Simple Butterflies. A Loose Beginner's Watercolour Lesson with Jane Davies | Jane Davies | Skillshare

Simple Butterflies. A Loose Beginner's Watercolour Lesson with Jane Davies

Jane Davies, Professional Artist and Teacher

Simple Butterflies. A Loose Beginner's Watercolour Lesson with Jane Davies

Jane Davies, Professional Artist and Teacher

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11 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Sketching Out

    • 4. Larger Butterfly

    • 5. Smaller Butterfly

    • 6. Smaller Butterfly's Body

    • 7. Second Wash

    • 8. Larger Butterfly's Body

    • 9. Flicking and Splattering

    • 10. Finishing Off

    • 11. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Let me show you how to paint these fun, simple but effective butterflies. It’s another wonderful introduction to my loose, flowing wet on wet technique 

This class follows on from my “Simple Trees” class which can be found on my channel, If you are a complete beginner to watercolour, I'd suggest starting there. If you have a little experience with watercolour then this class will be a fun way to dive into my wet on wet technique 

I’ve taught this simple short class to many artists, some just beginning their watercolour journey others wanting to loosen up their own style. So I know you will take many tips and inspiration away from this class as many of my students have already done! 


I will show you:

  • How best to apply paint onto wet paper without over fussing 
  • How to add paints straight on top of one another to create beautiful and interesting marks
  • Some tips on timing and paint application when we come to painting the body of the butterfly
  • How to apply another wash or layer over one of the butterflies 

You will be creating a wonderful, loose pair of butterflies and be inspired that in a short time you’ve produced something you’re proud of. It will get your creative juices flowing and enable you to see all the other possibilities of this simple technique 

So come and join me!

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Meet Your Teacher

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Jane Davies

Professional Artist and Teacher


Let me tell you a bit about myself...

I’m an international selling artist specialising in painting pet portraits and wildlife. I live, paint, teach and walk my lovely spaniel in the beautiful South Downs National Park, England

Over the last ten years, I’ve taught myself the watercolour techniques you see today. Not having been to art school, finding my own way has been fun and sometimes daunting but has allowed me to develop my own unique style




In 2016 I began teaching my free flow methods to small groups of beginner artists. After a move in 2018, I was fortunat... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Welcome to this beginner's word, Calico off. I hope you enjoy painting with simple treated decides. If he hadn't had to go. I'll suggest wiggling back and painting them before you tackle this butterfly cloth is another fun, simple exercise. Wacky. Show you how to use my loose wet in wet technique to beautiful, uncomplicated painting that doesn't require any brushstrokes. I have provided you with two butterfly templates in the resources pages. If you aren't feeling cold enough to draw them out as it can be tricky. So in this class, we'll look at how to add color straight on top of one another to create some beautiful and interesting marks on the butterfly wings. I'll also be giving you some tips on timing and paint application when it comes to painting the body of the butterfly. And have to paint a second wash or layer over the one of the butterflies. It is a great way for me to introduce you to layering of watercolor to create more debt strength to your paintings. I'm Jane Davis. I live. Paint, teach a walk my lovely spaniel in the beautiful south downs National Park, England. Over the last ten years, I've taught myself the watercolor technique that you see today. Not having been to art school, finding my own way and has been fun and sometime daunting. But it's allowed me to develop my own style. This has led me to teach the others, either on a one-to-one basis or as part of a group in a wonderful studio in the heart of the south downs. I also run a successful commissioned base business, painting, PET portraits and wildlife art in my own home studio. In all my classes, you will follow along in real-time, or I can guide you to keep your work loose and fresh without over fussing. I'll be sharing lots of tips and tricks along the way too. If you'd like to learn more about me or my work, please pop over to my website at Jane Davis watercolors dot co WK. This can be found on my profile along with links to my Instagram or Facebook pages. I'm very active on my social media pages, who I love sharing my art, especially on stories with many ideas, works in progress and tells the studio life. I really hope you will share all your paintings on the projects page. Has a love seeing amassed species. And don't forget, I'm here to help if you get stuck or have any questions. I want you to experience that buzz of painting in his liberating wet on wet lose style. So come and join me. 2. Materials: So here the lobby butterflies we're gonna paint together today. So if I wanted to read the materials, firstly, I'm using, oh, Daniel Smith paints again. Some of them are actually from the same as a tree exercise or treat class we did earlier. I've got Ozzie red gold as a new one, and this is this orange color here. I've got lunar Earth, that was a tricolor. So really nice granulate 100. That's just to, I haven't used it a lot in here. There's a few top cheese, soda-lime, genuine, which is the blue. And again, that was one of the tree colors. Ultramarine violet, which is the violet tones you seen there. And a new one that's shadow violet and that's a lovely, the actual color splits into different shade and that's just the wonderful stencils. You'll find that on the resources pages if you want to cut your own stance was out. Paper I'm using today is blocking food to a 100 pound Nazis at quite a heavy paper. You don't want to think much light in this and all the way to kinda Colombo Plan. You'll find you've got puddles and dips and it's quite hard to paint them. Little mound is not necessary, but it's a ten by ten with seven aperture. A little pencil of two brushes. And this is a size ten. And that's a little rigor. But again, two brushes are large and a small will be absolutely fine. Particles and water. And a bit of kitchen Well, and that's all you need. I do use a hairdryer at 1. That's not their stare. You can disappear, make yourself a cup of tea. You are one of the butterfly dries before we can do another layer, it needs to dry completely. So I do use headwater quick in the process, but against the say that's not necessary if you haven't got one hand. And I think that's all I have to show you for the material. So it's good painting. 3. Sketching Out: Okay, here we go. Are you ready with a little piece of paper ready site that's a 200 pound not blocking fit and middle said so such kind of weeds who's out of the way and bringing me scrappy little amount. So I'm just going to draw around the inside of this MT just So I've got something to work inside. Ok. And I can mounted at the end for you and I can show you what it's like. So I'm just going to wish that away until stint tools are going to have something like that. But it's up to you where you place your boss a, flourishing B, as mentioned tooth as you like, I'm gonna go something like that. So you're going to carefully draw around. You want to keep this pencil mark quite light. You don't wanna push to haunt. Well is my dv. Don't want to see this very clearly in your final piece. A little bit. Just so you can see. Well working one on one side, one side. 4. Larger Butterfly: Are you going to Grippia yet bigger brush, load, voltage and noise and white and we're going to start on the bigger butterfly is going to be the butterfly. We do two layers over. Just gonna wait two, all the way. Lots of water all around. You don't want to leave any dry patches. If you put your head up and down, you see you'll see the dry areas. You want to cover those up, water to stay within your lines because the paint has a sneaky way of finding the water and see if you go outside these lines that people find it. It's nice and wet. If he was bubbles, you see big puddles of it. It's not ideal, so you want to just get rid of those? The best trick her that nice to take any excess moisture off the brush and just just touched the puddle. It should suck up the bush quite nicely. We can use it h of a kitchen role just like that. And that will against suck up any, any puddles. Just talked about that too much there. Know what? Well, that's nice and white. Do you want to, want to know? Want to work quite quickly, learn to sort of hang around too much because you don't want to drawing on us. So I'm going to pick up my azurite gold and we gotta put this, whatever your fancy, this is, just, just let your imagination to wherever you kinda say runaway VBA. Just, just plight wavy fancy. And I try not to think about it too much, but I'm trying to say I'm just touching the tip, touching the paper. So I'm working all that out the straight attitudes than if you're not confident doing that doesn't matter. Pop them on a plate. Well, and if you go a pallet problem on the palette, but he's quite nice because you can get a really nice Law, the strength. And you just working with you in mind thinks we're not trying to do a textbook guide to a particular specimen and butterfly, so don't panic and doesn't have to look like a butterfly, you know, just a butterfly at your mind. Don't have to fit all the spaces up on a court like quite like seeing the white. So I'm just gonna put that down. You've got enough or that she couldn't pick up my ultramarine violet. Okay. Again, I'm just touching just holding a bush more towards the end. Just placing letting the paint Findings I y you there just to just a guide who evidence actually duty particular brushstrokes. And to watch, just watch it. It's beautiful. It just does. Does it always anything? And that's what you want to normally the pike normally does a better job than you did. It's just you're just there to go ahead. And if you can see by Buddha paddling habits from just stuck the alphabet carefully, if you sucking, paint up, you can somehow stuck too much up naive, you've lost it will just going to pop something that on top of the the orange. So every single tube of paint make a paint tube of paint. Different colors all have their own characters. So you, you end up building. You'll find the paint you love, and you'll end up finding their own characters. So it's just time spent painting ready, then it goes up. So I've just picked up a little bit of soda like genuine. Okay. I'm just, just fantasy to whip it over him. I'm just doubling. Is doubling goes only chain type is what kind of CHF touching? Just being just as pushing in. And it's really pretty a little bit. So I'm gonna kinda just a little bit down in one of the spots. Target is shot evolved since he's a nice color. Muscle. Doesn't know very obvious the moment how it splits into colors, but it goes into a sort of greenish blue is lovely. Pope's homilies down here as well. And if we get an interesting mark appearing, leave it, let it do its thing. Because that's, that's what makes these loose started gold color so appealing. That want to make it if you think, what do you think my bad mistake is? Probably not. So just go with it. It's best not to try and alter any mistakes you think you've made because you may find is the most favorite part of your painting. Quite often I've done Sydney things out that panics. And actually far left alone, you would have a nice interesting pattern forming a universe that's not lose, leave that one out. Yeah, I'm just gonna put very little alien UFO on top that spot. May as well go crazy for a spoiler hands. Well, before I get too carried away with doing spots, he will probably do for the first lab. Just in a suck up puddle here. So I'm just talking to upset joys at the same rate of the ellipse. And that's nice. So this is all done flat eyes and there's no tilting in these, in these classes. My pipe is stays flat. 5. Smaller Butterfly: And I work on this second butterfly now, exactly as we did with the first woman to make it nice and white. And once again, no one any dry patches? Okay. This one's gonna be a little bit and look at my isn't quite as bot decide, I'm gonna do a little bit of OZ. You might go wrong in a pope that way down here. So where he's 40 would be just placing and just watching, saying, Well, look, as I said, there was much tilting going on, alluded autonomy or tilting. I'm just going to try and encourage it to Taiwan and it'll just be Kathy, if you tilted this stage at nothing here, then ones you don't want to interrupt what we've done in that first butterfly. So just like in philosophy, just move data. So you probably have at least a couple of town you'll find every single painting is slightly different. And that's the joy of that really you navigate, you'd never be able to replicate the same thing again, non Exactly. I think that's one of the joys of coat color that future folk cow that's moving outlets, lovely. Coin to actually leave that, do its thing without actually interrupting too much. Code we might do is open up a little bit more downer. So just giving that a little bit more, a little bit more paint to work with. So hopefully that won't. Let's put out really quickly and we'll see how that one goes. So to say sometimes you just go, Oh, that looks nice. That's working really well. Just just go with it. You can't, we have a very strong plan. I don't think we're watercolor height pizza doesn't sign thing and you'd have to you have to go with it again today because he's not actually going to have one layer of him. I'm just gonna put a little bit of purple chest here. Just kind of a, a, a lot going on and think a little bit more. A little bit more. We'll see LIGO on top of that. Dry cotton Osteostraci. And what makes debate that rating on this wing to be too obvious. So I am going to leave that. And once I've got this pencil knockout, you look into it, it's going to be very, very lost and found HDFS and it lost and found his way. The Wing tour disappears off to the rest of the white papers. You don't actually see a definite end. It gives a very soft, loose look. I think I will leave him to dry nicely. So the moment I have to what to butterflies and leave them on the quite the right stage to pop the body down. So I'm just going to just going to let that dry a little bit longer. So this is going to be the same if same case with you. These just needs to dry. And when it gets to the really just a little tacky stage. So if you, if you open your head up and down, you can see just beginning to dry your gain, the confidence of what's, what it looks like. So be ready to put a certain amount of pay papered out, paint down. It's just time spent painting really. But it is just a little tacky and save different paint paper my AC slightly differently as well. So what my paper may look like might not be quite what your paper looks like. 6. Smaller Butterfly's Body: Okay, now I've just wasted just a couple of minutes. Really. Just let that dry a bit more. So it just slight sheen to it is best way to describe it. So what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna pick up my smaller brush, just gonna wake the opposite just so it's damp. But I'm gonna take then take any excess moisture off and a pickup, the satellite genuine. So whichever dark color you have, you think would be suitable for butterfly. Body. Brown will be quite nice if you haven't got a blue or even a black. I'm going to do is just gently place we gently. And you'll see at the stage where the, with your paintings just give me a nice little fuzzy, fuzzy look. The spreading too much. Just hang on a minute. Just ledge or a little bit more. If he if he feared it hasn't, it's not doing it's not being fuzzy, pulpy deck to just a tiny little bit too long to dry and it's joined a little bit too much. You probably have a go at doing this a few times or suggest haven't got if he times because it's a nice family like size. But remember if the thought you let a little bit too, too long to dry, just joined via turn limbal look like you don't want to do is add too much water. At this stage, we have a big bubble of water on here. You'll find out polygons rush. You've, you've lost the body. So the way this is done, quite strong concentrated paint. So I'll just pop detail in their community that they have tabled what these hidden assets actually painting into joy paper here at this stage. We've got, she's starting to with a little bit too much, but is not much I can do about that. And that's and I can't rectify that now. I think what I'm doing to Bush, Dana's off, muchos, nice draw. I'm gonna take a little bit of color in the middle. It gives you just an idea that might be a little bit light. Hitting the top of the body. Just taking kind of that. I'm just placing my Bosch and drawing down on its sucking cutoff. Medical Bush again. A little bit of paint on the end. I'm gonna do these antenna, hence, try and hold your Bush multiples. The tick touched to the head and drew out which touch the head and draw around what? And he is about done. I think that I think I want to do anymore with him. So what we're gonna do, this main bus to fly here, my niece too wet. So I'm going to always ahead driver him, make sure it's nice and dry before we do a secondary. So you want to paint a second line? The first line is to be really dry and was your disturb the lobby first law you push on. So I'm going to have a gloss for the hair dryer. You can go make it tough cup teeth or give it a velocity headroom. 7. Second Wash: Okay, so my first boss of flight is nice and draw trees blossom or the hairdryer. It's what we're gonna do is wet it down again, said Picabia. Big brush again. Noise and lots of water. And we're going to very gently, well, everything down to guys, you want to be very gently, very gentle. Because what you don't want to do is interrupt any those lovely first law you've done. Just going over it very gently is no hurry. You would always wet again. Everything's easy. Game. You can just probably head up and down and make sure we haven't missed any pits he want to own less and went over here. And it looks nice and what perhaps a more color. So they're just strengthening it was actually a little bit more depth to it. So I'm going to pick up my audio at Goldman. And again, not thinking about it too much. Wherever you may be, fancy wave effects, you putting your own college. Every flight would look very different. Mind people, we use it all different colors. And you may have been stronger on your First Lady, You may have been a little bit weaker. So have a look at your robots flying and have a judge way you think you'd like to put a little more strength? Again, it's all done very, very gently. I'm not putting any pressure on here, not doing any brush strokes and just placing gonna pick up a little bit ultramarine. Little bit account into here has just shown for that strengthen the area I liked basis is a shadow violet. That looks really pretty so I'm not going to add any color. They didn't think. If you've got a nice model Cournot color, you don't have to cover over. It doesn't mean just because we're doing a second layer. You don't have to go over everything. You've just been Callaway, you think you need it. We would be thinking Eastern tempting somewhere. Oh, just touching, just, just doubling. Doubling desert on a giant Davis watercolors. Again, I'm standing, I'm not sitting. That stops you from sort of hunching over your working and looking too closely at it. So if you're standing, you, you look over the top of it and you're seeing it more from a distance, you are less likely to overfit Lynn and over faucet pickup. And so light genuine. Just gonna pop a little bit of that. So with such a lovely color, looking quite prescient, Chuck, I wanted to tell them out more and actually, I don't want to overwork it opened on the little spotless. Because why not do bottling unit corner? And we're going to have to play the waiting game a little bit and make sure to get this just to, just to do this little tacky, tacky drawing is very hard to try and explain. The best way really is a bubbly head up and down. So you can see the glint on the paper. And he just wanted going off just where you think oh, has almost dry. 8. Larger Butterfly's Body: I think I'm almost there, actually have a go. So I'm going to use my bigger brush because it's slightly bigger Butterfly. And I make sure my boss, she's nice and drawing. He don't want to be adding lots or water at least age. And this needs to be quite concentrated. So if you're working at off, especially if you work in a pans, make sure you've got a lot of global paint on your brushy. You want a good amount minus just go for it. Just going to touch. And I'll be able to see if it's moving a lot on. He just hang on a minute. Actually. It's going to look down the body and be careful because some, some areas that's dry quicker than others. So it's worth again, say typically hit up with Daniel safe is if you go to one pot is slightly July than the other or without any other, just hang on a minute. A little fuzziness. Tail show somebody would tell me they don't have tails but I'm sure they have heads. A, let's do ahead. Just really triangle ready? I'm not gonna proviso anything. And that's, I see. Pleased with that and that's come quite well. And so I'm going to try and take out a little bit of light again. So not dry brush, that's phenotype brush-off. Tried it on my kitchen rule. This is probably stay if you want to get a little bit close to it. Electronic debate over too much. He didn't wanna see my head, but I'm just going to cite cholera out and make sure your brush is nice and dry. You really don't want to add anymore to this stage. If you do, if you drop water in there now, that body would go right across the butterfly. Yeah, that's nice. I'm just going to papilla peatlands. Mind to suck in up, say bomb hobos, fly joys at roughly the same speed. So anti-noise, grep that ago but is satellite genuine? Its consistency. And I'm gonna hold my Bosch Tools. A basin is a flick of the wrist. Touched the head. Flick out. Touch the head. Account is done. I can I'm just going to I've got a little bit of scrappy AG's handsome going to shed a Vaughn. And I'm just going to work a little bit closer. Holding my Bosch, it'll be further down. Quite a bit more control over the Bush is going to tell you that it's a bit difficult looking underneath the camera because I end up seeing my head if I'm not careful till I hit the up or down, but don't get too mad about tidying somehow. He wanted to keep it nice and neat. Let's introduce. Its quite easy to overdo butterflies because they are so beautiful and intricate. Ooh, this is not one of these exercises about. 9. Flicking and Splattering: Okay, I reckon we're ready to do a bit of flicking. No. It's worth having a go a flicking on a scrappy piece of paper to start with. You don't want to try and do this on your main piece without having a practice, but the best way I could describe. So you get a bushy sort would damp, pick up a nice bit of paper. I'm going to just check this is working off camera. And yup. Okay. So I'm just with my finger just doing flicking the brush back. Will you can flick. Don't get too carried away because you, He's one of the things it's quite satisfying to David. That's probably enough. And that would just give you the ellipse over an element rating is little bit more movement. Well, I really want to do is we have to show you what this is like without the pencil mark. So I'm just going to watch a hair dryer over this. Enjoy, avoid. And then I can drop these pets, walks out and you'll, you'll get a sense of what it looks like without that. Pits Martin, you'll get a little bit lost and found improper mounting boundary. You can see what it looks like. 10. Finishing Off: Okay, so my butterflies are nice and dry enough and I had a quick blast. So I'm just going to potty Robert here. I'm just going to rub out that pencil. But be careful, make sure these are a really dry before you do any whopping out. And it's very upsetting. Rob. Web stuff out and find you. The PD haven't drawn for pitch. You can see now, now that loins disappeared then as, as really lovely, you lose. Whether n is a way that stances think gives you a really nice soft look. So I'm just going to till I get some of these little h's here. Well, I've haven't been very careful about knowing where my lines that can be done with a with a bush. It's just so scoping way ready to just going where the where the lines were. Sometimes you have a lot of these sable brushes. Somebody, if you've got a synthetic brush a little bit better, scoping and taking color out of cleavage kitchen walk. I'm just going to dab that. It's taken that messy liner had there. Just gonna pop a little mountain over the sea. You can see what they look like. And they really effective RNA. You can see how much bolder this top butterfly is by having had to washes over him. And that she, that's work to 80. Well, by just having the confidence to leave that painter to make his own patents that's, that's produced in quite pretty. So I hope you really enjoy painting these butterflies. They are funding exercise at night and have a go, have another batch of them. You'll be amazed at what you've learned by just painting this one. 11. Final Thoughts: So I hope you enjoy painting VP8 for butterflies. Isn't it fun just adding paint onto wet paper and watching it create you The most beautiful and unique work. How did the body of the butterfly go? He can take time spent painting and getting to know the characters of your paint before you really nail it. Have another go, is the very best way to learn. Did you enjoy adding another layer over the second butterfly? You can probably begin to see how layering ward color keeps you more depth, strength TOO painful. So we look forward to seeing you in the next class.