Watercolor Hibiscus | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare
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11 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Class Supplies

    • 3. Using the Template

    • 4. First Layer on Petals

    • 5. First Layer on Leaves

    • 6. First Layer on Bud & Pistil

    • 7. Details on the Petals

    • 8. Details on Leaves

    • 9. Additional Details

    • 10. Class Wrap Up

    • 11. Bonus: Sped Up Hibiscus

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About This Class

Watercolor Hibiscus is a class on creating the delicate and brilliant tropical flower. We will work on creating layers, starting with wet-on-wet techniques to create graduated colors and then build on wet--on dry for the detail work. Watercolor is the perfect medium for capturing the translucent and gauzy petals of this flower. 

This class is geared towards intermediate watercolor artists. We will mix colors, create highlights within the first layers, and add gentle and subtle layers of detail to the subsequent layers.

In this class, we will create a 6" x 9" painting. Included is a downloadable Template Sheet, A Hibiscus Reference Sketchbook Page, and a Class Supply List. In addition to eight class lessons, there is a bonus lesson for a Sped Up Hibiscus Painting, and the template for that is also included in the Template Sheet.

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: Hello. I'm Daniella Mylan, an author and artist here in skill share. Welcome to my class. Watercolor high discus Hi Viscous are stunning tropical flowers that come in a variety of brilliant colors. They have delicate ruffled petals that are translucent and filled with inter convey ning. The hibiscus are an artist's dream and poses an intriguing challenge to capture both the vibrancy and elegant nature of this flower. In today's class, which is geared towards intermediate watercolor artists, we will build layers upon layers of pigment to create this beautiful blossom. The first layers will be made using a wet on wet technique to achieve a graduated base that has highlights and shadows. Then we will add detail with wet on dry techniques. We will follow the shape of the individual pedals to make a realistic hibiscus. I'll demonstrate a bold red orange hibiscus, but you can create the hibiscus of a color of your choice. I've included a template to help you sketch out your image and a page for my sketchbook to review the anatomy of this unusual flower. I've also included a bonus template for an additional hibiscus, a side view and a bonus lesson for a sped up painting demo for your class project. Create your very own hibiscus. Please take a photo of your work and posted in the project section. Be sure to follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes. And please consider leaving your review. Thanks for joining me today. We'll start our class by discussing class supplies. 2. Class Supplies: the supplies for our watercolor hibiscus class are standard watercolor supplies. In the project section, you can find a few forms that might be helpful to you. Here's page for my sketchbook with high discus and it talks about the pedals, the colors, the anatomy of the hibiscus. Then we have a template sheet, which you can download and print out on your computer. Cut it out and trace around it. I've included two views of a hibiscus. We're gonna paint the one on the right here today, but I've also included a side view for you to paint on your own if you'd like. I just use a few brushes here. I have watercolor brushes in a 46 and a one, and that will give me the variation I need for today's project. I have a pair of scissors to cut out my template just in a pencil eraser. I have my watercolor paper cut into six by nine, and I have my watercolor paints. I have a clear bottle of water, my palate, and then basically you can use your assortment of paints. But I like to have three greens, a dark, a medium and a light here. I'm using a deep green of meridian hue and a yellow green for my three shades of green. And then for my reds. I'm kind of doing the same thing. I'm using a crimson lake for my dark red, a carmine for my red, red and over 1,000,000 who you for my orange. And this variation will give a nice look to the hibiscus. You'll also need a jug of water. 3. Using the Template: to use the template. There are a couple of ways you can go about doing it. You could obviously make your sketch just by using. This is a reference tool. Or you can take your template in the project section downloaded to your computer and printed out. It fits on a standard piece of copy paper. Then you take your template and you cut it out. We're gonna paint this flower here on the right, so just take my scissors and cut that out. Once I have my piece cut out, my template cut out. I just place it on the paper where I want and trace around it. Another option is if you have a light box. You don't have to cut around your piece. You just put your template right down on the paper and then you put your watercolor paper on top of it, and then you can trace it that way. So that's another option 4. First Layer on Petals: to start our painting, we're going to start with the pedals and where when we paid the pedals because of the nature of the high discus, the pedals fold out. So the part that's closest to us will be the center of each of these pedals and the back the end of the pedals and the other end will be darker. So what we want to do is create, um, we want we'll start with one pedal up top, but we want to do is create a graduation of color from the darkest on the edges to the lightest in the center, and the latest can even be no pain whatsoever. We also want to leave a little teeny space between each pedal. So I went. My first pedal really saturated the paper, leaving a dry spot in the center of the pedal. And I left a little room in between the paper and the pencil that I sketched in, and now we'll mix my color. Um, I'm gonna do my three color, so I'll start with my darkest red. I don't take my regular red, medium red, and over here I'll grab some of my orange and now I could mix those together to get the right Hugh that I'm looking for. So I'm going to start with my darkest red. I'll start just a the end is gonna drop in the color pigment. I don't want too much paint on my brush. Now I'm gonna go around the edge here, just dropping in the color, gonna switch to my smallest brush my number one brush take a little bit of pigment on the brush and carry that to the edge of where I want to bring my pigment. Then while it's still wet, I'm gonna go in with some really saturated color directly from the pigment. Just drop some of that in right on the edges. I'll go back in now with my medium color of my red red and drop in some of that color as well, right up against where the darkest color is. And then, lastly, I'll switch back to my number six brush. I'll go in with all of that orange. Don't want too much water. Want more pigment than I want to be loose, and I'll just drop in some orange up at the top and just a little bit of the bottom here. I'll clean off my brush so that it's wet. Not a little more than damp, but not um, if I touch it, I feel that it's wet, but it's not dripping anywhere, and I'm gonna just swipe in the center of my pedal toe, wet the paper. Then I'll just take a teeny bit of water, the tip of my brush, and I'll pull that color and let it run into the area. I just wet on the pedal, and then I'm going to let this completely dry. I'll do the remainder of the pedals in the same format. When it dries, it will dry a little bit lighter, and we'll see how that looks after it dries. So I'll speed up the remaining pedals, the painting of the remaining pedals. So now they're not the pedals or not quite dry. The 1st 1 though, is a little dry, but what I'm gonna do is take a dry brush and just pull some of the pigment out of the center. Here. Keep that highlight on some of the ones where the pedals air still damp, and now I'm gonna let this completely dry 5. First Layer on Leaves : now the first layer is dry. We can start working on our leaves. So for this we need three colors again. We'll use our greens will have our darkest screen, our medium green and then our latest green. No, mine is much a yellow green. So I want to tone that down a little bit that add a little bit of orange to that. That makes it a little more natural looking instead of Sony on. I'll start with this, um, Clearwater and add it to my leaf. Start with this leaf here and then I'll do the same thing with the stem. Take my smaller brush because I can control it a little better, particularly on the stem. And I'll just drop in some of that lighter color and then I'll drop in. The color on the leaf is well, when the first layer of color is put on there and still wet, we'll start with the next layer. Gonna add some of this medium green and I'm going to start closest to the petals of the flower and just drop in some of that color. Then I'm gonna take my point of my brush, make a sharp point with that medium green and just pull that around the perimeter. Then I'm going with my darkest green. Drop that as well. And then I'm gonna drop it on the right hand side as if to create a little more shadow on this side still trying to maintain the sharp edges of my leaves. So if any of those didn't come up for the first time, I work on it now, really, creating that sharp edge with dark green go in, dropping a little the medium green. And again, just like with the pedals, I'd like the center of the leaf to be the lightest and the part closest to the pedals, the darkest. So then we'll go back to my original light green and just add some of that. Well, let that dry before I do. I see here my little point isn't really a point to more of a dull, so I'll go fix that. Then I'll go in with my darker green again at just a little more pigment. And then I'm gonna come here and is dropping a little bit in the stem. I wanted darkest closest to the pedals and then just start underneath this little, But here I'll go back in with my latest green and get that color moving so it blends. There's no harsh lines. I'll repeat this procedure with the other two leaves, and I'll fast forward it there , and I'm gonna go in there with a damp brush that I dry off. So it's not very wet. And just try and swipe some of the color out from the center of this leaf. This leaves already dry. I can try it, but doesn't. It will move any damp paint around, but it doesn't seem to remove very much paint. And now gonna let this completely dry. 6. First Layer on Bud & Pistil: So now we want to add color the first layer of color to the pistol, which is this part of here of the high biscuits that comes out that the bees pollinate and we want to add some color to the bud. So let's just start with my small number one brush. I'm gonna wet the bud. I didn't give it a just a moment to absorb into the paper and then with very carefully, I'm gonna wet the top of the pistol here. The statements. So I'll go in there with just a little bit of that orange that we had gonna re wet that and add some Just add a little bit of color to that to the base here and then with some yellow , not a lot of water on my brush. I'm gonna drop in just some yellow here and we'll let that dry. Now for my bud. I'm gonna go in there with my darkest color. Just add some color closest to the leaves. And for this I want to keep a nice highlight in the center of the bud. So good, very carefully, with small strokes creating the shape of the bud and then I'm gonna go back in there with some of that orange again. Not a lot of water on my brush. A lot of pigment, but not a lot of water. And I'll go in and on top of the already dark red. I'm gonna drop in some orange. Well, let this completely dry once it's dry, will come back in and we'll work on adding our detail work or vein ing. 7. Details on the Petals: So here we have our first layers, all dry of our pedals, Um, stem and leads. What I want to do now is work on some of the detail work, so we'll start with the vein ing and the shadows on the pedals. So for that, I want to use the color that we had here the darkest red. But I'm gonna mix a little green with it to make it even a little darker. And, um, just adds a little touch of nature to the color. I could use my smallest brush, gonna start by adding dark color at the base of the pedal and pulling it out. And I'll do this with all of them, and I want to follow the natural arc of each individual pedal. So this pedal kind of falls back. And then this one kind of comes up in around this one comes around facing me. This one, we don't see a lot of that part, but I'm trying to draw a line from the center mark through the pedal, following the shape of the pedal, and for this one, we get a starting center to pull it out. Gonna go back in with that color make it even a little bit darker. Just dropping some of that darkness right at the base and let it run up. So now I'm gonna take that same color, and I'm gonna start my vein ing on my pedals. What I need to do is make a very sharp point where I can even use a smaller brush. Very sharp point with my brush. Not a lot of water and very barely touching the paper. I'm going to pull those veins straight from the center, um, center of the entire flower, but the base of the leaf all the way to the top. And so I'm just gonna have a loose hand and pull it straight up, Barely touching. So work on. I'll do an odd number here. I did five. And as you can see, the first line didn't make a full line. That's OK again. I'll go back in, sharpen my point some more. And so now that I have five lines, I'm gonna have some split off, and I'm just gonna pull them up again. I'm barely touching the brush to the paper, creating just a very loose light line. I don't want any straight lines here. Then I'll take some another pointed on my brush, and I'm going to start from the top of the pedal and just pull some slightly in again. I'm always heading towards the centre of whatever pedal I'm working on. I'll do that with the next leaf as well. So I'll start in the center, barely touch my brush and the veins bring nutrients, toe all the parts of the pedal. So I need to the veins to go everywhere, and then some are going to split, and I'll continue this for the little. But here, I'm just gonna do a couple of little veins basically to show just different parts of the bud and just like that will let that layer completely dry. 8. Details on Leaves: now to work on vein ng for the leaves again. I want to take my darkest color, my darkest screen, and I'll take a little of that red that we the dark red we made. And I'll make some of that in. Now with the leaves, their little elevating, it's just a little bit different. We're gonna have one major vein going through the center of both of these leaves that are full leaves, and then we'll have almost microscopic little veins springing out from that. So that's the challenge as the painter. So I'll make the first mark. I'm gonna barely touch my brush to the paper and follow the shape of the leaf. You can always go back in over it, you know, do the same thing up here. And then from there I'm gonna pull out very carefully. Very sharp point. Gonna pull out little veins again. No straight lines. Gonna let that sit for a minute, and we're to add some more veins with a different color. And now for our folded leaf, I gotta go back in and trace the perimeter on the one side of the fold and with a very sharp brush, I'm just going to pull some of the veins out right here for the bud. Got a kind of just draw the stem of the bud. Just draw the perimeter of that, create a very sharp point here, and then I'm gonna trace the stem. I'll go back in, and now I'm gonna take my medium color. I'll mix it with a little bit of a lighter color we had. And again, I want a lot of pigment. Not a lot of water. If I tap my brush down, there won't be any drips coming off of it. And I'm gonna come and just put in a few little veins coming off our major veins again. I just want a little bit of texture and barely touching the paper. And then when this dries, it will be almost a shadow. We'll come back and we'll do one more step of working on the pistol over here. 9. Additional Details: so that'll work on the pistol. We want to try and create these little top parts that the statements, we want them to really stand out. So I'm gonna go in there with a darker yellow orange. You can also use this yellow Oakar. It's a similar color again, not a wet brush. So if I tap it did nothing drips off of it. But I do have pigment on my brush and a sharp point, and I'm gonna go in and just create little texture. And I let that dry and see if I need to add more spots of it. And I'm gonna come in here with an orange and I'm gonna lighten that up with yellow and I'm just gonna pull on one side right down to the base. I do want to create a little more shadow at the end of the pedals, so I'm gonna take my dark color that we mixed our dark red. That makes him a little black with it to darken it up even a little bit more. With a very sharp point, I'm gonna outline the individual petals and just pull some color. So as this is drying and I'm really happy with the way it looks. I'm not gonna put a background. You're more than welcome to I'm going to scan this in and use this as a sticker and so I don't want a background or a shadow. 10. Class Wrap Up: So here is our completed watercolor hibiscus. We used reds and oranges, and we try to capture that translucent nature of the pedals, as well as the vein ing the shape, the ruffled edges and the brilliant, brilliant colors think it looks really beautiful. I want to show you a variation, and this is one that I did, using the same template and the same colors. And the only difference is I used a micron pen and I outlined each of the petals and leaves before in the bud here before I started painting. And so it gave a different effect. This is very artsy, very loose, and this one is a more of what I call a journal image. It's a it's a beautiful images recognizable, and that structure that border gives it a different look. A little more, um, almost youthful. So I hope youll try your hand at a high biscuits, and you can use any color variations you'd like since they come in so many and post your work in the project section of this class. If you'd like to post your work on social media, be sure to tag me as well. I'd love to see your work. Please be sure to follow me here on skill share to get updated for new classes. And please consider leaving a class review. Thanks for watching. 11. Bonus: Sped Up Hibiscus: