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.



120 of 123 students recommendSee All

a good overview of some watercolor basics, especially getting started with figures painting, with included references. good vibe.
wonderful class. Totally loved it.
Prerna Poojara

Teaching Decorative Art & Craft

This class is full of information for people who want to build a solid water color foundation. i spent a lot of time on youtube using lots of videos to learn everything that is in this one video. If you want to try out or start with watercolor this is the class for you.
Kanikkia Felton

Learning to create a better future.





Melissa Lee Shaw

allow yourself to fail before you succeed

Hi! My name's Melissa (Missa) Lee Shaw, and I'm an illustrator and watercolor painter from Northern California. 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 Electro...

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