Paint a Misty Forest with Fireflies. (Watercolor for Beginners) | Emily Davis | Skillshare

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Paint a Misty Forest with Fireflies. (Watercolor for Beginners)

teacher avatar Emily Davis, ARTIST || 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

12 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Supplies Needed

    • 3. Brushes Needed

    • 4. Set Up

    • 5. Painting Our Background.

    • 6. Adding in Our First Layer of Trees.

    • 7. Adding another layer of Trees

    • 8. Darkening Our Background

    • 9. Adding in Our final Tree layer

    • 10. Putting in Our Fireflies

    • 11. Putting in Finishing Touches

    • 12. Outro

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About This Class

In Today's Watercolor Class we are going to be taking a multiple layer approach to Painting a Nighttime landscape. We'll be using minimal Colors and a repetitive approach when painting Our trees. We will also be using White ink in this class. 

It's super easy to follow along and Make it Your Own. Beginner Friendly. I hope you enjoy!

Meet Your Teacher

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Emily Davis

ARTIST || watercolor artist


Hello, I'm Emily.

I'm a Mom of two and a painter during nap time. I've always had a passion for art, ever since a young age. It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I discovered watercolor and even then it wasn't until after my first born that I decided to give it an honest shot. Let me just say I LOVED it!

I'm so passionate about creativity and creating beauty through art! I really hope I can bring that to you in simple ways so that you can also express yourself through painting! 

I'm excited that you're here!


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1. Intro: Hello guys, my name is Emily. I'm a watercolor artists here on Skillshare. I teach watercolor lessons for beginners. Today's class we're going to be painting this lovely landscape. We're going to jump right into it. Let's get started. 2. Supplies Needed: We're gonna go ahead and go over the supplies needed in today's class to get started. We have paper obviously, and then you're going to need some tape to tape it off. Preferably cut your paper to a rectangle shape. So minus a six by eight, we're going to need a painting tray. We're going to have four colors and today's class and some water. The four colors are going to be using today are black, yellow, blue, and green. You are also going to be needing white ink in today's class. If you don't have white ink, you can also just use white acrylic paint, but ideally white inks. 3. Brushes Needed: And then for brushes in today's painting, we're going to be using a wash brush. If you don't have a wash brush, you want something that has a lot of bristles or that can cover a large area. So we're going to be using this in a wash. So this is my wash brush that I use and it is a squirrel hair brush. If you don't have it, just use your largest fresh or you can use a sponge. Alternatively. The next size that you're going to be needing is a 14. So this could be used in the place of a wash brush if you don't have one, but you just want a large brush that can hold a lot of color and cover a large area. And then a size eight and a size six, both round brushes just want a medium size and a slightly smaller size for those smaller details. 4. Set Up: We're gonna go ahead and get started with our setup. So we're going to take off our paper and then put our paints in our trays. And with the paint colors, any black, we'll do this just a generic black, but with your other colors, you want a yellow that is pretty bright. So something that we're going to be putting in fireflies in this painting. So you want something that's more yellow than orange, and that will add a lot of light source into one little spot. You don't want something that will create a muddy light source. So there's a very, very, very bright yellow. And for blue, I'm just using any blue. But you don't want purple in this. We are not putting purple or red in this painting. So just as pure of a blue as you can get. And then the green, it doesn't really matter. But ideally something that is more on the or more of a natural colors. So you don't want one of those bright, somewhat like a craft green. You want an actual green that has some warmth. I've been using sap green for the purpose of today's class, is going to work really well with the type of landscape that we're painting a little night scape, I would definitely suggest investing in a olive green and sap green and some greens that have a lot more to them than just a basic baseline. Bright green that case. So move that aside and we're going to take off our paper. We're gonna get our tape and tape our paper. And we're going to be doing a portrait orientation. So you want to tape your paper going longer vertically then horizontally. And tape off all fours. Once we have our paper taped off, going to move your supplies a little bit closer. And I would suggest just getting a piece of trash paper to test your colors on when you're mixing because you do want to be able to see them before you put them on your paper. You don't want to just start putting colors on finite there too dark, or they're not dark enough. What we're gonna do is we're gonna go ahead and get started on this painting. And our first step is going to be our wash. We're gonna go ahead and we'll get started. 5. Painting Our Background.: Just for reference, I have my water up here in the corner, but it's going to be out of frame. What we're gonna do is start by mixing our background color so the baseline for this painting, and you're going to fill the entire painting with this color. So you want something that's going to be a faint, distant fogging night scene. So you want to start out with your black. But since it's foggy and distance, you don't want a lot of light. You don't want a lot of depth with this black. So I'm getting a nice little amount of black and I'm also kind of diluting it with some water. We're going to add the tiniest touch of blue. So I really put way too much blue here because this is the only time we're really using blue in our painting. You just want to add tiny, tiny touch of it. So like this. So that's good because when you have a wash It's going to dilute it even further. So this is a good color to start with. It's like a medium gray with a little bit of blue to it. So getting started with your wash, you're gonna get your brush. And if you haven't been washed before, you essentially what your whole paper, you don't want it super saturated, but you want to wet enough that it's not going to dry as you're working on it. So cover the whole paper with water. And then this is just a basic wash, so it's nothing fancy. It's actually going to be done a little bit sloppy because we want it to look like there's a lot of moisture in the background of this landscape that we're working on. So you don't want tweet up perfect, even shade. Now I'm going to get my larger brush, my size 14. Get it wet. And you got to start with this color. So I'm going to just start put it on. I'm just start brushing it downward and outward. But with a normal wash, you would start at the top and work your way down or at the side and work your way out. We're gonna just kinda put it in spots and just make sure we cover the whole paper. But it's okay to leave certain areas darker than others. And make sure to get all corners, all sides. And you want to get the whole paper with this wash. I made just enough color it looks like. So see how it's kinda splotchy. I'm not being super careful with that and that's what you want actually for today's painting. So this is great. So if this is what yours looks like, don't try to blend it more, to mix it, just leave it like that. But then you're gonna go ahead and let that dry completely before we move on to our next step. 6. Adding in Our First Layer of Trees.: For our next step, we're gonna do essentially the same thing. We're going to mix. Something very similar to that color that we just mixed. So you're gonna get your black and add a tiny bit of blue. But this time, instead of making a wash and you still want it just about as diluted. That's about it a little bit more. Instead of making a wash for this one, we are going to be putting in a very, very distant layer of trees. So you really don't want this color to be super dark. I have is very, very faint, almost That's almost too dark actually. You just keep dipping your brush in water and adding that to it until you have the faintest color. So this is good. Very transparent, very faint. Now what we're gonna do is put in some distant trees. So you're going to basically just use your brush and make some laws. Rectangular. Swipes, long swipes, and you put a few branches coming outward. Now as we get to the bottom and the top of our paper, we're going to make it look a little bit more foggy. So get your brush wet, dip it in that and then kind of just create some foggy branches by making some little fluttered tab. So you put your brush down, wiggle it around. To wiggle it around. You want to kinda do this at the ends of some of your branches just to give the illusion that there's leaves on your trees. Now, we're gonna do the same thing down here and go ahead and fill in that bottom. Now if you're like me and you've used up all your color, It's great. Tenant mix some more. This will add a little bit of depth to your painting because it won't all be the exact same shade of gray that you've made. That's a little bit darker. Now we're going to add just a few more. And they can be on top of each other too if you want. You just want to add more tree. And another one right here. So you can see this color is a little bit darker and the color is great because you want some different ducts. Are going to dilute that a little bit more and continue adding some leaves using your color right here, which is almost transparent or going to add a little bit of a tree over here in the middle of your painting. And that's your first layer of trees. Dinosaur gonna go ahead and let that dry completely and then move on to the next layer. 7. Adding another layer of Trees: Mixing in a little bit of green to that original base that we've been working on, where you get your black and you get a little bit of blue. We're going to now add a little bit of green to make a very dark green. So this is the kind of green we're looking for, but that still doesn't have quite enough black in it. So we're going to add a little bit more black. Something similar to this, like a really dark green. I'm gonna go ahead and get started on the next portion of our painting. And we're going to add another few trees. So we're gonna go right over here on the edge. I'm going to add another long tree. Make sure they're not perfectly equal in thickness all the way down or all the way up. Because real trees aren't like that. And we're going to add another tree and a couple of branches outwards. And do the same on the other side. This one move it in a little bit from the and it's okay if they're kinda sloppy because this is just a night scene. And then taking some of this color, we're going to fill in a lot of this ground down here. And doing tasks like you have been for the leaves. Just going to fill it in. And then fill in a little bit up here as well. And just keep adding a little bit to the branches that you have on this top all the way but leave the edges kind of messy like this, like we have been doing. And then we're also going to start by filling in this corner a little bit. So the corners have a little bit of a curve. Let that dry completely. And then we will add another layer. 8. Darkening Our Background: Taking some moreover black, we're going to now mix just green and black together. But you want the majority of it to black. So you want something really nice and dark. Take a little bit of that and move it over here and a little bit of water to it. And then what you're gonna do is take that first large brush. Dilute this enough that it's not going to be 22 vibrant. And we're just going to brush the size of this painting out. So this is going to add a little bit of a nighttime. You want this to almost be transparent. I guess thin little layer, thin little wash on top of this wash that you already did. So now this has a lot of cloudiness that looks very gray. We're going to let that dry completely. And then we're going to put on a final layer of trees. 9. Adding in Our final Tree layer: So for our final tree layer, you're going to be working with almost all black and a little bit back into that green. So you want something dark. And what you're going to be doing is adding country is, so we're going to start over here. We're just going to add a long a long tree ranch. And a few branches coming outward. We're going to add another one over here. Long trees. Don't want it perfectly. And we don't want a perfect cylinder. You went to a tennis skinny and kind of security in some spots and some branches and make it this way. So once you've got that, we're gonna be working here on this lower portion. So we're gonna get some more black, little bit of green. And we're going to fill in a lot of ground, maybe like the bottom inch of your painting and just can't tap up to the trees a little bit. You want to do that same thing rate is touching and spinning, kind of making little wiggles. Super thick straight line. You want there to be that texture. And then we're going to take some of this, dilute it just a little bit and move our way up these branches. Doing a few little taps. Kind of holding your brush at an angle. So not straight down you and kind of doing some taps to make the branches can work your way all the way up to the top. Continue doing that with the taps. And then make sure if there's any weird voids like right here is kinda empty. So I'm going to add some over here. And a little bit out this way. This one a little bit outward. You don't want all the branches to be the same width outwards, so you wanna make some come out. Now what we're gonna do for our last little thing right over here is we're going to add some branches coming up with a few little taps. Kind of make you think that there's like a bush down here or something. Our last and final thing that we're gonna do is take just our black straight and just make a few little tabs down here to signify branches. And you can, even using the tip of your brush, make little lines to signify the actual statins. You're going to let this dry completely. And then we're going to bring out our ink. 10. Putting in Our Fireflies: So for this next portion, we're going to be taking our smallest brush and we're going to be making little fireflies. So like I've done here, we're going to be putting little spots of our white ink on our paper. So I'm going to just use my scrap paper to put the Incan because it actually, it does not wash off of something once it's dry. So I'm going to use my scrap paper and just dipping my brush in. You're going to be doing like just little taps. Don't make them perfect little circles kind of make them a little sloppy on the edge. We're gonna make a few little tap. So when I hear, now if you remember how fireflies mainly stay towards the ground and sometimes they drift up. We're going to focus the majority of this fireplace on the lower portion of our painting. We're going to put 12, or maybe 13 fireflies on here. But one way up here at the top. So you need to wait for your white into dry completely before you put any color on top of it. 11. Putting in Finishing Touches: Once it's dry completely, which I just dried it, you're going to take some yellow. You don't need a whole lot of oil, at least with this call is a very vibrant yellow. You just need a little, little bit and you want to dilute it just a little bit so it's not so, so bright. And we're going to take that yellow and you're going to put it is a little bit on your fireflies. You want to take that yellow and just get the tiniest bit and just put it around your fireflies. You can even cover the whole thing. But put it around it to make a sphere outward a little bit. Because firefighters do glow. And then I'm gonna take a little bit more of that yellow, little bit more vibrant this time and just add a tiny dot to each of these. Just a tiny little one that your paintings done. Now we're gonna go ahead and remove our tape. 12. Outro: And with that, your identity today's class, we're going to go ahead and remove the tape to reveal our work. And I hope you guys enjoyed it. I hope you use easy to follow along and that you're happy with it. Please share your recreations of this I would love to see. And with that, I will see you guys next week.