Nature Drawing, Elevate Your Sketches | Linda Celestian | Skillshare

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Nature Drawing, Elevate Your Sketches

teacher avatar Linda Celestian, Learning to paint is fun

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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

13 Lessons (1h 24m)
    • 1. Nature Drawing New Intro

    • 2. Drawing Nature Supplies

    • 3. Drawing Nature Set Up

    • 4. Blind Contour Drawing

    • 5. Contour Drawing

    • 6. Watercolor and Contour Drawing

    • 7. Colored Paper and Markers

    • 8. Negative Space Set Up

    • 9. Negative Space Ink Painting

    • 10. Negative Space Collage Part 1

    • 11. Negative Space Collage Part 2

    • 12. Nature Drawing Wrap Up New

    • 13. Bloopers

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About This Class

Learn how to elevate your sketches to beautiful art. Blind contour, contour, and negative space drawing exercises are the basis for explorations using markers, inks, watercolor, colored pencils, colored paper, and acrylic-painted paper. Whether you're a beginner or have some drawing experience you are in the right place. This class covers the beginner drawing lessons and all the materials needed to take your nature drawings to the next level.

Meet Your Teacher

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Linda Celestian

Learning to paint is fun


I'm a fine artist and a teacher. I've been painting for 30 years and teaching for 15 years. Life is short but you can keep it fun by trying new things.

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1. Nature Drawing New Intro: Hi, I'm Linda suggestion, welcome to my drawing class. This is a class that goes over the beginner drawing lessons that I've been teaching for many years. If you've ever taking on drawing class, you probably know what I'm talking about. And that's blind contour drawing. Contour drawing and negative space drawing. I really loved these exercises and they each have their own benefits and learning how to draw. But I also feel that they're undervalued in a lot of times lost and people sketchbooks. But in this class, and we're going to show you different materials and techniques to bring these beginner drawing lessons to life. So a lot of times these exercises are undervalued in sort of abandoned as you learn how to draw in, I think that all these exercises make really interesting drawings on their own. So by introducing some different materials and techniques, you can see how you can take these beginner drawing lessons and make them into beautiful art. Well, I really hope you'll join me. 2. Drawing Nature Supplies: In this video, I'm going to go over all the supplies you need for the different projects. 80 pound drawing paper, nine by 12, a 140 pound cold press, watercolor paper. Good quality construction paper, or colored card stock, acrylic painted papers, pencil and eraser, colored pencils. Assorted markers, including paint markers either by Sharpie or unique posca, scissors, precision craft knife, adhesives like tacky glue or neutral pH adhesive. Cup to hold glue, wet paper towel for Sticky Fingers, brushes for applying glue. Wax paper for pressing down glued items. Colored inks or watercolor. Watercolor brushes, board to pin nature subjects to short pieces of ribbon and pins. Long pieces of ribbon. Plant, flowers, silk flowers or cuttings. Nature specimens such as feathers or flowers. If you're using fresh flowers, you'll also want a small jar or vase to hold water. 3. Drawing Nature Set Up: So I want to get these stems in water, is I like to use these boards that I make as the background factor out. If you're interested in making one of these boards, I just use a piece of cardboard that's nine by 12, and I wrapped it with interfacing so I can pin things to the board. Or you could just use paper and tape things to the board. And I show you how I do this. I'll put an easel back on the back. And I show you this in my beginner drawing class that's here on Skillshare. And then some pins. Pin it to the board. And why did that over a little bit. I like to create a composition where the elements are going off the board a little bit. And my board is the same size as my drawing paper. And you'll see that come into play later. It helps me to draw it to scale. So I'm drawing this flower the same size and my drawing paper, and I'm creating this backdrop for myself. So I might want to move that over a little bit so I'm using the space. But I like the way this one's going off the edge and just move it over. I'm going to include photos of these setups in the resource section. So if you want to draw from my setups, you'll have some photos to reference. Now I have two different views, but this helps for your drawing because you're not trying to hold that stem and draw it at the same time in that keeps the viewpoint static. And the, you know, because we are drawing from life, these petals will possibly continue to fall and things might change as you're drawing, but gives you a nice clean background. So you're just isolating the stem and the flower that you want to draw. 4. Blind Contour Drawing: So I'm going to start with one on my favorite drawing exercises, which is blind contour. So you're looking the whole time at your subject and not at your paper. So this is kind of hard. You have to police yourself to not look down at your paper. But the reason I love this exercise is that you're actually paying attention to everything about your subject. So it's not just for beginners, it's great for whenever you're approaching a new subject. So you're going to pick a place on your subject and pretend that your pencil is touching it and continue following the edge of your subject. So don't look at your paper in, don't pick up your pencil or marker. I like to use marker in this instance. For two things. It shows up well on camera. In my drawing class, my other drawing class, I'm using pencil and it's kinda hard to see. But also I want to use these as like finished drawings. So use a marker, you could use a colored marker. You could use any of the other materials that I'm going to suggest for other projects you can use for blind contour, the drawings you will get are just really sensitive to every nuance of your subject. They're not supposed to look perfect. They're supposed to look wonky and funky, but especially with organic subjects, they look very real, very close to the details that are on your subject. They will help your drawing as you transition to more traditional drawing techniques like contour drawing. What you're watching right now is very sped up. This exercise is supposed to be done slow, like an ant. Like an ant that's walking along the edge of the flower. If you have to pick up your pen and just look down at your paper and choose another place to start again. And then turn your focus back to your subject. So you can see I taped down my paper so it's not wiggling around while I'm working. So after you pick a place to start on your paper, put your focus back on the subject, and you're just slowly following the edges. This should feel very meditative. It's also a great exercise just to get you into the meditative state of drawing and relax. And try not to look at your paper and don't pick up your pen. Just keep going. If you have to go in somewhere, then just follow it back out and try your best not to think about whether it's going to look good or what it's gonna look like. Just get that completely out of your head. Some of these clips are sped up, but you should really take your time going very slowly, looking at every nuance of the Edge as your eye is on the subject and not on your paper. You can do several to a page. And like I said, you can use colored paper and colored markers for this exercise. I just really like the beautiful lines and how true they are to the actual subject. 5. Contour Drawing: Now we're going to do some basic contour drawing. So contour drawing is like the blind contour drawing only you can look at your paper now. But I like to dark very similar to the blind contour. Imagine your pencil or pen touching the edge of the subject as you put your pencil or pen on the paper. So you're going back and forth between the subject and the paper. But whenever you feel lost, you can sort of slip into a blind contour mentality and just relax. You might want to stack of paper and you know, if it gets off track and you're not feeling it, you can just move to another piece of paper, but just go slowly doing the outline, the edges of the subject and exploring it and relaxing. So what you're watching now is sped up. So I just want to mention that can continue to go slowly along the edges. And you can put in as little or as much detail as you like. And like I said, once you do several of these, you will relax about using this marker and not being able to erase. Because I'm using organic forms nature. No one knows exactly what that leaf does. You know where it comes in or where it, you know, how big it is. So proportion might get off things like that. But the like the sensitivity of that line that you learned from blind contour should come into this. They just make beautiful drawings. I encourage you to try this with a fat marker, a thick point. This is a Sharpie which they call a fine point. The other one is called an extra fine point. But definitely change up your tools with the contour drawing. And don't worry about making mistakes, just let it flow. Okay? Here I'm using PRISMA color, white colored pencil on black paper. And my paper is a high-quality construction paper, so it's not expensive, but it is a little bit better quality than just run of the mill construction paper. So I went back over some of my lines making them a little bit thicker. It's not really shading when you're working white on black. It's kind of a highlight. You could look for highlights and add those. But really I just like to vary the thickness and thinness of the line is going to make your drawing more interesting. 6. Watercolor and Contour Drawing: I'm using Bombay colored India ink, but you could also use liquid watercolor or goulash. These you'll want to shake up before you open that. I'm going to go ahead and mix a few different colors. So I'm going to mix a light green and dark green and pink. I'm going to mix different values. So I'm mixing a little bit of white in to get a dark pink, medium pink, and light pink. I'm also putting in a little bit of water to dilute these colors. I want a soft wash, watercolor painting or ink painting in the background that I'm then gonna do a contour drawing on top of. Hello. I want to keep this painting really loose and expressive. I am going to add some lights and darks and like I said, to get some variation in color. But I'm not even really trying to depict the subject matter Exactly And just want it to be really loose. Hi. I'm going to start this one with just water, some laying in the paddles and everything with just water. You can see my paint brush has some color on it so you can see what I'm doing. And then I'm going to drop the color into that in a wet in wet technique. Right? Now, I let this painting dry completely. You can use a hairdryer and a few have a very thick watercolor paper. Your paper shouldn't ripple at all. And you'll be ready to go for it with a marker. I'm using an extra fine sharpie in black. So now I'm just doing a regular contour drawing. And I don't need to follow what I've done with the watercolor. That's not really the point. I'm not trying to outline what I've painted. I'm using the color as a background. So if it's miss registered, it's supposed to be. It's an interesting technique and it's just like keeps everything really loose so I don't even worry about how closely I'm following the watercolor. I don't try to follow the watercolor. I'm not outlining anything I've done with the watercolor. I'm just doing a contour drawing on top of this painting. The second one I did, I use to pink sharpie marker. So I think there's a lot that you can explore with this technique. You just have to relax and let it flow. 7. Colored Paper and Markers: I'm starting out working on acrylic paint and paper. So the first thing I want to do is test my markers. This is paper that I make myself. And you can learn how I make acrylic paint and papers in my abstract painting class. Here on Skillshare. I have some sharpie paint markers, regular sharpie markers, and a Prismacolor brush marker. And I'm testing all my colors and see how it works out on this paper. Before I start a drawing. For this first drawing, I use a brown Prismacolor brush marker. It turns out really subtle, but very beautiful. Hello. Okay. Hello. Okay. Okay. I don't really love the way this turned out, but I think it would be really fun to play with this idea. So I started with a thick paint marker and now I'm using a brush marker. I think it would be fun to layer even different drawings on top of each other with different markers. Hello? Hello. Okay. Okay. I decided to cut this one out because it didn't really do much for me with just these orange lines on the brown paper. But I really like the way it turned out. Once I cut it out, in, floated it on the green. So I cut away all the negative shapes. For the interior negative shape, I have to use a knife and a cutting mat. Okay, now it's time for the cutting mat. And the precession craft knife, which is an executive blade, which every art student knows about. I didn't think I was good at using an executor played in art school. But if he take your time and your blade is sharp, it's really not as hard to say lux. I added a little shading with my brown marker and floated it on the screen paper. I never even actually glued it down and just taped it, which gave it sort of a three-dimensional look. Confession. I have a feather collection, doesn't everyone. I'm going to be using my acrylic paint and paper with a Sharpie oil-based paint marker. And then for the details, I went back in with a uni-ball signal gel pen. Don't forget to test your markers. Paint markers needs to be warmed up a bit. Sometimes you have to shake and depress the tip to get the paint to come down into the tip. I have two different markers here. One with a broad tip and one with a medium tip. They're both Sharpie, oil-based paint markers. And then I add details at the very end with the uni-ball signal gel pen. Okay. With this gel pen, you can add details on top of the paint marker. It's a little bit brighter and it's just really fun to add these fine details. Just remember to relax and have fun with it. 8. Negative Space Set Up: I'm using my boards that I've created that are the exact dimensions of my drawing paper. This is nine by 12, and drying paper is nine by 12. Then I have pinned the silk flowers to the background to break up the background spaces into interesting negative shapes. I've also used a ribbon to break up these background into interesting shapes. So I want things to go off the edge like this. So this is a negative shape, this white behind the subject. Here's another one. So things are going off the edges. This becomes a negative shape that you can look at separate from the subject that will help you draw the subject in. If we're going to draw it to scale, it will help you draw the subject proportionally and get everything in the right place. So I'm going to start with this corner and first drawing this negative shape. And I can even put a little hash mark where it starts. The next space. So I'm going to draw is this one. So I can go right down the edge and draw them in order. Up here, I want to skip the ribbon and draw this negative shape working across the edge here. And then draw this negative shape. I'm going to start to then Alice now, negative space drawings are challenging and they take patients. Every time I tried to do on it takes me some time to get back into the right mindset. But if you stick with it, definitely help your drawing skills. And I'm going to share some projects that look really cool with negative space drawings. Okay. So every space is dependent on other spaces. So if you get the big spaces correct on the outside, then all the little spaces in the middle should work out. So here I have one more setup and one more drawing. And I'm going to speed it up. And if you don't feel like watching and I'll see you in the next video. Small changes can really make a big difference in these drawings. It's the nuances of that negative shape that makes the ribbon look realistic. 9. Negative Space Ink Painting: I'm going to start by tracing off my drawing onto a piece of paper. I'm using drawing paper, but it probably would have been better had I used watercolor paper. You can also use a transfer technique, which I actually had this drawing prepped for. That's why I'm using the back of it. You'll see the transfer technique when I work with painted paper in the collage project. I like to use a kneaded eraser to lighten my pencil lines before I get started. You'll need a few brushes in different sizes. One that goes to a good point for getting in those little tight spots. Golden high flow acrylics is great for this project. Or black India ink. You'll need a small cup to put the India ink in and some water in case you get called away because India ink will dry hard on your brushes and so we'll acrylic paint. I started out with the India ink, but this brand twice and graded in dry, real flat or opaque. So I ended up switching to the high-flow acrylic, which I highly recommend. This is where I switched to the high-flow acrylic, but using a wet medium, like I said earlier, I probably should have used a watercolor paper because this gets pretty rapidly. But this is a really fun exercise. You want to take the brush that goes to a point and start in the corners and pull the brush towards you. So when I'm teaching drawing, students really enjoy this exercise because it makes the negative space drawing really come to life. So you can see here how I use the brush. I don't need to use it as a tiny little point outline. I just drag it along the line. And I'm watching how thick it's going to flare out. And just keeping that edge along the pencil line. Hi, hi, hi. 10. Negative Space Collage Part 1: Now I'm going to show you how I made this negative space collage out of my negative space drawing. Here's another example of one I did in the past. I like to use my own painted papers, but you're welcome to use colored card stock or construction paper. I'm going to show you how I use the colors from the flowers to make my own pain and papers. I mixed a range of colors from light to dark, and I'm going to use a large Sponge brush. My paper is taped down to the tablecloth so I can paint to the edges. If you'd like this idea of making your own painted papers. I have a class here on Skillshare called abstract acrylic painting techniques. So I painted two versions and I'm going to set them aside to dry. After they're dry, I stick them under books to help flatten them. So I traced the whole drawing on the back. Now I'm going to make a thick line color in for a lot of graphite on here with a soft pencil. So this doesn't have to be precise because when I transfer it I'll be following this line. So this is a three B. If I had a 60, that's even better. Or this layout pencil. Another method for transferring drawings is to use transfer paper. It's made by Sarah in it comes in graphite or in colors. Here's my two painted papers. After they are dry, I press them under books and then I rolled them the opposite way. They were curling so they're pretty flat. And I'm going to cut this and I actually like this one. This one's a little bit brighter. So and then has a solid ground. I'm going to use one of these phantom colors. Somebody gave me these solid colors here. So they're not painted their Pentagon Papers. So if I were to use this right one, it might work on here. And tears home. This one might be too dark for here. Maybe I should use the bright one. You can't decide. Fantasize. So that's what I have. And you can work with. The idea is I'm going to transfer the drawing to the painted paper and then cut it out and then mount it onto the solid paper. So I actually need to solids one painted paper. And I'm going to make them nine by 12. The only using one of the color of paper, Sony who decide which one I like to go, go with this one. And then I'm going to take my drawing, transfer it onto the back. Paper slightly larger, but I'm going to tape it so it doesn't wiggle around. Using a cutting mat when you're using craft knife helps keep your blades sharp. If you don't have a cutting mat, a piece of cardboard works good. You don't want to cut into your table. And this is an executive knife with a number 11 blade. Having a new blade is key, that your blade needs to be sharp. And if you take your time just tracing these lines with a little bit of pressure, you'll find out it's not as hard as it looks. When I was in art school, I was sure I was bad at this and I would never master it until I actually tried it. So it does take patients. But the objective is to be able to save these pieces that you're cutting out. And we'll put them back together for the negative space collage. So for this technique, you want to make sure you have a sharp blade. And you're just tracing your lines with a little bit of pressure off camera. I'm keeping these pieces organized on the drawing. Now there's some places where I can use scissors, but on the little pieces here, I want to keep them all intact. So whatever I'm removing from here, I'm saving. And you'll see later how I put it back together. Let's try this out on the different colors. Not bad. Well, too close From value, this is better. I kind of like black. It really pops on the black. This one's okay. But what's happening is this needs to be even lighter. Positively. I want some contrast. When I did it here, there was enough contrast between these two values. So although I kinda like that, I think the blast, probably the most dramatic. I think I'm gonna go with that. Where there's a little bit of white on the edge, I'm just hitting it with the marker. If it bothers you, you know, you can see a little bit of weight doesn't bother you. Don't worry about it. It's mostly if your cuts aren't perfect sometimes a little bit the way shows. And then to glue it down, I would use either tacky glue or this pH adhesive. And advice with the pH neutral pH adhesive by line co. That works nicely, but I like to put it in a little cup and use a brush. And when I put it in the cup, I let it dry up a little bit so it gets a little bit tag here. So it's more like this one, so either one is fine. But I think I'm gonna go with this in with a brush. First. I'm checking that my edges are lining up, so and then I hold it down. You could tape it with some kind of tape that's removable. I'm just using my hand to hold it in place and I lift the corner and start in the middle. I'm going to stick that down and continue to work my way out. I use wax paper to press down the parts as some glowing lamps so I don't get my gluey fingers on this black paper. So here we go. This is the finished one, which is actually the positive space. 11. Negative Space Collage Part 2: Now I'm going to work on the negative space and how I do this, you can see I have the pieces organized already on the drawing. And I start in the corner and work the edges before I worked the middle. So now you can see almost finished with the edges. And then you can see how I've organized all those little pieces up there. And when I glue them in, I'm just looking at the spacing and matching it. So it's just like a jigsaw puzzle to me and kinda fun and I only buy stuff with one little piece. Hi. So at least the last term, gluons, so they're curling down, doesn't work. So what we do is some undertakes. Perfect, use. My art books. 12. Nature Drawing Wrap Up New: Thanks so much for taking the class. I hope you enjoyed it. I would love to see your work, so please upload it to the project gallery. If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comment section. I hope you enjoyed learning some new techniques and materials to have fun with your drawing. Thanks so much. Here I've included images of the flower setups I worked from. There also available in the resource section. 13. Bloopers: And you'll see some beautiful results. I hope you'll join me. Thank you so much. I think, from an citation section. And if you pose and learning a few more techniques, this is thanks so much. So I hope you'll join me.