Watercolor Monochrome Forest Using Color Values | Kolbie Blume | Skillshare

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Watercolor Monochrome Forest Using Color Values

teacher avatar Kolbie Blume, Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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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 (1h 27m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Color Value

    • 4. Color Value and Trees

    • 5. Painting Trees

    • 6. Final Project: Background

    • 7. Final Project: Layer Two

    • 8. Final Project: Layer Three

    • 9. Final Project: Layer Four

    • 10. FInal Project: Layer Five and Recreating Value

    • 11. Final Project: Final Layer

    • 12. Recap

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About This Class

Learn to create a stunning wilderness forestscape using only one pigment! In this class, we go step-by-step through all the techniques you'll need to create layers of a deep, full forest--perfect for any wandering soul. 

This is a beginner-level class--no prior experience needed. It builds on my previous classes, but you can also take it as a standalone class. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Kolbie Blume


Top Teacher



If you're pretty sure you're terrible at art...

...you're in the right place, my friend. 



Hi there! My name is Kolbie, and I'm a full-time artist, writer, and online educator -- but up until a few years ago, I was working a 9-5 desk job and thought my artistic ability maxed out at poorly-drawn stick figures. 

In my early 20s, I stumbled on mesmerizing Instagram videos with luminous watercolor paintings and flourishing calligraphy pieces, and ... See full profile

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1. Intro : Hi. My name is Colby and I cannot wait to get started on this monochrome watercolor forest with you today. I love watercolor and I love exploring what it can do. This class is all about exploring what it means to change the value of a watercolor, which here's a little teaser, means the lightness or darkness of a single pigment of watercolor, and how you can use that skill and those techniques to create breathtaking forest views. Through the class, we're going to go step-by-step, creating a piece that looks just like this. Going from light to dark, using the tools and techniques and materials that I tell you. By the end, hopefully, you will have a stunning wilderness watercolor piece that you are really proud to call your own. Without further ado, why don't you move on to the next video where I talk about all of the materials that you're going to need and let's get started. I can't wait. 2. Materials: Welcome. Before we get started, I'm going to quickly go over all of the materials that we're going to need to be successful in this class. First and very important, the kind of watercolor paint you decide to use. I would always recommend purchasing professional watercolor artist-grade paint because you'll get much more vibrant effects if you use professional artist-grade watercolor paint. Now these are not the only kind of professional watercolor paint. Out there I also use Prima Watercolor Confections. They are slightly nicer on my bank account than these guys, but these guys are a little bit higher-quality. This is Winsor & Newton. This is Blick Artists' Watercolor, and this is DANIEL SMITH, Extra Fine Watercolor. All of them are great. For this class we are doing a monochrome forest, so I will just pick one color. I gave these examples, Payne's gray and indigo, in these two brands because I really like those colors, but for this class I am going to use Prussian green in DANIEL SMITH Extra Fine Watercolors. That is paint. Next, you will want to palette because in this class we are also going to talk about color value, and what that means, and how we can use that to create magical, deep, misty forests that just go on for miles. Next, paintbrush. If you've taken any classes from me, you will recognize these paint brushes. They are synthetic sable hair, the Utrecht brand, which I believe is sold exclusively at Blick Art supply stores. I like the round size which just determines the shape of the brush and what direction the bristles go in. I always get round, and for this class I will be using a round number 10 and a round number zero. You could also go lower than zero if you wanted, but I'm going to use zero for this class. In case you're wondering, I think there are a few different kinds of Utrecht Synthetic Sable hair brushes. These have a black handle and they're series 228. I got these at my local Blick Art supply store; round number 10 and round number zero. Next, equally important, is paper. These are my typical go-to guys. The top two, Arches and Blick Premier Watercolor Block are both professional watercolor paper, which the difference between professional and student-grade watercolor paper is the material. Professional-grade watercolor paper is typically made of 100 percent cotton, which makes it more absorbent and it makes your colors just appear more bright, and it can take more washes of water than student grade, I found, for landscape lettering, but they do come with a price tag. In case you don't have access to professional watercolor paper, I'd also recommend Strathmore student-grade watercolor paper or a Canson Montval watercolor paper. Always the weight should be at least 140 pounds, which means that when there are 500 sheets put together, they all weigh 140 pounds in case you're wondering what that number means. Anything less than that, no matter how professional or non-professional, your paper is going to buckle a lot. It'll buckle a lot. It'll buckle a bit regardless, but 140 pounds. Today for this class, I have a five-by-seven-inch piece of Blick Premier Watercolor Block paper. This is professional-grade watercolor paper that I'm going to use for our final product, but while we're just practicing, this is my notebook of Canson Montval Aquarelle watercolor paper. I just got this on Amazon. They probably also sell them at local art supply stores. You might recognize it if you took my aspen tree class. I used it to practice in that class too. That is my plan for paper. It's always a good idea to have two cups of water; one to keep dirty and one to keep clean. We already talked about the palette, and then I just have my trusty paper towel. These are all the supplies that we are going to need for this class, so why don't you gather them up? I forgot one thing. I do all of my drying with this Darice Heat Tool that is traditionally used for embossing, but it's like a really hot hairdryer [LAUGHTER] and with a smaller nozzle, so it's more compressed. I use this to do all of my drying in-between, which you will see as we go along the class. Thank you for watching this video. Let's gather up all of our materials and get started on color value. 3. Color Value: You've hopefully gathered all of your materials and you are now ready to get started on painting this forest. But before we go, before we have write-off, we are going to talk about a very important technique, which is manipulating the value of the color that you're using. As I mentioned, we are only going to be using one color in this class. For this piece, I'm going to be using Prussian green when we get started on the forest. The way that we get the forest to look magical like it does, is by manipulating the value of the pigment that we're using. Value is essentially the lightness or darkness of a color of a pigment, and it's the lightness or darkness of a true pigment, and the way that you get the value is by adding water or pigment depending. It's very important to distinguish between the value and the tone of a color because we're not changing the tone. Which is, when you add another pigment to change into a different color or slightly darker. We're not adding black to this red to get to a darker red, we're just adding the purest, most dense form of the pigment to get to this darker color, and then adding water to get it to be as light as possible. This can probably go even lighter. But this is just to demonstrate to you the range that your individual pigments have and how you really only need one color to get started on these forest ranges. First thing that we're going to do is take your number 10 brush and dip it into the pigment that you're using. Now, I told you that I'm going to be using Daniel Smith Prussian green. I'm going to dip it. This is one of my palettes. I'm mixing some water in here. Right now we want to get as much pigment as possible. We are starting off dark and then going light. That's in my experience, much easier to start off dark and then add water to get slowly light. I want it to almost be thick like a paste at the beginning rather than liquidy like water, which is how we normally like watercolor because I want it to be as dark as it can get. This dark Prussian green it's almost black. It might appear black in this video rather than green. I'm starting off with as dark as I can get and it's slowly getting lighter, but I see that the paint is starting to wear a little bit thin. That means that there's not enough water. I'm just going to dip in my dirty water cup once and take off the excess water. I don't want too much water on my brush, but I'm going to dip once to keep going. I don't want to take off all of the pigment because we still want it to be this nice monochrome blended and just for the record [LAUGHTER] the way that you're going to get it to be really nice and blended is to manipulate it a little bit as you go along. We talk a little bit about that in my Night Sky Skillshare class, which is all about value in monochrome. Up until this point, I only dipped in water like once or twice, but now I've taken off all of my pigment and only have water because over here we want it to be the lightest we can get it. Right now, this pigment is slowly starting to eke its way into the lighter part. I'm going to take all the pigment off my water brush again. Sometimes it can be tricky when you've loaded it up with pigment on the other side. I'm going to take it off, and I'm going to start with clean water on this side and push it here. See how I did that. It's going to want to come back. You [LAUGHTER] have to move fast. I cleared all the pigment off of my water again and I'm pushing it down over here. Just remember that when you move your brush toward where there's pigment, now your brush has paint on it again. Don't paint here because it's going to get it all dark. Either keep painting and try to get some of it off here, or like I'm about to do, wash it off right now. Just manipulate this blend a little bit more. You could do this all day to try to get it as smooth and as blended as you want it to be. We don't have that time. [LAUGHTER] That is, if you were doing this along with me, you have just successfully tested the value range of the pigment that you're going to use. This is the lightest it can be, and it can probably even be a little bit lighter than what we have it right now. Then this should be the darkest that it's going to be. Then everywhere in-between the different values will signify different layers, that we're going to utilize to make that forest. Before we sign off, a really important thing to remember is that light means far away and dark means up close. I'm just going to show you this forest painting again. You can see I have my back row is really light. You can barely see that it's there. Then my front row is dark, the darkest I could get the pigment. It's all one thing. I didn't add any black to this. It's all one color. But the background and the back trees are really light and they slowly get darker, and that's manipulating the value to indicate depth, and that's what we want when we create a forest like this. That is it for this color value video. We're going to definitely talk more about this as we go on. But right now, I want you to practice getting as much testing out the value of whatever color that you want to use. If just doing this one thing, if you want to practice more than just this once that we did, please practice as much as you want before we get started. When we move on to the trees in the next video, I'm going to talk a little bit more about how the value will apply to the trees that we're going to paint. But for right now, just remember, light means faraway dark means up close. I think we're ready. I can't wait to see you in the next video. 4. Color Value and Trees: We have already talked about color value and made a color value scale of whatever color you have decided to use for your monochrome forest. Now we're going to talk a little bit about trees. For this video, I would pick up your number 0 or small, whatever number you have. There's your small paintbrush, because we're going to first talk about how color value relates to trees, and then I'm going to go into detail about my techniques for painting trees. If you've seen my other misty forest video where we make a bookmark and the misty forest is a little bit more slanted and not so much on top of each other, you will recognize this little working paper where we talk about the depth effect. I didn't describe it plainly in terms of value in that video, but we're going more deeper into it today. Remember in the last color value video, we talked about how lighter trees are farther away and darker trees are up-close. Then on this little sheet we have these different swatches. These are all the same color and we're going to talk about that later in this video. In order to test the value, when we made this value scale, we put all the pigment on the paper first and then made this scale. But in order to get trees to be different colors, that won't exactly work. That's why we have this trusty palette, whatever palette you use, doesn't matter. It doesn't even have to be a real palette. It can be a lid to a plastic container, it could even be a Ziploc bag though I don't recommend, that would be tricky. But my point is it doesn't have to be one of these artists palettes, it can be anything that has a surface good for blending. What we're going to do is take a little bit of pigment. I'm using this Daniel Smith, Prussian Green. Take a little bit of pigment and put it on the palette, and we want to get it as light as we can, first of all, on the palette. I'm removing the pigment from its place in my original palette where I normally go to get my paint and I want it to just be so light. So light you can't even see. So light it looks like water almost. Along the way, you might say, well, how do I know if it's light enough? That's why you have a piece of paper to test it. I'm just going to put a little swatch right here, and that's pretty light. I'm going to see if I can get it just a little bit lighter by putting more drops of water in here. As we talked about before, that's the way that you break down the value is by adding water, diluting the pigment so that it becomes lighter. I think that's pretty good. You probably can barely even see that. Now that I have my pigment the lightest I wanted, we know that the dark, the light trees are in the back. Like I said, we're going to talk a little bit more about the structure of trees in a little bit. But first I just want to show you how we did it in that other paper I showed you. I'm putting light in the back. Those two trees are very light. Now, I know that this little puddle I have right here is this color right here. What I'm going to do is move some of this pigment over here. Not all of it, just some of it. I'm going to move it over here. This is now my test pigment, and I'm going to dip my paintbrush in the pigment one time. In the pigment meaning where my original coloring is, where is the darkest that it's going to be. I dipped it in here one time. I'm going to mix it with this very light pigment and test it out to see how much darker it is. There we go. It's just slightly darker. You see? When we layer this slightly darker pigment on top of this other pigment, when you load it on really thick, it might look like it's darker than it actually is, but it's going to dry probably lighter. I'm just going to paint a few trees right here. Again, we're going to talk about how to paint the tree in just a second. But this is basically what we're doing for the whole painting. This is not the last time you'll get to see me do this. I mostly wanted to demonstrate how to change your value a little bit out of time and how to change your value in reverse. Instead of starting with the darker pigment, how to start with the lightest you can get and get it to go darker. Each time we make a layer, we dip in the dark pigment once and then mix it in this part. I've just made a darker a third time, and I'm going to put that next to these guys. You see? This is exactly how I did it with the painting, and that's exactly how we're going to do it as we continue on. This is the video on color value on palettes and starting with the lighter color and moving to darker slowly by adding water. We've demonstrated with these trees. In the next video we're going to talk about how to paint the trees. Why don't you practice adding pigments in your palette and mixing to get the different shades and swatching. That's what these are, that's what it's called. When you take a little bit just to test out the color, you've made a swatch of that color. What we're doing now is testing out and swatching out our colors to get incrementally darker. Because we start out with the light and get incrementally darker. That's how we move in a layer in the painting. Practice that and then when you're ready, move on to the next video where we talk about forming the trees. I'm excited. 5. Painting Trees: In this class we are going to talk about how to paint the trees. There are several different techniques that you can use, and I go more in depth into specifically three kinds of techniques. My professionally named lines, swoopy, and blobby techniques for these pine trees in my other misty forest class. If you're interested in learning a lot more about these techniques, checkout that class. A lot of the things you'll learn in that class are useful for this class and wilderness watercolor painting in general. But in this class, I'm going to talk about a slightly variated version of the blobby technique. Just as a recap in case you don't know what the blobby technique is, or any of these painting techniques really. All of them start with painting the trunk. It's very important that you use your small paintbrush at least like minimum, it should be a number zero. I think that should be the biggest it should be. But you can probably achieve similar results with other sizes, it just takes a little bit more work. In order to make the pine trees look really delicate, and have the detail without necessarily having to go through and paint all of the pine needles and make it look really detailed because this is kind of simple, more abstract to loose watercolor. You need a very small paintbrush, and you need not a whole lot of pigment on your brush. Let me show you as an example. Right now, I have loaded up my paint brush with pigment. You might not be able to see but my brush, the tip of my brush is significantly bigger than when it is without pigment on. Even when I put the lightest amount of pressure, I still get a really dark thick line and I don't want that. I mean, in my experience painting pine trees, I like it much more when I can get it thin. How do I achieve that? Well, you definitely still need to load your paintbrush up with pigment. But before you start painting, I would just take off a little bit by painting strokes onto a palette. You see how when I do that it takes off some of the pigment. Now I might have taken up too much, but it takes off some of the pigment so that the brush tip is significantly smaller and probably the size that it normally would be. Amount of pigment and amount of water is the first mistake. We want that one. Second is pressure. I put barely any pressure when I do these pine trees. I'm like barely touching my paintbrush to the paper. Pressure and pigment are the two things. Remembering those things my slightly variated version of the blobby method, all of my pine tree methods begin with painting the trunk, and you paint a very thin line. Remember that you want the top of the line to be showing and so the top of the line should always be the thinnest if possible. You want a very thin line for the trunk and you want it thin, and if possible, you also want it a little bit lighter. Because you don't necessarily want the trunk to be showing all the way through as you paint the rest of the tree. We have the trunk, and the regular blobby methods starts out by, I call it the blobby method because I don't really know what else to call the movement that you make with your paintbrush. Where you start in the middle, and you just kind of blob your paintbrush out like that. For the blobby method, the normal blobby method, you would continue doing that all the way down with no variation. There are lots of different ways so you can make the tree as full, or as sparse as you want. Trees have varying level of pine needle on them. But for the variated blobby method, I'm going to do my normal blobs at the top. But then as I move forward, pine trees have little bristles that move out. They don't necessarily just have one branch that's moving in this direction. Sometimes they have multiple things sticking out going every which way. That's why this is a variated version of the blobby method. Where I'm blobbing this way, but then I'm also blobbing out on that specific branch and that's what I do all the way down. I know that some people like to start from the bottom and work their way up. I usually start from the top and work my way down, but that is totally up to you. You have to figure out what works best for you, because we're all different, and our minds, work in different ways. These classes are just showing you what works best for me. Another important thing to remember when painting nature in general is, it shouldn't always be even or symmetrical. Because that's, I think what make part of what makes nature so beautiful is that it's chaos at times. I only mentioned that because your mind naturally wants to make things symmetrical. Even as I'm saying this like my tree is not necessarily, wouldn't be the prime example of something that demonstrates the wildness of nature, I don't think. But it takes a lot of practice to actively say no, I don't want to put a branch there because I don't want it to look too even, I want it to look a little bit random. Do you see how my brush, I am honestly, I'm not doing a whole lot. By not doing a whole lot, I mean, I'm not making very concerted efforts to do a specific thing. That's why it's called the blobby method because I'm just putting my paintbrush down, and putting it down every which way. Sometimes I do it flat like that, other times I just push it out like that. But either way, I'm making a branch, the needles and I am expanding on it. That's what I'm doing the whole time down here. We'll talk about this in a different class but that has yet to be out. [LAUGHTER] But this is also a really good way to paint pine trees with snow. I've been asked before how you get white watercolor, like how you use white in watercolor? The answer is usually, you use paper. You don't use white watercolor because watercolor is transparent. You wouldn't be able to paint a full tree and then paint on white unless you use not watercolor. So unless you used gouache or a very highly concentrated watercolor or Dr. Ph. Martin's used proof white or something like that. That is opaque and would go on top of it but anyway, that's a different class. Right the pine tree. You can see the trunk still, but it's not quite like stark to me because it's so thin and because the needles are and I'm just filling it in just a little bit more. It looks like the branches are coming out of the trunk in a natural way, I think. The way that I achieve this again is a variated version of the blobby method. Where instead of just blobbing out once, we do it a whole bunch of times to represent how these needles go every which way and these branches aren't all moving in the same direction. Those are trees, and trees can be so tricky. I really know that they can. I practice trees all the time. I remember getting so frustrated with trees, and how they weren't looking the way that I wanted them to look and so I spent a whole Saturday only practicing trees for seven hours straight. That's really the way that you get better at these techniques, especially when it requires varying amounts of pressure and figuring out the liquidity of your watercolor, and how to get the varying colors. It takes practice and practice is the only way that you are going to build that muscle memory and be able to paint these trees like that. Your task now is to practice this method of painting trees, even if you don't want to use it. I am not sitting over your shoulder watching you paint this final project. I can't tell you exactly what method to use to paint these pine trees. If you want to use something else, go for it. But to make use of this video, I would recommend practicing this specific version at the very least so that you can have this technique down. When I paint our final project with you, this is the version, this is the technique that I'm going to use for these trees. Get to painting and when you are ready to start, move on to the next video. Because we are moving onto layer one of our final project, which is the background. Can't wait. 6. Final Project: Background: Welcome to Layer one of our final project for this forest mountain range, this deep forest watercolor painting class. As you can see, I have taped down my paper. This is as I mentioned in the materials video for our final project, I'm using Blick Premier Watercolor Block Paper, 140 pounds. It is professional watercolor paper. This particular brand of watercolor paper, I have found to be pretty as far as watercolor paper goes not too terrible price-wise. I've taped it down using generic multi-service painter's tape. It's very important to use painter's tape or masking tape not only for your desks or tables to save those surfaces, but also to be nicer on the paper so it doesn't rip up the paper when you take it off. Also important to note is I typically put my painter's tape on top, that's the bottom but [LAUGHTER] bottom then top, then the sides so as to avoid having all of the tape stuck together. When you start on the bottom, then go on the side, then go on the top, they're all layered on top of each other and they can just be tricky. That is some first thought. Second, I would recommend having a scrap of paper. We're going to use it more for the next video when we start painting our trees. But this is to test out the value of your trees before you paint it on here like we talked about in the value video. Keep a scrap of watercolor paper to the side to use later. Now we're going to take our number 10 watercolor brush. To make our background, we are first going to make it monochromatic, the light at the top. Just to show you the example picture again, though this is bigger than our five by seven. The lightest part is going to be at the top and the darkest will be at the bottom. The way that we do this is the way that we made that value spectrum. If you've taken my night sky watercolor class, this is the exact same thing, except upside-down. [LAUGHTER] We're starting with the darkest at the bottom. You can either do wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry here, which means you can get the whole paper wet first, or you can start just with a dry paper and use water to push it. This time I'm clearly doing wet-on-dry because sometimes I think that's a better way to get the darkest pigment at the bottom here. But my one caution is it can be trickier. You have to go fast because if the paint dries, it's a lot harder to get the line of dry paint to go away. That's why in my night sky class, which is probably more like a beginner class than this is. Although you can be a beginner and do this too. But I started with that class for a reason. It's a lot harder to get dried lines when you start with wet-on-wet paper. But for this class, I did wet-on-dry. You can do whatever you want though, whatever feels best for you. What I'm doing here is exactly what we did with the color value spectrum. For a while, I just pushed my pigment out, but now I'm starting to take my pigment off of my brush. Not all the way necessarily, but enough so that when I push the water up, there's only the lightest pigment left when I push it all the way up to the top. I just do that layer by layer. It takes practice in order to get it to be as smooth as you want it to get. But I will say for this class we don't necessarily want a really smooth gradient. We want to show layers and layers of trees. Even though we haven't formed any trees yet, the background can be like misty trees. It looks like the bottom of my paper dried just a little bit. But I want to rewet it just a little bit because our background is not quite done. Using the wet-on-wet technique with the paper. We're rewetting the paper even though it already has pigment on it, we want to rewet it just a little bit so that we can create some layers in the background that can help with the depth effect. Now, you don't have to worry too much about these layers because honestly, you won't be able to see them that much. At least not so overtly as you will see the actual trees. These are just preparing little details to make the effect that much cooler. What I'm doing now, I've rewetted my surface and I'm getting a lot of pigment and I'm making the bottom really dark. I'm not going in any kind of pattern or direction. I see the paint has come up a little and the tape is comfortably here, so I'm just pushing that down. There'll probably be some paint that drips over onto that paper, but that's okay. I'm just letting the watercolor do its thing. Now that I know that this paper is wet again because I just rewet it so that right now this is me using the wet-on-wet technique and watching the paint move along on its own. I'm adding just a little bit of water because some parts of it has dried a little bit. But I want to make the bottom really, really dark because that's how dark the trees are going to be. I want it to be so dark. It's almost like the trees are disappearing into the bottom. I'm trying to get as much pigment as I can on the bottom first of all but not in a straight line. Notice how I'm not doing it in a straight line. That's because I'm trying to mimic what happens when trees are all clustered together like that in a mountain range and you're looking at it from far away. It's so dark that it's almost like you can't see it, but it's also in nature, so it has to be a little bit chaotic. Chaotic meaning there's not necessarily a pattern. I've put in the dark. Now I just want to make sure that the pigments up here are also not quite so smooth as a gradient as say we did in the night sky class. In the night sky class, we wanted it to be as smooth as possible so as it's barely noticeable. There is a little bit more water up here than I want. It's barely noticeable when it changes. But up here, and we've already started, you can see layers. By manipulating the value, I still have my palette over here with some light value, and doing wet-on-wet, I'm just going to create some variations. [NOISE] Those variations can even be in the shape of a tree. Professional watercolor brushes are really good, specifically because they hold their shape. I'm going to show you how I do that with this number 10 brush. See how it's pointed at the top. If I get enough water off of it, I should be able to make little tree shapes in the background here. This is wet and it's already starting to dry a little bit, but that's okay. We're going to be painting on top of this. I'm just going to paint some tree shapes up here. I'm not even paying much attention to how tree-like they are or that they're in the same range. I'm just really painting randomly to show that kind of effect. Looking at this, I want the bottom to be darker than the middle. I'm just rewetting this and moving some of the pigment down. [NOISE] Again, we're painting trees on top of this so don't worry if you're like, "Ah, I've ruined my painting." You really haven't. We've only just begun. Anyway, [LAUGHTER] I was telling some of my students just the other day I really feel mostly as the artist that I've become, art is a lot of doing things the way that you want them to and then making mistake and just pretending what you did was on purpose. [LAUGHTER] This is the background. It is scattered. It is not even. We see some little pointed-up trees up there. That is exactly how we want it to be. You can wait for it to dry or you can do what I'm doing and dry it with my dryer. I'm not going to show you that part. To avoid you having to listen to a loud noise but this is layer one. This is our background and now I am super excited to get started on painting our trees. Whether you're waiting for your thing to dry or you're drying it by hand, let's get that done and I'll see you in the next video. 7. Final Project: Layer Two: My first layer is dry. Now we are going to paint our first layer of trees. Once again, here's the reference. This layer of trees is so light, it's almost like we just painted more water on top of the background, but we do want to have a little bit of pigment. I still have some of this light pigment here, but like I talked about before, I want you to take out a piece of scrap paper and test out to get the lightest pigment that you can. I believe this is where the pigment was really light. I'm going to test it out. In case you didn't watch the previous video, the way that we got this light pigment is by dipping into my palette of pigment to get it dark, I'm putting some of that into a well. I put it in the middle right here, but putting some of it into a well and then just add water to it. You add so much water to it until it's so light and then that's why we have this piece of scrap paper. I have already done that, I did that in our first tree video. I believe this is the light pigment that we have and it looks pretty light to me, so that's what I'm going to use for this layer. If you can see what we did before, we have some of this pigment creeping up already and reaching down and that looks like it's already started a layer. We're going to call that the very first layer of trees. This really mystical in the background abstract layer of trees. Now, I'm going to dip my small paint brush into this very light pigment and remember that because we added so much water to this pigment, you're likely going to have too much water on it at first. You want to paint a little bit to get some of the water off. I'm going to start just below this tree line and don't worry about if it looks perfect, honestly these trees are so in the background, you won't really be able to see them a whole lot. But what I'm doing is using this really light pigment to paint trees. Another thing important to remember is that these trees are going to be smaller. These are going to be the smallest trees. Small in the background, light in the background, vigor upfront, darker upfront. That as well is my first tree, you might not even be able to see it. I'm going to paint a few and then we're going to cut to the next video so it's not just a really long video of me painting these trees. It's important to remember that no matter what layer you're on, these trees should not all look the same. They should have varying levels of pine needles on them. They should be varying sizes. You want your forest to have a wave. If you wanted it to be more like a pattern, it's all in a straight line, that is all you, use your artistic creation. I think it looks a lot cooler when you make them slightly different. I've painted about five trees using the variated blobby method. Just to make sure that the next layer of trees blends in, I'm taking a little bit of water and I'm just putting it underneath the trunks of the trees. I'm making that layer blend with the next one. Just for a reference our next layer of trees is going to start about right here. You won't be able to see this blended part. It's all going to be painted on. That's what I do for this layer of trees. I'm going from left to right and I'm going to keep painting these trees until I get to the top. I'll probably go down a little bit because this is our bottom layer. These washed-out trees are more of our bottom layer. I'm going to start going down, using the variated blobby method. If you're thinking to yourself, Coby, this is really tedious. Yes, it is, painting trees is very tedious, but the payoff is so worth it. When you put in the time to do these little details I promise it looks so much cooler than if you didn't. That is my promise to you. If I'm wrong, very sorry that you've wasted time on this art class. I don't think I'm wrong, but we all have different opinions. Just take my word for it and stop watching, if you don't think that's true. I'm going to stop talking about that right now. I've done another layer where I've painted these trees. You can barely see them because the pigment is the lightest so we could get it. That's what I'm going to do all the way across. I'm going to paint these trees all the way across. If you are painting with me, which I recommend that you do because that makes this experience that much better I think. I finish this before you move on to the next video. This is Layer 2, finish your second layer by getting the lightest pigment, painting it on and it's going to look more like dried water than anything. Painting it on and then taking just a little bit of water and moving that pigment down so it blends a little bit farther down so that you're not getting dried marks randomly in between trees. Awesome, Layer 2 get started and I will see you in Layer 3. 8. Final Project: Layer Three: We are now on layer three. If you finish layer two along with me. Again, you might not even be able to see all of these trees, but it just added a little bit more definition to the blurry trees we have back there. Layer three is the same thing with a slightly darker pigment. This is the part of my pigment that's really light, what I'm going to do, and we talked about this [NOISE] in the value video, but I'll do it again here. What we're going to do is dip my paint brush into the white palette where the actual pigment is [NOISE] and mix it with the light pigment. Okay? We want to test it [NOISE] on our little card to see exactly how dark it is, how much darker or lighter it is, right? Okay, because we don't want it to be too dark, too fast because otherwise we'll have some quick painting to do to catch up to the bottom, but that looks pretty good to me so just to recap, all I did was add one small paintbrush full. There's my painted finger. [LAUGHTER] One small paint brush full of pigment into my already heavily diluted green pigment to get slightly darker shade. This layer is going to start, you want to start every layer, my line of trees goes about like this. You want to start every layer, maybe a centimeter below then there's the layer above, okay? This is me totally eyeballing it could not be a centimeter either way. It should just be slightly below. You can definitely still see the top of the trees but it's also definitely in front. Okay? Because we're creating so many layers of trees here and in order to get them to look super in-depth like they do in real life you need them to be very close together and sprawling on top of each other, like they're on rolling hills. There's one tree, that's pretty full. This tree is going to be a little bit more sparse. You don't necessarily have to use the same method for every tree there are different kinds of trees in the wilderness. I'm mostly going to be using the variated blobby method, but I could also use the lines method or other versions, especially in these initial layers because to be quite honest, they're faster, especially the bottom parts of these trees, no one's really going to see them because they're there to create depth. I want these trees to be a little bit bigger than they were and then I can start do my thing where I blend the bottoms together so we don't get dried paint lines everywhere. I'm just going that's honestly, this is what you're going to be doing basically the whole painting. You don't have to follow. One thing I will say is you don't have to follow necessarily the size of the trees in the layer above, right? You can make the trees randomly really tall or really short, or have some space in-between it's totally up to you and nature is totally, I mean, I don't want to say totally random, I'm really not a scientist, but nature doesn't always have a rhyme or reason for why things are the way that they are so this is your call you get to decide and that's the cool part of being a landscape painter too, I think is that you can look at something that's real and you can make it slightly different to suit your purposes. That is what layer three is going to be and layer four and layer five, you're just going to keep doing this. I'll have a video for every layer in case you want to see how I've started it, that's totally fine but this is how the painting is. You're going to gradually be making the trees bigger and darker until you get to the bottom. I would probably stop about here and have the last layer be really big trees. I would say one, two, three maybe three more layers in addition to this. You can do short layers too you don't have to do as many as I'm doing but I will say the more layers you put in, I think the cooler it's going to look. Again, that's just weighing the cost versus the benefit of the TDM versus how cool it's going to look at the end. Okay, I'm going to stop this here and I'm going to continue on this layer and I'll see you on the next layer. 9. Final Project: Layer Four: Here we are, layer 4. I have two layers of trees, one layer of background. Like before we're going to take another load of pigment, put it into our well here and test it out. I might not do this for all of these layers [LAUGHTER] because I might be boring for you, but yeah, that's our next color. Looks good to me. In case you look at it and you feel you put too much pigment in or whatever really the way to manipulate this colors is to either add more pigment or to add more water. That's the only thing you're doing. My last layer of trees was right here, so I'm going to start about right here. You don't have to start in the exact same place. I'm going to start about right here and I'm going to go a little bit bigger. Remember, as you're getting closer you're getting darker and bigger. You might be looking at this and go, well Colby, that looks a lot darker than before. Well, it is darker, but it's going to dry later. Paint is usually darker and more vibrant when it's wet. That is something I have learned. Something to be aware of. I'm doing this variated blobby effect for this tree. I mentioned I might do some other ones so you can see some other trees. For this one next to it I'm going to do a straight version. I mean, it can mean straight lines. I start with the trunk, and using straight lines I go across like this. Very light pressure. I'm barely putting any pressure at all on that tree. One thing that I've noticed more of as I've been doing this painting is [NOISE] be careful when you dip in your water to blend the bottom in. [NOISE] That was my husband coughing in the background. [LAUGHTER] Sorry about that. Be careful when you blend your water before you go back into your well because you might be diluting it a little bit more. I like to paint the water off in the well before I go back to this section. Just something to be aware of. You're just going to keep doing your thing. I have done four descending sizes in a row which freaks me out because as I said, I always get suspicious if I start painting things that are supposed to be in nature and they are in a pattern. I don't think that's how nature is. I'm going to make this one a little bit bigger. Actually, I'm going to make it bigger like that. I'm painting a lot of this to be pretty full, so next tree I'm going to make a little bit more sparse in terms of pine needles. I mean, this layer is still pretty much in the background, but you got to pay attention to stuff like this because I really think that it makes a difference as you look at your finished painting. Here's an example of a more sparsely painted variated blobby tree. I'm not having all of the trunk be filled with pine needles because not all pine trees are filled with pine needles. That's what you're doing for this layer. You are filling it with lots of different trees and at varying levels I have gone in a straight line here because as I said before, your mind it just wants to go on a straight line. I would make a practice of noticing that and then try to vary it a little bit. I'm going to move this one up a little bit more even though it's closer to the tree line of the layer above. I think that's fine. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be exactly the way that you would imagine a perfect tree line would be because honestly, what you imagine a perfect tree line to be probably is not actually what trees look like. [LAUGHTER] This is art. You can create it how you can create your world however you want it to be. Just remembering these rules that indicate how things are in real life. Keep going. I'm going to keep going and I'll see you in the next layer. 10. FInal Project: Layer Five and Recreating Value: I am halfway through the next layer. I was planning to get through a couple more before I filmed another video because it's just watching me do the same thing over and over and you should be able to do it. But I ran into a problem that I wanted to talk about. This specific spot in the tray was where my paint was. As you can see, I have run out and I'm only halfway through this thing. Some of you, if you were like me when I first started playing with color values, might be like, "But wait, how do I figure out what value I was using?" It's one of the reasons why I told you to test out these color values on a sheet of paper. This was the color I was actually using for that layer. This was a dark value that I got that was just slightly darker than I was anticipating, so I added a little bit more water to it and this was the color that I wanted. Now I have to recreate this shade, doing what I've done before. I'm going to start over for the sake of you guys watching. I'm taking some pigment and I'm adding water to it. I had a bunch of shades going on here. I don't think I need to add so much water to it, but I'm just going to test it out to see where I am. This looks pretty close actually. I added maybe one paint brush full of pigment and maybe two or three things of water to get this new well. This looks pretty close. It might be a tad lighter than I wanted, so I'm just going to do a little bit more pigment right there. Not quite a full brush full, just a little bit more and see if that gets me. It's imperceptible right now, but I can see that that might be a little bit closer to what we want. It's just using your scrap paper to test out different colors and to test out different values. That's a major theme for this class, is testing out different values for your watercolor. That's what you do. When you run out of the paint that you were using, you use the piece of scrap paper that you were swatching out to test out the color to re-create the color that you were using, and you get started. I'll paint a little bit more trees on this layer that I was doing. Like I said before, you've seen me do this [LAUGHTER] in all of the other videos, so it's nothing new. But once you have the color that you need again, even if it's not exactly the shade that you want, that's okay. Just get as close as you can, and move on from there, and have that be your new well to mix more pigment in as we make our things darker. There we go. Onward and upward or downward, I guess as you paint the tree. I'm going to keep painting these layers. I'm going to have a few more layers in here. Your next video will be about the final layer of trees. You keep painting and paint until you get the trees to be about where the bottoms of the trees are about here. Because we want the top trees. Remember, they need to keep getting bigger. Unless you want to paint so many layers of tiny trees, in which case, go for it, you do you. But I'm going to make my tree steadily bigger until the bottoms reach about here, and then I'm going to paint the final layer. That is what the next video will be. Just to go over the process of changing the value of your pigment once again. Once you've painted your layer, you take another brush full of pigment and make it darker. If it's not as dark as you want it to be, then add more pigment. Eyeball it, but that's what I've been doing and that's what works best for me. See you as we embark on the final step of this painting. Happy painting trees. [LAUGHTER] 11. Final Project: Final Layer: We've made it to the last layer. I ended about here with my last layer of trees. I think I did about maybe two more layers of trees. The last layer is going to be a little bit different so that we can have, like I talked about, the bottom just be almost completely dark. We probably won't need the palette this time, the mixing palette, because we're using the darkest amount of pigment. Remember, that's what the last layer is. This time, instead of painting the trees first and then doing the bottom, we're going to paint the bottom first. Now, if you'll remember in the background, when we painted the background, we painted the bottom to be very dark. The way to get it even darker is to paint over it with the same dark pigment again. That's what we're going to do. Now, listen carefully before you start. We're not going to paint the whole thing because once you start painting, the paint is going to dry fast. We want the bottom to still be wet when we paint the top trees. That means the trunk will still blend into the wet paint. We're going to do this in sections. If you would prefer, watch me first before you start painting because it can be tricky or dive right in, all you. I'm going to paint this bottom section right here. This is where my dried line was from the last layer. I'm just going to paint right on top of that. I'm going to paint this section right here. I'm going to get some of this pigment off so in case it does dry, it's not quite so stark when I need to move on. I want to make sure I get on top of this line. I'm painting. I'm on top of the last dried paint line. Now I'm moving fast. I'm not waiting to get all the pigment off. I'm moving over here, and I'm trying to get as dark of a pigment as I can. At that point it's almost like a paste. I'm making my trees pretty big. I'm starting up here, I'm going all the way down here, all the way down to the wet paint, and I'm painting my trees. Now, if you notice that the bottom is getting dry, your priority is to re-wet the bottom before it dries. You can always stop on the trees and continue painting the trees without messing up the look of the trees. But if the bottom dries before you get a chance to rewet it, it's going to be pretty tricky. On that note, I might just halfway through the tree rewet this baby a little bit so that it stays nice and hydrated and doesn't dry on us because otherwise we get dried lines and we do not want those. I'm going really fast. That's another reason why I would recommend practicing the trees before doing this final layer, or just doing paintings like this over and over again because you have to one, paint the trees fast. By painting the trees fast, you have to be okay with them not looking perfect, or paint them so much that you're just going by muscle memory. I want these bottom trees to be more full. I don't want to see the spots necessarily where I could see the paint was before. I'm rewetting it just a little. There's my singing again. I'm moving on to my next tree. This is what I'm doing. I think I'm going to try to do the whole video with you this way just in case something happens and you need to know what I do in case something unexpected happens. I'm just painting these trees. This is my bottom layer. The reason that I want this to be dark is because, like we talked about, I want it to be like the trees are so dark, they're blending into each other and you can't see the bottom, if that makes sense. At some point, you can't even tell the difference between the ground and where the trees are. That's what I'm going for. Also, this could be a hill. You're looking at a hill. That's what I'm doing. They don't all have to be the same height or the same kind. This one I'm going to make just a little bit more sparse. Partly to go faster and partly just to show you that it doesn't have to be all the same, but the bottom does have to be a little bit more full so that you don't see the ground necessarily. I'm starting to see this side drying a little bit. When I rewet it, I have to work it a little bit to get rid of that waterline, but that's okay. I'm going to put a little bit more pigment on it because I want this to be really dark. Right, Colby. Be careful though when you try to move the pigment up to the trees because because we used the darkest possible, they will have dried. Typically, the darkest pigments that you use dry a lot faster because they don't have as much water in them, they're just mostly pigment. They want to be dry. The way to make the ground blend up with the forest is just to manipulate it and move the pigment from the ground up to be like it's a needle in the tree. That is why you need professional watercolor paper because to get this effect that I want, it takes a lot of rewetting and paying close attention. The more you do this, the better you will be at it. At least when I first saw people doing these kinds of techniques and painting really fast like this, or before even seeing other people do it I would try, and I would just get so frustrated. I'm like, "How do you paint that fast? How do you get these techniques down?" Practice is the only way. I wish that there were a secret recipe or technique to make it go faster for you. I really do, but there's not. I always thought I know. Every time I've tried to learn something I was like, "The secret to making this easier than it was before." It's not usually what you think it is. This is just honestly me postulating that life, but it takes hard work to get real success to get the real success that you want unless you're some strange outlier. But even then, I just think it takes hard work, practice, and patience to get up to the level you want. Which is why so many people are not experts because it takes a lot to become an expert at something. It takes passion because you have to be passionate in order to put in the time. I have put in so much time into practicing these techniques. I have a day job, so I don't know if all of you know this or if you see me on Instagram, but I'm not a professional artist right now. I am unprofessional and that I sell my work and I teach other people how to do it but in terms of this is now my full-time job. I am a PR person. I do media relations and communications, and speech writing at a nonprofit in DC, and that's my full-time job. So painting and lettering, and all my other art stuff, that's something I do in my spare time. What little spare time I have, and I do my business on my spare time. It takes a lot. I feel really passionate about this and I really love it a lot so that's why I put in the time to learn how to do it, and that's the way that you are going to get better. If this is not worth your time, like if you're listening to me say this and you think to yourself, ''I'm not really sure that that's my life, that that's the life that I want for myself,'' then that's okay. That's no big deal. You just have to find whatever does make you passionate and whatever does make you want to spend every spare moment getting better at it. That does not mean I don't ever take breaks. I do sometimes take breaks. The recent lapses in my posting on Instagram should be an example of that. Sometimes everybody just needs to take a break from their life and not do the things, and just Netflix it up. But for the most part, this is what I do. I go to work, come home, I paint some stuff, I think about painting other stuff. I make lists, I research techniques, I watch videos. It's just, you got to put in the time if you want to be really good at it. Anyway, that's my little tirade, my little soapbox about passions and art and the like. That honestly speaks to my whole philosophy of you don't have to be a professional artist, or have gone to art school, or any of that stuff in order to create beautiful things. You do have to be passionate about it and it doesn't have to be technically correct. I'm sure lots of people who have actually studied art to know all of the techniques in the same way that I know like literary and communications techniques would look at my paintings and just cringe. They can be simple and they can be beautiful but in order to get better, you got to put in the time, and that's just the way of life. If you want to be good at something, you really want to be good at something, it has to be worth it. It has to be worth what few precious hours you have on this Earth. That was a little morbid, but not morbid I just think it's important to know we have limited time. This got a little bit dry, which is why I'm re-wetting it. I was paying attention. You might have thought I wasn't while I was talking this whole time, but I was. Always pay attention. You can tell something is dry if it's not shiny anymore, if it's not reflecting whatever light you have on your paper. Mine was mudded and that's how I can tell that it's dried, and so I re-wet it because I wasn't quite there yet. I am almost done. I think maybe I'll do another tree top after this, but at this point I'm just going full blobby trees. You can see. I might do another little tree here. The trick is I want to make sure that at the bottom there aren't very many holes where I can see the light green. I think that's true. Now before I finish off, before this completely dries, I want to make the bottom as dark of a pigment as I can. Then we're going to dry it and see what becomes of it, so that we might get a little bit of a dried line up here. But the way to make it look like less of a dried line, as you could see me pushing it up right here is to make it so it's not even. That's the way to make it look like if there is a dried line, you had it there on purpose, is by making it look, so it's not a line. It looks like you're trying to blend it in. Just at the very bottom I'm making it very, very dark. See how these dark trees are almost black, and that's what we want the very, very bottom to look like. I think I'm almost there. Now this is turning out to be a longer video, but it was a different process than the rest. Now, I'm going to do one last thing. I don't know why I took that water off. Out of treetops when you see forests like this, you hear little birds so I'm going to just paint one little tiny, tiny bird by doing a little V. Maybe two little birds coming out of here, and actually, we don't want them to be super dark. You want them to be a little, not like quite so light as other trees but you don't want them to be very dark because they're far away like we talked about. Just very tiny birds, little v's. Good enough for me. I am going to dry this. Then in the recap video, we will take off the tape and see our magic happen. See you in just a few minutes. 12. Recap: All right, I have dried the bottom layer and now I'm going to take off the tape. I wanted to show you this on film because [inaudible] it's tricky. I would take it at an angle, always, and go very slowly because you might catch some of the paper. Especially if you're using student grade paper, the tape might catch because sometimes especially this really heavy paint acts like an adhesive, but it looks like we got lucky that time. Then I will just crinkle this up, put it to the side. I don't reuse tape, I think some people might reuse their tape. I don't because usually I use tape when it's full of paint. So I'm doing the same thing, taking it at an angle and I would go slower than what I'm doing because we might catch and I might be in trouble, but yeah. Remember that spot where I suspected there might be some paint, there was, which is okay. I hope you saw what I mean that time by that's why I go top, bottom side because otherwise it would catch on the other sides of the tape. So taking off the bottom now, and then I will take off the top. Looks like some of my paper caught a little bit, and the tape was not quite pushed down all the way there, which is okay. Something to note for next time, and this top one shouldn't be as much of a problem because there wasn't as much paint on it. But there you go. There is our finished product. The only things that I always like to once I've finished a piece to look at how I've done, and what I could do better next time I think next time, I need to push the paint up a little bit closer to the trees because it looks like there's some lighter spots in between the black, the dark green here, and the dark green of the trees. But I like it, I don't think it's bad. The tape obviously I could have pushed down to be more firm on the paper over here. But all in all, I feel like this looks really cool. I did many layers as you can see, and I don't know about you, but I think the payoff is great. There's your final project, there's your class. We have gone from light to dark, which is a practice in value. We have also gone from light, and more abstract to clearer, and more defined. Which is how we do a different misty effect than my other misty forest class. Here we've made just like a deeper look into a vast range of vast forests with some birds coming up out of it. I hope you found this class interesting, and I hope you learned some things. If you liked this class, and want other people to know about it, the best thing that you can do is, like it on Skillshare, give me review. I would love to hear what you think. I would love to hear what you think, even if you didn't like this class. I would love to see all of your work. Make sure to post your final project on the final project board. If you have an Instagram and want to post this on Instagram, I regularly feature people who take my classes on my Instagram stories. My handle is @thiswritingdesk. If you go ahead and tag me in the comments, and in the picture, I will give you some love, and maybe you'll get featured in my Instagram stories. Thank you so much for joining me. I hope you had fun most of all, and see you next time.