Master Watercolor Botanical Techniques: Play of Sunlight | Katya Rozz | Skillshare

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Master Watercolor Botanical Techniques: Play of Sunlight

teacher avatar Katya Rozz, Watercolor Artist & Pattern Designer

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

16 Lessons (1h 18m)
    • 1. Intro

      2:41
    • 2. Class Project

      2:57
    • 3. Materials

      4:49
    • 4. Warm Up 1: Wet on Wet

      4:40
    • 5. Warm Up 2: Wet on Wet

      4:48
    • 6. Warm Up 3: Wet on Dry

      5:15
    • 7. Drawing

      6:13
    • 8. Mixing Green Colors

      3:11
    • 9. Watercolor 1: First Layers

      4:48
    • 10. Watercolor 2: First Layers

      5:37
    • 11. Watercolor 3: Building Volume

      6:03
    • 12. Watercolor 4: Building Volume

      5:01
    • 13. Watercolor 5: Building Volume

      8:57
    • 14. Watercolor 6: Building Volume

      4:38
    • 15. Watercolor 7: Adding Details

      6:34
    • 16. Final Thoughts

      1:42
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About This Class

This class is all about watercolors and the magical play of sunlight. Looking at tropical plants illuminated by bright sunshine has always enchanted me, so I’ve started to paint a collection of tropical plants, illuminated by bright sunlight. I find watercolors to be the most appropriate medium to do this, because of their transparency, lightness, and their ability to give realistic results with minimal layers. 

In this class, I share a very detailed step-by-step technique, that you can try for yourself and adopt in your own paintings. 

In this class, we are painting a beautiful Giant bird of paradise plant that I captured near my house, but the structure of the course gives you all the necessary tools and tips to create your own painting using your own reference. All you need in this class is 3 brushes, a set of 3 watercolors, watercolor paper, and a passion to create and try something new!

First, we start by observing and analyzing our references, we do some warm-up exercises to practice the main aspects of the technique I am using in this class, and after this, I share useful tips on how to create a drawing directly on watercolor paper using a grid approach. We explore the way to create a rich palette of greens, using a set of 3 primary colors only.

And, finally, I demonstrate my step-by-step painting process in detail, so everybody can follow it and create a painting by yourself, even those of you who are just starting to paint with watercolors.

So, everybody is welcome to this class and I hope you’ll enjoy the process as much as I do. 

Here are a few works from my tropical collection:

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Meet Your Teacher

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Katya Rozz

Watercolor Artist & Pattern Designer

Teacher

 

 

Hello, my name is Katya. I'm an artist and surface pattern designer, living in Israel.

I've started learning watercolors about 4 years ago and I paint/draw almost every day since then. I believe that I'm only at the beginning of my watercolor journey, but I decided to teach on Skillshare and share with you what I'm already learned. Hope you'll find it useful!

You can find me on Instagram to see more of my works.

Nice to meet you!

 

See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Intro: Hello and welcome to my new skill sharing class. My name is Katia and am a watercolor artist and designer. This class is all about watercolors and the magical play of sunlight. Look at tropical plants illuminated by bright sunshine has always enchanted me. I've started to paint a collection of tropical plants that you are looking at right now. I find watercolors to be the most appropriate medium to do this because of their transparency, lightness, and their ability to give realistic results with minimum layers. It might feel uneasy to create paintings like this. But in this class, I will share a very detailed, step-by-step technique that I use for creating this artworks, that you can try for yourself and adopt it in your own paintings. In this class we will be painting this beautiful giant bird of paradise plant that I captured near my house. But the structure of the course will give you all the necessary tools and tips to create your own painting using your own reference. All you need in this class, is three brushes, a set of three watercolors, watercolor paper, and a passion to create and try something new. First, we will start by observing and analyzing our references. We will do some warm-up exercises to practice main aspects of the technique I'll be using in this class. After this, I'll share with you useful tips on how to create a drawing directly on watercolor paper using a grid approach. We will explore the way to create a rich palette of greens using a set of three primary colors only. Finally, I will demonstrate my step-by-step painting process in detail, so you can follow it and create a painting by yourself, even those of you who are just starting to paint with watercolors. Everybody is welcome to this class, and I hope you will enjoy the process as much as I do. Don't forget to follow me on Skillshare by clicking the follow button up top. If you want to find out more about me and watch more of my classes, please go to my profile and you will find more of my botanical illustration classes using watercolors, right on my profile page. Welcome to this class, and I'll see you in the next video. 2. Class Project: This class will be all about watercolors and unique aspects of painting lush foliage eliminated with sunlight. The techniques and tips we will learn in this class will help you to apply this effect to all your future botanical paintings. I find painting plants reflecting sunlight unique. Looking at paintings like this takes us to a very sunny day at noontime when the sun is brightest and the shadows are crisp. In this class, we will translate this feeling, the feeling of reflecting sunlight into a painting. The plant I'll be using as my reference will be a giant Bird of Paradise plant illuminated by a bright mid-day sunlight. This plant is very common in Israel where I'm leaving. I see it almost everywhere. Our class project in this class will be to create a watercolor botanical illustration of a plant that you like illuminated by sunlight. You can use my reference which is attached in the project in the resources section right below this video or use your own reference. A good idea for creating your own reference is to take a photo of your favorite house plant near the window at noon when the sunlight is brightest and it creates dramatic shadows on the leaves of your plant. Now let's observe what creates the exact feeling of sunlight. Looking at my reference, I see that the main drama here is created by high contrast between the shadows and the highlights. When I'm looking at the shadows, I see that some leaves have very edgy shadows casted from other parts of the same leaf, which are located very close to the shadow as we see it here. The central vein creates a very dark and edgy shadow on the left side of the vein. Some of the shadows utmost and created by the objects which are located further as this shadow on the left side of the central leaf. Before we dive into painting observed, observe the smooth and edgy shadows, the darkest areas, find highlights, the lightest areas. Analyze colors you see, where colors are warmer and more juicy, and where colors are muted and colder. In the next video, we will discuss the materials we will be using in this class. Don't think too much about sharing your work at any step. Upload your finished painting or work-in-progress shoots in the project and resources tab below this video. Don't hesitate to ask questions if something feels challenging for you. I'm always here to help. 3. Materials: Let's review the materials we will be using in this class. The first and most important material is paper. I will use Arches cotton watercolor paper, 300 gram density, grain fin texture, cold-pressed. I have a bloc of 12 inches by 16 inches or 31 centimeters by 41 centimeters in size. But I will use half of the sheet for my final painting, which will be about 8 inches by 12 inches. Also, we will need one more piece of paper for our warm-up exercise and for color mixing. It's important to use the same watercolor paper in the warm-up exercise that you will be using in your final painting in order to be prepared and to know how your paper will behave. As I've previously mentioned, paper is the most important material when we use watercolors. For the techniques that I demonstrate in this class, you will need 100 percent cotton paper. Please avoid using cellulose or other kinds of paper. You can totally use other brands according to what you are comfortable with or what is available in your local art store. But make sure that the paper is 100 percent cotton. Watercolors. I will use watercolors in tubes. Daniel Smith's brand, three main colors: phthalo blue, red shade, new gamboge, and alizarin crimson. With these three primary colors, we will mix a lot of shades of green. I will probably add a bit of lemon yellow as well. If you don't have the exact same colors, don't worry. You can choose a different set of primary colors: blue, yellow, and red. For example, you can replace phthalo blue with ultramarine blue, and new gamboge with cadmium yellow, and so on. You just need to experiment and choose what feels right to you. The brand of watercolors and its form, pens or tubes, really doesn't matter. So feel free to use the brand you like and watercolors you feel comfortable with. Brushes. For the best performance of the techniques I will be demonstrating in this class, you will need three main brushes. First one, natural hair big brush. I will use a Kolinsky hair brush. I see here that it's number 4, but I think that the manufacturer mislabeled it and it feels much bigger. It's around an 8 in size. This brush will be used for wetting the paper. So it should be able to hold a large amount of water and should also have a pointed tip. Natural hair brushes such as Kolinsky or Squirrel are the best fits for this purpose. The second brush is a synthetic brush with a very pointed tip. It is the main brush that we will paint our class project with. I will use number 5, but also a 4 or a 6 would be appropriate in size. The third, and the last brush, is a small synthetic brush with a pointed tip for painting delicate details. I have double 0 size here. The supplies we'll need for drawing are a regular pencil. I have a 2H hardness pencil which leaves fine and bright strokes. An eraser, I will use an art eraser. The uniqueness of it is that it doesn't leave eraser flakes on the paper after erasing, and doesn't damage the paper as a regular eraser does. It is soft and elastic and pleasant to use. Other materials we will need are: around a 30-centimeter or 12-inch long ruler, paper towels, a plastic palette, or a ceramic plate for mixing colors. My main watercolor palette has a built-in and additional plastic palettes for mixing colors. A water container and a masking tape for attaching paper to a painting surface in case you need to do it. Make sure your water container can hold enough water and has a stable base. Prepare all materials and organize your working area ahead of time. Try to find a place where you can set up your art space and keep it until you finish your class project so you will be able to go back to work comfortably at anytime. Even if you have 15 minutes, it will allow you to do short spontaneous painting sessions whenever you want. In the next video, we will do warm up exercises that will prepare us for our final painting. 4. Warm Up 1: Wet on Wet: Let's start our warm-up exercise. We will draw and paint an abstract leaf and we'll practice the main aspects of the technique I will be demonstrating in our final painting. First, let's draw a free shape leaf, starting from the central vein, and adding left and right parts of the leaf. We will be working in two main approaches. Wet on wet, meaning painting with a wet brush on wet paper, and wet on dry, meaning painting with wet brush on dry paper. First we will paint wet on wet, and after paper dries, we will add details in wet on dry approach. Let's precisely wet the shape a few times. I use my big kolinsky hair brush to wet the paper. It's important to apply water in at least two to three layers so we can be sure our paper absorbs enough water. This will allow us to have enough time to paint as much as possible when the paper is still wet. In my watercolor painting approach, the first layer is the most important, and I try to paint as many details as possible in one layer. But in case I don't manage to paint all I planned when the paper completely dries, I wet the paper once again and continue adding more details. Try to work precisely without letting the water go beyond the borders of the leaf. Usually, I leave one to two millimeters uncovered before reaching the borders. But if something goes wrong, don't worry, you can always use a paper towel to absorb the water from unwanted areas or you can adjust the shape of your plant. Nothing bad will happen. One more important point here is the amount of water on the paper. Try to create even layers of water on the paper and avoid creating water paddles on the paper surface. When our paper is wet and we see beautiful even gloss, it's time to apply watercolors on it. Now it's time to change the brush to a synthetic one, number five or six. First, we'll begin by covering the leaf with its basic colors. I'll create two mixes of paint from the same set of yellow and blue in two different versions. The first one is lighter, and more yellowish with more yellow and more water in it. The second one is darker, more bluish with more blue and less water. Please note that I always wipe my brush with a paper towel in order to get rid of excess water, the amount of water in the brush should be approximately the same as the amount of water on the paper. If you have much more water in your brush, paint will spread out too quickly and will create unwanted paint blocks, which is great in other watercolor techniques, but not so appropriate for realistic painting. I'm taking the first yellowish mix and starting to fill the leaf shape from top-left corner. Applying paint in multiple layers, try not to go outside the borders. I apply the paint and spread it with the brush on wet areas in different directions. Now, I add darker color to the current mix apply to the paper and smooth the transition with swiping movements of the brush up and down. I continue filling the leaf with the paint. Now, I apply one more layer of dark mix on the top edge in order to darken this area and spread it down again. The important point is that watercolors become lighter when paper dries. Be brave and don't be afraid to apply large amounts of paint. Apply color in a few more areas just to practice creating smooth areas of paint and borderless gradients. Now, I mix a dense mix of blue and yellow to paint some saturated and dark areas at the bottom of the leaf. The amount of water in this mix is much less than in previous mixes. I take paint with a brush, wipe excess water with the paper towel, and apply paint on the wet paper. Again, continuous swiping movements with the brush to create a gradient. 5. Warm Up 2: Wet on Wet: Now we will repaint in one of the trickiest parts, shadows in a wet on wet approach. To receive the best results, we will be painting shadows on the paper. Make sure to wait until your paper dries a bit, but it's still damp. I'm preparing a dense mix of blue and yellow paints with a minimum amount of water in it in order to avoid unwanted spreading of the paint on paper. I take the mix I've prepared and wipe the brush with a paper towel multiple times and start painting the shadow. Wipe excess water from the brush with a paper towel and shade the paint with gentle movements of the brush. After applying the paint, I spread the paint along the border of the shadow up and down multiple times, each time removing excess water from the brush with a paper towel. This way we will achieve smooth borders to our shadow area. I take more paint, wipe excess water with the paper towel, apply to the middle of the shadow in order to create the darkest areas inside the shadow. After applying the paint, I create a nice gradient inside the shape by shading the border with the brush. Let's paint one more smooth shadow. I apply paint to a damp paper a few times in the same direction. I see that I have a weird coral-shaped edges along the borders. This is how the paint is spreading out on the paper. In order to smooth this uneven texture, I'm shading the edges with an almost dry brush a few times. Wipe your brush with the paper towel as you go. Make sure you smooth the edges with gentle but confident and quick movements of the brush exactly if you were edging with the pencil. Again, in this approach, it's important to have a damp paper without excess water, but with nice gloss on it. If you see that the paper dries, leave it as is. You can always wet the paper again and continue painting. Now, I want to darken the central part of the shadow. I take more of the dense paint, remove excess water with the paper towel and paint the line inside the shadow. This will create a nice realistic effect. Let's practice lifting the paint. For doing this, I take my kolinsky hair brush, wash it with clean water, squeezing it carefully so it's almost dry, and lift the color following the path between the shadows a few times. When our brush contains less water than the paper, it will absorb the water from the paper, and this way it will lift the color from the paper. One last thing that we will practice in this lesson while our paper is still damp is painting blue the veins in wet on wet technique. For doing that, the paper should be almost dry but has a light gloss. I take dense paint with a brush and wipe it with the paper towel multiple times so it will contain paint and minimal amount of water. After you are ready, start painting the lines with gentle but confident movements of the brush. Again, as in painting shadows, shade the lines with an almost dry brush. Here we use dark color so the veins don't look realistic. But in our final painting, we will pick a brighter and more harmonious color to create a natural vibe of blood veins. In this step, just for practice, you can use lifting with a clean brush in order to highlight errors between the veins. I see that my paper is almost dry, so it is time to finish this part of the exercise. In the next lesson, we will add details to our leaf in wet on dry technique. 6. Warm Up 3: Wet on Dry: Now, when our paper is completely dry, I take my pencil and draw a free shape of our next shadow. Imagine that it is a shadow from a neighboring leaf or a translucent silhouette from the leaf that is behind it. In this case, the shadow will have crisp borders. Here we have two options or to paint with the wet brush on dry paper in case it's a relatively small area, or to wet the shadow area and paint it with a wet brush. In this case, I will paint the bottom area on the wet paper and the top area on dry paper. Sometimes we can observe that there are multiple shades inside the shadow, lighter and darker. I'll take the mix that I have on my palette as a bright shade and we'll mix a darker color for a darker shade. I start from the top part. I take the brighter mix and accurately start applying it to a shadow area. Gradually start to add a darker mix to a brighter mix and spread color to the right. In this case, I want the darkest shade to be closer to the edge of the leaf. The bottom area which is bigger than the top one, I will paint in wet and wet technique. I carefully wet the area with a clean wet Galinsky hairbrush. After this, I change the brush to the synthetic one and start applying paint to the wet area. It will create a nice effect, like our veins are shining through the shadow. Then I take a darker color and start applying it on the right edge of the shadow, fixing the uneven border of the leaf. It's a useful tip in case you've crossed the border of the leaf in previous layer. Keep that in mind while painting the final illustration. You can always cover problematic areas with the darker color. I create a smooth gradient between two shades by hedging or shading the transition of two colors with the brush. I'm adding more dark color on the top to create the darkest area. While the paper is still damp in the bottom shadow areas, we can practice lifting the color. Take your bigger brush, wash it with clean water, remove excess water so it's almost dry, and lift the color between the veins. Wipe your brush with a paper towel each time you lift the color. The next and last step is paint in central and side the veins in wet and dry technique. So be patient and wait until the paper dries completely in order to avoid smudging the paint in the wet area. When the paper is completely dry, I take my thinnest synthetic brush and start painting gentle and thin veins on both sides away from the central vein. When painting veins, it's important to find a comfortable angle for your hand, so you will feel at ease while filling the leaf with veins. Also, try to paint lines in both directions away from yourself and toward yourself. Find out what works for you. When you feel comfortable, slowly paint gentle veins on both sides. It will greatly train your precision skills. Try to be as precise as possible and most importantly, enjoy the process. Don't worry if your lines aren't ideal, practice makes perfect. After you finish the side veins, paint the central vein. That is it, now we are ready to start our final project. In the next lesson, we will create a detailed pencil drawing of the plant using grid technique. 7. Drawing: Let's dive into a challenging step, but also an essential step of our class project, creating a pencil drawing of our plant. I will draw on A4 format, approximately eight by 12 inches, and directly on the watercolor paper, without creating a sketch beforehand. Today, I will demonstrate to you a grid method that I've started using lately. Before this, I was drawing sketches on sketch paper and was transferring them to watercolor paper using a light pen. But after I discovered this grid method, my life became much easier. Let's get started. First, I create my reference exactly in the same format that my paper is in. That means that if my paper has a 2-3 ratio, I crop my reference using this exact same ratio. You can simply use your smartphone for cropping the reference. Select the photo you want to use, click Edit, crop, click on the ratio icon, choose the ratio of the piece of paper you have chosen for this particular work. In this case, it's two by three. Zoom it in a bit and click done. That is it. Now you have your reference adjusted exactly to your paper size. After this, I create my grid on the reference and draw the exact same grid on my watercolor paper with the help of a ruler and light almost invisible pencil lines, which I will erase in later steps. Here is my reference. In this project, I created a three by four grid on top of it. Three squares horizontally and four squares vertically. But feel free to create any group you wish. Just make sure it is the same on your reference and on the paper. Now, I take my ruler and start drawing grid lines on my watercolor paper. This method isn't the best fit if you're working on a painting that will be exhibited in galleries or shown publicly, as there is a chance that the lines will not disappear completely. But if you create this work for yourself, for your blog, or you will scan it, don't worry about that. The lines will be almost invisible after erasing. Now we are ready to go. We have here the main big leaf, two smaller leaves behind it, and one dark leaf in the forefront. Let's start by finding the most outward points and the central vein of the biggest leaf, by finding these points on the reference and defining their approximate location relative to the grid. The central vein, observe where it is crossing the grid. Mark these points on the paper and connect them together. Please note that the central vein becomes thicker closer to the bottom. Now, let's move on to defining the silhouette of the leaf. Again, find where edges of the leaf across the grid and start building the whole shape of the leaf. Observe the curves of the shape. The lines aren't incompletely. In some places, the shape has a wavy silhouette. After the first leaf is ready, I define the location and the shape of the left leaf, which is on top of the main leaf. Again, first the central vein, and then the silhouette. Now, I move on to two leaves that are behind the central leaf. They have more complex shapes and their edges are curled inwards. I start by defining the central vein, and after this, carefully and slowly replicate the shape of invert curls from the edge of the leaf, simultaneously checking how they're crossing the grid. Always look where one leaf meets and connects with the others. Check where these connecting points are located relative to the grid. Drawing is an essential part of the process. At the beginning, it might feel challenging, but it works to invest your time and efforts in this process. It develops your muscle for observation and helps to improve your attention and visual memory. The more you practice, the better your drawings become, and the drawing process starts to feel natural and effortless. Your hand becomes better trained and lines more precise. Observation and constant practice are the most important fundamentals of drawing. For those of you who are beginners, you can find my sketch in the project and resources tab below this video. Feel free to trace the sketch on watercolor paper with a light pad, or simply trace it through the window in daylight to simplify the process. For those of you who are more experienced, I really encourage you to create your own drawing and to use your own reference. Now, our drawing is ready and I'm cleaning up the drawing with an eraser to remove excess lines from the drawing. I use my art eraser and remove grid lines first. Grid lines that are inside the shapes will be covered with paint and will disappear as well. There is no need to touch them at the moment. After this, I slightly brightens the drawing lines with an art razor. After I'm done, the very last step is to add more precision to the lines. The last round of defining the lines. That is it. Now we are ready to grab the brushes and watercolors to start creating magic. But first, we will practice mixing green colors and we'll prepare our color palette for the final painting. See you in the next video. 8. Mixing Green Colors: Here are the main colors I'll be using in my class Projects Painting. I want to use pre-made greens, instead, I will mix greens from primary colors, blue, yellow, and red. I really like this approach in watercolors. It's very surprising how many shades we can achieve using only this basic set of primary colors. Also, your palette always stays clean and colors look consistent in the painting. As a blue, I will use phthalo blue red shade, as a yellow, new gamboge, and for the red, alizarin crimson. Feel free to experiment and mix your own palette. Try to mix a few sets of different blues and yellows to see how many different greens you can achieve. Adding red to the mix of blue and yellow will darken and yield the colors and will help you to get very beautiful subtle shades of green. Also, in a few places, I will use a bit of lemon yellow for the saturated juicy green along the central veins of the leaves. At the moment, I have all these colors in my main palette. First, let's see how these colors look separately without mixing. Now we'll begin mixing these colors together with different ratios of paint and water. First, I mix yellow and blue to create rich, saturated green and add more water to get the lighter shade. Adding lemon yellow gives a warmer and more yellowish shade. Adding more blue gives us a dark saturated green which I'll be using in shadow areas. Adding more blue makes our green color colder, almost blue, and relatively dark. Adding water to this mix gives us a nice bright blue which I will be using in some highlight areas where the leaves reflect the color of the sky. Now let's experiment and see what we will get by adding the red color to our main mix. I create a dense saturated mix of green and by adding a bit of red to it, I get a muted grayish shade of green, dark, and less saturated. Adding a bit of yellow gives a natural warm, slightly dusty green. Adding a bit of blue turns into a very dark, deep blue-green. This shade I'll be using in the deepest shadows. Here are the main shades I'll be using in my class Projects Painting. But during the process, we will discover many more in-between greens, in new shades of green. Look how we achieved such a diverse palette with only primary colors, blue, yellow, and red. Now we're ready to start painting our plant. 9. Watercolor 1: First Layers: I've attached my piece of paper to the cutting mat with masking tape. It is important to do this step as the technique we'll be practicing in this class, requires large amounts of water on the paper surface, which means that the paper surface will naturally become uneven because of the water. So it's important to avoid this by stretching the paper and taping it down. I fully equipped my workspace. Watercolors, palette, paper towel for cleaning brushes and removing excess water, three main brushes; one for applying water, one main synthetic brush with pointed tip for actual painting, and one thin brush for the details. Water container and extra paper towel, in case we will need to quickly fix things. Let's get started. Usually, I start working on the biggest areas first. In this case, it will be this central leaf. In watercolor painting, we usually apply color using from light to dark approach, which means that first, we will paint the brightest places, gradually increasing tone and saturation to paint midtones and the darkest areas. I will edit the colors of the underlayer first, the colors I see in the brightest places where there are highlights in my reference. After this the second layer on top, I will gradually add some midtones and shadows on both sides of the central vein separately. Also, when the paper dries, we will have time to start painting neighboring leaves. I take my biggest brush and start applying water to the whole central leaf. It's important to keep your water clean throughout the process. So don't forget to change the water when it becomes dirty with paint. I accurately apply the first layer of water, making sure to avoid spreading the water outside the borders of the leaf. Control the amount of water in your brush. We need to make our paper wet, but avoid creating water paddles on the paper surface. The more layers of water we apply, the wetter our paper will become, and the more time we will have to paint before the paper dries. Make sure you see even gloss on your paper and keep water inside the borders of the leaf. In case water has already spread beyond the borders, take a paper towel and block the water from unwanted areas. Continue wetting the paper. Apply 2-3 layers of water before you start applying the paint. When the paper is wet and has nice even gloss on it, I start mixing colors. I see that at the top there is the blue-green shade. So I'm mixing one more bluish-green for colder areas and the warm-saturated green for the central vein area. I use my second palette to mix color for the central vein. I'm adding here yellow and blue and a small touch of lemon-yellow. I take a watery mix of paint and apply it along the top edge of the leaf. I apply the color and spread it downward with swiping movements of the brush. Fill the shape precisely. Try not to go beyond the borders. Continue moving down with the brush along the left edge of the leaf. Observe your reference and analyze the colors you see. When I'm looking at the right part of the leaf, I see the same blue which gradually becomes warmer and more yellowish. I add a bit of yellow to my palette and apply this color on the right side of the leaf. Also, I add a bit of yellow to the darker mix and apply this color along the central vein, and start building shadow areas on the right side of the leaf. I create a smooth gradient by gently shading the transition area with the brush. I see that closer to the bottom color becomes warmer and warmer, so I'm adding more yellowish shades here. I take the bright yellow-green mix and apply it along the central vein, smoothing the edges with the brush. After applying its main color, I'm adding bright shadow at the bottom of the vein, which adds volume to it. Now I'm leaving this leaf as is as the paper is almost dry. I will continue painting details on it in the second layer. 10. Watercolor 2: First Layers: While paper continues to dry, I'm moving on to the leaf, which has no touch points with our wet leaf. I decided to start painting this leaf from the bottom-inward curl, the part where we see the reverse side of the leaf. As this area is relatively small, I will try to add as many details as possible in one layer. That means that I'll probably have enough time to paint the shadows and veins in wet-on-wet, in addition to painting the basic layer of highlights. I wet the paper a few times. One small detail which makes several parts of the leaf stand out and look realistic are the areas where we see the thickness of the leaf. Visually, it looks at the very bright, almost white border between different sections of the leaf. Carefully observe your plant and find these places where the thickness of the leaves is visible. We will leave blank paper in the area of this lines, and we won't touch them with the color. It will create realistic and crispy effect. Here, I leave 1-2 millimeters of blank paper along the right adjoining border of the leaf. I create bluish-green shade with a touch of red to mute the green. This way, my green will be more desaturated. Also, I mix a bit warmer color by adding a bit of yellow for covering the top part of the leaf. Here, we need one more dense color for the shadows. The mix that I already have on my palette is a great feed. I slightly adjust it to a grayish-blue green. Once again, I wet the paper a few times and start applying pure yellow along the right border, leaving the white thickness line uncovered. Again, don't be afraid to use paint generously. When paper dries, it absorbs the pigment and the color slightly loses its volume. One more interesting effect that we will use here is, painting dry brown edges along the border, which makes our leaves look realistic and alive. For that purpose, I create brown color by mixing mostly red and yellow and add a touch of blue to darken the mix. Make sure you create a pretty dense consistency of paint here. It's important that this mix won't spread too much, and it will stay only along the border. I take a brown mix, remove excess water with a paper towel a few times in order to have a dense consistency of paint in my brush and start applying it across the border with gentle movements of the brush, frequently lifting it up to create this natural pattern. Now, let's apply the colors of highlights. Warmer green at the top, which gradually becomes colder by continuing going down with the bluish green shade. Again, I see that closer to the bottom of the leaf, color becomes slightly warmer, natural green. Pay attention that I left the thickness line uncovered along the whole length of the leaf. I take a slightly darker paint, wipe it with the paper towel and apply it to the right side of this area, the line across the folding line. After this, I darken the bottom part of this leaf, trying to repeat the surface of the leaf. I see here a long shadow along one of the veins. Observe what is going on on your reference; which parts are darker, which parts are brighter, where there are shadows, and where they turn into the highlights. By adding a thin shadow below the yellow area, we're adding more volume to our leaf. At this step, it is important to keep your brush clean and also without any excess water in it. The amount of water in the brush should be similar, may be a bit more than the amount of water on the paper. Now, when the paper has dried a bit, but it's still damp, has nice even gloss, and no thick visible layer of water, we can continue painting veins and details. Here, it's important to use a dense paint. Be sure to avoid using watery mixes of paint at this step. I paint dark shadows at the bottom with swiping movements of the brush, exactly as if I was hedging with the pencil. I start painting side veins and shadows with gentle but confident movements, avoiding pressing on the brush too much. I continue painting veins and smoothen out their edges, creating a natural feeling of falling shadows by the side of the veins. I feel that my paper dries and I'm gradually finishing to work on this area. That is it. This part of the leaf is ready. The rest of the veins, we will add with a thin brush in wet-on-dry technique on the final detail-adding step. In the next lesson, we will start painting the middle leaf and we will continue adding volume to our big central leaf. 11. Watercolor 3: Building Volume: Now let's move on to the middle leaf. I will paint it in two layers. First, the general colors to highlight. After this, I will bend the right and left sides from the central vein separately. Make sure your water is clean. I take my big kolinsky hairbrush and carefully wet the paper inside the leaf a few times. There are three main areas where colors will be different. On the right side, along the central vein, and natural green shade at the bottom area. First, I apply our bright green mix for the veins. After this, I add blueish, bright green color a little on the right edge and a more yellowish-green closer to the bottom. After I applied paint to the paper, I smooth out the transitions between the areas and create nice gradients. Let's leave this leaf for now. Now we are going back to our big central leaf and we will be painting midtowns and shadows on both sides from the central vein separately. There is a very dark shadow with smooth borders on the top left part of the leaf. We will be painting this in wet on wet technique, exactly as we did in our warm-up exercise. I wet the paper in the area which is left as the central vein a few times, leaving the central vein uncovered. In the meantime, I'll mix appropriate colors. First we will darken the leaf with green mid tones closer to the bottom. I'm mixing colors for this. Also, I mix the colors for the shadows. Very saturated dark blue-greens. Don't rush while mixing colors. Try different ratios of pens and water until you are happy with the shade and it feels natural to you. Once again, I wet the paper and start applying mid tone shade closer to the bottom part of this area. I spread the color from the bottom to the top, creating a nice smooth gradient. I continue deepening the color on the left side, at the bottom of the leaf and along the central vein. I think my dense mix for painting shadows and start painting shadows in wet on wet technique. Carefully observe the shape and the direction of the shadows before you apply paint. I remove excess water in the paper towel. Take more paint a few times. At this step, it's important that the paper is damp. It has nice even gloss, and that you have a very dense consistency of paint in your brush and no excess water in it. I start painting the silhouette of the shadow with bold and confident brushstrokes, trying to replicate the exact shape of the shadow and roughly locate in veins. After applying the paint and smoothen out the coral shaped edges in this area was gentle and confident movements along the borders of the shape. Wiping my brush with a paper towel as I go, I deepen the shadow and leave the outward left edge of the leaf brighter than the shadow as it is in our reference. Now it's time to add the remaining veins in wet on wet technique. Was very dense paint almost without water in it. The veins in this area looks slightly blurred and soft. So it's the most appropriate option to paint them wet on wet. Continue to specify details and at the veins until your paper starts to dry. Find the right angle when you are painting veins. Don't forget about your comfort when you're painting. 12. Watercolor 4: Building Volume: I move on to the bottom left side of the leaf. As we did in the previous area, wet the leaf a few times and apply appropriate colors in key areas. When we talk about colors, it's essential to trust your eyes. Observe your reference a few time, and identify places of color changes and dark and light contrast. Find your reference point, a part of the painting that you have already painted and you are happy with it. Always check with yourself how different colors relate to your reference point. Is it lighter or darker? Is it warmer or colder? Ask yourself what do you see, and how you want it to be in your painting? You are the artist and creator. Now, let's move on to the right side of the leaf. Again, carefully wet the paper at least three times as it is a relatively big area, and it requires a lot of time to work on it. I analyze my reference and see that there are natural greens closer to the bottom and blueish greens closer to the top. The central part is relatively light, but then it becomes darker at the top, and there is a shadow along the central vein. I mix appropriate colors for these areas. I always start from colors that I already have in my palette and add blue, yellow, or red to adjust the colors according to my needs. It's really comfortable to work with the limited palette as you can't mix up and colors always take clean and consistent. I apply one more layer of water, do the paper surface. To extend the time, I will be able to work on this big area. Because this area is relatively big, I will use the same big brush in order to quickly apply paint to big areas at once. I take yellowish-green with my big Kolinsky hairbrush and apply the paint along the right edge of the leaf, leaving around 8-10 millimeters before reaching the edges. Remove excess water with a paper towel, smooth the edges, and spread the paint in the upper direction. After this, I take bluish-green and add it to the top area of the leaf spreading the color down along the central vein where there is a shadow. Try to be precise here and not to go beyond the border of the wet area because it's important to leave the line of central vein as even and as clean as possible. When observing my leaf, I see that there are few vertical folding lines stretching along the whole height of the leaf. I've accurately add in this lines, leaving the highlights untouched. I changed the brush to the synthetic brush number 5 and continue to specify the details. Once again, I darken the shadow along the central vein with the darker shade of bluish-green and darken the vertical lines that had started to paint before. I look at my reference and I try to identify the darkest places and unique details, which make the leaf look realistic, and try to recreate it in my painting. There was a dark shadow on the right edge of the leaf, which creates clear contrast and visually separates our leaf from the leaf which is behind. It's important to add these details. Opposite right above and below this shadow, there are highlights that visually separate the leaf of the opposite relationship of dark and light. As the cotton paper quickly absorbs the pigment, we might need to apply the color several times to receive the right density of color. I work here with confident hedging brushstrokes, which prevents spreading the paint and make the brushstrokes look neat without creating a plain mess of color. You can continue adding details in deepening the shadow as your paper dries, but make sure to finish when you see that paper starts to lose even gloss. We will be painting veins in the final details lesson in wet on dry technique. In the next lesson, we will continue working on two leaves that are located behind the central leaf. Please feel free to share your work in progress at any step before you continue. It will be helpful to you to step back from the painting and to see how it looks from far, just to capture your painting with a smartphone to see the whole picture. 13. Watercolor 5: Building Volume: At this step we start filling volume in our composition, the main shades and the relationships between different leaves. I feel inspired to finally see all these pencil lines becoming alive. How about you? Always check with yourself how you're feeling in the process. Are you enjoying the process? Maybe you're tired and you want to take a break. Avoid self-critique and negative emotions, you are just learning and experimenting. Be sure you are in a comfortable position, and your body doesn't have any unwanted tension in it. Take care of yourself when needed, and your painting routine will feel great. Now let's continue. I changed the water in my water container again. Now I will work with the upper-half of the middle leaf. I wet the paper a few times avoiding spreading water to the central veins line, and the thin line along the left edge of this area. I'm going to apply the color in shadow areas, along the left edge and at the top of this area. For the shadow, I mix beautiful saturated green by adding yellow to the mix that I already have on my palette. I apply the color and spread it upwards and downwards with the brush. Again, I remove excess water from my brush with a paper towel as I go. Now I add a dark shadow along the central vein of this half of the leaf, replicating the shape I see in our reference. In the meantime I add only smooth shadows here, the shadows with edgy borders I will add in our final adding detail lesson. Here we apply the skills we learned in the warm-up exercise. We smooth the coral- shaped edges of the shadow with a [inaudible] grout brush. We deepen the shadow a bit more, and look how magical it creates the separation with the leaf which is on top. Make sure the shadow in the leaf we paint right now fits the highlight of the leaf which is on top. You can even add more dramatic contrast here to darken the shadow even more than it is in our reference. Continue painting inward corals areas at the top of the left leaf and in the middle leaf. You can paint them in the exact same manner and order, but we have previously painted the bottom invert curl of the left leaf in our first watercolor lesson. Now we'll move to finish right leaves and we'll start from the left-bottom part of the leaf, which is behind the central leaf. I prepare a mix of saturated warm green. As this area is relatively small, I will work in wet and dry approach where I apply paint directly to the dry paper. Again, the shadow will be added later on the final detail step. I leave a blank paper in the small area of reflected light. I move on to the inner part of the right leaf. I wet the shape on the left side from the central vein a few times. Be careful here, this is a pretty complex shape which requires additional concentration and precision. Because of the complexity of the shape we might need to do it in two steps. I take a bluish dark green color for the upper part, and closer to the bottom I will use a warmer green. Also I see a bright highlight here, so I leave the blank paper in this highlight area. The small shadows with edgy borders at the top of both leaves, I will paint on our final adding detail step. Look how this parts of the leaf stand out because we left the thickness lines untouched. It creates a nice contrast that emphasizes that these parts are on top. It's a useful trick you can use in your future illustrations. Continue deepening shadows and adding side veins when your paper is still damp. I'm not completely hyped with one of the veins, so I leave the color between the veins and clean-up this area with a clean dry brush. I clarifying the veins with the tip of the brush, and a very dense paint almost without water. Continue adding more veins. I smooth the veins by shading with a dry brush along the veins' lines. As the paper on the right side dries, I move on to the left leaf which is on top of the central leaf. This leaf is very dark and it creates a high contrast with the central leaf. I wet the whole area with my big brush a few times. As this leaf is relatively big, I will apply paint with the same big brush. First, I apply pure yellow color along the top edge. After this I add bright green along the central vein and start building dark shadow areas. This leaf is very dark. On the reference it look almost like a plain dark mass, but when we observe it more carefully we can see that there are different shades of green. Observe it a few times, and try to replicate key details in your painting before your paper dries. I want to show dry edges at the top, so I add brown color here replicating the pattern of dry edges. After this I continue building volume in this leaf, mid-tones and shadows. We will probably need to wet it again as we don't have enough time to finish it, but try to add as many details as possible before the paper dries. I take my biggest brush, wipe it with a paper towel, and leave the color in highlights areas and along the central vein as the paint has spread to the central vein. I see that my paper is almost dry, so I leave it as is. In the meantime I will paint the bottom parts of the right leaves. First I apply the main color, and after this add gentle shadows along their right edges. 14. Watercolor 6: Building Volume: I wet the bottom part of the right leaf again. I wet the paper slightly above the area I'll be working on in order to smooth the transition from the already painted area to the area we are going to paint right now. I apply warm green closer to the bottom, bluish green closer to the top, and make a nice smooth gradient by gentle repetitive movements up and down. I spread the color upwards and unite the two areas together. Add more color to the darkest places and lift redundant paint in the highlights. As long as the paper is still damp, you can start painting veins with a dense mix of paint. After this, I paint small parts of additional leaves on the left side of our painting in wet and dry approach; dark green at the bottom and bright desaturated green at the top. Don't try to make these parts too realistic, they are not our focus in this work, but they nicely helped to build the whole composition. Continue filling blank areas according to what you see on the reference. Now, let's move on to the darkest leaf on the left side. I take the pencil and sketch the border of the shadow in the bottom part of the leaf, and with the area above this border until I reach the central vein. I take my darkest mix and fill this area with paint. I mix more dense paint and darker the darkest places of the shadow even more, which creates deep contrast in the area of light shadow edge leaving a brighter spot closer to the bottom. I wet the left half of the leaf and apply very dark dense paint along the leaf. Once again, deepening the darkest places. While the paper is still damp, I want to paint the veins from both sides of the central vein on both halves of the leaf. I take very dense, almost dry paint, remove excess water with a paper towel, and paint veins on damp paper, following the direction of the veins. At this step, we're really close to finishing our painting. In the next lesson, we will add all essential details which will add a magic touch of sunlight to our painting. I'm very excited as it is my favorite part which makes the painting look full of life. 15. Watercolor 7: Adding Details: We've reached the most exciting part of our class project, adding the details that will create this unique feeling of a very sunny day at noon time. I will add details moving from left to right. The main details that will bring our work to the next level are very simple. Mostly, it is the darkest shadows with edgy borders and delicate veins that will cover all our leaves. At this step, we will work in wet and dry approach, which means that we won't wet the paper anymore and we will paint directly on the dry paper. First, I finished the bright highlights on the top of the bottom leaf with the brown mix, creating a feeling of dry edge. After this, we move on to the shadow on the central vein of the left dark leaf. Observe the reference, identify the shape of the shadow, and replicate it in your painting. Here, I add a few details along the folding line. After this, I add a bright green shadow along the left edge of the central vein in our central leaf with a bright green mix. Now I will fill the whole central leaf with veins. I will paint fine lines with my thinnest brush, fill in the parts of the leaf, following the direction of the veins. I prepared two water remixes of color, one warmer and one colder, as I see that the color of the veins changes on my reference. This process is very meditative and requires patience. For those of you who feel painting veins challenging, I have a small tip. To keep even intervals between the veins and replicate the right direction of the veins from the top to the bottom, you can start painting veins from the middle. First, divide your area with the middle vein, and after this divide the bottom half with one more middle vein, and so on. Using this approach, you will keep the even and consistent intervals in between the veins. When I'm looking at my reference, I see that on the right half of the leaf, veins are darker in shadow areas. So I darken the color of the veins in these areas with the darker color. Now I will paint a very dark edgy shadow along the central vein. I prepare a dark cold green shade, saturated and dense, and start painting the shadow, replicating the silhouette of the shadow. After I'm done with the vertical shadow, I move on to the bottom part of the right leaf. I'm replicating small edgy shadows and veins according to what I see on my reference. Now, I take my thinnest brush and bend the veins in the upper part of this leaf and the rest of the veins on the backside of the right leaf. Again, check colors and the direction of the veins with the reference. The one thing which is left is the small edgy shadows on top of two right leaves, which I will paint it with a very dark blue green. I'm careful replicating the silhouettes of these shadows according to what I see on the reference. I see that inside the shadows, there are lighter and darker areas, and I try to show this difference as well. I do my last few touches and I'm ready. Continue adding details as it feels right to you. Trust your inner intuition and do as many or as little details as you wish. I want to thank anyone who was with me until now. You did a great job and you can be proud of yourself. Thank you for being with me in this class and I'll see you in the next and last video. 16. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for being with me in this class. I hope you enjoyed it. You can start applying whatever you liked in your future paintings and skip things that didn't work for you. It is just how things work for me. But you can develop your own unique style. Upload your project to the project and the resources section, I am more than happy to see what you've created. Also, I would be thrilled to see your paintings on Instagram. Simply tag me in your posts so I will be able to see them. You can find me on Instagram @katya rozz. Follow me to see my new work, important updates about upcoming classes and just to be in touch. Also, if you want to find more watercolor botanical illustration classes that I've created, simply click here on my name and go to my profile page. Please leave a review about this class. I would appreciate your honest feedback and I'll show you how to do this. Each of you will help raise this class in Skillshare ranking so other people can find the class as well. Big thank you if you leave your review. I want to finish this class with an inspirational quote from one of my favorite artists, Vincent van Gogh, "The beginning is perhaps more difficult than anything else. But keep heart, it will turn out all right." Bye-bye. See you in the next class and on Instagram.