Watercolor Succulent Mini Book | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Watercolor Succulent Mini Book

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

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

13 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Class Supplies

    • 3. Folding Pages Using Template

    • 4. Painting Side #1: The Background

    • 5. Painting Side #1: Cactus Layer 1

    • 6. Painting Side #1: Cactus Layer 2

    • 7. Painting Side #1: The Pottery

    • 8. Painting Side #2: The Background

    • 9. Painting Side #2: Cactus Layer 1

    • 10. Painting Side #2: Cactus Layer 2

    • 11. Painting Side #2: The Pottery

    • 12. Final Touches

    • 13. Class Wrap Up & Variations

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About This Class

Watercolor Succulent Mini Book is a beginner level class painting class where we will create a small accordion book full of our paintings.

We will use basic watercolor supplies (paint, paper, brushes) plus a waterproof permanent marker and gel pen to enhance our images.

Class Downloads include a Class Supply List and a Class Template to assist in creating your sketches. The Class Template includes a variety of succulent sketches that you can include in your book. Select the ones you like and trace them onto your pages.

Then, begin painting them images using the techniques demonstrated in class including wet on dry, watercolor glazing, and building up layers of pigment.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is a opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as a educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

I upload art classes every Friday, here on Skillshare. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my blog for additional info on my website danielamellen.com or my YouTube Channel for additional c... See full profile

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1. Class Intro: Hello. I'm Daniella Millan and author and artist. Thanks for joining me for my class watercolor, succulent mini book. Today's class is for beginner watercolor artists. We'll start with a strip of paper, create folds and then begin adding sketches of succulent plants. You can download the sketch sheet and trace your images onto the pages of your books. Then we'll start painting layers, working on techniques like creating washes of color, adding pigments to the cactus and then adding glazing layers. We'll create a coordinated look throughout the folded book by using similar colors for the background and pots of the plans. I've included a class supply list and succulent template. Then you can download to help make your sketches. I'll show you a simple method for making a mini accordion book toe. Hold your paintings for your class project. Create your own succulent booklet. Please take a photo of your work and post in the project section or on social media. Be sure to follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes. Please consider leaving a review and thank you for joining me today. 2. Class Supplies: for our mini watercolor, succulent book will need a few class supplies, and these are just basic watercolor supplies. Aside from that, only the template, which you can find in the project section if you can't find it using the skill share app, try using a browser from either a laptop or computer to get to that link. But these air just the sketches that I made, Ah, various cactus that will put into our booklet. We'll need some watercolor paper. This is £140 I need 10 inch lengths. I'll eventually cut them down to smaller sizes, and we'll go over that in the next chapter. But you need at least a 10 inch length of watercolor paper, and then you'll need your basic watercolor supplies. I have my pigments, that pencil and eraser. I have a waterproof marker that I'm gonna use in a gel pen for when my painting is dry. And then I have just assortment of brushes. I have a six before Ah one and a very thin one. I think it's a 5/0. I have a paper towel and some water in the next chapter will go over using the template and creating our paper that we're going to use 3. Folding Pages Using Template: so to create our paper strip. This is just 10 inches across, but watercolor paper has a grain, and so you want to cut it so that when you fold it, you're not going against the grain. If you go against the grain, it's not the end of the world, but it does not fold nearly as nicely. So to find out, how do you do the grain? One simple ways to pick it up, and you just want to gently push it down and fold it, and you can see here it bends. If I want to fold it against the grain, it gives me a little more fight, particularly on the heavier pound paper. So for this one, I can fold it easily this way and not so much this way. And that works out really well for us because I want a long strip, because this is what I'm gonna fold my pieces on. So now that they have my fold, they're both 10 inches across. I have one that's two inches tall and one that's 2.5 inches tall. The choice is yours. I prefer for a booklet to use the two inch tall one. And if I'm going to use this to stand up on my table for a centerpiece or if I want to put it by my plants, I'll use the taller one that the extra height gives it a little more ability to stand up nicely. So I'm gonna just make the smaller one today in class. And what I do is I take it and they fold it right in half corner to corner. And this is just to make my accordion fold. And then I just creased that corner, that seam in the middle and my corners lineup. And then I'm simply just gonna open that former time and then I'm gonna pull my corners to the center of the fold, increase their again. I'll flip it over and do the same thing. So there you have our little book. You can keep it. It's a booklet, or you can open it, increase the fold the opposite way and make your accordion fold. And this way it will also stay open for your table. So now that I have my folds, which are also my guides for each section, I'm gonna go in there and I'm gonna trace my images using a light source and you could use a window or I'm gonna use this little light pad that I have. So I take my light pad, I take my template and I put it down. And if I was using a window, I would do the same thing. I'd have my window, I'd maybe tape up my template because I have a few images that I want to trace. And then for each square, I'm just gonna eyeball where I want my image to go. And I'm gonna put it inside there, and I'm gonna trace it directly with my waterproof marker. If you're hesitant to do this, you can do it with pencil and then trace over the pencil. And so I'll do my tracings and speed this along so you can see the final result as well as the process. When I have one side down, I'll just flip it over and continue with the other side. And there you'll have all your pieces traced out. There are more images than there are squares to trace out on, but you can pick and choose the ones you want. And there are some here here and here where they're just top views. Worse is, the others are side views, and I like to use the top views as my cover. And so here I might write succulent or captives down the side. And this is also where I'll go in with my marker and I'll make my little spines right on top of all my cactus that I want to add them. I'll go over here and do this speed this along and then in the next chapter will start painting the background. 4. Painting Side #1: The Background: the first stage of my painting is gonna be the paint, a little background squares, and I like to do them all in the same color. This is totally optional, as is the color if you want to put in the background and what color you would like to use or if you'd like to use multiple colors. But the first thing I like to do is just eyeball a rough sketch of just a rectangle, and I do the 1st 1 and I do it lightly in pencil. And from here, this gives me a guide. And so then I just make my top line for the rest of my squares, and they don't have to be exact. In fact, I prefer that they aren't exact. And then I just bring the line down here and again. I'm going very light so that I can erase it or modify it as I see necessary. And so then I'll just erase the mark. I don't want to keep, and they will do the same thing on the back because this is the the cover I should say. What I like to do is just go over the image and not the text if I included the text. And then from here I just used that as a guide. And again I make my squares or my rectangles on each one, just like that. Once again, I remove any pencil marks that I really know I don't need. Now from here, I choose a color. And because I know most of my cactuses are gonna be greens and blues and maybe some pinks, I'll go in there with a light color. That'll contrast nicely. So I'll either do a yellow or an orange, but you can do any color. A pink or even a light blue would be lovely, so I'll go in there and maybe I'll do a light blue, put a little water on my palette, and then I'll take some of this Prussian blue and mix it in, and I'll mix in a little cerulean blue with that as well. Let's start with one side of my paintings, and I'm just gonna go and create the background and I'll do the background on one painting , and then I'll speed up along just so you can see the remainder of on the same page. And even though I'm only gonna paint one painting at a time. I like to go in there and do all my backgrounds first, so I go around the perimeter and then I just pick up some of this color and it's light and I don't have to be exact, but I do like to go around the image those pen marks that we made. Once I have one layer down, I can see if I want to enhance the color with a little more pigment or if I'm happy the way it is, I think I'll just go in there with a little more intense pigment. Just drop it in in certain spots. Try and get all the way around here behind these cactus. And then I'll speed this along and do the remainder of the background this side of the paper so you could do multiple colors for the background or even Grady INTs. But the reason I choose to do a solid color is I think it really coordinates the entire image of the book as well as it makes the cactus really stand out. Because the unifying background while it looks bright and the color is cheerful, it kind of fades into the background and we get to see all the different nuances of the different cactus. - So there we have our backgrounds. I like to go in here and just tidy up any edges. That might be a little rough, and then I'll let this layer completely dry. 5. Painting Side #1: Cactus Layer 1: so because I like to work on one side of the paper at a time, and I like to work on one cactus at a time. I'll start with here, the one on my left, and so this one, I'm gonna make two toned, So I want to mix a green. So I'll take my small number one brush and mix some of this deep green right down here and I'll take a little Prussian blue and add it to that deep green. And what I like to do it with a wet brush. I like to go in there and the areas closest to the center. I just like to put a little splotch of my green. I like to leave the ends of each of the little petals or leaves, um, plain white. And then after that dries, I'll go back in there and so you could do this with any color. You could even do it with just two shades of green, or you can leave it just like this. But I'm gonna go in there and put a little contrast in color after it dries. So this is the first layer over here. I'm gonna move onto the next one, and I'm gonna take that green, and I'm gonna mix it a little more blue with that. And so now I have to greens one more blue than green. Could start with that green one, though. And I'm gonna go right by where the two or the three cactuses meat. And I'm gonna put some of that green right down and again. I'm not trying to color the entire image. This is the same plan I'm going to use for all the cactus. And then I'll go in there with that blue and deposit some of that color just around as well . And so there I get a little variation still having some white showing. I'll move onto my next one and again the same thing here. I'm gonna let this one stay just like this, because I'm gonna add some yellow just to really highlight that green. And then on my last plant here, I want this to look very green and much lighter. So I'll rinse my brush and I'll take some of this permanent green. It's a light green and just makes a teeny bit of this deep green with it. And then I'm gonna come in here and just using a very wet brush. I'm just going to add some color right to the center of each of these pedals. It's kind of very loose painting just like that, and I'm gonna let these layers completely dry. 6. Painting Side #1: Cactus Layer 2: So now that my layer has dried, I want to make each of these individual but still coordinate. And because I used the same colors, the base colors for the bottom of the layers, I can now just change the top color, and it'll still coordinate nicely. So once again, I'll start with you the one of my far left, and I want to make a nice contrast in color. So I put a little water in my palette, take a little crimson lake and make a little puddle of that. And then I'll add a little pearly in red to that as well. And now, with a sharp point on my number one brush, gonna go in here and just add a little pigment to the ends of each of these pedals and I'll do that all the way around. And if the area has dried all in green, that's okay again. This will be a very painterly look. Just like that. I'll rinse my brush, and that was my 2nd 1 I want to go in there and I want to add a more of a yellow tinge to it. So take a little this hands a yellow down in my palette a little of this light green just to mix it in. And now I'll just deposit some of this color all the way along the top of this cactus and I'll go back in and look at areas that I want to maybe add a little glaze to and I'll go over the entire image with that yellow, and I like how that looks for the next one. Here, I'm gonna go in there. I'm gonna take just some of this lighter green. This is the permanent green, and I'll do a nice glaze on that. So I mix that with a little water, put it on my brush, and I'm just gonna go over the areas of the flower of the cactus. And while that whole thing is wet and I like the way that looks, I'm gonna make sure I have that glaze over both pieces. I'll go in there and take a little this deep green just a little bit on the end of my brush . I don't want a really wet brush just a little bit, and I'm gonna go on deposit that color right in the center and at the base of this cactus. And then lastly, I'll come over here and I want this one to be blue. Take a little the cerulean blue and just a little on my brush. And I'm gonna go in there and just paint some of that white area and I'll let this layer completely dry. 7. Painting Side #1: The Pottery: So now that these layers air dry, I'm gonna go in there and I'm gonna paint those pots. And once again, I want the pots to be all the same color just because I find it to be very cohesive and it makes the cactus really stand out. So I'll make some of this burnt Sienna with a little bit of her 1,000,000. Hugh, I think. Is it a nice terra cotta color? And then, with a lot of weather, very wet brush. I'm gonna go in there. I'm gonna create the first layer. So I put it down on my left side, and I just drag it lightly across my pot, covering most of the area again. I'm not looking to cover it. Exact. I wanted to look kind of rustic. And then, after that's had a moment to really absorb into the paper. I'll come back with a little more pigment, a little more over 1,000,000 Hugh, and I'll just dab it in certain spots. And then I'll do that one more time adding again, a little more pigment and I'll let this layer completely dry. 8. Painting Side #2: The Background: So now I'm just looking at this side. Here's my opportunity to go in there and add any more layers of color. If I want. Another layer may be on the terra cotta pots or what have you. I'm happy with it, but if I wasn't, I could go in there, do another painting and then let it dry. But instead I'm ready to move on to the next side so I'll flip my piece over, and I have my pencil sketch for my outline that I did when we originally made the pencil sketch outline for the backgrounds. So I'll go in there and I'm gonna mix another blue again. I take my Prussian blue and a little cerulean blue and I'll go and I'll just create the outline behind each of these plants. Want yet again? Now that I have the 1st 1 done, I'll continue, and I'll just speed it up as I go, just so we don't spend a lot of time with the same technique here. - So here I'll go in. I'll just make sure my backgrounds or the way I want them to look at any final touches and then let this layer dry and then we'll let this layer dry 9. Painting Side #2: Cactus Layer 1: So once again, our background is dry and now we'll start with our cactus layer again. I'm gonna mix up my greens us, and I'll always start with this deep green. I'll mix a little of it in with whatever blue was left on my palette. And if I don't have enough blue, there will just take a little Prussian blue and mix it in. Then I'll take some of this permanent green and mix it over here with this blue and again for the first layer. I'll go in with my deeper color here, and I'll put some color down on the cactus part of this image. Then I'll come in here and again. I'll take that green, and I'm gonna put it down over 3/4 of each of these cactus. So just the tip of it is is I'm leaving white You to come over here on this one, mix in a little more blue, and I'll go in there and just add some green to this cactus again. I like the way the white looks, the white of my paper and then for the last one, gonna make this look like the plant mother in law's tongue. There's a horrible name for it, but it is a sharp point plant, and I guess that's where they get that from. Gonna makes a little more deep green into it with a sharp point. I'm gonna go in here and just make some lines, leaving a little space like little stripes, really on each of these plants, treating each one individually and I'll go just like this. So I have a lot of the white of the paper. I'll go back in taking a little more color, a little more pigment and just add a few more stripes right on top of the existing ones that I added. So now we'll get a little variation in some of the initial calorie put down in some of this deep color, and then I'll let the Slayer dry on all four pieces of our painting. 10. Painting Side #2: Cactus Layer 2: now for our second layer on the cactus I want to mix a little bit of yellow is the hands of yellow and some of this permanent green over here. And I'll also make a puddle of a cerulean blue. So in a way of the three colors, I'll take some of the cerulean blue and mix it with some of this permanent green. So I get kind of ah, light turquoise and I'll just go put a little bit of that right over here on this cactus again You can see the contrast between the white of the paper, the first layer we sat down and then this color over here I want to go even more blue So just pick up whatever's on my brush and whatever blue I have down and I'm gonna go And I'm gonna color that white and they will go in there with whatever else I can pick up and just put it the base, rinse my brush and then I'm gonna combine whatever green I have left on my palette with a little of that yellow. And I'll pick that up, making it a glaze on my brush and I'll just go over the majority of this tall cactus. Here again, it creates a very interesting effect. I'll rinse my brush and now I'll take a little more of this permanent green. It's kind of a light green. Make a very sharp point of my brush with a lot of pigment looks and I'll go in there and I'm just gonna make some more rows of this green. Make sure to get the tip and on each stock, I'll go in there, create those stripes, I'll rinse my brush and then I'm gonna take just some of this yellow hands a yellow all by itself. Make a nice, sharp point. And I just want to go in there and add some little spots of yellow on this last plant here , making my little stripes take a little sharp point of my brush and makes us some dabs over here is well of the yellow. And I think I'll do that on this plan. Just just a little bit to tie it in. Lastly, all rinse my brush and I'll take a little of this crimson lake, and I'm gonna go over here on this little flower again. I want to see white of the paper, and so then it's very loose, and then I'll just go in there with a little more pigment and we'll let this layer completely dry. 11. Painting Side #2: The Pottery: for a last layer of paint. I want to work on the vases here. Little pots. So with my number one brush gonna re wet some of that color that we had down and I'll makes a little more. So take a little The burnt Sienna and a little vermillion. Hugh, I'll start actually over here on the right side. I'm just gonna put first layer down covering most of the pot. But not all of it. Same thing here. Then, when we have a nice contrast ing pigment, I'll go in there, rinse my brush removal out of the water and pick up a little more intense pigment and just dropped that in certain areas. Once I'm happy with that, I'll just let it dry. We want to make sure for our next step that it's both dry on the front and the back, so give it a good 20 minutes to 1/2 hour to dry. Minimum 12. Final Touches: So now that we have our painting dry, we can go in there, erase any pencil marks that might remain. And as long as you're painting is dry, they should come up without any problem. They won't tear up the paper, and then I'm gonna go in there with my pen again. And if there's any areas that I want to add, more spikes or more little spines here, I'll do that can also add some patterns, like polka dots or what have you? I'll just go around checking that, and I'll do that on both sides. And then I'll go in there with my gel pen and I'll do the same thing. I might want to put a few little spines here and there. A few little polka dots gives a little texture on this one. I'm gonna just add a few little white stripes as well. Just add a little more contrast to this mother in law's tongue, and then I'll do the same thing over here at a few more spikes, a few little dots. See if there's any highlights I want to add. Now. If you'd like to use your peace is a book, you just fold it up, and then I like to just press it between two heavy objects. Just so it's nice and crisp when I'm done. If I'm gonna use it for my table table scape, I'll do the same thing and I will press it down. So put between two heavy books for maybe 1/2 hour. You can leave it overnight, and I'll just give you those nice, crisp images. The next chapter will do a class wrap up, and I'll show you some variations. 13. Class Wrap Up & Variations: So here is the accordion book that we made in class, and it just folds in like this, and you can use it in your journal. Or you can just have a little book here with all your different images. And they're beautiful illustrations. And because you have that solid background and the pots are the same color, the actual cactus shape, color and texture really stands out. And it's quite a lovely look. I made some variations using the same illustrations and the same size paper, and here I did it with a yellow background and because I wanted this book to fold slightly differently. So here I took it, and I still folded in the same procedure. But I folded it in. I made the cover right on the center one. And so when it opens, it looks like this. But when it's folded, it looks like this. And then it opens just like this, with same illustrations. So I still have my four this way in my four. This way, if you wanted to do a smaller version, you could just take one piece of paper and fold it in half, and then you have four so this could be a little tuck spot, or you could just use it as a little gift tag. It's kind of a very pretty effect and very striking with the various colors and cactus. And then, lastly, I did a very tall one, and I folded it quite a bit so that the pieces are very small. Didn't orange background and it stands out even further. This one folds up just like this, and then it opens. I hope. Youll try your hand at one of these succulent watercolor booklets. Please post your work in the project section And be sure to follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes and please consider leaving a review. Thanks for watching.