it out, gosh armed by Geltman, I'm able to get this pattern, but you can obviously use wash on these jail been. So let's see what we can do with gel Binns from just adding these little dots on this one. I tend to prefer wash over these jail Ben's because I find it a bit more brighter than these. But for precision, you can obviously use thes Gelman's The Strike Wash on this other side. It's a very closely placed marks, so I'm just placing them in sort of vertical stripes running along the wretches. So on the left are the marks made by the pen and on the right are the quash marks, so you can play around with masking fluid quash on the Gel Benz and see which one you prefer in terms of the marks. Now let's add some gold to this fund. I'll be just making little dots with it. The gold amusing has sort of a vintage look. Do it, but you can obviously pick a bit more brighter and the ones with more shine to them. It's all up to you. You can also use gold or silver gel Benz something like this. I find them making a bit more subtle marks, sort of a little less brighter, especially when they drive. So it's another supply I would like you to try before you use it on your project to have the best look that you have in your mind. So these are all the decorative techniques that I use in the next video, and to show you how I combine another favorite subjective mind to paint with the feathers. So I'll see you there 10. Feathers with Flowers: in this video and to show you something I've only started doing recently. That is to combine feathers with other subjects. I do florals, but you can also do landscapes, Galaxies or something more abstract. So let's see how we do florals. So I've got a watery mix of indigo in my brush, and I'll make the little feather shaped first founded out of the Bible. Now let's wait for this feather to dry. I've got to take makes off indigo and burnt umber, and I will use that to create branches for the little flowers. I've got a number for round brush and I'll pick this dark makes to create little sort of cherry blossom branches. You can use any other dark color. Just You should have a good contrast because the base layer is quite light. Now the branches air there. I'm going to pick some white quash on my same brush and greed. Little flowers all around says the base layer is quite light, some off the flowers might not be visible, but don't worry. Keep making little flowers all around the feather shape. I'm using quite a take mix off, quash if you let too much water you lose sort of the obesity off it Just go around, make little cherry blossom kind of flowers to give these flowers a little bit more visibility A big sums up green on my brush to greet thes little leaves Which apple place all around the feathers So this waas sort of cherry blossoms painted on a feather In the next part I will quickly show you how to paint poppies on black spur on the feather 11. Bonus Video: Extra Tricks: this bonus video. I'll quickly cover a few more tricks that are of my sleeves when it comes to decorating the feathers. So for this, you're going to need a small piece of cling wrap some alcohol. You can also use vodka, some sea salt and any kind of gold. Let's make the first feather. I'm using some indigo to create the basic feather shape, and now I'll use my fuzzy pressure to find things out. And while it's still bed, I'll use a vet, makes off gold using the rigger brush, and you see how it kind of pushes the Indy go away and then some thicker gold for these dots that this is one technique. Second for the 2nd 1 will be using alcohol, so I'll first start with them green wash and make a feather on Wait just a little bit. Now we move on to the turd feather abusing a pinkish reddish makes. So let's greet the feather first, found things out a bit, and now use a really take mix of integration. Don't spread it too much and use the cling wrap scrunched up and push it down. Create some air pockets in between now Let's move on to the fourth feather Andi Creative slightly violet indigo mix. My second feather had dried, some re vetting it a bit. Now let's add some salt to this last feather. Be painted a little bit more color, since it had tried too much. Now coming on back to the 2nd 1 and I'm adding some alcohol dots to it. Wherever alcohol goes, it kind of spreads out quite a bit, so that's fate for these to dry. Now you see, as they have dried, I removed the cling wrap, removed the salt so you you have very fine texture because of the salt on. For more dramatic effect, you have the cling grab one. There you can play, bid some lost and found edges to enhance the look for a bit more subtle. Look, you have the little alcohol dots and also the spreading off wet gold onto the red color. So these are just some very simple techniques that you can use for your other paintings as well, but quite need. So do try them 12. Your Project : for the project of the Skill Share class. I would love for you to come up with a spread like this or something smaller like this. Use all the techniques you've learned in this class. Buried them in their shape. Size he was monochrome stripes dots on maybe a floral or two. I would love to see what you'll create. So do share it in the project section off this class. And if you're sharing it on Instagram do tap me on use the hashtag minor basil underscore skilled share I'm quite excited to see what you will come up with. 13. Conclusion : really hope you enjoyed this class never to encourage you to explore the subject a bit more . And don't restrict yourself the painting from a reference photograph and above all, pain from your own creative heart. And I'm sure you'll be able to come up with quite a few unique designs. If you like this class, please do consider leaving a review so that the class can become visible to more students. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them here or contact me on my INSTAGRAM account. Man of Basil, that studio. I'm always there to help keep an eye out for my upcoming classes and have fun creating lots of feathers. Thank you so much for watching.