Watercolor Masterclass - from beginner to intermiediate | Class 2 - The power of lightness | Shamila Boffo | Skillshare

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Watercolor Masterclass - from beginner to intermiediate | Class 2 - The power of lightness

teacher avatar Shamila Boffo, Teaching drawing and painting techniques

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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

12 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Art supplies

    • 4. Minimal plants

    • 5. Some loose gradients

    • 6. Simple flowers

    • 7. How to make an "expressive" wash

    • 8. Pictorial flowers

    • 9. How to layer different techniques

    • 10. Painting study: Feather

    • 11. Feathers time-lapse and a little quiz

    • 12. Bye!

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About This Class


Are you new to watercolor and you're really craving to learn it in a well-structured way? 
If so, this series of classes is for you. 

"Watercolor Masterclass - from beginner to intermediate" is an 8 classes long course designed to learn watercolor painting. It's a journey where we'll explore the most important aspects of this medium one at a time, class after class in a progressive and less intimidating way.

This is class number 2, and today we’re going to focus on the lightness, and the spontaneity of watercolor, which is one of the most peculiar aspects of this medium. And we’ll see how to enhance that and especially not overwork our paintings. We’ll see when it’s important, and crucial to do less.

Another key poiny of this class is how to combine in the same subject the 4 different techniques we talked about in the last class (wet on wet, wet on dry, ecc) how to layer them; but again without overwork the painting. 

Let's get started and have some fun! 


Music tracks used in this class: 
"Aretes" - Kevin MacLeod
"Woods", "The play", "#4", "Into the light" - Oak Studios

Meet Your Teacher

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Shamila Boffo

Teaching drawing and painting techniques


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1. Intro: Hi, welcome to the second class of watercolor masterclass from beginner to intermediate. An eight classes long course that aim to teach you the fundamentals of watercolor painting by make you focusing on one important aspect of it in each class. So by the end of it, you'll have an extensive knowledge of this fascinating medium and you'll be able to make beautiful paintings. If you missed the first class, you can find it on my profile page. It was all about starting out with watercolor. Today we're going to focus on the lightness, the spontaneity of watercolor, which is one of the most peculiar aspects of this medium. And we'll see how to enhance that and especially not overwork our watercolor paintings. So we'll learn how to be minimalistic, so to speak. We're not going to layer too much. We'll try to be as simple and pure as possible, especially in the first exercise. And it's not easy to paint like that. I know, but it's important to do that already in the second of these series of classes, because it's a way of thinking that it's going to be very useful later on during the learning and creative process of watercolor painting. We'll see when it's important and crucial to do less. And that means that every single strokes, every movement needs to be done like it is the most important thing ever. I mean, with a lot of care and intention. And another key point of this class is how to combine and layer the different techniques like wet on wet, wet on dry, etcetera, on the same piece, but again, without overwork our painting. So if you're excited about it, just keep on watching and I'll see you soon. 2. Project: This is the summary of today's class. We are going to make some minimal plants, two different kinds of flowers. And a delicate feather, preceded by short theory lessons where we see which technique or brush movement we need to make these nice painting studies. And finally, I made a little quiz with ten questions in the final time-lapse to test your understanding of the painting process. And of course, you can check back your answers in a PDF file that I attached below in the Resources tab. So as always, feel free to post anything you want in the project section. And remember that practice is key for learning. 3. Art supplies: This is just a recap about the materials you need for this class. But if you want a longer explanation, I made it in class number one, art supplies, which and why. First thing you need is paper. It must be watercolor paper. And my advice is at least 300 gsm. I like the XL Canson cold pressed watercolor paper. For the brushes, three round synthetic brushes in different sizes will be enough, but you can explore other shapes or types of bristles if you want. Any basic watercolor set will be fine for this class. I am using Sakura koi, the set of 12 colors. And if you prefer tubes, they are totally fine too. I suggest you to have a ceramic or plastic palette to mix your colors and one or two jars of water, paper towels, and an air dryer to speed up the drying process. 4. Minimal plants: For this exercise, we need our middle and small brushes and we'll take advantage of the shape of the brush to create wider or finer lines and shapes. And my idea is to create some very simple plants. So first of all, I'm mixing some blue-green on my palette. Then I swatch it on a piece of paper so I have a better idea of how it looks. And I mix again until I reach the shade I want. You can make a light sketch if you want. And I'm drawing really the simplest plant I can think of. One curved line for the stem and then just oval shapes for the leaves. Now, I erase it a bit because I don't want the pencil to show up under the painting. And you can find a link to a Pinterest board where you can find some inspiration for this little plants. I start with the leaves and I make them in a single brushstroke, pressing a bit and lifting. Now I take my small brush and I try to make lines as fine as possible. My hand is stable and I don't push too much on the paper with the little brush. Very fine and clean lines. I change my color a bit so it's more interesting. And this time I want to make rounder and bigger leaves. So this way of painting works where and you can really focus on those few but crucial brushstrokes. Don't rush it, don't do it without concentration. I know that I have to fill this little area here, so I am prepared. I'll try again to do it in just one brush stroke. And I start from the tip of the leaf. This darker drop here. It's okay, don't worry about it. We also want to embrace these inconsistencies now. Anyway, if you really don't like it, you can just dab your brush and absorb the excess paint. Like that. What I want you to focus on is to not go over it again and again. Don't try to be perfect. In the next class will see how to make even washes so don't worry about it for now. If you find it hard to make such fine lines, try to practice again the precision with the brush, with the exercises we saw in the last lesson with a small brush. I add a bit of red for the next plant And this time I want to change the shape of the leaves. More elongated and pointy. Same movement of barely touching the paper, then pressing then lifting up. Just one line, not going over a second time. Now I want to make a variation by painting tiny little leaves, one close to the other. And I change color again. So I'm also experimented with mixing, and this time the leaves are so small that I don't draw them, I paint them straight with the brush. Little strokes around this line I just drew. And the fine lines you can make them with a smaller brush. A cute, delicate set of plants. 5. Some loose gradients: Now before we move on our next study, I want to show you the types of gradients will make and how to do them. The first way is very simple. First of all, we'll put some color down like this, for example, wet on dry. And with a wet brush, we fill the rest of the shape with water. So we'll have a nice and soft gradient. Another way is to use wet on wet and put the color only in some parts and let the paint flow freely. And the last one, it is wet on wet, but the first wet layer is not just clear water, but it has little paint in it, like that. So it's a layer of very diluted paint and I add darker colors only in some spots. We'll use these techniques in our next study. 6. Simple flowers: We're going to paint some small flowers using the techniques that we just saw. So I'm using this rosee color and this time the brush has to be full of water and I'm creating a simple shape for my flower. And I leave a blank spot in the middle. Now I pick a darker color and I put it there in the middle. And I let it flow into the petals. I can leave it like that or make the center darker. If it's still wet, the paint will flow without problems. Let's make another one next to it Now a smaller one. And I'm adding some leaves here and there Always as simply as I can. it's crucial that you don't have a dry brush, it should be very wet. You can have a lot of fun with these, remember to make them simple and spontaneous. 7. How to make an "expressive" wash: Now I'll show you the kind of brush movement we need for our next subject. I'll show you the difference between having the brush in a vertical position to get an even wash and tilting your brush in a more horizontal way, Then press and lift up to get a pictorial effect. And it works because the color tends to go more in some spots and not everywhere evenly. And this makes an interesting effect. And we'll see how to use this way of distributing the color to get some very nice and fresh results. Painting some florals again, but with a different shape. 8. Pictorial flowers: We don't need to make a detailed sketch for this. I just want to keep in mind the general shape of the flower, which is round, oval. I make a base color, but I also decide which colors I am going to add later. And I'm thinking before to paint at which movements I need to make in order to paint this petal here. So I do that with the motion of pushing and lifting the brush like that. Now, I take some red and I put it here and there, but without weighing it down. I can add some little lines to indicate the vitality of the flower, some dynamism. But that's it. I let it dry like that. And now for the stem I need to make some green. If you prefer, you can draw the line before to paint. And here, if you think that the colour is to thick, you can always lift it like that. Now will make another one, a poppy, a bit differently because we work in layers. So for my first layer, I am going to paint two petals. And for the next layer I'll paint three more petals. You'll see now. I want to make some orange for it. And you see how watery this color is. and just few brushstrokes to create these two petals. Now, it has to dry completely. Here we go and I need more paint, so I mix again. And before painting, I know that I'll go here, here and here for these three petals. That's it. For the stem, I want a darker color. And the second flower is done: simple but effective. And they are so quick to make, so you can practice these a lot if you like this style, I think it's funny and satisfying. For our last flower, we use a combination of what we did in our first flower, going on with one color and then add another color with wet on wet, And the second one, where we introduced layers, pay attention to the movement I am making with the brush because it's the most important element to achieve this effect. Okay, that's the first layer, so let it dry. Now I'll pick more color and I make the other petals and add some darker spots here and there to create more contrast. The hard part is always do understand when to stop and leave it alone. But absolutely with practice you'll get there. 9. How to layer different techniques: Here another quick theory lesson on how to layer the different techniques, because we need it for our next and final project. So first of all, we start with wet on wet. So wet the paper and lay some color. Let it dry completely. Next, we'll use mostly wet and dry to make details And we'll soften some edges with the moist brush. It's important to learn these steps through an exercise like this. So you don't have the pressure and the fear of making mistakes on an actual painting. So this is how you layer different techniques. 10. Painting study: Feather : Our final project consists in painting a feather so I start from the sketch. Just the middle line and the general shape. You can choose any color. I'll use two different shades of blue, one lighter and darker like a sort of indigo. To make it I mix black and blue. The first step is to wet all the shape of the feather with clean water. Now I go wet on wet with my lightest blue and I put it everywhere. And now, I go with the dark blue, but only in some spots, I want to create stripes. Like that. look how I'm putting the color in tapping, not rubbing with the brush. And this helps the color to flow in a very natural way. If your paper starts to dry, the color doesn't flow. So stop working, dry it well and then wet again and then you can continue with the stripes. And I can also mix my two colors to make a middle value and darken here at the bottom. Now I switch to my small brush to create some little curved lines to emulate the edges of the feathers. Now it's time to dry. and I also erase the pencil marks Now I paint the spine with the small brush and with a dark color. I go over it to make it wider towards the bottom and I soften it in some parts. I want to make those marks darker but wet and dry this time. So I'll use both of my brushes, one to put the color, and the other to soften the edges It's practical because you don't have to clean your brush all the time. You have another one on hand that stays clean. I am using a tube now, since I realized that I have the indigo but in a tube, with my second brush I create soft edges. I touch the edge in this position because I want to touch it with the tip of the brush. Hi. I can achieve a similar look with a second layer of wet on wet. So this is what I do to darken the rest of the stripes. So you can see both techniques. The brush shouldn't be too wet this time. Finally, I'm going to create some details. So with a small brush and wet on dry, but softening the edges with my other brush. Okay, And now why not adding some little dots? Okay? And here to get some light values back I’ll try to lift up some color, but this is totally optional. 11. Feathers time-lapse and a little quiz: I want to add to this class another two demonstrations for the feathers so you can observe the process - I speed it up so it's less boring. And try to point out which technique I'm using at each step. I believe that this exercise of focused observation can really help to memorize the process and the informations that we talked about during this whole class. 12. Bye!: Thank you for following this class. I hope you liked it and got inspired to try out your own minimalistic plants, flowers and feathers or maybe other subjects you can apply these techniques on. And I'll see you in the next class, which will be about even washes and landscapes. Happy painting.