Japanese Art Inspired Watercolors - Mastering Brushstroke Confidence | Irina Trzaskos | Skillshare

Japanese Art Inspired Watercolors - Mastering Brushstroke Confidence

Irina Trzaskos, Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

Japanese Art Inspired Watercolors - Mastering Brushstroke Confidence

Irina Trzaskos, Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

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10 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Class Project

    • 4. Practicing Different Brushstrokes

    • 5. Landscape with Birds

    • 6. Painting a Bamboo

    • 7. Painting Mountains and Tree Landscape

    • 8. Painting a Magnolia Branch

    • 9. Painting a Bird on a Branch

    • 10. Last Thoughts

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About This Class


Welcome to Japanese Art Inspired Watercolors class! In this class we will be practicing the brushstroke exercises, which will ad confidence to your watercolor techniques. The class was inspired by beautiful art of Japanese and Chinese Ink painting, called sumi-e. I always admired the beauty, freshness and spontaneity of ink brushstrokes in Japanese artwork, and I am so excited to share with you some beginners techniques which will help you discover what your paint brush can do.

Exercises in this class are simple paintings, I hope they will inspire you to try this techniques and after start applying them to your other watercolor paintings.

In the "Project and Resources" of the class you will find helpful information and reference pictures.

Happy painting!

xo Irina.

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Irina Trzaskos

Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm [inaudible] watercolor assistant illustrator. Welcome to my watercolors channel, here you'll find a big collection of classes for beginners. In today's class, we will be exploring watercolor brush painting, inspired by Japanese ink painting. All my classes are filmed in real time, so you can follow along. If you're new on this channel, thank you for joining and welcome. Press the "Follow" button on top, and let's get started. 2. Supplies : The goal of today's class is to practice on brushstrokes, become more confident with watercolor. The supplies are very minimal. It's watercolor paper of course. I'm using cold press. You can use any paper you have. It's a paint palette, water, a paper towel. I'm using inexpensive brush, which is number 12, synthetic brush. Just make sure it has a big tip, it has a sharp tip, and it's pretty big. So this is number 12. However, for the best results, I advise you to try all kinds of brushes you have, making the same exercises and discovering which brush you like the most. For colors, I chose three colors. However, you can use one color or you can use more colors. I chose for this class, sepia, scarlet red, and yellow ocher. I have a different palette, although I could have bought the paint in the same palette I have, but I chose to use a different one. It doesn't matter whichever you decide. You can put them in the same there enough walls for it. That's all of the supplies we'll be using today. Not so many. I hope it encourages you to start right away. Let's get started. 3. Class Project: For the project of the class, we'll start with just simple exercises with brush strokes exercises to discover what our brush can do. You'll be amazed how much your brush can do. Next, we'll [inaudible] smaller landscape, just a very simple warm up, then we'll do bamboo painting. Next we'll start adding some color just a little bit to the simple landscape and the weeping willow or we paint in a simple magnolia and then at the end, we'll combine all the techniques and paint a little bird. These are all the exercises we'll be doing today. I advice you to post right away. Once you start with exercises, take a picture and post it in the project of the class and keep adding all other paintings or you can paint from all and take a picture. Whatever works for you is great and I can't wait to see all your beautiful projects. 4. Practicing Different Brushstrokes: For this class, I wanted to use a limited color palette and I used these colors, serbio, scarlet red and the yellow ocher. Outrageous question here in the paint ballot of the tubes. I decided to use a tube watercolor because it resembles more with Chinese ink we use for Chinese and Japanese painting. I'll be using this brush I already showed you and first, we'll start with some exercises to see and discover what our brush can do. Let's take some water. You can see if a brush is very long and you can visually divide it in three parts. We have our first part is the tip of a brush then the middle part of the brush and the bottom. Let me stick some serbio. Here I added a little bit of water [inaudible] and let's look. If we keep our brush upwards and use only the tip of a brush, we will have a very small stroke. This kind of strokes we will be using for details. For your practice, just try to make some small, thin strokes with the tip of a brush, barely touching with paper. But if you feel about brush, you still need it. Beautiful. Now let's try to put some more pressure on our brush. You can see I'm changing the angle of the brush, so it's a little bit angled like 45 degrees I can say. You can see our brushstrokes are way thicker in this way. Also, let's try to change the speed of our brushstroke. You can see how it instantly changes the character of a brushstroke. Let's try to make a small brushstroke very quick. You can see how much energy it varies in the first brushstroke. As a comparison, a slow brushstroke is more flowing. Now let's try to use more pressure on our brush and we'll see what kind of brushstrokes will end up with. Let's almost delay the entire brush on the paper and make a brushstroke. You can see beautiful wide brushstrokes we end up with. Let's try to make it quicker. You can see we instantly get this beautiful texture. First, we will be barely touching the paper, and then we'll be adding more pressure to the brushstroke. I'm saying brushstroke so many times. It's not even funny. You can see, we end up with this leaf-like shape. Let's keep going. Pressure, less pressure, more pressure, and less pressure, and so on. Beautiful, keep practicing. Also, we can change the direction of our brushstrokes. For example, if you want to leaf to look in this direction, you'll do it like this and if you need to, you can turn the paper. Beautiful. The same way we can go from the bottom to top. More pressure, less pressure, more pressure, less pressure and then one more, more pressure, less pressure. Beautiful. We can use this for grasses, for leaves, for all kinds of plants. Let's try to make them a little shorter, something like these. More pressure, less pressure, more pressure, less pressure. Wonderful. Next, what I want to show you is that you got fill your brush with water and then, it is this thick. You can try only with tip of the brush. The rest of brush is filled with water. Then you take a tip of the brush and put it in the paint and now look what happens. Press the entire brush on the paper and then let's draw some lines. You can see which happens on the top, we have a sharp line. But on the bottom, it's diluting from the water, which is already on the brush and it's very beautiful. Let's try it again. We'll be using this strip for painting the mountains later. Again, I filled the entire brush with water and then I ended with paint only on the tip of the brush. Let's try to go faster. Awesome, isn't it? Another thing about holding your brush I wanted to just show you, the closer to the brush itself you hold it, the more control you have. For example, if you need to draw some very precise details you'll hold my brush closer. Let's say we want to draw and paint a circle, hold it close and I'll hold it tight. Then it will be something is. Or if we want to write our initials let's take the red one. We want to sign our painting. I'd hold it very tight and close and write my initials. Let's put them in this square like this. Holding our brush close and tight allows us to work on more precise details. However, holding the brush farther allows us to make very natural, beautiful lines. Look, something like this. If you want to paint a branch of an old tree, you would hold your brush loosely and closer to the end like this. Also in brushstrokes, we can paint, leaves, petals. One of the cheeks is changing the direction of a brushstroke. Let's take some paint and try it. Let's first go down and then fast change the direction, and again, let's try smaller and again, let's try to put some more pressure and then change it. Let's try to make it from the bottom to the top, going up and down. These are all the brushstrokes I wanted to show you in this practice and now let's start creating some real artwork. 5. Landscape with Birds: Now, when we know all kind of brushstrokes, let's start implementing them in our artwork. It'll be a very simple artwork, will do it today, but they will help you understand how you can use this brushstrokes in your different art. Let's start with simple arches. In this exercise, I'm using a yellow ocher. You can see I used the tip of my brush to show this arches, however, I want to do it with water a little bit, so I'm just taking water and slowly edging it to the bottom here. [inaudible]. Next, I'll take some more yellow ocher and we'll just practice these kind of move by painting some tall plants, like herbs, but tall. It doesn't have to be perfect, but they can intersect. Keep refilling the tip of your brush and painting some more. Some taller and some shorter in all directions. Just relax and enjoy. Something like this. Next I'll take some more yellow ocher and with the tip of a brush, I will paint some leaves. I'll put in a little bit of pressure and then lifting it up. here and there not on each of them, just on some. Starting with the tip, we press in a little bit and then letting it go. Isn't this beautiful? I think this is enough. Now, let's take some more yellow ocher and practice the change of direction of a brushstroke by painting a few birds. We'll go up and then down and up again, and again up and down and up. Let's make a small one here, up, down, and up. This is our artwork, and of course at the end, we have to sign it and let's do it in a Japanese style just by putting our initials and drawing a square around it. [inaudible] IT, you can come up with your own logo or you should know of your name, you can use of it of course. This is our first painting for brush control exercise. 6. Painting a Bamboo: In this painting, we will be practicing our brush pressure control and the speed. We will be painting a bamboo, just a fragment of a bamboo plant. We will be painting a monochromatic painting again, by using just sepia. For bamboo sticks themselves, we will be pressing the brush on a paper, and drawing just big lines. This is my sepia, I'm starting from the top, and by pressing the brush to paper, I'm painting a line, and then waiting a little bit at the end here. Again, putting the brush, let's go faster. This wasn't too fast but it's good. Pressing the brush again, and one more time. Good. Let's make one more. I'm diluting more sepia with water. Let's do this one here. Let's try to go faster. Oops, it's crooked and it's okay, and again, and again. Nice. Next we need to paint the connections, for it will go on back into our paint, and with the very tip of a brush, we will do the following. We're going from up and down, then making a line, and down again. Or we can go up, down, and up again, and the same here. It's all like an S, or it's some letter S just turned, or just like a bracket. I think we need a line here too. Maybe I ruined it, but it's okay. One more here. From here we'll have our little branches and leaves growing. Something like this. Next we need to paint the leaves, and again, we'll be controlling the pressure and little bit of change of direction. Let's say we want some leaves here, and maybe a couple here. Again, I'm taking diluted sepia, dipping my entire brush in it, and I'll start painting with big, beautiful leaves, and change the direction a little bit, and again. Let's come back, [inaudible]. Let's make some small little ones here, and change the direction. I think we need at least few leaves in here too. Beautiful. Now we need to connect the leaves to the big stems with the little branches. We are going forward, and then a little bit backwards. Then forward again, and backwards, and forward. I think we need a few more branches here. Let's add few details. Just little dots with the tip of a brush. Maybe one more darker leaf, and maybe a little branch showing up here. Why not? This is our bamboo painting. Let's sign it, by putting the initials in the square, or if you know your Japanese name, or Chinese name, you can put it in the corner too. They say becoming more braver we should practice, and you will be too. This is our bamboo monochromatic painting. 7. Painting Mountains and Tree Landscape: Now let's practice and paint a tree, and it is going to be a weeping willow tree and then we'll add some mountains, and we'll transform it into a minimalistic, but beautiful landscape. I'm taking sepia pretty pick, and from this end, I'm starting to paint this old weeping willow trunk of the tree. I'm just letting the brush to do whatever it wants, so I'm not controlling it too much. I'm just making this old beautiful branches. However, I feel like here I wanted some of this dry brush texture. Next, let's start to draw a longer branches. Maybe one more straight, a few more straight ones here, but then let's relax our wrist and start doing this long beautiful branches, just going up and down. You can see how the muscle of your wrist is changing, it means it's good because it's like practicing brushstrokes you've never done before. Don't be afraid to make mistakes because the trees are so imperfect. They're so perfect, but they are imperfect. Imperfectly perfect just like watercolor. Like right here I'm not comfortable, I would turn the paper if I wasn't filming, so feel free to turn your paper anywhere you're comfortable. I think I got enough of branches for my painting/I don't want to overwhelm it too much. Next, we'll use the trick I showed you in the first video of exercises. We'll fill the brush with water, just clean water and whichever water you have. Mine is not that clean anymore, but it's fine. Then I'm drying the tip of a brush in a paper towel and then I'm tipping it right into the paint. I don't bring it back to the paint, but I'm tipping right here. Let's make a little mountain here. You can see what happens, and it's absolutely beautiful. Let's put a few trees here and maybe add a few hills, why not? It's important to stop on time. You can see how beautiful it is, and I want to do the same thing right here on the bottom of the tree. I'm filling the brush with water again, dipping it in the paint and then let's go. Beautiful, and I love how it created this dry brush texture here. Next, let's take some red and put it right here. Get more of water and just with the top of a brush, we can paint a beautifully imperfect sun. That's It. We can sign the paint here, I and T, and square. It doesn't look like my initials anymore, but something like that. We have our very simple, but beautiful landscape. Very minimalistic. 8. Painting a Magnolia Branch: Next, I wanted to show you how to paint a blooming branch using the brush strokes you learned. Once again, let's take our brush further from the beginning. I'm taking some sepia, pretty dry, not too much water, and I'm trying to do a beautiful branch, just going diagonally like that and again. Then let's do some faster strokes. Why not? So much character in them. Another one here. Also, I feel like we need another big one here. Now I have enough room to paint some blossoms. I'll be doing it with red because I picked this limited color palette. But you feel free to use any colors you like. I'm diluting the red with a lot of water, maybe mix a little bit of sepia to it so it's not so bright. Then, again, with brush strokes, starting with the tip of the brush and then pressing your brush onto the paper and then lifting it again, we can create these beautiful petals. Pressing it and then gently lifting it. Then let's leave this white and paint another petal and maybe one more here. Let's let them dry a little bit and meanwhile paint some more blossoms. Not too many because this will be a focal point. So just to support it, let's make one here. Don't be afraid to leave white space. Here we're changing our direction a little bit. Next, what we'll do, we'll take some yellow ocher and we'll add some more elements, this middle of a flower. I feel like we need a small, small bud somewhere here. Try to see where the painting leads you. For example, I want this to be the middle of the flower, this little branch, so with little brush strokes, with not a lot of water, more paint, I will add this texture and it shows the middle of magnolia. The same way here, a few dots. These little details usually pull together the entire painting, they add so much, so do not skip them, but also try not to overdo it. It happens often. When I look at these branches, this one looks too thin for where it is, so I'm adding few more lines. Up here, we need few more dark spots. This is our magnolia. Let's sign it, and it will be ready. 9. Painting a Bird on a Branch: In this painting class, paint a bird on a branch, which will conclude all our brush strokes we learned today. We'll start with the tip of a brush, let's take a lot of paint. I'll paint a bill of a little bird. Make a line like this, and one in the middle, and a third one. Put a dot here. Here, I'll have an eye. These are our precise brushstrokes we have. Next, we'll start adding more water to our paint. I'll start with less pressure, and then I'll keep adding pressure. Again, you can see how much lighter the sepia is after we added water. This is the top of the head. Let's do the same from bottom. Less pressure, more pressure. Fix the shape of the head if you need to. Let's take some darker sepia and a dark spot in here, like we need it. Next, let's take some yellow ocher, [inaudible] water and paint on top of a link, like this. Let's connect it to the head. Pretty. Now let's take sepia again and do some fast brush strokes. Then we have another wing, so just one little brush stroke here. It's enough. Then I'll have a tummy. Let's add a lot of sepia water and just do another quick brush stroke like this. Let's look at the shape. I think we need at little bit more curved here. Beautiful. Then the back. Next, let's take some more sepia, leave some white spots in here, and with confident brush strokes, paint the tail. Here, I feel like we need a change in direction brush strokes. Let's connect it. So next, what I want to do, a little bit off red in here. Actually, I don't like how it looks, so let's cover it with sepia, [inaudible] especially to me. Now, let's paint a branch. We already know how to paint branches. Relax with the tip of your brush again. You can see how much life there is in this spontaneous and brave brushstrokes. So I hope you'll achieve that after practicing a while. Let's add some more branches to our branch. The last one, let's add some blossoms. All the parts of the blossoms, so do little circles just to brush. Add some little dots with the tip of your brush. So you can see how it discovers how many things your one brush can do. Isn't that amazing? This is our art. Let's sign that painting. This concludes our class. 10. Last Thoughts: Thank you for joining me in this class. I hope you got the chance to paint with me. If you like the class, please leave a review, and upload the project to your project section on class. If you're sharing your artwork on Instagram, please tag me so that I can see your beautiful art. I'll see you in the next class. Bye.