How To Paint Thistles With Acrylic - Using Easy Techniques | Anna To | Skillshare

Playback Speed

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

How To Paint Thistles With Acrylic - Using Easy Techniques

teacher avatar Anna To, Artist | Designer | Creator

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

6 Lessons (11m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Main Thistle Structure

    • 4. Thistle Tops and Leaves

    • 5. Adding Highlights and Details

    • 6. Final Thoughts

  • --
  • 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

In this class I will take you through the steps to paint pretty thistles using acrylic, and show you some easy brush techniques. Acrylic is one of the easiest mediums to paint with - especially if you might be a beginner, although this class is for anyone! Whatever stage you're at, with guidance and simple steps you will be able to paint an amazing piece of art.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Anna To

Artist | Designer | Creator


Hello! I'm Anna. I love design, art, interior decorating and DIY. I have been drawing and painting since I was very little, and loved doing crafts or creating/building things from scratch. As my parents are both talented and creative individuals, I must have picked it up from them. 

I went to school and became a graphic designer and video editor, and eventually had a family. As life progressed I stopped doing as much art and my creativity went down. As we all know, sometimes life gets very busy or motivation and inspiration is lacking. When I started to teach painting classes for paint events, for a local company, it pushed me to create again, and started to give me more purpose to do art. And so, I thought it would also be great to ... 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: Hi. My name is Anna. And today I will be taking you through my class on how to pay pretty thistle flowers. We will be using acrylic paint, which is one of the easiest mediums to use. Even if you are a beginner. Although this class can be for absolutely anybody, we will go over the materials that you will need for the class. And then with the proper steps and techniques that I'm going to show you, you will be able to create an amazing piece of art. 2. Supplies: the first thing we're going to discuss is paint. We will be using acrylic paints now. You don't need anything that's fancy. You can use whatever type of acrylic paint that you have. The paint colors that you will need for this class are white, black, purple, blue, green and yellow. Four brushes. You will need a fan brush that looks like this. In this class, I will be using a number two fan brush, although you can use whatever size that you have, and then you will need a number four or five round brush. I will be using a number five and then for smaller details, you will need a number one brush. You will need a palette for your paints. I am just using a plastic lid from a bucket, and then you will need water and some paper towel as well. In this class, I will be using a thick, smooth black construction paper. Although you don't have to use black paper, you can also use wash or watercolor paper, something that has a bit of texture and thickness to it. My original fizzles that I painted I did on a cedar board and just applied some black paint for the background. First, if you are feeling extra creative, you can paint on any type of wood that you might like. Now let's get ready to paint. 3. Main Thistle Structure: Now we're going to start with the stems for our thistles. So first I'm going to mix a nicer green color by adding a little bit of blue and some yellow. Well, you can use whatever green that you like using my small number one brush. I'm going to start in the upper hand middle of my page and create my main stem, and I'm going to add a few more stems coming off of my main stem. Now I'm going to take my round number five brush, and I'm going to add the bulbs for the thistles. You don't need to make them all the same size. You can make some smaller than the others, but after I'm done painting the bulbs, I'm going to create my mainly Flynt's notice how I taper them off of the ends by applying more pressure at the beginning and lifting off. So after I painted where I want my leaves to be using my number one brush, I'm going to add smaller lines coming off of my main leaf lines. These will also be tapered to a point because we want them to look prickly after we are done with leaves 4. Thistle Tops and Leaves: Now here comes the fun part. So I'm going to take my fan brush and I'm going to mix a nicer purple for myself with a bit of added blue and a little bit of white to lighten it up. And then I'm going to take my brush and press down and then lift off very simple and easy technique, and you can always go over it if it doesn't work out the first time. So pressing down and lifting off after I finished making the main base for my thistles. I am going to make uneven, lighter purple by adding a bit more white, and I'm just going to dab on some extra white on my brush and just simply apply it over top of my thistle tops to add the extra highlight. Afterwards, we will be adding even more highlight at the end. Now I'm going to be joining my outer leaf lines together, and you can fill them in right away. Or you can always fill them in after you're done connecting all of them when connecting your lines, you probably want to start your brush about 1/3 of the way down, and I'm going to make sure that the ends stay pointed and prickly. So I'm going to do that for all of my leaves, and then I'm going to start filling them in. You will probably want to use your fine detail brush for all of this, especially for the small leaves. 5. Adding Highlights and Details: Now we're going to work on our fine details and highlights, so I'm going to mix a lighter green by adding some yellow and white. And then I am going to take my number five brush and highlight the sides of the bulbs just like this. So I'm going to follow the edge of the bulbs and come down and around. I'm going to blend that in a little bit, and then I'm going to add an even lighter green with a bit more white and add some extra highlight just on the one side of each bulb. After I'm done that, I'm going to use the same green and add highlight all the way down my main stem using my number one brush. And then I'm going to add the detail ing for my leaves with these details for my leaves, I'm also tapering off the ends. I'm going to finish adding the highlight to the rest of my steps after that. Still using my number one brush, I'm going to add a mixture of dark green and black and using very little pressure on the very tip of my brush. I am going to create these scale like shapes on the thistle bulbs, and I'm going to stay here, them all the way down the boat just like this. Notice how your painting is starting to come toe life after adding all that highlight and detail. Now I'm going to add some extra I light with the light green inside the scales of the boat . If you think that your thistle tops May needs an extra highlight, you can mix a lighter purple and straight white and then apply the highlight overtop for a finishing touch. We're going to add a splatter effect to our painting. I'm going to use my fam brush, and I'm going to mix some white with quite a bit of water. You want to make sure that you get the consistency right so this effect will work. I'm going to take the fan brush with my paint, and I'm going to use my finger and flick the brush at the paper. This technique kind of creates a nice, airy or dimensional effect to the painting, and now I've just decided to add a little bit of extra detail with some purple on the edges of my thistle tops just to create a softer, wispy er edge 6. Final Thoughts : Hello again. Thank you so much for watching my class. I hope you enjoyed it. If you want to paint your own thistles, I would love to see her work. So for the project, you can either use paper like I mentioned earlier. Or you can try it on wood if you like. Please feel free to copy either one of the versions that I painted. Or if you want to do your own interpretation, I've provided some links that you can use this reference. Also feel free to leave any questions or comments. And if you want to leave a review, that would be really awesome. So, yeah, have fun. And don't forget to share your work. I can't wait to see it.