Skillshare Live: Painting Loose Watercolor & Ink Florals | Ohn Mar Win | Skillshare

Skillshare Live: Painting Loose Watercolor & Ink Florals

Ohn Mar Win, Illustrator surface designer teacher

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9 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:57
    • 2. Inside Ohn Mar’s Sketchbook

      6:14
    • 3. Gathering Your Materials

      5:30
    • 4. Starting Your Flower

      7:17
    • 5. Painting the Stems

      6:55
    • 6. Adding Pigment to the Page

      7:46
    • 7. Adding Detail With Ink

      12:02
    • 8. Finishing Up + Q&A

      1:53
    • 9. Final Thoughts

      1:32
103 students are watching this class

About This Class

Explore a new watercolor technique that lets you loosen up and tap into your creative intuition!

In this 50-minute Skillshare Live class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—illustrator and top Skillshare teacher Ohn Mar Win shares the unique watercolor style she’s been developing in her latest sketchbook, and walks you through how to use it to paint some beautiful flowers of your own. 

The technique is a looser style of painting that focuses less on representation and more on playful artistic interpretation. This session with Ohn Mar should help you let go of the need to capture every single detail in your work and instead quickly capture the beautiful essence of the plant. You’ll get to connect with nature and connect with your creative intuition, painting more playfully and embracing happy accidents. 

Whether you’re new to watercolors or are just looking to add a new style to your roster, you’ll be able to enjoy this time painting along with Ohn Mar. Plus, students who participated in the live class were able to ask her questions along the way, giving you extra insight into her process. 

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While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: It's through play that we discover the most and we can incorporate these happy accidents in the future. Hello, I'm Ohn Mar. I'm based in the UK and I'm an illustrator. Surface designer and also a teacher here on Skillshare. Today's class is an overview of my loose watercolor and ink technique, which I've been developing in my latest sketchbook. I have very strong memories of my childhood picking wild flowers with my parents. When the lockdown happened, I started going out with my daughter and I started telling her about the wild flowers and we picked them together. I thought I loved them. Why don't I just paint them in my style? That's how it started and it's a very intuitive approach. We're not trying to capture every single detail. We're able to use our artistic license and let go this need to portray something that's realistic. I really hope the students are going to be able to enjoy the playful aspect that I am presenting. That there are no rules. They can mix pigments together and see what happens. There isn't one size fits all approach. This Skillshare class was recorded live where students were able to participate and ask questions as I went along. I hope you're ready to have lots of fun because we are ready to start. Get those paint brushes out and let's dive in now. 2. Inside Ohn Mar’s Sketchbook: Hey everybody. My name is Tiffany [inaudible]. I work on Skillshare's community team and I'll be the host for today's live class with Ohn Mar Win. She's one of our top teachers and we're super excited to have her here. Ohn Mar, over to you. Why don't you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do and what we can expect from today's live class. Thank you so much Tiffany. Hello, everybody. I am Ohn Mar and I'm an illustration designer from the UK and also, as Tiffany mentioned, a top teacher here in Skillshare. I'm really honored that you are able to join me here today because it's been almost four years since I've been teaching and it has given me such wonderful opportunities. Mainly, to share things that really excite me, like food illustration and sketchbooks and, of course, watercolors and that's why we're here today. If you followed me on Instagram for a few months, you would have seen I started painting wild flowers this spring. I started keeping a special sketchbook for it. I call them wildflowers. They're more like weeds, but they just really fascinated me. In this workshop, I am going to give you a brief overview of the loose watercolor technique. I love to use with these. We are going to quickly look at some of the flowers that I managed to pick yesterday. We won't be painting them exactly. We'll interpretation of them. I know some people have challenges with doing this. So it's going to be much more intuitive and we are going to embrace a lot of happy accidents. You are very welcome to paint along with me. What's the other thing? I think all of us are going to have some really unique versions of these flowers. I will be taking you through various things like the pigment to water ratio, loading the brush so that it's nice and juicy, and mixing the colors on the page. It really is going to be a lot of fun. I hope you are ready. Before we begin, I really wanted to show you my sketchbook. This is the first page that I started off with. If I hold it a little bit closer to the camera, the technique that I use is basically wet on wet. You can see in this leaf here, I've let the pigments blend together while they are wet and that's why they are able to move around like that. Hold on. If I turn over the page, you'll probably see a better version. This is the blossom. Imagine the the incline isn't there and so you can see underneath how all the colors have blended together. The effects that you can see happening in there, and along here, and in here as well is called cauliflowering or blooming and it's to do with adding pigment at various stages of the drying time. So the pigment is being pushed by the extra water that's been added to the page. This page I haven't used incline, I will get to the incline bit. One thing that helps with looseness is to concentrate on shape. I haven't tried to outline. I haven't tried to paint outlines of this. It's almost like I've looked at the silhouette of this forget-me-not and if you concentrate on shape and fill in the color, it makes life a lot easier. This is some bluebells. If you pretend the incline isn't there, I've just painted in shapes rather than details. I hope that makes sense. Here is another example where I haven't added line. I'm going to show you this technique where you lay down the water color and just keep on adding pigment and the pigment will only go into the areas which are wet. So it works, it plays within that shape. I think it is now time to talk about the line. If I bring that close, you can see I've used purple ink or violet ink. I use line to pick out details, which is odd for some people, because they like to outline whereas I like to just give emphasis, to give it extra information. Even on these little hawthorn, I haven't outlined everything. I was trying out a technique where I was trying to use contrast. Let's find another version. I don't know what that was. Oh, look. Here's a good one. I've added line. I haven't even added loads of watercolor. I've used line where I felt it needed it. This is where the intuitive stuff comes in and I'll try my best to explain as I go along. 3. Gathering Your Materials: First of all, let's go through the list of materials we're going to need for this class. First of all, this is the paper that I'll be using, and this is just very standard watercolor paper. If you don't have watercolor paper, I generally use heavyweight cartridge paper in just to try things out and it will come to be fine. Then moving on to the watercolors themselves, this is my actual setting. These are the professional set, and I wanted to make it as easy as possible for everybody today. I don't want you to stress because you don't have a gazillion colors. I don't know how many I've got in and I'll keep adding them. I want to talk about the colors that we're going to use and we are going to use four. You you're going to think what?But what we're going to use, if I show you this palette is cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, sap green,no, olive green, sorry, and a Payne's gray. I'm showing you this little watercolor set it's, a Kaufman set and it's a student quality. The reason I'm showing you this is, I want you to still think that how you can achieve similar results to me because in almost every watercolor set you will have a cadmium yellow, and this one doesn't have a cadmium orange, but it has got this red, which you can mix together to make them orange, something like that.. In terms of Payne's gray, pane's gray is just something that I really love using. If you take an ultramarine and this is the burnt umber here, and you mix them together. That's probably a little bit too gray. Just touch of blue. That's a very good version of Payne's gray. These are the four colors we will be using the most. Now for the brushes, This is the number 10 on the number 12, they are round tall around me and the common. I like to use large brushes because they can pick up a lot of pigment and it's very suitable for this style of work. yes, I almost forgot the ink part of it. The more I tend to use depends. This is my favorite one, I go through phases. This is the Curtis open holder, hold up the camera with the raw use nib. It's very fine, but it does mean that I can manipulate it a lot. This is the ink that I use. If you don't have pen and ink set up, absolutely fine. You can use fine liners, and really what I'm going to talk to you about next is, the concept of picking out areas. It's not about the materials at all. Yes, finally, these are some flowers that I was able to pick just down the road. When I started painting the wildflowers, these were very prevalent, but I think these are called crows something I can't remember. But they are going to seed now and this was like a final patch that I could find. I'm going to base today's sketch on these. But I also found this one because and I really loved this vertical emphasis. One of the things I find fascinating about the wild flowers is, it's so not straight. I mean, these are all curly weal and I liked the little tendrils that you've got on there and I want to add some of these aspects today. If we pick out the major characteristics, you've got the yellow flowers that I call them yellow but is million of colors going on there. The stems, also take a note of how the stems, this side stems go on to the, the main one. It doesn't really distinctive as at an acute angle like that, always points downwards a bit such that's something that I've tried to see, I know is I'm not trying to be botanical, but it's something I'm mindful of. Actually, right before you get started, there is a question from the audience about the color palette is it okay if folks use a different set of colors. Absolutely, use your own colors, I didn't want anybody to get overwhelmed. The reason I wanted to just use four colors was to show how many different variations you can get of greens, just using four colors, rather than just using a ready mix green. I will talk about that as we progress. 4. Starting Your Flower: I think it is now time to get on with the main event, I'm not going to use this piece of paper because there seems to be a bit of burnt on the wrong there. Let's take another look at this flower. You see it's doing this thing with a central stem, which is not straight to though. First of all, we are just going to add the yellow parts of the flower very quickly and very loosely and we were going to build it up from there. Hold on identity. You can see the top of my sketchpad now. If I hold my palate nearer, here's my Yellow Cadmium and this is not wet enough. There's too much pigment on there, I'm going to dip. I don't know if you can see that. Tip my brush in there lay up a bit more. I fully dip completely immersed my brush in there and that should be enough now. If I hold it up really close, I am turning my brush around so that it's soaking up as much pigment as possible and with this technique, I tend to work very quickly. Although I will try to slow down, because this is a workshop. Remember what I said, this is an interpretation, is almost like an impression of this flower. Looking at this flower, it is doing an arc. If these dabs of yellow are going to go in roughly enough formation and I'm putting down just three dabs in one, two, three and if I hold the flower up close, this is what I'm trying to interpret. It snot the sunniest day out there, that's why these flowers are closed. But if it was full sun, they would be the yellow parts would be a lot wider. It's my interpretation, and I'm going to do what I want. If you close your eyes and just focus on the yellow, we're not going to focus on anything else and you will just pick out almost the yellow forms. That is all we're going to concentrate or we're not going to even bother with, oh gosh, how many petals has that flower, god. It just stops and forms and they are appearing in random angles, and in random spaces. I was going to do something a little bit prettier, but this was the only flower I could find. But I can still make it look quite pretty. I can now this for now. Because there's potential for flowers down here. I might just add three down land, even though that buds. If I could just move that to one side slightly and now we are going to go in with some Sap, Green or olive Green. Can you see me mixing this? Now, this one, we are going to make sure it's really watery, so that there's hardly any pigment in there, so it's very light wash. The sections that I'm going to concentrate on now is called the receptacle of the flower series, so you see these little bumps just underneath and their basically if you simplify it down there almost like little round shapes with elongated ovules. That'll do for now, just plug them in and they will mix with the yellow somewhat, but it's going to be all part of the master plan and I'm also going to be adding these little dots and round bits where I can see buds as well. They are pretty much full just below each flower. Roughly like that. I might be a cluster of buds there, roughly. Three ones here. Now my yellow has been soaking into our paper and little bit four over about a minute. If I hold my papers up to the camera. I don't know if you'll be able to catch that there is a sheen on there. I mean, it's literally on still standing on top of the paper, which means that there is a lot of movement available to us in terms of how the liquid is behaving. Let's try putting a few drops of Cadmium Orange in some of these. Not too much. Again let's load some onto the brush, you see, they're not all the same, these flowers, some of them have started to close up and that's I'm trying to captures as many different elements as I can. Let's just drop of the cadmium orange in some of them, not all of them. Let's see what it does, and you can see it starting to mix on the page. There we go. There was a flower here which I will just add. 5. Painting the Stems: Now the fun starts. The really fun stuff starts. I use so much Payne's gray. I'm mixing up. It's going to again be a very watered-down version of Payne's gray. You can see the palette underneath. We don't want to make too much of an impact just yet because what I like to do is build up the colors. If you're a little bit scared, you can test it on a piece of paper, but I'm just going to try it. What we're now trying to do is add these very random but beautiful stems.There is a reason why we're making the paint incredibly watery. I hope you can see that I've lifted up my watercolor pads and I'm holding it at an angle is probably at about ten degrees angle. I think I will start with adding the central stem, which I need even more water on that, which is not straight. It does this faint zigzag thing. Then it actually goes through to the burgundy at the bottom. I don't know if I can include that. I'll have to pretend my page isn't big enough. Let's call that my central stem. I will now connect up all the very spindly versions to the spy. Let's take a look at how these work. There will sure enough have weird angles. I'm only holding the brush really lightly. I want to create a thin line. I start from, you can see that there's still a lot of standing water, almost standing pigment where the receptacle ways and I'm using what is left on the page and my Payne's gray and I'm mixing it on to the paper like that. I hope you can see is my hand in the way? I should really start with this low here. But I was very intrigued by what was going on in this area because this particular flower bears some really fun stuff happening. Starting off again, here. You can see where I placed my brush, it mixed itself together and then one of them does this weird angle. I have to work really quickly on dithering because I want to use the paint that is already on the page and I want to incorporate it. There's another little stem here and I want to write the leaves really quickly. Let's make the most of it. Plants grow upward. I'm trying to include that area here, where these stems going to be vertical and they join the central stem above here I really have to work quickly. I can sense the paint is soaking in rather quickly. I don't know which parts of the world you're in today in England, it's a overcoast and which is kind of lucky for me. Otherwise, I'd be working even faster, because sometimes I paint in my garden and that is definitely a challenge. Do I want to be in the garden and take up the sun or do I want to paint slowly? It's a toss off sometimes. This stem wants to be growing upwards as well. It comes in at a lovely angle like this. I'm going to have to load up the brush a lot more because there isn't going to be enough water on this particular stem for what I want to do next. I think I have done about 20 odd pages. I found some other brushes I like to use as well, quill brushes, which hold a lot more water. Because I really love playing around with all these pigments. There's all sorts happening up here but I'm not going to add every single stem because we can use the ink line to add details. Sorry, that's supposed to be a bird. I see them like a double wrapped. The stem goes down there. The watercolor lays the foundations and the ink gives more information. It gives more, I won't say impact, but if you were to take away, when I show you my sketchbook again in a little while, when I'm waiting for this to dry. If you take them away, one without the other looks very odd. I'm just going to include one more stem here and then I have to add the leaves. I know it looks like there is a lot of Payne's gray there, but we're going to write some other stuff. One of the things I see when people tag me is they will use a lot of ready mixed green. I know I've used a bit of the olive green for the receptacles, but we're going to have a play around, if I stop talking. 6. Adding Pigment to the Page: Now, we can start dropping in more pigment and because it is still wet, it will mix. Let's try adding a little bit of orange to our sap green, olive green, whichever one you're doing and just drop them in. You can see that it's reacting. All this is going to need a little bit more help. I'm holding the angle of my watercolor pad if you can see, you can see my water, I'm now just using clear water to make these little tracks almost because I do want them to flow downwards. It will give you more scope to play with. Different watercolor papers dry and cut paper at different rates and it depends what brushes you use, depends on so many different factors, so let's now play by adding a bit of cadmium yellow to some of these stems which I hope are little bit wet. I don't know if you can see me doing this, sometimes if you look on the side, there's a sheen. That means there is still standing water almost on this page and you'll get the best effects if you drop your color onto there. Now I think at this point, I've been waiting very patiently for the yellow flowers to dry. Even though I said I'm using wet on wet, you have to understand the rate that it dries at. I do want to add more orange to play with the tone. Oh, I think I had too much on my brush there. There we go. If I hold that to the camera, you can see that where I've added that orange is flowing down this track that I created. I love watching things like that. Some of it will react, some of it wont, it depends where there is standing water. Somebody asked me what does fath mean, is an English term for messing about. I don't want to mess about too much. I do want to add a little bit more different variations in the stem. What I started doing was just dropping the colors, not necessarily yellow flowers if I was trying to paint lilac flowers or pink flowers, drop some of the color of the petals in the stem and it makes it so much more harmonious. These aren't doing much, they're just standing there, so I'm just going to introduce a little bit of plain water to them, just to tease them out a little bit. Yeah, that's better. All right, let's do the leaves. I'm going to do this really speedy. So there's one here and as they progress downwards, they become become really spiky, there's too much water in this. Almost like, they got teeth. Yeah, they are not regular either and there's a big one that happens here, so now what you see me doing, because I'm working really fast, this is my normal rate of working. I'm now mixing on the page, I sticked my paintbrush in the Payne's gray, and then I've dipped it straight into this other wash that we had where I mixed up the olive green with an orange and you can see there where it's starting to mix on the page. I'm going to let that settle there. and just to balance it out, I think I need to have a leaf here. A much bigger one. Oh, I can see a bit of red happening because as the stem grows downwards, it does become this maroon burgundy color, but I'm not going to bother with that for this particular workshop because I said I would only use four colors. While we have the pigment standing on the water like that, I want to create some very dramatic effects, so I'm going to literally drop very concentrated Payne's gray straight into that and if I hold a little bit further towards the camera, you can see that happening. Again if you tilt that, can you see how that flow downwards? I love seeing that. It really makes me smile. Within those leaves as well, I'm going to drop in. Lets see what happens. If I drop in a little bit of cadmium orange? I know it doesn't look very green, we can work with this. I'm just making this up now. A bit of the olive green again, help me along a bit and it's difficult at this stage to know fully how it's going to dry, because the pigments as they dry, they will do their own thing and that's one of the beauty of working like this, it's working with the little surprises. You see there's as an element of knowing what could happen. Oh, and it's just ripped off the end. I'm just going to tease this by adding a bit of water. Now, I'm going to dry it. 7. Adding Detail With Ink: It looks like it should be sparse, but remember, we are going to be adding ink detail. So in order to get to that point, I must use my hair drier. It's just a bog standard hairdryer, bog standard is an English term for ordinary. On a low setting, if you do it on too high, it will blow your ink about, but sometimes that's a good look. I'm just going to blast it for another 10 seconds so that I can work with ink. I'm not so concerned about the leaves. I think that will do for now. Now, we're moving on to the inking. I move that out of the way. Like I said, if you don't have a dip pen, please don't worry about it because the concept remains the same. I've got the flower. I mentioned before, people like to outline, which if that's what you like to do that's fine. What I tend to do is half close your eyes and we're looking at tone, we're looking at the darker sections and looking at the details within the dark section so that we can incorporate it. It gives your sketch a better dimensionality. One more, before you start inking there's a question. Yes. Do you select any alternatives if folks don't have ink? Yes. I can use this. This is just a brown Gel Pen, or you can have a Fineliner, you can use a fountain pen, you could use a Biro because it's more the way that the line is applied than the material. So just to prepoint, I'm going to use my brown gel pen. Do you recommend black or brown or does either work? Whatever you like. If you look at some of my other sketches, I use pink, I use violet, green. It just depends on how I'm feeling and which flower it is. I do use a lot of brown though. This is like one of the typical flowers, there's the receptacle and these little green, I don't know want those bits are called, but we we're not going to add every single one of those. We can add enough information. This is the great news. I am developing a class that was going to take you through this entire process at a much slower pace. I will be able to tell you about how the brain is able to discern and make up information that has maybe been left out. This is how we can interpret, how we're able to interpret things because we don't need to have all the information. If I look at this little bud that I showed you then, it's darkest on the side, that's in theory, I have two sources of light. I've got my ring light and I've got my patio doors. If you only had one light source, one side would be darker than the other. Let's say it's this side. So it's there and I know these flowers are closed at the moment, but the petals were not round. They were this sort of Angular like that. I'm not adding every single petal either. That's enough for this flower, I think. If I look at the ones nearby, again, slightly close my eyes. The bits that I can make out is this section. I'm using artistic license here because the flower is closed. Like I said, it is becoming out to season for this particular flower. Ideally, you should work from left to right but I can see that this one is a little bit wet still, but never mind, we'll work with that. Remember I said, you can leave a little bit space for things like buds. I'm going to add those bits now. I'm adding extra information. These, little fine stems are so dainty. I think that one must join up there. This little leaves popping out, I'm just going to add that one there. Again, the little spiky. Just put my hand in that wet patch. It happens. This part here, I deliberately left so that I could use my Ink pen or my Biro or Fineliner to add petals like that. One more. When you come to a break, would you mind holding the painting up closer so we can see some of these details? Sure. There's also some interest in seeing you do the same with the ink as well as the pen. Yeah. Sure. So there's a bit of a gap. I think I'm just going to add that there. So let's say this section is going to be in my brown gel pen, and this next section here will be in the Bit Pen. This is the Tura Tiki, it's called a cartoonists set or something. It comes with a whole host in this. There we go, but this is my preferred nib that I particularly like. It does. Despite that wobbly line, it tends to give very, very fine lines. There are a lot of little stems doing weird little movements that I really would love to capture. I'm just testing to see if that's dry, but it's probably dry enough. No. It isn't dry enough. I'll add the stems in. That's an extra stems. They all want to grow upwards. The left ring here because there's a lovely little one that comes round. Occupational hazard. One of the main reasons I like working this way is the contrast between the looseness of the water colors and this graphic quality that I'm bringing in with this ink. Any ink would work if you let the paper dry. Do you mind doing another close up too? Sorry. Yeah, sure. So you can see the different quality in there. Just because you're using different tools. Does that help? Yes, it looks great, and there's also a question. Sure. Do you have a part in this or an approach for deciding which parts to ink, because it looks like you're intuitively leaving some places without ink. Yeah. I think I explained I'm mainly going for the darker sections. It is really difficult to explain. That's why there's going to be like a two hour class where I can better tell you in more detail about this. It is intuitively, it's like does it need information. Let's talk about this one here. This needs a petal or something to balance it out because it doesn't read very well. It needs something there. Let's use a Fineliner. Do you recommend a specific size for the Fineliner you're using? This is 0.4, 0.3. I don't know why I've got 0.4. A 0.3, but not too fine. I don't like it very thick because for this particular flower in gen, in particular, because it's so fine. Some wild flowers up top, they got thorns and whatnot. That's really nice. What we're talking about before, it's intuitive. Somehow that's balanced it out. There was too much negative space there and it's just filled up that space really nicely. It needs a bud or something there, and then I'm just going to quickly add a detail to this leaf. Remember, I said these leaves are really, really spiky. I think to balance this one out, just some little stems that do that. Actually there's a lot of stems that do that but this will be the last set that I'm going to do for you. 8. Finishing Up + Q&A: So if I hold that really close, you can see all the different things that are happening within there. If I show you this section here, remember when I dropped in orange, and yellow, and the colors have merged. It didn't stay that blue color. I do use green, but I always add loads of other pigments to give this variation. Okay, I'm done. It is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing that. We would be happy to take a couple more questions before we wrap up. Here is one for you on Mar, do you decide on the colors you use before you start a painting, or does it come to you throughout? When it comes, I have a vague idea. If I'm paying painting lilacs, it will be purply, but then things might just start merging. If I show you the bottom section, accidents happen, and it's like, how did pink get there? It just did. So I just let things take their natural course. In there as well, these are basically white, and green, but there is all kind of stuff happening. So yeah, I make [inaudible] along. Also in the painting that you're working on today, we all saw that happy mistake of the blobs of ink. Do you have an approach that you take when that happens? Leave it, because it will dry, and if you're that bolted by it, you can scrape it off with a scalpel. Wonderful. Good tip. 9. Final Thoughts: Thanks for watching my SkillShare live class, recorded with the participation from the wonderful Skillshare community. I really hope that some of the techniques and insights that I was able to share with you are going to help you produce more unique, and intuitive watercolors for you, and a loose approach will allow you to explore, and play, and have fun, which in turn, I think is going to really help boost your creativity. You'll be really happy to hear I am in the middle of recording brand new class, specifically, on loose watercolor florals, and I will be able to go over what you've seen today in a lot more detail, with a bit more color theory where I'm able to give you a lot more information how to develop this technique, and make your own and you'll be able to discover so much more about how wondrous this is. I look out for that class, and I hope all the amazing sketches that I saw, are going to be posted in the gallery and I will try very hard to comment and give feedback, and I really can't wait to see them all. Thank you. Bye.