Designing and Illustrating a Watercolour Bouquet | Cara Ord | Skillshare

Playback Speed

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

Designing and Illustrating a Watercolour Bouquet

teacher avatar Cara Ord, Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (42m)
    • 1. Class Introduction

    • 2. Botanical Research

    • 3. The Importance of Foliage

    • 4. Colour Palette

    • 5. Bouquet Structure

    • 6. Transferring your design

    • 7. The Wash

    • 8. Colour Blocking

    • 9. Layering is Key

    • 10. Bringing out the Details

    • 11. Show your Work

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

Community Generated

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





About This Class

Join this class to create beautiful floral watercolour illustrations. Learn how to compose your floral artworks and design a bouquet. Follow along the classes to learn some great tips about watercolour work and best practices. 

Finishing this class, you will have the know how to be able to create beautiful water colour works of art, paint your garden, and create floral masterpieces. You will have a beautiful bouquet that will never wilt.

If you would like to see some examples of the work you can make, check out my instagram @cara.ord.create where I have posted a bunch of floral illustrations, using all the techniques you will learn in this class series.

I hope you will join me.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Cara Ord

Illustrator & Graphic Designer


My name is Cara and I am a professional Graphic Designer and Illustrator with 6 years under my belt, I am currently working for the Wiggles on all their projects from animation to children's books. I am very passionate in what I do and love to share this passion with others. 

Other loves of mine include ice skating (I am also a professional performer), dogs, nature and snuggling up with a good book on a rainy day.

I am so excited for this opportunity to share my knowledge with you all and learn as well. I hope I can become a helpful resource for you and I am here at your beckon call if you need any assistance with anything I offer.

See full profile

Class Ratings

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

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

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

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


1. Class Introduction: Hello everyone and welcome to this months, Skillshare class. I'm really excited to bring you another illustration class. What we are going to be doing in this class is we are going to be creating beautiful watercolor bouquets. These are floral illustrations that you can actually do in any medium, but I want to focus on watercolor because that is my favorite medium to use. We are going to be creating designs that can be used for multiple purposes. You can display them like I have here and give them as gifts. You can sell art prints, use your illustrations in designs. I'm a graphic designer, so I do a lot of floral illustrations to use in wedding invites and branding for different companies. You can also go and use your illustrations if you wanted to create a fabric designer or anything like that. There is a mass amount of uses for these beautiful types of illustrations. During this class, I'm going to take you through the basics of designing and structuring of watercolor bouquet, which is also really helpful if you want to make your own physical flower bouquet. I'm going to be talking to you about picking your flowers and foliage and color scheme. I'm going to be getting you through certain techniques in watercolor that will help bring all of your artwork together. We are going to play and create something really beautiful by the end of this course. I'm really excited to get started on these illustrations and I hope you are too. I really hope that you continue on with this short course. If you have any questions about the course or anything that is in it, please leave your questions down in discussion or message me or through Skillshare. You can also post your project here, which I would love to see and project is going to be a beautiful watercolor bouquet that you can keep in your house as a beautiful art piece for yourself. You can also contact me through any of my social medias, which you'll see on the screen right now. I'm excited to get started on this and let's head into the first-class together. 2. Botanical Research: Guys, before we get started creating illustrations, we need to research into our subject matter. Now I recommend doing this with all your illustrations, but it's especially important when you're doing botanical, florals, and fauna. I want you to go and either research online, a great place for this is Pinterest or you can even go out to your local groceries of flower store and pick up a few flowers. One thing I absolutely loved doing is going to the flower markets and picking up a few botanicals for me to research and create natural illustrations on. That is also a great thing to do. I highly recommend it if you want to make a series of flower illustrations. Now when you're researching, I want you to consider the color scheme that you like, what flowers you like and how they are arranged. We will go through this more in later classes, but these are good things to keep in mind. Now, go away and either collect a physical samples or collect five different bouquets that you think are interesting and three flowers that you want to highlight in these bouquets. Now these might all be within the five images, or you might really like lilies or roses and really just want to create a bouquet around this specific flower and that's perfectly fine. Once you find all these images or take a picture for me of the flowers that you have bought. Can you just make a simple card of these flowers? We are just going to stick that in our projects. This will give us a good indicator to start off with. It'll give us a mood board in a sense, for our illustrations. It's also great if you are enjoying illustrating the content, you can always come back and have all your research material ready for that next illustration. Go ahead and grab all of those materials, set them up in a mood board such as this on screen right now. I will see you in the next video. 3. The Importance of Foliage: So how did you guys go picking out flowers and bouquets that you really liked and wanted to illustrate? I really hope that you picked some really unique different sets of flowers that you can use to create a beautiful bouquet. One thing you have to remember though, is that a bouquet is not just flowers. It also contains foliage and different leafy pieces, so we want to make sure that when we have our bouquets, that we actually have researched also leaves, and their textures, and colors. I want you to go back into your research, whether it be looking at that bouquet that you bought from the store or getting back on Pinterest, and actually have a deep look at the leaves which are in these bouquets. This is really important because a bouquet is actually, majority are filled with this foliage and fill of flowers rather than those big beautiful ones which you want to highlight. As an example, you can see here that I have some Australian natives. This isn't really a bouquet. It's just a collection of flowers that I really loved, and I wanted to dry out. But they don't really make any sense with these beautiful gum leaves which I bought, and I bought these as examples, as my filler foliage for my illustrations that I've been working on, with this set of flowers. So you really want to go ahead and pick two to three different leaf, shapes, and textures, that you can have there ready for you to reference, to be able to draw. Leaves are deceptively simple. Normally, they come in a standard, circular, oval, teardrop, or eye shape, and you can even get them in a variety of other shapes. But people seem to neglect them. So I really want you to have a research and maybe feel leaves, go in the backyard, take a look at them, because their textures and colors are really important to bringing your bouquet together. Go away now, have a research of leaves, pick three different types of leaves that you want to include in your bouquet. This might just be circling leaves you already found in the bouquet pictures you want, or researching a different foliage such as gum leaves, or silver leaf, anything like that, and just leave that down in your projects. This is a really important part of getting ready for our illustrations. 4. Colour Palette: Now, you see a [inaudible] flowers that you want and the foliage which you want in your design. Now, you start to be thinking. I'm ready to illustrate now, let's get started. Well, there's one more thing we have to consider before we start laying out our design on paper, and that is color. The beauty about illustration is that you can either go and make an exact replication of what you see or you have the ability to design a color scheme of anything you want. You might really want purple flowers in your design, but the flowers which you picked a row vet, that's simple. We'll just make them purple. As we have watercolor, I want you to go and I want you to make a color swatch. We are going to create color swatches of three different flower colors for your three key files that you've picked, and a couple different greens related to all leaf textures. I want you to go ahead and make them now. I've just moved over to my station so I can set up my color swatches. Now, you can go through and draw grid or whatever you feel like that I just want to go through and create my course which is inorganic pen. As this thing I want to do is figure out main color. I want mine to be really soft, very neutral and it's times. I'm going to create a pinky browny very soft turn as my main floral pattern. I want it to be a little bit of a musty pink. I'm hoping this comes up on camera because I have picked quite a wide color, but I just wanted to swatch out and that this is going to be the color for my main flowers. I just add in. These are my main colors for my first flower. Then I want to move on and add the color for my secondary flowers. Again, it's going to be very neutral, very soft. I'm sticking with, my pinky of face theme, and I am just going to lay out eight swatch for my secondary file. Now, I want this to be a bit darker and a bit deeper, a little bit more Roni. I've just gone in using similar colors to tie it all together. Now, the great thing about creating color watches is that you can create as many swatches as you like and then pick which ones that you want to use for your overall thing. Now, I have these two color swatches. My next one is going to be the colors swatch for my foliage. Now, I could go ahead and be making the colors which my flowers, but they are going to be virtually creamy white. So understandably that out and I'm pretty much just going to shatter them in my first color. This first green, I'm using it and it is actually a combination of some greens and some pinks. This is going to be the color I'm using as a base for my main leaves which is going to be my family's. Then I have a more evergreen shade which I'm just about to produce for you now, which is before the leaves of my main flower, more of an evergreen tone, and finally I need a third yellowy version of this evergreen turn for the leaves of my other flowers. This his actually to go along with these white flowers right here, which they are the ones which I'm going to be including in my illustration. As you can see here, I have a color palette all ready for me to go. Now, it might seem like a waste, well, she's used the middle of a piece of paper to set up this color palette. But the great thing about this is I can return to this color palette whenever I feel like it and I can use the rest of this paper and to test out my watercolor color on my brush to make sure that I'm matching those tones. It's really great to have. I'm just a cheaper set of watercolor paper that you can use to do this. Go ahead and create your watercolor and color palette, and that can go into our references for creating our illustration. As you guys have seen, I had made my color swatches. I hope you have to just take a photo of them and leave them down your projects. It's really important that you keep all of this information together, especially if you have to drug or predict and go away and come back and will all be there for you. I'll really love to see your progress. Now, we have all them together. We're going on to the exciting step in the next stage. See you in the next video. 5. Bouquet Structure: Now we have all our research elements finally done. We have our flowers, we have our foliage, we have our color. Now at this point, I'd recommend just going away and doodling your flowers and get an understanding of what you are drawing. This is a very internal process and you can go away and do it right now if you feel like pause the video and then come back. But if you feel confident enough to go ahead and start working on our illustrations, let's get into this video. In this video, we're going to be discussing the structure of bouquet. For a bouquet, there's generally three shape structures that we can work with. There is the circle, the triangle, and the arch. We are going to be focusing on the circle, so let's get our pen to paper and let me show you what it means when it comes to creating a structured bouquet. Focusing on the circle and the flowers that may have picked, we are going to figure out our design camp. Now the first thing I want you to do is to just draw your shape as I said, that could be a circle, a triangle or an arch. Now, just up on screen now I'm just going to show you quick examples of the three. That was the circle, triangle and arch. These can be used in a variety of ways. You can be able to actually physically see the shape like you see in a lot of modern art or you can just use it as a base to fill from. Now we have our circle. The first thing I want to do is pick where I'm going to stick my main flower. For this one, I want it to be a nice camellia I think it is and that's going around flower, but I want to have it focused here at the edge of my bouquet. I always find that doing it off center is much more appealing, so no matter where you put it, just don't put it smack bang in the center. I'm going to have my camellia going camp. Another thing to think about is a grouping in threes is always feels more natural if I dye and a lot of flowers larch will do this, so we're going to also include smaller flowers here and bud here. Now, as I'm working with this, I'll probably fit in a few prominent leaves coming out of this design, but I want to fill in where all my flowers are going to go. I'll have three types of flowers, this is my main one. Now I want to do a high of my secondary type of flower, which I think is going to match this one here, I think that would look quite effective. With this secondary flower, it is also going to be patterned up with a bud and then we're going to have a third set as we are following that rule of three and we're going to have a third flower here. Now I've picked four of my third flower, a smaller solid flower and I'm just going to have three bunch together here. Now I have my three key areas of my bouquet. I am going to start fleshing out my flowers and figuring out where I want to add in my fill of flowers, which are just going to be a little singular flowers. I might have one here, i might have a couple small ones over here just to fill it out but I'm just going to get started in illustrating my art draw. When illustrating my flowers, I always start at, where the center of my flower will be and I'll work my way up from there and you'll see that as I work through these next few flowers. Now I have my three key sections of my bouquet. What I want to do next is go and fill this out with my chosen foliage. What you have to remember too is that you have to connect the foliage of the correct flower with the correct leaf, you want to make sure that you include the specific leaf to flower in this design as well as adding in your extra foliage. I'm going to go through and add in some of the foliage which I want. I really like the syllabary gone leaf and I'm going to go through and add more of these small flowers and maybe a couple of buds just to flesh out this area but I wanted to first wake up my three key areas, so I have a trail for my viewer to see, and I have highlights in my bouquet. Now come along with me and just fill out the rest of your bouquet. As you can see now, I've taken the sun away, I have setup for my bouquet within the circular perimeters. Now as you can see, it's a bit messy, pretty much just being placing out where I want all my flowers to go. It's a very organic process which obviously goes ahead with it being an organic material of flowers out. Now we have this initial sketch, and we can move on to our next stage, which we'll be refining this design and putting it onto watercolor paper. I'm excited for you to join me in this next video. I hope you guys had fun exploring the structure of a bouquet and have something really interesting start working with. Please leave your sketches down in your projects and we'll get on to the next video. 6. Transferring your design: In the last video we went in, we drew out our bouquet and [inaudible] the flowers which we had picked. I actually have some physical specimens which I've been working on, which are really great. Now, we can't really do any watercolor off this. I just use standard sketch paper. It's pretty floppy. It's a bit of a messy sketch. To watercolor with this wouldn't be the best idea. This is why I did on the sketch paper. Now I have all my ideas laid up. I can then come and trace it onto my waterfall paper so I can have a neat, really liked sketch to work off on my watercolor paper. Now the issue I have right now is what are called paper is thick, especially the good stuff. I can't see my illustration underneath. This is where it would be really handy if you have a light box. I don't have a light box there. What I normally do is use a window or I have developed a cheating method if it is, as I don't have a lightbox, the window is great, but only if it's a sunny day and it's actually daytime. I do a lot of my illustration work at night. What I have been using is my iPad. In what I simply do with my iPad is I put it on nodes, which is an output, you can get in all iPads. Then I simply just go, up my brightness all the way because nodes is a white screen. Then I turn off all the lights in my house. Put my iPad underneath the illustration show I'm working on and put my piece of paper over the top and then I can see my illustration through my piece of paper. I want you to go ahead and do the same as me and just draw out this illustration. I am just going to snap my fingers and have it all done for you. There you go. We have everything set up on our water color paper. I just wanted to run through, I for this I was using two H pencil, and that is basically because you want to use a harder pencil, not a softer because that way you'll get a lighter, smoother line and the graphite won't be picked up in your water color illustration as you're working as much as it would with a softer graphite. Now I have my illustration all sorted out. We are going to go ahead and go to the next video and add in a base color to bring it all together. 7. The Wash: We have our bouquet set up here and you might just want to go in and start adding in the colors of all your flowers, but I don't recommend you doing this. I have a little cheat step that we're going to use right now, which is going to help your bouquet to tie all your flowers in together and make it really beautiful and easy for you to create that perfect bouquet. What we're going to do is to make sure that all our colors are matching. I'm going to put down a wash to cover all the area which we are going to be painting. My wash is going to be in a pink brown and tone. This is basically because all of my underlying tones that I've used, a pink and brown base for even for my greens. I want this to be a really subtle wash. As you can see here, I'm just mixing my colors here. I'm just making a really diluted version of the overall color scheme of my flowers. A good example is if you're doing a rich purple tone to really do a really soft blue base because that will help tie all your greens and purples together. If you're doing a really autumn tone, an orange base will be great. If you're doing a vibrant evergreen garden, then do a really subtle green base. When I'm talking about a wash, it is a very weak color. You might not even be able to pick this up on camera. I'm just going in and I am just quickly putting a wash over all of my image in a subtle pink shade for my colors. I would recommend for you to do this too. It makes a huge difference because this underlying tone starts popping out in your colors and it ties everything together a lot. I'm going to quickly move ahead and get this done for you and then show you what the wash looks like in the end. There you see, I have set down here a wash view. With this wash, I just want to remind you that you need to let it completely dry before you start doing any further layers on your watercolor because you don't want that when you're doing details for them to run. As I said before, one of my flowers here is actually white. The beauty of doing a really whitewash means that they're not just going to be boring paperwork. They're just going to have a little bit of a tone which brings them more into the alteration. So even if you had a lot of white flowers, I highly recommend just doing a super light wash over your entire illustration. This is where we're up to, so go ahead and have a cup of tea, a break, and comeback when your page is completely dry and we will get started with the next part of our illustration. 8. Colour Blocking: Now my watch has officially dried. I get to start drilling and the fun and creative part. I'm going to go through now and I'm going to look in my colors. When I'm looking at my colors, I personally like adding an intention, turning there too. But basically we're going go through each individual piece we're just going to give that is base color. Now I want to emphasize before I start doing this, that we're going to do this lightly because the best way to do watercolors, to build it up in layers. Don't try and get that perfect bright color. Straight away. We just want to slowly build out the cause which coming through. I'm going to set up with migraines and work my way through my flowers. I'm going to speak as [inaudible]. So let's get started. As you guys can see, I blocked in most of my colors. I have very, very good at Green Surat and I've just blocked in the pings of the flowers which have grown to be the most vibrant I've lived. My other clouds, which are grown to be quite subtle colors, blank for now. The reason is, that in the next video I'm going to be showing you as I lay my progress with these lighter flowers, how I actually leave just the base color as the wash of that flower and then build up turns in shadows slowly throughout that flower really going into the crevices rather than doing another whole wash of color. Basically what you have [inaudible] is these are going to be the lightest turn shown throughout your entire watercolor piece. Then we can stop picking up in bringing details that will show the docker and docker trends that are going to be what I call a illustration. I really can't wait to see how your images with its color wash. Don't worry if it looks messy, mine looks completely messy right now. But we're not up to the detail part of the illustration. We've just been going through with a wash brush. From now on, we'll be going through with the more detail brush in, bringing in that refinement which you see in before watercolor per case. Leave your project down below and then get on to the next lesson. 9. Layering is Key: We're starting to get there. We have all our colors blocked out in this bouquet. So now what I want to do is to start adding in slowly layers for our watercolor illustration. Watercolor illustrations can go anything from three layers to 10 layers and more depending on how detailed you want it to be, how rich you want your color to be and all that stuff. I'm probably just going to do this in 2-3 more layers on this picture. I just wanted to give this as an example of what you can make and 10 layers is a very long time for you guys to be watching me painting and not doing your own amazing paintings. What I'm going to do now is to lay down my first layer and then I'll be getting back to you. As you can see here, we've really added a bit more tone and depth to what we had originally when we just had our cover washes. A few tips that I wanted to go through once we have gotten to this stage. The first one is to do your washes lightly and so they bring more and more color into it, otherwise you can end up with something like this length over here, where there has been too much water and color saturation and it has just gone horrible, which I was doing as an example for you. So that isn't really going to have the effect as the other leaves across here. Another thing that I wanted to show you is to work your color from the crevices. So wherever there's a shadow or anything, you want to work your color from there and so they did that into lighter areas to give it a bit more depth and body. Your illustration is still not going to look anywhere near complete at this stage, it is still going to look quite messy and like an idea slowly coming to life. That's how this illustration is going to come to life. I'm going to let this layer dry and then I'm going to put on another layer adding a little more detail and depth as I go. You will start to see the transformation of this watercolor illustration and how watercolors slowly bring in and becomes more detailed as you go. That is how you make a beautiful organic-looking watercolor bouquet. Another quick tip that I wanted to share with you is that you can see how my greens are starting to get a bit better. There's a bit more brown and green and everything coming in here. The way that that works is that every time you lay out colors in watercolor and you can change the overall color over it all. An example here. I added a pink over my green, which gives it a vibrancy. Here is a mix of pinion green and it's more of a mud color. So you want to lay your colors rather than mix them prior to putting them on to keep that vibrancy of each individual pigment and color. You then go through and you can make your colors stronger and stronger as you layer them. You can change the colors. For instance, if I didn't want this yellowy green, I could then start layering over green with some blues or some of my more evergreen colors and I can completely shift the color tone in my watercolor as I go on. I can pick up bold pigments with the plain water and I can add fresh pigments on there and really work and shape the colors of my illustration as I go. So I'll get back to you once this next layer has been put on to our watercolor. Our illustration is definitely coming together a bit more. There are a lot more depth going on here. After we've done our second code of watercolor, I've gone on and added the stamen of these little flowers. I've really tried to irrigate and add a bit of levels and depth in with our forward here. As you can see, I've been using stronger pigment and in deeper in the shadows of this illustration. It really started to bring out those pinks throughout the illustration, including in the flowers and on the tips of the leaves. What we're going to do is we're going to let this layer settle, and then I'm going to go through it and do one final layer of this watercolor before I go in and start adding details. So we'll do one more layer in this video and then I'll show you where we're up to. As you can see here, I have done the third layer. What's interesting about this layer is that it was actually all done in blue, which isn't one of our set colors. The reason that is done in this is because I needed a shadow color. I wanted to really work in that three-dimensionality. Blue was a contrasting color to everything that I had, especially as I used a yellow-pink tone as my masking tone, that meant that my light colors were more yellow toned, and the opposite to yellow is blue. That's normally how we work our shadows. An example. If I had an even stronger red tone, I would have greener shadows. So you can work like that, especially if you use a color wheel to work out those shadows, but blues and purples are pretty standard for your shadow colors. This is just three layers, I could probably go and do 12 layers on this illustration, if I'm perfectly honest, but I really want to move forward the process for you. So that is basically the process which you are going to do it and repeat as many times as you like. Just working depth into an image slowly through light watercolor layers. Don't forget, you want to always work in the crevices going from your darkest layer and painting outwards and building up your levels. You always work from a light to shadow in watercolor illustration and you can layer your colors to get that perfect color for you. I can't wait to see what you come up with when you get to this stage in your illustration. Whether you do three layers or 10 layers in your watercolor, let me know and then we'll get to the next stage which is detailing. 10. Bringing out the Details: At this point and we have all the colors there but still there's not really much refinement in our illustration. There's two ways to go about it. We can go in and work with a really fine brush. I'm really bring things up or we can do my preferred method which is going in and with a selection of watercolor pencils which we can pick up and refine all of our details. I'm going to go through and I am going to refine this house of one of the flowers here a while it's recorded for you. Then quickly we're onto the rest of it and show you what our finished product could look like. You can see the real big difference that's made just working in the watercolor pencil and really defining all of those deep shadows. I like to use something which is always a warmer tone when I'm using my yellows and always a cool tone when I'm using my blues. I'm going to go and quickly finish off this illustration with the watercolor pencil. We noticed too that I went through the watercolor pencils. Then I'll go through and I'll use my brush with a bit of water and deepen the color of the watercolor pencils set it. The great thing is that I can work that color into my illustrations and I can remove it using the water as well. That's why I like to use watercolor pencils over using just a standard pencil. That can really work it into these illustrations. I'll have this done here in eight seconds, so there you go now you can see what it looks like once we've added in all the detail without water color pencil and then worked that in with the water. Now, I used a variation of pencils, I used blacks, pinks, greens, blues just to really bring out all the colors that we have been working with. I'm really excited to see what you've done with your water color illustrations and I can't wait to see you post them in the projects. If you want a more detailed look at this illustration other water color bouquets that I've done, you can go check out my social medias and especially my Instagram, which is at Cara.ord.create. That way if you have any questions you can have there to my Instagram or come to me directly here on Skillshare and I'll be able to help you out. I can't wait to see all of your works and I will see you in the next video. 11. Show your Work: I really hope that you guys have enjoyed this short video series. I hope that I have helped you, not only with your floral illustrations and bouquets, but with all your water color illustrations with these techniques and tips that I have given you throughout these videos. I will be so exited to see the progress that you have made, so if you have built anything for your projects for this class, please leave them down in your project so I can take a look. This will really help me being able to teach you and give you one on one feedback that will help you improve your art. Also, if you are making these Illustrations regularly, I'd love if you leave your social media or Instagram or wherever you're posting these illustrations down in discussion so I can take a look at your beautiful work. I'm so excited that you guys participated in this class with me. If you want more illustration classes, I have plenty on offer here on SkillShare. I have a lot of portrait classes as well for those who are interested. But for now, I just want to wish you all luck and I will see you in another month with a new class.