How To Create A Beachy Watercolor Postcard For All Levels | Leah G | Skillshare

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How To Create A Beachy Watercolor Postcard For All Levels

teacher avatar Leah G, Watercolour Artist

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

8 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Intro And Materials

    • 2. Sky Wash #1

    • 3. Sky Wash #2

    • 4. Salty Ocean

    • 5. Palm Silhouettes

    • 6. The Birds

    • 7. Creating the Postcard

    • 8. Thank You!

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

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About This Class

In this class you will learn how to create a beautiful beachy postcard that you can display in your home or send to a friend! Leah will show you some tips and tricks that she's learned over years of experimenting that will take your painting to the next level.


How to paint a smooth double layer gradient wash

How to utilize salt for texture

How to add a focal point with palm tree and bird silhouettes

How to easily turn your paintings into postcards

You'll find these skills will create a great foundation for your painting knowledge and will easily transfer into future paintings.

Check out more of Leah's work here: 

Meet Your Teacher

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Leah G

Watercolour Artist


Hi! I'm a watercolour artist from Calgary, AB. I've always been captivated by this style of art and love how the organic nature of the medium lends itself to the natural world that I draw my inspiration from. My goal is to bring beauty and joy into peoples art with my lessons. Questions? Let's connect!

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1. Intro And Materials: It's for joining me today for my second ever skill share video. My name is Leah and I'll be guiding if you're a really fun watercolor class today, will be creating a beach scene, and we'll be turning it into a postcard. So if you choose, you can send it to someone special in your life. Let's go over what materials will need for class today. You'll need some watercolour papers. So whatever your favorite is, I really like using Arches watercolour paper. I find that it holds the water really evenly and it helps the colors to blend nicely. You'll also need your favorite watercolor palette. I use Winsor Newton, but really anything will work with some blues, some pinks, yellows, oranges, and then we'll need a black and white as well. Grab toothbrushes, one larger brush. I recommend a size 14 ish round brush that works really well for the larger areas of the painting, as well as a size six round brush or anything that comes to a really fine point. So we can put in those detailed lines. You'll also need some painters, tape, scissors, a black ink pen with a ruler, a pencil, and an eraser will need a cup of water, a rag, or you can use a paper towel just for soaking up any excess water. And then of course, a mixing surface for your paints. You can use a white plate or you can use a pilot if you happen to have one of those, will also be experimenting with a salt techniques. So grab some large crystal salt. And I will show you how we can incorporate that into our painting and make some fun textures. If you didn't catch all that, there is a list below so you can check that out, gather up your things, and let's get started. 2. Sky Wash #1: For our first layer will be creating a wash. So a washes just any transparent layer of color. And we'll be using that for the backdrop of the sky. I've mixed two colors. I have a pink with a little bit of yellow and white in it, and then I have just a straight yellow color. So we'll be making it look like the pink is starting out saturated at the top and feeding down. And then from the bottom the yellow will be coming up. So we'll be doing two layers for this wash. Start by whetting your brush and pick up that pink and make sure it's quite watered down. So usually I'll take it off to the side and some more water because we can always add more layers of color if we want it to be more saturated. But it's very difficult to pick up color after we've placed it on our paper. So once you have that nice dilute consistency painted stripe across the top of your paper. And then simply dip your brush and water. And then paint your next strike. So that water on our brush will pull down the pigment from the top stripe and then dip your brush in water once more dryer next stripe and continue all the way down on your page. So you should notice that with each stripe that you paint, the color gets lighter and lighter. Make sure that you like the color that you're using and this is a good time to change it out if it's something that isn't really appealing to you when the water is still wet. So you can actually just wipe that off of your paper and restart if you'd like. And I'm really happy with how my color has turned out. So before we do our next layer, we will just wait for that to dry. 3. Sky Wash #2: So our first layer ever washes completely dry and ready for our second layer. So we're going to do something very similar, except this time come up from the bottom. So it looks like that yellow is speeding up in the sun has just sat. So I've taken some of my yellow, I've added quite a bit of water again, creating that dilute consistency. You can always do another layer. If I'm finding that as two light, draw that straight across the bottom of your paper. Dip your brush and some water and other stripe, and just continue to go all the way up to making sure of course, that there's no whitespaces that will create some undesirable lines on your page. If you find there's any extra water, you can just dab your brush off on your paper towel or on your rag. But I find it needs to be pretty wet to make that really smooth consistency that we're looking for. Here we go. So I see that there's a little bit of water just pulling in the middle. So I'm gonna take my brush from the bottom and go back and forth all the way up to soak up. And you have that excess water and make sure that my wash ends up nice and smooth. And you guessed it will wait for that layer to dry. And you're feeling like you're a little bit impatient. You can always grab a hair dryer, put it on the light setting and destroy it. That will dry it in just a few minutes. It's a lot quicker. 4. Salty Ocean: Okay, next layers, so I'm still using my number 14 round brush for this layer. We'll need our salt to have a large crystal salt or you can use flake salt. I haven't used table salt before, so I'm not sure how it would work, but you couldn't try that as well. I'm sure it'll have a cool affects. What happens is the salt soaks up the water and it creates these lifted areas where there's less pigment. We're going to be doing our water portion of the postcard as well as the reflection of our palm tree Island in the water. And so you'll need some black and then also some blue. So I have my fallow blue, I've mixed it with orange here. And what happens when we mix it with the color opposite to it on the color wheel is a toned it down and that's what we want. So it looks more realistic. Otherwise, I find it can look a little bit primary, so it's a little bit too bright and it doesn't look like it's unnatural landscape. So I'm taking that color that I mixed. I'll be taking my water to just over a third of the way up the paper so you can go ahead and just paint that on back and forth. And it's okay if there's a little bit of variance in the blue, that's actually what we wanted to give it a little more of an interesting luck and makes sure that the line at the very top of your water portion is as straight as possible. So usually I'll just go over it a few times, makes sure that I'm happy with it doesn't have to be absolutely perfect. Great. And so now I'm going to drop in a little bit of extra color, so we'll give it that color variants. I'm taking some of my more concentrated blew 110 a little bit. And then I'm just going to drop it in at the very top of my water. And you can see since we're doing a wet on wet technique, which just means that the both colors are still wet. It will blend into itself very nicely. And we're gonna do a little bit more down here so you can just dab it in. And once it dries, it will give it that nice look of variants. So the next thing I'm going to do is to drop in my salt. So I'll be doing my salt in the bottom right-hand corner. You don't need too much, so just make sure that your salt crystals are actually quite far apart. So otherwise it will blend together and just be one huge blob and just sprinkle them on. Again. It doesn't have to be a perfect arrangement. And makes sure that as you're doing this, you're paint is still quite wet. And I'm going to continue the assault all the way upwards towards the surface of the water. Different sizes of crystal look really nice. So we always want to vary the size. It gives it that more organic look when we're doing nature pieces. Prefix, I'm really happy with that. And then one more thing we will do, well, it's still wet is take some of the black. And so just make sure it's a nice consistency. Little bit more on the dilute side. Going to dab off my brush before I do this, when you have less paint on her breasts, you actually have more control. Will have to islands in this painting. So one will be on the right-hand side. It's a little bit shorter, but it's longer. And then we have one on the left-hand side. It's a shorter island, but it will be deeper. So you can just start at the very top of the water. I'm gonna tell you all the way out to here. And then draw that in. And then just dab it in. And you'll notice that it will start to bleed out. So there's no need to actually use your brush to bleed it out. It does it on its own. When I first started painting, I used to try to force the paid to do what I want. And that kinda takes away from that natural beauty that comes when the colors mix together on their own chord. I'm going to come onto this side now and just again, starting at the top ticket. Oh, not quite as far, but I'm going to move it down a little bit so that it looks like a taller Island. And then actually I'm going to come back around to the right side and take it out even further. So we want to make sure that the islands are different, different lengths from the side. So whenever we're painting, it's important not to have everything just centered or symmetrical because the painting ends up looking not very interesting at all. So I'm happy with that. I'm just going to add a bit more. There we go and we'll wait for that layer to dry. Can already see the salt is lifting a little bit for this layer. I wouldn't recommend using hairdryer because it will actually flow the salt away. So maybe just do something else, have a snack, do the dishes, and those are my favorite things to do while I wait for my layers to dry. 5. Palm Silhouettes: Yay. We're getting close surface so we have our water layer, it's dry for now. You can just leave the salt on. We can take it off at the end because it tends to make quite a mass. You'll notice that we're working from the very furthest away. So what would be furthest away in this view? And we're coming closer now. And so we're friendly, going to use our small brush. For this stage. We'll just need black. And so I have my black a little bit more concentrated as good. We want to definitely make sure that it is completely opaque so you can't see through it at all, but still dab off your brush. So again, if we have too much paint, we won't actually have as much control. So will next be doing our island portion. And so we don't have as much control of the bleeding of the reflection in the water. So now that we have that first, we can sort of just make the island in the same shape that we have the reflection. And so start at the edge of the island. And we're trying here to stay on top of the water. And just draw yourself a line. Ideally it's a straight line, doesn't always happen that way. So if it's not quite straight, you can just go back over it. And I'm straight ended up as much as possible. If it's not completely straight, no one's gonna notice, so don't worry about it. And then from here I can see that my reflection gets a little bit higher. So I'm gonna build my island up a little bit, making it kinda uneven in height. So move your brush up and down to give it that organic look. And then over by the side it gets even higher. And then simply fill that in with your block beams. There we go. So we have one side and now get some more paint for the other side here. Dabbing off your brush. I like to get up and move my body. I find it easier to paint from certain angles. So for this one, just taking the tip of your brush to where your island would end. And then go ahead and paint that straight line. Beautiful from there, build your island up. This one is a little bit taller, and so it doesn't have to be quite as high as the reflection because the reflection tends to get more drawn out. But it's higher than the other Island. And some interest to our painting. There we go. So we're starting to see how that really black color becomes our focal point in our picture. And so having that contrasts with the very light, airy sky creates a lot of depth and dimension. Now the next piece will be to add our palm trees. So be careful because you're black paint is still wet. I tend to dip my hands in the paint and then smeared or on the paper. So try to be mindful that that doesn't happen. Go back and get some more black paint. And then draw will start with the trunk of the palm trees. So it's narrow at the top. And so keep your brush pressure light. And then as you get closer down to your mountain or sorry, or island, you can press a little bit more and that will just gradually increase the width of your trunk so it looks natural. Second palm tree, so let's make this one a little bit skinnier. It's going to be leaning out to the right here. Keep your brush pressure light. And then you can press down a little bit more as it comes down. Island. Awesome. So I'm really happy with how that looks. Now the next piece is to add some coconut, so it's just a silhouette here. So the coconuts will be some figure portions near the top. So you can just do a small circle. And then below that, another small circle and do that on both of your trunks. There we go. Amazing. Now we have our leaves to do. So what I'd like to do first for my leaves is to just draw them as lines and then we can go ahead and fill them out. So it helps us to sorta got the proper spacing so that everything looks very balanced. The leaves will all curve towards the edge of the paper. So for example, I have this first leaf and they'll just started then and bring it back to the center so you can see it's kind of a curved line. And then leave a little bit of space and do the next one. It's curved down even more. Think of gravity, right? Gravity's drawing these leaves down towards the ground. This one is almost going to go straight down, still curved. And then I'm gonna go ahead and do one more on top. Most spiders. And then I'll start to curve my leaves in the opposite direction. So this one's going down like this. And they'll do one like that. And then the last one. So they're all pretty evenly spaced out. So you can see it's already starting to look like a palm tree. Now let's fill those leaves. The leaves start very tapered at the end, so they're pointy and then they get fat or in the middle, and then they become narrow again. Simple, right? So let's go for this first one. Start at the bottom and just press down more. Remember the more pressure you have on your brush, the thicker the line becomes beautiful and I'll thicken it on both sides in that sensor. If you're line is not completely straight, that's fine. If these leaves tend to be quite jagged anyway. And so it actually ends up looking more natural. I'm just going to make this leaf a little bit longer. But key is to keep them quite pointed at the end. Let's go ahead and fill in our secondly. And stays pointy, gets thicker and we taper it off again. Beautiful. We're gonna get a little bit more paint. And we've until the next one. My island is still a little bit wet, so I'm being really mindful not to smear it and running it on both sides here. Going to my last leaf that's facing that direction. If they are varied in size and thickness, that's perfect. That's what we want. It's really starting to look like a palm tree tomorrow to go. And sounds a little bit short. So I'm going to take longer. And then finish off by thickening. And this one here, step back and look at it. If there's any of it, look kind of funny, maybe ones too skinny, too short. Then go ahead and fix that now. And then we'll move on to our next palm tree and take your block. We're gonna do it in the same way. So this one's a little bit bigger and might have longer leaves. Start with your leaves curbing off to the right here. And this is just a guidelines. Don't worry too much about the length or the shape of these loans. Beautiful. And same process will thicken it up. The ends will be point d. And then they get narrow again. Once it connects into the tree trunk. Three more to go. And if there's any areas where you can see through where the block didn't quite cover. Some more paint and fill that in. For Dan. I tend to not breathe when I do this detail work, so I feel like it makes my hand more steady. I don't know if that's true or not. Let us go ahead and wait for that layer to dry. 6. The Birds: We're going to do our last step for our friend side of our postcard, we'll add some bird silhouettes. So if you've worked with me before, I know that you've probably added them into your paintings because I think they're a really excellent focal point. They tend to draw the, I ran into the center of the painting and they're also pretty easy to do. Take your small paintbrush again, so I have a six and then dip your brush into that black. Really important that we get all the excess paint off here. Because we want our brush to be coming to that really fine tip. The birds will be a little bit off to the right. So just in this nice open space, quite low to the horizon, so I'll have them up not quite an inch. There's a few shapes we can make. The first one is a V-shape. Keep in mind the bird's wings curve. So very similar to how we did the palm trees. The birds wings start at a very fine point in and they'll curve down. Light pressure. And then the other side. And we go you can see my vertice tilted off to the side a little bit. I find it looks more realistic if they are tilted right and left, and of course varying the shapes as they're at different stages of flight. So for this next one, same thing, but the wings will slow down, the curve will becoming just inwards. So coming out and up. Same thing on this side. Grades. Let's just do one more today by looking at an odd numbers. So this one will be a little bit more like a mustache. It's going to start up, go down, and then same thing on this side. So the tip of the wings flips up at the end. I'm happy with that. I'm going to wait for it to dry and then we can take off the tape and work on the backside of our postcard. 7. Creating the Postcard: It's all right, so we're ready for our next step. So now will be doing the back of our postcards. I have a pencil here, a fine tip pen, and the ruler. So if you're like me and you're a bit more abstract, I encourage you to go really slow for this part. As the precise NUS will make it look really professional when we're done. So we'll begin by measuring just a quarter of an inch away from the edge of the paper. I like to make two dots on each side. And this allows us to ensure that when we draw our lines they are straight. Once you're done going all the way around, draw those lines in lightly with pencil. And so it's okay if you draw them a little bit longer than it needs to be, because ultimately we'll be racing this pencil and tracing over with pen. Makes sure your lines run parallel with the edge of your page and you can use your dots as guidance, but also eyeball it and just ensure that it looks good. Perfect. So I have those old drawn in. And the next step will be to measure to the middle of your paper. And so that should be three inches in. Same thing here, draw two dots. And then you can draw a line. And the next portion will be to create lines for us to write on. Now will write, we'll draw them in on the right-hand side. This time we're doing half inch increments. So it can do 1234500 again, 12345. And then trace those lines, making sure that they are straight. It's looking good. And then we'll draw a few more lines. So this next line will just do a quarter of an inch away from these two framing lines. And that's gonna tell us where to stop the lines that we just drew, the ones that we're going to use to write on. Until finally the rectangle where the square goes or the stamp, pardon? That will be a quarter of an inch away from the border we drew in. And I find for the long edge here, it looks good to have it be three-quarters of an inch. And then for the short shorter line here, just a little bit under three quarters of an inch. So it's almost a square. And now we just trace over that with our pen. So again, take your time here. Makes sure that the lines you draw are consistent in their width. I like to go over them a few times and just make sure that they're quite dark. Especially on this watercolor paper. I find pens don't always draw as well as I would like. To make sure when you do this middle line doesn't quite go all the way to the border that we just drew it relieving, I got about a quarter of an inch at the top and bottom. And adjacent end, this rectangle. And finally airlines to you right on. And when all the way to those guideline lines that I drew at the side to make sure that they are consistent in length. And then we're done here and into your hands totally dry so you only get about ten minutes before we start raising so we make sure that we don't set it. And there you go. We are done. 8. Thank You!: Thanks so much for following along today. I hope that you had a ton of fun and learned some really useful techniques along the way. Don't forget to share your project below. I can't wait to see it. And if you did enjoy yourself today, follow me so you can stay up to date on my upcoming videos. I'll see you soon.