How to Paint Watercolor Leaves on Your iPad in Procreate + FREE Digital Watercolor Brushes | Liz Kohler Brown | Skillshare

How to Paint Watercolor Leaves on Your iPad in Procreate + FREE Digital Watercolor Brushes

Liz Kohler Brown, artist | designer | teacher | author

How to Paint Watercolor Leaves on Your iPad in Procreate + FREE Digital Watercolor Brushes

Liz Kohler Brown, artist | designer | teacher | author

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7 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. How to Paint Watercolor Leaves on Your iPad in Procreate

    • 2. Downloads Password + Single Colored Leaves

    • 3. Multi-Colored Leaves

    • 4. Making a Wreath: Part 1

    • 5. Making a Wreath: Part 2

    • 6. Making a Menagerie: Part 1

    • 7. Making a Menagerie Part 2

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About This Class


I want to show you how to paint watercolor leaves on your iPad using the app Procreate.  In this class I'll show you:

  • three different styles for painting leaves including single color, multi-shade, and multi-color techniques.
  • how to construct a wreath with layers of color that look like real watercolor pigment on paper.
  • how to paint leaf menagerie by bringing together a bunch of different plant shapes and colors.

I made 10 watercolor brushes for Procreate that I want to share with you as a free download.  You can use these brushes for painting leaves, flowers, and any other watercolor painting you can come up with!  All you need to take this class is an iPad and a stylus. 

You can download the free brushes and paper here.  The password is shown at the beginning of the class.


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Liz Kohler Brown

artist | designer | teacher | author

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1. How to Paint Watercolor Leaves on Your iPad in Procreate: Hi everyone. I wanted to show you how to digitally paint watercolor leaves on your iPad and using the app procreate. I'll show you three different styles for painting leaves including single color, multi shade, and multi-color techniques. I'll show you how to construct a wreath with layers of color that looked like real watercolor pigment on paper. Next, we'll create a leaf menagerie by bringing together a bunch of different plant shapes and colors. You can use this project as a greeting card, a wedding invitation or birth announcement. I made 10 watercolor brushes and a watercolor texture paper for procreate that I wanted to share with you as a free download. You can use the brushes for painting leaves, flowers, and any other watercolor painting you come up with. All you need to take this class as an iPad and a stylus. I recommend the Apple pencil because it's pressure-sensitive, but you could certainly do this class with any stylus. Let's get started. 2. Downloads Password + Single Colored Leaves: You can find all of the materials that I mentioned in this class in the About section of the class page. Here is the password that you'll need to access that page. First, I want to show you how I set up my canvas with watercolor paper and all of the blending modes that I use, but first, I wanted to know that if you are a total beginner to Procreate, you may want to start with my first class. In that class, I go over all the basics like how to import brushes, and do your Procreate program, and just some of the basics of using the program. If you're a total beginner or you feel a little rusty with Procreate, you may want to start there. I'm going to start a new document here, and I'll create a custom size. I'll turn this to inches and create a size 9 by 11, and I'm using 300 DPI. Now I have my blank canvas, I want to import my watercolor paper. I'll click the tool symbol, click "Image", Insert a Photo, and then I'm going to insert the watercolor paper that you can download from the class page, and then use this little expanding button to make it fit the page. On that layer, I'm going to click the end symbol and change the blending mode to Multiply. That'll help me get a nice watercolor texture on this page. I'm also going to reduce the opacity to about 50 percent, 45 percent. We can change that later, but I just like to lighten it a little bit. Next, I'll swipe left and duplicate that layer, click the Move tool, and flip this page around. Now, I have two of the same page, but they're reversed so that any shadows get nicely evened out. For that layer, I'm going to set the blending mode to linear burn. I have one layer multiply, one layer linear burn. They're exactly the same except the top one is rotated. Then I'm going to swipe left and lock those two. I don't want to paint on those layers, they're just for texture, so I'm going to make sure those are locked. Then they I want to make a new layer and put that below these two layers, and put that on multiply. All of your painting layers will be set to Multiply, so just double-check that anytime you create a new paint layer that you select. Multiply, that allows the paints to become transparent on top of one another and blend really nicely. Next, let's go ahead and paint a few leaves. I want to show you a few different techniques that you can use. I'm going to use my brush set here, botanical brushes that you can download from the class page, and I'm going to grab my blunt edge rough brush. Then for color here, I'm just going to choose a random green. Let's stick with that. I'm choosing a medium tone, not too light, not too dark, because I'll be darkening and the lightening this color. This color that you choose will be in the middle of what you want in terms of darkness and lightness. Let's go ahead and paint a really simple leaf here. I've got my brush on about 25 percent for the stem. Let's do a little more on the stem here just to darken it up and make it a little bit more varied. Now I've got a slightly wider stem. Then I'll make my brush a little bit bigger and start mapping out some leaves. You'll see, with these brushes, as you paint, you can see the marks where your brush was, but if you just go over those a few times, you can blend those out really easily. I'm just putting down my brush, dragging and not lifting. I'm making this leaf in one single pass. There's a really simple leaf shape. Now, I want to make this look more like a watercolor by adding some light and dark areas. The first thing I'll do is swipe left and duplicate this layer. Then I can grab my eraser tool with the cloud eraser brush and just start going into some areas that I want to lighten up. Any areas that would normally have a lot of water, as you're watercolor painting, those are the areas that you would lighten up. It can be totally random, or you could just lighten up the leaves. You could try both and see which technique works better for you. The next thing I'm going to do is merge these two layers by just pinching them together, and then I can make even more light areas, and maybe even totally lighten up a few leaves. It doesn't have to be even with each leaf. You can really do a lot of variation here, or just a little bit, it's totally up to you. We could even do another layer if you'd like it to be even darker. Let's merge these two and add in a little bit more lightness. That's the absolute simplest way you can make a leaf using this process. Another thing you can do that can make this look even more varied as a watercolor is to use a few different shades. I'm going to create a new layer, put that layer on multiply, and then I'm going to choose a nice green shade here. Let's start with that. Same brush, I'm using the blunt edge rough at about 20 percent. For this one, I'll do some skinny leaves here. Let's get a slightly bigger brush. Rather than doing the same color over and over, I'm actually going to choose a different green for every single leaf. You'll see as I start building this, it adds a nice level of variation to the piece. Then once we start blending the colors together, it adds a lot of variation in color and vibrancy. Go ahead and complete this leaf, just changing the color with every pass. Now I have this nice leaf with a lot of variation, but I want to add in even more variation. I'm going to swipe left to duplicate the layer, and then I'll grab my cloud brush, do the same thing that we did with the last one, merge these together, erase a little bit, and let's duplicate that one again. You can see the difference in the variation here. This one has a lot of light to dark variation. This one has a lot of light to dark variation as well as a lot of color variation. It depends on what you're going for. I tend to go with this second version, but it really just depends on the piece that I'm doing. 3. Multi-Colored Leaves: There's two examples of what we can do and there's one more to add, even more variation. Let's do a third leaf here. For this one, I'm going to start by sketching it out. I'm going to grab my nuendo pencil, make a new layer, and go ahead and sketch out a palm leaf here. There's a nice sketch of a palm leaf that I want to use. I'm going to create a new layer for painting, so that I can erase that sketch layer later on. I'm on my new layer and I'm actually going to paint this one with yellows because I want to combine green and yellow on this piece. I'm going to paint it in yellow because yellow is the hardest color to achieve with the color balance tool that we're going to use. If you want to add yellow, go ahead and paint your piece in yellow. You can always make it green, but you can't make it yellow later on. I'm going to start with a lot of shades of yellow and do the same thing I did on that last piece, but in a different color here. I've got my blend edge rough, and I'm just going to go through and paint each of these palm leaves and the stem. Now that I have my palm leaf painted in a lot of shades of yellow, and I have a sketch that I can go ahead and remove. I'm just going to paint my stem. Let's reduce the size here. I'm just going to remove that original layer. Now we have just the palm leaf. Let's go ahead and duplicate that layer. Make the first one invisible. I want to get this to where I can see it really well. I'll click the "Hue, Saturation, Brightness." I want to turn this into a green. We can go more of a blue-green or we can go to more of a deep earthy-green. You can also change the saturation here to make it darker or lighter, and you can change the saturation would be more or less color, and the brightness would be darker or lighter. I have now one green layer and one yellow layer. If I go on this green layer and I erase, I'm going to reveal yellow, whereas if I erase on the yellow layer, I'm going to reveal green. What I'll do first is just go on and reveal yellow and some random areas here. This will give us some nice color variation. I'm doing this on the stem too, because I want the stem to really blend nicely with this. Let's go on our yellow layer and do the same thing. I'm just removing some areas of yellow to reveal a little bit more green. For some of these, I'll go in and almost totally erase the leaf. That adds some nice variation to have just a really light leaf in every now and then. I'm going to merge these yellow and green layers together and continue doing some selective erasing here. If you want this to be a little bit darker, we can duplicate this layer again and do the same thing. Go through and selectively erase some areas. There you can see the three big differences between these solid color, single color range, and multiple colors. You can imagine with this process, you could have three or four colors in here. There's no limit to how many colors and shades you could get in a single piece with this method. Another nice thing you can do with this method, I'm selecting my third leaf here. I'm going to click "Hue, Saturation, Brightness", and you can get a whole range of colors here. Let's say you wanted to do something that was a little more aqua green or blue, you could certainly do that and you can do that with any of these. Those are the three main processes we're going to work with today. 4. Making a Wreath: Part 1: So for this piece, I want to combine the methods that we talked about in the last lesson and create a leaf reef here. I'm going to bring together a lot of different colors. A brown stem with some blue and red and green leaves and bring that all together. 5. Making a Wreath: Part 2: I want to do a combination of a few different colors here. I'm just going to choose one of the lighter colors to start with, and that'll be a bright blue. I'm going to a new layer, set that new layer to multiply. I've got my blunt edge rough brush on about halfway up. Go ahead and do the same thing that we did with the earlier leaves, just filling these in and then I'm making sure after I fill them in, that I go over them a few times like this just to blend all of that brushstroke out of the way. There's my first color layer. I'm going to go ahead and duplicate that layer and make the first one invisible. Let's choose the next color that will work with here. The first color is a blue, and I want to use another blue to go with that. Let's go with this darker blue here. I'm also going to make that one a little darker. I'm going to make that blue layer invisible, duplicate the first layer, make the first one invisible. My one last color here is going to be a pinkish red. I'll make that a little bit darker as well. When you put all three of these together, it's just a muddy blue, but we're going to go through and selectively erase so that we get a lot of color variation. Let's start with the blue. I'm going to treat each leaf a little bit differently. I don't want them to look all the same. So some of them I'm going for the tip, others I'm just covering the whole leaf and erasing everything. Let's do the pink a little bit. Now you can really see some of that first color coming through. I like to just switch between these really quickly. I don't like to spend too much time thinking about it. I feel like that takes some of the abstract spontaneity away from it if you try to man-handle every single leaf. I really just jump around, try to keep it really loose and light. I think that makes a big difference. I'll just keep working on this. I'll speed up my camera here, but you get the general idea. I'm just going through and selectively erasing. Then we'll do one last step before we finish up. I like how that looks. I want to go through and change the saturation of some of these to brighten up some of the colors. I wish there was a little bit more blue in here. I can go in and increase the saturation of the blue. Then it really comes through in some of these areas. Let's do that with the pink too. That's the great thing about this process. You don't have to commit to any one color. You can just constantly be changing it. I like the way that looks. I'm going to go ahead and remove my sketch layer. You can see without the sketch layer it has a totally different look. You may want to keep the sketch layer that looks nice as well, but you can decide which ones best for your style. The next thing I'm going to do is merge my three color layers, then go through with my eraser and create some nice variation. Some of these, I'm just going to totally erase because I really want to get some variation in there. Especially if I see two right beside each other that look really similar. That's a candidate for getting erased. I like that, but you could also go through and duplicate that and go even darker and go back in and selectively erase this one a little bit. You can make this as vibrant or as unsaturated as you want it to be. I think I'll also make my branch layer a little bit darker to. I think it goes a little better with these leaves now. Now that we have our leaves, we can go ahead and save this image as it is and play around with some color options. Let's say you want this to be more of a green wreath. That would be a great color option right there. You'll see when you play with this, the options are really endless. Once you create the wreath, you can use it for a lot of different things and just adjust your colors a little bit. There's a nice peacock green. I'll stick with that color. Let's go ahead and move on to the next project. 6. Making a Menagerie: Part 1: For the last project, we are going to create a menagerie of a lot of different plants and leave some negative space in the center where you could put text, or a birth announcement, a wedding invitation, anything like that in the center. The first thing I need to do is map out a square, where I'll use to come off all of my plants on the sides. Let's grab the sketching Narendra pencil on black, and then I'm just going to click and drag, and then hold, and that creates a straight line. If I put two fingers down, it'll become exactly 90 degrees, then when I release I have a perfectly straight line. I want this to be a square, and the easiest way to do that would be to duplicate this layer and turn it twice, then put it into place here. Let's just zoom in. That looks good. Then we can merge those two layers by pinching and squeezing and duplicate that layer, and turn it again. Now we have a nice square, we can merge that together so we have a single square. I'm going to go ahead and lock that layer so I don't draw on it. I'm going to create a new layer with the Narendra pencil again to sketch out the plants that I want to draw. I'm going to try to balance these. If I put something over here, I'll put a similar one somewhere over here to keep a nice balance on both sides of this. I'll go ahead and speed up my video while I sketch this out. Now that I have the basic idea of this template mapped out, I can go ahead and start painting. I'm going to swipe to the left and lock my sketch layer. I've got my square on one layer, and my sketch on another layer. I'll create a new layer and set it to multiply. Then I'll go through and try to balance my light and dark shades. I'll start with some dark shades on some plants that I think would look good with a darker color, and then I'll try to balance that with some lighter colors. You'll see how work back and forth. If I'm working on this plant, I want this plant on the other side that's similar to be the same color. I'll put those two on a single layer, and then I'll put other similar plants on the same layer. I'll go ahead and start coloring those in. Now that I have those two colors painted on the two similar plants, I'm going to go ahead and do the darkening work on those. I'll do this with each layer, so I can just work on each plant set and then lock that layer and move on to the next set. It's really important with this to keep the layers separate so that you can always go back at the end and change any colors that you don't like. I usually color all these and then I go through and recolor most of them. You may or may not want to do that, but it's just good practice to keep everything on a separate layer. I'm just going through array sayings, random areas here. I'm going to let this be really light. I can always darken this later. I could do another layer, but I think for now I'm going to keep these light. I'll stick with that for this layer, then I'm going to create my new layer, and I think I'll do the next one with a yellow, green blend. 7. Making a Menagerie Part 2: Now that I have my yellow layer down, I'll duplicate that layer, make the first one invisible, and go in and choose a nice green color that I like. Then maybe reduce the saturation of that green a little bit and now I can bring back my yellow layer. The same thing we did before, get the cloud eraser brash and go through and remove some of those green areas to reveal some of the yellow. Then I'll do the same thing on the yellow layer. Remove some of that yellow so I can get a little bit more green in there. This is the great thing about this process. You can really play around with this. I think I want to duplicate the yellow layer to bring a little more yellow in there to make that a bit darker, so I like that better. Since I have this one on that same layer, I'm going to go through and remove some green and then get on my yellow layer and remove a little bit of yellow. Then I'll merge those together and block the layer. I'm going to go through the rest of this piece and do the same thing. Just trying to balance my colors, keeping my darks and lights balanced. Then we'll do one last thing before we finish up. Now that I have all of the pieces colored in, I want go through and darken and enlightened some areas to create a little more contrast. We can do that by just duplicating layers or we can choose the layer like I'm going to choose those first leaves that I've painted and unlock that layer and then go to my hue saturation brightness tool. Just play around and see what would happen if I change the color a little bit. I might make that a little more green up to saturation and then make it a little darker or maybe just make it a little bit darker. Let's do that. I'm just going through and selectively adding a little more contrast like these three leaves all look really similar. I'm going to grab that layer, go to my hue saturation brightness and see how could we make this layer different? I'm on wrong layer here, this layer. We could make those more green-blue. We could go with a totally different shade. I think I'm just going to let there be a little more blue in there. This is a fun time to just go through and play with your coloring. Let's say I'm happy with that coloring, I'd probably work on it for a little while longer, but at this point you could go ahead and move forward. I'm going to pinch all my color layers together. If you're not ready to do that, if you think you might want to change some of your colors, another thing I sometimes do, go back to your gallery, click ''Select,'' click on the layer, or click on the artwork and then duplicate it. Then you've got a previous version of your artwork saved. Now that one's safe, it'll never change and you can start playing with the new one. I like to do that because it makes me feel a little bit less regret. Sometimes I change my mind 10 steps down the road and if you've already closed the document, you can't step backwards. This is one way to keep your document safe. I'm unlocking all my layers that have color and then pinching those together. Now they're all in the same layer. I can go to my hue saturation brightness tool and I can totally change this piece. It could be more pink. It could have a purple or green hue to it. It could be like fall themed or some browns and pinks. This is the fun time to just go through and play with all of your coloring. The last step would be to clean up the interior. The fine detail brush on a really small size, we can go through and just make sure nothing is passing through my square and you don't have to do this. You could keep it more messy and rough, but I'd like to do this just so all the pieces meet the same boundary. We also have the option of removing this sketch. You may like this sketch, you may not like this sketch. Because we kept them on separate layers from the square you can go back and forth. We may also want to duplicate our painting layer and then go through and add a little bit more watercolor variation. That can help it look a little bit more realistic like actual watercolor painting. This is a time when you can really decide what's your style. Do you like a more sketched out style? Or do you like a more free flowing watercolor style? Then the very last step would be to add something to the center. You could do that with a watercolor brush or you could go grab one of your calligraphy brushes here and just write something in the center. Totally up to you here. You could put a name, you could put a birth date of a baby or wedding date or anything like that. Let's go ahead and call that piece finished. If you liked this class, you may like some of my other classes where I cover a lot more ways to design and paint on your iPad. Like how to paint, wash and procreate using the free downloadable brushes I created. Check those out on my profile if you want to see more. Also, I share a lot of free downloads on my site. If you want to get more downloads like the ones you got for this class, check out my website. I would love to see the final project that you create for this class. You could add it as a project here on Skillshare or you could tag me on Instagram or Facebook. If you have any questions about the process you learned in this class, please feel free to ask. You can reply to my discussion here on Skillshare or you can contact me through my website. Thanks so much for watching and I hope to see you again next time. Bye-bye.