Watercolor: Let’s Paint a Dogface Butterfly | Mary Evelyn Tucker | Skillshare

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Watercolor: Let’s Paint a Dogface Butterfly

teacher avatar Mary Evelyn Tucker, Full Time Artist & Coffee Aficionado

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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

7 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Let's Paint a Dogface Butterfly!

    • 2. Supplies Used

    • 3. Shadow Placement

    • 4. Dogface butterfly 04 WINGS

    • 5. Let's Paint the Body

    • 6. Add the Shadow

    • 7. Thank you and Share Your Project!

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About This Class

In this Skillshare class, we will explore the fundamentals needed, to create a whimsical watercolor painting, of a Dogface butterfly with a shadow.  This class is a great starting point for those wanting to explore the world of painting butterflies.

I will walk you through painting the wings, body and shadow of the butterfly. So, if you have always wanted to paint a butterfly, I will share with you the skills to “fly!”  (Please note, you will not actually fly.)

Meet Your Teacher

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Mary Evelyn Tucker

Full Time Artist & Coffee Aficionado


My name is Mary Evelyn Tucker.  I have been a full-time artist since 2015.  Over the last six years working on commissions for clients, I have painted hundreds of pet portraits.  I love capturing the unique qualities of each individual pet.

In 2020, I illustrated three children's books that were published.  I worked with author Susan Jones on "The Adventures of Cooper" and "The Adventures of Cooper: The Fire Breathing Machine."  We have a third project in the works, "The Adventure of Cooper: The Flowerbed Fiasco" that should be available in late 2021.  I also worked with author Tamara Menges (Light Filled Home) to illustrate her children's book "The Nativity Set," that was released Christmas of 2020.

I found a way to do water... See full profile

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1. Let's Paint a Dogface Butterfly!: Welcome back, everyone to another skill share class. Today I want to show you how to paint a dogface butterfly. And for those of you that don't know what a Dogface butterfly is, I recently learned about this doing some research on state insects. Apparently, states have state insects kind like a state flower. Things like that. So a dogface butterfly actually has little dog faces on each wing, which I find fascinating. And I thought it would be a fun subject to paint. Also in this class, I want to show you a little bit about how I created a shadow effect with this butterfly and how you can create a shadow effect on your own using some simple at home materials. So if you've always wanted to learn how to paint a butterfly, I will give you the skills to fly. Let's go 2. Supplies Used: I'd like to run through the supplies that we're gonna be using during this class have gone ahead and set out my paints here. If you want to pause the video, take a look over those colors. I will explain how I use these colors once we jump into class, have gone ahead and put my paints in my paint palette. I did a little color wash, just a little fun ingredient on a piece of scrap watercolor paper. We are going to be using a couple of brushes. I've got a number four round any Number one liner in the master's touch and those that have taken my class before know that I'm partial to the master's touch brand. I've also got an art fly white gel pen. This particular pin is archival, which is why I like to use it. I've got a pencil. Do you really can use any pencil that you have lying around? I have printed the outline of our butterfly on a piece of card stock and I'm gonna head Cut that out. I've got to risers. I have a lot of phone board around. If you have cardboard, the same thing can be done. Just glue them together. Make sure the same height. Really? You probably only need one of these. I just did to Okay. And then, of course, you're gonna want your outline for the actual butterfly here. You also need a light. A flashlight would work a desk lamp, anything that you can control. Where the light source is going to be pointed would be great. So we're gonna need some water. I've got some paper towels off to the side here. Let's learn some things today. 3. Shadow Placement: let's talk about shadows. So in this little exercise, they've got two little risers here again, You could probably just get away with one or anything that will boost the height of this piece of paper. So what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna set that right there. And actually, with my lighting here in the studio, you can already see shadow being created. However, what if I don't want that shadow there? So I have got here a little lamp. What affordable light that I can use. So what I want to do is actually just control where my light source is coming from Until I decide what looks right, you know, it's more dramatic. A lesser shadow, more of Ah, right on top. I just wanted to show you this cool little you could call it in an art hack if you like. I just think it's a neat way to control shadows. And you can do this with any type of subject just printed out on a piece of card stock. Cut it out, set it on top of your risers, point of light at it and go to town. The next step to this placing your shadow where you like. I've gone ahead and gotten a light where I want. I went ahead and took a photo from the top. You want to take a picture directly above your subject that you want to add a shadow to you and then just mimic what you're seeing from the screen. So that's where this pencil comes in handy. So I've already gone ahead and taken some photos, and I'm going to include those. So you've got some references? I'm pointed the light in different directions. You can decide how dramatic or not dramatic you like your shadow to be. So I just want to gently create an outline. I don't want to press too hard. I wanna press to light. I'm just gonna follow where I see that there is Shadow, his little 10 going back up on the other side. G o It doesn't have to be perfect. That's the cool thing about all of this. Okay. All right. We're ready to rock n roll. 4. Dogface butterfly 04 WINGS: Step one. I am going to ground my number four brush as well as some water here. And I'm going Teoh, start with a wet on what technique? Now? Because we do have some pink coming over here on the dogface part. And then we've got the brown to yellow were actually just going to do a transition. So with that being said, I'm just going to coat this little section some water. If you've taken one or two or all my classes, you'll new. I'm particular about how much water I have on any given space. So I've got just a nice sheen. See you. Sure? There we go. Now, if I tip my paper, you can see where it's starting to pull up is going to help me brush on my paper towel, and I'm gonna lift some of that water off. Now you can see that it's not pulling at the edges. Okay? That's where we want it to come over here and get a little bit of my Naples. A yellow. Really nice yellow. Very creamy. And I just want to go right here in the center, drop a little bit more, a little bit more pigment. Now, if you notice I included two yellows in this tutorial on Naples yellow and a nickel a zo yellow. And I am going to go ahead and utilize that nickel is a more vibrant yellow. So combining the two, I think, will create a brighter effect for this butterfly. And butterflies just have extraordinary colors anyway, So why not have some really pretty colors ongoing? Just back and forth? Really? This is up to you on what you want the deepness of color on your butterfly wing. Now, the cool part. I'm gonna put a little bit of the sea pia inside this wing edge so that it can start to fan out, and then we'll have a nice blend, right? Told over here, getting some of that brown just gonna dab. And then what you can do is you can tip your paper control where that Brown is gonna go. Okay? All right. He plays with that. It's going to spread a little bit more. I'm gonna go ahead and swing over to the other side. We will add Are pink here momentarily. I'm just gonna let that sit for a moment. I let it soak into the paper a bit so that the pink it doesn't overtake everything. At least that's the goal. You don't make promises in my classes. Kind of like that. That just spread much further than I thought it would. And that's OK. You can always take a paper towel and pick up some color and some tone there. Okay, I'm gonna grab some of that nickel just for some brightness. Come back to the Naples, fill in the rest of that. Try not to overwork my watercolors. I know I've said that before. It just gets important because I really liking the texture. I know it'll soften once it tries, but I'm really liking that texture. So I'm just gonna drop Samore. See Pia here to tip that paper. And you know what? Another cool thing about butterflies. As I'm sure they're not equally balance as faras exact tones are concerned. Kind of like a snowflake, I'm sure. So that's what we're gonna That's how we're gonna proceed with this class. We're just gonna assume each side does not have to be entirely perfect. All right, now what I've done, I want to show you this. I got a silver in a purple in the Daniel Smith watercolors. It's a duo. Chrome is the purple, but I gotta have a mixed some rambling rose with the purple and the silver and and then I mix a little Naples Yellow just creates a couple of personal shimmer tones for myself. They do sell really pretty pink ones. I just these air what I happen to have. Get these ready todo and put on our dog face part here. Okay, this is still damp, so I just want to run this pink if you remember. I've said this before as well. Water has skin, so the color is not gonna go anywhere past where I've put water down. Okay, A little bit more. Uh, peak tone. Remember, you can pick up some of that color with a semi dry brush by damming it off onto a paper towel. Okay, I'm going to do the same thing on the other side. It's a little more damp, so it's gonna spill into the color a little bit differently. She was okay. This new problem, you get to control the tone of pink you want on this. Just giving me illusion here. Nice transition. Okay, I'm liking that so far right now, because these two are still damp. And that does technically touch the bottom wing. I'm gonna go ahead and let that dry for just a moment. Now that we have those top wings dry, gonna go ahead and finish out each side here so that I think will be able to tackle those why these two top pieces are trying again that wet on wet technique. I'm gonna avoid that little line there on the outside. That's for the nickel iso yellow, Really pretty bright yellow color. All right, I'm gonna bring some CPO into those to these pieces here, so I just wanted to fan out. I'm sure you my approach to connecting this here to this faces, I just like to bring in little wisps of the point of that brush. I mean by that is just bringing that c b a color and just dragging it bit by bit without taking way too much of the shape that we were originally working with. Butterfly wings tend to have These likes tremor like Long Famer Strand. So that's kind of the idea of what I'm pulling those little pieces into the wing Okay. I'm gonna go ahead and fill in other edge with some mixture of C p A. But we've just gonna drag it along edge here. So you get a little bit of a transition again. I'm just going to drag the tone together, Okay? Cause we're gonna add those details at the end. Come over here to this side. My husband keeps telling me I should say, Beat the devil out of the brush every time I tap it on the water. Been so I don't believe that my brush has any double on it. So I guess we can't really beat the devil out of it. I'm sure most to be all know where that same comes from, so it's It's cute. Okay. Again. Just pulling along the edges, letting the paint do what it does best. You wanted to do that. Pulling up the pigment into her shape just piece by piece. Sometimes they get a little carried away with it, and that's OK. Did you keep your Your basic shape will be good to go. All right. I'm gonna grab some more pigment, and I'm gonna run it along the edge here. Copal pool. Just a little bit if you want to. Kind of keep the little bit of highlight doing. See how we've got a little bit of a highlight on either side. No. Ready to tackle these bottom wings? I'm gonna do a wet on wet technique, so I'm gonna go ahead and get this section wet. You could go over just a little bit here. We're gonna leave that part for our CBF. And you certainly don't have to paint this butterfly in this particular order. You could do all of your dark first. However, I am particular when it comes to working, like with the light yellow and see pia like to add my darks last because they don't particularly want the CPI at a bleed into the yellow. Once you've gotten the paper wet like, let's say it kind of bumps up against, um, on old line or something. It could have the potential to bleed into your yellow. Okay, we've got some yellow going on these wings down here so much, Shannon Gramps, um, Naples yellow. First, you can't just bring it down. We are gonna add a tiny bit of sepia right in these two little to be top corners a little bit of that iso yellow towards the bottom. Here, a little bit of that paint goes a long way, is very bright. And it's very pigmented a little bit of that, CPL Not here in here. I really just wanted to do its thing. Okay? And we are going Teoh, let these two pieces dry, but it had add the yellow on the very edges of these two top wings. And that is gonna be the ISO. Come over here trying a little bit of that yellow here and across the top. Come over here. Drink, drink, drag. And actually, because this is not touching this, it's a bright yellow on the very outer edge. We can go ahead and add the same yellow to the edging. And it's OK if it gets into that little piece there. Since that's yellow and you're gonna put CB over those edges anyway. So if it overlaps, that's totally fine. No big deal. Don't sweat it. Okay? I'm going to let these to dry and then come back in and add the CP. All right, I've allowed that to dry, so I'm gonna add the sepia tone towards the bottom here. One of those little edges. I'm still working with that. Number four. The liner brush will come into play when we go to start adding details. So I'm just gonna follow along the edge here, follow along the curves Just swing in that pain around here right now. Same idea with how we did the transition here to inside this shape, you could just take this tip of your brush. If you've got a nice point, just gently drag that C b a up. And in what it Let it invade that space just a little bit. All right. Other side can, either. Side isn't gonna be exactly the same, which is okay. I do tend to drag. I do better dragging from bottom to top at an angle. So that's why I tip my paper around. You may work differently, and that is perfectly fine. He's one feather out the CBO while it is still wet. Okay, All right. And then we can go ahead and fill in these two little eyes just because it's my favorite part and same thing. You could just use a straight a straight approach. As far as does not have to be perfectly round just lines is fine. Thank you. Now they look like two little puppy dogs. All right, we will move on to the details in our next video. 5. Let's Paint the Body: let's jump in and work on the body. And then we're gonna start outlining all those fun lines that we have in our outlined. So I'm still going to use the number four for the body. When I want to do is lay down a base of CBS. I just want to follow. The shape I'm going to do is actually add in some Payne's gray, and you can go ahead and bring up a little and 10 of their making that tip so teeny tiny, bit wider than the rest. If you need that liner brush for that, go for it. Happen to have a pretty sharp tip on this number four. So that works to my advantage. Warm here, get some pains. Gree and I just want to line the outer edges with that pains and then take it on the antenna as well. Okay, that works when I go ahead and take a little bit of that deep color that we have on our brush right now, just go ahead and drag that along the edge here. When you go back over that with some CBO that I want a little bit of a deeper brown, see me here. I'm not sure those aren't connecting, so I'm just gonna fill in that they're raise that up. Just a 20 debt. You know, it's all my lines I can see have disappeared just a bit as faras going into them with a color. But that's OK. It's not a big deal. Gonna take that liner brush. Now, get some of that CPO. We're gonna be working with some dark washes as well as some lighter washes. So we're going to start out with a little bit of a darker wash along the edge here of the wing. It's kind of getting some shape. And again, I like to pull from the bottom and work my way up. That is what we're going to do now. I mentioned I'm gonna bring some darker CB underneath the wing here, Rick, and what I want to do on either side here as I'm actually going to go ahead and start just laying in, I can see my lines underneath the main, the lighter section here. So I'm gonna actually going to get a little bit of water and makes a CB They don't want a real dark tone here. I want a nice light, airy line work here, and I am going to make it a little bit darker where it actually gives the illusion that there's an ear on this off the dog. If you conceal where there's, like a little bit of an ear here, just find that so cool. Just follow along, get a lighter Washington darker wash as needed. What kind of define that mind Just because that is part of the characteristic of this butterfly. Here, you can add some some wisps you can add as much detail or the little detail as you like on this particular painting. I'm gonna make a little dark space where the my nose would go. And then I continue those lines out and just use your reference photo as you go along can create those lines here and there, constantly going for the CBO color. It's looking my need, and if you want a deep in your C BIA, if you want deeper color, just makes a little bit of that. Payne's gray with that brown just darkening the edge here just to create a little bit of that fiber strand, look sure what you call it on a butterfly. I should probably do some research, but he can't take it. Take it as far as you want with that. And if you feel like you've gone a little too far, just take a wet brush. Just faded out a little bit, so I feel like I got a little carried away there. Funny, cute little dog face, though. Sign We're just sort of doing everything twice haven't quite caught on to That would be one side , and then we move on over to the other side. Same thing here. I should add those a little bit of line work on the edge here. Surely that's a bit dark. That's okay. That can be unique. Okay, I'm gonna bring a little bit of that. CPL on ledge here, here and then with the leftover on the brush. So it's nice and light. Fill in the rest of that. Have a nice, bold shape. If you feel like you've gone a little too dark with some areas, just bring a wet brush and just kind of fan that out, okay? And with the bottom, I'm actually going to do a little bit of a deep do some Naples with a little bit of CPL. Just so it's not quite a brown line on these bottom wings. I just want have a nice, lighter. Yellow makes a little bit of that nickel iso in there. Here we go. Now we're in business. Just kind of connect the lines. That's the name of the game here. Remember, if you ever feel like you put too much pigment somewhere, just grab a bit of paper towel and damn off the excess paint. And I'm sure if you were to do this again a second time, it would turn out a little different than the first time. Just because of the balance of color, how the water pushes the pigment around. You could take some salt with this particular butterfly and create some really neat salt effects. The regular table salt, rock, salt, sea salt. They all do a little bit different things. Okay, we've got our line work in there. You know. The words are optional. You can feel free to paint those or draw them in with a pencil or a marker. Your choice, Kate. I'm gonna take my number four here and and just a few more dark sepia accents here in there that I'm seeing. I need to They'll need to user. Interesting word to use that I would like to, I guess, is what I should be saying. I feel like you get too much water in your brushes. Take it over. Tap it off on your paper towel. All right. Now, And the center here, you can actually go in and add some dark brown specs they noticed in the reference photo respects in the center. Everybody specs are gonna be different depending on your painting level and your brush all going to make a difference. Okay. Should take a few specks here. Just barely barely touching the surface of that paper just to get those a little bit of speckles going on transition. I'm down transition here along the edge. You could also take a pen or pencil on. Do the scene thing with the specs. You could just draw them on. It's way more fun. Try to accomplish this with a brush just a tiny bit more up into the yellow here. Right. You can even take a lighter washing your brush. Keep adding respects. It's really up to you on how far you take this I'm just kind of giving you the basics to work with. And then you get to explore all these fun techniques and find what works for you. All right, we've got that part down. Let's go in. And with that pin I talked about, let's add some little highlights here. So warm and add too little specks here would be the shiny part of I'm and add a little line here on top of the body. And then what I'm gonna do is your somebody come over here and just add little circles. - All right with that, I think we're ready to add our shadow. 6. Add the Shadow: take that. Number four. I mean, it makes a little Payne's gray with CPO to make her shadow color. I want a really nice light wash gonna dab off my brush in the water container there. Just gonna follow where I had previously made my sketch Mark and then add a little bit of a darker wash on the inside there. She won't see. I'm gonna take a light wash. Okay, grab a little darker and just run it on the edge there. Piece by piece. More on that dark along the edge. Bring that over across here a little bit out here. Fill in the middle section here. Dance. I'm here. Come down here to finish out a little piece here again. If you feel like you got a little too much on their just grab a dry brush and bring it. Pull them water up and Walla, you have a shadow. Congratulations, everyone. Like I said, with the dogface butterfly, you can fill it in with the pencil pin. Uh, paint of your choice, if you like. 7. Thank you and Share Your Project!: thanks for joining me during this class. I hope I showed you a few things you can take and be creative yourself on future projects. With this butterfly, Feel free to add as little or as much detail as you want. I could certainly sit here and work on this quite a bit. Mora's faras adding veiny ing and shape and all that. But I just wanted to equip you with the basics for painting this wonderful butterfly. And please let me know how your projects go. Post them in the project. Calorie. Feel free to comment. I will be on the lookout for those. I'm trying to stay on top of making sure a reply to you. So don't be a stranger. I want to hear from you. And let me know if this is something you're interested in painting again. As far as a different type of butterfly, please let me know. I can't wait to see your finished products. I hope everyone has a great day