Illustrating With Pen and Watercolor: Basic Techniques | Anna Perez | Skillshare

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Illustrating With Pen and Watercolor: Basic Techniques

teacher avatar Anna Perez, Illustrator, Designer, Seamstress

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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 (24m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Planning Your Portrait

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Pencil

    • 5. Pen

    • 6. Watercolor

    • 7. Wrapping Up

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About This Class

In this class, we'll be creating a unique illustration using pen and watercolor as a mixed medium. We'll go over materials, tips on planning your portrait, and the techniques that I use to create my illustrations. This is a fun and rewarding medium, and I'm so excited to be sharing it with you!

Meet Your Teacher

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Anna Perez

Illustrator, Designer, Seamstress


Hey guys, I'm Anna Perez. I love to (and try to) do just about anything creative. My background is in Fine Art, but my true loves are sewing and illustrating.

A handful of my illustrations have been published in the children's book, "Little Me," by Marka Sawyer. I share some of my techniques in my Skillshare class "Illustrating with Pen and Watercolor."

I've been sewing recreationally for almost 20 years, and professionally for the past five, working as both a prototypist and manufacturer. I teach a class on how to make your own fitted denim jeans. My dream is to one day produce my own line of bags. I also make a specialty plush toy called "Seabear".

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1. Introduction: I'm Anna Perez and among many other things, I'm an artist and illustrator. I've been drawing for a really long time, and it's still one of my favorite things came into illustrating kind of by accident, and that led me to my crone and art line. The's pens are waterproof and fade proof, which really makes them perfect for mixing with something like water color. I ended up using this technique to illustrate the Children's book Little Me by Marcus Sawyer. I like to put a lot of detail into my work, and this technique really makes that a whole lot easier. In this class, we're going to create unique portrait using pen and watercolor as a mixed medium. We'll go over materials and the process that I use to create my illustrations level of complexity and detail is really up to you and what you're comfortable with. This is all about finding your own unique illustrating style 2. Planning Your Portrait: When you're planning out your illustration, give yourself plenty of references to build from. Flip through magazines, follow other artists on social media and keep a mood board going. Sometimes I find inspiration in street art, crazy makeup, weird hairstyles or even fabric prints Never completely copy someone else's work. Instead, create a collage from different sources. Or better yet, take your own photo for this illustration. I took pieces from two selfies of me actually wearing this flower Bow Hawk helmet thing I made and just tweaked some of the details for this one. I took the makeup from one photo, the hair and hands from another, and incorporated a Marimekko fabric print for the dress. You want to include plenty of movement to keep your illustration interesting, but this illustration from the book Little Me. I started with a photo of a smiling girl and put some movement in the hair and then took photos of my own hands in the positions I wanted and use those as a reference. Inspiration is everywhere. Once you've found some great references, it's time to get started 3. Materials: The first thing you're going to need is watercolor paper. I'm going to be using this nine by 12 inch, £120 paper from Kansan. It's kind of mid wait a manageable size and not too expensive. Really great. If you're just starting out for this project, I'll be using two different pens. Microns and Art line. My go to sizes for my crones are the zero to which has a 00.3 millimeter tip and 05 with a 50.45 millimeter tip. The number two is what I start with to do my first outlining and the tiny detail to a slightly bigger size in this case, uh, the 0.2 millimeter of art line. And if I have some really thick lines, I go to the 0.5 millimeter in art line. It's a good idea to have several pens handy, just in case one runs out on day, also in different sizes. Thes air about $3 per pen. So if you're gonna go with one, I would recommend the Micron zero to, and then, if you need another 11 size up from that. But these pens usually last me a while. thes two brushes I bought in Estonia for the equivalent of a few dollars their generic. But they do the job quite nicely. Um, the one thing you just want to look for is that the bristles air soft and fine and that they don't bend or snap off easily. These brushes are both synthetic. You really don't need to invest in some high end brushes unless you're going to be painting quite regularly. Thes should be just fine. I've been using and loving thes Reeves fine watercolors. You confined them for about 10 bucks, though I've seen them cheaper. Um, these last me quite a while. You really don't need a whole lot when you're painting on this scale. And the cool thing about watercolors is that you can let them dry out on your palate and then revive them with a few drops of water when we have this self cleaning gum erasure. This is so perfect because it effectively and cleanly erases without leaving behind those smudges or eraser crumbs that you have to wipe away with her hand to clean it. You just pull it apart and squish it back together. Also, the cool thing about this is that you can mold the ends to create a little point. If you're erasing a smaller area, Um, and you want to be more precise. This is what it looked like when I bought it. You're also going to need a pencil, a sharpener, something to put your paints on. I'm using a plate, a cup of cold water, some paper towels, a few more, some masking tape and a flat board to tape your paper, too. 4. Pencil: to begin tear at your sheet of watercolor paper and lay it down on your drawing board. Today I'm using the back side of my paper because it's smoother, and I don't want the textured surface to interfere with my pen. Work firmly taped down all four sides with your masking tape, making sure the paper remains completely flat. Taping your paper down helps reduce warping when it gets wet. If you plan on painting all the way up to the borders, it's important that the tape is even and totally sealed all the way around. What I'm illustrating, I like to keep my references handy, either on my phone or my laptop. This allows me to zoom in and out to see the details without straining my eyes, and also gives me true color, which I might not get with the print out. The reference I'll be using is this photo I took of my cousin in a candy inspired outfit. I like all the angles in here that hands the hair, the colors and the candy. They all add interest. I'm going to start by quickly laying out some basic shapes just to map out where the head the arms and the legs are going to be. This doesn't have to be perfect. A quick sketch is fine. Next, I'm going to start adding some detail. I always start with the face. It's kind of the focus of my illustrations, and everything else is usually built around the face. Remember the rule of dividing up the face. The eyes are at the halfway point. The bottom of the nose is halfway between the eyes and the chin, and the mouth is halfway between the nose and the chin. Take your time when you're drawing the hands in the hair, hands and hair can really make or break an illustration. Now I'm going to start laying down some more deliberate lines. The's air, the lines. You're going to go over in pen, so make sure they land where you want them. Instead of drawing one salted line for the eyebrows, try shaping the eyebrows with a bunch of smaller line. This will help soften them when you go over them in pen. When you're drawing the hair, think of it in sections. Don't try to draw every single strand. Instead, treat it like you would hands or fingers drawing intentional shapes. And remember, the more lines you put down in an area, the darker that area will appear when you add the pen. So when I get to the ends of the hair, I'm not going to add so much detail. I'm just going to imply where the hair ends with little lines that are farther apart for the long string of candy. I'm mapping out where I wanted to hang, then just quickly outlining the shapes and one go. It looked a little bare in the middle, so I added another strand. Now that you have your sketch weaken, start outlining and pen. 5. Pen: take your finest tip pen. In this case, I'm using my size 02 micron and begin lightly tracing over your pencil lines. I like to start with a more demanding, detailed area, usually the face, because they tend to lose my ability to focus over time. Keep your reference handy and, as always, pay attention to the hands and the hair. Don't worry about spending too much time trying to make your lines perfect. For now, you're just laying the groundwork for the next layer of pen. Try to keep your strokes organic as you shape the hair one segment at a time. Focus first on the pieces in the front and then worry about the background. Remember not to get lost in trying to draw every single strand of hair. Instead, focus on the impression of the hair and think of it in segments. Once you've lightly outlined the entire illustration, use your gummy razor to remove all the pencil marks from the paper. This is my favorite part. Now I'm gonna take a slightly larger tip, pen my 0.2 millimeter art line and slowly build on the first layer. Take your time with this step to vary the width of your lines. Very lines will give the illusion of depth and make your illustration look less like a page from a coloring book. Slowly build up your lines. You can always add more pen later, but once it's on paper, it's not going anywhere. I'm trying to give this scarf the appearance of linen, so I'm gonna roughing up the texture bit by keeping the lines kind of jagged and putting a lot of creases in the middle of the fabric for the string of candy. I'm just going to dark in one side of each piece to give them a little more depth. Once you're satisfied with your outline, it's time to move on toe watercolor. 6. Watercolor: go ahead and lay your colors out on your palate. The only one I don't usually have out is black because it tends to muddy my other colors. Instead, I tried to create my shadows using complementary colors. I'm going to start by mixing a warm beige for the skin. This is going to be a really thin light layer that I'll slowly build on. First went on Lee the section of the paper that you want to cover. Wedding One section first helps create one even layer of color throughout that section, and your paint won't bleed out into other areas. Then you can add your first layer of color. This was a little pale for me, so I'm adding a bit more red and yellow to the mix. Go ahead and do the same for the rest of the skin. If you want to lift a bit of color off your paper, you can re wet the area and firmly dabbed with a clean paper towel. Now I'm going to start to slowly add shadows to my areas of skin tone to darken my skin tone. All mix in some blue and a little bit more red again I try not to use black or brown because they tend to muddy my palate and make my colors look dull. Always add the shadows first to the darkest areas and work toward the highlights. This way, you have more control over how dark you want to go. Remember, it's easier to add more color than to take it away. - Now I'm laying down the bass player for the scarf. Whenever you're painting wet on wet, you want to make sure the surrounding sections are completely dry so they don't bleed through. I'm gonna leave the scarf areas to dry so I can add the shadows wet on dry for the candy. I'll start by painting all the yellows than all the blues and so on. Just a quick layer of color. I can add some shadow later, after that has dried to paint the detail on the skirt. I'm going to paint wet on dry so my color's stayed crisp and separate. Flat edge of this brush really helps me get some nice thin lines. From here. I'm gonna go ahead and fill in the legs. - There are a couple ways you can add shadow painting wet on dry will create a sharp line like this . If you want a more blended shadow, you can add a bit of water to the paper and use a clean paper towel toe. Lift some of the color as I add shadow to the scarf. I'm going to gradually keep darkening my mixture and work from the darkest areas to the highlights. I'm going to let my paper dry periodically so I can keep painting. What on dry with the hair. I'm going to focus most of the darker color at the top of the head and around the face and gradually fade to an almost white near the ends. Same as with the scarf. Work light to dark, keeping the parts of the hair you want to appear in the forefront lighter than the rest. You can keep adding to your illustration, but once you're satisfied with it, make sure the paper is completely dry before you peel away the tape. 7. Wrapping Up: Once you've added all the color you want to your illustration and your paper is completely dry. Slowly and gently peel away the tape from all four sides. Congratulations. Now you can hang and admire your work. Now it's your turn. Find something that inspires you. Artwork, fashion photo or even your favorite selfie. Create your own illustration and don't forget to post it in the project gallery. Feel free to ask me anything, and I'll be happy to help where I can. I hope you enjoyed this class and I can't wait to see what you all come up with.