Watercolor Botanical Illustration: The Essentials | Katya Rozz | Skillshare

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Watercolor Botanical Illustration: The Essentials

teacher avatar Katya Rozz, Watercolor Artist & Pattern Designer

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 (44m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Tools

    • 4. Watercolor Techniques: Wet on Wet

    • 5. Watercolor Techniques: Dry on Wet

    • 6. Pencil Drawing

    • 7. Color Palette

    • 8. Watercolor Painting: First Layer

    • 9. Watercolor Painting: Volume

    • 10. Watercolor Painting: Details

    • 11. Final Thoughts

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About This Class


In this 44 minute class we will create a Monstera leaf illustration and talk about the basics of creating botanical illustrations with watercolors. The class is project-based and interactive. You're welcome to post your questions, comments and work in progress at absolutely every step.

The class covers following topics: 

1. Main watercolor techniques used in botanical illustration: wet on wet, dry in wet and lifting.

2. The basics of botanical pencil drawing. 

3. Choosing a color scheme for your future illustration. The differences between different shades of green.

4. Step-by-step demonstration of watercolor painting of a Monstera plant leaf.

The goal of this class was to simplify the process of creating botanical illustrations and show the logic and the sequence of actions which are behind this. 

Tag me in your works on instagram @katyarozz !

See you in the class,


Meet Your Teacher

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Katya Rozz

Watercolor Artist & Pattern Designer




Hello, my name is Katya. I'm an artist and surface pattern designer, living in Israel.

I've started learning watercolors about 4 years ago and I paint/draw almost every day since then. I believe that I'm only at the beginning of my watercolor journey, but I decided to teach on Skillshare and share with you what I'm already learned. Hope you'll find it useful!

You can find me on Instagram to see more of my works.

Nice to meet you!


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1. Introduction: it's hard to find better models to paint than plants and flowers. The static and charming painting plants makes us feel harmony was nature, and in this class I'm going to share my way off feeling this harmony. My name is Scott Heroes. I'm an artist and surface pattern designer watercolors and flora on my passions. When they create botanical illustrations using watercolors, I completely lose myself. It is such medical process, though it does require some fishes. It gives me a lot of joy and satisfaction. For me, painting plants is a form of meditation. It is the way to concentrate, to immerse myself in what I'm doing and to relax at the same time. And last but not least these days, botanical illustrations have relied commercial use. In this class. We will talk about the essentials of German plants. We will learn basic watercolor techniques used in botanical illustration. We will see how to build volume in a plan and how to make it look realistic. And finally, we will create a beautiful botanical illustration. Off women stare relief. Oh, another plant that inspires you. This'll class is for you. If you are passionate about nature, any prevail skills will be useful but are not required at all. So it is. Doesn't matter if you're a beginner or if you're an experience artist. Our designer everyone is welcome to my first glass. Don't forget to follow me on skill share and stay up to date about my new classes. In my next class, I will share my approach for creating botanical illustrations, adapted especially for surface pattern design needs and let's start. 2. Class Project: in this class, we're going to create a botanical illustration of your favorite leaf or plant. I'm going to lose straight amongst era plant leaf, which inspires me a lot. You are a mother. Welcome to join and use my reference as well. You can find the Jay Peak in a class description below, or as an alternative, you can choose your own reference. There are a lot of monster plants growing in my area, so I am able to observe them every day. Observation is one of the most important aspect of botanical illustration. So first, choose a leave our plant and start observing it carefully in order to find its unique characteristics and to understand its structure analysed with geometric shapes. Your plan consists off. Does it remind you of a circle? Oh, maybe it has a triangle shape. Ask yourself as many questions as possible and look for answers while observing your subject. 3. Tools: Let's talk about the main tools we're going to use in this class paper. You will need regular sketching paper for drawing your object. Use any paper you like. I prefer standard printer paper for the watercolor painting. I use 100% cotton paper. There are a few different types of cutting papers, and in this class I'm going to use cold pressed paper with a grain Finn texture. This paper is a great choice if you're a beginner. The cutting paper is more expensive than regular cellulose paper. But for detailed botanical illustrations, which requires a lot of flares of color, the paper is the most important component. It is definitely worse than the investment pencil. I used a regular HB pencil for creating sketches. Just use any pencil you like, and you have Razor's. I use three types of razors irregular rectangular razor for removing big parts of the drawing and the razor pen for removing small lines and thin lions and the soft art razor, which I used for removing pencil marks from watercolor paper. In order to avoid damage in the paper watercolors, you will need a basic watercolor set you can use either. Pence of tubes, whatever you have and whatever works best for you. The main secret off mixing watercolors is that you can achieve almost any color with only three basic colors blue, red and yellow. So if you are on the budget at the beginning, I would buy ultra Marine, Ah cobbled cadmium yellow and queen a credo. NRO's in this class and going to use primarily sad green indigo and yellow ocher. But I will use few other colors, such as cadmium yellow and royal blue as well. If you don't have these cows, just experiment and search for your own color combinations according to what you have at the moment. Maskin Fluid. We're going to use it in order to cover small negative spaces. Often illustration. It will help us to save time significantly. But if you don't have maskin fluid, don't worry. You can always get around negative spaces with the brush brushes for botanical illustrations, I found a few useful brushes. Usually, I been 90% of my illustrations with a round brush, none before on Number six with a pointed tip. The same size for different brands may not be exactly the same size. That means that number four in one brand could be the same. Size is number six on number three for a different brand. Both synthetic and sable hair types are okay. You can use any water called brushy feel comfortable with, but be sure that it has appointed. Also, I'm going to use a larger brush for putting water on paper and an all point and brush for Putin masking fluid water and water container. Choose a comfortable white container in order to keep water clean for a maximum time. Paper towels. Very important. Always keep them near your paint in hand. You are lucky if you have a good art store nearby with high quality watercolor art supplies . But if you are like me and you don't have access to good art stir, you can order art supplies on Jackson's our dot com. I'm pretty happy with their delivery time and the quality off the art supplies 4. Watercolor Techniques: Wet on Wet: let's exercise a bit before we start painting. Final illustration. The watercolor botanical illustration approach that I will demonstrate in this class consists of applying light watercolor layers one by one. Traditionally, the process starts from light colors to gradually increasing the tone and emphasized in the shadows with the darker tones. In order to receive better results, It's crucial to practice watercolour washes using different watercolor techniques, which we're going to learn in this video. I have drawn here a few freehand abstract organic shapes that we're going to practice the first, and the most useful technique is wet on wet. This technique is suitable for glazing a relatively large area. Usually I start all my paintings with the first wash use in the wet on wet technique because it leads to the smoothest results. We started by evenly painting clean water on the paper with the Web brush from the center of the shape to its edges, it's important to control the amount of water on your brush. The area off the paper should have even glass, but you need to avoid the emergence of water puddles on the paper. I usually look from the side at the wet area in order to see whether the water has been distributed evenly, and whether the glass is even after the era you're working on is completely red. Put a color on top and distributed with the brush for the middle area. Use all of the hairs and for making the edges crisp. Youth the tip off a brush. Also, we're going to use this technique to add color on top off previous layer when we want to dark and shadows or ed and you color. In this case, we put a color where the shadow should be and so often its edges with clean, wet brush. You can repeat it a few times until you're happy with the results. But remember, if you see that everything looks smooth, just leave it as is. 5. Watercolor Techniques: Dry on Wet: the second technique is wet on dry. This technique is useful for painting relatively small areas off pedals, sleeping in the collar, emphasised in the shadows, painting a pattern on flower petals or edin texture. It's more simple to control water colors you than this technique. We are going to use it for adding a color on top of previous layer as well. Again, we put the color and soft in its edges with a clean red brush on. Repeat this action until we like the result. The next technique is lifting. Lift in means lifting out or Maupin out the color from a certain area of a surface, which is already wet and colored. After you put your color on what paper, Take a wet clean brush and mop out the color from the paper. You can repeat this action several times. Try different levels off pressure in order to find the perfect one. This technique needs a lot of practice. The important rule here is that the amount of water on your brush should be less than amount of water on your paper. This way, the brush absorbs color from the wet paper. This technique is a great way to create highlights in your subject. It's very important to do these exercises on exactly the same type off paper that you will paint for the final illustration on practice as much as you want. Until you feel comfortable in all that, If Nick's and upload your results to a project gallery, that is it. Now we're ready to start working on our final illustration. 6. Pencil Drawing: before beginning our final painting on watercolor paper. It's important to start from a detail pencil drawing on regular paper. I use a general to specific approach in my work. Usually I start sketching general shapes, gradually focusing on refining the details. Our own sterile leaf reminds never circle after sketch in a circle, we defined the placement and hey off a main vein, followed by sketching nine second er veins from each side of the main vein. Just be sure to count them before. After building a main structure, we started defining an outline of a leaf. Considering each vein in order to avoid and mess in our drawing, we are erasing any necessary lines as we go After this, we continue to specify each area off the illustration. Only when you feel confident with the general shape we start adding the details, I encourage you to practice as much as possible. With time, your lines will become, or even you will be able to analyze plants faster, and he will be mocked, confident with your drawings 7. Color Palette: While observing my monster relief, I have noticed that dropped four main colors in four different parts. Wayne's highlights light and areas and shadows. It is important to choose a color for each of the areas before we start painting. But if you notice new and unexpected fuse in your reference after you have started, you can always add additional fuse. But usually I don't add completely new colors. Instead, I experiment with the concentration off water. Colors are mixed previously used colors in a new way. This helps me to keep a color palette that is clean and harmonic. I have a special sketchbook where explore different color combinations and also where I keep them together in one place. A lot of times I will go back to it and search for specific combinations of colors that have explored your in my experiments. So for the waves that have a bright green yellow color, I will use a combination off SAB green and cadmium yellow for the highlights. With a blue, I will use a combination off royal blue and sub green. If you don't have a specific color, such for the alternative color that you do have. I'm often surprised when I find exactly the same. If you become by in different colors for the lightened areas, I will use a combination of submarine and indigo. This one will be most situated in greenish, which will be my primary color combination for the shadows are will use in Digger and Walker, which will give me a deep dance saturated green each off. Previously mixed combinations can be used in different proportions and can give a variety of fuse. 8. Watercolor Painting: First Layer: After I finished my drawing, I traced it onto a watercolor paper with handmade lightbox and fixed it to a plus sting board with paper tape. As an alternative, you can trace your drawings through the window you've in daylight. We start by covering all negative spaces off the leave with the mosque in fluid and let it dry completely. I use annulled, yet pointed some dating brush, - so now we're ready to start painting with watercolors. The first layer will be very light, and it will be the basis for putting on further washes and building the dimensions of the leaf. I will cover the wanes with the bride green, yellow color and the biggest highlights with the light blue color. In a wet on but technique. We read the leave with a clean brush moving from the centre of the leave to its edges. It is important to be precise and place to live evenly. Try to avoid water puddles and don't let water spread beyond the pencil outline. After our live is covered with water, we put green color along the veins and blue collar enlightened areas of the leaf. Yeah, after you finish, wait until the paper dries completely. Use a hair dryer to save time 9. Watercolor Painting: Volume: now, when the first layer is Dr Completely wister, building the volume of the leave by adding the shadows to different parts of the live in wet on wet technique, we went the areas in between the veins and put a dark green color. Where there are shadows, it is important to observe the plant and search for the differences in different shades of green. In some places, the color will be colder and will have a blue shade, and in some places it will be warmer and have a yellow or red shape. Accordingly, we mix. Our main green color was called indigo, a warm yellow or red. Also, there are few tongue gradations between the lightest shadows and the darkest. This process is quite slow and meditative, so big patient enjoy every minute and every movement of your hand and, most importantly, do not worry. If something goes wrong, you always can fix it in the following layers. All simply start over from the beginning. Practice makes perfect. Observe your plans carefully. Notice how colors change in different areas where there are shadows and where there are highlights. Often when the elimination is a world. The lightened heiress of your plants will be warmer and the shadows will be colder. The opposite of this is when the elimination is called. Light errors will be colder than the shed jobs. In my case, the league was under natural cold daylight and the lightened parts have a colder blue few than the shadows. They warmer and they have a saturated green warm. You don't forget to change the water as soon as it gets too dirty. - Okay , Yeah. - Okay . After we have covered all areas of the second layer, we continue deepen in the shadows and Edin separations between overlapping areas in both wet on wet and dry on where techniques. - Finally , we removed the masking fluid from the negative spaces. Share your progress in the project gallery at every step. It's a great way to receive feedback that will help you to improve your paintings. Also, sometimes will you see a work on the screen. You notice a lot of things you might want to improve and can better understand what to do next. 10. Watercolor Painting: Details: After we build the volume off the leaf, we start at in the details. We are finishing our illustration by Edin shadows around the holes, emphasised in the dark areas and deepening the car along the veins in wet on dry technique , It's very important not to overdo or under do the illustration. Look for your own balance between very realistic paintings and illustrations that have a nice, painterly effect, which is usually my goal. Okay, Yeah, that is it. Now I'm pretty happy with the result and the level of details. Upload your final painting to the Project Gallery. I hope you have enjoyed the process as much as I have. 11. Final Thoughts: Thank you for watching my class. I can't wait to see what you create. This class was on Lee, An introduction to the world of botanical illustration using watercolors. And I wish you a pleasant journey. If you decide to continue learning about it, don't hesitate to share any thoughts about what you would like to see next are about how can I improve my videos? I will appreciate any feedback from you. So now when he illustration is ready, it is time to think about how you're going to use it. You can put it on a wall in your living room with a beautiful frame. Oh, you might want to think about how you can monetize it. Whatever decision you will make, you can find a lot of amazing classes here on skill share about how to do this. So bye bye. In the meantime, don't forget to follow it and stay up to date about upcoming classes