Paint a Cloudy Cityscape in Watercolors | Abigail Luna | Skillshare

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Paint a Cloudy Cityscape in Watercolors

teacher avatar Abigail Luna, Watercolor Artist

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

10 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Cloudy Cityscape Intro

    • 2. Cloudy Cityscape Supply List

    • 3. Cloudy Cityscape Exercise 1

    • 4. Cloudy Cityscape Exercise 2

    • 5. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 1

    • 6. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 2

    • 7. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 3

    • 8. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 4

    • 9. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 5

    • 10. Cloudy Cityscape Conclusion

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About This Class


Paint a cloudy cityscape in watercolors step by step. I tried to make the class easy enough for beginners to understand, but still rewarding for more skilled watercolor artists to enjoy. 

Supplies: Watercolors I use 3 colors plus a white, Mixing palette, Paper Towel/Hand Towel, Water Jars, Scotch Tape, Eraser, Pencil, Watercolor Paper (preferably 100% cotton cold pressed), and a round brush.

Meet Your Teacher

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Abigail Luna

Watercolor Artist


Hi! I am a watercolor painter better known by the handle @expressionabbey and a lot of people call me Abbey.  My watercolor journey started 3 years ago when I came across a process video of a beautiful watercolor painting, and that video inspired me to create watercolor pieces of my own. 

Here on Skillshare, I want to share some of the skills I had trouble figuring out myself. Happy Painting!


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1. Cloudy Cityscape Intro: Hi. Welcome to my first skill share class where I will show you how to paint this. Cloudy said escape in watercolors. My name is Karina Gonzalez, but you may call me Abby. And I have been painting peaceful, vibrant and whimsical watercolor pieces for about two years now. Today I would show you some women went techniques to paint background, some techniques to paint buildings and finally combined the tubes to reach our final project. Please stay tuned for supplies. Thank you. 2. Cloudy Cityscape Supply List: Hi. The following is the list of supplies that I use to achieve this cloud. Decent escape. There's rose, violet and lemon yellow in watercolor tubes, a mixing palette with a wise surface area like this one. Some titanium white for the stars or a paint pen. Orange elp in whatever you have on hand a pencil. This one has cats and dogs, but they're not necessary to water jars, one for clean water and one for a dirty water masking team. Very important, you also need brushes. You can get away with Onley, a round brush like at number 10 or eight paper towels or intel that you don't mind ruining . I use it all the time, kneaded eraser or any eraser. I just, like, needed a reservist. Better because they're fun and, most importantly, rough £140 watercolor paper. I prefer 100% caught. Now let's go to learn to paint the background in our first exercise 3. Cloudy Cityscape Exercise 1: in exercise, one will get comfortable painting the cloudy background. First, get a piece of your Waller color paper and tape it down on all sides. This is very important because when you put water on top of dry paper, he tends to make it war and buckle, which means that when he dries is just gonna look kind of like distorted, right, like bent and wrinkly. And we don't want that we are using today a wet on wet technique, which means you're adding paint to the wet paper. So we I got this brush and what the entire paper. It's gigantic. It just makes it go faster. But you can do this, which is a round brush or any brush that you have. You don't need to you know that this paper is sweat when you see a clean shame to it, like the one on the left. Now I got some water and what it's one. Some of the paint and then squiggle around like so in between so adjusters off. And then if you want to put a piece that looks like a skies run, you're a brush across, and I just makes it look like a sky. You can make it darker if you want to, but I just left it like the lights guy. Now this is going to dry and the color will disperse more into the white. So I needed to lift off some off the white. This is how you lift up some color. So first I'm going to dip my brush right here into a clean the clean water, then have my brush on my child like this and then of it, or running across whatever I want to lift off. Some colors are more staining than others, so this one's a little bit more stinging, but you can. Still, it still works. I can lift off some off the port. Violent. You see how it's working? Yep, that's left enough. So if you feel like you put too much paint on your on your paintings, this is how you can lift it up. This is just one way the east stairway that I found right now and in our painting we're using more than what color salacious practice painting with more than one color right here . I'm just adding the white I mean the pink, and I add it where there's purple already. I don't wanna cover the white anymore cause I want all those clouds there. Yeah, we are done. Sure. Leave it like that. Now we'll moved to exercise to world, Show you how to paint buildings. 4. Cloudy Cityscape Exercise 2 : on exercise til will learn how to paint the buildings first aid down your paper and then start painting your buildings. I'm using a wet on dry tick me, which is just a technique meaning that you're you see your water color to paint on dry paper. That's all. So what I did here. And so I painted kind of like a rectangle. And then at the end of the rectangle, I painted us on angled line and then brought that I'm go lying down so he looks more like a cube and then painted the cloud area doing it again. So I'm getting the paint. Then I am going to do the A rectangle. Bring it down. Remember to do the angle at the end of the rectangle. Bring it down and bring it down unevenly washing my brush, dabbing it on the towel, then wiggling around the bottom. Kind of like not scrubbing, just wiggling it, not applying to less pressure that makes kind of like a cloudy area on this one. I didn't use the paper towel so you can see that it kind of looks more violet at the bottom , so the paper towel helps lift off the colder. Let me show you what I mean with this paper pencil. So make Ah, straight rectangle like this and then angle on the side and then bring it down. It kind of looks like a building, you see. Then grab your brush and it feels like you're coloring inside the lines like so this time I got a dark hair tint. It just means I just added more off the pigment to the mixed that already hot in there. And then I'm grabbing the other color and just mix it in there inside the paper like so when you do that, when you put another color another what call there on a wet surface that it's all already has watercolor in it. It mixes on the paper itself, So this is the last cloud in there. You see how it didn't lift off completely. It's because I waited too long before doing that part. So the painting is strike, so when the painted the paint gets a little dry, it's harder to lift off. Now let's do the windows with the titanium white. It's kind of mixed with yellow, but that's OK. Canes to get someone your brush and then brush it on in little rectangles or squares or dots or whatever you want. We're just getting some windows honor buildings to make it look a little bit more realistic . I'm following the angle on the top of the building wherever I'm doing the window. So if I'm doing on this side, the angle is straight across on the top of the window. Strata cause on the bottom that went straight across. You see how it's not perfect, but you can kind of tell I'm doing that. If you see that I'm not. Putting perfectly straight rows of windows and street columns of windows is because this painting is more off a sunset painting. So I'm assuming not everyone has turned on their lights yet. Or maybe know everyone's home. Another way that you can make windows is by using a paint pen or a gel paint pen in white, and also a paint pan or ah, gel pen gives you more more room to get it perfectly straight. So if you want to get that look, I recommend a gel pen better when you take off your tape trying to take it off carefully and wait until the painting is fully dry. Where else he might rip the paper. And now let's go to a final project finally. 5. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 1: Okay, The most important part, Part one. Preparing to paint. First, let's do some taping off the paper. I'm showing you this again. Me has. It is important, but also because I want to add something. See how some of the tape is touching my table, and some over the tape is touching my paper. So the part of the tape that touches the paper that's a kind off white border around your painting. So when you take over the tape apart states white, the more the tape touches your paper. The what? The wider the border is. I like a thin water, but you can make it. It's why does he want and then just make sure it's really stuck on on the table. Now let's start with mixing or colors. We want to mix your colors first, because this is a big piece of paper and what we're doing. A wet on what technique? It is important to try and rush no rush, but hurry and and get or clouds in before the paper gets dry. Because once the paper source getting dry, then you would create on the terrible results you won't be able to add to your painting. So if we have this already mixed, it is easier and less stressful to get her clouds in. So what I did here, I put a lot of water unless paint on the pink on the yellow and the violet. We wanted to be more dark hair, so I put more paint than water. I will bring it in closer so you can see maybe that consistency here. See how watery the pink in the yellow are compared to the violet. Now we're ready to start painting. 6. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 2: malice little long to painting the cloudy background. No, let's grab her brush and get some water on it. Put it all over the surface of the paper, brush it across, or however you want to put it on, just do it. I'm putting a lot of water me hiss. On this day, it was very hot in dry, so the paper drives faster on these kinds of days. If you're on a hot, humid day, it will dry slower. If you're in a cold human date, you would dry even slower. Unalis put or brushed down, and I'll just want to show you the sheen off the paper. This is how you know the paper is ready when is shiny like this, and we'll move on to adding the color just in a few seconds. It doesn't matter what order you at the colors, and just so the same process we did under in the practice video. The exercise video just wiggle around the yellow, had a bit of violet in it and made it colonel money. So I mixed it again with clean water cream blush. It is also more picking. Now let's rinse off the brush and make sure that it's free of the yellow before touching the pink and then at the pink over in a squiggly line. Why? So once you get a single, that is, she's gonna be very realized seeing and on the bottom I dio the sky. I wouldn't do like part of the sky looking on us, and I put a little bit of yellow on top. The yellows mixed with the pink and then created on orange now on top were create part of the sky area. Were you seeing pink? First, we want to divide you. Send the pink on, then where you seen the violet on top of it, like on the top part before the pink. The violence kind of gonna be like a night Scott. So we want it to be very dark, and therefore, let's add very pigmented violet on top. Then we add the's this pink on the bottom part of it. They're mixing together and bring it down a bit and add more pick. He doesn't have to be perfect with water colors. There's nothing like perfect, I think so. Now we're doing the lifting technique and lifting off some off that white from the edge of that pink part. That device, the sky and then violet, you know, So he looks more like part of one painting instead, off just the harsh straight line on top of the clouds that just came out of nowhere. And then we left off some more white from the middle of the painting. Wherever you see that you need more white or you want more White Dane, just pick it up, Okay? This is more of a close up, so you can see what I'm doing. Just make sure every time your lift thing to use here, your paper towel or your towel to dry your brush and then lift. Okay, So I should be done by now. After we're done, we stop messing with this. We let it dry, and we continue with the next part of four project. I'll see you there. 7. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 3: Okay, let's move on to sketching our buildings, the papers completely dry. Now you know that the papers dry because it won't be shiny anymore. It will be completely flatten out. And when you touch it, it will be more like room temperature won't be cool to the touch. Okay, so the bottom buildings will complement the violet sky on top. We we just want them to be Oh, Phil, and feel the bottom. So that's what we're doing now. You don't have to do it exactly like I'm doing it. I just He looks better if you choose to do different sizes of buildings scheming, taller, flatter anything like that, just have some variation on it. Now I'm starting out to do the buildings behind the clouds when you want to do for them to look like they're behind the cloud is do it a little bit higher than the cloud, and then where you want the cloudy part of the building to begin, that's going to be on the bottom. So see how I didn't completely through the building all the way down. That's where the cloudy part is like the bottom, like the last slime where you see that line end at the end of the building and I left it open on the bottom. That's where I'm going to do that. Cloudy, cloudy effect. You must help us use your needed every sir. Just gently scrub. Even if you have a normal racer, just scrub gently. Don't Don't use too much force when trying to erase because cool. Lift off some pain. It could damage the paper. Yeah, just keep. Keep sketching. I know that year paper probably didn't dry exactly like mine dried. So that means that your closets are going to be all over the place. We're not going to be exactly why Mine in that cell cake? Just choose your clouds and that's where you would choose to put your buildings do like, maybe one or two or three behind a cloud. And that's all. I'll do a little close up, too, so you can see more home doing the buildings. It is easier to make a straight line if you do it in time. A little strokes like I did again. If you want this to be perfect, you hear Use a ruler. Just feel free to use a ruler. I'm not looking for perfection here. I believe this is the last building. No, we're doing another one after that. I've painted a sky like this before. I kind of got the inspiration from the Strip. I went on to Shanghai and they have this tall buildings Shanghai Tower. I remember looking up, but it and there was a point where I couldn't see the top because it was so high over that it was involved The clouds. Anyways, we're done here, and we're going to paint building snacks and see you there. 8. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 4: and Alice paint our buildings with this paintings going to Dio, we're going to start with the light shade of pink on the top buildings and then on the middle buildings. We're going to add a little bit off purple to the pain and on the very bottom feelings. They're going to be very, very while it excuse me if I use violet and purple interchangeably, it's just when I say purple means file it here. I keep mixing the pink and the violet and they forms this you, which I like very much. And yes, I'm painting this building that's on the side, and we're just doing the same process that we did in our exercise to a straight line. Bring it down. And then to the swirly in the water, Diable Natale and then Charlotte on the bottom aan den, the building on the side. So when you're doing building scientist side, make sure to do them when they're still wet, or else it creates of blooming effect at the end, which it's just water making, like a creator on your painting. You don't want that. Just keep going with your cloud, and then this. I'm doing this site. I kind of did on angle See here I get my Perbet tall and died of it on here I am You seeing a flat brush and looking to see if it works better? Because I noticed that my round brush was not very pointy at the bottom. It was jacket. And it's probably because is old. So I tried using this brush. You don't have to change to this brush. Okay, so now I'm going to speed up a little bit because it gets very repetitive. But basically you do the same process to film in all those sketches that we did. I'm the only difference between buildings is just adding more violet to the mixture for keeping it lighter. Pinker, despite it's a little different. You see how, instead off do any only on the bottom. I'm also doing a little bit in between, so if you want to bring it down having different parts than on the bottle that cloudy texture, just make sure that on the whole the edges are touching the cows, you do the same process that you will do if they were touching the bottom of the building. Well, this dark violet this makes was very little water to complement the sky color on top. Now these are going to win the last feeling. So we paint the paintings fully dry, and I'm adding the sides of the buildings on the here on the left. I just add more Pickman cause it's too light. Now I want to add that. Do you see where I'm painting right now? How there is the scratches on the front, the other one does, because there was a blooming effect. And that happens when we add water next to something that's all about to dry. So if you're painting your buildings and you're painting them, so I decide, try to paint them when they're wet, not when they're about to dry. 9. Cloudy Cityscape Final Project Part 5: Okay, this is a finals final part of promise. We're adding the windows and the size. So now let's make some titanium white with a little bit of yellow. This collar must be really milky in text, trailing almost no water to it, so the windows can't be opaque following the same process. What I did for or exercise are building exercise and just placing the windows sparsely on the buildings and following the top angle. I chose to pay in the windows the same in rectangle shapes, but again, you can maybe make some windows aren't rectangles and some other buildings that are dots or circles. There's snow limited. Why you can do if you can imagine that you can paint it. I'm witness speed to the process so you can see the finish effect. See how in this close up some of the windows are very jacket, and that is because off the same problem I talked to you about earlier with my grown brush that has a jug, it end to it. That's why it's important to take good care of your rush. And this was the only round brush I had at the time because I was not filming this class in my house. Just keep going with your own buildings and add your windows wherever you want. Them doesn't have to be where I'm putting my own windows. So now if you feel like your windows are to a translucent, just go over it with another coat of the same caller on top. Wait until they completely dry before you did this and you can add as many coats on top. Or again, if you use a gel pen or a paint pen, the windows are gonna be really, really Oh, Page and you won't have this problem. Also, Larrys is color paint. Cole White Wash. You can use that. Okay, Now, for a little stars, this is like one of my favorite things to do. I get a lot of water in your brush, Then get some of that white yellowish. Make sure that we've been using it all over your brush and then get another brush and top it like this on top of your sky or you're nice. Not a lot, because we don't want that many stars on it. Also, do you see him? You seen the palate to cover the rest of my painting. That's because we don't want stars on the buildings, although that could probably look really good. And now I'm mixing this purple color to make some birds. That's what I'm doing, just like a little like a little V for Victor. You and I just put them where I saw that the painting look a little bit too empty and he really brought it together. Now, before you take off your tape, make sure that the it's completely, completely dry for sure. The thicker your paper, the longer it takes so dry you see how there is like a shooting star on top for the paper. That was just a happy accident, because I brush my hand over the top before they actually dried. And that's it. We're finished. Thank you so much for taking my class. And please make sure to share your projects with me in the project section 10. Cloudy Cityscape Conclusion : in this class. I showed you how to make these buildings being too cloudy background and then put them together to make this cloudy city escape. Thank you so much for watching my class. Please show your projects with me here on skill share or on social media help to see you next time.