Painting Bees in Watercolor, Gouache, & Watercolor Pencils | Alice Rosen | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Painting Bees in Watercolor, Gouache, & Watercolor Pencils

teacher avatar Alice Rosen, Scientific & Natural History Illustrator

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

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

7 Lessons (58m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies & Setup

    • 3. Drawing Bumblebees

    • 4. Painting with Watercolor

    • 5. Painting with Watercolor Pencils

    • 6. Painting with Gouache

    • 7. Summary & Your Project

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

This class will show you how to paint a realistic bumblebee in 3 different ways – using watercolor paints, gouache, and watercolor pencils. You can have a go at all 3, or just pick the medium that interests you most.

  • Learn to draw realistic insects by studying their morphology
  • Try a new style of painting
  • Develop your skills in watercolor/gouache/watercolor pencils
  • Decorate your own cards and crafts with beautifully painted bees

This class is suitable for all levels. In ‘Supplies & Setup’ I’ll take you through everything you need to get started, so if you’re a beginner it’s a video not to miss! Otherwise, if you’re more experienced, feel free to dip into the videos that interest you most.

We’ll be using bees as an example, but this class will be packed with tips and demonstrations to help you take on your next painting with confidence, as well as add another skill to your creative toolkit.


Let me know if you have any questions. I hope you enjoy the class and I can’t wait to see your project photos!

Don’t forget to follow me on Skillshare. Click the ‘Follow’ button next to my name and you’ll be notified as soon as I post a new class.


Check out my first Skillshare class to learn a super versatile, easy to learn technique that requires very little equipment:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Alice Rosen

Scientific & Natural History Illustrator


Hello! My name is Alice Rosen and I am a 25-year-old science & natural history illustrator. I live in a small town near Bristol in the UK where I spend my time drawing, painting, creating and working on my illustration business. Head over to to see more of what I do.



I use watercolours, pen & ink, and graphite to create detailed and scientifically accurate illustrations of animal and plant species, habitats, and anything else that aids natural science communication and education. I also work on decorative designs for posters, cards, gifts and stationery. You can check out my shop here.



Follow me on Instagram to see my latest works-in-progress and more!<... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Alice, and I'm a natural history illustrator from UK. I use a variety of traditional and digital techniques to create illustrations inspired by the natural world. In this class, I'll show you how to paint a bumblebee in three different ways using watercolor paints, watercolor pencils and gouache, which is opaque watercolor. You might be a complete beginner, and you want to try out different techniques to see what works for you, or you might already paint with watercolor, but you're curious to see how different it is to work with gouache for example. Bumblebees are beautiful, charismatic insects and are among the most important plant pollinators. I love bees, and they're great subject to paint because they're so recognizable. Whether you want to learn to draw insects, develop your watercolor skills, try a new style of painting or decorate your own cards and crafts with painted bees, this class will take you through everything you need. I'll break down the process of using each of the three mediums, by the end of this class, you'll be able to paint your own realistic bumblebee. We will be using bumblebees as an example. This class will be packed with tips to help you take on your next painting with confidence, as well as add and other skill to your creative toolkit. This class is suitable for all levels. If you've never used tools watercolor paints, pencils, or gouache before make sure you watch the next videos, supplies and setup, where I'll go through what you need to get started, as well as my own setup in my home studio. I hope you liked this class. Feel free to ask any questions, and remember to post progress photos of your project if you'd like some feedback. 2. Supplies & Setup: In this video, I'll show you which supplies and equipment you'll need, as well as how I set up my workspace for painting. I'll include brand names and specific details in the your project section below this video. For this class you need some watercolor paper or the card or just some good quality drawing paper. The base we're going to be painting can be as small as you want them to be. So you definitely don't need to huge part of paper. You can either use smooth paper, which is known as hot pressed, or cold pressed paper, which is a textured surface. Hot pressed is sometimes better for really detailed paintings, but for this class you can use either. Preferably it should be a 100 percent cotton paper which allows the paint to dry quicker because it's very absorbent. You will need a normal HB pencil or a mechanical one if that's what you prefer to use and a polymer eraser for sketching our bumblebees. An edible eraser is also handy but not essential. I'd also recommend a permanent ink pen with a small nip. Again, it's not essential, but it can be really useful for outlining the legs at the bees and adding in some of the fine details. If you do use a pen though make sure its waterproof. Depending on which of the next videos you watch and what you're interested in learning, you will need different paints or pencils. For the watercolor paint tutorial, you'll need a small set of watercolor paints, preferably artist or professional quality. As these are more pigmented than the student quality paint so you can get darker richer colors in your paintings. I'm using a set of Winsor Newton pans, but you definitely don't need a huge selection of colors like this. You can also get them in tubes, which is absolutely fine as well. Or if you want to try the watercolor pencil tutorial, then you need some watercolor pencils. These ones are probably got over ten years ago and I was a kid, so I have no idea what run they are, but they seem to work fine even though they are aimed at beginners. If you want to try using gouache, then I'd recommend a basic set of Winsor Newton designers gouache or your favorite brand. You don't need a huge selection of colors because I'll show you how to mix the colors will be using in each tutorial. You'll need 2-3 small brushes and they should have short hairs come to a fine point. It gives you more control with the paint and it'll be much easier to add the details later on. Synthetic hair is just as good as animal hair, and I've used a few different brands, all seem to do pretty well. So list them in the project description, but feel free to work with any brushes that you have at home already. To mix my paints I found that porcelain ceramic works really well. So I tend to either use a square plate or just a plain white tile. I tried mixing on my plastic water color set, but the watery paint will dissolve all at one place so you can't really spread out and mix it with different colors. But a plate or a tile works fine. I also keep a small scrap piece of watercolor paper nearby so I can test out the colors I've mixed on the paper, before I use them straight on my working surface. Sometimes they look a bit different once soaked into the paper compared to sitting on the plate or the tile. So I end up with these nice colorful scraps of paper after each painting. You'll also need a clear glass or jar. I use glass because I can see the water's getting to dirty and if that's going to make my colors more muddy, but it's not essential. I really recommend keeping a bit of kitchen paper nearby which can be used to lift off paint for excess water if you've made a mistake. I also use it to control the amount of water in the brush. So for example, if I want to paint fine details, and I don't want a really wet brush so I can just dab it on the paper towel, soak up some of the water. If you're painting from a reference photo then positioning our computer screen or tablet where it's easy to see whats your painting. Colors are more accurate and true to life on a screen rather than printed off, unless you've got a really good printer. So if something like an iPad held on some stand or tripod a bad deal because it wouldn't take up so much space on your desk. Something else I keep on my desk which is definitely not needed for this class, is a lamp with daylight temperature bulbs that match natural daylight. So it's not too blue or too yellow. This means I can work late into the evening, especially during winter. This one is dimmable and I can adjust the color temperature of the LEDs as well. Finally, make sure to position your paint, water, kitchen paper, and mixing plate or palette on the right if you're right-handed and on the left if you're left handed. So in summary, you'll need some small paint brushes,water color paper, a pencil and an eraser, a mixing palette, plate or tile, a bit of scrap paper, a glass or jar, some kitchen paper or paper towel, and some watercolor paints or pencils or gouache. If you want to know exactly what brands I use, you can find them all in the information below this video. 3. Drawing Bumblebees: In this video, I'm going to show you how to draw a rough outline of a bumblebee in pencil. We'll have a go at drawing bee from a few different angles, or in a fairly realistic, accurate style. You can copy a trace directly from a photo, but it's useful to have a basic understanding of the morphology of the bee. For example, it's helpful to know about the basic structure of the legs and where they attach to the body. I'm going to draw in college pencil just so that the camera picks up, and you can see what I'm doing. But you'll be using a normal graphite pencil for this. To start, I'm drawing a roughly circular shape, which will be the thorax of the bee. Then I had another simple elongated shape for the abdomen, and a small rounded shape for the top of the head. Next, I can start adding some of the smaller details, like the eyes, antennae, and marking out whether different colors will be. Different species of bumblebee will have different color patterns, and in different places. You can choose any bumblebee you like, find some good reference photos to have a look at their coloration. Then I start marking out the wings, where to join to the round thorax. Bumblebees, actually, have two pairs of wings. They have two small hind wings. They're attached to the fore wings with tiny hooks. Both sets of wings operate together. It looks like they only have one pair of wings, but they actually have four wings in total. Then I draw the six legs, which are also joined to the thorax. Although depending on which angle you are looking at to be from, the hind legs might appear to be protruding from the abdomen instead, or you might only see parts of the legs. You can see that each leg is made up of a number of sections, and they end in a point to the little claw at the end of each foot. Taking the time to look at photos and videos of real bees, as well as diagrams like this one, ensures your final drawing will make sense. This becomes even more important if you're painting a really detailed insect. Now, I'm going to draw a few different bees from different angles. All made up of the shapes we talked about before. The small head, round thorax, elongated abdomen, wings, and legs. The shapes will change slightly depending on the angle, and all six legs always be visible, especially from the side. When you've had some practice roughly sketching a bumblebee and getting used to drawing their shapes, then you can draw a neat version in pencil that we'll use as our outline for the painting. Try not to press too hard with your pencil, because we don't want the pencil lines to be too noticeable through the paint. You can also use a kneatable eraser to lighten your pencil outline when you're happy with it. [MUSIC] 4. Painting with Watercolor: In this first video, we're going to have a goal painting a bumblebee in watercolor paints. If you've never used watercolor paints before, I'd recommend just having a goal at using your brushes and your walls color paints on a scrap piece of paper, mixing the paints with different amounts of water, zapping your brushes onto some kitchen towel so you can test them out when the brush is really wet or when the brush is a bit drier and see how that affects what marks you're make on the paper. Have a goal about before you dive into this video. I've drawn my bumblebee and it's pretty small, it's only about two and a half inches wide across the wings and that's okay for me because I've got really tiny brushes so I can still fit in lots of details. But if you don't have brushes that small then I'd recommend drawing your bee a bit bigger so that you can still get in the detail and you are not struggling with a brush that's too big. As I talked about in this supplies and setup video, I have a set of Winsor & Newton pans, but I'm not going to mention the specific color names that I'll use to paint this bee because you might not have the same as me, which is fine. Just use whatever you think works well and looks closest to either the reference photo that you're painting from or the bumblebee that you have mind bearing in mind different bumblebee species will have different color patterns. You don't really need many colors for this I think I used maybe three or four colors to paint this whole bee, so you can really get away with just three colors, really some yellow, some black, and then either brown color or something like that to mix with the others. To activate the pans, I need to add a bit of water to them. I just dip my brush into the water to wet the paints and then I can put that onto my mixing palette. I'm using a tile as my mixing pallet. I've got the black paints here, and I'm just going to spread that out a bit. I'm going to add a bit more water and a bit more paint until I've got a good amount on the palette. You can just do this bit by bit until you've got enough paint on your palette. Then I tend to add water to one side of the color and drag it out. I have an area of the paints on the palette which is quite thick and doesn't have much water in it, and then an area that's been diluted a bit. To start, I'm just going to get some of the watery black color. I don't want my brush to be absolutely soaked. For my technique, you should never have water sitting on the surface of the paper. If water doesn't soak into the paper pretty much straight away that either means your brushes too wet or that your paper isn't absorbent enough. I recommend using 100 percent cotton paper or just make your brush even drier to account for the paper. If this does happen is easy to fix, just gently use some kitchen paper to soak up the excess water but don't drop the paper because that will damage it. I'm applying my thin coat of gray over the areas of the bee that will be black eventually, but it doesn't have to look solid black quite now because, with watercolor you just want to add a bit by bit and layer it up. You can see that I'm leaving some sections pile on and others, that's just to mark out for me where the highlights will be and where the lighter areas will be. I've got a rough layer of black now, and then I can go back with the same maybe even slightly less watery black mix to put on top of this wash. This layer, I'm doing something a bit different rather than just filling in the area I want to paint black I'm using tidal brush strokes to replicate the heads of the bee. I'm just using the very tip of the brush and it's not very wet too. I have to keep going back to my palette to get a little bit more of the watercolor paint onto the tip, and then I just add the tiny little brush strokes in the direction that the bumblebee hairs would be. You can see that gradually is getting darker and darker and I just want to go slowly at this point, I don't want to add too much paint because the main thing with watercolor is that you can only really get darker, you can't be lighter again. You just want to add a little bit by bit and leave the areas that you want to be light, leave them either the color of the paper or just leave them a bit lighter and then you can blend towards them. You can see there circle on the thorax, the white circle. I'm adding lots of little tiny black dots to that because I still want that to be bright because that's going to be the highlight on thorax. I still want that to be pale, but I want to add some texture to it. I'm just using a fairly dry brush with a tiny amount of paint to just add some tiny hairs and dots to make it look more realistic. Then I keep adding layers of black until I get the dark black that I want for these sections, still using the tiny brush strokes. If you use a really dry brush and the lines starts to look a bit rough and grain even, you can go back with just a tiny bit of water on the brush and go over those lines and it blends them out and softens them a bit. You don't have to add too much water because then you blur the lines completely. But if you just have a little bit of water and keep going in that same direction you can smooth them together slightly. Next I want to do the same thing but with yellow. I've mixed a couple of different yellows. I don't want a super bright artificial looking yellow, so I dull it down with maybe a brown or another orange yellow. [inaudible] is not too important at this stage because I'm using a very watery mix just for the base layer. Then as we did with the black, we'll use a more concentrated version of that paint, so less water in the mixture and use tiny brush strokes to add some hairs and texture to the yellow that we've already put down. You can see here that I've accidentally dragged a black line up through the yellow section too high, don't be worried about that. If that happens, that's fine. All I need to do is clean my brush completely, have a little bit of water in the brush. I want to dump off the excess onto my kitchen towel so the brush is damp, not wet and then go back and gently rub the brush to lift that black paint out of that section. If this happens over large area on a bigger painting, then I can use a very slightly damp piece of kitchen paper to do the same thing and essentially lifting up the paint and absorbing the excess pigment. But this bee is so small but if I try to do that, I probably disturb the paint and the surrounding areas as well. Now adding bit of orange yellow color with a bit of brown in it so it dulls the area down a bit more and creates a bit more depth. But what you can see is that I've created a harsh line between the darker color and the lighter color in the section which I don't want. What I can do is do the same thing I before, clean my brush and then make it ever slightly damp, and then use that damp brush to blend the areas together. This next bit you can either do with your paintbrush if you have good brush control, otherwise, I'm actually using mode of my black fine liner of pens. It's got very tiny nib, so it's great for this small detail. I'm just going to outline the eyes and then fill in most of the eyes but leaving a tiny spots of white because that'll be the reflection on the eyes and the highlight. Then, I go back with my paintbrush, which is also fairly dry because I don't want much water on this at this point. I'm just going to paint in tiny black hairs around the face because bees actually have quite hairy faces. Now I'm going to paint the legs, and again, you can either use a pen or the brush for this. But I'm going to use the brush in this video and then I'll be using a pen in the watercolor pencil bee tutorial videos. If you want to see the other method, then go and watch that one. I've labeled the section of the video so you can skip straight ahead to that one and you don't have to try and find the right bit of the video. First I'm going to paint the outline of the legs with a so pale gray color. Basically, the effects I want to achieve is that the ends of the legs are a bit lighter than the sections close to the body. I'm going to start by the body and then get lighter as I go towards the ends. Then again, I can go back, fill them in and add more pigment bit by bit to create a gradient across the different sections of the legs. Then I'm using a tiny brush with a very small amount of paint on it, is quite a diluted paint but I don't want the brush to be wet at all because I want to create really tiny lines. The brushes is just ever so slightly damp and just the tip of the brush is being dipped into the watery mixture. Then I'm going to add the tiny little hairs on the legs. Then I'm going to use the same method to paint the tail of the bee. The tail of this species is white, but still going to have a bit of depth to it and the abdomen is made of different segments. Within the tail you can see two of these segments, so I'm drawing some lines across the middle to create the look of two different segments within that white tail. Now I can go back and make any changes I want to the body making some areas a little bit darker for any two to add some more depth, or just blending things out with a slightly damp brush if I need to. Finally is time to paint the wings. I'm going to start by using quite a dilute color, again, a very dry brush because I want to have really good brush control and I want to be able to draw a really thin line. I'm going to paint this line across the top of the wings and across any prominent veins on the wings. Can I get a slightly bigger brush with a little bit more water and use a very pale wash to color the wings? I want the darkest areas to be close to the top of the wing and it's just fade out towards the bottom, so you don't have to fill them in completely with a dark color because remember they are quite translucent. Again, it's important not to be tempted to go too dark straight away, just add a little bit of paint at a time and build up the layers slowly. Ideally waiting for the layers to dry in between, but because we're using such a small amount of paint and water at a time, that's not really going to create too many issues. It's only a few painting in this west and wet technique that you need to think about timings and things like that. I also find it useful to turn the paper in a direction that allows me the best control over the paintbrush when I'm drawing a straight line. Feel free to move the paper around as you paint. 5. Painting with Watercolor Pencils: In this video, we're going to have a look at how to paint a bumblebee in watercolor pencils. I've drawn up my bumblebee but is pretty small, I wish I drew it a bit bigger now because I would have made the whole process a lot easier. So I do suggest drawing it a bit larger yourself. The first step when using watercolor pencils is to just simply fill in the areas in the colors that you want them to be eventually, you don't have to worry about the direction of the pencil marks or pressing really hard, you just want a thin layer to begin with and we can build more layers on top later on. I'm putting down a thin layer of yellow and then I'm also adding a little bit of orange on top of that in the corners to give it a shaded effect. Then I dip my paint brush into some water and blot out the excess in a bit of kitchen paper. I can use this damp paintbrush to activate the watercolor pencils on the paper surface. Again, for this layer, you don't need to worry about the direction you just wetting that colored area so it's got painted look rather than the chalky pencil look. Now I'm going to do the same for the black areas of the bumblebee. Again I don't want to press hard I can add more layers later on and I can go over with pencil to make an area a little bit darker and just do so one coat where I want the area to be a bit lighter. But with a color like black, as soon as the water touches that pencil on the page is going to get much, much darker. You definitely don't need to add too much pencil to the paper initially. I'm also going to add a little bit of brown pencil on top of the black because when the light reflects off a bumblebee's fur it can look bit brown rather than solid black. Now you can go in with wet paint brush over those black areas and you can see it gets much, much darker straight away. Particularly around the edges I want to be moving the paintbrush in small strokes in the direction that the hairs would be natural. Then I can drag the paint bar slightly beyond the edge of the bumblebee's body to create that fuzzy look. Now we've got the first layer on the bumblebee's body. It will look a bit rough at this stage don't worry about that, we can add more colors to create more depth and make it look more finished. But for now don't worry if it looks a bit scruffy. The bumblebee that I'm painting has a very pale tail, an off-white color so I want to be really careful how much of the pencil I put down on paper initially, because remember it gets a lot darker once you add water. I want to just put a little bit of pencil down very sparingly. At this angle, there are three segments of the tail sharing because remember the abdomen is split into segments that you can't really see very clearly because they're covered in all of these hairs but it's more obvious round the tail region. I'm just adding a little bit of brown on gray to divide those segments and on the left-hand side, because that's the side that's away from the light source. Now I have my slightly damp brush and I'm just going to very small, gentle brushstrokes as if I am drawing small hairs with the tip of the brush. Now I can go back in with the black pencil and this time rather than filling the whole areas in and moving the pencil in any direction. I want to be careful about moving the pencil in short strokes that simulate the small hairs on the bee's body and enlarge more pencil on the left side and round any regions I want to be the darkest. There are lots of different ways to use watercolor pencils. You can use the method that I've shown you so far and you can also use them as ordinary colored pencils and there are other methods as well but we aren't going into all of those. But what I'm doing now, is drawing in some of the bumblebee furs with the pencil and I'm pressing a little bit harder this time and I'm creating those small hairs and I'm only actually going to go with paintbrush on the very darkest areas and I'm going to leave some of the pencil in its normal form on top of the already painted layer because the pencils without water added to them have quite soft look, which is really good for a soft looking bumblebee. Now I'm going to clean my brush completely and then have it slightly damp. I'm going to slightly blend the black into the yellow because it's lots of hairs is not going to be a super straight line between the yellow and the black sections. I want to bring those together slightly in a more natural way. You can use a slightly damp brush with no paint on it. I can drag some of the black paint into the yellow sections using just the tip of the brush. If I've made a line that's too harsh and I want to blend it out, all I have to do is clean my brush completely again so that its got no paints on it, partially dry it so it's still damp. Then I can use that damp brush to blend out the areas that need blending. We can also drag some of the black paint from the left-hand side down to the left side of the tail as well, because that's the area that is away from the light source so the area will be partially shaded. Now I can use my orange pencil to darken some of those yellow areas, make it look a bit more realistic. This next step, you can either do with the tip of a very small paintbrush or with a pen like I'm using here. Feel free to use the method that you feel most comfortable with. Now I can outline the eye in pen and fill in most of the eye, leaving some of the eye white to create a highlight. I'm going to draw lots of small hairs in black pencil all around the head and some brown marks around the edges of the head as well because I want to give the impression of light being reflected off the hairs around the face. Then I'm going to use my paint brush again as before to activate the water color pencils. In this example, I'm going to use a pen to do most of the work on the legs. But in the other videos, I use a paint brush. If you want have look at that instead, then feel free to have looked at the other two videos. I've included a note at the point where I'm painting the legs. You can skip head to that section. I can outline the legs in pen, making sure to outline the different sections of the legs as well and include the tiny claw at the end of each foot. Then this gets a little bit tricky because of how small I've drawn the bee, but I use the black pencil to partially fill in the different segments of the legs, but not completely because I want to have some highlights on the legs as well. I'm very careful when I'm using this brush to not take the paint all the way to the edges of the outline. Then once I've let that layer dry slightly, I can use a clean paintbrush to blend some of that out and bring it closer to the edges. Now we can work on the wings. I just want to use the pencil only on the tops of the wings and on any permanent veins. I don't want to fill them in with a pencil because as soon as I add water to that it will make them way too dark. I'm using brown pencil very lightly on the smaller veins. I can get my small paint brush and drag the water along the lines, I don't want to cover the whole area, just yet, I just want to focus on the lines for now. Now you can use a slightly larger paint brush for this but if you want to, it's up to you. I don't want to add anymore pencil, but I'm just going to use the marks that are already there to spread some of that paint around a bit more to give the wing a translucent look with the darkest areas closest to the top of the wing and then it fades out to transparent at the edges. Because the ring is translucent, I'm going to see some of the color of the bee's body coming through, but not as dark as it is everywhere else. Just want to tie a little bit of yellow pencil where the yellow section would be if the wing wasn't there, and a tiny bit of black pencil on top of the blank sections as well. Now the trick with this part, is to start spreading out the paint, but keep cleaning your brush so you're taking away some of the black paint that is on the brush each time. If you don't keep cleaning your brush, that black is just going to build up more and more and the whole wing will become too dark. Remember, you can use a clean, slightly damp brush to blend any areas you need to, as long as you keep cleaning the brush. Now I can make any top chops I need to, either with the pencil in its normal form or in its water color form. Whatever suits that particular area of the painting you're working on. I'm nearly done. But at this point, I've decided that the eye isn't quite where I wanted to be. It doesn't look right sitting where it is at the moment, which is why it's important to spend time on your outline to begin with, which I should have done. What I can do is use some opaque watercolor paint called gouache to paint in where I want the new whites highlight to the to be and then use the black paint to cover up the old highlight and essentially moved the whole eye up to where I want it to be in the face. It wouldn't have been possible for me to data with just watercolor pencils because once you've made an area dark with watercolor pencils, you can't really make it light again, just like ordinary watercolor paints. But with gouache you can because they're opaque. That's why I really recommend buying the tube of white gouache paint because it's been so handy in so situations when you've made a mistake, or where you just want to add some extra highlights is just a really useful thing to have. 6. Painting with Gouache: Now we're going to look using Gouache to paint our final bumblebee. I'll be using five colors from my Winsor Newton set, and these are zinc white, ivory black, permanent yellow deep, primary yellow, and yellow och re. I've decided I'm going to start with the yellow sections of the bumblebee. The main one and only paint is the yellow colors onto the palette. You can put them all on there straight away if you want to, It's totally up to you. Once I have these colors on my palette, I'm going to start mixing them together. At the moment it seems I've got very, very bright yellow, which on its own, would be maybe a little bit too artificial for the hairs of the bumblebee, and then a bit of an orange color, which again, doesn't really work on its own. Then the yellow och re is a more brownie color which might still be useful on its own, but it's also really good mixed with the other two. I'm going start mixing them together to see all colors they can make. They'd be afraid about trying different combinations, seeing all colors you can make, and another thing I like to do is add water to one side of a color I've mixed and then dragged out. I have one color in it's opaque form and also in its translucent water color form. You can see now that I have a few different colors and in a few different capacities as well. These colors are starting to look more natural and potentially more suitable for the yellow falls of the bumblebee. At this point is a really good idea to test the colors that I've made on a scrap piece of paper before you use them straight on my painting. I only started using gouache quite recently, but I actually really like it and I'm used to using ordinary watercolor paints. Gouache can be used in a very similar way, especially when you add water acts to support color does. But you also have the option of using it and it's opaque form, which means that it's really versatile, and you can lay a light colors on top of dark colors, which is so good for correcting mistakes or adding highlights if you need to. It's just a really nice paint to work with, and it's a lot more forgiving than ordinary watercolor paints where if you've made a mistake, there's not much you can do about it. I've started by filling in the yellow sections with this yellow orange mix. They don't need to worry at this point about any detail or blending, I just need to block in the colors where they need to go, and it really doesn't matter what, or do you do the same. I'm starting to add a little bit of detail and shading to this yellow section, but equally, I could fill in yellow and black and then go back and start adding detail. It's completely up to you, and the good thing about gouache is that it's really flexible, so if later on you decide that actually that gallery color I've used isn't bright enough, you can go back and add a brighter shade on top of it. It works, because gouache is opaque. Just like with watercolor there, a clean, damp brush can be used to blend any paint that's already there. If you have harsh lines, it need to be softer or you want to create a gradient between two different colors, then using a dump brush is a good way of doing this. Now I'm using the tip of the brush with a yellow och re and yellow mix to add some detail to the yellow sections. I want to paint using just the tip of the brush in straight smooth strokes in the same direction as the hands would be. Now I'm using the black gouache paint to start filling in the black sections, and straightaway, I am using small strikes to mimic the hairs on the bees body. This is more important at the edges because I didn't want blank lines between the yellow and the black sections. I put the really thick opaque black paint on the edges of the body and slightly watery black mix towards the middle because this section will be lighter. It doesn't matter if a paint the whole thing black straightaway and then add white paint on top. I'm really just using the watery mix just so I can see where the highlights will go. It also means I didn't have to add as many layers of the white paint to create the bright white highlights on top of the black. If you ever find that you need paint, really small details or precise lines with gouache, and you're really struggling to do that because the paints too thick then just add a very small amount of water so that is easier to work with and goes onto the paper much smoother. Also, as you're working, your gouache paint will be joining out your mixing palette, and that's okay. All you need to do is add a little bit of water to reactivate them. You can do this with your paint brush, or some artists use a small bottle of water and spray the water onto the paints. To create a soft look between the black thorax and the yellow on the abdomen, I am using a damp brush with a small amount of black paint on it. But the black paint is a bit watered down, so it's easier to work with in small details. That just means I can drag some gray lines down into the yellow sections to soften up slightly. Now I'm going to use white paint at the highlights to the thorax and abdomen. You can just start by adding a little bit of white paint to the center of the highlight, then cleaning my brush, leaving it slightly damp but not wet, and dragging out the white paint that is already there and blending into the surrounding areas. I'm using the tip of the brush to dot the white paint around and create a gradient from the bright white highlight in the center to the black hairs around it. Then I can do the same thing on the abdomen, adding white paint and then using a clean damp brush to spread that paint around using small dots. You might find that when the white paint dries is not quite as opaque as it was, you can just go back and add more white paint on top and do the same as before until you get the bright highlight that you're looking for. Now, I'm adding a little bit more of the yellow [inaudible] mix to darken this yellow section on the abdomen and give it a bit more depth. Then, I want to lighten the sides of the yellow sections so I can use some yellow paint to mix with a little bit white paint and lay it that on top of the yellow sections of the edges where I want them to be brighter. Now, I'm going to start working on the tail, which is mainly white because of the white hairs but underneath is black so I still want to have some of that showing through. Three segments of the abdomen are visible in a section of the tail. I want to separate those segments using a watery black mix. Now, I can go over the tail section with my wet paint. Remember if I use the paint as it comes straight from the tube, it will be very thick and opaque or I can dilute it with a little bit of water to go over some of the black lines and soften them but not completely hide them. Now, you can see really how flexible the gouache paint is. So I can make it darker, and then I can make it light again, and I can keep playing around with it until I'm happy. For the legs, I'm using the gouache paints in a more diluted form. So it's acting more like watercolor paint. I'm using yellow [inaudible] mixed with some black, which is a very quick and easy way to make this brown color. The legs covered then small hairs so I'm using the tip of the brush to paint these small hairs straight onto the legs. Now, I can add a more opaque mix on top of this brown paint, but not taking it all the way to the edges because I still want some of that brown color to show through. I'm using the same color but more watered down start painting in some of the veins on the wings. You can turn the paper if it makes it easier to paint some of these long, smooth lines. Now, I'm going back to my slightly bigger brush. I'm using a very watery mix to put layer of the brown paint onto the tops of the wings. Then I clean my brush, get the excess water off of it so it's just damp, and then I can use that to blend the paint down towards the bottom of the wing. The reason I've used the gouache paint in a very translucent watercolor form for the wings is because naturally the wings are translucent. So it's much easier to get that translucent wing-look using the gouache paint in this watercolor form, but because we're working with this very pale color, you don't want to add too much right from the start. It's better to add a small amount and make it darker later on if you need to. I'm almost done but I think the thorax could look a bit more fluffy. I'm just going to elongate some of those black hairs to partially cover the yellow section. Because I want those hairs to be very fine, I've diluted the black paint ever so slightly so it's easier to work with and I can use my tiny brush to drag them upwards from the thorax. 7. Summary & Your Project: I hope you enjoyed this course and you found it useful. It was a challenge to create a class that covers three different techniques and is accessible to all levels. Obviously, there's a lot more I could go into, but I hope the whole processing seems a little bit less daunting now and you feel ready to paint your own bumblebee. The class project is to have you go painting a bee of your choice in any of the three mediums. You can also mix watercolor, gouache, and watercolor pencil together if you want to. Preferably use a medium as you're familiar with if you really want to challenge yourself, or you might stick with a medium you're used to but this might be a new style for you, which is good too. Make sure you share your bees with me. I love seeing your projects and it means you can get feedback from myself and inspiration from other people taking the course as well. Sometimes share your work on Instagram as well so if you're on Instagram too then remember to let me know in your project description and I can tag you. Skills from this lesson should get you started with each of the three techniques but I will do more in-depth classes in the future if people are interested. Let me know what you'd like to see in future classes in the community section below and make sure to follow me so you're notified when I publish a new class. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments and I really appreciate your feedback as I'm still new to Skillshare so I'd love to hear your thoughts.