Watercolor Lemon: A Multi-Medium Study (Class #1 of 3) | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Watercolor Lemon: A Multi-Medium Study (Class #1 of 3)

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

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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

10 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Class Supplies

    • 3. Using the Template

    • 4. Painting the Background

    • 5. Painting the Lemons

    • 6. Painting the Leaves

    • 7. Adding Color to the Leaves

    • 8. Painting the Branch

    • 9. Painting Final Touches

    • 10. Class Wrap Up

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About This Class

Watercolors offer the chance to add brush strokes, transparent layers, and gentle blends when painting illustrations. All of these techniques are practiced in today’s class, resulting in a brilliantly colored painting of lemons on a branch.

The painting is based on a sketch, which can be made using the downloadable Lemon Template. A lesson shows some modifications that can be made to the sketch to add or change leaves, the orientation, or overall feel of the drawing. Six painting lessons follow, showing step-by-step instructions for practicing watercolor techniques. Lastly, a Class Wrap Up offers some ideas for variations and gives a sneak peek at upcoming classes using the same Lemon Template.

Meet Your Teacher

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Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


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

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

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

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

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1. Class Intro: Part of watercolors beauty is in its ability to blend colors and form transparent layers when building up illustrations. In today's class, watercolor lemons. We'll take a closer look at this colorful and brilliant illustration. Hello, I'm Daniela Mellen, an artist and author. Today's class is for beginning water colorists and includes a template to help you make your initial sketch. And this template is key to our process and I'll explain why in a moment. There are six chapters. I'm painting this vivid art piece with additional chapters on class supplies, using and modifying the template and a chapter on illustration variations. And to further show the versatility of this image. This is the first of three classes using the same template and different medium to paint the image. Today's class looks at using watercolor, and it's beautiful properties. Loose brushstrokes, shading, and blends of color that make the image come to life. In the upcoming weeks. The remaining two classes will be released that demonstrate the different looks you can get using colored pencils and then acrylic paints. So for today, gather your watercolor supplies and let's get started. 2. Class Supplies: So here are the supplies for our watercolor lemons class. The template which you can find in the project section. Just download that and you can print it out. Now you could change the scale so that it creates smaller image if you wanted to create a smaller image. But today we're going to use it to scale. And I have an 8 by 10 piece of a 140 pound watercolor paper that we're going to use. I have my pigments and I'll include the exact ones on a separate sheet that you can download as well. The class supply list, a pencil and eraser, and then I just using two brushes, a 61. In the next chapter, we'll go over transferring the image on the template to our paper using a light source. And I'm going to use a light pad, but even the light from a window will work. And I'll also show you in the next chapter different ways that you can modify the template to create a different effect. 3. Using the Template: Now to trace the template, just bring it to a light source, a window. You can set up some glass with a light underneath. And you just put your template on your light source and then put your paper on top of your template. And you can see through the template to see where you want to put your image on your paper. Now, there are two images here on this template. And so it's the image with the two lemons and the leaves. And then there's this very odd shape which is additional leaves. So if you wanted to put leaves on top of your branch here, that's what these are for. And if you wanted to remove some and just put in other shape leaves by all means, go right ahead. And so this is how you make your piece, very personalized. Lemons offer tree. There's so many more leaves per lemon. And so I was trying to capture that here in our drawing. So I simply put my paper down of my template, but my watercolor paper on top of it. And then I see where I want to put it on my paper. And then with a very light hand, not scratching the paper, I'll trace the image that I see here. I'll fast forward. You'll see it all traced and then we'll modify this template. So here I have my original piece all traced out onto my watercolor paper. And then I want to add some more leaves. So I'll just find the leaves on the template and put them behind my piece. And from there I can even angle them to change the size information. This can modify the size even. And I'll put one more leaf just because I like the way that looks. There are any mistakes. This is the chance to go in with an eraser, erase that line and very gently pencil in the line I'd like to keep. In the next chapter, we'll start our painting. 4. Painting the Background: So to start my painting, the first thing I'm gonna do is create just a subtle little piece on the background here. So I'm going to echo the colors that I'm using in my actual painting. Could put a little water to my palette, make two little wells. And I'm going to add just a little lemon yellow to one of them, and that's indicative of the lemon color. And again, I want it to be a nice light color. I don't want it to compete with my image. Just kind of be a little shadow in the background. And then on the next one I'm gonna put a little green. And so this is a yellow green. Again, it has a lot of yellow in it. And because of that, I want to add a little bit of this deep green. So now I have two colors, both low enough water to be very, very light. I'm going to come in here with a wet brush and I'm just going to haphazardly what areas, little splotches on my paper. I just want to create a wet background so that when I add my light pigments, it'll flow and have very soft edges. Be very diffused. Start with the yellow, and I'll just paint that in. It's very light and it will dry lighter. Now I'm not trying to avoid any of my sketches, but I know that when I paint, I'm going to paint over the areas that are actually leaves and lemons. So I'm looking just to create a little background. So I'm putting my gree, my yellows here where they'll peek through the finished painting. And then I'm just gonna take a little green and do the same thing here and here. And if there's any area where I put the pigment that I didn't wet it sufficiently. I'll just go in with a wet brush and blend it out. It's a very subtle effect, but it just adds a little element and we know it'll dry lighter. Once I have something that I'm happy with, that, I'll stop and let this dry completely. 5. Painting the Lemons: So now my background layers dry and I want to start on the lemons. Gonna do two major yellows for the lemons. And then we'll add some additional touches. I'm going to start by putting a little puddle of lemon yellow down on my palette. And I'll just reuse the petal arity have, but I want the color to be more vibrant. And then I'm gonna create another puddle. I'll just scoot this over here. And I'm going to have this to be a warmer yellow. So I'm just going to put a little bit of this deep yellow here. And if you don't have deep yellow, just add a little either red or orange to your pigment to get it to be just a little bit warmer where it's still very much yellow, but it's just warmer. Now with a wet brush, I'm going to wet my lemons and I'm only going to really wet the perimeter, a nice thick perimeter of each one. I want these to look painterly. And by that I mean, we'll be seeing brushstrokes and we'll see different color variations. Move my painting here. And I'm going to pick up that lemony yellow. And I'm going to do this on the top. I'm going to create that swatch. Again, leading the center of the lemon untouched. And going just shy of the pencil mark. You can leave the white of the paper showing in spots. And you can even go over more than just half. So I'm starting to carve out that lemon shape. I'll dip my brush right in that yellow, that deep yellow, that's a little warmer. And now I'm just going to create another section. And I like to leave a lot of white of the paper showing. And so I have the basics of my lemon started. Now here's where I spent. 6. Painting the Leaves: So now my lemons are dry and I've gone around and just erase the pencil marks that surround the lemon. And this gives me a chance to examine the shape to make sure it's the shape of the lemon that I like. And so far so good. Now I want to paint my leaves and my kind of my little twigs here. So I'm going to mix my color first. Keeping what's on the palette. I'm gonna take some deep green here and mix it in with that green that we have down. And then with whatever's on my brush, I'll mix it in with this yellow. And this will give me a slight variation in color. I'm going to rinse my brush. I'm gonna take a little perylene red here, but you can use viridian hue if you like. And I'm going to mix it in with the green. I want to get a lighter color, but I also wanted to look a little bit cooler, shall we say. And now with the dry paper and a wet brush, very wet with pigment, maybe a little more deep green in that. I'm going to create my leaves. I want to have a lot of white showing and I'm just going to work on the larger leaves first, and then I'll switch brushes to the smaller leaf. I'm going to go in here and I'm going to start right up here where this leaf meets this lemon. And I'm just going to create just an edge here. Because this color is dark. I can go right up to the line of pencil or I can just avoid it. But I don't mind going up. And I'm just creating this shape of this leaf like that little pointy edge. Now that I have the shape, I'm just going to come in here and I'm going to create a vein down the center, then I'm going to leave white. So I'm just kind of painting around that vein that I want to leave. And once I have that, I'm just going to drag my brush filling in some areas. I like the white of the paper to show. So I'll leave it just like this. Come in here. And I'm going to switch now to the next leaf. And I'll do the same procedure. I come up across, carve out the shape, being careful to leave the white of the paper in some areas. And I'm going to create that negative image here of the vein down the center where I'm not going to paint. Just going to avoid putting my pigment there. And I'll do this with the remaining two. And I'll speed this up so you can see it. But we don't spend a lot of time. Now wherever I want to show that the image is crossing each other, where these leaves are crossing each other, I'm leaving a little gap of dry paper in between them just so that it stands out. The I will fill it in so it wouldn't look particularly blank or strange, but it also won't look like a blob of color. I'm going to switch to my smaller brush here to work on the smaller leaf. And the leaf is really twisted and bent in half here. I'm going to start right at that bend because that's the area that's going to be the darkest. I'm just going to create that bend. Pulling my pigment up. And I'll continue to paint just this top leaf here to carve out that shape. And part of the shape of this leaf goes behind that lemon. So I want to make sure I get that. Just like that. I'm going to pull some more pigment and just deposited on the areas where there'd be natural shadow, which is behind that lemon and on that crease of that leaf. And now I want to paint the second half of this leaf, but I'm going to go from the bottom. So I'm going to very lightly and gently carve out that shape, leaving a gap between that folded leaf. Twist, I'll dip my brush in water just so I have a slightly lighter color. And I'm going to pull my pigment across. Again. I'm leaving a little gap between the folds of the leaf. And down here. I'm going to turn my paper around, take my pigment and just pull it up again leaving white of the paper so that the stems of these leaves meet the branch. The branch we're going to do in different colors. So once I have that layer, I'll let that dry and we'll come back and add a second layer of greens and yellows to our leaves. 7. Adding Color to the Leaves: So now the leaves are dry on the first layer and I want to go in there and add a little, something interesting to them. So with my large brush, I'll what that brush, I'm gonna pick up a little of this light green. I'll just re-wet it with a wet brush. And now I want to paint over the leaves, but not completely. I want to leave some white showing, but I want to put in this little hint of color. And I'm just brushing it along the leaves and the stems here in they're really at my discretion. I would say I'm filling up between 30 and 40 percent of the existing leaf with this lighter, more yellow, green. And that's just to add a little variety here. Can come down, add the pigment here and there. It will dry it more intensely in the areas where I'm layering it. And it gives a little hint, a little hint of warmth and a little hint of that yellow color. Go over all the leaves this way. Just little spots here and there. And then I'm going to switch to my very small brush here, my number one brush. And I'm going to pick up some more of that lemon yellow color we used in the lemons, add a little water because I want it to be vibrant but very loose. And then I'm just going to add a little lemon yellow to certain areas of a leaf. Can go back in and on some of the veins. I'll add that yellow box. I like the way that peaks through. And you just play around with it to get that look that you're going for. You can go back in, add a little of the green, pick up the darker green to emphasize certain shadows. Blending it out here in there. I like to sharpen up some of these points on the end of the leaves. So we go back in with my deepest green and do that. And once I'm happy, I'll stop there and let this completely dry and we'll work on this branch. 8. Painting the Branch: So now work on my branch. I'm going to wet my brush and I'm gonna come in here and just wet the branch, not getting all the areas but within those lines. And I really want to fade out at the edges. Now we'll mix a little color. I want to start with a light color. So I'm gonna take a little sepia here and just mix that with some water and tweak it a soft color. Take a little deep green, very small amount and just mix that in. And then I'm going to start with a very sharp point on my brush closest to the leaf here and pull it out. And then I'll go closer to the leaf here and pull it out. And those are my darkest areas because of the shadow. I'll dip my brush in water and now I can just pull it across. Having that color blend out. I'll switch to my smaller brush. I'm gonna take a little more sepia and mix it in just so that the pigment is a little darker. And I'm going to come around here and now do a little more fine tuning. So I'll add more pigment to the areas that I want to be darker, where there'll be a natural shadow. And then I can even just very light handedly outline the top and the bottom of that branch. And then I'll come over here and do the same. I'll start with the area that I want to be darkest, depositing a little pigment, getting that shape right. And then I can very gently pull that shape. I'm going to come back in again and deposit more pigment on my dark areas. And then occasional spots, little sections, maybe just a couple of top and a couple on the bottom. And then I'll let this layer completely dry. 9. Painting Final Touches: So now we re-evaluate our work. We can stop here. It's a beautiful image with beautiful colors, or we can add some little touches and that's what I'd like to do. So I'm going to go in here and I'm going to mix a little more sepia with a little bit of this black, this Payne's gray. And that will just deepen that sepia. And then with a dry area and a wet brush, but enough pigment that I can control nicely, just going to create some little textured spots on the branch. I'll go over the area that we already added, a little shadow too, and just emphasize it. And they'll come to this side and do the same thing. I'll start in the area. And we really emphasize the shadow. And then I'm just going to create little spots here and there. But the texture of a branch. Rinse my brush, remove some of the water so my brushes damp but clean. And I can just blend out a little bit of that pigment that I put down just to soften it a bit. Not terribly worried about it. Number switch back to my larger brush and I want to add just a little detail to those lemons, could take a little more lemon yellow on my brush. Mix it with water. And now I'm just going to add a few strokes here and there. Just to emphasize that section. It'll form like a glaze. And it's the lighter color of the two yellows we used, not the warmer color. And I'm just going to go over sections and even sections of that warmer color overlapping a little bit here and there. And that just gives a little more interest. And when it dries, it'll be more intense. You could do the same procedure with the leaves if you'd like, by just bringing a little more color to the leaves here in there. Do that in a few spots. But overall, I'm very happy with this design. And now here with a very light hand on my brush, I'm going to pull those top leaf and the bottom leaf together. And we were very careful to leave that area dry in between. And now it looks like it's twisted. Come over here. And you can see how you could spend a lot of time with this detail work. Let that completely dry and we'll come back and take a look at our finished piece, as well as some upcoming classes using the same template and using different media. 10. Class Wrap Up: So by using our watercolor template and are eight by 10 paper, as you can see here, we've got quite a very interesting image. The colors are vibrant, the background is subtle and the real standout is the contrast between those vibrant yellow lemons and that greenish kind of playful leaves, particularly the way they make the folded and twisted shapes and the uneven edges with the branch. Now, you can modify the template by adding leaves, removing leaves, adding another lemon, et cetera. You can shrink down the template when you go to print it out, just printed at a smaller size, try 75 percent or so. And then you can use the same procedure and the template to create very different effects. So here I have one where I turned it around and really shrunk it. I still have those folded leaves and I spent a lot of time with the detail work. And then on this one, I painted the, just the lemons. I left the branch off altogether and I made very rustic shapes, very simple shapes. There is a gap between the two lemons and there's not a lot of detail, but because of the colors and the shapes, you can definitely see that it's 11. Now I have upcoming classes using the same template, but just a different medium. So once again, here's our template and we'll use this in different ways. Flip it around. We'll add leaves, remove leaves, and so on. Here's the painting we did with using the watercolor. And we really emphasize the watercolor technique with the blends and the different layers and the transparency. But not all media has those same qualities. Next class I'll show will be a colored pencil class. We will take colored pencils using the same template and get a different effect. Now, some people call it painting with colored pencils. And I'll show a couple of reasons why that is, but it's a fun effect. And that template really does justice to those lemons. On this piece of paper, I used to just gel print for a background, but you could use standard copy paper or even a notebook. And then the last medium is just acrylic paints. And here is an art journal. Would just some acrylic paints and these are craft acrylics. These aren't even quality, high-quality acrylics because I like that matte finish. And to me that's very important in an art journal because the pages fold onto each other and I don't want that sticking so I use a mat craft paint. But as you can see, we developed layers. They're nothing like the watercolor layers, but it's the same template. We still have dimension and we still have shape. I hope you'll try your hand at creating one of these watercolor lemons. Paint your work, then snap a photo of it and post it in the project section. Please be sure to follow me here on Skillshare to get notified of future classes. And please consider leaving a review. Thanks for joining me today.