How to paint watercolor leaves | Zakkiya Hamza | Skillshare

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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

7 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials overview

    • 3. Mark making technique

    • 4. Styles of leaves Part 1

    • 5. Styles of leaves Part 2

    • 6. Final class project

    • 7. Conclusion and final thoughts

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About This Class


Welcome to "How to paint watercolor leaves"! Leaves are the first step to creating beautiful florals as they are one of the major support elements of a composition. In this class, you'll learn how to approach different watercolor leaves using the simple technique of mark-making. You'll learn how to paint a basic leaf first and then build on your leaf painting skills from up there. After you've mastered the individual leaves, you'll be able to build a composition on your own. For the final class project, you'll learn how to build a painting using the simple basic leaf to create a complex composition.

You will learn

  • Mark Making technique
  • Basic leaf
  • 8 different types of leaves
  • Final composition using leaves

I hope you're all geared up to learn because I'm super excited to teach. Get your paints ready and let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Zakkiya Hamza

Illustrator,Designer,Fitness newbie


I'm Zakkiya Hamza, an illustrator, and designer based in Doha, Qatar. I am the founder of Inkstruck Studio which is a resource-based website for watercolors. I manage a full-time art business and I've done countless art projects for clients around the world. I'm from the beautiful state of Kerala in India but I live in sunny Doha with my husband and 2 children.

I'm primarily a watercolor artist and this medium was one that I gave up so many times only to make it my passion and now my full-time profession. I'm trained in oil colors and was doing dry media for quite a number of years when watercolors made an appearance. I never imagined it would be something that would stick but here am I, ever so thankful.

I love to teach and after having taught over 30 in-person works... See full profile

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1. Introduction: - Hi . Extract studio on as a way. Yes. It has been a passion of mine. Local stations in today's class. Will you help me? Different kinds of please started. Basically. Make sure you will. I told me driving East us. So let's get started. 2. Materials overview: first, we can have a look at the materials that we need for today's class. The first thing you need is some watercolor paper. I like to use 100% carton watercolor paper on for this class. I'll be using the Arches 300 GSM cold pressed paper, which is my absolute favorite at my goto. Baber. This is a basic a court press texture, but it's like it's a more prominent and looks really good when the baiting is done on, the next thing you'll need are a couple of brushes, so these are my goto brushes on Duh. These are three different Russia's in size eight. Now this is one of my favorites. It's one of those pressures which are super cheap, but it really does the work for me. Um, these two brushes. One is the Princeton Heritage Number eight, and the other one is the Silver Blackwell Freshness. So the black hole in Russia's has a pointy Stewart tip to it than the the Princeton and the CBO that I have eso. The marks that you wanna make on paper are going to be different, but these three are my go to a size. Russia's I also like to use a numbers express. This is a very, very used Winsor and Newton brush. As you can see, the does the skin is flaking off. But this is again another place that I like to use. The silver black velvet number to brush is great for small details on. I also like to use a number 20 brush. This is the Princeton snap on disagreed for larger paintings. What I also have is a knife and this I like to use for my block That is the actions block and I like to take the data from done with the painting. We're also going to use mostly greens on browns and yellows in this painting and just this class on. So we have a couple of colors that I've taken from the from the Majella mission. That's the pain that I'm gonna use. But you can use any pain that you have in hand can use anything that you haven't. This is the site of what used mostly because these are my quick Eliza, which are mostly what we will use today. I want to run through the colors and using Today one is the greenish yellow permanent yellow light lemon, yellow, yellow ca. One went. I keep around until morning deep very you hooker's green when I green olive green submarine and you don't need to have all these color specifically just some beautiful greens and yellows that you can use in your painting. We'll also need a jar off water just in Saudi. A precious I'm just going to use one job today because most it's mostly going to be cool colors. I usually used to jazz off water to rinse out my cool and warm colors, but for today's class, we just need one. If you're not using a block, I would suggest using a painter state that went to state down the sights of the paper so that the paper does not walk and finally was going to use a paper towel. Just heard about the excess paint on your brush. So this is what we need today. Let's get started 3. Mark making technique: I want to point out a few things before I begin explaining mark picking in this class, I won't be focusing on the techniques of blending, layering, color mixing. This will need a whole separate class on its own. This last focuses are blue sky style off water elevated, and you may find that my technique to be similar or different from others. This is just my table, how I paint leaves. And so it is. And so just to say that it's not you, Levy to do it now about my making, to learn how to paint leaves, you need to know what Mark making is. So let's hit. Know what it is on. And that may explain to you before I start showing you now mark meeting. As the name suggests, this is just simply making marks on paper. What this will do with this will help you get to know your brushes on improvements, muscle memory. I'd also like I also like toe hold my brush at a certain distance from the tip. Now what does help me do is that it has make lead confident strokes, so even if it depends on what you're comfortable with, Some people may be comfortable by holding the brush at the edge, but what I like to do is keep it in a certain distance so that I can create nice, lovely strokes with this on that helped me so that the brushes I'm gonna show you obviously , are the round brushes that people use today. And that's the number eight Number two and number 20. Okay, so starting with the number two, no, As you can see that, IHS, you can see that there is a tip on abroad, a bit off a brush. So using the tip, we can create absolutely 10 lines. So see how 10 I could go by morning brush like this? No, obviously, is the number to brush. So when I put it down, it's going to come V eight, take strokes, but obviously not plastic as what you would get with number eight and number 20. I assure you the same thing with a number eight Russia as well. So using the tip, I can still read a very thin line with it so we can see that my lines are still thin. But the difference is when they push it down. I get a broader stroke as compared to this one here. Did you see how I think I could do with this On with very the pressure I could go meteo Smaller, Sicker. So it's just the way off how you apply pressure to your precious that you get the interest now with the number 20 brush again. Even create a release in stroke with it. And I didn't see this Edges. The typist pointed to the same. They hold my brush. I didn't hear a strong with it. But when it push it down, obviously there was not enough pigment. So when I push it down, I think really dealing broads. Nice stroke. See how broad that IHS? Yeah. So some of the exercises that you can do what Mark making is you can just create said those dogs, Confidence, drugs. Can you see how these lions are so straight on? If I had any certain kind off inhibition violent painting, you'd see that my my legs might waver on. This is because I hope we don't have the confidence to do those trucks. So as you keep painting, you will get that kind of muscle memory. And also he does take 10 strokes that you want to create, but just one single push pull off the brush. No, Obviously different guys of Russia's have different it. Just do it. I'm just gonna show you one brush, one different brush so that you could see how it is different from the pressure. This is an angle brush. You'll see that I can still create 10 lines with Yes, but my stroke is going to be a lot Mosquera as compared to the wrong brushes here. So this is just a way of getting to know your brushes on. I love to get a new brush and just do the strokes so that I can get a nice feel of how the brush will work. Now that we've learned now, Mark making, let's get out of doing leaves. 4. Styles of leaves Part 1: Now that is one Mr Mark making. We're gonna start painting leaves. I'm gonna show you a symbol leave, which is similar to one of the leaves. Here, let's you have to do that. You're gonna load your brush with enough pigment so that that is so that it's easy to work on paper. As we mentioned in mob making, you're going to start using the tip off the brush to create a simple step to stop that. Then you're going to push down your brush on one side, slowly moving upwards in a curve direction and then pulling it up as you reach the end. I will do the same thing on the other side as well. Notice that I'm gonna start. We should get down on I'm on a little bit of white space in the middle, and this is going to be almost as if it's parallel to the white space that once you start eating the end, you're gonna start pulling it up and then you're going to join this. Anyone ever get to a point? This is how you create a simple what if we leave now? I'm gonna use the same. Okay. I want to show you how to create a cluster off. Lose when I use a night occur like here. And when you use a plaster off something similar to this one here, but not exactly the same. Just gonna shoes my imagination and I'm going to show you what So when I start with painting this door now, the stock went do one big stroke. You see that? How confidently and move my brush on. And this is the good thing about how you learn mark making and how even applied in baby leaves. So afraid road After I painted the one stroke here, I'm going to start doing smaller leaves. So I'm also going to add a little off space in between. I'm gonna pull out the smaller step against the ability that when push, just put it up and bring you to a point the same way it wanted to into the other side. This with No. When I walk more DACA and then this side and then finally I'm gonna bring it to an end. You'll also notice that I've not left all white faces on everything, but the hole is going to be okay. What? You could also do is take very little pigment on your brush on create interest, but I didn't light leaves on either side. This will bring out said character in your basic on. On the whole, it's going to look really nice. If you do, the lighter wants me. Also add a big off darker pigmented it Jessica. It was a bit off interest again. It's the same leave is just that amusing? A small of Russia amused Number 21 Russian This and number eight year, and that's what makes the difference here. Next, I'm gonna show you a simple rules. Leave just similar to this one. Here. You'll see that there is a sort of jagged edge characteristic to this, and that's what we're going to create here again. You was my larger brush with number 20. I don't want to add a big off brown as well. Mr Given that really deep, dark color. So again. And when he does the stalk and then I went to one side. When you're shorter, leave here because I want to show you how to get that characteristic. You just have to push it and you put it further before we did the previous one. So get this year now as the pain is still, but it would pull out the edges. You'll see that I'm gonna use the tip of my brush to put out treatment. I have seen that a boy and I'm using the curve space off the leave as my guy do direct the straws here. I want to. Still the same thing on the other side is when and I'm going to do the stroll with units. Now, one thing to keep in mind when you do the edges is that you are never going through poorly . I just in a direction that is not cups. You don't going to have it 40 to each other is going to give a very natural look to it. So you end up with something that is not does not look good on paper. So you'll see the difference between this leave and this leave here. This one The edge looks a lot harsher than this one here. So what you need to keep in mind is that when you do the you're going to call your sure looks as when when you bend it so you know you go straight go called, but also for the direction of the girl here, extinct we will do is do this kind of leave structure here. You see that here? You have since talks all around on. You have smaller and larger strokes here. We're getting us some explosive stocks took. He had this kind of thief again, going back to mine. But age, phone brush. I want to go a bit more to the blue. Uh, and here, So I need a bit of blue to it. So next thing someone draw What? A draw Stop, Which is one No step you and then you'll see that the the leaf here Centrepoint is a bit further away from the main stem. So I'm going to start from here, and then I'm gonna go out with someone who starred painting. I need to see that I'm doing quick strokes. Quick motions with my brush and I'm leaving white space, but not on on. And some of the stalks are larger and some of the strokes are going to be. You see, I have no more than about this year and that's because it sort of gives a character do it. Although it probably is not as similar as what you see on the in essence, and that's okay because the only thing we going toe while painting in this kind of style is I am trying to get the catcher off the entire leave rather than just creating every single battle or every single leaf. Right now, I don't go back a bit off yellow, just one creating a bit of interest on duh. You can take a different of hating the way you like, so you don't need to use the same colors that I do this. Keep in mind that Mark making an expressive brushstrokes will give you this kind off composition. 5. Styles of leaves Part 2: next. I wouldn't do a show. You this kind of leave here? You've got about five Elise, which are on either side off it and then use more leaves, which are going downwards. So let's see how you do this. I'm going to start by feeding this down, and then I'm going to pull my brush to create the kind of shook you'll see that it's got a kind of cat with the edge here. So I'm going to move my brush around to see if I could get that. Put it down. Now what do the other side saying? He was going to be shorter. Then it would go a bit one dog here. And when you put this one to create that leave also add some of the dark elements here so that it looks like it's connected. Go to the other side. I'm gonna do the same thing here as well, and then make this believe here. That's about the limit. And finally even do these two please taking out with also going to add a bit of this brown in a few places so that it looks uniforms. It's got all blend together and give a video. Nice in front. Next. I'm gonna try and create a heart shaped leave. We don't try doing this one. I'm gonna show you how to move your brush to create this kind of shape. So I wanna start. You get by drawing the step. Now, what I'm gonna do is I'm going to push my brush and put it up. Three point. Yes, going to do with a payment. And then I'm going to come back and want to create that she get. I'm leaving this texture as it is here so that I have a sort of character to it. I like that kind off picture that has formed without me even trying to someone like that. And then we go back here, I'm going to make it a bit more. I also think it means a big morning, Dr. Thank you. And some only just que kind of got to do it. Next. I'm going to do a simple a heart shaped one. But this one has a ward round the top on Also kind of texture stood. So let's see how we could do that. So for that nobody use. So no one understands that would use amid green And here when a door is stuck, Can I change my bus to a bigger one so that it's easy for you to move. So you see how it's easier toe by using larger brush? I say least the this point here, I'm going to go and stop. They're gonna come back here. Then I'm gonna go. That I found it. No, it also may have been I want to try getting that edge character that I was talking about Gordy s. I'm going to just pull it out. It's a small publish for that. Go back on. I would just use these small strokes, allowed its trolls and then put it outwards to plead that kind off. I'm also going to add a bit off, um, ways to this one. Big us. It's because I don't mean to this one as well. Just by pulling out some pigment, we just put out some pigment just enough and just a tiny bit of bone. Not everything. Just get that event and that's it. Next leave. I'm going to show you. Is this one logging via on? This is just to show how I can stretch out or extend my stroke to create this. Leave with one easy stroke. So let's do that now. So I'm gonna take doctor and space. He has this big first step, and then I'm going to push my brush to put it up. I attended, and I've given Abydos a curved or a video, but I've edge to it because the leaf calls for and something that is a big, more of gardening. And then I want to know about the other side, do the same. It's what that's it and that's it. So it's very similar to the broader the leaf that we did in the beginning. But it's just that it's almost longing to dump aside. So we didn't like less than a minute created one. Simply now, the next leave, I'm going to show you. Is this foreign here? So for this fun, I'm going to use a number to brush on. That's because the strokes are smaller. I'm just gonna show you one part of this and let's see how to do that. So with that going to do it like a septic smaller brush, Andi, I'm going to first being my means. Dim did and when you have these smaller stems that extend outwards. So let's go that now I'm gonna go back to the first, smallest em, and then I'm gonna do these very year US strokes. But I'm just putting my right out to create belief. Just say when the other side as well. So I'm just going to slowly and I need that please like that. And then I wouldn't do that with that. It's just to leave his but sure different kinds of leaves. We're gonna go ahead on and learn how to do a composition off a simple leave composition. So that's just gonna include leaves and no flannels. Are you going to see how you do that? 6. Final class project : for the final class project. I'm gonna show you how to create overall composition leaves. I've gone ahead and tape down my block, and this is not to keep it in place, but because I like to get a nice, crisp border. Do it. So let's get started. I just use the simple leave that we know right in the beginning on I'm just going in leading cholesterol, different leaves. I'm going to go a bit more 91. So this is again, I'm just used the amount of pigment on increase the amount of border. See how thank you like this, don't me. I read about difficult. We ask, because this because I've been doing this, why do well on a definite that must memory that's required? So that's why you find that you will probably find that we'll be doing this for a long time when have more confident strokes with their bush. This spot has dried a bit already. Something go ahead. They had see how I'm not wanted about the shape of the leaves or how you know how really looks. All I try to do is get sudden character, do it, and that's more than enough when meeting a very abstract painting stuff. - See how this how I painted this leave in a way that it's coming, Um, as if we could see it from the front. And so it's going to go smaller. It's gonna go smaller as released, which, yeah, but that's you. - But we'll stop right here. And I think I like the composition that IHS that's created right now on. I'm happy with it so you can see that a lot off different layers to this one leaves strong once they believe. But I have created differently as by varying the amounts of water. So this is what you're going to do in the press project. You may not know that do the same thing, but you can do any kind of competition that you like to resist. An example to show you what can be created by using just one its composition 7. Conclusion and final thoughts: So in conclusion, I'd like to show you different examples of leaves that have done earlier. This is just to show you how once in believe you can create a complex composition such as this in less than 15 minutes on, I know that we do have sped up, but in real time I took about 15 minutes to do this on. You know this and it actually looks. It's so complicated because it's got a lot of layers, but in reality, I not keep any kind off direction in my goodness. The next one I'm going to show you is this bomb leave pattern, which I did by creating layers over the years. On this again is another example of how one and you can be repeated do create a nice composition. The next one is a simple painting with just just a big broad leaf with somebody's again. I like the composition here because it's going this a bit of white space on. I like the direction on the flu in which it goes. This is done on cardio people, so the diction is kind of different from the Fabbiano or the arches on the next one would assure is this leave here? These are just created by pushing, pulling my brush out on a different directions at this assembly toe, I said. I'm sure locally unbelief. The next one I'm going to show is this one here again, different people, but believes that quite similar to the one we did today with flowers. And I like the composition in which it's going in different directions and there's a bit of white space in between elder sites. The next one I'm going to show you is this one here. What is one of my favorite compositions on? The reason is that it's just a way off, showing that you style is not something that needs to be done for everything thing. This is quite different from the style I did earlier on. I drew the I must say Leaf invented ended a nice background, really, the kind of blending that's happening here on day. I've also used a bit of white gentlemen on it, so it's just something that I've done earlier. I wanted to show on. This is what in my sketchbook, which again followers a bit of board loose painting, plus a bit off layering are blending and overly so. Here again, the composition is it's not complete, but the composition is in a body a flowing manner on. I love that. I could create this kind of depth by using the colors here. So I hope you enjoy the class today. And hopefully I'll see a lot more projects from you on. How you gonna create different kind of composition by the leaves that I showed you in this class? You can share your projects here, or you can share them on my instagram account. But by dragging me out instructed, you are with the hashtag instruct economy to see what you do. Thank you so much for watching my video on and hopefully we'll be back with.