Developing Your Own Illustration Style Using Mixed Media | Natalia Vazquez | Skillshare

Playback Speed

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

Developing Your Own Illustration Style Using Mixed Media

teacher avatar Natalia Vazquez, Graphic Designer and Illustrator

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

7 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Color

    • 5. Language

    • 6. Composition

    • 7. Conclusion

  • --
  • 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

My name is Natalia and I’m a graphic designer and illustrator based in Barcelona. I work as a graphic designer full time in a studio and I have been specializing in illustration for the last 5 years. I’m passionate about color and I’m addicted to making art! 

In this class, you will learn my process and best practices for creating your own illustration style, We will go through the basics of materials, color, language, and composition. Along the way, I'll give you some tips to help make your art unique. I will also show you how different artists use techniques and materials in their style such as textures, colors, and line art. 

By the end of this class, you are going to able able to experiment, have fun and discover your own style. This is a process that you can’t rush and you'll need lots of love and patience

If you are an experienced illustrator, or you are just starting in the world of art, this class is going to help you refresh some concepts, and it will motivate you to illustrate your own way!

I will be showing you different types of materials and techniques, but you can work with the materials that you prefer whether that's digital, watercolors, acrylic, paper, wood, etc.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Natalia Vazquez

Graphic Designer and Illustrator


Hello, I'm Natalia Vazquez, a Graphic designer and Illustrator based in Barcelona. I have been working on my illustration for the last 6 years and I have been lucky enough to be able to earn a living of my passion for illustration and design. 



My daily work consists of illustration, branding, motion design, portrait painting and design for publicity and marketing campaigns. 


Working for a graphic design studio that is also a printer shop has helped me understand the whole process of the design and illustration, and has been keeping me versatile to be able to work with the different types of clients while illustrating has helped me find my personal style. The contrast of work is great to understand what makes someone's art... 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. Introduction: Hello, everyone. My name is Natalia and I'm a graphic designer and illustrator based in Barcelona. I have been working for the last five years to develop my style, and I think I'm at a point where my style is unique and recognizable enough. In this class, I'm going to teach you some tips and tricks to develop your own style. We're going to work through four concepts, which are going to be materials, color, language, and composition. For those four concepts, I'm going to be showing you how different artists use these techniques to make their style unique, and also how I use it to help me create my style. We're going to work on a final project, which is going to be a landscape, and we're going to work on in through the four classes. Working on the composition that I'm working, all of those little things. I think that either if you are new or you're someone that has been illustrating for a while. It is going to be good for you to refresh your style and guide a little bit better what you like. I cannot wait to start. I'll see you in the next class. 2. Class Project: For the class project, we're going to be working on landscape, and we're going to working through the four classes that I am going to teach on materials, language, color, and composition. This is a really free project, you don't have to do it in a certain material, with certain tools or in a certain way, just has to be a landscape. We're going to go through it through the class, so don't worry. It just consists in getting your style out there and really experimenting. I cannot wait to see what you create, I hope you upload it in the gallery when you finish, so let's get to the class. 3. Materials: [MUSIC] In this class, we're going to talk about material, and I'm going to be explaining a bit how you can work with your materials. I'm going to put some examples of artists that I think that really work well with their materials and tools and made them part of their style. I think to start this project is like you would start any project and the first thing you have to do is gathering materials. I would recommend you to do whatever you prefer. If you're comfortable with watercolors, use watercolors. If you're comfortable with pencils, use pencils. Don't try to use something that you have never used before because it may not work right now. Moving forward on when your style is a bit more developed, you can use something that is more different or something that you have never used before. In my experience, when I started I wanted to use everything and I wanted to try everything and my mind was all over the place. What really helped me was limiting myself to one tool, which was the iPad. As you're going to see forward on most of my style and most of my things are going to made by iPad. This is what I found out that works for me. I hope you can find whatever works for you. I'm going to be showing you two artists from this time that I think maybe their style, it's not made by other materials and tools, but it really influences how you see their art. So the first one is Ten Hundred. He works with acrylic and murals. His pieces are really vibrant and gives you these street art style that you cannot get using crayons or pencils. So it's really important that he uses these materials. I also have another girl she's front art she lives right now in New York. She uses wash and pencils and digital but in this one you can really see how when she uses digital, she tries to emulate the pencil and the wash style. Her art has the same vibe and the same feeling as when it's made traditionally in a piece of paper. I think those two artists, it's important to see it when you compare them one next to each other, like the materials and really give them a vibe and feeling that if you swap them around it, it wouldn't work. I'm going to be showing you two artists that are classics and they are icons of art and you probably know them but you're going to see how the materials really influence their style. The first one is Underwall Holly (phonetic). He was an artist that works with screen printing. When you screen print, you have the limitations of the layers of the colors and he really made that part of his style and his signature is really important and really special for him. You have another artist that was a beautiful rival with Underwall Holly (phonetic) he was from the same time and it's Jackson Pollock. He used dripping technique an ancient technique where he puts the paint in a bucket and makes a hole. So he builds the paint with the whole. In this case, you can see that its not the colors, is not the composition. What's important in his style is the dripping technique. It's what he used, which materials he used, and which tools he used. As you can see, that made his style. He didn't need only anything else, he was just that. Seeing these artists, it's important to know which materials you want to use and what you want to be identified with. [MUSIC] I'm going to start working on the class project, which is going to be making a landscape. We're going to start by finding the material that we want to work with. I'm going to be working with the iPad because it's the material that I use the most and I feel most comfortable but you can feel free to use a sketchbook or Canvas or whatever you feel more comfortable and type along with me. I'm going to be explaining a bit of this material and how I make it my own and how I get comfortable with it. Normally what I do first is I would play a bit with the brushes. You can do the same in your house. If you're painting with paint, you can try the different brushes there are and get a bit of a feel of how they work on the paper, how smooth they are, or how the paint works with it. You can do the same with the paint. For example, you can try the different paints that you have, see which one feels comfortable in the paper, if you prefer acrylics or whatever color or wash, and just get a bit of a feel of how it would be just doodle and draw a little frog for example. Just feel comfortable with it. Get acquainted to the material. Take whatever you feel comfortable, and let's get to the next class. 4. Color: Now that we have materials, we're going to start choosing our colors. It's really important to choose the right colors, because it will give a really different feeling to the painting. I'm going to start explaining a bit of my experience, then I'm going to give you a bit of theory behind colors and combinations and all of that. When I started using color, the problem that I had is the same with materials. I was young and I wanted to experiment and I wanted to try all the possible colors and all the combinations and everything. I was all over the place my colors didn't work. I do not know how to combine them, so they look good. What I did was limit my colors to three. I used Red, Blue, and Yellow, which are the primary colors. That really skyrocketed my style. That really helped me. I decided that when I went to digital,I decided to create a palette of my own, and I'm going to be teaching you how to create it. I would love for you to post your palette and your thoughts on your colors, so we can share all the experience and our choices. To create your Palette, what I would do, I use two techniques. The first one was checking artists that I like and businesses so far that I love and choosing the colors from their painting, so I could take some of the colors that I liked the most and then I used Pinterest and I searched color palette, and I checked the color palette I like the most. These are all the colors that I like and that inspire me. I save them. I take a screenshot if I need them and I put them on procreate. In my case, I put those techniques together. I use the colors that I like from paintings and the ones that I like from Pinterest. I made my own. That I'm going to show here. It's really funny because for me those colors are mine now and they feel good. I know when to use them and with what to use them. It feels really mine and good, and I feel comfortable with them, but that doesn't mean that I keep updating them. I put the purple when it was color of the year. I keep changing colors as I go and as I evolve. Yeah, I really want you to post your palette and I want to see what you do. I'm going to show you that theory behind color a little bit,so you have an idea of how to choose your colors and how they work together. We're going to start explaining the color wheel. The color wheel is a wheel with the whole spectrum of color. This is a really simplified one. You can see the terms that I'm going to explain. We're going to start with color combinations, which is a bit how the colors are created. We start with the primary colors, which are red, blue and yellow. They are colors that cannot be created by mixing any other colors, there will be like prime numbers. They are colors that cannot be created by mixing other ones. Then you have the secondary colors, which are the ones that are made mixing the primary. If you have red and blue and you mix them, they will make purple. That would be a secondary color. Then you have the tertiary colors, which are the ones that are made by mixing the other two, as you can see, you create different colors by mixing different combinations of colors. This is quite basic. This is what you would learn in school when you paint. But it's really good to have a bit of theory behind it. Then, we would go to Color Schemes, which is the selection of colors based on different things of the color wheel. I'm going to explain to you two color schemes which are Analogous and Complimentary. There's a lot more, but we're going to start with the basic ones. The Analogous is one that are next to each other in the color wheel and the Complimentary are the ones that are in opposite sides. I'm going to be showing you two paintings, one made with Analogous and one made with Complementary and you can see how the style and the filling of the painting changes, depending on which scheme you use. [MUSIC] Another thing that it's important is the tint and tone of the color. The tint is how much white you put, if you put a lot, it will be Pastels. The tone is how much black you put. It will be darker and it would have a bit of a darker feeling. It's good to know these four lights and shadows. For this drawing what I'm going to use is the colors that I like the most, is going to be a monochrome drawing. It's going to be made out of this pink, this one and this one. I wanted to challenge myself in this drawing. I didn't want to use a lot of colors and I wanted to keep it simple. You can see that sometimes limiting yourself makes it work, it makes it look better that if you choose a lot of colors. I used to keep it, I decided to keep it monochrome with pink shade, which is weird for landscape. But it's my style I like to paint nature in pink. These are going to be the colors that I am going to use. You can use the colors that you like and I do recommend you too get yourself comfortable with the paints that you're going to use, or the pencil. If you're going to use paint, I would do some swatches and and see how they look once they dry and how to combine them. If you're using crayons, I would also recommend you to do a bit of a swatch and decide where you're going to use the same with pencils, pens, or wherever you decide to use. It's good to get yourself comfortable with the color and with what you are going to be using in the painting and how they're going to react in between each other. After this, I think you're ready to create your own palette and we can go to the next class, which is going to be language. 5. Language: Language. Language and illustration is like language when you speak, you need to have your own way of doing it and your own vocabulary and pronunciation. It's how you communicate your illustration and your feelings to the viewer. It's really important and I'm going to teach you how to do it so it doesn't feel overwhelming. It's way easier than you think and it's something that will come naturally with time. I'm going to start by explaining an example of an artist that I think that made something really special with language in the way he communicated and then I'm going to give you some tips and we're going to work on the three objects that we're going to put in our landscape, which are going to be trees, mountains, and house. To start, I'm going to start explaining Miro. He's a Catalan painter and he's really famous. I suppose you know him. If you don't know him, he was amazing and I'm going to be showing you a bit of his language. He used to use certain things. He started in realistic like most of the painters and then he went to a surrealist style where he used really simple lines, and colors, and shapes to be able to express something. For example, he would put all the girls with their arms up and all the boys with the arms down. He would do stars like the image you are seeing, and he would use staircase as a symbol of evasion. He would have a lot more of like symbols and things, but this was the most common ones. He will also do like vaginas in girls and penis in boys, but the themes of the arms down and up is something that really stuck because it's something curious. You may not think about it, but it was his way of expressing it. As you can see, it's really important to have a language to be able to express certain things. It doesn't have to be as surrealistic as Miro, it can be a normal tree, it can be a leaf, it can be whatever you want, and it can be in the way that you want. But it has to be like a way for you to speak to a viewer. I'm going to be teaching you on how to get your own language and how to get comfortable creating things that have your way of expressing them. Sometimes when I have to draw something that I've never drawn, I found out the other day I had to draw a deer and I've never drawn a deer, so I didn't know how to do it. First, I go to Pinterest and I search for the animal that I'm looking for. First I search for normal images of deer in this case, then I search for other people illustrating deer and I saved the ones that I liked the best. What I did was, I put all those paintings in like a mood board and then I drew the deer for like 20 times until it felt comfortable changing and picking little things that I think that didn't feel like myself, and at the end I got a deer and I got something that felt natural to me. We're going to do the same with the three objects that we're going to use, the tree, the mountain, and the house. We're going to start with trees. You're going to choose on Pinterest, Instagram, Google, whatever, the ones that you like and how it feels natural, and then you're going to draw it until it feels like yourself, and you're going to do the same for mountain and house. I really want to see what you do and I want you to post it so we can share it and I can give you some ideas on how to do it. I'm also going to show you how I did it. I'm going to show you a tree, a house, and a mountain in my style, and I'm going to put next to it a style that is really different from mine. For example, the studio Ghibli style, that is really stick in an anime style. Here you have the tree, the house, and the mountains. Now that we have the colors what I'm going to be showing you is a bit how I we'll do my elements and how I'm going to draw them. We're going to start with the tree. To draw the tree, I would draw a shape, normally a really simple shape and I will color it in, and then I would add branches with the darkest one. Why I like to do so the branches don't look here like they are in nowhere, I like to add a bush a little one here and add some like spots that look like they would be plants. This is my tree, it's quite simple, I don't like to do it super complicated. The house, as with the other things, I tend to do a drawing that it's quite childish, but I like it, it keeps a bit of naiveness to my drawings. This is how I draw house. Again, this is a simple version, normally I would add some things depending on how I feel it looks in the painting. I can add some more windows or I can do it a little bit bigger, and the roof I like to keep in bright red. I like to add little dots on things, then it gives it a bit of texture and life, I think if it were breaks or stone or something. Then here, I will also like to add some bushes. I'm going to use a color that it's not the dark red like I use in the trees, let it be clearer. Also it's something to have into account that the colors, depending on where they are in the Canvas, they will look different. If they are closer, they will look a bit darker or if they are far away. This will be my house and then for the mountain, I will choose this middle color, and then I will draw like this. My mountains are really inspired on Mario and how they were so simple and so cute at the same time, so I normally do a long thing. As itself, it may not look too much of a mountain but when you put it in the landscape next to everything, it looks really good, and it keeps the same language, it's really simple. My colors are really plain. They don't have much texture and they are not complicated, so they work together really well. This is really important because if I was to do a really realistic tree, it wouldn't work with the rest of my painting. With that if you have more or less clear, I wanted to work on this and find your own voice and way of doing it. We're going to go to the last class, which is going to be composition. 6. Composition: Now we have materials, color and language. We're going to work on composition, which is the last part. it's how you put those elements in the piece. We're going to work on the concept of focus. It's really important to know what do you want the viewer to focus on? If you want the viewer to look at the house or the mountains or the trees, it's really important to have that clear and make a clear decision about it. To be able to focus on something, you have to have in account two concepts, which are unity and buttons. Unity is the fact that everything has to be cohesive. Everything that you draw has to feel like unity, and in color language, everything has to build the same. There are certain exceptions we want to make the decision of making the house realistic while the background is a bit more simple. You can do that, but it has to be conscious. It cannot be like, I wanted to draw one of the trees in a bit more simplistic way because I got tired. That cannot be. It has to be conscious. It is really important because if not, it will feel a bit busy. You don't know where to focus and it can be a bit weird. Then we have the other concept which is balance. Balance is like having a scale, it's how you procure elements. If you product with him on the left, maybe the right feels a bit weird. It's also a conscious decision. If we put everything on the left, the right have a bit of air. So the depending white can feel good. If I look here, if there's space here, that feels perfect because that gives it a bit of air and a bit of movement to the piece. But if you put everything on the top and there is no space in the air, literally in the landscape then it can feel a bit asphyxiated and a bit weird. I'm going to be showing you the examples of pretty lean in different places. So left, right, top, and bottom. So you can say a beat how they feel. It really depends on what you want to express. If you want to express a landscape that is asphyxiated it's okay, if you don't give that air. If you want to feel like a landscape that is really calm and really relaxing, it's really important to give it that space and that breathing space to be able to breathe and relax. In this case, what's really important is to have in account unity and balance, everything has to feel like one thing. But it also has to be balanced and well pretty in the piece. Now that we have the language, the colors, and everything decided, we're going to work on composition. What I want to do, is I'm going to show you really rough sketches. You can see how I can not do a straight line. We can do a landscape where this is the ground. Sometimes these steps are not necessary to do them on a paper because you actually do them in your mind before doing, before starting the painting, but it's very interesting to get it on a paper and realize how things work together. We can do these where the mountainous here. Again, this is really wrong. There's a mountain, this is where you can also see how the colors would work together and how they would work with the distance and everything. This would be an option, the housing in the middle and two mountains are really symbol. You can also do something where the opposite is always on the horizon is really low and the mountains are really high. But in this case, you can see how the color work. If we wanted to add mountain or in this case maybe some cloud. What if the Earth was a clear color? Which is a pencil with one to one degree or two, to feel what you fill in. This way you can fill in how the composition is going to be and how you want it to work. Yeah, here's what we are really good way to know what you want to do. I'm going to choose this one, although there's really good options and you can play and get a feeling for what you want to achieve and how you want everything to look like in the painting. Now you can get a bit of time, draw this composition sketches. You don't have have to do a detail. It can be like interior like really rough clean of how to do it. With this, we can go to the final painting where we can spend a bit more time and dedicate all of our attention and knowing what we're going to do because we have thought about it before. What you're going to see now is my class project, my landscape. As you're going to see, I keep adding details and moon things to make you feel all together and unique. I hope you like it. Thank you. This is the last part. You just have to bring your elements in your piece however you want and however you feel it feels right. I really cannot wait to see your last piece of your project. That's it, thank you very much. 7. Conclusion: Well, now we have worked on all the concepts that you have to know to be able to get your [inaudible]. You only have one thing that you can do. It needs to be constant. Just work every day. Practice, just give it your 100 percent, and you're going to get to it. Don't worry about it. I think you're really capable, and it's going to be amazing. I really cannot wait to see your projects, so post them, so we can talk about them, and we can share our styles and illustrations. See you.