Ink & Watercolor Botanicals on Your iPad in Procreate + FREE Watercolor Brushes | Liz Kohler Brown | Skillshare

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Ink & Watercolor Botanicals on Your iPad in Procreate + FREE Watercolor Brushes

teacher avatar Liz Kohler Brown, artist | designer | teacher | author

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

8 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. Ink & Watercolor Botanicals on Your iPad in Procreate

    • 2. Downloads Password + Setting Up

    • 3. Image Sources and Tracing

    • 4. Tracing a Monstera Leaf

    • 5. Adding Text

    • 6. Adding Color

    • 7. Building a Menagerie Part 1

    • 8. Building a Menagerie Part 2

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About This Class


In this class, I'll show you how to create ink and watercolor botanical illustrations.   I’ll show you every step of my process from sourcing images to composing a framed quote illustration.  You'll learn:

  • how to create freehand drawings and add shadow and depth to your lines.
  • how to trace a photograph of a plant to create an ink illustration.
  • how to find images that are free for personal and commercial use.
  • how to paint watercolors in Procreate.

In the class, we'll use one of our ink drawings to frame a quote.  Then we’ll add color to the drawing and create a realistic multi-shade watercolor effect.  Next we’ll combine a bunch of flowers, leaves, and grasses to create a botanical menagerie that you could use to frame text like a quote, a birth announcement, an invitation, or any other project you come up with.

I created some watercolor brushes and a watercolor texture paper that I’ll share with you as a free download when you take this class and I’ll show you how to use the brushes to create beautiful ink and watercolor illustrations.

All you need to take this course is an iPad and a stylus.  I like to use the Apple pencil because it's pressure sensitive, but you can use any stylus or even your finger.

Click here to get the brushes, paper, and image source links.  The password for the downloads is on the slide shown for 10 seconds at the very beginning of video 2.

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Liz Kohler Brown

artist | designer | teacher | author

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1. Ink & Watercolor Botanicals on Your iPad in Procreate: Hi everyone. I'm Liz. I'm an artist, illustrator, and teacher. Today, I want to show you how to paint ink and watercolor botanicals on your iPad. I'll show you every step of my process from sourcing images to composing a finished piece. I created some watercolor brushes and a watercolor texture paper that I'll share with you as a free download when you take this class. First, we'll practice some free hand drawing and look at some options for adding shadow and depth. Next, we'll cover a tracing method that allows you to turn a picture of a plant into an ink drawing. I'll show you a bunch of free image sources that you can use and show you how I use my own photographs to create ink tracings. Next, we'll use one of our ink drawings to frame a quote, then we'll add color to the drawing and create a realistic multi-shade watercolor effect. Next, we'll combine a bunch of flowers, leaves, and grasses to create a botanical menagerie that you could use to frame texts like a quote, a birth announcement, an invitation, or any other project you come up with. All you need to take this class is your iPad and the stylus. I like to use the Apple pencil because it's pressure-sensitive, but you could use any stylus or even your finger. Let's get started. 2. Downloads Password + Setting Up: You can find all of the materials that I mentioned in this class in the About section of the class page, and here is the password that you'll need to access that page. The first thing we'll do is, go over how I set up my canvas and the tools I'll be using today. I'll open Procreate and create a new document. Let's do 10 by 10 inches just as an example. I'm using 300 DPI. I always use a texture paper to create a more realistic watercolor feel. I'll insert a photo, and this paper is one that you can download from the class downloads and you can find all of these downloads in the About section of the class. I'll click the expand button to make this fit the paper. Then if you look at that Layer, it's set to N for normal. I'm going to click that and move it to Multiply so that the watercolor blends nicely with the paper. Then I'll reduce the Opacity a little bit just to lighten up the paper. I'll only be using a few brushes today. Two are from Procreate. They come with the program in there from the Inking and the Sketching section. It's the Technical Pen and the Monoline Pen. I just drag these into a new set that I created called Botanicals, and then the three watercolor brushes that you can download from the course downloads. If you're not sure how to import brushes into Procreate, or if you feel a little bit rusty with Procreate or you've never used it before, you may want to start with my first class. That's a little more beginner friendly and I go slowly through all of the basics. Whereas in this class, we'll really just be practicing this one technique. You may want to start with the beginner class if this one seems a little bit fast for you. To get started, let's go over a few different ways of drawing Botanicals. I'm going to grab my technical pen, and let's zoom in and make this a little bit bigger. I'm going to grab a pure black. Then make sure I'm on a new Layer that's set to Normal. That's a good size. I'm going to draw just a simple leaf shape here. Let's give it a stem, and I'm always trying to preserve some kind of curves. I'm curving up and then down and then around again. There's never a straight line with these. If you make your line all the way through the stem like that, sometimes it can be a little easier to keep that curve. I'm going to try to make this smaller leaf coming off the end quite a bit smaller than the larger one. That's just one example of a leaf. Let's make a slightly larger stem here. Then I'm going to duplicate this layer a few times, so we can look at a few different ways of shading this same leaf. The first option is just to leave your outlines as they are, and not go any further. The second option that I like to do is to go over with a second outline on every line that you've already made and you can see how that just adds a little bit of depth to your line. It creates some variation in the line, and gives just a little bit more depth and darkness than the original outline. Let's do that for this piece as well and I'm only doing the leaves on this one and leaving this stem alone and then we can add some simple veins. These are really wide veins and I'm trying to make these curved, because if you look at a real leaf, they are curved. They are not straight in most types of leaves. If you're not sure, you can always have a leaf nearby to use as inspiration. There's three different options. Let's go a little bit darker. I'm going to outline everything here with a darker line and then let's go through and put a lot of veins on this one. That's one other option. We could do the same idea. Rather than doing it on both sides of the leaf, we could just do it on one side of the leaf. You can see how you can get a lot of different effects with the same shape. You may want to play around with a few different options for these to see what kind of style you like. One last option that I'll add in here is just adding some lines for shading. I'm adding some varied lines. I'm trying to make each one a little bit different in terms of height and I'm letting these be curved so they show the shape of the leaf. You don't have to do this on the entirely leaf. You could do it on just one side. They don't have to be the same direction on each leaf. This one I did. The line's up and this one I did the line's down. That's just a few options, but you can also look at a lot of illustrations and see many other options. 3. Image Sources and Tracing: If drawing free hand feels a little bit overwhelming to you, or if you're just not comfortable drawing yet, you may want to start with tracing. It's a really good way to get started, and to just study plants, and to take some pictures that you've already taken, and turn them into illustrations. You can use your own pictures, and I definitely recommend going outside, finding some plants you like, and taking some pictures and trying this out. But if you just don't have access to that right now, you can also use a lot of websites. I'm going to give you four different sources for copyright-free images that you can use for tracing. The first one is Unsplash. If you go to the site, I'm just going to type leaves. You can see you could get a great leaf here, a lot of different types, different shapes, and sizes, and orientations. This would be a great one for some really complex veins. This is a great site, I really recommend this one. You can trace these pictures like we're about to do, and it's totally fine to use these. The photographers have agreed that these can be used for any use. The next tab here is Flickr, and this is the Flickr Commons. These are images that are okay for personal and commercial use. They're usually more than 100 years old, so they've gone into the public domain. If we go to this page for example, and type a botanicals, you'll get a ton of great old illustrations, and photographs, and a lot of different pictures to work from. I'm going to go ahead and grab this one, I really like these flowers here. I'm going to zoom in on the flower that I like, so I can be sure that it's the exact orientation that I need. I like this flower because it's not being overlapped by any of these other flowers. It's got a little bit cutting off here, but I can make that work in the illustration. I'm going to go ahead and take a screenshot by pressing the start button and the power button. Then let's open Procreate. I'm going to merge all my leaf layers and just make those invisible. Let's insert that photo that we just took. You do want to size this before you do your illustration. When I have my final piece, if I want my flower to be small, then I want to do my drawing at that size. Whereas if you want to make a really big flower, then you want to do your drawing at that size. You wouldn't want to draw a small flower and then have to increase the size of it, because it will mess up the pixels in your drawing. If you take it from really small to really big, it'll become really blurry. Here is where I like to just take a minute, and think about exactly what size I want to work with. That size looks good, it's about a medium range there for this piece of paper. I'm going to open that layer and reduce the opacity a little bit, and then create a new layer. Grab my technical pen, and then test my size. That looks good. I've got a new layer set to normal. I'm just going to go through this whole flower, and I'm going to take a really loose tracing. I'm not trying to perfectly mimic this flower. I'm just trying to get the overall shapes, then later on if I want to play with the shading, I can. But this is just really getting the proportions of this flower and making sure I understand how this flower is overlaid with the petals, and how each petal overlaps on the other one. You can see how this is a great way to study plants and practice your shape making. That's usually the hardest part when you start drawing, is just thinking, "I don't know what shape of flower should be." This is a really good way to get started with that, and get more comfortable with drawing botanicals. I'll go ahead and speed up my video here, and then we'll take a look at the final product. Let's take that original image away and take a look. You can see how I really tried to vary the line. I started out in the center with thinner lines, and then I got out to the edge and those got thicker as I'm worked. That's one option. I also tried to make sure the line was varied as I created it, so you can see this line goes very thick to very thin. Little things like that can add a lot of variation to the piece. You could keep shading and working with this, or you could just go ahead and start playing around with it, and then later add some color. I'm going to duplicate it and then move it around, duplicate it again and move that piece, and have them overlapping like that. You can see once you create a few elements like this, you have a lot to work with. It can also be really fun to do this with pictures that you took. I'm going to pull up a picture that I took, that I did the same process with. This is a nice fern plant that I found that has some really beautiful variation, and a lot of tiny little leaves that have really specific proportions. They go from really small to really large, so I knew this would be a somewhat difficult plant to draw. I went ahead and did a tracing of it. You can see I kept the tracing really loose. I just got the veins and the main outlines of the piece, and then a little bit of the stem, but you can get a really nice feel with this. Then you can use the same piece in a lot of different projects. I'll show you how I do that next. 4. Tracing a Monstera Leaf: I'm going to go back to my image sources. Let's go back to Flickr Commons and go to the Search Bar here. I'm on Flickr Commons and I have these links on the About page. When you go to download the brushes and paper, you'll see all of these links. Let's type Monstera here. This is a difficult plant to draw. I'm going to pull up here a ton of different types of Monstera and you'll get some irrelevant images too, but here's a great picture. Here's a few Monstera together. What I really want to get as a straight on outline. I think I'm going to stick with this one. I'll make this large on my screen, then take a screenshot. You can also download this if you want a bigger version, but I typically just take a screenshot because it's a lot faster. Let's go ahead and go back to our square document that has the texture paper. I'll make my flowers invisible. I'm going to insert this photo. I'm going to make this about medium size here on this page, set it to somewhat transparent, and then make sure my Technical pen is selected, and go ahead and trace this piece. I'm probably not going to get all the little shading details here, I'm really just going to take a general outline. One thing that I like to do when I'm trying to capture some long curves like this, is grab a paper towel and just set my hand down on the paper towel. I've found it's really hard to drag your hand evenly on the screen, maybe if you had a nice screen protector that might work. But I just like the paper towel version. It makes it really easy to slide and control the pressure. You can see I was able to go thick to thin back to thick because I have the ease of this curve here. You may want to try this out. I'll go ahead and finish this up and speed up the drawing. Then we'll make a finished piece with this Monstera. That looks great. I think I'm going to leave it like that and not add any extra shading because I'm going to be doing water color on this. I don't think I need the extra shading in this case. I'll make my picture invisible. Then I'm going to go ahead and duplicate this a few times and just make each layer invisible so I can only see one layer. The reason I'm doing that is because with Procreate, anytime you move something off the Canvas like this, when you bring it back on the Canvas, that piece of the image has disappeared. I want to be sure I have a lot of backup so I can just grab each one, move it around to a different place and not have to worry about losing part of my image. I usually lock my original so that one can't be disturbed. Then I can play around with all of these duplicates. 5. Adding Text: I want to use these monster leaves to frame a quote. The first thing I want to do is write my quote in the center, so I know how to place my months Tara leaves. I'm going to create a new layer and then using my monoline brush, I'll draw a line and then hold to make it straight and then put down two fingers to make it perfectly horizontal. One more line here to show me where to cross my letters over and then the top line to show me the limit for how high my letters can be. I've got three nice lines there. I'm going to duplicate that for my second line of text. Then duplicated again for my third line of text. That just gives me a nice guide to work from. I'm going to merge all three of those together. Let's make those semi-transparent so they're not so distracting. Then with my monoline brush, let's do to size 23. I'm going to take some time here to make my text really straight. I'm just going to use these guides I created to write creativity takes courage. A minute put each piece of text on its own layer so I can easily adjust each word later on. Now I can remove my lines and I can take some time to just make this text really centered. Because they're on separate layers, they're really easy to adjust. I'm going to merge all three of these together and now that I like the placement and they think it melts, so going to make this a little bit smaller so I can fit a lot of monster leaves around them. That looks good. Now I can start revealing my monster layers and placing them around the text. I'll take just a few minutes here to just arrange this and spin these around. Even on some of them, I'll click the Move tool and flip them so they look a little bit different on each layer. That looks good. I'm happy with that placement. I'm going to go ahead and merge all of these monster layers. Then I'll leave my original there locked just in case I decide I want to use it later on. 6. Adding Color: I want to create a new layer for my painting. I want that layer to be below my ink so it doesn't cover any of my ink lines. I also want it to be set to multiply. Multiply is going to make it blend with that paper layer really nicely. One easy way to paint all of these Monstera at the same time would be to use the selection tool. I'm going to go to the monster layer, click "Select Automatic," and then I can click here. This is just a really rough click. I'm going to click and hold to reduce the threshold a little bit, and then redo my selection and that's a lot better. The threshold decides how much will be selected. If I click and hold and you see up here, the threshold is changing. If I make it too big, it selects too much, whereas if I reduce it a little bit, we can select the right amount. If you get really close, you can see exactly what it's selecting. It doesn't have to be perfect for this since we're just going to be doing a loose watercolor painting. It doesn't need to be perfect. I just want to get a general selection here. I'm going to select all these little layers, these little areas that didn't get selected, and go through all the little holes in the plants and select those as well. If you mess up, just click "Two Fingers" to step back on your selection. Now I have everything but the Monstera selected, but I actually want the opposite selected. I'm going to click here to reverse the selection. Now all of my Monstera leaves are selected. I can go to my paint layer, and I'm going to choose the yellow because I wanted to do a yellow-green blend. I'm making sure I'm on that layer that says, "Multiply," and then get the blunt edge rough watercolor brush out of my botanical set. Then I'm just going to go through and do a really loose fast covering of this watercolor brush. You can see I'm trying not to lift up my Apple pencil because if you lift it up and draw again, you can really see the line, which is fine if you want to do a layering effect, but that's not what I want to do on this one. I'm trying to keep it all to one pass. I like to zoom in and maybe just start with the outline to make sure all of the edges are covered, and then slowly work my way in. I've got that whole layer covered, so now I can remove my selection by clicking the "Selection" tool. There I've got a nice yellow watercolor, but I haven't added my variation or my other color yet. I'm going to duplicate that watercolor layer and make the first one invisible, then click my "Hue Saturation Brightness" tool. I'm going to grab a nice turquoise green or blue. Let's go with that. Then I'm going to make my yellow visible again. I've got a blue layer and a yellow layer, which makes green. But when I use my eraser, I can reveal the different colors. I'll go to my eraser tool with botanicals and grab the cloud brush that you download. Let's start on the blue layer. If I erase blue, I will reveal yellow. I'm just trying to do this randomly, just like a real watercolor painting, you can't really totally control where the color goes. It's good to think about, if I did it on the left side on this piece, then maybe I should have two different spots on this piece, and then on this one, it should be just on the tips so that each one looks a little bit different, and that makes it look a little bit more like a real watercolor painting. Now I'm going to go to my yellow layer. I'm going to go over these green sections and reveal blue or turquoise. If you use this brush a few times in the same place, you can get more and more layers of color revealed. I like how that looks. That's a few different colors blended together. Now once you're happy with that, you can merge those two layers. Then still with the cloud brush, you can go in and add even more variation. One option would be to just go through and erase some more areas to add some lightness here. You could also duplicate this layer and then merge those two together, and then you've got a really vibrant color. As you add in this lightness, it really shows the dramatic difference between the dark and light areas. You can take some time to play around with that. Once you're happy with it, let's duplicate this layer and make the first one invisible so the color on that layer stays preserved. On the next layer, I want to just play around with some other color options. I'm going to make this smaller so we can see the whole thing. Click "Hue, Saturation, Brightness." Then as I drag the hue, I can get a lot of different color options. We could go super pink, we could go to more of a autumn range, or we could do more tropical feel here. This is a great way to play around with some different color versions, and also, you can play around with the saturation. That's taking the color down a little bit. You may want some things really vibrant and bright, or you may want something a little more muted and maybe vintage style. I like that, so I'll keep it. You could do a lot of different color versions here, but I think I'm going to stick with this one. 7. Building a Menagerie Part 1: So for our final piece, I want to combine a lot of different plants and overlap them, and then do some selective watercolor work. So I'll use that to decorate the outside of this quote, "You must do the things you think you cannot do." By Eleanor Roosevelt. So to create this quote, I use some downloaded fonts with the app pages and if you want to learn how to do that, if you're not sure how to use fonts in Procreate, you can check out my greeting cards class. I cover all of the steps to get a font into Procreate in that class, and I'm going to use pieces that I've already created. So first I'll go to my "Gallery" and then I'm going to show you a document that I like to create here. So when I get in the mood to do some drawing, I'll typically do a lot of pieces at once and then save them on a main document like this. Then I can use these plants later on in other pieces, but I always have the master drawing safe in the separate document. So I have some tracings there and I also have some sketches. So I like to pull from these when I create my botanical illustrations and sometimes I'll add in some more drawings as well but today I'm just going to use the one on these documents, and I'm going to share these two documents with you as a free download too. So if you want to start by just playing around with these, rather than starting with your own drawings, you can certainly do that. So, I'm going to open "tracings" here and I want to use this piece up here that I got from a picture I took. I'm going to click "Select" and then "Freehand" selection down here at the bottom, and then click a little dot to set the selection. Drag three fingers down and click "Copy." So now I've copied that plant. I'm going to click "Gallery" and go to my picture. Drag three fingers down, and click "Paste." So one thing to keep in mind if you do create a master document is you want the master document to be the same width as your project. So if your project is 10 inches, your master document should be 10 inches. That prevents your drawings from getting blurred or distorted in any way. So I pretty much always work at ten inches. So I recommend just choosing a size that works for you and sticking with it. So I want to use this two times on this piece. So I'm going to duplicate this layer. Make the first one invisible and I think I'll pull the first one, this one down here in the corner, and then turn it a little bit. That looks good. Then I'll go back to the first one and I don't want it to be directly across from the other one, and I don't want it to be in this same orientation. So this one's pointing up and this one's pointing across so that they don't look too similar. You can also flip the piece if you really want to change it and I might do that with some of these elements. So those two look good. Now I'm going to go back to my "Gallery", get my original document, and then trace my monster leaf. Three fingers down to copy and then bring that into my document, and three fingers down to paste. So go ahead and "Duplicate" it. Bring the first one down here and the second one. Let's flip that and take it up in the corner, may be on the top like that. So I'm really trying to keep a lot of variation between the elements that I'm reusing and I'll go ahead and do this with the rest of my elements, and I'll speed up my video while I arrange these. So now I want to add in a hand drawn element. So I'm going to create a new "Layer" and grab my technical pen with black and I think I'm just going to create some grasses here. I'll let these overlap a little bit, and I'll let them get really close to the text. 8. Building a Menagerie Part 2: Now I need to go through and decide with all of these overlapping places which layer I want to erase. At this flower, for example, if I want this flower to really stand out, I can go to that layer, grab my monoline eraser. Let's see. I want to go to my fern layer here. I can just erase every part of that fern that's on the flower and that will help my flower really stand out. I'm going to go through with all of the overlapping spots on this image and make some decisions about which plants are overlapping each other. Now that I have all of the overlapping taking care of, I've got all of my pieces on a separate layer and I really want to keep it that way because I want to be able to change this at anytime. If I decide I don't really like that flower there, I want to be able to take it out and add a different flower. What I like to do at this point before I do any coloring, is click select, select that document and click duplicate because I want to preserve all those layers, but I want to merge them on a different document so that I can just go ahead with painting. This is like my master document, I'm going to save that, and then this new one, I can start doing my painting. I'm going to merge all the botanical layers together, so I've got my quote on one layer and my drawing on another layer and I'll make a new layer and set that to multiply and then search using some colors. I'm going to start with a pink with the blunt edge rough brush and I'm going to go in really loosely and just outline this piece with watercolor. I like to watercolor pieces that are already a little bit sparse. Like this just has a few little lines for detail. I like to paint the pieces that are like that, whereas this one down here has a ton of detail so I'm not going to paint that one because it's already got a lot going on. I'll go through and choose the ones I want to paint here and leave the rest white. You could do that totally differently, you could paint every single piece if you want. It's really up to you. That's just my personal style. I've got both my pink flowers on the same layer. I'm going to duplicate that layer and then merge those together, grab my cloud brush, and just add a little bit of variation to this piece. That looks good. For my next color, I'm going to grab a new layer and set it to multiply. I'm going to use a yellow on this one and I'm doing this really loosely. I'm not worrying about going outside the lines. When you paint real watercolor, you go outside the lines. I'm just letting it be a really loose painting here, but you could use the method we used in the last video if you want it to be perfectly within the lines using that selection tool. Duplicate that layer, merge those two together. Add a little more contrast. Then because those grass layers don't really have a lot going on, I definitely want to paint that layer. For these pieces that are overlapping, I'm trying not to pick up my brush between those, so those two are overlapping, so I tried to make that one brush stroke without picking up my pencil at all and that makes a nice even layer. You can't see the brush strokes layering on each other. I'm going outside the lines a little bit here. I like this a little bit messy, so I'm fine when I go past my incline a little bit. Now I'm going to duplicate that. Set these both to multiply, and then merge them and grab my cloud brush. You could stop there or you could keep going. I tend to like color to be a little bit sparse with these and leave a lot of white but you may want to color the whole thing, so I'll go ahead and call this finished. The only last thing I might do is go to each color layer and adjust the colors a little bit. Maybe I want this to be a little more green or a little more blue. You can really play around with your colors and get those exactly as you want them to be but I'll go ahead and call this piece finished. I hope you enjoyed this class and that you feel inspired to start creating your own botanical illustrations. If you liked this class, you may like some of my other classes where I cover a lot more painting and drawing techniques for iPads. I would love to see your finished botanical illustrations, so please share your work with us. I know we could all be inspired by seeing each other's images and layouts. You can share your project here on skill share, or you can tag me on Instagram or Facebook. If you have any trouble with any part of this class, please feel free to contact me. You can reply to my discussion here on skill share, or you can contact me through my website. I share free downloads on my blog often, so if you'd like to get more downloads like the one you got for this class, you can sign up for my monthly mailing lists on my site. Thanks so much for watching this class and I hope I see you again next time. Bye bye.