Discover Your Creative Identity with Cacti & Succulents | Jamie Kim | Skillshare

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Discover Your Creative Identity with Cacti & Succulents

teacher avatar Jamie Kim, Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (42m)
    • 1. Hello!

    • 2. What You'll Need

    • 3. Color 1 : Bunny Cactus

    • 4. Color 2 : Dwarf Cactus

    • 5. Color 3 : Saguaro

    • 6. Color 4 : Blue Saguaro

    • 7. Line

    • 8. Line + Color 1

    • 9. Line + Color 2

    • 10. Project time and ty!

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About This Class

Hi!  Today I want to show you various ways to paint and draw to help you discover your creativity identity with some fun cacti and succulents.  In this class, we’re explore 3 different styles:

1. Color

2. Line

3. Color + Line.

This class is fit for both beginners just starting out and wanting to develop their creative signature/identity and for those who already have a style they’re known for but want to try something new!

So if you're ready...let's dive in!

******** GIVEAWAY: You have a chance to win a 1 YEAR PREMIUM SKILLSHARE SCHOLARSHIP.  Just watch the class by Feb 10th. (Optional to upload a project :D) ********** 


Recommended Supplies (but feel free to use what you like)

Canson XL Cold Press Watercolor Paper

Canson Sketch Paper or Canson Mixed Media Paper

Printer or copy paper

Primamarketing Watercolor (use discount code "inksnthings15%)

Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor

The Pigeonletters Brushes 

Winsor & Newton Cotman Brushes

Muji Pen

The Pigeonletters Monoline Pens

Uniball Eye Micro Pen

White gel pen

White gouache


Paper towel

2 jars of water

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jamie Kim



Hello!  I'm Jamie.  Welcome to my page!  I'm an illustrator inspired endlessly by plants and places.  I enjoy looking to the world around me to fill my sketchbook and taking time daily for a little creativity.  Let's learn, grow, and create together! 


 See more of my work here:




See full profile

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1. Hello!: I Jamie, I'm an illustrator. And today I want to paint and draw with you to help you discover your creative identity with some fun Cat guy and succulents in this class will explore three styles. One is color. Then we'll get lying and then combine the 24 line and color. This is a subject that spit for of the beginner who's just starting out wanting to find their signature. What they're known for are also for the artist who has a style that they've already developed. I want to try something new for the class project. You'll apply the techniques we learned to whatever you like to illustrate. But if you're a fan of Jack Guy, you're gonna have a lot of fun with this one. So if you're ready, let's dive in. 2. What You'll Need: So here's what we need Some paper. This is a sketchbook from cancer and then a cold press £140 also from cancer. Some water color pans. Or you can also try liquid watercolor from premium marketing a paper towel to clean off your brush. A pencil if you'd like the outline, your shapes and some waterproof ink pens. This is a Muji pen. Also have, ah monoline studio from the pigeon letters, and then you nibble. I micro a white gel pen or some whitewash and some brushes. This is a around eight and around, too, and finally, two jars of water, one to clean off your brush and the other one to rinse off color. 3. Color 1 : Bunny Cactus: so the first I'll we want to explore is the use of color and how you apply the color and the amount of detail you want include. So we're gonna start with the bunny cactus and in first painting the body by outlining the shape and then filling it in with color, also leaving a little bit of white space. Now I'm doing one of the arms with, uh, slightly darker color. It will create a nice contrast, and if you're color starts to run like that, I try not to worry about it too much. They usually end up trying really nicely and adding some cool ingredients and color variation. And then, while it's still what I'm grabbing in darker color, and this will create a lot of contrast and give our cactus five volume no chosen to paint in three arms, but you can very and do more or less in certain elements you can really play around with to bring out a different character. For example, you can adjust the size and angle of the arms and see how it creates a different personality and one that matches your style. And remember, you can always adjust while the paint is still wet, and here you can see I am lifting color by drying my brush and then picking up some of that paint. And this comes in handy if we forgot to add a highlight or we accidentally covered them up . And now let's paint our pot. And I've described a black are grayish color, and I'm outlined it and then taking some water to pull out some of the color. And you can see we have some light areas and dark areas, and this also contributes to creating a sense of volume. Now, in the space that we carved out, we can add in our dirt, and I'd like to do this before the pot completely dries. That way we can get some nice color blends. You can paint the dirt to meet up at the body, and if it's still wet, you can let the colors blend or dry your brush off and pick up some of that excess water. You know, try both ways, see which one you prefer. If you like that kind of messy, painterly feel. Or maybe you prefer a more clean look. I don't know, try both and just like we did with the body of a cactus. I'm lifting color in parts of the pot with a dry brush. The last step is to add detail, but we want to make sure that everything is dry and so you can see there's a bit of shine. So let's let this try and then come back for the shadow. I have a little bit of water on my brush, and I'm just running it along the bottom of our pot. So it'll pick up some of that color that we already have and fade as you drag your brush. Now let's move on to some details, and I'm using a smaller brush to drop in a little blue dots, and you don't have to be too precise, the more random, the better and adding white just really something I like to include in my illustrations so you can use a white gel pen and throw in some white dots as well. Now you can call this cactus done, or since a hot is kind of dark, we can add a decorative element. So this year is whitewash, and I'm adding in basic shapes like rectangles, circles and bashes. And just be creative, you know, add your own designs, and that's our bunny cactus 4. Color 2 : Dwarf Cactus: So for this next cactus, we are working in a circular shape and dividing it up into four sections and to the far left, you want a pain, A C shape and then next to it, kind of flatten it out a little bit and follow the curve of the circle, and you can vary the color to make it a little bit more visually interesting. So I made a little bit darker. So those air three sections and the last one, it's just gonna be another C shape. And you can let the colors blend poured set top and have described a yellow to paint the base of a flower. And this is just going to be an upside down triangle. And for the blooms, you can grab any color. I chose red, and I'm outlining a kind of floppy star shape and then reserving the middle of it for a different color, and then you can just repeat it on the other side. And now for the pot. I like to use that dry on what technique? So I'm putting down a pretty strong color, very little water and then outlining the outer edges and I'm rinsing my brush slightly, grabbing some water and spreading the color, pulling it out. So you get that nice, highlighted section and while it's still, but you can go ahead and kind of grab in the dirt, and then you can go ahead and use that same dirt color to fill in. That circle we left in the flower creates a little harmony when you repeat the same colors and then adding a little bit of shadow on one side of the pedal bases. And now, if you want, you can grand the cactus by adding a drop shadow. And to do that, I just went my brush and just touching the bottom part of the pot, dragging out some of that color that's already there. And what's great about exploration and art is you can decide when you're painting is done, so if you want, you can leave it as it is or continue to layer once it's completely dry. Anything. It's also important to remember not to judge a work too early and let things develop. So I'm taking a look at the pot and it looks like there was a little bit too much water, so it dried a little funny, but that's okay. We can just adjust, and I'm doing that by adding another layer of paint and then blending it to make the transition a little bit smoother. Don't worry too much. If it doesn't look like you wanted to look on the first past, you can always find ways to adjust it, or you can just pain another one. Now let's add in some detail work with a white gel pen, and you can use any design. Really, it can match up with the previous cactus that you did or have a completely different game and be in a separate illustration. It's really all up to you. And so, by using a variety of colors and shapes and combining them with detail work, we have a fun, vibrant cactus. 5. Color 3 : Saguaro: Now let's paint the Saguaro. And for this one, it's really all about water ray. Feel in controlling how much is on the brush, and you can get really beautiful Grady INTs by adjusting how much water you use, some being very light with my color and wiping it off in certain areas and then adding back . So overall you'll see that it has a more delicate look, and you can drop in color wherever you choose. But I like to place them usually on the edges and where any connecting pieces are. So where the arm meets the body, and by doing that you're defining different sections, and it doesn't end up looking like one big blob. It's really neat because you can see, especially when it dries all the textures that you can get. It's a combination of the paint, the water in the paper, so hopefully you can start seeing that you've created a lot of that by having some areas appear as if they're in shadow and some areas in light. So you might either really love this style or not. But as you practice it, you'll figure out when it's best to use. If you gravitate more towards that three dimensional kind of realistic, not so flat. Look, this is a great technique teas. And now, for this pot, I decided to go with a lighter color because I wanted to add detail with a slightly darker watercolor rather than relying on a white gel pen and again leaving some space for the dirt that we're gonna paint in. And you can do this while it's still wet or one X try. Actually, she just try both and see which one you like. I kind of like it when the colors blend together, it's, ah, little bit more unpredictable, but also more fun. And now just dragging out the shadow at the base of the pot. We can stay as is, or we can take it another step further. And here I, um, outlining it in a darker green all along the arms and the edges of the body so he really sticks out and then adding curved lines to show the ribs of the cactus. Just another decorative element you can add, and they don't have to be completely straight. Some of the lines will be a little bit thicker, a little bit thinner and then finally adding the little needles. Quick dashes in random spots wherever you like, and a pot is looking a little bare. So grab that same dirt color and adding a little bit of design right on top, making sure that everything is try that way. The colors don't get muddy and the colors are vibrant. So again, this cactus is focused on color but using it in different stages. So we have our base, it starts off kind of light and then gradually building it up with our details. 6. Color 4 : Blue Saguaro: So let's play one more Saguaro. And here I want to show how we can paint basically the same subject, but approach it in a slightly different way. Still using color rather than the conventional green. I've decided for a blue, so it makes it a little bit more whimsical, and I'm still using the dry on what technique? But using a ton of water to kind of push the color around, and it creates again that soft, delicate look. And then you can outline the shape of the arm. Place it wherever you want to place it, and then go ahead and fill it in and you can see this arm. I used a slightly darker blue, and so you get a lot of variation and then a little a piece sticking out at the top, and the word meets the body just stabbing in a touch of color, and you probably noticed I didn't paint it in fully. There are spots where I let the white of the paper shine through, and that really helps to make things pop as well. So try to leave those little gaps. Unlike the previous part that we painted where we started off with a lot of paint, this one. I'm using a ton more off the water, and you can immediately see the difference. It creates a different mood and then just dropping in color here and there, not too much that it creates a puddle. And now, with some dirt color, I'm adding it in touching it ever so slightly to the top of the pot to encourage a little bit of the colors to blend together. And if you like that style, you have to work a little bit quickly. But if you rather wait, you can also do that and pain in the dirt when everything is try. And rather than the typical shadow, you can actually outline the shape of the cactus body and the arms. And that just adds a little bit more character to the illustration, and you can stop there, or you can go ahead and add details. I mean, that's what I enjoy most. That's what my eyes tend to look for when I'm looking at an illustration, and if you really want to be wild, you can add some fund splatters all around, and that's where I just have a little bit of water and paint on my brush and I'm just tapping ap top. Okay, so now let's move on to drawing with flying. 7. Line: The second style we are going to explore is simply using line. All you need is printer paper and an ink pen. So for the 1st 1 we are drawing a succulent and it's got a leaf shape that is arranged in rows. So I like to draw one row and then stagger them as I go higher. And now it can add some texture by adding a few short lines at the tip and at the bottom, and you want to keep them pretty short and just use fast strokes and adding a vertical line that comes out of one of the beads. Then we want to place him inside a pot, and this is just a curved line at the top and then drop it down, move it to the right and then close it another that apart. We can turn this into a pale by adding the handle, and that's just going to be a cylinder. Then you want to just draw to carve lines on either side of the handle that meet up at the top of the pale for the dirt. It's basically mark making. I'm just creating dots and some of my closer together so it looks more concentrated. Some of them are further away. And now let's add a shadow and I'm destroying in an irregular circle and then adding some hatching, which is basically parallel lines place closely together and also adding a shadow on one side of the pill. And then you can touch up some of the tips By making them darker. It'll help things stand out and to finish it off, I like to add little random dots. This kind of represents what we would do with, ah, watercolor splatter. So it kind of makes it a little bit more lively and then a little bit more texture to the pale by adding a few vertical lines. And that's it. And now we're gonna draw a bunny cactus. And to do that, we're just using a rounded shapes, and then we can add some flowers by making is kind of like a heart shape with the an extra bomb. And for the pot, we're just adding a curved line and then the lip, then go slightly inward to draw the rest of the pot, and then you can decorate it. We can use a bit of line variation, too, make him a little bit more interesting. So I grabbed a pen with a thinner nip, and I'm drawing the rib of the cactus by following the shape of our circular arms and body and then adding little exes to represent the spikes. And if you find that you love this style of line drawing, I would highly recommend the pigeon letters, botanical line drawing class. And if you want, we can add a little bit of texture to our pot, and I'm doing that by adding vertical lines in various sizes. And then now let's just add in order and your shadow like we did before. Now you can stop here, or, if you want, you can add a more graphic effect to it by going over it with a thicker pen to create a more pronounced outline. And by adding that simple outline, we've created a doodle effect, and that's that guy or our next drawing. It's the Saguaro, and I like to use a continuous line and placing the arms at different heights and then adding in a around it pot, leaving some space for the dirt. You can just decorate it, however you like, then grabbing a pen with a thinner new and doing light strokes to give it some texture and again him following the curve of the shape and then adding random needles all alone the body. And if you remember when we painted him, we created death by adding a slightly darker green. But since we can't do that, we'll use some hatching, and I've just put it in one of the arms on the side of the main body and then again on the other arm and then just thought in some dirt. And to create some contrast, I'm just adding a little bit of darks in the pot design, and you can add a fun shadow that shows the silhouette of our Saguaro. And he's done. And I also wanted to show you another approach to drawing this cactus. So just by varying the thickness, you already create a different character and then really making things pop by adding in that thick outline. So it's a good idea to try both, see which one you like and what fits with your style. Another way to create that is by using layers. So I'm drawing in random circular shapes, kind of stacking some and talking them behind and then adding another line underneath to make it look three dimensional. And then you can drop in the stock in between, so it'll look like it's some leaves are coming forward and some are in the back and then go ahead and draw in your pot. You can add a lip and then do the any design you want and having your dirt and then for a little bit of texture, um, adding dots to that little space underneath each leaf and then some splatter ducks. So try using the concept of overlap in your illustrations and see how that makes a difference. And that's been a shop with a cute little hanging. Terreri. Um, so I've just drawn in the top and then made an irregular circle and then an opening, and the first plant we can put inside is a succulent with those same leaf shapes that we did before were they are layered and tucked behind, and then just strong, a fun, simple leaf that extends outside of the glass opening and then adding in our dirt. And to further communicate that this is glass, I'm just adding that a little reflection, then finishing off with a small circle inside the top of the handle and a strength. And now it's combined the two styles we've learned with line and color. 8. Line + Color 1: So when we are using line and color, there are two ways to approach it. The first is letting the line be the star of the show, and we're gonna use that technique here. And so I've just drawn in oval shapes for the cactus body. And then I'm adding a pot right underneath and a little bit of belief design and then adding details like we've done before by adding small V's to represent the needles. And so you can see most of the drawing is complete, and we just need to accent a few things. So this is where color comes in, and I'm applying it in a loose way. So not a coloring book style, but kind of going outside the lines and changing the hue of the green to get a little bit of variety, leaving white space where I can too create that highlight as we've done before. And for some things, we can purposely not describe it with ink because we're gonna use color. And this is what we're doing right now with the dirt. And just as we painted the body of the cactus gonna apply that same loose technique to the pot and I've starting with a little bit of blue, keeping mine the white space. And then I'm rinsing my brush and using some of that dirt color to fill in the rest and then dragging out a simple shadow. And to finish it off, we can use some ink splatters. I'm just starting the paper and then on top of that, some water color spiders. So if you like simple ink drawings with watercolor loosely applied, this is a really great technique to try. Now let's draw a variation of a Saguaro, and here I am drawing the body, attaching some arms and for the flower. We're just drawing two lines that are wider at the top, then a U shape and then a squiggly, lying to represent the inner part of our far. And then we can draw him sitting inside a pot. I'm just doing some little exes, and if you were to compare it to the first something, he did this one. I left out a lot of the detail because we can add it back after using color so we can go ahead and start adding the color, and I'm doing it with a light touch leaving small bits of white when I can, and also using a variety of greens. And a lot of the time style can be dependent on the materials you're using. And I found that using mixed media paper, you have to work a little differently than, say, cold press paper. So you just want to apply the color and not fiddle with it too much. So experiment with different types of paper to find something that you like. So after you've painted in your dirt and pot, you can what, your brush slightly and drag out the shadow. And I'm just going back in with yellow to fill in our flowers. And then let's let this dry before we move on to the next step. We can work on details now with watercolor now that everything's try and I'm just using a dark green and drawing in the ribs and to give it more of us sketchy feel. I'm using a pen to loosely outline it, so I'm just retracing and not following perfectly the shape that we originally drew, and this gives it a very sketchy loose feel to it, and then I'm just simply flicking my pen to create the needles along the edges of the arms and parts of the body, thinking thought in some dirt as well to create extra texture and then split it out suit. And if you need to, you can darken up any lines that might have gotten lost with the color. Finally, some quick strokes to bring out the ribs of the cactus. And now let's go try and approach where we're using line and color but placing color as the focus. 9. Line + Color 2: in the previous video, we let lying do most of the talking, but here we're going to let color be in the main focus. So when I'm thinking in terms of color, I want to paint the main part of the illustration with watercolor, and that's gonna be the body of the cactus and then using ink to say the rest. So here I'm just drawing in the pot and then reserving some space so that we can add the dirt in water color so you can actually play around with how you want to use a line and color. You could have easily flipped it and drawn and the cactus and painted the pot instead. So after painting this one, feel free to experiment and see what you like and what fits your style. You could even try a technique or your painting everything in color first and then adding line at the very end. Okay, so I have used about two colors for the pot to create a little variation, and using the color that we initially laid down as a guide, I'm drawing in and kind of suggesting the shape with lines along the different sections and I've placed little dots kind of staggered them and those air where some of our needles will also be placed. So just wispy quick strokes make him really loose. And then you can just thought in the dirt and add a little bit of splatter for effect. And that's it. No quick, real easy. And now let's paint one more that also focuses on color. So go ahead and paint these basic circular shapes and the a little sliver of white space. And I've taken some lighter green as well, and now we can go ahead and grab a pen and draw in our pot, and that I'm using W shapes for the design. But you can choose anything you want, really, and you want to make sure your pen is waterproof. And so here I am, adding in the dirt, and I made it purple, I don't know, and then any color for the pot. It's fine to leave it as it is, but I like using ink over the color that we initially laid down. So again, I'm not following exactly the shape but staying kind of close and then adding those needles with quick emotions in random spots so in this style were really letting the color guide us . And the ink is a nice accompaniment. If that makes sense and to add a little bit of color, that's paint in some flowers. So I've taken a red and just making hash marks, and now I want to show you how adding a simple element with ink can change the whole mood of the illustration. So rather than a simple potted plant, we now have a hanging cactus plant. And if you're a fan of details, you can take a white gel pin and add in some dots. And if it's not showing up to well, I also have some white wash that you can apply with a smaller brush. You can also add some thoughts with a darker green. And so this style we really started off with color and then introduced some line, returned to color and then added a lot of details using both line and color. So this is another fun approach that you could try 10. Project time and ty!: thanks so much for taking a class. And I hope that the things we learned resonated with you. And you can take some of them and incorporate them into your daily artwork. I would love to see what you created. It can be the beginnings of an idea to a full illustration, but just be sure to post them in the Project gallery below. And if you like also to share them on instagram, just use hashtag ing something skill share. And I would like to see them there as well. So thanks again and I'll see you in the next class.