Step-by-Step: Watercolor iceberg | Maria Smirnova | Skillshare

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Step-by-Step: Watercolor iceberg

teacher avatar Maria Smirnova, Watercolor artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (1h)
    • 1. What is this class about?

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Brush exercises

    • 4. Drawing

    • 5. Sky

    • 6. Iceberg. Step 1

    • 7. Iceberg. Step 2

    • 8. Shadows

    • 9. Water

    • 10. Final touches

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About This Class


Have you ever thought about which color to use to paint white objects ? How to capture a freezy freshness of ice? These questions arrive when we see a fragile beauty of icebergs.

So let's take a single one brush and add a contrast lighting, reflections on water surface and we will get a subject of this video-tutorial.

Join this class and you will discover:

  • How to paint different states of water
  • How to paint with the only one brush
  • How to work with a limited color palette
  • How to combine wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques
  • How to paint reflections on water on dry paper

The lesson may be interesting both for advanced artists who never stop improving their technique and for courageous beinners.

I'm looking forward to seeing you in the class!



Photo reference:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Maria Smirnova

Watercolor artist



I'm Maria, a Russian watercolor artist, currently based in Paris.

An electrical engineer in the past, I've changed my whole life chasing my dreams.

I draw and paint since I remember myself and the last several years were about practicing watercolor. I totally fell in love with this amazing material and it has become a big part of my life by now.

Almost every painting I’ve made is about light. It is all about something instant, flash slipping away. 

I'm glad to share with you some techniques and tricks I use in my work!

See full profile

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1. What is this class about?: everybody. I'm Maria. Welcome to my new video tutorial. This time I'd like to touch upon a theme of a fragile beauty of nature and to paint in watercolors burke with you. To make this task more challenging, I propose to make it applying only one brush in three colors. Of course, I'll show you first all the other materials I used for the project and also how to explore the potential of your brush. And then you'll discover it's their bested protests of creation. Off cloudy skies, icebergs under a contrast, lighting and reflections on the way the water surface. So in the end, following my steps, you will be able to paint with watercolors, different states off water and to create your own pictures off disappearing beauty, journey class and enjoy watercolors. 2. Supplies: to begin. Let's take a look at supplies were going to use for painting today. First of all, I have cotton watercolor paper, 300 grams per square meter density. It is stuck to oppressed clipboard with the masking tape. As usual, I'm gonna use paper towels. Also paper, fur collar tests and exercises. For that, you can use any watercolor paper you have. Here is a pencil for a preliminary drawing. You can take semi soft or a soft one to a razor's ordinary and soft off course, a cop off water. I'll place it here, a plastic pellets or any palate you have, and there are only three watercolor paints I'm going to use for this work. This is the first special thing about my materials choice for today's painting. There are a couple to acquis in downtrend blue and in a critical rose. It's not required to use exactly the same pains. You can try to complete your ballot from car, so you already have also. The second challenge of this class is that I'm going to work with the only brush it's around. Screw brush medio size around one centimeter in diameter, which has a very pointed tip. You see how many different things we can do applying Onley one brush 3. Brush exercises: before we start painting, I'm proposing to test our brush to see what kind of things we can paint with it. What brush strokes can it provide? Note that even it's a round brush. It could be useful for many tasks. I'll show you an example. I load some color to the brush. Please note that depending on the manner you're holding the brush like this angled or straight or in any other direction, you may get different results starting by exercises. Your brush is really useful for your future work. I also recommend to do it every time you buy a new brush. Look what I get when I put my hand like this. The brush gives me a wide watercolor brush stroke. Here it is and brush with the same action. But being put horizontally, we'll give me a little bit different results while doing so. If you change, the pressure line changed its with. And what if you want to get a very seen line with this brush first you need to brush with a pointed tip, of course, and the way you hold it is also important. I personally prefer to fix my wrist like this then hold the brush vertically. I also can help myself with a little finger. And like that, I can draw felines confidently. If I change the pressure to my brush, obviously the line will become wider or senior. You can also try to experiment a little bit with and almost dry brush to check out what's trucks it may give, and don't hesitate to try it in different positions as well. Besides, don't forget that your brushes able to make simple prints like this, you can make them with a brush deep or holding and vertically, with some pressure on it. Like this. Notice how many different things we may get with the only one brush, So take some time for exercising with your tool. Before you start, you'll discover that every brush has a great but Daschle 4. Drawing: all right, let's start to work in our landscape for that first. As usual, I'll do a preliminary pencil drawing. I tried off a horse online. I work with an ordinary pencil. It's soft. Be softness. Notice that I don't give a lot of space to water. It's even less than 1/3 maybe only 1/4 of a sheet. Meanwhile, the original father has more vertical for months, but I'm going to paint it more horizontally. I see no problem with it. Next I look at the place where my eyes brick is going to me. Luckily, it's an object that we have no need to region exact portrait like this. It's OK. The iceberg isn't very similar to its original version, so you can just draw the main form and general shapes and not care too much about precise details. So that's what I'm doing now. I'm drawing in general shape of it. First, I have determined how high the ice brick will be, and I also make sure that I keep some space above its top. Like him drawing. I don't pay attention to things on the background. Now I'm focusing on the external general outline off the iceberg. There is an interesting carving thing here. Here it goes into water. This part, as you may see, is a little bit in front. This line is closer to us, so I draw it a bit lower. There in the background, we have a small eyes break and a bigger wanted in In here. I'll draw a darker so I could see it better. E already see that it's too much for this line. I could put it lower too. Don't be afraid of corrections and refinements. We always can use in the razor for this to give my paper clean. I was the erasers remains with a big brush. There will be a complex form here. I'll get back to it later. Trying to notice how the outline off the iceberg bands here it goes in this direction. Then bands goes like this comes out here. You may always change and redraw things during this preparation processed, so don't worry. Okay. Uh, okay. Here is another piece. So you see, I tried biggest parts of my future iceberg. First this'll line also goes this way forward. I use a softer razor to shake off excess graffiti from paper. But it also lets me to keep needed lines. Here we have another piece here Also can get rid of some lines. No, forget it. In this area, our object will be white. So I'd like to have clean and clear contras here. Some more curves here. I simply draw what I see. Yeah, Here in the place, I wondered to precisely just chatting main things. All these small, dark elements. I don't pay my intention to them. I'm taking off some more lines again. Help. You still can't see the drawing basically before you'll start. Whether coloring you can refine a beach the final contra Maybe it won't be too bad to make it a bit more complex. More detailed shoe in there like this. Here I see a small one on the background and it will also have a shadow part. Well, this is approximately what we needed to to begin painting. This internal lines are not really necessary. I draw them to help myself to find their position and future easily. While painting a shadow. I could also banned the contour a little bit more in places to make it look more naturally . Something like that. Oh, 5. Sky: The first type of painting for us today is this guy background. You might be confused by presence off pink color in my palette, but don't be surprised. I'm gonna use it quite a lot. Let's blend all three colors together and let's see what we've got. The color is kind of grayish. I should probably makes it a bit seeker. I remind you that you can actually take other cars if you want. You can add gray or while it, for example, but I'll try to use only these three pains. So here is the color we've got for the background in order to make a darker I'm blending and dancer mix here side, uh, I'm going to apply it for painting dark clouds. Now I moisten the paper surface with this grill brush with water. I still have some color on the brush. It's it's not bad, but it would be better to wet the paper with the clean water. Actually, I need quite a lot of water as I'm painting on a cotton paper water socks fast in trade. So that's why I'm I'm doing this preparation. A pale color off water is okay for me because I'll paint on it right away with the same Hugh. So I just need to pay attention and cover only the sky part with liquid. Now, it's already time to paint in these dramatic sky. I banged carefully around the iceberg, not leaving any white areas. Uh, okay, what kind of moment I do I painted in these circular manner. It allows me to get a shape and even the volume of clouds Way. I'm trying to feel the small area here as soon as I can, because the contour of the first pale color wash is getting dry. Uh uh. Okay. Also, try to avoid the country of your object. I don't pains and entire lined around it. I feel the space behind my object. The fact that I was in the paper in advance allows me now to work longer and new tents, paint clouds and work carefully on the iceberg edge. I can that some more drama here and there. Just look after the cloud shape. It should be logical if the cloud starts here. It gives going on this side. Okay. At the same time, I shouldn't overwork this guy. Maybe just to make it a little bit darker here, e take a thicker, faint on and added to these parts and also here, where the lightest part off the ice is going to be to emphasize the contrast. And I amazing some color here while I'm working with the color of the sky. Uh, is there is a whole its color should match the color off this guy behind it. 6. Iceberg. Step 1: I'll paint the water Following a simple principle. I'll paint with the color of the sky, all the parts where I have sky reflections on the water surface like here, for example, E have a color of the sky and the fella, So why not to do it right now? I also add an effect off ways. I use a brush steep. To do this, check out the movement. You may observe the same color even somewhere under the iceberg. Uh, I work directly on a dry paper because the water surface on the regional picture has a shape off well defined lines and stripes. Oh, here. I also can see some of the color on bees right here. All right. Now it's time to add some darker spots here and there, especially in the foreground, where ah, waves are closer to us. Next I switch toothy iceberg itself. I blend the pale, clear Meeks, first taking some turkeys, plus a drop of glue and quite a lot of water. Let's apply it to all the areas which are not white. All this party's in the shadow so I can cover it with adopt for I brush angle while walking and I pain to directly on a dry paper again. Things pieces also in the shadow. So I put a color layer on it. We shouldn't have any white spots in there. This edge looks a little while it to me. So I am painting it with with the color. Uh, while doing so I always load. Why? It's a lot of liquid on the brush. Same thing here somewhere. I also can take a pains with a napkin to make the color sport more diverse in tone somewhere lighter somewhere, Doctor. I used for the reference, but I don't follow it exactly. I also variety tins all the time and keep some areas whites here. I'd like to try to make it darker already. Uh, Aziz, this sport is still wet. I'm adding some darker color like this here the opposite. It's lighter to make it morse particular. I apply almost clean bright cobalt er quiz to this area. Everything there is under the lights blue shadow Onley In this part, I have a small spot of the light. So I keep its white carefully. I can put a blue shadow over the area. Okay, let's more tha bid some spots, such in purpose not to have them to sharpen. I'm just touching them with a little wet and clean brush. While it's whether it would be nice to add some shadows to this wash, it's a turquoise and blue mix. Little by little, I add Dr Shadows, uh, to keep a shadow dark. I take a very downs bland with just a little drop of water in it. Asus Faras. I'm working with three colors only. I don't pay any attention to the dark sports on the ice that I see here. In the reference picture, I refined the shadows on the side. Look at that year when the paper will be drive and I'm making to here as well. 7. Iceberg. Step 2 : here. We have something while it movie. No, there is more rounded part here on the I connect to more talk with shadow to eat here. All right. All this part is actually in the shadow. So I painted with a doctor. I had a bit more water and I move here. Hopes, if you like me accidentally painted over the part you didn't want to paint. You can remove the car. Dedicate Lee with a napkin tape I actually planned in these parts to be lighter. By the way, there will be some small details here to paint later. It is here in the shadow. I work on the tone level. Okay. Here we have a dark thing to in this place. I'm just changing this extra Making small dots, creating an ice surface texture a group of small dots taken almost transparent color and paint over this almost dry layer. Ending details here in the bottom. It will be dark and I'll find this shadow later. Same for here. This shadow helps to split these two pieces One from another. Okay. And the I blurred with clean water moving on. When this bread who becomes lightning dryer, I'll add some details. So for now, I continue with another piece in the same way as before I leave some white parts uncovered . You feel that it's hard to understand where to pain to the shadow. You can draw their contras with a pencil first and then start painting. This is what else we can do is to touch the paper with a napkin here and there. Okay. Turned out with the nice texture. Now I'll add a shadow Here, here, on the right there is a highlighted part off another iceberg. I can add some more little doubt as well. Uh, see, as soon as I end the dark, deep shadow a volume appears E keep completing my painting with details. So I take a dense color and paint shadows. This pot may seem to doctor you're with now, but it will become lighter drying. I switched to a nice break on the right, so I take more questions for it. The light false from the left, you see, So the lightened parts should be always on the left side of the off our object. And here I painted door quiz. Next, this part is going. Look at your photo reference attentively e I give some white spots untouched in this area. You could also try painting ways. A side of an almost try brush it. Strokes may given interesting effects in such places. Here you may see the upper border of these iceberg. I draw it carefully. Don't forget to try the color on a scrap paper before Bainesy to make sure what team To you . God here we have tiny shadows. Okay, here I'm adding deeper shadows as well. On the edge Here you may see that these dark spot creates an ice shape. I also take awakes as Spain to is the napkin. But it should be done carefully and not too much as these light sports will dry faster than in others. I add truck with drugs next here with almost clean water. I connect these parts so the pain is semi transparent. Here you see, Then we have a very lights piece here. So I take you mean more to request for it. Remember that What color spots seem lighter? First of all, not because of the color, but do you to the tone. So if you need a light attend you add more water and less of the pigment here. I even still can see about the lines I made before so follow them fainting this part here I went a bit into water, but that's okay. There will be a shadow later. I apply a napkin a little again. You see here the ice looks almost transparent. Now I wait this part to become drier before I end details to it. Like there to a barely wet color wash. I add several dark drops when the paint here is more fixed now in the same manner for in this spot, I can add doctor attend if I observed every single piece separately. They are just a combination of light and dark sports which are not very hard to paint. But all together they make a complex painting. Next, I want to complete this zone where I already started to paint. This shadow also emphasizes this white edge. I had more Torquay's to these seek blends of colors. In general, this part is light, but contrast. Let's paint some details. I take Saint Me transparent mix and add spots here and there. It creates a volume when'd text trip especially it's important for the areas where we have a border with the white part. You see, we add a shadow and the light port next to it start shining. Who is the same principle? I add some more done details and elements here. Remember about the dark line in the bottom, it makes a nice contrast. Okay, e can even blur it a bit as well have ah water below and we're going to start fainting and just in several moments. But first, I'd like to finish my timing details on the iceberg. I still have invented part here, so let's finally finish it. Uh, e tried to variety colors from more to quiz to more wallets and back. Uh, let's make it more docket lawns to highlight this part. Besides, it would be better to divide these two parts one from another, so I paint a darker on the background. If you say that you put too much of a liquid, just take it away, using a squeeze brush or in asking see while painting small details. I normally keep my brush in the vertical position. I'd like to add some more details Where there are already shadows. I add dark spots which make them zipper way. I guess a volume illusion right away 8. Shadows: it's not necessary to paint these thoughts. You also may even smooth obits these spots to make a kind of a gradient, not how they immediately bring death. And William here I lead a shadow to put more than Spain's for that, uh, so this piece gets its shape to we create volume and shape, making these dark elements. It wouldn't be bad to add a little bit more Dakar to these spots. I'm blurring the edge, uh, amount of this paint here, so let's add some more. And now let's complete the painting with details, especially in places like this one. With a high contrast level, it's asking to become darker, a line next to what of surface is quite doctor, and I smooth again, a spot edge in some places to get a doctor value. I work with really sick pains and almost dry brush. You see, it looks like that on dry paper, I'm lending a very dense mix and adding into places where the paper is still wet and where there is a shadow for a highlighted depth and contrast. See, the William appears we still have some part to complete here, down below Andi, then will switch to water. Okay, Good. The same thing will be here. A dark line. It's a shadow from the iceberg. Let's connect it with the wrist. This way. Drink a smooth transition and several details as well. In general as for for the ice brick, I believe I painted almost everything I wanted. Uh, I'm watching carefully. If I need to add anything else, probably making a docker here wouldn't be bad. Even with this rag dry brush stroke. Let's add more blue now to choose what color to apply for the shadow. I watched the color, which is already here on paper, if it has to, or Christians I lead more talk Quiz for the shadow. Something here. Small drops, as in this part, looks too white to me. I'm working on the edge. Sound details to bring more volume here, the same way for the sport to emphasize the shape way only have water left to paint. Just a little drop here, All right, I like how it goes. Let's move to the final part 9. Water: e take a clean napkin and continue working. It's important to remember that water. What we see here is, in general just a reflection off objects above. I've already started to do a sky reflection in some places, and now it's time to complete all other parts. Some of the parts are more violet. Some of them will be more ter Chris. And now I'm preparing paints makes for them. And now, using the same horizontal movements among the water surface, I'll finish it to begin. I'll do it simply from left to right. I need a dark blue shadow with a drop of Torquay's here. Like this, huh? And these edge a little more violet. I'll do it this way like a group of lines. Okay, what goes next? Baylor and smaller details are over here. E could actually cover this whole part with a lot of these lines. Off course, we can paint water in the plenty of different ways. It's just one of them. Ever read the pressure to my brush so they with off lines is being changed and we're changing the waste shape. Remember also that waves we tracked closer to us should be longer and wider Further waves, conversely, will be smaller and charter. I keep paper whiter where a white ice reflection is. And so I cover with watercolor all the white in a shadow part. Okay, uh, E can move the brushing both directions like this here. I also don't leave any white paper in this part. In the photo, you may see the lines, but I decided to make them wider To emphasize a perspective effect in this area, I can add a little bit more tour quiz. Uh, I have some whites pieces here. The season eyes reflections. Don't forget to continue. These lines are out of the pictures frame. I ended more fresh Cobalt tour quiz because now I'm going to paint some bright accents. First, I'm ending some to the iceberg, and then I can put some to the reflection. I leave extra moisture on a napkin when you use a Skrill brush. It's often turns out that it's too wet, so I use a napkin to control. Or sometimes it's even more effective just to squeeze it like this. It helps to take thicker paint. After that Here, I'm making it darker. I use a brush steep when I need to get in lines Now, these spots probably seem very doctor, you butts. No worries. They will become larger drying. I keep working details . Go there. Here, under the iceberg. I'm making a darker too. And here we have a shadow or affection. Uh, there are quite a lot of dark stripes here because it is this part reflecting here. Okay, Uh, if it gets that you can't manage to make these lines slightly wavy, don't worry. Just paying them simply horizontally changing their with. It works, too. Now, I'd like to add a couple off white lines more here, and I'm making them a bit darker in some parts to highlights the depths. Some more details here on the foreground, I press stronger to the brush to get white strokes. Do you do them what they're seeing closer to? If you were, I can have more tiny details here and there. I make water on the background darker. Okay. Okay. Some more details to the edge to decide if we need to stop painting. I always recommend to step back into what's your paintings from the distance like that? I see that I still can work a little bit on deeper shadows 10. Final touches: all right, we can slowly move to the final phase of our work. You can add more or less details as you wish. I'll stop on this level high. Don't want to faint too many of them but you. If you feel that it's necessary, keep painting. Hopefully, you already know how this technique work. Basically, there are a lot of things being possible to add, but for me personally, and this picture is almost complete Next, I should let it dry, and I'll keep it stock unclean board until it's completely try. By that, the paper will be flat, so I leave it for some time. Or you can also use a hair dryer to speed the work up. And now, when the painting is absolutely dry flats and warm on touch, I can remove the masking tape. So here's our painting. Using only one brush and three colors, we could reach this result. I hope you enjoy this glass and that it was useful for you. Now it's your turn to paint your watercolor iceberg. Share your results in the project section below this video to get comments from me. Share the most on social media and don't forget about our hashtag. Thank you so much for watching. See you next time. Bye bye