Wacky & Whimsical Watercolor Jack O'Lanterns (for Beginners) | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Wacky & Whimsical Watercolor Jack O'Lanterns (for Beginners)

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

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

11 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Class intro

    • 2. Class Supplies

    • 3. Creating the Pencil Sketch

    • 4. Painting Layer #1

    • 5. Bonus! Salt Painting Variation

    • 6. Adding Faces Part 1

    • 7. Adding Faces Part 2

    • 8. Adding Faces Part 3

    • 9. 9 Adding Faces Part 4

    • 10. Bonus! Completing Salt Crystal Jack O'Lantern

    • 11. Class Wrap Up & Variations

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About This Class

Jack O’Lanterns, the traditional Halloween decoration created by carving an expressive fact into a pumpkin, also makes a spooky or silly avenue for watercolor painting.

In today’s class, we’ll paint a series of jack o’lanterns using abstract watercolor techniques. Then, we’ll draw unique facial expressions (frightening, scary, playful, and amusing) using permanent waterproof markers. We’ll add details and highlights to complete our images. The beauty of brilliant watercolor strokes combined with expressive details makes this a fun and easy project to complete.

Each step of the project is broken down into its own class. Downloads include a Class Supply List & a Jack O’Lantern Faces Template.

Meet Your Teacher

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Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is a opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as a educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

I upload art classes every Friday, here on Skillshare. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my blog for additional info on my website danielamellen.com or my YouTube Channel for additional c... See full profile

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1. Class intro: Jackie lanterns are traditional Halloween decorations. At simplest form. They are expressive pumpkins meant to scare or worn off visitors. In today's class, wacky and whimsical watercolor jackal lanterns. We'll paint a series of an imaginative pumpkins using simple and abstract techniques. Hello, I'm Daniella melon and author and artist. I teach art classes for all levels. And some of my favorites are those that capture emotions. Like in today's class. We'll focus on creating a Lacey texture to our pumpkin using brilliant watercolors. And then create a highly demonstrative expression using a waterproof marker that can be scary or frightening or playful and amusing or well, anywhere in between. This class is designed for beginners, where we work on paint control, as well as tiptoe into the world of drawing facial expressions. I've included a class supply list and Jacqueline turn reference sheet for making simple sketches. I hope you try your hand at your own wacky and whimsical. Jackal entered, gather your supplies and let's get started. 2. Class Supplies: For our wacky and whimsical jackal lanterns using watercolor. We're just going to use some basic watercolor supplies. Here. I have just six watercolors and you can choose whatever colors you like. I'll have a list of this specific ones that I use that you can download them to class supply list, but they're mostly reds, greens, and some golden colors. I have a blue thrown in here as well, but it's on the green side. But really you can use any color that you choose, purples or find any color. I have some permanent markers and these aren't going to run. And we'll use these after our painting is dry. I also have a white gel pen and that's optional. I have a pencil and eraser. And again, that's optional. That's just to give us a rough idea of where to put our paintings. I have my watercolor paper, and here I just cut it down into a strip just to make it interesting. But this project can easily be resized to a full sheet or any size sheet you'd like. And this is just 2.5 inches by the length of my paper, which is 11. And then I have my template here, my jacket, lantern faces. And these are just some ideas. It's not required to download this, it's optional. It just gives me some ideas to work with. And really Jekyll engines are a fun face idea that we started drawing as kids. So really anything goes and that's what's wonderful and wacky about this project. The more expressive you make your faces, the more fun this project will be. In the next chapter, we'll go over kind of creating our sketch without a template. 3. Creating the Pencil Sketch: So since I'm using a strip here that's 11 inches long and I want my painting to be very loose. I also want us to keep an eye on where I'm putting my designs here, my jacket lanterns. So what I'd like to do is divide my paper in half and makes us mark on the halfway point, which would be 5.5 inches. And I'm just gonna make a light sketch. And then from right there, I'm just going to go out and inch and a half and just make a little mark as well. And this is just a rough guide for me. The pencils done very lightly. I might even come back and erase. Just go over it a little bit here just so I still have a guide, but so it doesn't really show through. And then when I do my painting, I'll have a rough idea of where to put each one of my jackal interns. 4. Painting Layer #1: So now I have my paper, I have my pigments and my water. I'm going to just dilute each of the pigments a little bit in their own pan. And I'll start here with this gold, this quantity and group Gold deep, which is kinda of an orangey color, but it's very apropos for fall. Pick it up on my brush, and then I want to make a very abstract shape. And I'll start over here on the furthest area on the left here. And I just want to make a very lacy shape. And I will transform this into a jacket lantern when it's all done with all the features I add. But when I say lacy, I want a lot of white of the paper showing through and I just kinda make a very organic shape. So then I have my shape down here just like this. I can rinse off my brush so that it's very watery. And then come back in and blend out any areas to give a little variation. And still I'm preserving a lot of the white on the paper. And then I can just continue this with all my colors here. And this is my nickel AZO, yellow. And I'll do the same thing. It can be a rounded shape, it can be triangular, diamond. It's up to you. But by coming back in and just blending some areas with more water, because a lot of variation in our shape. The next one is a crimson, Permanent Alizarin crimson. And this one is a burnt sienna. And these colors are very fall appropriate and quite beautiful. I think. The amount of water that you vary will affect the depth of the colour and the intensity. And this is a viridian green. And then I have a failover blue here. The shapes are slightly rounded, but they're all different. Some are very narrow, some are wide. And that gives a nice variation. Gonna come here and just mix one more colour. Taking some of the colors here on my sheet here I'll take a little bit of this quinacridone, Gold deep. And I'll mix a little bit of this permanent LRC and crimson with it. Get a little bit of a deeper orange. And I can just put this here. Again. I'll come back and just blend out some areas with water, which will when they drive become lighter. So now I want to let this layer completely dry. I can add a little spatter if I want on this tech, on this area around each of the colors or I can just leave it and I'm going to leave it. In the next chapter. I'm going to give you a little bonus and show you a slight variation using salt crystals. 5. Bonus! Salt Painting Variation: So this is the same technique, except that we're using a little bit of salt crystals here, and these are larger salt lakes. So I'm going to choose my colors and I might even add a couple of colors here. So I'll start with this quinacridone, Gold deep. And again, I want to make my Lacey organic shape. I'll rinse off my brush and I'm gonna come in here and take some of this nickel as o yellow. And let it just blend in. And then I'm gonna come over here and take some of that colour we mixed. As a last color. Rinse my brush. Blend out some of the edges here just to give a soft little variation. And while my pigments are still a little bit a wet, I can, I can drop in some more enriched pigment. Just go back to some of these colors. And now at my, pigments are wet, a little bit runny, but not uncontrollable, are soaking everywhere. And I'm just gonna go and sprinkle some salt. And as you can see, the salt is wicking the pigment. And you can see here some little halos. We're going to let this salt completely dry these crystals and they'll stick to our pigment. When they're dry completely. No chance of it being wet will wake them off and don't produce even more of a modeled effect. So this is a nice use of salt in watercolor. Salts does damage the watercolor paper and long-term it's corrosive, but it does produce some very interesting results. And particularly if you're gonna make your image and either photograph it or scan it on the salt. The corrosive properties of the salt won't bother your work. If you're really concerned about the curse of properties of salt, however, and you want to preserve your work. You can also use rice. And depending on whether you use the instant rice that's dried or like the completely dried rice, like the long grain or short grain, you'll get a different effect because the rice will absorb some of the pigments as well. It's a slightly different effect on the salt, but it is less corrosive. So we're going to let this dry. 6. Adding Faces Part 1: So now our organic shapes of dry, I come in here with my eraser. And if there are any pencil marks that I can see on the back of my shapes here that I did for my sketch to just eyeball where I want my Jacqueline has to go, I'll just try and erase those. It may remove some of the pigment, but in our situation here, that's OK. We're looking for a very whimsical Lacey shape. So now that I have that, I'm going to just create the outline to my jacket lantern. Not going to work on the facial features and I'm not going to work on the ribs of the pumpkin. I'm just going to work on creating that shape on the outline. I purposely and going in there, not to make every shape the same. And that's a decision you have to make if you want. All of the Jacqueline turns to resemble the same shape. I'm going to use the organic shapes we've made here as a guide. And sometimes my lines might go around it, sometimes they might cross over it, and sometimes they'll just be white background. And that's kind of the interest in our whimsical design. So I, I know I want all of my jacket lanterns to have a stem and that stem can add to the whimsical nature of the jacket lantern. So here I'm going to start with my stem and I'll make it, I'll make that line up top here. And then I'll have it come down. So now I have my stem. And now just to make the perimeter of my Jacqueline enter and I'm gonna make a wavy line. And I'm gonna go around. This is kind of an oval shape and it just kind of encompasses a little wider bottom and a more narrow top. Then I'm gonna move over to my next ONE. Again, I start with my stem. And again I make that shape. It's not perfect, it's not symmetrical. And these are decisions you can make to make it that way. If, if that's what you choose, I like to have a little bit of overrun here of my color behind it. And I'd like to see a little bit of white from the background of the paper. I think that adds just an area of interest. And again, I'll continue this with all of my shapes. This shape is a little more square and so I look at each shape individually to see what it kind of tells me it wants to be. So again, I start with my stem and I'm gonna create this shape, kind of square. And so on. I like to alternate My stems. This is kind of bell shaped. This one I think I'm gonna make very narrow shaped. And I have a lot of background showing through. And I'll continue this. I could make some of the pumpkins hiding behind the others. If my two organic shapes beat, we're too close together. And that's really the fun of it, is that they'll never look alike. You'll never, you can make ten of these drawings, paintings and NO2 will look alike. So there I have my outlines. In the next step, I'll come back and start my faces. 7. Adding Faces Part 2: Now to make my faces, I have my template here of my Jacqueline turn faces. And this is just reference ideas. I can copy off the designs that I have here or just use them as launching pads for different faces. I also have a piece of scrap paper here. And that's because when I'm tracing and drawing my lines on one pumpkin, I don't want my hand to rest on the other. The moisture from my hand might reactivate my watercolor. So I'll just put this paper on top of the others while I'm doing one of the faces. And I have two pens here, they're just different widths and so I just choose the one I want to use. I have a thicker number one and a smaller 08. I'll start with the number one to make the features. And if there are any features that I want to be delicate than I'll come in with the smaller pen. So I'll come in here and I'll start with my first pumpkin here. And I again, I like to start on the left because I'm right-handed and I always start with the nodes. I think the nose area if I'm going to do a nose and again, that's optional, helps me build my face accordingly. So I'm going to start with just a simple triangular knows. And I start with the outline. When I fill in the nose or any of the features really, it's up to me whether I want to add a shadow. So it looks like it's carved or I want to fill it in solid, or I want to fill it in whimsically as I say, which means just filling it in. Roughly, there'll be backgrounds showing, but for the most part, it's filled in. I kinda like that look. And it's really up to you. So I'm gonna do that for this design. I have my nose, which was as a simple triangle. And then I'll come in here and do the eyes. And I think the eyes really adds so much expression. Going to start with just little circles. And then I'm going to make this kind of an outline around them. And because both circles or to the left, it looks like this pumpkin is looking left. And so that's how I'm going to leave it. And then I'll come down to the mouth here and decide which type of Melfi I want to use. And I'm going to add a crooked smile just like that. And then I fill it in accordingly. And I'm going to leave it just like that. I'll come back and add more elements in details. But for now I want to start out with my basic shape on the jacket lantern face, and then I'll continue to the next one. Again, I start with my nose and then I move forward and I'll fast forward through this part. But you can see my process. A, a, a, a, and B. And a and b. A, b, a, b, b a, b, c, d, and b. And a and B. A B, and C and D, and a and B and a and B, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b0 became routine. And and in in energy a1, a1, a0 and a1 and a2 and b2, a1b1, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0, a0b1, a1b0 times a, B, a, B, and C. And so there I have all my faces complete. I'm pretty happy with the way they look. I can go back in and fill in any areas that I want that I think are maybe a little left to open. And in the next chapter, we'll come in and add some more final details. 8. Adding Faces Part 3: So now I'm going to use my smaller my micron pen here. And again, I have my scrap paper to put over here so that when I lean on my work, I'm not smearing anything. I like to come in here. And on this stem I like to create some more texture. So I make some parallel lines echoing the shape I'm in to create the ribs on a pumpkin, which I think really make it stand out. I'll echo the shape. And I start one side to the other. And I make these lines that echo the actual perimeter. And then I like to come in here and carry that through. After I have those lines that really create the actual pumpkin looking and it kinda adds some wrinkles and some age and characteristics. I'll come in here and add just a few lines of dots or maybe hash marks or something to give it a little more interest. Just like that. And I'll continue with all the pumpkins. I always start at the top with the stem. And then I go from one side to the other and I can break up this line or keep it straight. And depending on the width of a pumpkin, really makes me decide how many lines I'm going to use. And then again, I like to come in here and add a little texture here and there. And I'll continue this and I'll just fast forward. And there I have all my lines, my wrinkle marks, my age spots. I'll come back in, double-check that I have all my dots where I want them, but I want to add some more. I'll do that. And in the next chapter I'll come in with my gel pen and see if there's any highlights I want to add. 9. 9 Adding Faces Part 4: So I want to have my purpose of my work. If I were to add my toaster giving errors are somehow routes. So there are a set or a hot dog somehow routes. By altering the shape of these rigorous hardware is the gas constant with the hypothermia for the nerves. But a really fair being, idols are just giving you a little bit of topspin, hash, maximum and arrows. And we kind of just really brightens in our little do something or not, you're on a client out. It really depends on the person you were to look at each of these characters. In my in, in, in, in, in, in, in, in, in, in a and B. And there I have my completed strip of my wacky wins, a goal jacket, lanterns. 10. Bonus! Completing Salt Crystal Jack O'Lantern: So here is the Jacqueline trend that I did where I added the blend of colors and then I put some salt crystals on. And as you can see, it's quite modeled, quite textured. I rubbed off a salt crystals once it was completely dry. So even though it appears that there's something there, there's no texture on my piece. Here. I'll take my pen and I'll do the same procedure. And I'll fast-forward this and talk you through it as I go. So I start with my shape and then I'll slowly ECI and my features here work on the nose and then the eyes. I like to fill it in but add a little bit of texture as well. And then I try and make the eyes somewhat symmetrical, so at least they look like they match. And then the mouth. After I have the features done, I'll come in here and create the rims of the face of the pumpkin here, which also kinda resemble wrinkles. I'll add some dots. Now coming with my gel pen and add any spaces or highlights that I like. And there I have a wacky and whimsical jacket lantern face with a lot of texture on the background. 11. Class Wrap Up & Variations: So here are the paintings that we did in class today. We use the same procedure for both and with a larger one here we use salt. So as you can see, the texture is much models. Now I wanted to show you some variations. And here I have the same procedure done and very similar colors down on this technique, but without the salt and the background, it produces a very different effect. This is very soft and almost soothing as opposed to the rough edge here of the salt. It produces a totally different look and that's one that you get to vary and choose as you like to really make the piece your own. I also made some strips on a much larger scale here and here. And so for these, I added salts to these. But you can see the difference between using rainbow colors and the model texture of the salt. On a larger scale, the personality and the characteristics of the facial features really comes through. So depending on the look you're going for, you can get a different result with the scale of your piece as well. Now you don't have to stick two horizontal lines. Here's a vertical line with all the different jackal lanterns, and here's a grid that I made as well. Kind of a fun look. It really can be personalized and create the effect that you are going for. And and lastly, I wanted to show you how you can take your images, cut them out, and place them in a little booklet. The booklet will stay up on my table just like this. And you could see all the personalities and the faces amongst my dinnerware. Thank you for joining me today. Please be sure to follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes. And please consider leaving your review.