Painting Watercolor Dahlias in 3 styles | Irina Trzaskos | Skillshare

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Painting Watercolor Dahlias in 3 styles

teacher avatar Irina Trzaskos, Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

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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

7 Lessons (59m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Colors & Supplies

    • 3. Dahlias in a Painterly Style

    • 4. Dahlia in Ink and Watercolor

    • 5. Realistic Dahlia Part 1

    • 6. Realistic Dahlia Part 2

    • 7. Last Thoughts

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About This Class


Welcome to my new class - Painting Watercolor Dahlias in 3 styles! Flowers are timeless subject to paint, suitable for everyday stationery design, home decor, wedding stationery, digital products, art prints, and gifts. They are a great subject for an art portfolio. In this class, we will be painting dahlias in 3 styles - painterly or loose dahlias, a dahlia in ink and watercolor, and a realistic-looking dahlia.

I am looking forward to seeing your beautiful artwork. Happy painting!

x Irina.  

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Irina Trzaskos

Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Irina Trzaskos, watercolor artist and illustrator. Welcome to my Skillshare channel. Here you'll find a big collection of watercolor classes. During my classes we are exploring different watercolor skills and techniques. In today's class, we will be painting the dahlia flowers in three styles. Exploring different styles help you grow as an artist and if you didn't find your style yet, exploring different styles can help you find it and understand what you like the most. All my classes are filmed in real-time, so you can paint along. If you're new to this channel, welcome and thank you for joining. Press the Follow button on top and let's get started. 2. Colors & Supplies: In today's class, we will be using our usual supplies what I use in most of my classes. It's a Cold Press watercolor paper. I'm using Canson, 140 pounds or 300 grams. Watercolor paint, whichever paint you have is fine. Water paint palette, paper towel, a pencil, and an eraser, fineliner. We'll be using this for ink and watercolor style. Just make sure your fineliner is waterproof and so being, it doesn't dilute when you'll add water to it. A medium watercolor brush with pointy tip. This is number four, kolinsky brush and a small watercolor brush. This is number two, synthetic brush, also with a sharp point. Next, I will show you the colors we'll be using in today's class, but you can use other colors too. We'll be using lemon yellow, a little bit of golden yellow, golden orange, magenta. To magenta we'll be adding emerald green to make it darker. Also we'll be using a little bit of teal and classic green. These are all the colors we'll be using today.Let's get started. 3. Dahlias in a Painterly Style: So now I need to know the general shape of the dahlias, we can try to paint them right away without any drawing in a painterly style. Let's take some orange, a drop of magenta. I'm starting with the middle of the flower and will start with a small and narrow petals. Then they'll become more round like these. Don't be afraid to leave a white space, you can always paint it later. Next, let's take a bigger brush and make our orange more watery. Next let's do the flowering. Put a drop of a paint and then dry the brush and shape the petal. We need more paint. Next I want to try just to make the petals just by touching with brush strokes. They don't have to be too pointy but you can make them pointy, I want them a little pointier than in ink and water color. So like this. This is too watery, so I'm absorbing the excessive water. Don't try to make a figure paint. I'm going to leave some white space between the petals, so they don't charge, they be one huge circle of paint. Plus we can always add details when the first layer dries. Now let's take more orange, let's add a little bit of color yellow. Keep adding the petals as many as you want. I feel like I want pointier petals like these not as round. Nice. Now let it dry. Meanwhile, I'll show how to paint other dye which is wide open, which you can see the middle. Let's take some color orange, make some dots of yellow. I cal them yellow, I'm sorry. Next lets take some orange. We have a little bit of magenta of course, my favorite. Next less just paint pink and beautiful petals, and they can turn like this. In the middle let's I add some magenta and some can be turning like this. Just by using your brush, this beautiful big pointed petals, and then we'll have a next layer. Even if it's wide open, it still has a few layers of petals, and this still has to be round. Nice. After it'll dry, we can add more details, but meanwhile let's add some stems. For stems lets take some orange and some violent. Let's add a little bit of classic green tip and we need more green to paint some leaves. Again, just by pressing for the brush and some more orange to your green. This is too much. But I want it to be like a warm autumn green like this. 4. Dahlia in Ink and Watercolor: So let's draw and paint a Dahlia in ink and watercolor. So while we'll be drawing, we'll be also studying the general shape of dahlias. This is more simple dahlia, it won't have a lot of bended petals, so it'll be pretty easy to draw. You can draw it first with a pencil, if you don't feel confident enough, better draw it right away with a fine liner, or you can use a real ink if you want to. In the project section of the class, you can find a template, and you can use it, or you can use your own reference folder. So dahlias is in the middle of a flower, where like this very tight bond of petals, which are darker color, and then when it blooms it opens up. For this flower, there will be round, beautiful like spoon-like petals. Very nice. So we can do a couple of bending petals, but that's how approximately it looks in the middle. The flower is round shaped and sometimes it's even like a sphere. For example, pompon type of dahlias, sometimes are very simple. They have less petals than this and you can see the middle will be yellow for those ones. However, this one is with more petals. So when you are drawing with a fine liner, just try to be more spontaneous, make up some shapes, and let your lines be more loose. Whichever comes natural to you, is the right way to go. It'll add more authenticity to your art work. So whatever the nature of line it is, that is a good line, because you are unique, and so should your artwork. So it's nothing complicated, looks like we'll be adding petals just around like this. So it's just a bunch of ovals which start from one focal point and go in circle. It's simple and at the same time it's beautiful. Some petals are behind others. So again, this is a contemporary, very stylish way of painting, by mixing it with some ink lines, some pen lines, it could be pencil lines if you want to substitute with pencil. Then let's have a stem. Let's draw some leaves too, just to make it more interesting. So the lines and the ink will be the main part of this drawing, and the color will be just helping it to look beautiful. So for whatever you fill, could be different leaves. Could be some herbs, could be some bonds or smaller flowers, so whichever you feel like. So after we draw it, you can see how the general look of the dahlias. Let's decide on the colors. So if you remember in a wedding bouquet at class, we had a dahlia which was pink in the middle and it was orange on the outside petals, so that's what I would like to do for this one. So I'm taking magenta, mixing it with a little bit of orange, a little emerald green. Also you can use some of the teal. So this will be the middle, which has to be dark, and then very bravely, and you know how I like leaving white spots, and just painting the middle of the flower. As I go, I imagine more orange. However, keep your paint transparent so we can see the ink lines. So in other way I'm mixing again orange with magenta. It has more orange now and it doesn't have teal in it. Just by pressing the brush on paper, I'm adding the color. Let's add more orange and more water. Add some here. Let's add a little bit of lemon yellow. Next, let's paint the stem. So take lemon yellow, and some teal, and classic green. Some more yellow and teal. So have this highly unusual leaves, classic green. Again, you don't have to leave white spots if you don't want to, however, I like not to paint in the lines. I'm painting outside the lines, and leaving some white spots. I think it looks very interesting, very contemporary, fresh, spontaneous. Just the fill I want for this painting. I messed up a little here. Next, let's take a smaller brush, and take a thicker paint of orange and magenta, and add some accents here and there. Not too much, but we need a little bit. While it's still wet it looks beautiful. Then let's take some classic green with ultramarine blue. Also thicker than it was previously, and add some accents. Inside some of this green here too, not too much. So this is our dahlia in ink and watercolor. Very contemporary, fresh, and on trend. 5. Realistic Dahlia Part 1: For the Realistic Dahlia , as you know from other flower classes, we need to draw first a very detailed drawing. You'll find the template in the project section of a class. Feel free to use it or you can use your own reference picture. I have a sketch here and now I'm going to outline it with darker line so you can see it in the video. Here in the middle we have curled entangled little petals. You really can improvise while drawing these petals, after a little bit of observations, you will understand how usually they curl and turn, so you can create your own petals and if they don't look exactly like in the picture, it's all right because this is nature and the perfect imperfections are commonly found in nature. The middle looks like this. It's like a little flower with pointy petals. You can make it more simple too if you want. However, I was trying to make a more interesting shape. I took a reference picture from royalty free site which is called and it was the photo of Dahlia there and I just draw it from there. Then the petals become longer but they're still curling. Not all dahlias are like these, some have more round petals but for our project, for realistic one I wanted us to have more space to play with shadows, with shapes, so we can practice more of water color painting. Then the petals become very big and totally beautiful. Let's make one here. You've got to first draw a circle too and I'll show where the middle is first so you don't get lost and your dahlia doesn't turn out to be like asymmetrical or to have a very weird shape but, I think you'll do great, I'm sure. I'm always amazed to see the results you show after my classes, it's like magic. You just paint wonderful things, and I'm so grateful when you share them in the project section so please do share them. I'm doing my best to reply fast but sometimes it may take a while, but they're always taking a peek to see what she's in there. Dahlias have a lot of petals, so be patient and most important enjoy the process. Don't draw with such fixed lines as I do, I do it only for video purpose so you can see it on camera but you drawing has to be really really light so it doesn't show through water color unless you want it to show but that's a different style. Every single petal we are drawing for idealistic style, for botanical illustrations, you need a very good drawing. That's better to make easier to paint after, so you know where the petals go and how they look and where the shadow will go to. This is our drawing, and one more here. Next, what we have to do is to cover it all with the lightest tone we have in our flower. It's going to be a lot of mix. I want it to be in light pink so I'm taking a lot of water. Then I'm taking some magenta, and then my magenta, you know how I like to add some orange so the pink becomes a little warmer. So it's cardamom orange with magenta and a lot water so it's a very light mix. Then just take a brush, it's a medium-size brush with a very good tip, with 0.1 and just cover the entire flower with this mix. Again, here you're using a different color, let's say yellow, then do just the same. Mix a lot of yellow with a lot of water and as fast as you can, just cover the entire flower with the lightest tone you'll have in your flower. If you're not talking like me, it'll help too. We have a beautiful pink for our realistic dahlia. After the first layer, the one we did now, it'll look flat. But don't worry, the magic will come later. Realistic flowers may look difficult to paint but most important is a good drawing so you know precisely where the petals go, what direction and then it's just time and patience and layers of paint. We've covered the entire flower with beautiful pink and now you can see there are little paddles, I hope you can see them. So what we do, we just drive a brush in a paper towel and absorb excess of water, if you can see little paddles here and there. Because otherwise they'll bloom back into the wash and it won't look so smooth. It will be a dull texture, texture which isn't planned on. Next, what we have to do, we have to let it to totally dry, bone dry, just like with paper where there is no paint, and then we will be applying the next layer. 6. Realistic Dahlia Part 2: After the first layer is totally dry, to check if it's totally dry, just touch where you painted and touch the paper next to it. They have to be the same temperature. If the paint is colder than the paper, it means it's still not dry. Next we'll need a medium brush and a smaller brush to start working on the shadows in the flower. With the smaller brush, we will start painting from the middle of the flower. I'm taking some few art paint of magenta and I'm wetting a little bit of emerald green to it. We get a thinner, dark burgundy and a little bit of orange to it too because we had earlier in our mist mix. With this, let's make it even darker with some more emerald green. Under this very thick and dark paint, let's paint the darkest spot in the middle of a flower with a small brush. I hope you took the drawing from the Project section of the class. Because we have the drawing it's very easy to paint this spot. This is enough for now if we feel we do need more, let's add one more here. We can always add some later. Next, let's take some magenta in a different well, and a little bit of color orange. However, we'll keep this mix thicker than the previous one, than the one from the first layer I mean. We have this bright and beautiful mix, and the petals in the middle of the flower are always darker than the petals which are on the outer part of the flowers so we'll start painting this part to them. Closer to the middle of the darker petal. I'm gently with a small brush painting these petals starting with closer to the middle of a flower and adding some paint to each teeny-tiny petal, and then I'm washing the brush and drying it in the paper towel. I am softening this shadow towards the outward in the middle of a flower on every single petal. This will take a while. Also you can dilute this pink with the previous mix. With the mix from first layer. We will still need it later for texture. All the petals in the middle will be darker than other petals. Either petals is bending of the bending part will be lighter and partly just under the bending click right here, will be darker. This part will be lighter, but these part will be darker. However, I don't want to darken it too much. I still want to leave this. I shouldn't have wet-ten this part before I start painting. It's okay. We will fix it later. All the part petals are like little spoons that's why they have the shadow inside. Just take your time and patiently paint all the petals by adding a little bit of shadow and then softening it like this. Washing the brush and trying to get in the paper towel and gives us a soft transition. The more difficulty of this tangled ones, but don't worry too much. Just intuitively add some shadows here and there and soften them like this, and the next one. If you feel that you need to switch to a bigger brush or smaller brush, please do so. It's important here to feel comfortable and to enjoy the process. The shadow always some already fit the shape of the petal so goes repeating the same curves. Again, it's darker to the middle of a flower right here. Softer, softer and softer. Sometimes it may feel that you are tangled but don't worry. There is no way to do it wrong. Just add the shadows closer to the middle of the flower and where they under other petals. Right here we have a little petal above so we are getting the shadow under it. Again we have the next petal here, over this one so add a shadow here and soften the edge of the shadow like this. The shadow will always be darkest next to where they superpose. Close to this edge it will be the darkest and then goes lighter and lighter. This some shape is too harsh. We need to have it. Repeating the shape of the petal like this. Let's add more colors to the petals in the middle because they're most colorful. If you want to keep your flower lighter, then your shadow will be smaller than mine and just lines, not like a half of petal like I do. Still turn out to you, it's your artwork. It could be just like that and really quickly soften it. You can see we've painted this petal relatively light. The are flower from [inaudible] is becoming more dimensional, more alive. I admire artists who have a lot of botanical illustrations in their portfolio because it really takes a lot of patience and work to create a realistic looking flower. I don't have patience myself but once in a while I like when I show you how to create them. I find it relaxing when I don't have to think on much. Well, you have to think but you don't need to come up with stuff. You just paint the shadows where they should be. This is a dahlia, if you outlined it from the project section of a class is a very good practice to soften the edges. You paint a lot of petals and as a result you have the skills of painting multiple petals on all kind of flowers. Char the painting if you feel more comfortable in a different drawing position. I'm trying to keep it in the same spot for my detail, but if I would be painting I'd probably be turning it like this. Anyway, I'm comfortable. Some shadows can have either like see-through. They can have more certain a shape, you don't need to soften all of them. It's good to have a mix of more precise and soft shadows in your flower. If it's like this you can leave it just like that. It makes it interesting too if it all shows, it gives an impression it's a sunny day. After you done or you think you're done with all of the petals. If you are confused and you're not sure if you need to add more shadows or not, you can look through the camera of your phone and it will usually give you a good understanding if you need a somewhere in darker shadows or if you missed any. It's a good test to look through the camera of your phone. Dahlias are pretty complex flowers with a lot of petals, you can see. I'm mostly working with a small brush on this part since it's a tangent brush number 2 from this corner. You often ask me on Instagram what brushes I'm using. This is a travel brush. It has this metal part which comes on top when you are traveling. I like it. Again, you can use this painting [inaudible] technique, bold botanical flowers on dark background, if you want to. You can add leaves, you can add dark background if you want after you're done painting this. You can see how these shadows are showing the measure of the petal. I'm going to try to use bigger brush and see maybe I can do it faster. Wash your brush and dry it in the paper towel and soften the edge and again if you need to. We darkened this part, now we need to darken and under this petal too. I think I'll switch back to a smaller brush. I'm afraid to join this up. Also we need a little darker right here. We have a bending part of the petal here, so I need to add a little bit [inaudible] tiny shadow here and the rest will go right there. You can show some lines too instantly adding some texture. Oops, that spread in. It's okay I will fix it later. We need to. Again here we have a bending petal. We have a darker part coming here. Beautiful. The same thing here. Here we'll need to darken this bending a little bit with more watery wash and soften the edge. Just like these petal by petal we are bringing our flower to life. The same here we have painting, so we instantly add the shadow to the petal rather than to guess. Next we'll take on the watercolor wash, and little bit of shadow for the painting and here, on all our paintings. A little bit not too much. We need to see the difference between the inside of petal and where it expands and connects outside of the petal. Here we'll wait until this dries. Meanwhile, we can paint this part, this petal. Again, we have invented here like this add some shadow here. Let's mix more color. We have more magenta than orange. It's like 1,000 of petals in here. Again, we have this some petal under, so it will have a shadow in here. Honestly I ended up with a darker color than I was planning, but it's okay. You know how much I like bright colors, I guess so, we can't even make a very soft color story. We have some bigger petals,so I took a bigger brush I didn't want to darken them too much. Add a teeny-tiny line here and here, and then let's soften it like this, and the same thing here. Well, that is not teeny tiny one. Instantly we have dimension. In this part and here we have a bending, so we'll need a little shadow, at least a little shadow and few more petals. Then we'll let it dry again. Switch back to small brush, we have a bending here, we'll have a shadow and the little shadow on the bending right here. My advice is if you're not filming class and you are not distinct in time, take more time, and give some love to every single petal. It will help you start analyzing where the shadow goes, it goes under the bending, it goes where the petal is under another petal and it goes where the petals are closer to the middle of the flower right here. We need darker colors in the middle. Now we have to let it dry again and next will be adding the final details. At this point, I suggest you to look at your painting through the camera and understand where you'll need more shadows or darker part. I looked from a camera and I can see that I missed, first of all, we need few more darker spots in here closer to the middle of the flower. I'm taking some magenta with a little green and added some more magenta to it. It's not as dark as it was before, but it's still pretty dark. Next I missed some spots here with a bending for the flowers. However, some of the bending, I want to leave just as they are without adding any shadows to them, so it will be enough contrast. That I missed his little petal here. When you look at this flower, you can see it's already looking complex and dimensional and textured. Even we didn't add any texture, but because of all the petals and how they bend and how they turn, it looks textured. However, if your flower still looking flat, you can take some of these really light mix and a little more magenta to it and try to add some lines to your petals like this. Let say if you can just seem so it's watery. It's not too overwhelming, but it adds texture. Just few lines like this. I see another merger, it needs some more attention and this one needs to be softened, so with a little bit of water, we are softening it. Just do a quick inspection of the petals and you will see if some of them need some more attention. This is our realistic dahlia. 7. Last Thoughts: Thank you for joining me in this class. I hope you had the chance to paint with me. If you like the class, please leave a review, in acrylic project in projects section of the class. If you're sharing your projects on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your beautiful artwork and I will see you in my next class. Bye.