Watercolor Floral Stems with a wedge or triangle brush | Jen Sweeney | Skillshare

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Watercolor Floral Stems with a wedge or triangle brush

teacher avatar Jen Sweeney, Watercolor, Calligraphy, Cycling

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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

9 Lessons (1h)
    • 1. Intro & Class project

    • 2. Class supplies

    • 3. Practicing the floral technique & enhancements

    • 4. Practicing leaves

    • 5. Burnt Sienna Floral Stem Part 1

    • 6. Burnt Sienna Floral Stem Part 2

    • 7. Indigo Floral Stem Part 1

    • 8. Indigo Floral Stem Part 2

    • 9. Thank you!

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About This Class


Learn to paint these elegant floral stems in under an hour! Bring your wedge brush or triangle brush to class and let's get started! 

  • You will learn the exact technique of how to manipulate & grip your brush to make these gorgeous florals, stems, & leaves.
  • No voice overs. I paint and talk as we do this together, step-by-step.
  • Videos are in real time so you can easily follow along.
  • Pick any color of paint you want! Your choice, use whatever you have.
  • We first practice the technique for painting your florals (I use Naphthamide Maroon). Next, a little practice painting leaves (using Zoisite Genuine). Then I walk you through 2 floral stems, complete from start to finish. With one I use burnt sienna, the other, indigo. 
  • You learn how to delicately enhance your florals with a 005 black Micron, Sakura white Gelly Roll pen, or Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust glitter pen
  • If you don't have a wedge or triangle brush, a dagger may work, but results will not be exact
  • Interested in a wedge or triangle brush? (not a paid advertisement) - Check out these options:
    • jerrysartarama.com (Beste Fountain brush by Creative Mark)
    • FoxandQuills Etsy site (4-piece wedge brush set)
    • johnnealbooks.com (Silver Triangle brush)
    • amazon.com 

Meet Your Teacher

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Jen Sweeney

Watercolor, Calligraphy, Cycling




Hello! I’m Jen, a watercolor artist and calligrapher living in Ohio with my husband. I used to be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner but now, I'm pursuing my art full time and have become completely smitten by the world of watercolor. Perhaps, like me, you didn’t go to art school, but you have a deep passion for creativity. My absolute favorite tool has been the wedge brush (or closely related, the triangle brush).  Maybe you have one, and know a few strokes, but eagerly desire to fully unleash the artist within. If so, allow me the privilege to walk alongside you and demonstrate, step by step, the versatility of this br... See full profile

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1. Intro & Class project: Hi and welcome to class. Thanks for being here. You're gonna learn the exact technique for how to create these beautiful floral stems. I'll explain all the supplies that you will need. Then we jump right in the practicing how to manipulate your brush to make the flowers and leaves. I will then explain my process for creating delicate stems. I then take you through my complete process from start to finish and offer important details along the way. We then make a second floral stem like this using a gorgeous indigo color. But feel free to use whatever color you want. I had a great time making this class, and it is designed for all levels. And by the time you're done with this Clash will know exactly how to make these beautiful floral stems. So let's get started. Hi, I'm John Sweeney. Welcome to my studio. So I think it's pretty obvious what your class project is going to be. So once you're done creating your design, please do upload them into the gallery. I also wanted to acknowledge, too that at the time this class is released, our world is going through some significant changes and a lot of people are hurting right now, So I do hope that this class provides for you some joy, some peace and some encouragement. And, as always, let's be kind to one another. Take care of each other and reach out to those who really need our help right now. So take care, stay healthy and enjoy the class. 2. Class supplies: so the best brushes for this class. Either your triangle brush or the wedge brush, and I'll be using a size six and eight of the wedge brush. If you have a dagger brush, you can use this one. I don't particularly prefer it just because the belly of the brush is pretty floppy. It does have a nice point on it. Your flowers are going to be bigger, but you can get away with using this brush to a couple of things are used to enhance the flowers. The micron pan 005 and then two of thes secure a jelly roll. Pens I like to use one is the Stardust glitter pen and then just the regular white pen. This one is a 08 the colors that I've used in these examples here. So burnt Sienna. This is just cotton mons, water color paint Windsor and Newton and then Daniel Smith nap. Samide Maroon, One of my favorites, and another favorite, Daniel Smith, is this green. The Zoey's I genuine think that's how you say it. And then another super concentrated pigment core watercolors. Just gorgeous colors. And I love this indigo that is this one right here. So we're gonna practice with the maroon when we go over how to do these flowers. But then I will dio to full examples for you of the flower stems both in the burnt sienna and the indigo. But if you don't have these colors, that is not a big deal. It all just pick your favorite colors and you can get the same effect here. Any greens will be just fine for the leaves and any color you want to make for the flowers . Totally fine. Grab your palate, some paper towels and then the watercolor paper that I like to use most often is arches. Doesn't matter what kind you have. I would recommend that £140 cold press that's just going to be, Ah, better wait watercolor paper. Have a couple extra papers to do some practice on test pages and then a couple of jurors of water and you're good to go. So let's grab our supplies and we'll get started 3. Practicing the floral technique & enhancements: Okay, so to make thes beautiful little flowers here, I'm gonna take you through my exact process. How to do that will practice a little bit. Feel free to pause the video. If you want to practice on your own, it does take a while to get this down. And I can tell you have been so frustrated more times than not trying to get this technique down. Don't worry about it. You will get it. I promise you just take your time. So what we'll do in this lesson again? Just practice these flowers in the maroon color, but whatever color you have, totally fine. So the other thing will do real quick to as I'll show you how I like to enhance these flowers, sometimes with the micron pen or one of the jelly roll pens. So with this one, it was actually just a practice peace. But I ended up kind of liking it. So a little bit of micron highlights on the outside of the flower petals and on the inside and also on the leaves. And then this one, also with just a little bit of micron highlights in the center with a little bit of white dots there, too. You don't need to do that. Leaving these alone, Justus. They are. I think they're simply beautiful that way too. So let's go ahead and put this down. I want to show you. Like I said, exactly how I do this, It can get a little tricky and just take some practice. So just straight from my tube, squeezing out a little bit there, you don't need a whole lot. This is very concentrated. So just getting a little water on my brush and just start adding some water here So this, I can tell, already is quite dark already adding some water. I can either leave it here sometimes or even pull it back, some of it down here to make it really light. So obviously, on these flowers, the insides are going to be the darkest, the outside, the lighter part and the way we get that. So with this wedge brush, this belly of the brush holds a lot of water and a lot of paint. So I am constantly dabbing it on the paper, tell especially the belly, and then even just straight down on the tip. Because that tip is going to go straight into the concentrated pigment. So we have a practice page for a practice page here. So how this works point down, lay the brush down, and we're just gonna kind of wiggle it around. You can see a little bit how it bled back this way. Not a big deal. Beauty of water color. Point the center or point the point right back to the center and do the same thing. Give yourself some space for all this and I'm definitely not getting it centered. But you get the idea of just how to start this. And I'm basically using this practice page to kind of get an idea of how much pigment to get onto the belly of my brush and again damning a lot and then putting it right in the center of the most concentrated pigment. And you can even just lay it down and see if you like that ratio of how dark it is there and how the belly of the brushes lighter can take the edge. David, This way they have the point. Just try it on here so we'll plant it, start living it around. We can kind of toe when that outer petal is drying out a little bit. But I try to get enough. I can go all the way around so pretty dark in the center. But that's totally fine. And then I do rents off. I don't think you can really see all this, but I rinse it off pretty frequently, getting back into the lighter pigment, dab in it off stick and right down into that most concentrated pigment and then to just took another flower in same process, usually dio three or four more pedals. Now, sometimes you can leave a white area there, but I went ahead and totally close that one up. This just takes practice, and sometimes when I'm making these flowers, I think, Oh, this is just not going the way I want. But stick with it. That's exactly what happened with this. But as you get a lot on here, it just it looks better as a cohesive unit. But just take time to practice. You want to vary up the size of the flowers to now. This is the size eight, the six obviously a little bit smaller, and the wedge bersih brush goes up to higher numbers to 16 as the highest. That's actually pretty big for that. Something like this. I like to keep it a little more delicate and light. Not every center needs to be is dark is the last one. You can have some that are lighter and some that are darker. Totally your preference. Move the paper as you need to again Make thes centers as darker is light as you prefer. And I would suggest some lighter, some darker, just so it gives contrast to the overall overall peace. But getting the hang of how you shake the brush wiggle the brush around is probably the biggest part, if not the second biggest part, as to getting the water and the pigment ratio, how you like it and how you're comfortable with it. Now with this arches watercolor paper, it is pretty thirsty. Paper. Some of the other ones you might not need as much water on your brush, but I do like how this arches just soaks up the paint. Some of these I like others I could do without, but we keep going and keep practicing shaken. That brush around is shaking and wiggling, and sometimes what people were. Deal is move. Let me try this again. Hang on. So you can either keep the paper stationary, wiggle the barrage, or if you want to keep the brush stationary and move the paper as well. Takes a little bit of getting used, Teoh, or do both. But just whatever is most comfortable for you. So hopefully you get the hang of this and just practice, practice, practice. That is the name of the game. And sometimes my hand shakes and it comes up with a stroke. And I think what in the world just happened? They said, Just keep getting used to your brush. There's really no rhyme or reason to this. We're just practicing here, not trying to come up with a composition just yet. So again, let me show you what happens if I would just go watery consistency here, dip in it in. Just get that back bleed right there. Not terrible, but just not really the look that I want. Okay, so let's stop this practicing for minute. And I want to show you with these little pens here how you can enhance some of these now that these air pretty dark right here so not a big deal. Let's just go on one of this. That's lighter here. So all I dio is just a couple little sprays of the pigment here. You can go along with them or you can just dio short little ones. Sometimes I'll add in a couple little dots. So pretty easy with the Micron. The other thing, too. Sometimes what I'll do is just kind of skip around some of the pedals for just a quick outline. I know not everybody likes the Micron outline, and they just want to leave the pain totally fine. Whatever your preferences, that's how you develop your style. What you like is your style. Nobody can take that from me. You love your style. You develop your own style. So with the white jelly roll pen sometimes just adding a little bit of white in the center kind of tones down that dark pigment there could do a couple little white streaks. If he wants not showing up to well there, it's still a little bit wet, and other fund one is the Stardust glitter pan. Probably hard to see that here, but close up. It does give nice little sparkles I just think it's a cute, a cute effect. I really like that. That's not cute Effect. It's a pretty effect, so that's just a few ways to enhance those flowers. But I do want you to take some time in practice, really getting the ratio of the water and the pigment on the brush, dabbing your brush and then wiggling that brush around. That's really all there is to it. So again, just take some time to practice and the next we're gonna go over how to make these leaves. 4. Practicing leaves: okay, We're gonna take just a few moments to add some leaves here. I do have a whole another skill share, class on leaves and this kind of brush. If you want to check that out, I'd be grateful. But let's spend a little bit of time undoing that here. And I always pour out way to our squeeze out way too much pain. But that's okay. I'll just leave it there and will use it later. So the same way just add in some water and then dab, and I just kind of have the whole thing off there. So with the point down towards my belly, sometimes what I'll do is just a nice thin line. I don't have the belly of the brush on the paper and lifting at almost vertical to get that nice line there. And then I'm laying the brush down and lifting. You can leave it like that, but I tend to add another little swoosh on the side. There. Now, this is the eight. I'm gonna switch out, grab the number six because really, for these I like the star of the show to be the flowers, the leaves air just a nice little accent around there, but I don't want to be too heavy with my leaves. You can't really no rhyme or reason here. Just practicing a little bit. Now. You can do the same as we did with a flowers and dip the tip in the concentrated pigment and have a nice outline like that, if you prefer or what I'll do you. Sometimes a lot of the times actually is. Just go back over with the darker pigment just to give a little bit of contrast that you don't ever want your leaves just to be 11 single color. You want to add some variety there? Well, certainly go over this a whole lot more when we're actually putting the stems altogether. But just take a little time to practice these leaves with this brush. So a couple ways here, we said, with just the point down a small little fine line, and then I tend to go like right back on that line, lay the brush down and pull it up gracefully and gently put a little tip on the end. Sometimes I like that very up. The size of your leaves tend to stick with the odd numbers. Threes, five sevens and clusters just adds, I appeal. So the belly of the brush is facing me, and I'm just leaning the brush down, pressing it into the paper and add in that extra little swoosh on the side there. I guess that's a technical term. Bring extra little swoosh. Another thing I'll do sometimes is come around this way. Swing the leaf around here, and that little swish with a little tail gives it an elegant look, pushing it away from me or pulling it towards me. And sometimes if you just want a tiny little leaf, you don't have to do both maneuvers. There. You can just do one simple little one just like that, just pushing the edge of the brush down. It's a little dry there, but that's OK. Okay, so take some time to practice your leaves and then I'll meet in the next lesson. 5. Burnt Sienna Floral Stem Part 1: All right. Welcome back. We are ready to make this burnt sienna floral stem. So I want to walk you through this before you actually put paint to paper. So the way I love these graceful stems thes s curves here. So I'm going to get this out of the way for a moment and just show you on just a practice page, how you do that and why I do that. So I guess I love the graceful s curves. So sometimes what you can do is just practice gliding up the page. You're going to keep the brush stable in your hand. You're not doing finger motions at this point, but you're just more or less moving your hand in a graceful curve up the page. Excuse me. So starting down at the bottom, the tip is painting is pointing towards my belly, actually about, like, the five oclock position for thinking about it on a clock here. So holding the paper down just gradually moving your hand up the paper. So what? I want to dio to get these two areas here. I'm gonna leave some blanks in these curves. Meaning when I do it for riel just leaving those blanks right there. Ready for you to fill them up with flowers, OK, so you can keep a long stem like that, Of course. And add some offshoots, things like that. Whatever you would like to do. But get this look, that's how do I leave the blanks there? So let's go ahead. Do it here. Go ahead and some leaves up here. Just as a reminder, Your leaves for the most part of going to go in the directional flow of your stem. All right, So let's did you know really well, because we're gonna go ahead and fill the flowers first, grab your burnt Sienna or whatever color we're gonna be using in your water. And sometimes what I do when the house is really warm, just they have a little bit of water on the tip of that concentrated pigment to keep it, Keep it nice. And what it's just practice a little bit here, really even get much on the tip. So we're just gonna start adding in our flowers. So what I'll do, I'll start at the top, typically, and I'm gonna get real close to where that stem is. There. I'm sure you can see this. - So I tend to keep the flowers in this section first and then branch out a little bit from there and they're gonna be different sizes, different colors a little bit darker on some of these. A little bit lighter on the outside again, whatever you prefer and having contrast in your piece is a good thing. Then I start tucking in a little bit on the sides here. Don't forget rule. Add leaves at the very end to so you wanna leave some room for that? Sometimes I get so lost in adding these flowers, I forget to stop sometimes what you can do sometimes, too. If you want the centers to be a little bit darker, jump back in there when it's still kind of wet drops and pigment in there to get a little bit dark center. Sometimes this is at the point where I think I don't know if it's gonna turn out, but trust me, just stick with it, definitely thrown some away that have not worked out. Yes, we all have, But then others. You just stick with it and you think that's not too bad. All right, I'm gonna leave that as is right now, because I'm gonna have probably a little bit fuller down here. What, This? We'll see how it goes. - You can take your brush and swipe it across that top, too, because sometimes when I find is it actually gets a little bit of a coding over it. You can't quite get into the concentrated pigment. So again, just playing around with it, see what's gonna work for you kind of just let these go on grow as I see fit, making adjustments I don't really have other than the one that I just did. I'm really not working off anything but just plotting these flowers in little by little, - you want to make sure that they're snug in there and not a ton of white space because they are just floral clusters. But of course, a few little bit white spots in there is gonna be good. I'm kind of watching as I go here, so I don't get too much over on this side or too much down here trying to just keep it balanced as I go. So, like, I wouldn't want to leave that white space right there because it looks like just a pedal was just kind of. It looks like it's missing. Just add that little guy in there, - close that one of a little bit more. All right, let's go ahead and had some leaves. And then we can always come back and add some more florals if we need Teoh. 6. Burnt Sienna Floral Stem Part 2: - Sometimes what I do to has kind of come around this way and just make it a little curve There. It's crossing over the main stem. Now go back in and dark and some of these leaves eventually just laying down the first of him. Right now, - we talked about leaves going in the directional flow, But you certainly can have some that are kind of flopping down this well to that's going to give your piece of added interest in character. Okay, well, do sometimes is go in and dark in this main stem up a little bit. Just be careful with this. So when I do this little notch down here in the bottom So the point right now again about five oclock position What I do is turn it about 25 degrees where the belly of the brush is facing right here at my palm, and I just touch down a little bit, flip it around and then just trace back up like he's a little thicker, but that just gives it some more contrast there, too. Sometimes I leave the top stem a little bit lighter, but then some of these offshoots here might make a little bit darker. Okay, let's go ahead and leave. That ass is and then I'm gonna grab the black micron and do a few highlights. It's just like we practiced 005 black micron. Just gonna add some highlights here. Sometimes I forget where the centers are. If it was kind of, ah, kind of a blob there, but angle the use around to see if the one flowers facing up into a lot of times, I'll just get Cem taller black marks this way and then have a couple coming down this way. This is why you don't have to worry so much about your flowers being totally perfect, especially if you're gonna do some of these highlights here. After a while, just all kind of blends together very nicely. I could even add a couple little dots on these, and you don't even have to do it on all of them. Just pull in the I in towards the center for some interest. So the other thing, if you wanted to, you can use your micron to do a couple little outlines on the leaves or not whatever you prefer, you like. That center is too dark. You can add a couple little white dots in there just again pulling that I towards the center, keeping the visual interest. This is where you always think. Should I do it? Should I not? Do I? What's it going to do? Is it gonna mess it up? Don't worry about that. Just certainly give. Give it a try. Because sometimes you might find out that you really like a defendant and enhancement or not. And then the next time you do it, it's going to be totally up to you. And that's how that's how you develop your style. You just have to try things and be brave enough to do that. So we're gonna leave this one as is, and then we'll move on to the indigo stem. 7. Indigo Floral Stem Part 1: Okay, so we're ready to do our blue stem, which I can't wait to show you. This indigo color. It is so cool. But I wanted to take a quick second to talk about this little pocket color wheel. If you don't have one of these, I would suggest getting one. They're very, very helpful. So certainly what we're doing today is just monochromatic one color. But if you're like me and you struggle with Okay, What colors look good together? How do I mix colors? You know, I didn't go to art school, so I gotta learn all this stuff, you know, thinking back to art school and elementary. It was helpful then, but that was a long time ago. Anyway, I think I picked this up at hobby Lobby and and just very helpful. It was probably under $5 I think, Um, but it just gives you a lot of different definitions here. Primary secondary, tertiary colors, warm and cool. Goes down this side of hue value intensity, tent tone, all kinds of helpful information on the front here and even just for an example, Is your spinning this around? So you've got a color appear yellow if you would add blue. This is the color you would come up with. Same way with, like a yellow orange color. You're adding blue. This is what you're gonna get so super simple, Very helpful. But what's even more helpful, I think, is on the back of this color wheel. So again, if you're struggling with composition sometimes and you're just thinking, I have no idea what colors go well together. So this will help you. So just for an example. So we've got blue up here and all the different tints, tones and shades right here. So if you can see right here, complimentary color to blue is going to be orange and vice versa. Okay, It tells you right here, too. Also on the two sides here, it shows you the split complementary colors, so very helpful. Just wanted to give a little shout out to color wheel. It just has helped me a lot in the past. So put that off to the side. We're going to go ahead and get this blue stem going. All right, We're going to go for a nice, gentle C curve for this stem having the tip down again about the five oclock position, and we're just going to swing her hand around into that sea position. Very simple. And a couple leaves at the top. Remember, we can go back in and dark in these two for this one. I'm gonna add a couple little buds appear at the top, get this rinsed off. Very well. And then for this blue indigo or indigo, we need just a tiny dot of this. Such a gorgeous color, but a little bit goes a long way. That is so pretty in love that I'm definitely gonna pull some down here because I'm gonna try to keep these flowers pretty light. I will go back in and darken up the center within Micron Pen to just add water here. It's pretty good. Maybe even a little bit lighter sometimes a little tricky to get these buds in there and what I find to sometimes when I'm dipping my tip into that pigment. Since it's so rich, it will bleed back into the belly sometimes. So even though I'm trying to keep this light down here, I'm gonna try to be aware of how much I'm rinsing my brush. Do you have some flowers darker, some lighter, Just like we said. Contrast is good already bleeding into it down here. That's OK. - I love this blue, but honestly, it can be a little a little hard to work with, sometimes just in terms of. If you're trying to stay light with it, just have to be careful. But if you want to go dark, certainly do that. - I could see that one bleed right back up into the tip a little too far. It's almost like a game. Every time you dip it in there, it's sometimes the surprises to what you're going to get. But that's just how you learn. Stick with it. This is not something you want to rush through. Want to make sure that you have enough time to really devote to something like this is it does require patients, but hopefully it's very relaxing for you, too. - And yes, I have messed up a whole piece before with just put my hand in the wrong spot. I think we've all done that. Sometimes it can be salvaged. Other times it can't, but I tend to move my paper around a fair amount. He jumped from spot to spot Sometimes we took a few more flowers in, and then we'll leave it alone. Have the leaves I don't want. Since this is such a small composition, I don't want either one. Teoh overtake the other one. I don't want the florals toe look too heavy or the leaves toe look too heavy. So we're just gonna keep it simple and delicate. 8. Indigo Floral Stem Part 2: right, Someone a rinse. I'm gonna darken up this stem a little bit here and may be extended down just a little bit . A little heavy on that, the bottom part here. But that's totally fine. - It's I think I'm gonna dio one that's coming out this way here and to get smaller leaves, as opposed to going flatter with your brush, try to hold it more perpendicular. No, and the centers and will be done. Okay. Kind of chickened out there. I think that was a little too dark for me there. But you're watercolor will dry, lighter. And when I worry about it too much, - I'm gonna let that dry just a little bit and we're gonna grab the micron and finish this off. We're just gonna get in these centers and make these long, wispy strokes going in the direction you needed to go where the centers are again. You can add some dots. You can grab the white pen if you want toe subdue some of this dark spot there. Whatever you prefer, you're gonna have him like this will arc out this way. This will work that way, and then these guys will come and down this way. So that flower is looking up at you. We've done that more times than not where I'm finished with something and I go, Oh, I didn't add anything down there, so just take timeto step back and look at your piece. Okay? So I'm gonna call this one. Done. I hope you enjoyed class, and I can't wait to see what you come up with. 9. Thank you!: Congratulations. You made it through the end of class. Thank you for being here. I hope you enjoyed making these floral stems. I can't wait to see what beautiful creations you come up with. So please upload your projects into the project gallery. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Have a great day.