How to Paint Waves and Water: 10 Easy Steps to Illustrate Seaside Landscape | Iva Mikles | Skillshare

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How to Paint Waves and Water: 10 Easy Steps to Illustrate Seaside Landscape

teacher avatar Iva Mikles, Illustrator | Top Teacher | Art Side of Life

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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

12 Lessons (1h 33m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Brainstorming

    • 3. Composition

    • 4. Brushes

    • 5. Color Tips

    • 6. Blending

    • 7. Unity with Variety

    • 8. Painting Waves

    • 9. Reflections

    • 10. Shadows

    • 11. Characters

    • 12. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

To bring you closer to the tranquil feeling of holidays, in this class, I will take you step by step through illustrating a stylized landscape of a beautiful seaside with turquoise waters and calming waves


Like many of you, I love to create environments for the stories and characters, and I want to show you how to bring the essence of the environment to your audience. 

In this class, you will learn:

  • Quick tips about layouts and composition
  • What brushes to use to paint water
  • How to paint water, ocean, and waves using blending techniques


  • How to use real-life references to add details and characters


After taking this class you will have a lovely seaside illustration that you can print out for your home or give to your family or friends as a nice holiday card.

I will be using Procreate app on my iPad, but feel free to use any drawing software or medium you prefer.

You will find a link to the mood board with photo references, line art sketch to follow along if you want, and color swatches for Procreate and other drawing software in the resources section. 

Let’s get started - see you at the beach… I mean … in the class :)


© Copyright Iva Mikles | All Rights Reserved | Class content & structure for educational purposes only

Meet Your Teacher

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Iva Mikles

Illustrator | Top Teacher | Art Side of Life

Top Teacher


I am super happy that you are here! :)

I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”), and I'm a full-time illustrator, teacher, and nature enthusiast.

I love illustration in all its forms and my goal is to bring you to a world full of happiness, color, and wonder in the form of fun and helpful classes. 

I'd love for you to have fun while learning, so I always aim for a fun, positive, actionable, and inspiring creative experience with all my classes.

I love when you share you had many “AHA” moments, learned valuable time-saving tips, gained confidence in your skills, and that it is much easier for you to illustrate what you imagine and you are very proud of your finished work.

I want to help you on your art journe... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Imagine you are at the seaside, enjoying a relaxing walk down the beach, listening to the sounds of the sea and catching a glimpse of surfers waiting for the next wave. I think is safe to say that many of us love the holiday feeling, which comes with looking at the ocean waves and listening to the sounds of the seaside. To bring you closer to this tranquil feeling in this class, I will take you step-by-step through illustrating and stylized landscape of a beautiful seaside with turquoise waters and calming waves. Hi, I'm Eva Miklos and I am an illustrator and designer based in Central Europe. Welcome to my next class. During my career, I was fortunate enough to work as a designer and illustrator for many local and international companies, such as Lego, the Toy Company, and Procter and Gamble's brands like Ariel and Vira. I worked on concept art, color script, character illustrations, animations, packaging, and advertising content. Like many of you, I like to create environments for the stories and characters. In Lego I was part of the team working on stories, characters, and many stylized landscape environments for the animations, books, and packaging. Along the way, I learned a lot about how to bring the essence of different environments to the audience and this is what I want to help you with. In this class, you will learn how to create a holiday inspired, stylized landscape illustration. You will learn quick tips about composition. You will practice painting water, ocean, and waves, combining the blues with bright turquoise colors. You will be using real-life references to add details and characters. I will also show you what brushes I use to paint water. After taking this class, you will have a lovely seaside illustration which you can print out for your home or give to your family or friends as a nice holiday card. I will be using Procreate app on my iPad, but feel free to use any other drawing digital software or medium you prefer. Before we start, don't forget to follow me here on Skillshare to get notified when I release new classes and make special announcements about the giveaways. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram where you can see my newest artworks and follow the stories from my life as an artist. Let's get started and see you at the beach. Well, I mean, in the class. 2. Brainstorming: Before we start illustrating, let's do a quick brainstorm to come up with ideas for the illustration layout and the elements. I find brainstorming a great step in my illustration process because it helps me to organize my thoughts and decide what to include and what to leave out in my illustration. Well, as you saw from the thumbnail, we are going to draw sea and ocean, and waves. But here I also wanted to show you how I get to the idea, what to draw and maybe which angle, details, and what I put in the illustration. Usually, before I start any sketch, composition, or idea for illustration, I do a little bit of brainstorming. Here I know that I want to draw a seaside, so I will write down few words which I want to include in my illustration, I mean the topics. When illustrating, I try to answer a few questions. In this case, I would ask myself the following questions. Do I want to illustrate one wave on the beach or more waves in more details? Do I want the top view layout or more side view looking at the horizon? What emotion do I want to have in the illustration? Will there be people or other elements of interest in the illustration? Try to write down as many ideas as you can. Something like a brain dump. Why words? Well, because it's little bit faster than drawing every idea you might have. This part of my process. When I have a few ideas for the layout, then I sketch them to see if they like them and in turn, they usually spark more ideas. I will write down sea. Then another thing which comes to my mind is ocean. For example, if you think about sea and ocean, what is the location you imagine? Is it somewhere quite cold with big waves or it's more calm waters and maybe turquoise and tropical look. Maybe here I can write also turquoise. When I have a few keywords, I can already start sketching some of the first ideas. For example, I can mark few waves for the sea with a simple layout. I can try a different layout as well where you might be looking at the sunshine and few waves from this angle. But from this one, I already have another idea because you can imagine looking from the front like there will be a beach here and the sun shining somewhere behind the waves or you can imagine that this is a top view and you are looking at the waves coming to the shore which I prefer because you can perceive this as more calming version, which I like. I can write here, calm and here let's try to write a couple more keywords maybe also balance. Here I can try another idea where I will have a bigger wave and smaller wave and it's still also top view. But then I'm thinking there is quite a gap here in the composition. Maybe there can be something on the beach. What about umbrella and maybe human on the towel. I can make this smaller. We have more space to write. Now move it to the side, so you can imagine it's a sunny day. While doing this brainstorm, try to also write down ideas for objects and element you imagine while talking about the seaside, like umbrella for example, and other objects. Then we can imagine people sun or walking on the beach with a dog. Then if I have the keyword tropical, I can imagine maybe another version where I would have a wave and maybe one small wave, maybe they can be three waves and then I would have a palm leaf. Maybe I can have two palm leaves here. This is quite small. The palm leaves would have to be much smaller than this can be like a close-up. Let me try another one where I can have more waves. Here you can imagine this is maybe much closer. I can put, maybe sea urchin here or starfish. You can make all of your sketches smaller. You have more space or you can sketch all your ideas on the paper. Now, I will sketch few ideas for the objects at this stage as I mentioned to you, and you can sketch more of them if you want to. I can have a starfish or it can be another shell. Trying to sketch some of these objects and see how they might look a little bit more finished, but still without color helps me to decide on what to include in the final illustration before spending time rendering them at a later stage in high detail and in color. Then when we have the beach ideas, maybe you can imagine people sunbathing thing on the beach and we can maybe have like longer pier going through the whole illustration. Then you can have the waves here and people have the umbrellas here. Let me zoom in, so something like this. There can be more umbrellas, maybe you add more waves. There can be people here, maybe walking a dog. We are looking from the top. There can be another umbrella and you can have maybe few towels and there can be more people walking here on the pier. It's another idea. If you want something similar like this, but a close-up, you can have one bigger wave, one smaller one and maybe you can put the starfish here. Maybe starfish is not a great idea because you would feel like already the starfish it's not alive when it's on the beach, which I still prefer that the starfish is in the water. I would much rather put shell here which might just came out from the ocean and then you can put maybe few rocks here on the beach. This would be more like a close-up. Here, as you can see, you can try the same content in different layout. For example, trying diagonal layout with the same wave concept help me to decide which angle or which direction of the layout I would like to keep. But here we can add maybe petal borders or people on the surface, and this is little bit angled or you can have the same layout as we have here. We would keep the waves aligned with the frame of our image and not to keep them exactly the same you can make one wave a little bit bigger and add a wave smaller. You can have still people walking on the beach and maybe we'll have surfers. Did we write surfers before? No, so let me write surfers. Now let me make the sketch frames little bit more visible before we move on to the next part. I like quite few of these ideas and as you can see, the writing is not super beautiful, but I can mark which keywords I want to use. I like the idea of the surfers, then maybe people walking a dog or people sunbathing. I can still decide which one I want to have to create a little bit of life. Then I like the waves and I prefer the waves when we have two of them, not three, so I can do two. I can remember I want to do two waves. Then I like the tropical look, maybe the palm leaves are creating quite complexity in the illustration. I will avoid the palm leaves this time, but you can add them if you want to and I like the top view. I will end up with composition or the illustration idea like this. In the next part or in the next lesson, I will tell you a little bit more about the composition and what to check and look out for before moving onto the next part. 3. Composition: In this lesson, I will share with you a couple of tips about composition and how it can help you decide what layout to choose. Now you can get rid of some of the ideas and compositions from before me, maybe the ones you didn't like as much, or you can follow my examples and let's talk about the composition a little bit and how I look for references. I have few of these ideas, so let me move them around a little bit so we can look at them closely. Resizing at this stage is okay, even though that you can see that they are little bit more pixelated but because I'm not going to use these sketches as a line art is okay that they are a little bit messy and so on. What I like about this one is more the calmness than the diagonals, because diagonals are usually representing more active shot or active compositions. This would be more diagonal composition and this one is a little bit calmer because it's more straight. This is more active and this is little bit more passive. This is something in between. This is one of the things what I'm considering in the composition. This one is combination of passive and active because passive we have these straight lines of the pier and then we also have these nice waves complementing the straight lines. Here we have only curves. It's a little bit different story. Let's delete that. Another thing what I'm considering here is visual weight for the composition. If we look at this one, for example, we have the bigger shell and we have the smaller rocks. This is the first thing you notice on the beach compared to these rocks. The size of the object also influences the composition. Another thing, what I usually look at are the humans or the characters, which also these umbrellas would represent the humans in the illustration or we will have the characters here on the surfboard or people, sandbar thing. Or we have a character here and then I imagine two characters may be walking here down the beach, leaving some scent trails behind them. Humans and characters are another thing what I'm considering in the compositions. Let me go back. Then of course we will have to consider the contrast and colors, which we will get to in the later stages. Because if we take this example, and I would color this part in a darker shade of blue, and this part will be in a lighter shade of blue, you will focus and notice this part quicker than this one. Then you would need to balance it out with another color, maybe brighter tone. We will talk about the colors in the later part. Another thing is rule of thirds. If you imagine rule of thirds on this example, it's following the composition quite nicely. Here the same, so something like this. When you look at the composition like this, because of course, this part is little bit bigger, you can take the seashell and move it a little bit to the left so the composition would be balanced better. If you want to learn more about the compositions, I encourage you to go check out the composition class if you haven't do so yet. You can see many more examples on how I think about composition and different rules. If you have different sketches still at this stage, try to choose one which you would like to go forward with. As I mentioned to you before, I quite like this one because it feels more calming to me and I want to create calming effect because we have the balanced composition, it looks more stable. If I want to take this composition further, I would probably reduce the waves. They would appear calmer, but we will talk about waves in the later lessons more. I would take this composition further. This is what we are going to work with in the later lessons and as you can see, I have humans, I have few surfboard people surfing here and wave. I will look for references within this area. When you're happy with your ideas, you can also clean up your sketches little bit. It looks a little bit nice turn, not so messy. It depends what you want to use it for, of course, but let me clean it up a little bit more so you can see them a little bit better in a nicer preview. When you are happy with your ideas, this is the stage I would go and look for references because the references will not influence me too much because I already have my ideas. It will just give me more ideas for tweaks and details. But I will not be maybe forced or to influence to take the whole composition from one reference image. When you want to use the reference image within your Canvas, you can go to Canvas and you can select reference. First, it will take your Canvas what you actually see right now, but you can go to image and we can import the image from the references. I prepared a bunch of references for you to choose from. You can see I have different beach images and you can study different wave shapes and we will be using these images along the way. How when we will be drawing and selecting the colors and looking at different details. For example, if I want to use this one, the reference would appear here and you can move it to the side of the composition. You can also make it bigger. You can zoom in and study the details. As you can see, we have few boards here. We have people. I don't really want these types of positions about maybe sitting person, but I like the shape of these boards. You can also study the shape of the wave. You can move it to the side and see what is the wave shape you want to create. We will look at that in the following lesson. If you want to import another reference image, you can simply go to Import, go to your album again and we can import another image. Now I will take one of the illustrations or one of the ideas of the sketches. You can select this one if you want to follow me exactly. Or you can take one of your other sketches and we will start adding first colors through the idea of the composition. In the next lesson, we will look at which brushes who were great for painting water, blending, [inaudible] details in the stylized landscape illustration. 4. Brushes: In this lesson, I will share with you some of my favorite brushes I like to use for painting water and the ocean. I will show you some of my favorite brushes from this selection. I feel like any of these brushes in this folder are quite good for painting water. First, let's take this one because it has nice texture and also it's quite opaque, which works quite well when you want to paint water. You don't have to press very hard when you are painting. Make sure you are on a new layer and you can test out the brush. Here, you can see very nice texture, which almost looks like water if you press soft. If you press harder, you would have these very opaque colored parts of the drawing. Let me try again, and I will make the brush little bit smaller so we have more space on the canvas. This is pressing softer, and if I press harder, you have this very nice, opaque, rich color. This is one of the brushes I want to use the most in this illustration. But let me show you some of my other favorite brushes you can experiment with for this type of illustration. This is another one which I like because you can already tell by the name, it's called damp brush, which behaves little bit like wet brush. Let's try that one. This is, again, pressing softer, and when you press harder, you will see it looks like very wet brush you just dipped in the water. If you paint over, it looks like you dipped the brush into the paint, so you will have more saturation and more color on top of it. It actually starts to look like water if you don't lift the pen, and it looks almost like you're smudging or moving the paint around the canvas. Let's take a look at another one, which is quite nice. We are still in the same folder as you can see. Another one which is related to water, it's this one, as you can tell by the name. Let's take that one and test it out. First, painting softly, and when you press harder, it looks little bit more solid with more color same as the previous one. But let me make the brush tip little bit bigger so we can see how it behaves. You can see already in this preview the texture within the brush tip. Pressing soft without lifting the pencil, and then pressing harder with more solid opaque color. It almost looks like you are painting with acrylics. This brush is another one which I like to use for painting water, so let's test that out as well. As you can see, it has very interesting water-like texture to it. Even if you would fill the whole page, it almost looks like an ocean. This is without me lifting the brush and just changing the pressure, how I paint with a pencil. Here I would press harder and softer. You would see the texture. Soft and harder. We're still in the same folder. Let me show you another one which is right next to it, which is nice for water, and it's this one. It has a little bit different texture, almost like a sponge if you are painting on the wall, especially you can see it in this part and then if you press harder, it has very nice, solid opaque color. It has also big range of brush tip size when you're painting big surfaces, and it's almost organic looking. We painted over this one a little bit, so let me go back. You can see it better. You can see almost this organic fill on the edges, which is nice because water is organic, so this would fit quite nicely when painting water. Then there is gouache. You can find different gouache-type brushes in various softwares, or if you are painting traditionally, you can paint, of course, with gouache or watercolor. Gouache and watercolor would behave differently, so if you want to try this concept with watercolors, you would need little bit different process than with gouache or acrylic obviously. That gouache is also very nice for painting water because it has lovely texture. Again, pressing harder, we can create almost like wave shapes with solid color. One last brush in this category. You can already guess because I was already talking about it little bit, and it's watercolor type brush. Here this brush tip size is very small, so we don't see the texture at all, so let's delete that. As you can see, this brush behaves very nicely with organic fill to it as well when you press harder. It has less opacity than the other ones, as you can see, but very soft look when you press softly basically like watercolors because they lose the pigmentation when they dry. Let's delete this part. With this brush, you can try painting with different directions, and then it will create very interesting texture combined together. Let me show you what I mean. If I will have the brush bigger, you can paint one direction, for example, to the right or with angled strokes to the right. Then you would lift the pencil and then you can paint with strokes angled to the left. As you can see, you have quiet nice organic looking texture to it. You can play with different angles in different way how you paint. This brush helps you to keep organic look to your textures without creating extra layer to add textured paper to the illustration. When I said it's the last brush, I want to show you one more brush, which is here. Let me find it. Actually, no. It's in this folder. I will use this brush for details because it has nice textures and you can draw quite thin lines and it almost looks like a foam, so it's chalky-looking brush. As you can see, it's opaque as well as you can paint details with it. Then when you're happy with the selection of your brushes, you can create another folder. As you can see, if I drag down, you will see the plus, so you can create a folder. But I already created one here, so I don't need this. If you don't need it, you can click on it and delete. I was in this folder. You can drag and drop copies of your brushes into your new folder. As you can see, I already copied few of my brushes, which I showed you before. Now this one is here twice, so I don't need that. By swiping left, you can delete the brush. You can see these are the copies, for example, this brush is now in my folder of favorite brushes I want to use and they will be on top of my selection. But you can still find the same brush in the original folder, which is here. Now we can move on to the next lesson. 5. Color Tips: In this lesson, we will move from the sketch to color. I will share with you some tips regarding the Canvas, and we will start adding layers and talk more about the colors and the color palette for our illustration. You can see that I left my preferred sketch or the selected sketch here. Now it's also the time for you to think about the Canvas and how big your illustration is going to be in the final resolution. Do you want to have it as a small print for home or do you want to have it as a screensaver for your computer? You can always check in the Canvas size and Canvas information and crop and resize and set your Canvas to the preferred size, or you can create a new one and import the sketch there. I will resize my sketch. For this purpose, I will use the free form because I'm thinking maybe I want to have little bit different resolution here or ratio for my sketch, and I will redraw the sketch on top of it. I will reduce the opacity and I will create another layer for my new sketch. Now, I can hide the original sketch. This will be my predefined composition before I start adding colors. I will be using blue color tons for this illustration. As many of us when they think about ocean and sea, you can imagine blue colors and why the ocean looks blue or the sea looks blue? I'm glad you asked, I will show you. Let's imagine water. Then I will draw sunshine, we can make it cute. Based on many research materials, the sea looks blue because of the way the water absorbs light from the sun, and the way particles in the water scatter light. What is more, the blue color from the sky is also reflected in the water. Let me quickly show you what I mean. Light is made up of the wavelength of light, and each wavelength is a particular color. We have all the color spectrum, which consists of white light. We have the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. What happens when this light touches and enters the water surface. The color we see is a result of which wavelengths are reflected back to our eyes. In this case, the blue is the most dominant and thus it gets reflected the most. Some of the colors are absorbed by the water. Let's see how. If we imagine the water surface straight so these waves don't distract us now. As you can see, the light from the sunshine enters the water. This is how the light is absorbed, and as you can see, the best displayed is the blue light. When the light reflects back to the human eye or how we see it, we see mostly the blue color. Now when you know a little bit more about the wavelength and the color spectrum. Let's go to our sketch and color it with some of the blue color tons. I will create the layer below so I can still see my sketch. I will set the sketch to multiply. I will reduce the opacity because we don't have to be super precise. You can change parts of the water and the waves later on as well. If you don't see the sketch, well, you can always reduce or higher up the opacity. Now on this layer, I will fill in the basic colors following approximately the waves. Now, I will take the bigger brush. I will create a selection around my sketch so I can fill in the colors easier. You can go to the color palette, which I prepared for you and take the basic colors from there. Here which are on the left side. First I will start with this darker color and make the brush bigger and I will fill in parts of the illustration. Of course, you can also drag and drop the color. But I prefer to keep this texture there, so I will keep filling in with a brush. The last color will be the sand color. Don't worry about the edges just yet because we will adjust this part in the next chapter with blending options. We have our basic blue colors. If you're thinking, "Well, wait a minute, didn't you say in the other class that the sea life and water, you can get away with any color. Why are we doing blue this time?" Let me show you how you can experiment with other colors. This is one example from the underwater sea life because you can imagine different types of colors, as in the other class. In this example, you can see that I used also some purples and very light blue for the sea. Let me show you another example. Here we have two more examples you might have seen from my Instagram. Again, the ocean here and the water is more purple, and here I'm using a blue tons, which is contrasting nicely with the rest of the colors. These are some additional examples how you can work with color. But now let's go back to our blue setting and we will continue with that. 6. Blending: Now let's talk about blending. Blending is a technique of gently mixing two or more colors or values to create a gradual transition and softer edges of the brush strokes. It helps you create subtle differences in your artworks and it can give your illustrations a more polished and finished look. Now, as you can see, we have four basic colors here, which is pretty simple and we will take an advantage of some of the overlapping colors in our color spectrum. While using these brush which we used before, when you press softer, we will have less opacity and therefore we can take in-between a blue color tone. With the color picker, you can take either this one or this one and paint softly over the edge here. I'm still staying on the same layer. As you can see I'm getting this a softer tone of the blue in between. Now with the color picker, I can take the tone which is lighter than the dark blue, but darker than these blue. You can take it. I will go back because I don't need this part. I will reduce the brush, and I will paint somewhere around here. You can play with the colors because it doesn't have to be exactly the shape of these waves, because we will be defining that part with the white for me wave shape in one of the next lessons. Now I just want to add more colors. What you can do here, you can lock the layers, so you don't paint out of this shape, and continue painting also here on the edges. If I release this lock, I would paint also here. I will lock it again, and I will do the same also here. I can take part of this blue paint over softly take in-between blue and you can continue like that. Depending on the style we want to achieve, there are different ways of how you can approach blending and transition in your art. If you choose a more hard edge style, you can imagine almost like a paper cut out art which is common in editorial and website illustration or at least you can see they're quiet often. In this style, artists usually work with hard edges without much blending, maybe some blending. For more realistic and polished look where you blend the colors more, where you can imagine the softer transitions in the colors, you would blend parts and the colors of your art more. Deciding on amount of blending and transitions of colors, hard edges, and soft edges, will also help you define your style. Think about how much of the smooth soft transitions and how many hard edges you will use in your art and in your style. For example, in this illustration I will use soft blended color transitions on the water, and then more defined hard edges on the white foam of the waves and the characters. If you liked some of these colors, you can always save them in your color palette. But as you see, I'm still using these basic three colors and some of the colors in between. Don't worry, this will become more interested in the later stages. Now we have few colored tones here, blending. What I'm always doing is painting softly and take the color in-between. If you haven't done so yet, I definitely recommend that you practice blending in the medium you choose. It can be digital or even traditional. With brushes you choose to work with and maybe they are your favorite or they will become your favorite. Blending is quite a useful skill that you might use at some point in your artistic career. I use it quite often, almost all the time. Press softly when you want to have a smoother transition and press harder when you want to have a solid color. I think for now it's fine and in the next lesson, I will show you how to add more fun colors to this part. 7. Unity with Variety: In this lesson, we will be using unity with variety. What does that mean? In simple terms, this concept is about using different elements in your illustrations to create visual interest, the variety, while making them fit well together, the unity. Now we will add more colors to our blue tones, but we will try to keep unified look where the unity comes in, and we will create little bit of variety for the visual interest with a more saturated colors, and adding some color variation to the sand. First of all, I would go to my blue tones here, with the color picker, and I will go on the color wheel a little bit to the green tones, and I will push the saturation a little bit higher. As you can see, I already saved some of these colors here to the color palette, so you can just take this color from there if you don't feel like experimenting with the color wheel, but you can try working with the colors too. I will go to the brushes again, and now I will choose the brush with the softer edge so it blends easier for me. It doesn't have this hard edge brush as we used before for more solid color. Now I will go for this one. I will add little bit of this more saturated color tone, I'll make the brush a little bit bigger to some of the areas here. As you can see, is not so bright, but we are just adding little bit of variety there. Again, don't worry about the shapes just yet, because we can always adjust it. I will add a little bit more here. I will keep blending as we did in the previous chapter. That's one of the colors I wanted to add. Then I will again select this blue, what we had before, but this time I will go more towards the greens, almost to the yellow, and I will go to very light tones, so it almost looks like white, but we want to have this very pale green tones, which can happen when there is more reflection in the water. As you can see, it's actually this green in the color palette. Now I will add a little bit of that green here. If you feel like the green is not strong enough, or it doesn't show, you can also take this brush, what we used for sketching, and make it as big as possible, and we can add the little bit of that solid color there, and we will blend it later. I will add some of the color here too, just along the shore where the water will be more reflective. I will go back to this soft edge brush, and I will blend this green a little bit more into our colors. As you can see, I am following this motion of the waves, so I'm not blending within this direction, basically like this, but I'm trying to make this type of movement with a brush when I'm blending in these areas. Another color here will be light blue. If you select this one, it's quiet desaturated, and I would like to do a little bit of cooler tone here. We are keeping cooler tones like blue tones and green tones in the water, and we will be adding more warmer tones to the sand. You can see this blue tone here. It's a little bit more blue here. Something like that. I can take this brush again so we have more solid color, and I will add it on the edge of our ocean. We can always take one of these colors later and blend it better within our ways when we add the white, and we will see which colors we want to emphasize. This is fine. Now going to the sand, I want to add a little bit of the darker tones. From the left top I will go more to the right. I don't want to go to these gray tones because then the sand will look little bit dirty, so I will go here to more saturated tones, but maybe not as much. We don't want the sand to look too wet. When the sand is wet, it's darker color. You can find this color here, and I will randomly add it just to the corners here, a little bit to the middle. This is just to balance off the composition because it's very dark here, and we will add some darker tones here too. Now it can become a little bit boring looking, so let's add more color to this one. I will go back to these beige tones, and now I will try to push the colors towards the pink tones. Because we've tried to stay in the warm tones here on the sand, as I mentioned, to create nice contrast and cool tones here. You can find this pink here, it's a little bit red, what I had defined before, so as you can see, it's a little bit here. Let's do this, and pink. Nice. Then I will add the pink to the sand. It just creates nice variety in the painting. Here, as you can see, we have already created little bit of variety within this unity of colors. Every time you find color here, by moving on the slider, you can just add the color to your color palette by simply typing here, and you can see the color was added. If you want to delete it, you hold and delete the swatch. Now we will move on to the next lesson where we will add the waves. See you there. 8. Painting Waves: In this lesson, we will start creating the waves based on the ideas we came up with in the sketching step. Adding and defining the waves on top of our blue will help us create the overall look and feel of the illustration. Let me sketch the concept here on the side so we can follow the idea, and you can test out the wave shapes here on this side before you go to details in a bigger illustration. Let me open the reference. We have the reference here, what we talked about before, and I will add more of the smaller bumps like you can see here on the reference, and you can try more of these sketches before you settle on your final concept of the wave. You can test it out also in color if that's easier for you to plan. The main idea, what we will do here is to create white parts and then erase part of it. It will look a little bit more natural than if you just want to draw a net with lines, because here it will help you to vary the thickness of the foam dissolving. Let me show you here, so we can move the reference. This would be the general idea and you can test out bigger shapes and smaller shapes. But I want to keep the bubbles in this part, and it's easier to test out when you are zoomed out. Let's do it on this big part. You don't have to do these tests if you feel like you don't need to and you can go directly to the bigger illustration. I will be using this brush, what we already talked about before, because it has this nice foamy texture. If you see it here on the preview, it's almost like a chalk and I will take white, what we have already in our color palette, or you can pick the white you want from the color wheel, and I like shapes of these bubbles because they are similar and as you can see, the foam here is thicker. You can always compare and the shapes here are quite busy because it's more realistic and we can keep it more stylized. I will hide this because this will distract me and it will push me to create more realistic look. I will do this and on the new layer with a clipping mask, I will start painting the waves with white and this brush. I will make it as big as possible, so check them on the good layer and start painting. Now I'm filling in the shape here, because if I would drop the color only here, then I would have just a solid color and I want to keep the texture of the brush. Fill this part. Now we will do the top part. Now I will start deleting parts like we had here. I will try some bigger gaps and then also some on the edges like we had here. I want to create the gaps on the top one at the same time as the bottom one, so I can keep the balance of the big shapes and smaller shapes on both of these waves. Now I will go and delete few here. Now I can fill in some of the smaller gaps. Now you can also clean up the edges on the top, following the shapes of these bubbles. I feel like I still need one here, and you can fill in the gaps with the smaller dots. If you feel like if you want more details or you can keep the foam quite thick and I want to keep the foam thick on the outer edge, closer to the beach and thinner. These all being these directions. I can make these parts a little bit thinner at the end. I think we are good with this part and in the next lesson, we will add few more details so it looks more realistic and more foam because of course, it's stylized, so it doesn't have to be realistic. But let's add few of these dissolving parts so we have nice transition on the wave. 9. Reflections: In this lesson, I will share with you tips and tricks on how to easily create an illusion of light reflection in the water and more other cool details. Now, let's add few of those dissolving bubbles here and few other foam spots as detail so just details of visual interests. I can turn on my reference so it can help me. Here, maybe let's select different one. I like how it's dissolving here so I will check if I'm on the correct layer, I have brush, and then I will add a few details like open bubbles, like you see here. As you see, it's the same shape as we had here, but it's open on the top. I want to have few spots like that and then few of these like loose lines or however you can call that and there are few white spots. That would be like the open line. You then want to make them too sharp, they can look unfriendly. I want to have the surface here and here if you remember so I can add more spots to this part and try to vary their size. I think that's enough for this bottom part and now I will do the top part. I'm creating this fork, as you can see here so add there and we can add few more of these dots as a standalone form around. I can also erase parts to open few of these bubbles, just with the same brush and it will match the rest of that here. We can open it here too. It depends how much detail you want to keep here. I will hide the reference for now, I don't need it and we can check and add few more of these dots to both so I'm missing some here. If you remember from the reference as we looked at, there is a thicker line here at the bottom of the wave, so we can add a little bit more volume on some part of it because of course we want to stylize it so it doesn't have to be exactly how we see it here, but let me add a little bit of that there. I can add a little bit of the foam also to the sand, because if you imagine the water coming over the sand, it feels more relaxing because the waters look more shallow here because the wave is reducing slower. Also it adds some nice visual interests. I think we are done with this part and now we can add a little bit of the gradient so it blends nicer to the environment. I will copy it, I do not need this part anymore, that was the sketch. I will copy my layer just to be sure I can go back if I want to, so duplicate and then on this one I will create Alpha Lock so we paint on [inaudible]. Choose the blue color and the softer brush and we will paint over part of it. This is very subtle difference but you can see the soft transition here so it blends nicer to the rest. As we have that on the two layers, I can delete some of the blue part from foam if I want to have some of these dots or the foam spots little bit more visible. I think this is nice. Now, we will do one more fun thing. I will copy part of this, I will select it with three fingers, I will duplicate, I will drag it under the other waves, move it, and now I will reduce the opacity. This will create this type of double exposure which is quite fun. Here you can see clearly the shapes so the double exposure acts like the light reflecting in the ocean. What you can do, you can take that layer and we can flip it horizontally or you can move it higher up so it doesn't look exactly the same, but it looks like a reflection. If there is too much happening, you can delete part of that. As you can see, this is maybe it's still too much so I can reduce the opacity even more so it will be more subtle. You can add the same thing also in this part or you can add more of these saturated parts of the water, but it depends on the humans when we add them in one of the next lessons. This is it for now and then let's move on to the next part. 10. Shadows: Now we'll create shadows and add more realism to the waves in our illustration. Let's look at our reference one more time so we can see the wave, and then I want to add a few shadows just under the waves. As you can see, there are small dark areas when the wave is breaking, and also in this part within the bubbles and when it's entering the sand area, so we will add few shadows here and there. Let me close the reference for now. We can also delete layers which we don't need anymore, so I copy the canvas beforehand. This one, I don't need these tips we talked about. This is the reflection. We can rename that, and we want to have shadows above the reflection, so I will create the layer here. I will take the same brush as we used for the waves. For the waves deeper in the water, I will be using the darker blue, and for the shadows on the sand, we will be using the more saturated color of the sand. Let's start with the shadows here in the waves deeper in the ocean. Here, as you can see, I already saved few of the colors. So you can take that from the color palette or you can take the darker tones from the painting. Check if you are on the correct layer. I will zoom in little bit, check the size of the brush, and I will start adding few of these shadows. Maybe this is little bit too dark. You don't want to have a super dark color, so something in between. More shadow you will add, the bigger the wave will look like. Try to vary the thickness. You can add more shadow to one part and less shadow to the other part because nature is, of course, not symmetrical and perfect. You have variety in shapes. Also, it looks more interesting if they are different shapes. I think this is okay for this part. Then for the lower part, we will use a lighter blue, because if I add super dark blue here, it will not look so natural. Let me take maybe this blue from the middle of the drawing, and let's check how it looks like. Yeah, I think that fits, and now I can add few shadows here in these bubbles. You can notice that I'm trying to add the shadows to one side of the wave. It's this top part because if I would add the shadow around the whole thing, it will look like paper cutout in a way, so we are looking from the top, or the light comes from the top, which is not what we want to achieve here. You don't have to add it to all the bubbles, because again, we are doing stylized illustrations, so it doesn't have to look realistic. Now let's add some shadows to the sand, and I can take the color from the sand. I can pull the color here more to the saturated colors on the right, or you can take the color here from the color palette, as you can see. I also tested the red tones so it some more warm. You can also add some random shadows here to the sand. Because if you look at our reference here, there are also some parts of the sand which are darker because maybe something happened there with the sand, maybe there is seaweed, but it just a little bit of the visual interest to this part. This one is not so heavy, and we can add some details here too. I can add little bit more of this pink tone here as well so we will have a variety of more warmer brownish tone and some pink tones as well. I think it can be a little bit more pink here, and lighter. It's similar to this color so you can take that. If you feel like, you can add a little bit darker shadows here to some parts just to create visual interest if you want to. If you see it was like this, and I can add little a bit darker spots here. So I have more variety there. It's the same color as I saved here. You can vary between two lighter shadows here and darker shadows for these two parts. I think this is good enough for the shadows, and now we can move on to the next lesson. 11. Characters: In this lesson, before we add final touches, we will bring more life and activity to our illustration with characters and little story moments. I will create another layer. We can sketch our characters first on a separate layer and then we can just add color for practice. If you feel comfortable that you don't need to sketch the characters at all, you can directly draw them in color. But let me show you how I would sketch these and we can open the references as well for the characters. Let me first place them on the page approximately based on what we talked about in the composition and balance. I would like to have one character somewhere around here and one character here. They will be talking to each other, facing this way, and I'm trying to keep both surfboats in the same size or at least similar. I can adjust and I will have few more characters here, and we don't see them in that color here on the top. I can sketch them with white so we can see them. I will add one character here and one here. Taking the dark color again. I will add two walking characters here. It depends how big the artwork will be when you finish it or when you want to have it a printout, and that will influence how much detail you actually want to have in the characters. But we will look at that when we color. Because we are looking from the top, these two characters will mostly have only head visible and maybe a leg when they're walking, one in foreground and one in the background. Something like that. Maybe we will see some marks in the sand when they were walking. Then maybe they can hold hands. Maybe this one is little bit smaller. The shoulders are not so wide and this one will have bigger shoulders. Maybe this one have longer hair, I think this is fine. Let's check if this surfs are big enough, I can make them a little bit smaller. Let me open the reference and we can look at the surfboats here. But let's import another reference. I prepared quite cool reference image for you here because you can reference a character sitting on the surfboat or lying on both surfboat. We are on the sketch layer and I will take this character, I can turn the artwork so you can see it better. I can add head, torso, shorts, and legs. It doesn't have to be perfect because it will be quite far away. But approximately, we will have the character like this. In similar pose, I can add another character. Maybe this one will be a female lying a little bit differently. We don't have exactly same pose like this, a little bit different swim suit. We have a variety in the illustration. I can get inspired from this pose for maybe this character so not everything is the same. You can see the board is more straight at the back, a little bit curved and little bit pointy on the top. This character can be in a house sitting pose. We can see a little bit of the back and some of the legs, something like that. We can get also inspired for the design of the boats. We can add circles, maybe some wave. Then on this one, I will add a sitting character. Again, torso from the top holding the surfboat. This one can have legs in the water like this guy, but maybe it's someone with long hair. Maybe we have stripes on the surf. We are still missing one character here. I can add sitting character as well, similar to this. Let me show you another reference image. We have also something like this. You can also draw characters lying on the surfboats in white suits. But I like the sitting character which was here. I can rotate my reference image so it will help me. Maybe I will actually turn the surfboat this way facing the waves. Let me close this. I want to make sure that all the surfboats are similar in size, so not one is much longer than the other, so they will look like they are in the same space. Maybe these two characters are bigger than these ones, so I can make them tiny bit smaller. Then I can compare with these. Let's make these characters actually smaller. I think it will work better for the composition. I think this works. Now I can color the characters on the separate layer. I prepared some colors for you. You can use if you want to, or you can choose your own colors. I chose some of these colors because I think they work quite well. This orange stands out nicely in the blue tons and it combined with purple or violet, it's quite nice combination. Then you can work with different skin tones for the characters and try to make sure that the skin tone stands out from the color of the surfboat or the sand here so your characters will not disappear in the illustration. Try to work how to implement the contrast the best within your characters or you can choose the same colors as I will here. I will first color the surfboats and then I will add the human colors on top of it based on the sketch. Let's color, and I'm using the same brush as we used before. Now, I can lower the sketch opacity so I can see my characters better. Here I'm using the darker color for the hair so we can see their heads better. You can, of course, choose a different color as well. Maybe this character has something in the hair or has some swimsuit on. Maybe I can remove part of the shoulders if they look too big and it can be something like this. But these characters will be quite far away, so it doesn't have to be perfect. You can always rotate the canvas based on how it's easier for you to draw. Here, let's make it a little bit more visible. Here I need to adjust the color of the skin so it's actually visible on this orange surfboat because these two colors what I used before were quite close in the hue so the character was not visible on the surf. Maybe this one actually can be darker skin tone and this one lighter because it will work better on the surfboard. Let me make this guy lighter. I think this is fine, so let me hide the sketch and here I can see that this character skin tone is disappearing against the surfboard. Let me make it a little bit darker, and this seems so lighter, maybe lighter pink. You can adjust the details of the characters a little bit more depending how detailed you would like to have the illustration, so I can clean up the edges. Good. We have the characters and I clean them up little bit, so we have a little bit cleaner edges. It's not so jiggly and you can spend as much time as you want on the characters. But again as I mentioned, it really depends on where do you want to display the illustration and how much detail it will be actually visible when you look from the distance. What I want to do now is to add few details to implement the characters into the illustration. We will add few shadows and a few water droplets around. Let's take the same shadow color what we have here and I will add some shadow under the surfboards. Because we are looking from the top, then it depends, of course, where is the sunshine. But I will add quiet small shadow here, so it's not so distanced from the board. Here we will add a lighter shadow and shadow also under these two characters walking. Something a little bit darker, but not too much and few steps in the sand where they were walking. Around the surfers, let's add little bit of the foam where their legs touch the water and also around the surf a little bit. We can add few more color variations just for fun and you can find some foam brush which looks like a spray pain maybe or some splatters and I can use this one. Then I will use the light green on the separate layer, and I will add few spots to this area as a reflected light. Maybe I can add few here and here where I want to have a little bit more variety in color. Maybe overlay blending mode is enough, and I can add a little bit of blue around here. That's nice and maybe I can have these characters stand out little bit more and I can take this brush with little bit bigger spots, and take the lighter blue, and add some color here. You can do the same on the sand. We can add little bit more pink here with bigger splatters. I think overall, everything works quite nicely and you can always experiment with a subtle differences in the blue tones here. You can try the softer edge brush. If you want more blended color tones, you can, for example, add more turquoise around the surface and you will bring more attention to them. But watch out not to overdo it with a bright blue and turquoise as it might lose the vibrant effect if there is too much of it. As mentioned before, we need the less saturated colors as well as the dark colors to help the vibrant and saturated colors to stand out. In some parts you can use the texture brush we used before to create the sole like spots to increase the variety in the look and feel. Now I will leave it as it is because I'm pretty happy with the outcome. I have to also say to myself that is finished. Well, as a reminder, you may know the feeling because sometimes I could be adding more and more details and adjusting things forever. Now, I really do hope you'll love your holiday feel illustration and you are maybe ready to go on holiday or you are on the holiday taking this class. Please share your illustration in the project section, because I would love to see it. 12. Final Thoughts: How did it go? Hope you had a lot of fun creating your holiday inspired landscape illustration. I'm looking forward to seeing your artwork in the project section or on Instagram. If you choose to share them on Instagram, don't forget to tag me so I get notified. If you want to expand on your knowledge from this class and create more awesome illustrations, I invite you to check out my teacher profile and enroll in my popular classes about composition, color and light in stylized character design. If you like the class, please leave a review because first of all, I appreciate it so much, and second, you will also help other students to discover the class, and you might contribute to their artistic journey too. If you have friends or family members who would love to create their own holiday inspired illustration, please share this class with them. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment in the discussion section. I would love to help out. Thank you so much for being here, and see you in the next class.