Watercolor - Let's Paint a Background | Mary Evelyn Tucker | Skillshare

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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

6 Lessons (13m)
    • 1. 01 - Welcome to Let's Paint a Background

    • 2. 02 - Supplies Used

    • 3. 03 - Using the Color Wheel

    • 4. 04 - Preview Colors in Proceate

    • 5. 05 - Let's Paint the Background

    • 6. 06 - Share Your Project

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About This Class

In this Skillshare class, we will explore the fundamentals needed, to create a complimentary watercolor background.  This class is a great starting point, for those looking for ideas on how to choose a background color, for their watercolor painting.  We will take a look a traditional color wheel and a digital way to choose a background color with Procreate.  Let’s explore some options together.

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. 01 - Welcome to Let's Paint a Background: welcome back to another skill share class Today. We're going to talk about background colors and how to choose colors for your background. We've been working on Cooper and some previous classes. We broke it down into I've got a Nose class, which is not necessarily Cooper's knows, but just how to paint a dog knows in general. And then we've got Cooper's eyes, which is in the eyes class. And then we did another class where we finish the body. So in this one, we're going to work on filling in the background how I chose thes colors, how I use the salt technique. And we're going to do that by using my go to color wheel and the use of an iPad self. With that, let's jump right in. 2. 02 - Supplies Used: I want to go over our supplies we're gonna be using during this class. We've got the completed portrait of Cooper here, physical one. But as you can see, it's still take down. We have a white background, so that's what we're going to tackle in this class is deciding what color we also have. Our color wheel. It's a pocket color wheels kind of one of my go to tools for choosing colors. Got some salt, have a number 12 simply Simmons brush and, of course, my iPad with procreate. And then I have Cooper already here in the program. Where I've cut him out in the background is blank so that we can rotate and choose colors. And that's just an easy way to pick out some colors. I've got a bucket of water off to the side, all right. I've also got my colors on a tree. This is a butcher trades one of my favorite ceramic palates for water color and some paper towels and a sense of adventure. All right, let's go 3. 03 - Using the Color Wheel: Let's talk. Color will. All right. This is one of my favorite tools because it's simple and easy to use. So this front side is going to be just for your primary colors, secondary colors and for talking about cool and warm tones, just kind of a guide. What I think is really cool about this, cause I forget sometimes is with orange. Adding a blue or a blue tone can create a really nice gray. I've seen it used from other watercolor artist. I've done it myself, and it's just such a neat little I wouldn't call it an art hack, but it kind of makes you feel that way when you do it. Okay, the important side is going to be the other. This is what I use the most up. So what I'm looking at and you'll have concede Cooper here on the side we're looking in either between the orange or the red orange, and if we swing the little arrow over here, the complementary is going to be the blue. Now what I want to use is actually a split complementary color, which is using any colors with the two colors on each side of its complement. Meaning. Instead of going straight across, I could pick either one on either side. Same thing here If I go with the red orange, I'm looking at more of the blue green, but I could certainly do a split complementary and go either side of the complementary color. And then, of course, you've got. If you want to get a little more bold, you gotta try and which is using three colors equally spaced from each other on the wheel. So red, orange, blue, violet and yellow green. You could also use those, so this is just a really handy tool toe have in your art supply kit to easily access colors when choosing a background color. 4. 04 - Preview Colors in Proceate: what I like to use when going for the digital approach to picking a background color is using my iPad with procreate one. I love this pencil. And secondly, this allows me to easily access color choices. I've used the color wheel to help me choose a few different color soon. I've already got him here. So now what I've done is done a few solids. And then I added just a texture just a kind of give me the effect of water color. So my first choice I wanted to look at was a yellow to go ahead and show this top. Just it looks a little washed out. Yellow is actually a really neat color behind him. It was just something I wanted to try a little. You know, this is definitely you could get a little more bold with your choices, So I'm gonna click that one off. I did do a blue or you know, more of a navy. You with that with the whitewash on top, which I think is also equally complimentary. And then what I think I have landed on is going to be a little bit of a mixture of the yellow with the teal and a little bit of blue. We're going to see how that pans out. I make choices as I go along. However, I do make my main choices based on the color wheel and my digital application. So not taking that off. You can see that to me, just very complimentary of Mr Cooper here. What I think I will run with finally is going to be this really nice teal color. So let's get started on the painting process. 5. 05 - Let's Paint the Background: on an added layer. Water on to Cooper's background here says that you can see Got a nice sheen of water. Okay, I'm gonna go ahead and just start adding the colors down. Backgrounds don't have to be complicated. I try not to make them complicated. So I'm just going to start mixing. I'm gonna get a little bit of a darker tone and some of this lighter teal and I'm just gonna start adding at the corners. Sometimes you might have to get your paper just a little more wet if you want the paint to spread. I'm just gonna follow along the edges here, trying to not get it to into the original painting. I'm gonna put a little bit of this darker color here around the edges. Try to get a little bit of that spread. Mayor, we dio watercolor tends to have a mind of its own most of the time, so I try to let it do its thing. But we also do have control over what we do as well and a little bit of the yellow in between those times. And, of course, keeping in mind when I go to pick a background on digital application. It's not always gonna look exactly the scene. I just tend to give get a general reference. So what I want and then I just go for it. Just the best way to paint. It's her painting. You get to do what you want. A lot of times, if you want to go darker with a background, I see just just letting it dry and then going back over it. Especially if you've got a good quality paper, it should be able to handle multiple layers. It is also really cool thing about watercolor. A little bit more of that yellow pulse, more that teal down here. Get a little bit more of that pains gray with some of this teal rather along the edge here , I would like to have dark corners. I'm not really sure why. Just have always kind of been that way feel like it makes it look more, you know, encased more cozy, a little bit on top of your painting. Just ticket paper, town kind of dab at it. All right. Now what I'm gonna do is they want to tip this just a bit so that the paint will actually move down. I can actually drop a little bit of the yellow here. This is where you have a bit of control when it comes to water color. And if you don't want it, Teoh, run. You let it start going back down. You tip it, Really? In any direction you want. Really? Just gives a nice blend when all is said and done. All right. Now, this is more out of habit than anything. They get a little piece of paper towel off my current stash, run around the edge here, pick up the excess, Pete. A little excessive there. Now, what I'm going to do as it is still pretty wet. We've got quite a bit of buckling going on. I am going to add some salt onto this. He's gonna create some little starburst effects. So I'm just gonna go up here gently on some salt and hopefully that's gonna create a nice texture. Salt. There's a lot of timing to it. It can either create a really crazy texture or if it's just damp enough, it'll create little tiny Starburst. I think this may create a bigger texture. I will just have to wait and see once it's dry. So I'm gonna go ahead and just do a little bit of the time lapse for you so we can see how this is gonna turn out way. Okay. A little bit of a time lapse there so you'd see how the salt dried as it went along. I've gone ahead and brush that all off. Once it's completely dry. Feel free to brush the salt off of your background. And we've got a finished Cooper painting complete with background. You do not have to use salt. It was just something I chose to show you. I like to create some texture in the backgrounds quite often in my paintings. So that was just a fun little addition. You'll see this technique used in several of my classes here on skill share. 6. 06 - Share Your Project: thistles just again. A suggestion on what you can do to choose a background for your painting. I hope you were able to gain a few ideas and have a little bit of an easier time going into your background color choices and not having it be such a difficult task to do or just leave you feeling like you're not sure what background. Or maybe you should leave the background off. Hopefully, this will guide you just a little bit further in that I want to see your projects, please. When you complete your projects, take a picture and uploaded into the project gallery. I will be on the lookout for those. I'm excited to see how everybody does with this project. Even if you've got a different painting and you use this video to add a background into it , I want to see that it doesn't have to be Cooper. This one's just for background, so I hope that was helpful for everybody. Please leave a comment. If you have any questions, I'll be on the lookout for those and again. Happy painting. Thanks, everyone