Tropical Leaf Quest: Learn to Draw and Watercolor a Monstera Deliciosa Leaf | Alexandra Uro | Skillshare

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Tropical Leaf Quest: Learn to Draw and Watercolor a Monstera Deliciosa Leaf

teacher avatar Alexandra Uro, Tropical Leaf Quest Guide

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

17 Lessons (2h 3m)
    • 1. My Tropical Leaf Quest

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Basic Supplies

    • 4. Watercolor Review: Getting to Know Your Watercolors

    • 5. Watercolor Review: Wet-on-Dry & Wet-on-Wet Techniques

    • 6. Watercolor Review: Gradients

    • 7. Watercolor Review: Color Transitions

    • 8. Color Family Chart: Yellow+Blue=Green

    • 9. Color Family Chart: Extended Palette of Greens

    • 10. Meet the Monstera Deliciosa

    • 11. Draw the Monstera Deliciosa

    • 12. Paint The Monstera Deliciosa: Realistic Style

    • 13. Realistic Monstera: Structure & Shadows

    • 14. Paint the Monstera Deliciosa: Fantasy Palette

    • 15. Paint the Monstera Deliciosa: Fantasy Stylemonstera

    • 16. Fantasy Monstera: Structure

    • 17. Final Thoughts

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About This Class


Hi! Thanks for letting your curiosity bring you here...

Welcome to my first Skillshare class!

In this watercolor painting class you´ll learn about plants

Quick backstory...

     When I started learning to paint with watercolors, the Monstera leaf was the most common subject to paint as I scrolled through artists´ accounts on Instagram, plus, I´d find it on notebook covers, on planners, home decor was a true tropical takeover and, eventually, it also took over my heart.

The monstera leaf was my first muse as a beginner watercolorist and she was quite the challenge.

 I just could not get her right... she was a true mystery to me...

-why does she have so many holes?

-those leaves, does the owner have to cut them up as a form of pruning? and… the size,

-is she really that big?

All these questions interfered with me drawing the leaf and couldn´t help feeling like an imposter among the many artists majestically painting their monsteras.

That´s when I created my hashtag #TropicalLeafQuest on Instagram.

I was on a quest to understand, recognize, draw, paint and call these leaves by their names.

The Monstera Deliciosa started it all, now I have about 100 posts under that hashtag ranging from monsteras to caladiums, calatheas, begonias, banana palm leaves, etc.

Taking this class will benefit you in meaningful ways.

      The watercolor application techniques are very important to your over-all watercolor art practice, they require you to develop the basic abilities of water control, confident brushstrokes and timing… for example, to paint in dry, hot weather like the desert city where I live is not the same as painting by the sea or in cold climates, time is of the essence!

      Another skill you will start to work on is visual analysis. It is only by looking intentionally at the images I provide that we can grasp the particularities of this beautiful leaf. We will talk about its size and structure and be mesmerized by its hole-yness ;)


    I believe that once you understand your subject you can give yourself creative freedom to interpret it in your personal style. Which is why, as a final project, we draw the monstera and paint her two ways: realistic, with an extended palette of greens we will create; and fantasy, using a palette of your choice.

Meet Your Teacher

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Alexandra Uro

Tropical Leaf Quest Guide


Hola, I'm Alexandra

I'm an architect by profession, an artist by devotion, and a mom learning tech!

I spend my days painting and creating surface pattern designs. I've recently started doing digital collage as a segue from digitizing my art to create my patterns. And now, I've added teaching online to my resume!

I was born in Mexicali, a city in the northern part of Mexico.

Although I love most mediums, I paint mostly in watercolor. I  create elements to rework into digital patterns for many print on demand products and my yearly scarf collection.

I believe that practice makes better and recently had the opportunity to prove it in a collaboration project with a local architecture studio where I created their brand´s f... See full profile

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1. My Tropical Leaf Quest: As I started to consider trying watercolors, I'd continuously find artists painting watercolor botanicals, often the Monstera. I was so intrigued by this huge torn leaf that I started to research specifically watercolor Monstera. Many people were painting it in many different ways. I'm not one to fall for fates, but this I have to try, and so I did. As I studied the Monstera, I also watched hours of watercolor classes here on Skillshare. I wanted to do this right. Of course, one leaf led to another and my tropical leaf quest started. Now after much studying and practice, the Monstera has become part of my art and my surface designs as well. Hi everyone. My name is Alexandra. I'm an architect, now completely devoted to art and surface pattern designs. I spend my days painting with watercolor elements that I will later rework into digital collage or surface pattern designs which have become part of my yearly scarf collection, as well as many other products. Recently, I collaborated with a local architecture studio to create their brands first wallpaper and textile line. My favorite topic to paint are botanicals, specifically tropical leaves. In this class, I will teach you to draw and paint the leaf that has inspired so many artists including myself, the Monstera deliciosa. Through this class, I want to help build your artistic confidence, both in watercolors and in drawing and painting the Monstera, by giving you the elements I have found useful in my daily art practice. I've created this class to share it with you. You'll see it all come together as we complete the final project. I hope you're feeling ready and inspired to create your first Monstera. So how about it? Join me for a tropical leaf quest. 2. Project: In this class, I will give you all the techniques and strategies needed to draw and paint a pair of monstera leaves you'll be proud of. We'll start by swatching our paints, and creating a transparency chart, we'll be referencing as we paint. Then continue with a review of three watercolor techniques that even an experienced water colorist will benefit from doing. Organized for you to notice your confidence growing and to use as warm-up in your daily practice. As we shift into full botanical mode, we'll create a palette of greens, especially for our month's data, and start our study of the leaves, shape, and structure, gathering the main details needed to sketch our monstera. With our sketches, and extended pallet ready, we'll start painting our realistic monstera and then dream a little with our personal fantasy palette for the second monstera. The exercises, and skills practiced during this class will surely make a positive impact on your art practice. Let's get started. 3. Basic Supplies: Here's the list of supplies you'll need. For a great result, we are going to need the following watercolors, pens, or tubes. I enjoy using both, though prefer two paints. My favorite brands are Marie's and Daniel Smith. Watercolor paper. For best results, I recommend at least 250 GSM that is 120 pounds, cold press paper, fine to medium grain. Paint brushes. We will use a flat, medium brush, two round with a pointed tip, small and medium. Pencil and eraser. Any pencil will do. But remember to sketch lightly, because once you go over your pencil line with watercolor, you won't be able to erase. Water jars, I always use at least three. One to keep clearing water and the others to rinse my brush according to the colors I'm working with. That way, I avoid staining the paints and unnecessary tinting. Mixing palette. Although most watercolor sets have a good mixing area, I do recommend an additional mixing palette, ceramic if possible. This will be used to create our extended palette. Paper towel or napkin. We'll use this to absorb excess water and to check for remaining pigment when we change from one color to another. Painter's tape or washi tape, and a sturdy cardboard or MDF surface. I recommend you tape down your paper to a sturdy manageable piece of cardboard like the back of your paper pad or a piece of craft MDF to help lessen the warping of your sheet of paper. The high GSM will take care of the rest. If you plan to paint along with me or watch the class first, then replay and paint as you watch, these are the supplies you'll need to have a great time on this tropical leaf quest. 4. Watercolor Review: Getting to Know Your Watercolors: In this first lesson, we're going to start with our watercolor technique review. First of all lets wet our paints. How to know how much water is enough water. This is what I do. I wet my brush and start slowly adding water. I never fill up the wells in my palette to leave space for wetting my watercolors and for diluting them in case I'm using transparencies. What I do, I start adding water slowly just to form a puddle, and how do I know when it's enough? Well, I move the puddle around and I can't see the bottom of the well, it's not transparent. For example, right there you can still see it. It seems that our lemon yellow is done. I'm going to clean off my brush, and using water from another jar because as you might remember, I mentioned that I keep several jars when I'm working. The first one would be for the yellows and the light green or lemon green. The next one would be for dark greens and blues. Again, I pick up a little bit more water, and I'm going to start with this blue. This is sky blue. I'm using a very limited palette. I'm using the colors that will be generally in a set, the beginner set, the most basic colors plus a few. In this case, I'm using a regular student grade watercolors set, the pen till one. This would be sky blue. Let's repeat the process. I wet my brush and I start pulling on the bit of watercolor that I've deposited in the well. If I move it, I can't see the bottom of the well, that means I've got a good saturated pool of watercolor. Clean up my brush, then with the water that I've picked up. I'm going to wet my next color, and this would be cobalt blue. Now I'm going to wet my, this is ultramarine blue. Same thing. With water from my jar, I bring it over to my paint and it start pulling on the pigment to form the little pool. This is prussian blue. These are the colors, the ones that I'm wetting are the colors that we are going to be using for this project, and the ones that we're going to use to create our extended pellet. Because as you can see, we've got, in this very basic watercolor set. We've got only three greens. With the combination of yellows and blues, we're going to create an extended pellet of greens to use for our realistic monstera. Let's check on this one. This is good enough. I move it and you can't see the bottom. That gives us a saturated pigment. Same water jar. Now I'm going to wet the greens. This is viridian. This is good. This would be deep green. I don't know the exact names. The names vary a bit from brand to brand. I'm just giving you the most common or most descriptive name. I generally do this to my pallets. I write the names of the colors, especially if I'm teaching a class so that my students and I are speaking about the same color. I have the names of the colors right here. I'm just going to clear off my brush. Check that I don't have any, I still got some pigment right there. Some green. It's coming off in my cleaning water. It's where I do this. I like to use a thick, flat brush to moisten my pigments. How thick can it be? Well, as thick as fits into your pellet well, that's my technique. Let's continue by recognizing our colors, recognizing their pigment, seeing how far the pigment will go by doing an exercise on transparencies. See you in a bit. Let's continue with our yellow green. I'm taking a bit of saturated color, and I'm just taking advantage of the thickness of the brush to make up my little square. Using my yellow water, I'm just going to dip the rim of the brush to pick up a little bit of water. To get my next transparency, a bit of the pigment will fall into the water. That's good. We're trying to see how far we can take this bit of watercolor. Again, I dip the rim of the brush. I'm going to start losing some pigment in the water, which will help us see the transparencies. I don't mind the the little pools that form in the corner of the square. I like those effects. They're very characteristic and almost exclusive of watercolor, so I leave them, I let them be. I am forcing it a little bit to get six squares from each color. Going on to my first green, I'm going to be starting off with viridian. We need to start with a very saturated squared so that we notice the difference when we're doing the transparencies. Using our blue water, which is quite blue by now, I might need to change it when we finish this exercise. I'm going to dip just the rim of the brush to make my first transparency. I am not being very strict with the size of these squares. The important thing is to notice how the color starts to lighten as we subtract pigment and add water to our brush. For example, right here, I did drop too much pigment into the water, so we are going to get to our almost transparent square much faster than with the previous one. I am trying to force it into six squares. Let's go on to deep green. Dip the rim. Make the next square. You could have drawn up a grid and filled it in with the little squares if you wish. It looks lovely that way too. But I take advantage of the thickness of the brush to get more or less uniform squares. I think it also looks good. I'm going to continue with sky blue. Sometimes to hurry things along, as I dip the very tip of the brush, I press it a little bit against the side of the jar to drop a bit more pigment. Especially in this case that I do want to leave it at six, just for it to be uniform. But you can put your watercolors to the test and see how far they'll go. Generally, for example, vermilion is a color that's very pigmented and will take you maybe up to 10 transparencies. But right now, I think six is good. This is cobalt. Let's go on to ultramarine. You can watch how the pigment falls into the water and the little colorful swirl of pigment. I like to do this exercise every time I buy a new color or buy a new set, just to start to get acquainted with the colors that I've got, and I have these charts at hand, with the different brands and the names. We're on our last blue. This will be prussian. You don't need to have the exact same colors, just as long as you manage to have several blues and several yellows. That would give us more options for the number of greens that we are going to have. Of course, if you think about it, we should only need red, yellow, and blue. The basic watercolors or primaries. We should be able to manage with those and create an infinite number while create all the colors possible. If you can manage to get a set that has several blues and several yellows. From there, we'll create the rest. This is our transparency chart. I'm going to go change my two waters because they're really pigmented and they're going to start to affect my colors. I'll be back with the wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry technique review. 5. Watercolor Review: Wet-on-Dry & Wet-on-Wet Techniques: In this exercise, we're going to start off by drawing just the shape. Let's see. I'm going to draw a leaf, just a regular leaf. In fact, I'm going to draw two leaves. We're going to be using our round brushes. Another important information, so how do we know what brush to use? In this case, I've got my drawing done. I'm going to set the tip of my brush in the smallest part of the sketch, which would be the point of the leaf. If it fits well, if it's not going beyond the line, for example, this one might be. Imagine it with water and paint. It might be too much, it could overflow. However, this one in this brand, it's a number 8. I'm not sure if it would be in any other brand. Let's just go with the size of your drawing. With this brush, we have enough room on each side to ensure a bit of control on the spreading of the paint. It's a good size to let us move the water and paint and to let us distribute it as we need to. This number 4 would be too thin. We would have to work the water and paint too much, and we could start to get streaks in the painting. In this case, a number 8 could be a number 6, or even a 10 in your brand will be the brush we'll use. I'm going to wet my brush and work with the deep green. We are going to practice the wet-on-dry technique. What does that mean? Wet refers to the paint, dry refers to the surface. In this case, the watercolor paper. This is completely dry watercolor paper. This exercise is to show you how to move the paint inside a specific shape. Sometimes your brush will be a bit slanted. Other times, you'll use it completely perpendicular to your paper. So when you are applying watercolor to a dry surface, you need to be picking up a bit of water with your paintbrush and adding it to the paint on the paper so that the paint distributes evenly. You do have to work a bit faster though since the paper is dry, and it is made to absorb water, and the water is coming from the paint and paintbrush, so you do need to keep your brush wet as you fill up the space. Remember that your room temperature or if you've got a fan going in your room, it will hurry up the process by drying up the paint. So this is the wet-on-dry technique. I'm going to clean up my brush. I'm going to use the same color just so that you notice the difference. Now let's try the wet-on-wet. What does that mean? Using the same brush? Yes, I'm going to use the same brush. I'm going to draw with water. I am going to fill out my leaf form. I'm going to fill out with water. The paper side, you can see against the light how I've created a little waterleaf. I need to hurry up because the paper will absorb it quickly. Let me just move it so that you'll see. I hope you can see how it shines. That's the water. It's starting to dry, for example, right there. Now, before it dries, I'm going to start dropping in some paint and enjoy the beauty of this as we slowly add the paint. While the paper is wet, watch the paint move and find its place on the surface. We can apply the paint directly where we need it to be, or just let the water and paper texture be our creative partners, and let them make magic. In this case, I could add a little bit of water to my brush. When I use this technique, I just tap the pigment in it because this technique is mainly made up of effect. The effect of the pigment blossoming in the pool of water. This technique also, the wet-on-wet, is especially lovely when you add different colors to it. In this case, I left it only in deep green so that we can notice what happens to it as it dries. The effect that the wet-on-wet is going to leave as it dries. Let's wait a bit for it to dry. 6. Watercolor Review: Gradients: In this exercise, we're going to create a wash in a gradient form similar to this effect, but we're not going to have the divisions, it's going to be just a solid block of gradiated color. I'm going to be using Prussian blue, we do need to slant our paper a bit. We start off with a very saturated charge of color on our paintbrush, and we press. It's important to notice the little pool because that's the one that we're going to be moving. I generally do two brush strokes, then I dip in a little bit of water, and I do two more. I overlap the brush strokes on each other just a bit so that we don't get a line, so we don't get a streak right there. It is slowly starting to gradiate, you're slowly losing pigment, and as I lose paint, I gain water. With the inclination of our paper, we're helped by gravity as well, and we get our gradient. Let's try it again with another color, let's try it with our meridian, let's see how it goes. Dip in the water, press to the side of the jar, do more overlapping, slightly overlapping, each brush stroke on the previous one. Dip, I don't want to seem repetitive just for you to get the song of it. Dip in the water, press in the side of the jar, comeback, overlap two strokes, it's like a little song that you might repeat to yourself as you start to do it intuitively. Dip the rim, press to the side of the jar so that you lose the pigment, and we're good. Let's leave this to dry, and let's take a look at our wet on dry and wet on wet, so this was the wet on dry, and this was the wet on wet. A bit of a difference, more saturated color a little bit less watermarks or bleeds, the blooms in there not that noticeable, and over here we did because we dropped the pigment on the rim of the leaf drawing and a little bit more spaced out, the pigment that we dropped in the center of the leaf so we got this effect from darker to lighter. The blooms and bleeds are a little bit more noticeable in this effect, so you get more texture in the wet on wet than on the wet on dry. Feeling more confident with your watercolors? I really hope so. Let's continue with one more review exercise. See you in the next lesson. 7. Watercolor Review: Color Transitions : Now, to conclude our basic watercolor exercises, we're going to do some watercolor transitions, that is, mixing watercolor on paper. First of all, I'm going to take some of my watercolor and put it on my very tiny palette. For this exercise, we're going to use this analogous palette that color set will be next to each other on the color wheel. I am working with sky blue, cobalt blue, and ultra marine. I transferred the colors to my tiny palette because I am going to need to be adding more water as we go along. We're going to do this exercise in two ways. The first one in which we make some texture with the added color, and the second one that will look a little bit like the gradients in a column where the transition slowly takes place as we advance down the column. Let's start with a simple color mark, leaving enough space around it. Let me move the water up closer. I just dipped my paint brush into a little bit more water. It is very important that we keep the edges of our paint stain humid so that we can seamlessly add the color, and as it starts to dry, we won't get the line between the colors. Right now, I am just going around and around adding the color. I am doing it a little bit quickly. Let me just water this one down. I am doing it a little bit quickly because of the same thing that I mentioned, we do need to work with the little droplet of paint. However, if we are lucky to have high-quality watercolor paper, then we can take a little bit more time doing this. As you can see, I am just going around and around changing my colors right now, I just added sky blue. I'm going to add a little bit of water down cobalt. Moving the droplet. These squiggly movements that I'm doing are helping me to weave together the two colors, are helping me with the blending and the mixing directly on the paper. It seems that I've gotten to my edge right there, but it doesn't matter, let me water down my Prussian. I'm going to keep working this way. Of course, the final effect you will see when this dries, but the most important aspect of this is, keep your edge humid so you can add the next color and not get a line right there so that your transition will be seamless. This was one way to do it. The other one looks even more, or the technique works even more like the process that we did for the gradient. I'm going to need my flat brush, and same thing, I'm going to raise up my paper, I'm going to have my colors at hand right here. Let's start with the Prussian this time. Let me saturate it a little bit more. Same thing, I'm just going to work with our puddle of water, pick up some more color. This is a transition we're blending on the paper, so we're not going to be that strict in following a certain order of the colors. We just want to enjoy the effect of this water color mixing right before our eyes. I am transitioning in no specific order, from Prussian to cobalt to sky blue to ultra marine. This could be a technique that you would use if you need to make a background, for example. I hope you can notice the transition right there. We used Prussian, sky blue, cobalt, and ultra marine, all of them together from our palette, not directly from the wells, from our palette, and slightly watered down so that we could get the seamless transition. In this one, of course, as I mentioned, at the very beginning, we would get more texture than on this one. We are ready to continue with our extended palette. This is going to be very exciting. See you then. 8. Color Family Chart: Yellow+Blue=Green: So happy to have you back. Creating your color palette is an important part of making art that is authentically yours. This is an exercise in extending our palette. We'll be working with the colors in our set, mixing them together to go from seven to at least 30, with a range of slight differences to completely unexpected. We will be working with our yellows and blues to create our extended palette of greens. This is called a color family chart. We can go about it freehand using our flat brush to keep our squares tidy or use a chart I've made available in the resources section. Please also have at hand an additional mixing space and your water jars. Here are two charts I created for you to have a better idea of what we are aiming for. In this first chart, we are creating greens from the basic formula, which is blue and yellow. In this second part of the color family chart, we are going to be combining the greens available in our basic watercolor palette with the yellows and blues to create even deeper or brighter hues of our three greens. The more options your watercolor set has, the larger your color family chart can be. In this chart, I completed with the more muted colors. In this one I didn't because for our monstera, we will only be using the bright hues of our greens. Of course, on your own, you can complete your chart. We will be using the saturated colors only, not transparencies this time. However, if you would like, you can go ahead and continue with a transparency chart of your new extended palette. We'll start our chart by painting in the squares directly from the colors that we have in our palette. I'll keep my ready-made chart at hand for reference. Just regular squares using your flat brush, cleaning out the brush between colors. Now let's do the blues; beautiful. Let's label them. Let's bring in our extended mixing space, let's start mixing. Let's just add some paint swatches in the same order as we have on our chart. We'll start mixing with sky blue according to our color family chart. We clean out our brush, pick up a little bit of the first color, just enough. Ideally, the proportion would be 50, 50. Fifty, lemon yellow, and 50 percent sky blue. We don't need to be exact right now. Just directly mix it into your lemon yellow color swatch and add it to your chart. Let me just move this a little bit. We have our first green. We are still on the same line, we're doing medium yellow with sky blue. I've loaded my brush with some sky blue, and now I'm going for the lemon-yellow swatch. As I mentioned before, some colors will have a slight variation and others will be completely unexpected. Good. Clean out my brush. Again, load up with a bit of sky blue and mix it with our ocher. First line ready, next line, same process. We add our yellow swatches. However, this time, we're working with cobalt blue and mix directly with your lemon yellow. The colors that we are creating, we will be using to paint our realistic monstera. Please, the additional mixing space that you're using, do not clean it out, leave your colors right there. Don't worry if they dry, we will reactivate with some water when we start painting our realistic monstera. Let's continue. Our three yellows, next line, ultramarine. Perfect. We've finished our first set of combinations following the formula we know since elementary school, combining our yellows with our blues. Now we have from seven colors, we've grown it up to, let's see, 12. Good. We've just started, let's continue in our next lesson, expanding our color family chart. See you there. 9. Color Family Chart: Extended Palette of Greens: Let's continue by mixing our available greens with the same colors, with our yellows and our blues. Let's prepare our chart. We would be adding our greens at the top. This is yellow-green, meridian, and deep green. It should be extending by mixing with our existing yellows and blues. We will skip on the ocher in this family chart, as you can see right here, because that would give us an autumn palette, which we would not be using for our Monstera. Let's continue with our blues on our set of mixing colors down on paper. Now let's do it in our mixing space. Same process, but now, the three swatches that we would add to our palette would be the greens, which we are going to mix with our lemon yellow. Again, lemon yellow. This time we're mixing with our medium yellow. I've run out of space right here, but I have some additional small palettes and I'm going to use for the four remaining colors. Great, you've done it. You've created your color family chart, and now you have an extended palette of greens to paint your realistic Monstera. As a reminder, please do not wash out your palettes. We will use these colors again. This color family chart will be a very useful tool for preparing your colors and as reference for creating future extended palettes from your watercolor sets. From the seven colors our watercolor set offered, through this exercise, we now have 30 new shades of green to work with. Creating your own colors makes your art even more unique. I hope you add this exercise to your art practice. See you in the next lesson where we take a moment to get to know the beautiful Monstera deliciosa leaf. 10. Meet the Monstera Deliciosa: The Monstera deliciosa, the leaf that started my fascination with tropical leaves. I had been seeing her everywhere. Most watercolor artists have painted her and I wanted to try it myself, which might be the situation right now with you that you're curious to try to draw and paint Monstera deliciosa. I noticed that to be able to draw Monstera that looks almost like the one in real life, I had to do a bit of observation. This is a path I'm taking you through. First of all, the parts of the Monstera deliciosa. This is called the midrib, these would be the veins and this is the petiole. The splits in the Monstera are called fenestration. This one that you see here would be a young Monstera, not the youngest, because when it first unfurls, it's a solid leaf, looks very much like a philodendron. But as it starts to mature, we start to get the splits, the fenestrations. This would be a young leaf. Let me show you two more that I have right here. This one already shows some holes in it, which means that this one is a little bit older than the previous one. From the ones that I have, this would be the oldest one. It has many more holes or fenestrations. As I was saying, this is creeping plant, it grabs onto tree trunks and it grows up. This is how the Monstera takes care of the younger leaves by letting sunlight go pass through the holes and of course, through the splits. But it also helps in avoiding pools of water to be caught on the leaf surface because these leaves can grow up to being two feet by three feet long. You can imagine that would, in a tropical climate, catch some water. This is also like a drainage way for them. Let's look at the Monstera as a drawing subject. We have our midrib and our veins, the most important thing to notice is that it is not a symmetrical leaf. That is an easy give away for people that are just starting out and are trying their first Monstera. I made that mistake by making it symmetrical, it is not symmetrical. It is not even symmetrical in how the veins stem out from the midrib. Also, the splits are not symmetrical from one side to the other, nor are the length of the splits. Just recap. It has an elongated heart shape. The petiole stems out from the very top. At the very top, we do have symmetrical veins, but then they start to branch out on a nonsymmetrical form. The ending, it's a little bit spear-shaped, just to consider. Something that's really interesting when you're drawing your Monstera, is that you can overlap the pointed ends and that gives extra realism. The much curve here split and then with a parallel split. I think those are the most important things. We're going to draw this together if you'd like, or you can watch me and then replay. Here's a recap of the most important elements of both structure and shape of the leaf. Ready to start sketching? Have a sheet of watercolor paper, a pencil, and eraser. See you in the next lesson. 11. Draw the Monstera Deliciosa: Hi? Welcome back. In this lesson, we are going to draw our Monstera. But first, let me share with you a couple of examples I've painted in my studio. In this first one with a bit of a fantasy palette, it is clear that I had not taken the time to observe a real Monstera. Even though it looks lovely and the shape is spot on, I can now find details that are inconsistent with the structure of the monstera. For example, the fenestration, both splits and holes are not ideally placed, nor is the petiole. In this example, a complete fantasy palette, with the gold midrib and veins was a true joy to paint. I had started to try and mimic the curved points and was more aware of the relation between vein and split though the holes are still a bit off just as are the petioles. However, the elongated heart-shaped is right on. This third example was painted more recently to use on a surface pattern. Here, the attention to detail is more evident. Shape, fenestrations, midrib and veins are all more representative of a real Monstera. I played with the parallel and curve here, splits plus the overlapping ends. If drawing the Monstera is still not something you think you'll enjoy I've added a sketch you can trace on watercolor paper and have ready for our next lessons, where we'll paint them. One using the extended palette and the other in a fantasy palette of your preference. For this lesson, you will need a sheet of watercolor paper, a pencil, and an eraser. See you in a bit. Let's get started with our pair of Monsteras. Quick reminder, sketch lightly to be able to correct later. As you might remember, the midrib is an extension of the petiole, so that's our first step. Draw one continuous line from midrib through petiole, considering an inclination to make it more natural. Step two, make it real by adding a second line that widen slightly as we reach the start of the petiole, then continues down in a parallel form. Step three, identify the point and trace the elongated, heart-shaped, remember, this is a very big leaf, so make it wide like an elephant's ear. Step four, start drawing our veins, considering that the first two pairs are symmetrical, contrary to the third pair down, which don't align. Step five, parallel veins and splits. As you start adding splits between veins, remember, they grow parallel to each other. The veins mark the direction and curve of the split. For a more natural look and go beyond the original sketch. Outlined the sections considering the curve of the vein and continue. This is a preliminary sketch, some correction will be needed. Don't forget the spear-shaped point. As we go back up the other side of the leaf, locate the veins and add the new ones, avoiding alignment. Start sketching in the holes which align with the splits. Go back and make any corrections needed, checking for parallel veins and splits, aligned holes and splits. Retrace and erase the petiole. Follow the petiole sketch and identify the parts that would be visible through the fenestrations, retrace those, and erase the rest. Continue erasing all other unnecessary sketch lines. Go over the final sketch. I sketched and cleaned up the Monstera. Now, I'm going to draw another one right next to it however, if you want to, you can use another sheet of paper if you feel that this is too crowded. This second Monstera will be facing a different direction. As before, midrib and petiole in one continuous line, the elongated heart shape. I've decided to make this one a bit smaller. Adding midrib and veins with the change in process this time. From the experience drawing our first Monstera gave us, we can now have better control of the distance between our veins and add them all throughout the leaf. Midrib and veins ready, now let's continue with the fenestration, splits and holes. Here's an interesting part, which of the two Monsteras will be closer to us? The larger one or the smaller one? Right here we have both leaves completely drawn, we would decide which one is in front of the other by erasing the lines that we don't need. I am going to leave the bigger one in front so I'll erase the lines from the smaller Monstera. When you erase, be careful not to erase the parts of the fenestrations because we will be able to see those through the bigger Monstera's fenestrations. Now, the smaller Monstera's petiole. Let's follow the line and see what part of it we can see through the fenestrations. It seems that we would barely see this little part, the rest, we don't so I'm going to erase it. With a clean sketch, let's continue adding the holes, don't forget to align them with the splits. Retrace any parts that got erased when he tidied up your sketch. This is how I do it. I'd love to see your complete process. Please share it in the project section of the class. Monstera sketch is ready. See you in the next lesson where we start using our extended palette of greens and decide which one is going to be the realistic Monstera. 12. Paint The Monstera Deliciosa: Realistic Style: Hi, everyone. So glad you're back. Let's get ready to start painting our Monstera. The first one is going to be with our extended palette of greens. But before we start, we need to get some things prepared. First of all, let's just look at where we are going. This is the one that we're going to work on. Let's have our extended palette swatch, our color family chart. Let's have it at hand, just as references for the different colors that we are going to be using. This is just a reminder of the techniques that we are going to use. This is the one that I use the most because it is an irregular shape of by-the-way. I've decided to use the extended palette on the smaller Monstera. This technique is much better for a solid form, as I mentioned, for backgrounds for example. This is what we are going for. We're going to do a little exercise right now just to refresh our muscle memory and we are also going to need our extended palette. Three water jurors, our watercolor palette, our extended palette, and a whole army of paintbrushes to have at hand. Let's do a little refresher exercise on the technique that we are going to be using. To start this lesson, we are going to activate our extended palette. I am just going to pick random colors right now for the warm-up or refresher exercise, for the technique that we are going to be using. As a reminder, we add our first paint, our first color without cleaning now over our brush and considering that we do need to work with the humidity of the paint already on the paper, we start adding the different colors. I did not clear out my brush completely. I just picked up some water with the point of the brush just enough to activate the next color and be able to seamlessly connect it or mix it with the previous color on my watercolor paper. As you can see, this is what we are going to be doing, but on our smaller Monstera. Well that's the one I chose. If you wish to do it on the larger one, please go ahead. It will be so exciting to start seeing your projects and the projects section of the class. This is the effect that we are going to get. I just randomly chose colors from our extended palette, just wetting the tip of my brush just a bit, which would be enough to activate the color and add it to my little swatch that I'm making here. Now let's go on to our Monstera sketch and start painting. This time, I am going to clean out my brush completely just to start from scratch and I prefer starting from a darker green and then going to lighter and then coming back to darker. Just to give it variation, to give it a little bit of play. No specific reference to a real Monstera. Just for fun and to go through the whole extended palette that we've used. I am going to add to our palette a bit of the original colors from our watercolor set. As we paint, please keep in mind to keep the edge of the paint wet so you can add the next color and get a seamless connection, a seamless mix and to just use all the colors that you have. Avoid the midrib and veins. We're not going to paint those. We're going to leave them white for now. Of course, have a lot of fun. Going onto another color, a little bit of contrast. This is just things a bit more on the green side than the previous one. Remember to push the droplet of wet paint to keep the connection going. Wet the tip of my brush. Now I am using my number 8 brush. Not too big. Not too little. Just right. You do work with the inclination of your brush. As you can see, there are parts where I have it a little bit more slanted. Then when I come to parts that need more definition, I move it completely perpendicular to take advantage of the point of our brush. But when you're moving the paint for a bit of a distance, then you slant it and take advantage of the belly of the brush. I'm calling this realistic ones they are just because it's green. Of course, almost said it doesn't have so many variations in its green. It is a very, very solid, you could say, between radian and a deep green. Those are the colors that you will find in a real Monstera. I am just seeking the droplet of paint as far as it'll go and then adding a new color. This is looking lovely. I do hope that you share your projects. I will love, love to see them and to congratulate you on going on this tropical leave quest with me and getting your first Monstera done. Here's a good puddle of paint. I am going to make use of it. I am not going to observe it. I know I can take it up through the leaf and take advantage of the water because the color is going to be completely transparent, but I can use this to wet my paper and drop some paint for variation in color. I need just spread this dropper and let me bring in a new color. Let's try this one and just drop it in. Remember, like in the exercise the wet on wet. Now we tapped the color into the area. This is something like that one. Every exercise that we did in the watercolor review connects right here. We are using everything we did to paint our Monstera. We are going to have lots of paint from our extended palette leftover. I hope you find a new project to use it on. I would continue adding Monstera or maybe starting up a page with small Monstera just to practice the shape and structure and then painting them with the extended palette, so that these colors don't go to waste and you create muscle memory and eventually you won't even need to use any reference images for a Monstera. You will know the overall shape of the leaf and its characteristics. Lovely. So before painting our midrib, veins and petiole, we need for this to be completely dry. Otherwise, for example, right here, this is wet. We add pink right next to it. It is going to bleed into this one and we won't get the definition to highlight the structure of our Monstera. We're going to leave this to dry. Then comeback, you raise one hand and slowly start erasing all our pencil lines and finish off with midrib, veins and petiole. See you in the next lesson to complete our first realistic Monstera. 13. Realistic Monstera: Structure & Shadows: Our Monstera seems dry, so I'm going to clean it up. Now that I look at the Monstera , I'm looking at all the colors that we used. I think I want to use one of the more darker blueish greens, but not very diluted, a bit on the more saturated side. I am going to use this one to highlight just as I mentioned before, the beauty of the whole skeleton of the Monstera. I'm going to make them more dramatic by using a darker green. I'm going to be changing up between a zero and a four depending on the little spaces that we have to fill in. For example, this one might be good. To start, I think I am going to start with the zero for these spaces, and it is going to help us to create more definition for our midrib and veins in case we did go a little bit into them with our overall painting. As I mentioned, I want to use this color a bit more saturated. I am going to start from the top, going down so I don't risk getting my hand into the drawing. Just a little bit more water to help me with the flow of the paint. Remember, I too have lots of experience in this, so please be patient with yourself. This has taken me a while to achieve. You can find many classes here on Skillshare that will help you with pulse and precision with paint brushes, which is completely not the same as doing it with a pen or pencil. But this doing it with a paintbrush and watercolors just takes lots of practice. Okay. Wow, this is looking good. I'm glad we went with the more dramatic look for the veins and midrib. If we run out of the color, we can easily reference our color family chart and replicating, and finish our Monstera. Since the rest of the leaf is already dry, there is not that much risk in it blooming into the rest of the leaf, if I go a little bit overboard on the water as I paint the midrib and veins. That's the importance of letting your painting dry before you continue to paint spaces that need lots of precision and definition to let the rest of the painting dry fully. It might take a little bit longer using such a fine brush. But the control that you get with it, it helps you work with a little bit of peace of mind. Then you have the control over the water that with a bigger brush you might not in such a restricted space. We're coming to the end of the midrib and veins. I want to invite you to share the different steps in your process on the projects section so that we can have an opportunity to look at what you've created so that you can get a photographic recount of your complete process and to start forming a community of tropical leaf lovers, right here on Skillshare. Of course, when in doubt, go with the finer brush. Now our petiole. We did let me just recheck, so this is supposed to go this way. We did check as we were erasing that the petiole was invisible, which is visible in this little piece right there. Let's go with the same color as the midrib. Just a little sliver right here of petiole. Let's add the shadows. Let's add a little bit of shadow right here in the spaces that are overlapping. To do that, I am going to use my number four and just outlined with a little bit of water. Just outline it right here and add from our extended pellet, I'm going to find a color that is a little bit darker than the one I used right here and just tap in. Right on the rim, just tap in some color. Of course, we won't know how dark this turned out until it's dry. I think it'll work. Let me just spread out this water so that we don't get a huge watermark right there. I'm just spreading it out and I'm going to do the same thing with this little section. We need to outline. Then with my very fine brush, I'm going in again with a dark color and tapping in. Remember the technique, well I'm going to outline right now. But then I'm going to tap in the darker color just to drop it in and let it bloom and spread the rest of the water. Good. Now let's do an inside. We're just going to darken up this two little sections a bit. I've got it a little bit wet and I'm going to add the same color. One more little section. This one right here. However, this is a bright green, so we can't use the same dark green. Let's find a shape that's a little bit darker than this one, same process. I'm going to wet just a little section a bit. Let's go with our dark green. Our realistic Monstera is done and it looks lovely. I hope you're happy with what you've achieved right now. Let's continue with our fantasy Monstera. See you in a bit. 14. Paint the Monstera Deliciosa: Fantasy Palette: With our realistic monstera ready, let's continue now with our fantasy monstera. Here are two examples of fantasy monstera. But what do I mean by fantasy? Well, it refers to the palette, which is very far from the reality of true monstera leaf. Using the gradient technique with transition of color, we would decide what colors we want to use. I recommend using analogous colors. Analogous colors are the colors that are on the same side of the color wheel. As you can see, in this example, I used the colors on this side of the wheel, and on this example, I went from the red violet all the way to the blue. These are all colors that we would find in our watercolor set. No special mixing is done, just in the transition of color where we start getting our different shades. We would need to decide, which one do we want to use? Do we want to do this analogous palette or this analogous palette? Both look amazing, I think. One has a feeling more like a galaxy and this one is very tropical. I've decided as I look over our realistic monstera, that to bring out the greens in this monstera, I'm going to use this analogous palette, the tropical motif. Let's start with the radiated transition exercise. This is what we are going to need. We're going to need our full set of watercolors, our water jars, the reference palette. I've protected the realistic monstera with a sheet of paper so that I can have the complete palette in view. Again, I check that my brush is clean. We are going to use our red vermilion and then go on to our yellows and greens to form our tropical palette. As before, I already have my little puddle of paint. I do want to start with a bit of saturated color, and I'm going to check directly on my watercolor palette and start. Remember, with gradients, when we're mixing color on paper, we do need to keep it wet. Since we do want the mix of colors, I am not going to clean out my brush, and just go directly from one color to the next. Right now, I just added a bit of vermilion. I am going to drop a little bit of the vermilion in my water so that I don't stain my yellow. Bring in a bit of the medium yellow and start mixing right on the paper. I go back on the color a little bit and then bring it forth. Go back and bring it forth so that I get the mix, and now I have a lighter shade of orange, much lighter than the vermilion. Again, since I'm working with yellow, I do have to clean out my brush completely because yellow will stain. To get that stain out, we're going to have to waste quite a bit of paint. Again, I'm adding the yellow to my little line of colors, and going back a little bit to get some of the medium orange, and bringing it forward to start working with the medium yellow. Clean out my brush completely, pick up a little bit of the lemon yellow and overlap on the medium yellow just a bit. Go back, bring it forward. Clean out my brush. Pick up a little bit of the yellow green, add it to the rim of the color. Go back on the yellow green. Now, we're on more similar colors, so I don't have to necessarily clean out my brush. I've picked up vermilion which is much darker. I'm going to go back on the yellow. Clean out my brush on a different water jar. I'm going to add a little bit of the yellow green just to help out with the mixture. Pick up just with the point of my brush some of the viridian to bring our transitions to a close. So that we know what colors we used, just add a little swatch right next to them. Going onto the yellows, clean brush. Our transition chart with our analogous palette, so let's start working on our tropical fantasy monstera. 15. Paint the Monstera Deliciosa: Fantasy Stylemonstera: Let's start working on our tropical fantasy Monstera. I'm using my number 8 brush. Here comes our first transition. Start applying it, overlapping. Variating our paintbrush position from slanted to vertical. When we have to get into more reduced spaces or be a little bit more refined, in our brush stroke. Always, try to make your brush strokes in the direction in which you are advancing throughout your drawing. This is not right. I just got some green into my yellow. I need to clean up my brush and pick up that green stain that I just caused in my yellow. Keep picking it up and applying it to the drawing so that we don't have to pick it up with a napkin. It's better that we take advantage of the mix that happened right there accidentally. Otherwise you would need to clean it up with a napkin and well, that's a little bit of wasted water color, which we could find a way to use. Without cleaning out my brush, I'm going to take some medium yellow overlapping on the lemon yellow to help in the mix and then bringing it forward. I do want to keep the yellow a little bit saturated to make the transition to the orange color. To mix a little bit more of the orange with the vermilion and medium yellow, because it is still a long way before we get to that very bright orange-red that the vermillion is. I am creating the orange. As we start slowly moving into vermilion, I'm adding, a bit of vermilion to my orange to ease it into that bright orange red. The jump from the medium yellow to the vermillion was a huge one so we did need to help it. Here's another interesting challenge. Since we're doing transitions in color, if we come with the same color to this little part where we overlapped the leaf. If we come to it in the same color, then we are not going to have these overlapping effect because it's going to blend. I do need to start going darker. I am going to add more vermilion to my orange mix. I just added red and I'm giving this little point enough time to dry up. I'm going to add a little bit of water right here so that the edge doesn't dry out. I've started adding my darker orange, not yet a full vermilion. I've started adding it. I think I'm going to have to just avoid the low point for a bit. It's just a little bit so we can come back and correct that because it is taking a bit longer to dry. I hope you share your Monsteras in the project section. In fact, your whole process, I'd love to see your review exercises. Enjoy how you've progressed from your swatch chart. All the way to this point of creating your fantasy Monstera. I'm going to pick up a bit of water and I'm going to add my red. Perpendicular brush to define edges. I'm going to do the complete spear-shaped ending. I'm going to do it in the true grid and then start working our way back up. If you have a social media account, if you use Instagram, which is where I have all of my work, it would be fabulous for you to share it on there as well. Using the hashtag I'm on a tropical leaf quest and we will connect with so many tropical leaf lovers on there as well. Plus, if you check out the hashtag, tropical leaf quest, just like that, all in small caps. Don't forget the double L leaf, tropical leaf. You can see all of the leaves that I've painted. All of them tropical. Well, be motivated, I hope so. To continue on this quest. Another overlapping point. Let's consider that so that when we come to that point in the next section of the Monstera, we don't have the same color. We should start transitioning into our yellows I'm going to clean up my brush. I'm going to add a little bit more yellow to my orange. Trying to come to this point with, at least vermillion. Let's do a little bit more of the medium yellow. We will transition into the lemon yellow. It's time to transition into the yellow green. Our tropical fantasy Monstera and our realistic Monstera are done. Let's just wait for this to dry so that we can decide what we're going to do with our midrib veins and patio. Of course before that we need to erase our pencil lines. Let's just give this a minute to dry. 16. Fantasy Monstera: Structure: Let's finish our tropical fantasy monstera. It's completely dry, so I'm going to start erasing all our pencil lines. To give it the full tropical fantasy treatment, I've decided to paint in the midrib veins and petiole in our metallic watercolor. This color is called agave. Metallic watercolors work almost the same, we do need to activate them, so I'm just dropping in a little bit of water with this little handy tool. I have at hand a number five paintbrush, and my number zero. I am seeing that I could use both, but as always, I'm going to start with my zero, and then if I need a little help, I'll bring in the number five. With the fully activated metallic watercolor, I'm going to start from the bottom this time. Metallic watercolors offer a lot of coverage, so you can define your midrib and veins, a bit more. I love the playfulness of metallic watercolors, you can find me often working with them, incorporating them into my art. Wow, I hope you can appreciate the shimmer of these handmade, metallic watercolors. We're almost coming to an end, it would be a true pleasure to start seeing your projects in the project section of the class. Please don't hesitate in asking any questions that you might have. I will be more than happy to answer them, and to guide you if I can, and it will be my true pleasure to start seeing all your work. I'm hoping to turn this into a series of tropical leaves, to keep taking you on this tropical leaf quest, just decided when I first started my watercolor journey. I hope you feel inspired to continue. Last vein, fabulous. Let's go for the petiole, which is already here. It seems that goes right between these two fenestrations and down. We are done. To consider [inaudible] , realistic palette with using our extended palette of greens that we created, and our fantasy monstera, using a tropical palette that we chose, with their special midrib and veins. This one in a dramatic look, and this one in a very joyful, tropical, metallic watercolor, I hope you can appreciate the shimmer right there. We are done. I hope you're happy with what you achieved, I hope I've helped you in your watercolor journey, in your growth as an artist. I invite you again to share your projects in the project section. Ideally, your complete process, so you can have photographic recount of how you've come to this step. It wasn't easy, it wasn't a quick jump from one thing to another. You accumulated certain abilities to get to this. I hope you're proud of yourself, you should be. Beautiful. 17. Final Thoughts: You made it. You worked through every single step of the process, I'm so proud of you and grateful that you decided to join me on this tropical leaf quest of the Monstera deliciosa. The Monstera was one of the first leaves I was called to paint, and after many other tropical leaves, I keep going back to this beauty, as I'm sure you will too. I truly hope you feel confident and motivated to add botanicals to your art portfolio, starting with the Monstera. I'll be on the lookout for your projects, comments and questions in the project section of the class, and on Instagram with the hashtag, imonatropicalleafquest. This tropical leaf quest has just begun. Click follow to be notified when the next tropical leaf drops. See you soon.