How to Watercolor: Gradients & Mountains | Abigail Luna | Skillshare

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How to Watercolor: Gradients & Mountains

teacher avatar Abigail Luna, Watercolor Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Watercolor Gradients and Mountains Intro

    • 2. Painting Supplies

    • 3. Practice: 1 Color Wet on Dry Gradient

    • 4. Practice: 1 Color Wet on Wet Gradient

    • 5. Final Project Part 1: Gradient Sky

    • 6. Final Project Part 2: Gradient Mountains

    • 7. Final Project Part 2: Final Details

    • 8. Bonus: 2 Color Gradient Sky Tutorial

    • 9. Thank You! Please Share Your Projects!

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About This Class


Learn to Watercolor Simple 1 Color Gradients and Mountains! Good for beginners but also good for practice or warmup for the more advanced watercolor artist!

Class Outline:

Learn some of my used watercolor gradient techniques as we paint this watercolor mountainscape!

Introduction: What will you learn?


First Warm-up: Wet on Dry 1 Color gradient mountains

2nd Warm-up: Wet on Wet 1 Color gradient sky

Final Project Part 1: Gradient Sky

Final Project Part 2: Mountains

Final Project Part 3: Final Details

BONUS CLASS: 2 Color Gradient Sky

Please share your projects in the class project area

I have attached  bird pictures for reference

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Abigail Luna

Watercolor Artist


Hi! I am a watercolor painter better known by the handle @expressionabbey and a lot of people call me Abbey.  My watercolor journey started 3 years ago when I came across a process video of a beautiful watercolor painting, and that video inspired me to create watercolor pieces of my own. 

Here on Skillshare, I want to share some of the skills I had trouble figuring out myself. Happy Painting!


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1. Watercolor Gradients and Mountains Intro: welcome to this watercolor ingredients and mountains class. Good for beginners or advanced, like either to learn or to practice your ingredients. My name is Karina and I will be your instructor for today. I love spending time in nature, especially looking at cherry blossoms and spring time and then hiking on the mountains year round today. In this class, we will learn a simple one color Grady in techniques. One watch will be wet on wet technique and one would will be wet on dry technique. Then we will go on to our final project, where we will complete this beautiful landscape in watercolors ingredients. I would take you through the process step by step with no worries. Please stay tuned for supplies. 2. Painting Supplies : Let's get on with the supplies. First will be using a flat brush for skies or greeting skies and our mountains swollen. And then we'll be using a round brush. This is a number 10 round brush with opponent tea and in the bristles, and I will be using a lead pencil or any pencil you confined on. No, that's six. Where the utensils all listed for paints are paints are going to be a blue. I think on black you can mix blue and pink to make a purple Andi the black can be a pain scream and we also need a mixing palette. I'm gonna use this mixing palette, Andi. So I'm not going so paper towels. Oh, a rag to dab your brush on. This is a jar for the water. This house already dirty water in it. Andi, I needed a racer. You don't have to have a new an eraser. You can just have any kind of erasure that you have just like need any razors. And then lastly, the most important thing. We'll need 100% cotton cold pressed paper. Is this streak 100 GSM or £140? 3. Practice: 1 Color Wet on Dry Gradient : we're gonna use a wet on dry technique, which means that you are using your wet brush with wet paint on dry paper. They were going to take the dark, has form off or paint and put it on the very top off the mountain and do a little brush strokes, kind of wiggling the brush around to make those top bridges of the mountain. And when you're done with that part, rinse your brush right away, but not fully so. They're still pigment in the brush and then start from the very bottom off the brush stroke and do another brush strip beneath that that embarrassment again and start from the very bottom off the brush stroke and brush it under the that. Then we're gonna reduce it again. And then we're going to dive in a little bit on a paper towel, er, taller. Whatever you have to time it on and take it up and then rinse it again and do the same process brush at upwards. It still creates a beautiful, great in effect, and I will do another mountain underneath and out. Do a close up so you can see more closely what I'm doing and here you go like this. Hope this angle helps you out better. Right now we're doing it on the very bottom, but on her painting, we're doing it on this, the top of the other mountain because we don't want it's not fully dry yet, so we don't want them to mix ticket. You're doing a mountain on top of a mountain on top of a mountain. Every mountain has to be dry before you do the mountain on top. So yes, so right now I'm doing the same techniques. Game water, put it on the borrow when did it very well and then brushing it up. Remember, if you have way too much water on your brush, it's better to just stop it like maybe once or twice, Tahar just gently on a paper towel to get rid of the excess water. But if you have too many too little water than you, what? Some of the water on the papers. So you gotta be careful with that. And now let's move to the next part 4. Practice: 1 Color Wet on Wet Gradient: Okay, Say this is going to be our went on. What technique? First, we're gonna wit and tire surface of the paper. Well, making sure that every single piece of the papers wet. You can do this by looking at the shine after you think you've applied everything. Just look at it from different angles and the paper should be shiny all over. That means it's wet and ready. So now we have a pied all right. Water will over the surface of the paper. You should be shiny all over. We're going to get or paint in our brush. And I'm using the same purple, uh, very big consistency. And this I'm going to apply on the very top. And you see how we're using a flat brush. I want to use the flat brush on it horizontal side and very gently apply it. I'm not using any heart pressure. I'm also repeating more and more Pickman Onek. I want the top off the paper to read dark as I'm going down. It's going to start going to We have my brother's going tough, less pigment and therefore is going to play less pigment gradually. Just observe a say go down How the pigment is just staying on on the brush and this stain on certain parts. And this is a part. Once I started losing the pigment, I rinse it off a little bit. I dove it on my towel and then I keep continuing to brush it down in the same manner. Just look at the manor that I'm brushing in. Try to keep your brush straight and make sure your paper is really what? When you're doing this, if your paper starts to dry, is best to stop. And now that I brushed it all the way to the bottom, I brush it all the way to the top. Like so This time Ones I did this. My brush did not have any pigment on it. It just had water. So I'm doing the same thing again. I'm using the same technique. Got a different angle. Just maybe see if you can see better what I'm trying to do. Like how I'm holding my brush and just using water to brush it all the way down. And if you see that some spots are in a little spot, you just go over them again. And that's it. Just keep brushing it all the way to the model Grad. Anything. It just keeps the gradual flooring it. Okay, so we should be done. Now we let this completely try. And then that's how you get your wet on wet and wet on dry. Radiant. You see that little spots on the very left corner of my greedy in my wedding? What? Creating just cause my cellphone fell on it. But you should be done now. Just keep practicing until you get this and move on to the final project. Thank you. 5. Final Project Part 1: Gradient Sky: Okay, so we're finally starting our final project. We're using this ultra Marine, and I'm using patents speaking. Use whatever you have and for patent, see, just how often would a little first and then trying to mix your colors somewhere else, like in this mixing palette. And since I want this kind not to take away from the mountains, we're going to make it a very like So that's what we're doing here. We're mixing watery light, very light ultra Marine. Just rinse my brush out on. Then, after mixing colleges, rinse out your brush and go at it on your paper. I want to get a completely wet everything will stroke. And I'm just when they were using my finger doing that issues because there was a piece of lint or or a little piece of something on my paper that wasn't supposed to be there. So I just brushed it up a little bit. So just make sure that you get a completely what over. And it has to be an even witnessed, you know, want like a little puddle to form in one. It sure, another, because those puddles will dry unevenly. And then you're painting at the end would just create a very, very gun. Favorable result because, well, sometimes it's favorite if you want it that way. But for this kind of style, we don't want that to happen. So you want that shyness to we all were. Just remember that and Allah start painting, which is grabbing that. Make sure that we create it. And since this is a larger piece of paper, you might run out of the paint before you get to the other side. So it's okay to grab more paint and start from the other side as well. And for this one, im actually grabbing more paint. And then, after I get to a certain point, that's when I want to start the ingredient and you see how I put more water on my dish before grabbing more paint. That's another way to do it, like you don't have to do it, how we did it at the beginning, where you only do use water. If you feel like you can grab more water and put it on the pigment and then drag it down with clear water than spine, I just show you how I usually do it persons. This was so clear. I was like, Okay, let five more pain to it. May has I don't want the sky to overtake the mountains because the mountains will be the best part. And then you can judge it like if you're like Oh, no way. This is to light. We'll add more paint. But remember only one ingredient effect for this guy because skies were no one color. When you look for my horizon line point of view and here in this I'm just hiding more color until I wanted to stop. And then after that, I don't added more color to it. I just brush, brush it all the way down to be an even ingredient, and then just add more color wherever I need to, but no to affect ingredient, and then you can stop and let it dry completely. 6. Final Project Part 2: Gradient Mountains: so know little background is fully and dry, completely, completely dry. You must make sure this we can start our mountains. First. Mountain is going to be very, very, very light. Do you want to add some pigment, but mostly water. Make sure it's white. It's possible. New shirt papers dry. You can know your paper is dry if he feels not too not too cool as a room. And you know, if I can explain that also, if it's not worked, you know how paperwork's when it's what if it's not warped any longer than that means It's dry. Let's crab this pink. Make sure it's right again making sure extra share that it's right to straggling along. I mean, brushing along the top like so squiggly again swallow or practice session. Wash it off a little bit. Don't wash the whole thing. And then, since this is a bigger paper, your brush my get trying before he gets to the other part of the paper. Just get more water and yeah, we should be done with that first mountain. Remember, we can't paint or other mountain until this mountain is stunned, so we must leave it to dry completely before starting this part. Remember, Now we're adding mawr Pink to this mountain were no adding, ah, lot of pink. We just wanted to gradually start from the lightest mountain and turn to darker mountain this week on. So right now we I didn't add that much more pink time before and for watercolors. You got to remember that the dry lighter. Then they go on the paper because when they're wet, they look darker. But as they dry, they're going to look lighter. So just keep that in mind as you're making your mounted and follow the same process that we date to get. Just keep going with your mountains. Remember to try them, dry them completely before doing the other mountain. That's very important. That's why I keep saying it. I'm sorry if I keep repeating myself, but it's very important that you let it dry completely. Okay, see how they look when they're dry, make sure some people use their fingertips. I heard that's not a I suppose, because your finger tips have oils in it, so touch it with the back of your hand to check if it's dry. So now you see, this is a close up over the mountains of how I do them. I just wanted you to see from closer angle. And here I have robbery, a little bit more water, and then they grow more. What? I wash my brush in the ground, more water, and this is how I get the green ian. I want voice and brush it. Wash it often them brush it to the top again. This just why, and to see the technique more closely, brush your back down. That's fine. You know, it still looks like a read. You can stop now and then wait for it to dry again on our final mountain. I wanted to look like and make sure off the sky and the mountains, because I'm feeling too much like there's too much blood on top. There's not enough blue on the bottom, so I'm adding or pink. Enter blue to make the purple again, and I want the purple to me more warm than in blue thing. Cool. So that means more pink bamboo, says propose a pinkish purple. You do not make sense, and this time I'm not making a greedy mountain. I'm just doing a whole colder voluntarily and you, I'm trying to make it a neighboring. Call it so the way I mean can even collar. Just brush my brush about the mountain and then brush it again, feeling drag it alone now that everything more than about a mountain it's not. Still, it's not dry yet, so you better make sure not to touch before you make this. But I feel like there wasn't enough mountains, so making an even lighter shade of pink, and I'm rushing that on the very, very bad off that first mountain will be painted so you don't have to do this. It shows, because I felt like there wasn't enough mountains. You can keep your mountains, us thing where Please don't do this if you don't want to. But I just want This is a good opportunity opportunity to show how to add Back mountain If you want to, so make sure it's lighter and that you don't touch the back mountain. They should be fine. Now is going to the final step 7. Final Project Part 2: Final Details: Okay, This is a final part where we add the details from bringing this black color. Or you can use pain screen to make the stem will for tree is going to me a sec or a tree or cherry blossom tree wherever you want to call it, and then just mix it really thickly, only right out of the pen. That's how I use it because I want to stand to be very black. I'm holding my brush really lightly. I'm barely even making it touch the paper for this really thin pieces at the end of the stent because none of you noticed. But most tree start with the stem being tick thickest at the bottom. Where is touching the ground and as a guest to leave system skit Really, really tiny, Or should I say branches? I think you should call it gets alot thicker trunk too thin ranches. So right now I'm just going along with it. This is very, very unplanned painting and tree because they're organic. Get on plan every brunch. I just go as with the foot right now. I just want to show you what happens. He hold this bladder with the black is because I accidentally bump my brush against my brush jar was where people my brushes say and create it those black splatters. But we're not gonna freak out because we're just going to go along with that. We're just going to create more spotters later on with a different color paints that ways. It looks like you was the max. It looks like it was actually planned. And we just continue doing or branches us. I explain. There's very lightly touching, and the more you get to the tip off, the tree did lighter. You want to touch the paper with that tip of the brush, and then if you don't have the burst that I have with the very pointy deep at the bottom, you can use like a very tiny a round brush for it, and that should work just fine. And now we're just gonna brush. Wash that all which wash the black completely and use a very, very light pink to do more splatters so they look less accidentally. So I'm grabbing another brush and then topping round brush the house Ah, watery consistency of the pink on the paper. In that way, it creates kind of like the pedals off the tree that are flying around, you know, we're creating pedals are in touch to the steps, and I'm just taking the same the same water and with the pink, of course, and diving it at the end of the branches. Try not to touch them, since they're not fully dry already, as you can see, what happens when touched? Um, just look at the very top corner, where the branches touching the tape. You can see that it kinda mixed with the black, and it created a dark purple made me So it's actually not that bad, but trying not to touch old the brunch. This is your in that just touch one or two as then just increasing intensity. We're going to increase the intensity off all right leaves by adding more pink a wishes randomly adding it in clusters around the branches. We're not worrying too much about, like where to add them, but try. We're trying to add them, like Iran, where the branches on that's are meaningful, and then we're going to add like a purple color, and the way we're going to make a purple color is by using our old hammering and we're gonna use her pink So us, we're doing our leaves. Regis skin Try to splatter some more. He has little last color That we spotter was way too late. You can't really see it so we splatter more darker, dark in there pink color And now this is our purple color. You can make it us propose you want. I just made a very light and I made it so purple Get added more more pink than the blue And that's going to help us because we don't want the blue toe overpower our tree And I just blatter some off that purple on the papers Well, and then I just want you to remember that this purple was made using ultra marring on the pink. You don't have to mixing off course, but you can get one of your colors to be already. Have purple on your palate toe wherever and now we're thinking Okay, how can we help this composition? And we're thinking okay, a bird will look really good right on this spot. And yes, so that's what we're going to do. We're going to grab a lead pencil and maybe look for some images, some pictures we might have taken before and use some to make her birth so low it. I'm gonna put an image off a birder, too. Asana Tuchman Who's class? So look for love and or resource is, or you can either look up online some bird suit fluids that you can use, and here you go. I'm using my lead pencil, but it's very light. You see, I'm not, but I'm no using a lot of strength to make my strokes with this pencil and just call peeing whatever I see. What it's not like an exact much of the picture. It's just OK is basically kinda like enough to make you know it's a bird. But it's not really exactly. If you wanted to be exact, it could actually cut it out and used like an Exacto knife or something and then trace it around it. There's many different techniques to do this, and of course I did not like this position so you can see how I did it so lightly. I can easily erase it. That's the good point off using a light hand when you're making your sketch another good point of use in the light scan when you're making your sketch is that you don't need. When you're done with your painting, you can actually erase the lines that you didn't paint over. So hats amazing to dio another way. You don't know that. I think about it. The first bird, actually pretty good. But this one will do just fine this fall. And I feel like it would get me Is here for you guys. Copy. Um, if you don't have a reference image, you just make, like a c shaped like a crescent shape of the moon and then usually touch the detail part and the little moon, Part mu half moon. Part is the tell and then the head of ships. Like a little old wall with the cone on top kiss. So now we're getting use us, uh, pink and I'm gonna mix it with blue. So there's a good chance for you to see how I made the purple before. I want to use a purple for this, and I want to make it dark because this both serious seal a seal ed bird. So that's why I wouldn't make it dark. Just watch the rest. It's basically just like doing a coloring book, painting inside the lines, making sure I don't stray too far from the line and where the wings and, um, painting in this tiny brush strokes at the very edge to make it look more winglike. Uh, stay Howland doing it some link brushing towards the inside of the wing from the outside Off doing. Does that make sense? I don't know if you can slow down this video, but if it's possible, try and slow it down and then just keep going with the same technique. Really tell I went into how kind of like whether you like. So that's why those strokes are helpful. No, it looks a little boring. So I'm getting full strength of the ultra Marine and just having it around the bird. Yeah, and when that there should be done with our bird and let's just go do still more finishing touches someone has to mount so you can see what I'm doing. And for this I just wanna make more shadowy effects on the trees. So in the very bottom of the trunk worry thing, the shadows will be not the truck, but the branches or the lump of Leafs. I'm just putting more of dark purple under there, and then what we're gonna do, we can add random leaves around the painting. Who's gives? Set the A lotion. That leaves fell from the tree and I just flying around and I did this me has. That's how this whole painting came about. He means that this this mountains are pink, right? Wireless? Think well, because this cherry blossom season they're full of cherry blossoms believes air, falling a little where they're covered and cherry blossoms. So that's that's my thought process to it. So I I invite you to have your saying top processes When you are making your pinky That way , you can come up with painting set. Maybe not other people have thought off where they have, but they're just more fun and expressive and things like that. Oh yeah, and just adding different color stew since we had a different colors to the pedals were doing different cars and yeah, so now we're done. Remember to wait until your painting is fully dry before you do this, because if it's not dry, that's just gonna rip your hard work in her appear painting. And also, when you're taking off your tape, we take We want to take them in like you see how I'm doing a horizontal to the table were ripping out the tape. That's how you want to do it. I I've tried in just ripping and hot lake like strip of walks, you know, like hair walks. It didn't work it. I ripped the paper before, so just be very careful. And you We are done. I'll wait. We're not done. We actually had to erase that pence hole that we use that we didn't cover Tom using the needed racer into a racer. And yet that should be it. We are done. You promise? Thank you for watching. 8. Bonus: 2 Color Gradient Sky Tutorial: que. Although we're not using this technique honor painting. I'm just going to show your real quick how to make. I went on what ingredient? When you have more than one color. And for this I'm using, uh, yellow, colder and a pink color together where the pink color is going to me on top and the yellow color is going to be on the bottom and the grating will look like this. The pink will start stronger on the very top edge of the paper and then to the center, it will turn a little bit less pigment on the yellow is going to be the opposite is going to be Starbury yellow on the very edge of the bottom of the paper. Towards a very light, less pigmented yell on the middle of the paper and on the middle are gonna mix together in behind and create this orange pigment, as you can see on during the same technique that I was using for the previous lessons. When I am leaves one caller and where are we? My brush? Very lightly. I just wanna point out I really can not me into rough on the paper is just very like brush strokes in a horizontal manner, washing it all and doing the same thing. But I want to start from farm off the paper to start taking it up towards the pink. Carry out with the paper just in the same manner. Tank it. Once I stopped at a certain place. I just leave it on my brush. But then I go into the pink all the way and take it all the way to the top of the paper that way and bring hope some of the color. I didn't bring a full pigment. You know how the brush uses color? I said, Do the brush strokes because it keeps depositing that pigment in. And then the pigment gives being less and less on my brush. You really doesn't affect the pink that much just gives it a nice peachy color. And then I wanted to be more in private mint, so I, ADM or pink on top of what was already there and bring it all the way down. They held I loose pigment, I say go down. So this time I went down all the way to the yellow and that's it. We're done with their greedy in college. Now I want to show you how dare pick your colors to decreed it. More importantly, I want to show you which color is not to pick. So you don't want to pick colors that I right opposite on the color wheel, for example, you pick it read And, uh, Green is going to create like a great collar that you don't really want. You're rather pick. You pick a blue and in ah, yellow, you're going to create a green. And if you're going for that, just go for it. You pick a blue and I read you make a a purple, so colors oils are very helpful. But just remember so so we don't get too technical. All you have to remember, it's not to pick. Colors are right opposite to each other, cause any just creates kind of like a muddy color to it. Just remember 9. Thank You! Please Share Your Projects!: thank you for completing the Claus you have learned What on Letten went on dry techniques on how to create ingredients. And hopefully you have this beautiful exercise to show for it. And then finally you should have this final piece. Please share on social media or on here on the class project section. I do love to see them. Thank you again and I hope to see you in my next skill share class.