Watercolor Masterclass - from beginner to intermiediate | Class 3 - Learning water control | Shamila Boffo | Skillshare

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Watercolor Masterclass - from beginner to intermiediate | Class 3 - Learning water control

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 (58m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Art supplies

    • 4. Water control

    • 5. Even washes

    • 6. Common mistakes

    • 7. Large washes

    • 8. Monochrome gradients

    • 9. Colorful gradients

    • 10. Painting study: Landscape - part 1

    • 11. Painting study: Landscape - part 2

    • 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 3, and today’s class is about water control, which is such a big issue, one of the most challenging elements when studying watercolor, not only for beginners.
In this class we’ll start with some theory on water control, to understand how it works, what to look out for, and we’ll practice it with some exercices on washes, we’ll see what not to do, I’ll show you some very common mistakes, and finally we’ll apply all this on our final project that will be a landscape.

Let's get started and have some fun! 


Music tracks used in this class: 
"Summer Vibe". "Every little thing" - Oak Studios

Meet Your Teacher

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Shamila Boffo

Teaching drawing and painting techniques


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1. Intro: Hi and welcome to the third class of watercolor masterclass from beginner to intermediate, which is An eighth 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 or the second class, you can find them on my profile page. Today's class is all about water control, which is such a big issue, one of the most challenging elements when studying watercolor, and not only for beginners. To study it, we'll start with some theory on water control to understand how it works, what to look out for. And we'll practice it with some exercises on washes. We'll see what not to do. I'll show you some very common mistakes. And finally, we'll apply all these on our final project, that will be a landscape. 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 see which elements are important in water control. Then we'll make some even washes small and bigger size. We'll see some common mistakes. We'll see how to blend. So how to make gradients either wet on dry and wet on wet. And finally, we'll paint our final project, which is a landscape. So as always, feel free to post everything or just the final work in the project section. And remember that practice is key for learning. 3. Art supplies: This is just a recap on the materials you need for this class. But if you want a longer explanation, I made it in class number one, our supplies, which and why. First thing you need is paper. It must be watercolor paper. And my advice is at least 300 years. Am I like they excel cancelled cold press, watercolor paper. For the brushes, 34 rounds, synthetic brushes in different sizes will be enough. But you can explore other shapes or types of results if you want. Any base equal to follow set will be fine for this class. I am using Sakura coy, 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 in one or two jars of water, paper towels, and an aide Jaya, to speed up the drying process. 4. Water control: The water control starts from the brush. Not only it depends on how much we load it with water, but before that, we have to understand how much water can hold that specific brush we're using. Brushes can be very different. They can have natural, synthetic or mixed bristles. Traditionally, we used to think that natural hair, like sable or squirrel, where the absolute best for watercolor. And they are actually very good because they can hold a lot of water. But it's also true that lately, more and more excellent synthetic brushes are manufactured. So finally, what makes the difference is not if the bristles are natural or synthetic, but the quality of the brush itself and so its price. With those cheap brushes I am using, I know that they can hold a moderate amount of water. Surely less than those. But for a beginner is not that easy to use those natural brushes in my opinion. So don't worry about that. I'm making this introduction because I want you to know that it's important to understand what the tools we have can do and cannot do. Other than the brush we have the water that we put on the palette with the paint and the water that we may put on the paper. So it's important to take in mind all of those factors because they affect the amount of water that we are using. So how can we practice water control besides being aware of how much water is on the brush, on the palette and on the paper? Well, we've already seen an exercise that is very useful for that. And that was on the first-class making values by adding water to a single color. So feel free to practice this if you haven't, or to do it again. Another great way of practicing water control is to make even washes and gradients, which is what we're about to do. 5. Even washes: To make some washes, we'll start by drawing some squares, let's say four by four centimeters. And the goal is to make them as even as we can. And we'll use the wet on dry technique, which is what we're going to use mostly during this class. For this size of the square. I suggest you to use the medium brush. It would be easier to go with a bigger one, but it's more effective to practice like that. And otherwise it would be a real struggle to make our landscape later. First of all, put some color on your palate, more or less depending on the area you have to feel. But I always try to make more paint that I need just to be sure I don't have to mix it again while painting, which would be quite annoying. So to create an even small wash, you should keep your brush straight but not completely vertical. And it should be as wet as you can, full of color and water. Having a dry brush is your biggest enemy here. That's why I'm loading my brush very often. I drag the color to fill the shape. And it's important to do it quite quickly. For the next square, I'll make another color. And by doing this movement here, I make sure that the brush is well loaded. All the bristles are wet and full. And I can also help the color to distribute evenly, but only if it's not drying, only if it's completely wet. And I can also try to absorb with the dry brush. don't go over your wash too many times. I don’t know if you can see it but my mix is very watery. Because the water helps the color to distribute evenly on the paper, So we really need a lot of it. Let's finish our rainbow here with a dark blue. Remember that some colors are harder to paint with, to make even washes with because not all the pigments flow in the same way. So this is how they look. Let's see, those two are the best. And if you remember, I helped the color to be evenly distributed here, but without pushing too much or overwork it. This magenta is the less even. But as I told you, not all the pigments behaves the same way and it's ok. But here you can see a lighter area that happened probably because the brush wasn't wet enough. And so in the meantime that I filled the upper part, it was already starting to dry and it didn't mixed smoothly with the lower part. 6. Common mistakes: Okay, now let's see some common mistakes using water, so I'm going to draw some news squares. I start like before filling a square. But now I'm adding more water in the mix for the lower part. Not only this will be lighter, but the water I introduced, it's going to create a sort of line between the two areas that don't have the same amount of water because the upper part, having less water is already starting to dry. That's why you should keep the color and water ratio consistent. Or – I start to paint the square, but I wait too much to fill the rest of it. You see that? A nasty line. Now for the third one, I start with a less loaded brush, and I continue with a regular loaded brush. Here, I'm changing the direction of the brushstrokes and I push too much on the paper. And in general I overwork it and go over areas that are already drying. Finally, I don't reload my brush multiple times and I push down like it was acrylic or another kind of paint. And you can see how many marks are already showing up. And I also dropped some water on it. I'll show you closely and recap what I did wrong. So inconsistency of the water and paint ratio in different areas inside the same shape. I waited too long, here too, inconsistency and edges showing up. Messing brushstrokes, dry brush and a drop of water. So if you recognize some of these effects in your paintings, now you should be able to also tell what you did wrong. 7. Large washes: Now the going gets even more tough because we'll see how to make nice washes on larger areas. I'm making a wider section for this. And I still use the medium brush. If you find it too hard, switch to a bigger brush. Something that can help us in this operation is a tilted plane, so we'll have gravity on our side. I'm preparing a lot of color and with a lot of water. What's important here is to have thi bead here on the bottom edge. I can even push the color down. In that way I prevent the paint to dry and to create an edge while I fill the length of my section. And every time I add more color, I drag the bottom part again and I reload my brush often, as you can see. I can make horizontal motion, but also some vertical lines to make sure the amount of paint is enough down here and that's why a tilted plane is crucial here. So don't work on a flat surface. For the last part, I can absorb the excess always with a dry brush. I make another one and please remember that this exercise is very difficult, so it may take several tries to get a good result. 8. Monochrome gradients: Now it's time to paint some gradient from a color to white. I made some new squares here, like five centimeters long. And the idea is to start in the same way as before. So a nice wet mix of color, but then I only add the water. So we need to be careful to not push the water upwards. To avoid that, we tilt our board again, so it's not flat and the paint will go down. I have some blue paint here and I start like before. And now I'm putting more water to make a lighter shade. I rince my brush completely again I tilt even more my board and I'm dragging the color down with a wet brush. I keep it in this position so the color flows down naturally without touching it again. And now I'll show you the same gradient but using wet on wet technique so you can compare it yourself. Now the paper is wet and I'm going to add the paint but only on the upper part. I rince and dab my brush, and help a bit the color to blend Using horizontal motion and I tilt the board. Let's do it again with another color. I put some color here and the lighter value with more water. And I go, wet on dry again, pushing the color down. Then the lighter value and the last part with just water. Same color but wet on wet, so I don’t need the lighter value. I just wet it all, and go with the pure color. With wet and wet, I have more time to work on the color, but the gradient will be a bit more unpredictable. At this point, I clean my brush and do this movement to help the color blend. Try those two ways of making gradients, and remember, is not easy to get a perfect gradient, especially when you're starting out. What you can do to make it better is to add another layer. So the result will be smoother and neater. Knowing that you can cover some imperfection by adding another layer will decrease the pressure while doing this exercise. At this stage, don't strive for perfection. Just try to learn the steps and do your best. This is paint after all, don't compare it with a digital gradient. OK? just try to get a pleasant effect. 9. Colorful gradients: Now we're going to make some different gradients from a color to another one. I want to go from yellow to magenta. If you want to make it easier, choose two colors that are closer in the color wheel. And I'm also mixing them to create the middle tone. I started with a yellow, then switch to the orange blending a bit the color together, And finally, I pick the magenta and do the same. And I tilt in different directions, helping the paint to flow. Again, the same gradient, wet on wet because I want you to familiarize with the differences between these two techniques. Now another gradient with darker colors. I’ll go from a blue to a sienna, and the middle color is a greysh tone. And now the wet on wet version. Here they are. Wet on dry, wet on wet, wet on dry and wet on wet. In my opinion: the quality of the gradient itself, I mean how a color blends into another has a better look when working wet on wet. Although the control of the intensity of the color, it's easier when working wet on dry. Can you see it? it's more vibrant. Let me know what you think about it after practicing it. I want to show you a comparison with a 100% cotton paper because the quality of the paper makes quite a bit of difference here. The colors are easier to blend and the paper stays wet longer. So I have more time to work on it. 10. Painting study: Landscape - part 1: For our project we'll paint a landscape on a A5 size. Larger would be harder to make. So I suggest you this size. I'm using a ceramic plate instead of this palette because I need a lot of color and more space to mix it. I want to combine this picture, the bottom part with this other one for the sky. So I need some blue and I'm going to use a tube this time to do it quicker. But if you have the pans, just be more patient to pick up all the color you need. So I create my mix, adding more and more water. And this is very important to have your color ready when you start painting. And remember to tilt your support. For the sketch, I just draw a line for the horizon. Where is the hill, and I know that I need to fill all the surface with my blue color up to here. And I'm tilting even more. I really need gravity to help me here. I started to paint the sky with a full loaded brush, and I just do the same as before with the first section and I pick my color very often, and I also try to work quickly. From now on, I want to make it lighter. so i clean my brush, that is wet but not too much, and I make my gradient, even where the hill starts, So I have a nice smooth transition. Now before it dries, I want to create some clouds With the lifting technique. I have a reference picture here and with the moist brush, I make some clouds and place them where the wash is uneven. Or if I see some mistake, I can turn it into a cloud. So you can see the motion, the movement I am making with the brush, and also how often I clean it. In this case, it's useful to push on the paper and rub with the brush to create this effect. -- -- 11. Painting study: Landscape - part 2: While it dries, I’m going to mix the colors I need for the lower part. Wich are a light green, a pinkish ochre and for the second layer a bluish color for the mountains and a dark green for the trees. Here it’s dry so I can paint without problems, and I’ll fill it all with the light green, except for that little stripes of dirt. Now I want to create some movement, some variety on the grass because it's very light and flat. So I'm introducing a slightly darker shade of green. And I use the other brush to smooth the edges when I need to. I think it's more interesting now. And I dry. Now. I'm going to create some simple mountains, not really like those in my reference, which is here just for inspiration. We don't need to make an exact copy of it. I'm mixing some magenta to get a purplish tone for the mountains. But I'm also adding more water because I don't want it to be too dark since they are on a distance. Okay, now I need a dark green for the trees. And if you really look at it, you'll see that this green is not vibrant at all, so in order to create a muted tone I mix my green with burnt sienna. And I make a darker shade too. If I only prepare one color it’s going to be all flat, without any shadow. Try to simplify the tree shape to a sort of narrow triangles with rough, irregular edges With the moist brush I smooth out the bases of the trees. Others are behind the hill, so I don’t need to smooth them and they are smaller 'cause they are more distant. And the more far they are, the least details are visible, so simplify them even more. And I keep on adding all the trees that are bigger on the foreground. Don't forget that. --. --. --. Finally, I make some darker spots on the trees to make it even more diversified. With landscapes, you can make variations as you go. --. Here is too empty in my opinion so I’m using the brush like that to create the pattern of the grass. I keep on adding some little details where it feels too flat to me, not organic enough. And that's it! 12. Bye!: That was all for today. I hope you like this class and remember, it wasn't an easy subject at all. So please be kind to yourself and I can't wait to see your landscapes. I'll see you soon in class number four, which will be all about wet on wet. Happy painting.