Watercolor Portraits: Combining Realism and the Abstract

Melissa Lee Shaw, allow yourself to fail before you succeed

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12 Videos (34m)
    • Introduction

    • Gathering Materials

    • Setting Up Your Workspace

    • Using References

    • Stretching Your Paper

    • Watercolor Techniques: Flat and Grades Washes

    • Watercolor Techniques: Crisp Edges, Lifting, and Paper Types

    • Watercolor Techniques: Texturing with Salt, Plastic Wrap, and Rubbing Alcohol

    • Sketching Your Portrait

    • Painting The Face

    • Painting the Abstract Elements

    • Final Thoughts


About This Class

Discover how artist and illustrator, Melissa Lee Shaw, combines realism and abstract textures to infuse her watercolor portraits with a sense of wonder and whimsy. In this 47-minute class, you’ll learn her step-by-step process for creating beautiful watercolor portraits, including various tips and tricks she's picked up along the way, as well as her own personal philosophy on creativity and making art. 

All levels of skill are welcome, whether you’ve never used watercolors before or have been using them for years. 

By the end of the class, you will be ready to create your own colorful watercolor portrait, and hopefully be inspired to use the skills you learned for future watercolor projects.



94 of 96 students recommendSee All

Really interesting and absorbing class 8;. Very much enjoyed it even though I have been using watercolour for a few years and already know the techniques I really enjoy watching artists and I really agreed with Melissa's view of use whatever works for you in your art. That's innovative creation and I have learnt so much more from my mistakes ..........as have most people but sometimes it's hard to keep learning! 8). So Thank you for such an enjoyable and affirming class.
Good Class. Great ideas re painting. Teacher could have spent a few minutes showing just how she developed her drawing. That could have been helpful to newbies. Otherwise, good class.
Very informative. Helpful tips and easy to follow.





Melissa Lee Shaw

allow yourself to fail before you succeed

I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, and it's all I've ever really wanted to do. I started teaching myself how to draw digitally in 2010 when I got my first tablet, and since then I've had a growing fascination with the digital art world. It's pretty rad. I graduated from California State University of Sacramento with a BA in Studio Art and a focus in the Electronic Arts.

I knew I didn't want to go to art school for my master's degree because of the expense, but I also knew I wanted to continue learning about art and improving my skills. Discovering online resources for learning such as Skillshare has had a wonderful impact on my life. Since joining Skillshare, I've discovered a passion for creating repeating patterns, as well as cut-paper illustrations, and many other things that I never really considered doing before. :D

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