Watercolor Rainbow Art - for Beginners | Anne Bollman | Skillshare

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Watercolor Rainbow Art - for Beginners

teacher avatar Anne Bollman, Anne Was Here

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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

6 Lessons (1h 3m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Preparation

    • 3. Design

    • 4. Painting

    • 5. BONUS: Digitizing

    • 6. Project

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About This Class

A beginners watercolor class that teaches you the basics of watercolor painting through a very simple and therapeutic project - painting rainbows. Rainbows have become a symbol of hope and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Artist, Anne Bollman began painting them a few months into quarantine as a form of art therapy and to send as gifts to loved ones she'd been missing. She ended up creating this class so that anybody at any experience level could enjoy the benefits of this project too. 

In this class you will learn about the supplies and tools needed to complete the project, how to prepare and lay out your piece. You'll design your unique rainbow art piece by mixing watercolors to create your own color palette. You'll select a phrase to include that is meaningful to you. Anne will then walk you through her step by step process to paint the piece, including advice on painting techniques and color and compositional considerations. A bonus video is also included for those who want to learn how to scan and digitize their finished artwork using Photoshop. 



  • Supply Overview (see PDF supply list)
  • Layout Pencil Guide Lines (see PDF of layout reference)


  • Select a Phrase
  • Mix Paint to Come Up with 4 Color Palette
  • Create Tonal Reference Swatches of Each Color


  • Paint¬†the Rainbows
    • Vary Colors, Tones, Width, Line Weights
    • Try Bleeding 2 Colors, "Erasing" Mistakes, Adding Texture with Paper Towel
  • Paint the Text
    • Sketch Out Your Text on a Plain Piece of Paper
    • Practice Painting the Text on Scrap Paper
    • Paint the Text on Your Piece
  • Erase the Pencil Lines
    • Wait for Paint to Completely Dry OR Use a Hair Dryer
    • Erase all Pencil Lines

BONUS: Digitizing

  • Set Up a New Document in Photoshop
  • Scan Your Artwork
    • If Scanned in Two Pieces, Use Photoshop to Seamlessly Stitch The Scans Together
  • Light & Color Corrections in Photoshop
  • Cutting Artwork Out from Background
  • Placing & Centering Artwork into New Document

Meet Your Teacher

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Anne Bollman

Anne Was Here

Top Teacher

Anne Bollman is the author and illustrator behind Anne Was Here, a studio which provides art and illustration for products and publications, designed with humor and style, that is meant to make you smile. Anne's artwork can be found online and in stores internationally on a wide range of products including children's books, stationery, fabric, gifts, apparel, home decor and more. Her debut children's book, Help Find Frank, was released by Sterling Publishing in May of 2018 and won the Excellence in a Picture Book Award from the Children's Literature Council of Southern California.

Anne is passionate about busting the myth that an artist has to be starving, and through teaching on Skillshare she hopes to bring success to other artists. After quitting her in-house de... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Rainbows have become a symbol of community and hope during this time of separation from the people and places we love. My name is Anne, and I have my own art business in which I do freelance illustration, surface design, and I'm the author-illustrator of children's books. I started painting watercolor rainbows to give as gifts to some loved ones I've been missing and realized the process was very therapeutic for me. I thought that I could share some of this rainbow therapy by creating an easy watercolor class for others to take. This class is geared toward beginners who are interested in learning the basics of watercolor painting through a simple and therapeutic project. In the class, you'll learn how to mix colors, to select your own color palette, come up with your own personalized phrase, and I'll walk you through the step-by-step process I use to plan and paint my piece. In the end, you'll have a simply beautiful watercolor rainbow painting, which you can keep or give away to lift the spirits of someone you love. I've also included a bonus video on how to scan and edit your artwork in Photoshop. I hope you'll join me for some watercolor rainbow therapy. 2. Preparation: Let's go over the supplies you'll need for this class. You can use any kind of watercolor paper you prefer, but I'll be using Arches cold-pressed watercolor paper. It comes in individual sheets, in pads, or in a block like I have here. Using a block is nice because then you don't have to worry about stretching the paper to keep it from warping when wet. Cold-pressed watercolor paper has a nice texture to it. Hot-pressed paper is smooth. I prefer using cold-press paper for watercolor painting because it holds and controls the water better than cold-pressed does. If you want to use the best quality watercolor paper, look for something that is 100 percent cotton and 300 GSM or 140 pounds, which is an indication of thickness. If you're just starting out with watercolors and don't want to spend the money, feel free to use paper that is less expensive. The paints I'll be using, are Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolors from this pan set. You can also buy them in individual tubes. These are very good quality watercolors and will also be on the expensive side. Feel free to use a set that fits your budget. The difference you will find between watercolors at varying price points will be the intensity of the pigments. The same goes for brushes, you can get some inexpensive brushes that will work or some very expensive brushes. The more expensive brushes will give you better control and hold their shape for longer. I use a variety of brushes that I have collected over the years. Today, I'll be using this size 6 round Princeton Heritage synthetic sable for painting the rainbows and this round size 0 Loew Cornell Golden Taklon brush for the text. I've typically got two mason jars of water. For this project, I'll be using one dirty water mason jar to rinse the paint off my brush and one clean water jar to wet my brush for painting. Here I have a few sheets of paper towel handy for drying my brushes and removing pigment from them. I've also got a ceramic paint palette for mixing colors. If you don't have a palette, you can use a ceramic plate like this one here that I also use to mix paint. You'll need a hard pencil for sketching out the layout. This one is a 6H pencil, which makes for very light lines, and you'll need an eraser for erasing those lines. We're also going to use a ruler to create the layout. I keep little pieces of scrap watercolor paper on hand so that I can test out any colors that I've mixed before using them on my actual piece. Here's an example of some color testing I did for another piece. If you don't have scrap watercolor paper yet, it's worth it to cut up a fresh sheet of watercolor paper to use for this purpose. That's all the supplies you're going to need. Now let's set up our layout. Here's the piece we will be completing for this class. In order to have it centered and the rainbows and text spaced nicely on the page, we are going to draw ourselves some guidelines using the pencil and ruler. The paper I'm using is 9 inches by 12 inches, and I'll be walking you through how to do the layout for this size paper. I've also included a template for you to reference, which you can download from the Projects tab of the online classroom. If you are working with a different size paper, you can adjust your measurements to fit your paper. To start, I'm going to set up my horizontal pencil guides. First, I'm going to measure one inch from the top for the top blank border. Next, I'm measuring one and three-quarter inches for the first row of rainbows, and then a three-eighth inch space after the first row. Then I'll measure another one and three-quarter inches for the second row of rainbows, followed by another three-eighth inch space, one and three-quarter inches for the third row of rainbows, and finally one inches for the text area, which leaves a one-inch blank space at the bottom of the paper. Here's the breakdown of the marks I just made. Now we need to do the same thing on the other side. Now that I have marks on both sides, I'm just going to draw really light pencil guidelines using my ruler. You want these lines to be just dark enough so that you can see them, but not so dark that they'll be difficult to erase, so it's just a really light touch with the pencil. Now that our horizontal lines are done, we need just a couple of vertical ones. For the spaces on the left and right sides, I'm just marking one-and-a-half inches from the left and one-and-a-half inches from the right. Then I'll do the same on the bottom of the paper and use these new marks to draw my vertical guidelines. Now we have some nice, light guidelines that will help us paint our rainbow piece and keep it centered and nicely spaced. Next up, we'll work on designing our piece. 3. Design: The first part of designing your piece so that it's meaningful to you or to the person you are painting it for, is to select the phrase. A lot is going on in the world right now and for me, rainbows have always been a sign of hope and a brighter day. So I chose the phrase, "It's going to be okay." If this phrase resonates with you too, you are welcome to use it, or you can customize your rainbow art by coming up with their own phrase. You can pick something more generic like, "Choose happiness," or, "Follow your dreams." Or you can pick something very personal to you. If this piece will be used only for personal use, you can use a quote that you like, but just know that many quotes are copyrighted and you may not be able to legally post or sell your art if you include a quote. You could also paint a name at the bottom. For instance, if you were painting it to hanging a little girl's room, it could say Olivia. Another way you can make your piece unique to you is to come up with your own color palette. For this art piece, I'm recommending you come up with a four color palette. Here's the first version I did of this rainbow art and here's the second version, each with a different color palette. I want to show you these. You can see that a range of color palettes can work for this project. You may want to pick a color palette that matches a room in your house, or a color palette that incorporates your mom's favorite colors. I'm really liking some of these colors that are already on my paint palette here. I think I'll mix some more to get a similar lavender, ocher yellow, dusty red, and minty teal. This is where I'm going to need to use my scrap paper so that I can make sure I get a mix of colors that I like. This is where you can play around with the mixing of your own watercolor paints to come up with the colors that you want to use. To get more of this lavender color, I'm going to get my size six brush wet and pick up some of this pink red color here and then drop it onto my palette. Then I'm going to try adding some of this kelly green color to it. It's a little too much green, so I'm rinsing my brush off in my dirty water and adding more of that pink red color. Now I'm going to test the color I have on my scrap paper. I think it's a bit too purply and cool in tones, so I'd like it to be more dusty and warm. I'm going to add some of this ocher yellow color to it and see how that looks. I do like it, but I think it needs a touch more of the pink red, so I'm going to add more of that to it and see how that looks. I'm also going to add some of this light blue to it and test it out again. I think I'm happy with that shade of lavender. You'll want to write down and keep track of the different colors you've mixed to come up with your shades so that if you need to make more, you can. For this color, I've used this pink red color, this ocher yellow, this kelly green, and this light blue. Now I'm just going to clean off my brush in the dirty water and get it wet with the clean water to mix up the yellow color that I want for this piece. I'm going to start with the same ocher yellow that I used for the lavender and get quite a bit of it onto my palette because that's going to be the main pigment that I'm using to make this color. Next, I'm going to add some of this dark brown to it, so it's not such a bright color. This color here is called Payne's gray, which is a dark blue gray color. I'm going to add a touch of that as well. Now I'm ready to test out the color, and I like it. So for this color I used this ocher yellow, the dark brown, and a touch of the Payne's gray. I need to remember that in case I need to mix more later. Now let's mix up some colors to get this minty teal color I have here on my palette. I'm going to start by adding a bunch of this light blue color. To get more of it, I just added more water to my brush and roll my brush on the pigment to fill it with Payne. Next, I'm going to add some of the Payne's gray to it, so it isn't so bright. Now to make it more teal and less blue, I'm going to add some of this sap green to it. Now I'll just test it out on my scrap paper. I'm happy with this. For this one, I used the light blue, the Payne's gray, and some of the sap green. Since I'm happy with my teal, I'm going to move on to make the dusty red color. I'm rinsing the pigment off my brush, getting the brush nice and wet. I'm going to roll it in this red and drop a bunch of it into my palette. Next I'm going to add more of the ocher yellow color to it. You'll notice I'm using a lot of the same paints to mix up my colors, and that will help the colors sit nicely together. I'm also going to add a touch of the dark brown to it to make the red a little more muted. I'll test it on my scrap paper. I like that. For that one I used the red, the ocher yellow, and a bit of the dark brown. Here I have my color palette already. In order to see the range of color and tone I can get with each one of my mixed colors. I'm going to make a little swatch chart on another scrap of paper that I can reference while I'm making my piece. I'll start with the lavender color I mixed and my first swatch will be using the fully saturated pigment on my brush. I'll get my brush slightly wet and then dip it in the lavender well of my palette and create a little swatch of paint, then I'll add more water to my brush to make a lighter shade of that color. It's a bit lighter than I wanted, so I'm going to borrow some other pigment from the top swatch and make it slightly darker. Next, I'm adding a bit more water to my brush to make the lightest shade swatch of the lavender color. Now this gives me an idea of the different tones I can achieve from this one color. I'm going to repeat the same process with my next color, yellow. I'm rinsing my brush and picking up the yellow pigment to create a fully saturated swatch. Adding water to my brush for the next lighter shade, more water again to get the lighter shade. Now let's do the minty teal color. Full saturation swatch, add water for mid range, add water for the lighter shade. Finally, we can do the same with the dusty rose color. Full saturation swatch, mid saturation, swatch, light saturation swatch. As you can see what I've done, is the more water I'm adding to my brush, the lighter the swatch gets. You can get the full range of color from one pigment by just adding more water to your brush. Now I've got a reference sheet that I can refer to while I'm painting my rainbows to pick the different colors I want to use for each rainbow. Once you've selected your phrase and your four color palette, you're done designing your water color rainbow piece and should be ready to paint it, so let's do that next. 4. Painting: Now we are ready to paint. I've got my layout here done lightly in pencil that will act as my guide. We're going to paint three rows of rainbows. I'm going to paint them starting with the top row and move left to right since I'm right-handed. This way my hand won't drag across any wet paint when I move from one rainbow to the next. If you're left-handed, you might want to try painting from right to left instead. If we take a look at this piece that I already completed, you'll see the different ways I varied the rainbows. They are all different color combinations. The arches vary from very thin to pretty thick. I've got different widths rainbows, some are skinnier and some are wider. As you can see, I fit four rainbows on each row varying the width of each. On this bottom row I've got two wider rainbows and two thinner ones. I've also allowed some of the colors to bleed into each other. These are a few ways that you can vary the rainbows on your piece to add some visual interest. I'm going to use my size 6 round brush. I'm getting it wet and I'm going to start with my lavender color. For this first arch, I'm going to do a pretty full saturation tone for the lavender. Before I paint, I'm going to have a rough idea of how wide I want this rainbow to be. By the way, you might notice I have a very strange grip on my paintbrush. This is a habit I picked up as a kid even with writing, so please don't judge, I've been unable to break it. I'm painting a thinner outer arch to start. I'm filling the space I allowed for my rainbows with my first two guidelines. All of my rainbows will be roughly the same height. I also forgot to mention that we'll be doing three arches for each rainbow, so you're going to want to select three different tones of color for each. Next I'm going to rinse my brush and wet it, and I want to do this light shade of yellow color. I'm adding a lot of water to my brush and a touch of the yellow. It's a bit more saturated than I wanted so I'm just going to add even more water and make the arch a bit thicker. Rinsing my brush again and I think next I want to do this medium tone of the dusty red. This arch is going to be thinner again. There's my first rainbow. Next I want to do a wider rainbow. This time I'm going to start with the light mentee teal color, and I'm going to do a thick outer arch. It got a little too light in one area here, so I'm just going to add a touch more pigment to that. As long as your arches are still wet, it's quite easy to adjust the tone of the color. For the next arch, I'm going to use the fully saturated yellow and do a thin line this time. While my outer arch is still wet, I can let the two arches touch a bit here to get the color bleed effect. You can tap the spot with your brush where you want it to bleed to get it to bleed even more. For my last arch on this rainbow, I want to do a thick band of the light red color, so it's turning more of a pink. It's going on a little darker than I planned, but that's okay. You can actually use some paper towel to pick up some of the pigment, or you could even use a dry brush to do that. I could smooth this out with some water, the texture that the paper towel left, but I actually like it that way, so I'm going to leave it. For these two next rainbows on this row, I'm going to have to pay attention to how much space I have left so I have room for the last rainbow. I'm noticing that I already made some more of my yellow color, so I'm going to use the exact same paints and mix some more of it up again. For this next rainbow, I'm going to do a pretty thin rainbow, and I'm going to start with the saturated red. I'll do a thin band for this arch. Next I'm going to do a thicker band of lavender, and it came out a bit lighter than I want so I'm adding some paint to my brush while I thicken the line up a bit. For this rainbow, two of my arches are going to be in that lavender family. I have my lighter arch, and for the last arch I want to do a fully saturated one. I'm just picking my colors and tones based on what I've already done and trying to make each rainbow unique. For this outer arch, I'm going to do a fully saturated yellow at medium thickness. Inside of that I'm doing a thin minty teal arch. Then finally I'll add a thin medium pink arch. I've got my first row done, and now I'm going to start the second row. I want the rainbows to vary in width from the first row. So for the first rainbow I could do a wider arch than the one above it, but if I'm looking at the rest of the row, I probably want a wide arch on the right side since there are two thin arches on the right side and the first row. Maybe for this first rainbow in the second row, I'll do when that is even thinner than the one above it to make sure I have room for that wide arch at the end. Again, I'm varying up the color choices, so for this arch, I'm going to do a thin teal arch. Rinsing my brush and picking up some lavender. I'm going to do a second thin arch of lavender, but it's a bit too dark next to the dark teal, so I'll just take my paper towel and dab up some of the saturation. Then to smooth it out, I can just add water to my brush and drag the color across the arch. Next I'm going to do a thicker yellow arch, and I'm going to let it touch the lavender a bit so that there is some bleed there. I want it thicker so I'm just going over it again to thicken it up. For my next rainbow, I think I want to do a medium width one and I'm going to start with a thin yellow arch, since the rainbow above it has a thick top arch. I just smeared the paint a little bit, but with watercolor it's pretty easy to erase mistakes like that. Just adds some clean water to your brush and soak the area with the clean water and then dab it up with a paper towel. Then I can go over the arch again to add back some of the color that I took away, and for the second arch, I'm going to pick up some of the saturated, dusty red color and make a thick line this time. I'm going to stick with that color and make the third arch a lighter tone of the same color. Keeping in mind that I want my last rainbow on this row to be pretty wide, I know I need to make this third one fairly thin. I'm going to start with a medium thickness arch of lavender, followed by a thin arch of the darker tone teal, and for my inner arch I'll do a thick line of the yellow color. You can see that I've left enough room for a wider rainbow here. I'm going to do a saturated outer arch of the lavender color and keep it pretty thin. Next, I'll add a lot of water to my brush and do a lighter arch of the dusty red, and I'm touching my lavender our chair to allow it to bleed into it a little bit. I want it to bleed a bit more so I'm just tapping the spot with my brush to push more of the pink into the lavender. For the inner arch, I'm picking up some of the mentee color and I wanted it bit darker, so I'm adding more of my mixed paint to my brush to darken it up a bit. We're ready to work on the last row. I'm going to start with the dusty read arch and I'm going to make this rainbow really wide to contrast from the two thinner rainbows above it. My first arch was pretty thick, so I'll do a thinner lavender arch for the second. For my third arch, I'm going to pick up some of the minty green color and make this arch pretty thick. I'm looking at the row above and trying to figure out how wide I want these last three rainbows to be so that this row is different. I think for the second rainbow, I'll keep it pretty thin and I'll start with a saturated lavender arch. The second arch will be yellow and a bit thicker. I think this would be a good rainbow to have some bleed, so I'm going to let this arch touch the lavender arch. The final inner arch will be a saturated, dusty red color with a thin line weight. I'm going to make this third rainbow on the wider side, and I'm going to start with the saturated minty teal outer arch. Next, I'll do a thicker midtoned lavender arch. I'm just looking at the color balance in my piece so far and picking the yellow gold for the inner arch. I'm going to have this one be thinner and I'm going to let it bleed into the lavender arch. I've left space for my last rainbow to be super thin. I'm going to start with a dusty pink outer arch, and make it midtoned and thick. Next, I'll do a saturated gold-yellow arch that has a thinner line weight. Finally, I'm going to do the inner arch and a midtoned lavender again with a thin line weight. I want to add some texture to this one to balance out the textured rainbow in the first row. I'm just going to dab the finished rainbow with a paper towel and give it some of the same texture. My rainbows are all done and I really like how they turned out. I've got a new piece in a new color palette. You can see the three color palettes I've done this piece in, and I think they all work. I've chosen all muted tones, so they are all similar in that way. If you want to do brighter rainbows, feel free to do so. Now, to finish this piece, we just need to add our line of text. I'm going to use this piece of printer paper to plan out the spacing of my text. I'm using a ruler to measure out a width for my text, and that way it will be centered. I'm starting by just lightly sketching my phrase, which is, "It's going to be okay." Now, I happen to have a spacing right on the first try, but normally I would keep writing the phrase over and over until it fits the width I planned for. Once you have your phrase sketched out on the paper, you can use it as a guide to lightly write the phrase on your watercolor paper and pencil. I want the bottom of my cursive letters to hit the bottom guideline on my paper, so I'm eyeballing about where to start writing so that the lower ligatures will hit right about on that line. I'm trying to follow the spacing of the letters and words as closely as I can to the sketch, since that will give me a nice balanced and centered phrase on my piece. Now I have that phrase in my light pencil on my watercolor paper, and it's time to paint it. I'm going to use the size 0 round brush to paint my phrase. I'm going to mix up an almost black color using my existing paint on my palette, and some of the paint's gray color. Using straight black can be a bit jarring on a soft piece like this, that's why I want to create a dark color that's not quite black. Then I'm going to start tracing my pencil lines with my paintbrush. You want to make sure that your brush stays pretty wet for the text to be smooth, otherwise it gets a bit scratchy in texture. I'm going to stop and start and get a lot of paint on my brush, so that it's nice and wet and the text goes on smoothly. You'll see what this G, the curve up from the bottom ligature is too tight. I'm going to finish it by painting it down from the top, instead of doing it in one stroke. I'm also going to keep my brush very wet so that the strokes go down very smoothly. If you try completing all of your curves in one swoop, you might find that your brush bends and flicks paint. What I do to avoid this, is when I come to a curve that feels too tight, I stop and paint it in two strokes instead of one. Usually completing it in the opposite direction of what you would with a pencil or a pen. If this is your first time painting text, you might want to practice on some scrap watercolor paper before you try to do the text on your piece. Again, this B, upper curve is too tight to do in one stroke for me, so I'm breaking it into two. Same thing with the E. Again, you may want to practice painting your phrase on scrap paper a few times. You can get comfortable with painting text before you do it on your rainbow painting. I'm done painting, and now I just need it to dry before I can finish it by erasing the pencil lines. If you are impatient like I am, you can take a hairdryer and blow it dry to speed things up. Here, if you look closely, you can see all the pencil lines we want to erase. I'm just taking my eraser and gently going over all of the lines to eliminate them. None of the lines are actually under any paint, so it should be fairly easy to get them all up. You do want to make sure your painting is completely dry before doing this though; because the lines are close enough to the paint that if it's still wet, you could cause your paint to smudge. Now, I'm going to brush my eraser bits off into my trash can, and then take a look at my painting again to make sure I got everything off. It looks like I did. I'm all done with this one, and I'm quite happy with it. I think my color palette turned out nicely, and it's different enough from my other two pieces that it stands on its own. If you just want an original rainbow painting, you can skip the next video and go to the final project video. But if you'd like to know how to scan and digitize your painting in Photoshop, you'll want to watch my next video. For this, you'll need a scanner and the Photoshop software. Digitizing will allow you to make multiple prints of your art, or even upload it under products on websites like Zazzle or Society6. 5. BONUS: Digitizing: To start, I'm going to first set up a new Photoshop document for my rainbow print. I have custom selected here, and then I make sure the dimensions are set to 12 inches wide by nine inches high, and I'm going to have the resolution set to 600 DPI. Standard print resolution is 300 DPI, but I like to have my document set higher in case I ever want to print the image larger than its original size. Setting it to 600 DPI allows me to print my nine by 12, up to 18 by 24 inches at full resolution. If I ever use it for a larger product, like a bedspread or a shower curtain or something like that, I'll have the art at a much larger scale, and we'll be able to do that without resolution issues. I'm setting the color mode to CMYK, which is what you want for anything that has to be printed. I'm going to keep the background white and hit "Create" to open up the new document. Now that my document is set up, I'm going to scan my artwork. Depending on what type of scanner you have, your setting options may be different than mine. I'm using an Epson V600 photo scanner. I've got a preset save for scanning art here, so I don't have to enter my settings every time, but I'll walk you through them so that you know what I do on mine. Many of the settings I just leave to the default, for document type, it's reflective, document source, scanner glass, auto exposure type, photo, image type, 48-bit color. Your scanner may or may not have these options, so you'll have to play around to see what if anything you need to change as far as your default settings go. For mine the first setting that is not default is the resolution. Again, I set mine to 600 DPI so that I can print my image up to twice as large as the original and have it be full resolution. Three hundred DPI is standard, so you can choose that if you like. Next is the document size and target size. I have them both maxed out to the largest document size my scanner can scan, which is 8.5 by 11.7. My original piece is nine by 12, but the actual painted part fits within the scanner bed, so I'm good to go. If your scanner bed is smaller than your painted area, don't worry, I'll show you how you can easily stitch the two separate scans together in Photoshop so that you have one seamless scan of your original piece. I'm keeping the scale set at the default of 100 percent, and I'm keeping trimming set to on. I don't touch any of the adjustments, and I keep the unsharp mask checked which is the default for mine. Next I hit "Scan" and a window pops up where I need to select where to save the scan on my computer. After I've selected that, it gives me the opportunity to name it. I'm going to name it purple rainbows. For the image type, I'm keeping it as a JPEG, but most scanners will allow you to select options including TIFF, PDF, etc. JPEG usually works just fine for me for scanned art work. The rest of the options I leave checked at the default, and then I hit "Okay". Now it's scanning my piece. Once it's done, I'm going to go back into Photoshop and open it up by going to File, Open and selecting the scan from where I saved it on my computer. Since it has scanned sideways, I also go to Image at my top navigation, and Image Rotation and select 90 degrees clockwise. If you had to scan your original art in two pieces, I'm going to show you how you can use Photoshop to stitch it together into one seamless scanned image. First, I'm going to rescan my artwork in two pieces, so I'm in the same boat you're in. I just want to show you what my two scans look like. Here they are. You can see I scanned one side and then the other side. I'm just going to leave those in the folder I saved them to and go back into Photoshop. In Photoshop you want go to File, Automate and select Photomerge. This box pops up. Leave the layout at the default, which should be on auto, the first option at the top. Then click on "Browse". Navigate to the folder you have your two scans in, and select them both. With both scan files selected click "Open". When you get back to this pop-up window, click "Okay". Now sit back for a minute or two and let Photoshop do its magic. When it's done, you will see that it has magically stitched together your two separate scans into one seamless image. I'm going to crop all of the excess background off of this image by selecting my crop tool from the toolbar, and clicking and dragging a selection rectangle around where I want to crop to. Then I hit "Enter". Next, I'm going to Image at my top bar and Image Rotation and selecting 180 degrees since I want to rotate it upside down this time. Now if I toggle back to my other scan where I scanned in one piece, you could see I've got the same result by scanning two pieces and using Photomerge to stitch them together. It's pretty neat. I'm back at the piece I scanned in two pieces, and I just want to zoom in so you can see how truly seamless the photo merges. One more thing we need to do is merge the two scans together. If you look over in your layers pallet, you'll see that there are actually two layers with masks on them where Photoshop has stitched it together. If you disable the mask on one of the layers, you will see that the entirety of each scan is actually still there. Photoshop has just masked out half of each scan. But we don't need to keep the original scans with both sides of the scan. With both layers selected in my layer palette, I'm going to go to Layer at the top and then Merged Layers. Now we just have one layer with the single scanned image. We want to start editing our scan. The first thing I like to do is to duplicate the scan layer, so I have an extra copy. I like to keep an original copy in the back in case I need it. You can duplicate a layer by clicking on it and dragging it to the new layer button at the bottom of your layer panel. The new layer button looks like a little posted note. Now my scan looks a bit faded and not very bright. I want to brighten it and bring the background to a bright white. I'm going to add a levels adjustment layer above my art layers by clicking on the half-filled circle button on the bottom of the layer panel, and then I'm going to select levels. You'll see the level adjustment panel pop-up. There are three eyedroppers. I'm going to select the bottom eyedropper which is white. I'm taking the white eyedropper, and I'm going to click on a portion of my background, which I want to be bright white. You'll see it instantly brightens your entire image, making the background of bright white. If you see areas of your background that are darker, you can continue clicking on different parts of the background until you get the level of brightness you want. Shadows tend to fall towards the edges of my scans, so I'm going to use the crop tool to crop tight to my art. We're going to cut this art out and place it on a nine by 12 background we set up in another file. Don't worry about losing the space around your artwork. I'm hiding my levels adjustment layer by clicking on the eyeball next to the layer in the layers panel. You can see how much brighter the artwork is when the levels layer is turned on versus off. Now we just want to add another adjustment layer, but this time I'm picking curves. I use curves adjustment layers to punch up the saturation and boldness of my scan. Often my scanner scans things a bit duller than they actually are, or sometimes I just want my art to be bolder than I painted it. Curves adjustment layers are really great for these types of corrections. Once you create a curves adjustment layer, you will see this curves panel pop up. You'll see eyedroppers again among other adjustment tools, but I am not going to touch any of those. I just use this graph looking thing right in the middle. If you click and hold on the center of the line going across the graph, you'll find you can drag it in any direction. If you drag the center of the line towards the top left, it makes your image lighter. If you drag it in the opposite directions toward the bottom right, it makes your image bolder and more saturated. What I really like about this tool is no matter which direction you pull it in, it leaves the white background alone and it remains a bright white. I'm going to drag mine a bit toward the bottom right to make my painting slightly bolder and more saturated than my scan is showing it. But I do like the lighter muted color. I'm just trying to bring it back closer to how I painted it. I think I like that. If I want to compare the difference from before I adjusted the curves and after, I just click on the eyeball next to the curves layer in my layer panel to turn the layer on and off. You'll see it's much more saturated and punchy than the artwork from my original scan. But you can continue to play with it until you're happy with how it looks. This is the beauty of adjustment layers, they aren't permanent changes. You can always go back and adjust them without having to redo all of the work. Now that I'm happy with how my artwork looks, I'm going to select both of my adjustment layers and the duplicated layer of the artwork and put them in their own group. With all three layers selected, I'm clicking on the group button at the bottom of my layers panel, which looks like a little folder. Now they are all in a folder in my layer panel. I'm clicking on the name of the group which is defaulted to group 1, and I'm naming it rainbows. Then I'm making a copy of that group by holding down the option key on a Mac or the alt key on a PC while clicking, dragging up and dropping the group in the layer panel. Now I've got two rainbow groups. With the new group selected, I'm hitting "Command E" or "Control E" on a PC, which merges the group into a single layer. I've done this because I like to keep a copy of my adjustment layers to go back to in case I need them. Those are in the group folder in my layer panel. But now I also have a flat clean piece of my adjusted artwork that I can use to cut out my art from the background. You may feel like you don't need to cut your artwork out. But if you want to print it, your printer will pick up on dust and traces of the watercolor paper texture from your background, and it won't look as clean as a print would. I think it's important to cut the artwork out from the background and place it on a clean white background for printing. Before I start cutting my art workout, first, I'd like to make a black background for myself so I can more clearly see my cutouts. To do that, I add a solid fill color layer beneath my top flattened layer of adjusted artwork. A new layer will always go above whatever layer you are on in your layers panel. Since we want this black layer to go beneath the top layer, I'm going to make sure I'm on the next layer down in my layers panel, and then go to the new Adjustment Layer button, the one that looks like a half-filled circle, and select solid color at the top. A color picker will pop up, and I'm going to click in the lower right corner to get a nice dark black. Then I click "Okay". Now, if you look over in your layer panel, you'll see you've got a new color fill layer beneath your top art layer. Let's just leave it there for now. Now, I'm ready to start cutting out my art. I'm making sure my top art layer is selected in my layer panel. Now before I start, I just want to add a disclaimer here. You've heard the terrible phrase. There's more than one way to skin a cat. Well, that is absolutely true of cutting out backgrounds from painted artwork. Watercolor can be really tricky to cut out because of the nature of transparency and fading from clear to opaque that it has. Often, you will need to try lots of different ways to cut out the artwork, to see what works best for a particular painting. Also, you'll find some artists do it one way and some do it another. There could be an entire class on the different ways to cut out artwork. For the sake of this class, I'm just going to show you my process for this particular painting, and what works for me in this case. It doesn't discount other ways you've learned to do it or what way may work better for you. Disclaimer over. Now, that's out of the way. Let's start cutting out the rainbows. For this particular painting to start, I'm going to try the Magic Wand tool from my toolbar. Once you select it, at the top bar of your Photoshop window you'll see the default settings for your Magic Wand tool. The default settings should be point sample, a tolerance of 100, anti-alias checked, contiguous checked, sample all layers unchecked. If your default is different than this, please adjust it. The Magic Wand setting that we are going to play around with is the tolerance setting. The Magic Wand tool picks up pixels of a similar value. You can set it from 0-100. The higher the tolerance number, the more pixels the Magic Wand will select. If we start with it at 100 and try selecting the white background. Let's see how much it picks up. I'm clicking with the Magic Wand tool on the white background of my piece, and you'll see the little dancing selection lines show up. It's difficult to see what it's actually selected. Here's where the black background I added comes into play. First, I'm going to invert my selection because I want my rainbows and text selected instead of the background. To do that, you can hold the Command key while clicking the I key on a Mac or Control I on a PC. Or you can go to select at the top of Photoshop and click "Inverse". Now, the opposite of what you originally selected should be selected. We clicked on the background and then inverted the selection, so the artwork in theory should be selected. Now, making sure you are on your artwork layer in a layer panel, with the selection still active, click the "Mask" button at the bottom of the layer panel to add a mask to your artwork layer. The Mask button looks like a rectangle with a circle in it. Once you click it, you will see the black background. It is hiding everything that wasn't selected and showing you what you have cut out from the background. But we cut out too much because the tolerance was too high. I'm going to hit "Command Z" on my keyboard or "Control Z" on a PC to undo the mask. Now, if you can still see your dancing selection lines, you need to unselect it by hitting Command D or Control D on a PC. Let's adjust the tolerance to something lower, because we want to select less of the background this time. Let's try setting the tolerance to 50 instead of 100 and see what that does. Now with the tolerance set at 50, I'm going to repeat the entire process. Click on the white background, select inverse. You could do Command I or you can go to select at the top and inverse. Now, with my art selected and my artwork layer on my layer panel selected, I'm going to click the "Mask" button again. Looking better, but it's still cut away too much of my background. Let's try and even lower tolerance number. Command Z to undo the mask, Command D to deselect my artwork. Now, let's try setting the tolerance at 10. Same steps. Click in the white background with the Magic Wand tool, select inverse, add mask to the layer. Now the tolerance is too low. We've not deleted enough of the background. I'm going to Command Z to get rid of this mask. Command D to unselect the artwork and try again. This time, let's try a tolerance of 25. Click in the white background with a Magic Wand, select inverse, add mask. Voila, that looks pretty good. I see a few areas that need to be cleaned up, but it looks totally manageable, so I'm going to keep the mask this time. This is the reason I use masks instead of deleting. A mask can easily be adjusted, whereas you can't get back deleted pixels. To start editing my mask, I'm going to zoom in on my text at the bottom. I'm dragging a box around the text with my zoom tool to zoom into that area. Next I'm clicking on the "Magic Wand" tool from a toolbar, and I need to make sure I'm on the layer and not the mask. There will be a white bar around the part you have selected in your layer panel. You want to click on the artwork part of the layer, not the black mask part. Now, I'm just clicking on all of the white bits left inside my text while holding the option button down, which lets you add to a selection. I'm just selecting all the white bits, and once I have them all selected, I'm going back to my layer panel and selecting the mask instead of the layer this time. Then with the white areas still selected, I'm going to edit at the top of my screen and clicking on "Fill". The Fill box pops up, and you want to make sure the contents are set to black. We're going to fill these areas of the mask with black which hides them. Click "Okay" and you'll see those areas of the white background disappear. Now, with the mask part of the layer still selected in the layer panel, I'm zooming back out. I'm going to grab my brush tool from the toolbar, then at the top panel and clicking on the little down area next to the brush shape. This will allow me to select a brush shape, and I'm fine with what is already selected, which is a nice solid round brush. I'm going to adjust the size by using the size slider here. I'm clicking on the background, and I can see my brush is set to white, and I want it set to black. White removes the mask, revealing the pixels beneath it. Black adds the mask, hiding the pixels beneath it. Right now I want to use black to hide some of the little dust marks I can see showing through. I'm going to make my brush bigger by clicking the "Right Bracket" key on my keyboard. You can also use the slider I showed you before to do this. Left bracket makes the brush smaller. Then to switch to black, I'm clicking on the little switch arrows, that's my term, it's not technical, to switch from white to black at the bottom of my toolbar. Now, I'm just going through the mask and painting black on any little parts of the background showing through. I got a little bit of the rainbow there, so I'll do Command Z to undo it. Make my brush a bit smaller by clicking on the "Left Bracket" key and paint over the dust again. I'll just go through and keep painting away bits that I see, adjusting my brush size as needed. Now the background looks pretty clean. I want to get back some of the parts of the rainbow that got removed with my initial mask. Over in my layer panel, I'm going to click on my artwork part of the layer instead of the mask. Then I'm going to select my Magic Wand tool again. This time I'm going to set the tolerance even lower than 25, because I want to select less of the background. Let's try setting it to 10, then clicking on the background with the wand tool. Now, even though the mask is still on and we can see the black background, because I have the artwork part of the layer selected. It's going to select off of the artwork as if the mask isn't there. Now, I'm going to select inverse again, Command I. Now I have my artwork selected. But it's selected more of the artwork than it did at 25. The parts of the rainbows that got cut out at a 25 tolerance are now selected. Now I want to click on the mask part of the layer in my layer panel. This time I click the "Switch Arrows" on my toolbar so that white is on top, not black. Remember, white reveals the pixels. I want to reveal the pixels that got hid in on a few of my rainbows. I'm making my brush a bit bigger and painting white in the mask on this rainbow where I want to reveal more pixel. Now, my rainbow looks whole. I'll move on to another rainbow that I'd like to fix. This one reveal too much, so I'm making my brush smaller again and just painting where I want it to reveal. I'll just continue to go through and fix a few of the rainbows that got jagged edges or too much was masked out and bring them back to whole by painting white in the mask. Whenever I bring too much back, I can Command Z to undo and adjust my brush size and try again. I think that the artwork looks really nicely masked or cut out now. I'm going to change my color fill layer from black to white by clicking on it and selecting white. This way I can make sure it looks nice and clean on a white background. It does. I think I'm ready to bring the cut-out artwork into my 9 by 12 file that I already set up. I'm right-clicking on the layer and a menu pops up. I'm selecting "Duplicate Layer". A window pops up, and I'm going to select the name of the other document I have open that I want to transfer the artwork to. Then I click "Okay". Now if I go into that document, you'll see the artwork has been dropped in. I want to center it so I'm hitting "Command T" on my keyboard and dragging the artwork to center. I've got my smart guides on. These pink lines show up letting me know when I'm centered. If you want your smart guides turned on, go to view at the top and then show, and make sure there is a check next to smart guides. You also want to make sure that snap has a check mark next to it under view. This way you can easily snap to center. Now, all that's left is to save your file so you can make it into prints either on your home printer or by sending the file to your local printer. You can also upload files to websites like Zazzle that allow you to print your artwork on gifts and other products. Check out my next video where I'll go over your project. 6. Project: Your project for this class is to select your own color palette and phrase, then create your own uplifting rainbow watercolor painting. I'd love to see it when you're done. You can upload it to the class projects area on Skillshare, and you could also share it on Instagram. Tag me or mention me so I can see it. I'm @annewashereandthere on Instagram. Please also follow me here on Skillshare if you'd like to know about new classes I post. Happy painting, and I can't wait to see all of your rainbows.