Fun & Easy Watercolor Cacti | Zaneena Nabeel | Skillshare

Playback Speed

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

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

9 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Welcome to my Class

    • 2. Art Supplies

    • 3. Choosing the Color Combo - Prickly Pear

    • 4. Prickly Pear - Part 1

    • 5. Prickly Pear - Part 2

    • 6. Choosing the Color Combo - Organ Pipe

    • 7. Organ Pipe - Part 1

    • 8. Organ Pipe - Part 2

    • 9. Thank you for Watching

  • --
  • 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

You probably would know the cacti as a spiky green plant that grows in the desert. But do you know they are the cutest to paint too? 

In this class, you will learn to paint some cute little galaxy cacti in two different colour themes.

This class is suitable for beginners with some knowledge on watercolors looking to practice their skills, and even for intermediates looking to up paint a vibrant, simple and stylish cacti. 

I will take you through my painting process, as well as the materials and techniques I use for these paintings. Right from the pencil sketch until finishing the project everything is explained in various steps which makes it easy for everyone to follow.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Zaneena Nabeel



Hey there! Myself Zaneena Nabeel, an architect by profession and an artist by everything. I'm originally from India, currently based in Dubai. I experiments and enjoys all sorts of medium. For me art is a therapy and I find immense happiness playing with colours.

Since early childhood I loved to draw and paint. when I joined for my architecture studies I totally gave up on art as I got so busy with my studies, but the love for art was growing deep inside me. Once I graduated and moved to Dubai I started investing little of time on art. I started visiting art events and talks and realized the endless world of colours waiting for me. Within no time I took my tools and came back in action and started an Instagram page and here I'm :) 

Now I conduct local/... 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. Welcome to my Class: Hello everyone, [inaudible] Zaneena Nabeel the artist behind the Instagram account at or. Today, I'm going to take you through a very fun and easy process of creating a vibrant watercolor cacti. Don't worry if you don't have any prior knowledge in watercolor, right from the pencil sketch, I will be taking you through each and every step needed to create these gorgeous pieces. This class is just about 30 minutes, and in that 30 minutes, favorably painting two vibrant watercolor cacti, with the basic art supplies. The class broken down into various steps where I will be talking about the art supplies, choosing the color combination and the basic watercolor techniques. We will be painting two different types of cacti in different color combination. You can experiment with other type of cacti and come up with a more vibrant color combination and add on to your collection. Then solve the perfect wall to all the core, if you are somebody who likes something funky and vibrant. Are you guys excited to create this vibrant pieces? Okay, without any further ado, let's get started. 2. Art Supplies: In this session, I'm going to talk about all the supplies that you'll need throughout this class. It is absolutely okay if you don't have the exact same material that I'm using, you can go with any of the brand which you have and any shade which is similar. Let's talk about watercolor first. I will be using various shades from the brand Sannelier, Arteza and White Nights. I'll be talking about the color in detail while we move on to the painting session [MUSIC]. Next under the watercolor paper, I'm going use my arches rough paper for just 300 gram per meter square and one 140 lb. This is a 100 percent cotton watercolor paper. You can go with any of the brand which has a minimum of 300 gram per meter square [MUSIC]. Now onto the brush, I will be using just one single brush to finish the entire painting which is my brimstone Heritage round size number 6. That's a closer view of my brush. What I like about this brush is that it comes back to a very nice point which makes it good for detailing. You will need a mixing palette to mix in all your colors. I will be using these to ceramic palette [MUSIC]. You will need two jars of water, one has to stay clean and the other one is to wash off the pain from your brush [MUSIC]. To create the details, I will be using unique postcard marker, which is white in color and also my Sakura Gelly Roll, size number 10. It is absolutely okay if you don't have a white gel pen or a marker, you can use your detailing brush size number 0 or 1, you just need to have a white watercolor or a white Gouache paint. Last but not the least, you'll also need a pencil, a masking tape, an eraser and a paper towel. That summarize all the materials that you'll require in this class. Grab all the materials and join me in my next video. 3. Choosing the Color Combo - Prickly Pear: Let's now have a look at the color combination that we will be using for our first cacti. This one is going to be greenish combination and those are the colors that I'll be using for this one. That is, tailored turquoise, tailored green, and light green. Don't stress out if you don't have the exact shade that I'm using here. You can go with any dark green, medium green, and any light green. The brand and the shade really doesn't matter. Now let's batch up the colors. This one here is still water, guys. As I mentioned, you can go with any of the darker shade you have. If you don't have a tailored turquoise, you can mix in any darker blue, to the green that you are using. That's the shade. Now, I'm going to swatch out the pillow green. So as I mentioned earlier, you can go with any of the green you have. Now, I am going with this light green, this is light green from ARTEZA. That's the combination will be using for our first cacti exercise. Now I'm going to quickly draw a cacti with this combination we have chosen here, and after that, we have to choose a background color for this particular combination. Alright, so that's a rough profile of a prickly pear. Now, the background color I have chosen for this combination is light orange-yellow, so it is a light, orange shade. I'm mixing that in my palette. This is the shade for our background. I'll apply a little over the background to see the complete combination. You don't need to stick to the background color that I'm using here. Let to your creativity flow and choose your favorite shade for the background. Alright, so that's the combination for our prickly pear. 4. Prickly Pear - Part 1: All right, onto our first project. First, I am going to mask the entire four sides of my paper. The one I am using here is a normal masking tape, which I got from the supermarket. Then you apply the masking tape round your fingers three or four times around it to make sure they are firmly fixed. If there is gaps in between the water can seeping through and can spoil your painting. So my paper has firmly fixed onto the base. Now, I'm going to start with the pencil sketch. The type of cacti we are drawing is called prickly pure. It is a very widely theme type of a cacti. You can either follow the same profile that I'm drawing or you can take a Google picture as your reference and replicate that. So let me quickly finish this pencil sketch. Our sketch is ready, now I am going to fill the background of our cacti in an orange sheet. If you have a liquid water color, you can directly go in with that. I'm using this slight orange sheet from Arteza instead of the Ecoline because I thought I'll go with the majority. I am taking generous amount of this light orange shade in my pallet. Take enough amount of paint so that you don't need to mix it later because we need to paint the entire background of our cacti. Also it is up to you, you can choose your favorite background color. It doesn't necessarily need to be the same shade that I am using. You can either go with blue or yellow or light green, or any vibrant shade of your choice. I'm applying the color directly onto my dry paper, make generous amount of paint and fill in the background. I am using my Princeton heritage size number six, round brush. As I mentioned earlier, because this brush comes back to a very nice point which makes it easy to fill the paint in smaller areas. So I don't need to change my brush to fill in the smaller and the larger area. You can change your brush according to your choice. You can use a bigger brush to apply paint on the larger area, and you can change your brush to a smaller one to apply in the smaller corners. Also, it is up to you, you can decide on the brightness of the shade you want for the background. Do a patch test and dilute your color as much as needed to get the decided color of your choice. I allow the brightness of this orange color. I have already made my mind to frame this piece and put up on my wall. We only have a little area left to fill in the orange shade and we are nearly finishing. That's it. We are done applying the orange shade onto the background. Now let's move on with the cacti. For the cacti, I am going with wet and dry. I am not wetting the paper. I'm going to directly apply the wet paint onto the paper. The only thing to keep on mind is you have to decide which side you want to make it dark and light. So I am going to make the right side lighter and the left side darker. So I am going with a darker version of the turquoise for my left side and while I come towards the right, I will make it lighter. If you are not comfortable with wet on dry, you can go with a wet on wet technique. It is absolutely fine. You see these areas where the sprouts starts to come, so those areas needs to be darker. So you can apply your darker shade over that area where the new sprouts are starting. It is not necessary to use the same shades that I am using here. Instead of the turquoise, you can go with any darker blue mixed with a little of green. Instead of yellow green, you can use any of the green which you have, sab greening or Lydian green or any green which you have got. Now, I am adding in teal green and blending that with the teal turquoise , which I applied. Now over this area, we need to make the green bit more lighter. For that, I am using the light green from Arteza. Again, you can go with any of the light green you have. If you do not have a light green, you can add a bit of lemon yellow to your Sap Green or whichever green you have used as your second shade. So that's a light green and I am adding that over this line and blending it with the teal green which I applied earlier. Similarly, I'm going to apply shades to all other sections. Apply the shades in the same order. Your left has to be darker and while you come towards the right make it lighter. So I am going in with my teal turquoise, which is a darker shade and then with the teal green and I will end up this section with the light green. The same here, I am going to quickly apply colors to all the other leaves. So before you begin mixing generous amount of each color that you will be using throughout this project so that you do not need to mix color every now and then. Are you guys enjoying the color combination here? I am literally in love with the orange and the green combo. I think the green is enhancing the orange a lot. Only three more leaves left. We are done adding indigo, green shade to the cacti. 5. Prickly Pear - Part 2: All right. This is where we are at now, we have finished painting the background and finished painting the cactus as well. Our next task is to add the details using these byte marker and gel pen. This is Uni Posca marker, which is white and opaque. This one is used by the lettering artists, and I have seen them creating amazing lettering works using this. The next thing is this Sakura Gelly Roll. I will be using the size number 10 to create these tiny stars on my cacti. Now, using my Posca marker, I'm randomly putting these big white dots on my cacti. If you notice prickly pear, there is actually a pattern for those white dots on it, but then I'm doing it in a very random manner. All right. Those are the bigger stars. Now, I'm going to add in the smaller stars using my gel pen. If you don't have a gel pen and a marker, you can use your brush and white gouache paint or watercolor, adding as much as tiny stars you want. AIl right. Have finished adding the tiny stars, the next step is to add the tones, so I'm going to add the tones only on the outer edges of the cacti, just off the cacti like this. Now repeat the same exercise and fill in all the outer edges with tones. So that's it. We have done adding in the details. Now I'll quickly peel off my masking tape. While you're removing your masking tape, always do it at an angle so that it won't tear your paper off. That's the final product. I'm loving the vibrancy of this piece here, and that's our prickly pear. 6. Choosing the Color Combo - Organ Pipe: On to the second color combination. This is going to be a bluish color combination. I am using the sennelier blue and turquoise by White Nights. If you don't have the shades that I'm using here, you can go with any dark and a light blue. Now, let's quickly scratch out these colors. That is sennelier blue. Instead of this color, you can go with your ultramarine blue or Prussian blue, or any other darker blue which you have got. Wow, look at this shade, it's one of my favorite shade for sky-water and anything and everything. This is turquoise blue by White Nights. That's going to be our second color combination. As I mentioned, go with any dark and a light blue. Our next task is to choose the color for the background. Before that, I'll quickly draw a profile of the organ-pipe cacti. I'm going in with sennelier blue, and now I'm adding in the turquoise. That's a rough profile of the organ-pipe cacti. I'm going to choose the background color for this blue color combination. I'm using lemon yellow as the background shade for this combination. Let's now apply the background sheet and see how the complete color combination's looking. That looks great to me. As I mentioned earlier, you don't need to stick to the color combination that I'm using here, you can be creative and you can choose your favorite color combination and background shade. We have chosen our color combinations for our two different cactis. Now, let's move on to our main project. 7. Organ Pipe - Part 1: All right. I have fixed my paper already. Now I'm going to draw an outline of the organ pipe cacti. That is a type of cacti we are drawing in this particular session. That's an image of the organ-pipe cacti in real life, and it seems it is one of the most not common kind of cacti in the world. My sketch is ready. Now, I am going to fill the entire background in lemon yellow. Mix generous amount of lemon yellow so that you won't run out of the shade while painting the background. You have the absolute freedom to try and choose your favorite color combination. You don't need to stick to what I'm doing here. If you feel like maybe light green goes better than lemon yellow, you can do that. But I would prefer always to try a little test on a small piece of paper and once you are happy with the colors, come back to your main big piece, all dried. I have finished filling in the entire background in lemon yellow. Now the next step is to fill in the cacti. I'm going in with my cerulean blue. Onto my left, I'm applying my cerulean blue and after that, I'm going in with my turquoise blue. Now, wash off the paint from your brush and with pure water, bring the turquoise to a lighter shade. As you progress, keep cleaning the outer lines, make them clean and nice. Similarly, apply colors to all the other pipes. I will quickly finish the rest of it. We are almost done. I have just two more remaining. Okay. We have done adding-in colors to all the pipes. 8. Organ Pipe - Part 2: Now, onto the final step of adding the details to our organ pipe. I'm going to use my white gel pen. You can use your detailing brush and white watercolor or white gouache instead of the gel pen. I'm adding lines like this at regular interval and filling each pipe. There is no rule for the spacing. Whatever spacing looks perfect to you, you can go with that. For the straight big pipes, I'm using a ruler so that it is very easy to draw a straight line. I'm repeating the same exercise and filling the pipe, but like four or five lines. Now, I'm going to quickly fill in all the pipes with white lines. We are done adding the white lines. Now, our next task is to add the white dots in it, so I'm going to randomly apply white dots with my gel pen here and there. There is no order, there is no rule, you can add as much as you want. If you don't want to add, you can stop here as well. You can also add some bigger ones at random spots like this. With that, we are done. I'm going to remove the masking tape now. Such a clean line, and look at that bold yellow background. 9. Thank you for Watching: Hello everyone. I hope you all enjoyed painting these fibrin cacti with me. I really love the color combinations. I love how that yellow and orange background is standing out. I think this goes as a perfect wall decor. I'm very sure by now you will be having a lot of color combinations in your mind which you want to try out. Let your creativity flow and try more vibrant combinations in different type of cacti. I cannot wait to see the vibrant pieces you guys will be creating. Do share them in the project Gallery. I will be back with a more exciting class very soon. Until then, thank you for watching and happy painting.