Watercolor Barn Owl | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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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

13 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Watercolor Barn Owl Intro

    • 2. Class Supplies

    • 3. Using the Template

    • 4. Adding The Masking Fluid

    • 5. Layer # 1 Browns

    • 6. Layer #2 Pinks & Blues

    • 7. Layer #3 Background

    • 8. Erasing Pencil Marks

    • 9. Layer #4 Painting the Eyes

    • 10. Layer #5 Background Details

    • 11. Layer #6 Retouching Eyes & Feathers

    • 12. Removing Masking Fluid

    • 13. Watercolor Barn Owl Class Wrap Up

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About This Class

About This Class

Join me as I paint a sleek, yet colorful Barn Owl using basic watercolor supplies: paints and masking fluid.

This class is geared towards advanced beginners and intermediate watercolorists. We will start with a sketch, capturing the shape and features of a barn owl, then we will add some masking fluid to preserve the white of the paper. We will add layers of paint, letting the paint dry between layers, and lastly, we will remove the dried masking fluid and sign our work.

In this class, we will make a somewhat abstract barn owl. We will capture the defining features, like the heart shaped face mask, the pointy and sharp beak, and the round eyes. We will enhance other features, like playing with pigment and color to achieve a unique, but recognizable barn owl.

Included in Class Project Section are a downloadable Class Template & Reference Photo and a Class Supply List.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

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. Watercolor Barn Owl Intro: Hello. I'm David L. A Melon and author and artist here in skill share. Welcome to my class. Watercolor Barney. Burn animals are striking. They have large, intense eyes Ah, heart shaped face and white and black specks. On there, Tony feathers. We will transform a traditional image and played with some of the characteristics to get an artistic version. In today's class, we will pay an abstract inspired barn owl using watercolor supplies. We will start by tracing the silhouette of the barn owl that could be downloaded as a template, and it could be found in the project section of this class, along with the downloadable classify list. Then we will use masking fluid to preserve some portions of the paper. To create true highlights, we will paint layers of water colors to create the texture of feathers while choosing unexpected colors to achieve the artistic final image, this class is geared towards beginners. The techniques we will work on include painting wet on wet on paper, painting wet paint on dry paper, mixing colors in creating shadows. We'll also create unusual colors like pinks and blues, and use them to wherever image in background to make a cohesive and balanced image for your class Project. Create your own abstract inspired barn owl. And please take a photo of your work and posted in the class project section. We'd love to see what you're doing. Thanks for joining me. 2. Class Supplies: the class supplies that you'll need for our watercolor barn owl class include the template that you confined in the project section of the class, where you can download the template as well as the reference photo. You'll need some watercolor paper. I've cut mine into six by eight, and I'm going to tape it down to a five by seven finished image. I use some painting tape you can use. Masking tape is well to tape your image to a board. Then I have some frisk it, um, masking fluid and a dedicated brush paper towels. I have a ruler, a pencil and an eraser. I have a spray bottle toe wet my paints. Can I have some watercolor brushes and a white gel pen for after effects On my work, I have two buckets of water, a small one to clean my brush to use Clearwater with in a large one. I have my watercolor paints, and we'll be using a lot of Brown's. You can mix your own Um, I have a sepia burnt sienna and a yellow ochre that I'm gonna use heavily in this project. I will mix them with other colors from my palate, but I'd like to have these just uses a basis. We'll get started using her template 3. Using the Template: when using my template, I printed it out. The first thing we could do with a pair of scissors is cut around the shape of the barn owls. So I've done that here and then I have my watercolor paper. Now, this is a six by eight, and I want my finished size to be five by seven. So, using a ruler, I went 1/2 inch in on either side to get my finance final. Size five by seven. When I have all my items here, I'm gonna take my, um, watercolor paper and I'm gonna use my painting tape, and I'm gonna tape it down using those lines that I traced as a guy. Well, put the tape down to make a nice edge. And the reason I cut the paper larger and not just put the tape down is because sometimes the tape doesn't remove thoroughly from the, um, watercolor paper, so I might have to cut the paper down to size. If I do, that's fine, because the only parts that will have Thorn are gonna be where the tape waas, which is over the edge. So here I have my watercolor paper just taped to a cardboard backing. It's the empty backing from my palette of paper. Actually, just gonna make sure all the edges are nice and secure, and then I'll go in and use my board and figure out exactly where I want my owl to go. The owl does not fit in entirely. Entirety. Here you can resize the template to make it if you want a 15 complete owl. But I only want a portion of the owl so you can decide if you want to put the owl here and only have this much and then have this space available for a quote or a note. You can do that. Um, I like to put mine kind of center to slightly off center right here like this. So what I'll do is I'll take my owl and then all trace around it just lightly with my pencil, go around the silhouette of the owl, and because we're gonna be using, we're gonna be making an image that is slightly abstract. It's not gonna be perfectly realistic. It's just gonna hint at the owl. I want to go over this and Anson features to do that, I'll take my reference photo and my template and I'll just kind of trace here. I went ahead to be a little shape to be a little different, and you could modify this. How you'd like a Well, then I want that heart mask inside the Owls head as well, so I'll just make a heart and then I'll modify it to fit. So it's a little small for what I want, so just make another mark. Then I'll come here and work on this wing. It is just part of the wing, and I see here that this part comes up to here and then I'll come down here with some feathers. The keys to this barn owl to make it look noticeable is the barn owl is the sleek head, the heart shaped face with the eyes and that very sharp beak. So make my center line here. There is one in the out in the reference photo, create my very sharp beak. You know, just pencil in the eyes because I'm doing this in a light pencil. It's very easy to modify now. The eyes air so interesting because they're very round and dark, very intense. So I'm trying to make matching size circles. And then I'm gonna put a little teeny bit of a shape right here, almost a teardrop shape on the side. But I want them to match somewhat here. I can see that the knows should taper down, and that looks great. I'll race my eyes, some of the lines on my eyes and just secure that news a little further. Then, when I'm happy with the way it looks, I'm going to stop here and we'll go into the next stage, which is adding the liquid frisk it. 4. Adding The Masking Fluid: for the liquid. Frisk it. I'm not gonna try and preserve the fur, the feathers. But I am going to try and preserve some of these little dots that have white around them and then a dark interior. So I'm gonna take any liquid, frisk it. My dedicated brush. And I'm just gonna make some dots. They tend to go down somewhat. Linear the body? Not perfectly. I don't want to make a polka dot pattern. Just want to add some of these dots and they get very dense in this little feather. So I had a few more here, there, varying the size of them. This is for the bar nails camouflage. And then I'll have a few more down here and a femur right by the edge. Well, let this layer completely dry, and then we'll come back and do our start adding our layers of pigment 5. Layer # 1 Browns: okay to create our first layers on our barn owl gonna make some of our colors using a pipette. Get add a little bit of Clearwater to some of the three browns, the sepia, um, the burnt sienna and the yellow Oakar. I'm gonna move some of the sepia over here. I'm gonna add up a bunch of this yellow Oakar to it to create an interim color. I'm gonna add just a little bit of the, um, the burnt Sienna. Then I'm gonna make another color over here using a lot of the burnt Sienna. I'm gonna add some blue to this one. No, because it's a nice, dark, rich color And then with this burnt sienna, gonna add a little bit of red. So now we have a nice assortment of brown's to use here. Nice, warm colors. First thing to do with clear water. So wash my brush and then I get some clear water from the little container is I'm gonna paint just a little bit of spots of Clearwater on the wing and on the body here. Then I'll go in and I'll start with my really rich red color. And I'm just gonna add some pigment here and there on the wing and underneath here, a lot of teeny but here kind of creating organic shapes, not necessarily lines, although they are somewhat linear. Clean my brush and I'll go in with my my warm yellow Oakar mixed color that we have. And I'll add some of that as well again, I'm trying to keep some of the white of the paper. Just add a few spots of that, letting some of the colors blend together and I'll come back with a smaller brush, gonna try and get just a little bit of pigment on it. I'm gonna take this yellow ochre mixture that we made and I'm gonna create some just a lot of texture on the top of this mask in a a heart shaped pattern on top of the head. So I'm just gonna create some of the border, maybe make it two or three layers thick. Uh, and then I'm gonna add some more texture with a higher density in the center of the head. Just a little bit of lightness on the outside. Then I'll come in and on some spots will create that heart shaped border. I don't want it to be too perfect. It's supposed to look like feathers. It'll come back in. It will add some water to that to get a much lighter color. And now I'm just gonna make a little shadow around the nose, right from the eyebrows up to down to the beak. I'm going with some clear water and blend that out somewhat. Now coming with that lighter color again. Make some spots here, creating that heart shaped to the face. It'll take some here, and I'll add some to the feathers as well. To get some nice variation, I'm going there with just a little bit on my small brush of the sepia color that we mixed. I'm gonna add some pigment to some existing spots, and again I'll take that sepia color I will just continue to create. Define that shape of that heart shaped mask, overlapping some areas where we already put down color. I'm just sketch an outline here of the head with that sepia color, and I'll do the same on the other side. Outline. The top is well, going with some clear water and just lighten it up a bit, blending it out to the inside of the head. I'll take that Seppi of just before we left this layer dry and just finished outlining the shape A silhouette of this bird Well, that these layers dry and we'll come back and build on them some more. 6. Layer #2 Pinks & Blues: Now that our first layer is dry with our Sepp AEA's and browns I'm going to work on the next layer It's gonna be pinks and blues So wet my pink and blues And I'll make some of those colors I use this nice light pink mix in a little bit of red with it to make it a little more vibrant And then for the blue I'll take some of this blue But I wanted to be much more pale Makes a lighter blue from this A little bit of green with that in a tablet of water The last thing I wanna makes a little bit of gray Very light grey so taken some black And I also want to add a little bit of blue to that gray in some more water There we go. So starting with the gray I'm gonna go over some of these areas, but I really like the exposed paper underneath. So I'm gonna leave that showing having some layers and taking some of that light gray with the blue change. Gotta go and just make a little few spots underneath the neck. Create a little shadow here and then I'll just tie it in by adding some to various parts of the head switch to my smaller brush and I'm gonna take some of that blue we mixed and attitude, but top of some of those areas that we just added the gray This really brings out the blue , ties it in very nicely and very carefully. I'm just gonna add a few little patches of blue. I'm gonna go back to that gray and a little black to some part of it. So it's just a little more grey than blue. And I'm gonna make add some more texture up here to the top of the head of the crown of the head on the barn owl. I'm going with more of the blue color blue grey and then with a little more just gray. They don't take some of that pink. We mixed again with my small brush. Good at just a few little spots a pink here and there on the wings just enough so that a coordinates. But I don't want it to really dominate. I'm gonna add some of the pink right to the I, and I'm gonna start inside the eyeball and just brush around it, then I'll go in with clear water. Blend that out somewhat. Go back in with the pink on my brush, continue to make shadows around the nose, and I'll go in with my grey, my blue grey. Just add a few little swatches of color to create shadow around the face and the interior. I don't want a dark color, and if I feel it's getting a little dark, I'll blend it out. Just some shadow. I'm gonna makes a little bit of grey with less blue in it. Keep just a little on my brush and create that line that center line down the nose. I'll go back in with the teeniest amount of the yellow ochre mixture well and some color to that as well. Also, add a few more colors to the side of the news and the eyes with the yellow Oakar again. I want overlap where I made a sketch for the eyeball and I'll go in with some clear water on my brush. Not a lot. And I just want to blend that out, create soft lines on both sides. Let this layer dry, will come back and add some more texture and work. Start work on the background 7. Layer #3 Background: Now that this layer is dry, I can see that I want to pull in some of this. What dried out to be very dark pink, which was the red that we mixed in with the burnt Sienna. Just gonna add a few little spots of that too tight in and a few little dots as well in the texture for the head. Take a few more. Just add a few little spots right around the mask. And then I'm gonna go in with just some burnt sienna. I'm sorry. Yellow Oakar untouched and mix in a few spots of that as well. That warms it up some way. Now I want to work a little bit on the background, take a larger brush, clear water, and I'll start here in the bottom right hand side about. I'll just work on about half of the exposed area, filling it in with water, clear water, and then I'm gonna add some colors for the background that are gonna pull colors from the wings. So I'm gonna take some of this blue and take it right up to the bird here and then pull it away again. Not trying to get every area. Then we take a little teeny bit of darker blue. Just drop in a few spots of that and let that run. Then I'll come up here clean my brush a little more. Come up here and I'll do the same. I'll connect the top right hand side with clear water to the bottom, and I'm gonna go in with that pink. The darker pink that we made and drop in some of that and let that run around could take some of the lighter pink that we have and pull some of that color as well. Well, it's still wet. I'm gonna go in here with some of this yellow Oakar and just drop in a few spots, a few shapes here and there. And then I'll work on the last third of the background here, Fanny it clear coat of water. And I want to pull colors that we've already used here. So I'll start with that pink going with a little bit of that blue, and I'll take some of that yellow car as well. Drop some of that in creating some shapes. Well, let this layer dry and we'll come back and work on the face 8. Erasing Pencil Marks: Now that our background is dry on our foreground is driving me to take my eraser and just erase any pencil marks that remain being careful not to remove any of the Frisk it yet. We're not ready for that stage. There are some that. I'm concerned that I'm going to remove the Frisk it. I'll just leave it until later, okay? 9. Layer #4 Painting the Eyes: So now I want to work on the eyes with a small brush and just enough paint that I can control Gonna make some of the black with some of that gray that we made the blue grey And I don't want too much on my brush And I'm gonna create the outline of the I gonna leave a little highlight right in the top third and I'll just fill in the remainder still want to keep that round shape, go back in at a little more pigment. Then I'll do the same on the other. I trying to match it. No, I could see that. My highlights are not quite right. They don't match up. So I'm gonna take this one, fill it in, and then after it's all dry, I'll go in with my gel pen and create the highlight that I want. Try and make these eyes match. Now come back with my black ghetto. Go around these spots here that we put the brisket on. Make sure I have enough picking a pigment on my brush. Just go over them. They don't have to be perfect. - And then I noticed here on the bird up top of the neck. The dots start very tiny, very small, as they climb up the neck. So I had a few of those now at a few in here as well. Just to combine the texture and balance out darts, scatter a few light ones as well. Well, let this layer dry. 10. Layer #5 Background Details: with my very thin brush. I'm going in and I'm going to make the outline, but I'm gonna emphasize the colors that are on the background. So I'm not gonna take a black and go around the entire bird. I'm gonna go around here with blue around here with pink etcetera. So I want a nice sharp point of my brush and just enough color to control. I'm just gonna create that sharp outline and I'll go over here with the pink Combine that right with the blue. I want a nice soft edge, so I'll just blend this out again with the damp brush. I'll blend it out over here. I'm gonna come in with some of that yellow Oakar color that we mixed. I want to add just a little bit of this beautiful Coralie color We next, just to the eyes. It's all about the balance that we see. And I think I'm gonna just a tad of blue right to the beak here, going with my paper toe. Lighten it somewhat. Here we go. Well, let this completely dry 11. Layer #6 Retouching Eyes & Feathers: Okay, the layers dry. I'm looking at this and I want to just elongate this I a little bit. Could I add some black this crime? Try and match that shape from this I and then with a brush and go to go in there and I want to build up something over here. It's very pale here, so I want to add a little bit of this gray, but very light, so I'll dilute the color. Gonna add a little bit of the yellow joker toe warm up that gray. I'm just gonna add some spread strokes over here. The paper towel. Press down and remove some of that pigment. I just want to create a shadow. I'll add a little bit more water to dilute my color. And again, I'll add some brush strokes all the way around. Very faint color. Now I want to work on the nose a little more, particularly the colored hair by the eyes. I'm gonna go in there with a little bit of the yellow ochre mixture that we made and we just want some brush strokes. Pull up the color. I'll do the same on this. I on a nice sharp point on my brush and I'll do the same. I'm gonna add a little bit of this beautiful color that we mixed That turned out to be very red, very coral color again trying to a very sharp brush. Then I'll come down here and with the gray very light grey that we mixed. I'm gonna just created a little bit more shape to that knows that beak. I still have some brush strokes of for good ad A little bit of color in the nose. I use some of that gray and now I'm gonna add a little bit of pink as well. Now I want to take some of the blue that we mixed again with a very sharp brush Just add a little bit of blue Here is well and this ties in all our colors together a little bit of blue over here. Now I'm gonna take some of that blue, make it very pale. So with a lot more water and just add some color. Some shapes over here for shadow and a little bit of color. Well, let these layers dry, and then we'll come back and at our final touches and remove our brisket 12. Removing Masking Fluid: Now that our layers air dry, it's time to remove the liquid. Frisk it. You can use an eraser and just pull it off like that. Or you can rub it with your finger as well. Since these air small little spots, they come off very easily. While I have the eraser, I'll just go over the entire piece. Any lines that I think are left from pencil marks as well. Well, I'm here. So now, taking my smallest brush, I'm gonna go in with some of the black, and I'll just finish up some of these little dots at a few more larger drops. Then I'll take my white gel pin and I'll try and recreate this highlight. I'll sign my work and then remove the tape. Now, I took off a little bit of the paper here when I removed the tape. I think I'm gonna leave that, though, because if I want to put a mat over this, it gives me a little buffer as well gonna erase these marks. Then we'll come back and do a final review 13. Watercolor Barn Owl Class Wrap Up: So here we have our completed Barnell. Oh, we started with a template which is just a very basic design, pretty much with shape and just a reference that we used our reference photo, which we have here to give us some idea what we're trying to capture with the owl. We really focused on the eyes, the nose, the beak and this little heart shaped mask. And then, of course, we worked on the texture of the feathers in the little spots of camouflage. We totally played with the colors. So whereas these air earth tones and very soft colors, grays and browns, we went different route and use blues and pinks while maintaining some of those earth tones as well. I hope. Youll try your hand at a barn owl. And if you dio, please post your work in the class project section. I'd love to see how you do it feel, Frito, alternate the colors and use different ones, if you like, alternate the template with different shapes as well. And lastly, I wanted to show you how it looked in a mat. So this is just a white Matt put over it, which brings it up to an eight by 10. And it could be framed quite easily. Thanks for watching