Watercolor Wonderland - Paint + Design for the Holidays | Amarilys Henderson | Skillshare

Watercolor Wonderland - Paint + Design for the Holidays

Amarilys Henderson, Watercolor Illustrator, Design Thinker

Watercolor Wonderland - Paint + Design for the Holidays

Amarilys Henderson, Watercolor Illustrator, Design Thinker

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18 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. Watercolor Wonderland

    • 2. Roadmap Overview

    • 3. Supplies

    • 4. Color Schemes

    • 5. Character: Snowmen

    • 6. Character: Reindeer - Painting

    • 7. Character: Reindeer - Detail

    • 8. Digital Coloring

    • 9. Digital Collage

    • 10. Background: Evergreen Forest

    • 11. Background: Birch Forest

    • 12. Details: Gold

    • 13. Details: Snowflakes

    • 14. Details: Holly

    • 15. Lettering: Happy Holidays

    • 16. Lettering: Wonderland Serif

    • 17. Lettering: Bounce + Shadow

    • 18. Post Your Progress

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About This Class


'Tis the season to take out your art supplies and create a fresh take on memorable motifs! 

This class is truly holiday fun for everyone! The video outline is designed to meet you at your level. You may choose your own route as you navigate through a roadmap of lessons with easy and challenging options--from painting simple motifs to designing in Photoshop.


You can watch the lessons that feel relevant to you or watch them all to pick what sparks your interest. With a total of 15 teaching segments that walk through a variety of subject matter, you'll have plenty of options to choose from.

You'll Gain Insight On:

  • Using traditional and trending color schemes
  • How to stretch your watercolors to create opaque applications
  • Applying metallic touches that sparkle and scan well
  • Lettering--in three styles
  • Watercolor techniques such as wet on wet, wet on dry
  • Mixed media and digital techniques for professional illustration use
  • How to approach your work casually, simply, and effectively

Artist and illustrator Amarilys Henderson has licensed her holiday artwork to companies and manufacturers for use on greeting cards, gift bags, mugs, promotion, and food packaging. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Amarilys Henderson

Watercolor Illustrator, Design Thinker

Top Teacher

Hello! I'm Amarilys. I process on paper and I problem-solve with keystrokes.

As a commercial illustrator, I've had the pleasure of bringing the dynamic vibrance of colorful watercolor strokes to everyday products. My work is licensed for greeting and Christmas cards, art prints, drawing books, and home decor items. My design background influences much of my recent work, revolving around typography and florals.

While my professional work in illustration is driven by trend, my personal work springs from my faith. Follow along on Instagram


Learn a variety of fun and on-trend techniques to improve your work!

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1. Watercolor Wonderland: Hi, I'm Emery Sanderson, and I'm surprised I have not taught this yet considering that I really, love Christmas. We're going to do some holiday card designs. I'm going to show you a lot of different elements and how to incorporate them so that they're not your boring card, but the kind of car that has a little bit heartfelt magic thing. We're going to be using watercolors and we're going to add maybe some italics it's up to you, so I'm excited basically going to be painting like everything that I find fun. If you're like me and listen to Christmas music palling around for it. It's just that time of the year and you want to create your own card, let's get going. 2. Roadmap Overview: We're going to do this class. I myself will not be creating one card live. I'm going to walk you through a roadmap where we'll start to make simple decisions from easy to challenging. I will be showing you the elements, just the different things that you can incorporate into your card, from color schemes to backgrounds to main elements, and then you can navigate through creating your specific design. We'll touch on a lot of my other classes. If it's something that sparked your interests or you want to take a deeper dive into that subject matter, there's a lot of support for that. 3. Supplies: When it comes to supplies, you don't have to use exactly what I'm showing you, but I'll show you the supplies that I am using, since that's a common question. We'll use watercolors. The watercolors that I'll be using in the video are mostly going to be mission gold. Of course, to use watercolors, you need a brush. I'll be using pretty much round brushes or liner brushes, sizes two to eight. This is my recommended paper, but it's actually not the paper that I used in the class. I use a less expensive paper that I found at Hobby Lobby. You'll need pencils. So these pencils are graphite pencils. I will use them with the reindeer, but as an optional exercise, and at one point, I will then erase and subtract a little bit of those pencil slides with a needed eraser. For the birch trees, we'll be using a flat brush, meaning that it's got a square edge. I'll be using the size 10. Depending just on the size of your forest, think of the width that you might need once you watch the video. Depending on the color scheme that you want to use, if you go the vintage route, you will need some acrylic white ink or this Dr. Ph. Martin's pen-white. These fluid watercolors, Dr. Ph. Martin's are some of my favorites. They are fun to do with the wet on wet technique. Another optional element are metallics. I am using the Gansai Tambi gold, starry-night palette paints. The brand name is Kuretaki. I'll actually have that as a slide as text, so you can write that down if you want to purchase those. Aside from these, if you want to do an extra exercise for the reindeer, we'll be using Photoshop. 4. Color Schemes: Color is very important to set the mood for how you want your card to come across. We're going to start with the traditional look. We all know Christmas is red and green. Now, when you're choosing a red, I encourage you to choose a red. You're going to find a lot of rose names out there, but you'd be surprised how much reds vary and it's very difficult to pinpoint just that right red. You want to get a permanent red. I have a sap green. Seems pretty logical if we're going for anything woodsy like Christmas tree, and I would like to throw in an olive green. Now for a dark color, we're going to use a Prussian blue. It's not going to be as dark as black but it'll also lend itself for say, a snow man. I'm going to show you some of my work that shows the traditional colors used in greeting card designs. Some of these are licensed and these are definitely on my work so please be mindful in capturing and sharing. But you can see you can have fun with these colors. Don't be turned off by the word traditional. Another very popular look is a vintage color schemes. I'm going to go ahead and squirt some colors in my vintage color scheme. There are several ways you can go about it, but I have found these to be my favorite compilation. That's going to be vermilion, which is kind of a red, orange, opera pink, a vandyke green and we'll add Prussian blue and sepia to the mix. If you've taken my watercolor florals class, you know that I have a way of approaching vintage color schemes, and it's by adding acrylic white ink. This time I'm actually using a pen white, which is by Dr. Ph. Martin's. I'm going to squirt it in a line right by my vintage colors. Now I want to show you how we're going to mix with this acrylic ink. I might have a million and I'm just going to mix it a little bit with that white. You see how this is already getting a little bit of a vintage feel, I love it. As I paint each one of these colors in their pure water color form, and then alongside their vintage added white color swatch, you see how there's not only a difference in the color, but there's also kind of a quality that emerges from having that flat white. If you have trouble with making it flow as you're used to with your watercolor. Remember that you've got three ingredients working here. You've got watercolor, you've got the acrylic white ink and you've got the water. If you want it to flow better, use more water. But if you want your color to be lighter, use more white. Where I really see these colors shining through is in the really warm peaks, but also in the darker colors because you don't see too many stark lines in vintage work. It tends to be a little lighter, but they definitely have all of those and you'll see how those come together. Again, some examples of work that show that color scheme of these four colors plus the additional pastel feel to give kind of this vintage feel. Obviously your subject matter is going to play a role in how your vintage approach comes across. But think of those coming together, will it be your subject matter or your approaches coming across simply by the colors. The third color theme is monochromatic color way and so it's just one color. If you want to go for just a very wintry scene, something that's not screaming Christmas, but does scream winter holiday. A monochromatic scheme would be great made, a blue is neutral. Just want to show you some variations. So that would be the most easiest approachable way to go about doing your greeting card. All right, enough colors, let's get painted. 5. Character: Snowmen: I want to kick right off and start making a character. The easiest character I could think of that is very festive would be a snowman. With my traditional color theme, I'm going to use of course the blue. The first part is definitely the easiest part, making your three circles, one that is larger than the next, stacking on top of each other. Using a lot of water, I want to see those colors interplay with the water. I'm going to keep using this navy blue and add a little bit of the sepia but I'm going to be careful not to touch the snowman because it's wet right now. I'm going to make the twigs of the arms using the very tip of my brush and how I chose to make the branches, I don't want them to be equally spaced out. We want him to be a bit random and half of them split off into more branches and half of them to just say as a single branch. This is still little cold, which means its still wet. I'm going to start with his top hat because that's what snowmen wear traditionally. To make him super festive, I'm going to give him a red top hat as trapezoid, a square that tapers at the bottom. I've loaded my brush with more paint than water, so it helps me ensure that it won't really have a bleed. I'm making this bow just two triangles but I'm letting them flap a little bit so that you feel the folds of the fabric and the ribbon of the bow tie tapering off at the end. With my loaded red brush, I'm just going to add a little of the blue. It's an even darker blue to make the coal buttons, the coal eyes, and the mouth made out of coal as well. Finally, I'm going to veer from my color scheme, go little far and reach for my orange because a traditional snowman has a carrot nose. Now, here I don't want the tip of his nose to hit up against the edge of this snowman's face, create a tangent. A tangent is basically where two lines meet within a piece of artwork and then you can't tell what overlaps what. As much as possible you want to make that obvious. That's why I stretched his carrot nose further out or you can keep it further in. My vintage snowman is going to look a little different. I'm still using blue, the Prussian blue, but this time I added a little white, so it does have a bit more of a flat feel. Just to add a little mid-century flare, I'm not going to make these perfect circles instead, I'm making this a little more graphic. If you'll think of mid-century modern art, the shapes that were created were shape, bold, flat, color. Even when I'm making the twig arms, I'm going to keep it flattened graphic. The advantage of working with a little bit of acrylic ink with your watercolors is that you can overlap to a certain extent. I'm going straight with the sepia for the coal eyes, coal mouth, and coal button. Finally, I'm going to give him a pink nose. Now, so much with nostalgia is these little details. A little sprig right here, and I'll show you how to make these shapes in another segment of the class. Now, I'm using my paints in their pure form without as much of the white. 6. Character: Reindeer - Painting: We're going to do the reindeer. The only reason that I would say that the reindeer complex is because it requires anatomy and we're actually going to sketch first. Something that I find really helpful is to get a lot of silhouettes of my subject matter from Stock Photo places online. We're going to go with as standard as can be just to get the ball rolling. We're going to use this one as a reference. What I like about this one, it's got a very flat profile. You see the whole body. It's actually missing a leg, presumably there, right behind each other. But if possible, I like to show that. You got the antlers. They're almost symmetrical. I don't know if this is really a photo that they used at first or if they created this in Illustrator. It looks like they just created this in Illustrator. My favorite part is how these legs jut out this way. I'll show you guys, real quickly, a breakdown of the anatomy of this reindeer. I'm going to use a little tracing paper and a Sharpie to outline some of these major shapes. We've got a really large body shape. It doesn't change very much. It just tapers at the front where that neck is. Of course, we've got the head, which is again like a trapezoid, a rectangle that tapers at the end, at our ears. Antlers feel a lot like branches. So you've got your main branch and you've got the smaller branches that come off it either presumably there. Then what's interesting are the hind legs. At least that's what's interesting to me. It's like their knees go back and when you have some of those staple elements down, you'll be able to translate, communicate that this is a deer pretty easily. When you see that outline of the deer, then it's a lot easier to draw because you start to really understand what makes this look like a deer. I made the body a little too lean here. Let's make it a little bigger. Let's do that on our watercolor paper. Again, I've got my big, husky body that goes up the trapezoidal head, the ears, the antlers, those hind legs. When you have four legs on an animal, you want them to be almost the same. Not exactly the same. Makes it a little more interesting. What I like about a kneaded eraser is that it erases a little bit or a lot. [inaudible] know-it-all tone because you've probably heard me say that before if you've taken my classes before. I'm going to fill my shape with water because I want the color, once it comes in, to do that, to disperse. I don't want my my color splashes to meet here because I want to leave some of that white bleed. When I do a wet on wet technique, this is crimson I'm bringing in, I like to use 2-3 different colors so that when they bleed in together, there's even more interest. Back to the original color so that I don't have legs that are one color and the body that's another. That's not what I'm going for. What I'm going for is using both within the piece and blending at different places. I'm going to make the antlers green. I'm intentionally not touching the red because they're both really wet and it will it will bleed. Sometimes I like that but not today. 7. Character: Reindeer - Detail: I want to show you some reindeer that I've already done, and show you how I walked through that process with this little red guy. These were some reindeer that I painted a lot of. I just made them silhouettes, because I wanted to then embellish them freely. Once I paint something, sometimes I get a little committed to just that finished piece, instead of getting committed to the idea, so then I move into working digitally. It also offers a lot of flexibility if you're working with a client, and you are not the final say on what the design will look like. Went old school and took out a sheet of tracing paper. Of course, if you have an iPad or like to work digitally, you can just take this painting, and then work on it on your iPad. I knew I was going to spend a lot of time on the computer anyway, so I do as much as I can by hand and then scan them separately, and then compile them digitally. I've got my tracing paper, I'm going to use a 4B pencil, it's a very loose graphite, and so it's going to be very dark, very fast. We can use anything we want, we can use markers, we can use Sharpies. In the end, it also doesn't matter what color we use, not necessarily, because we can also change that digitally. Now that I have my reindeer, like my other reindeer, I'm going to make him a nerdy reindeer, it just seems right. Since I'm wearing aviators, I'm going give him aviators as well. Nose is very important, but it's very easy to hint just with a triangle. You can embellish your reindeer as you'd like. I'm going to give him suspenders as awkward as that is, to put on to reindeer. If I were a reindeer, I think this would be my waist. He's not going to wear a belt, because that would be redundant. I would need a hole, for my tail to poke through and I'm going let his pants be a little awkwardly long. I'm now being super careful to make my lines line up perfectly with the reindeer, part of the quote is that they won't. How about we drape some Christmas lights on his antlers. Let's scan these separately and compile them digitally. This is my trusty all-in-one Canon Pixma, it's not very high-end, but it does the job actually really well. I place both pieces, since they are five by seven, they do both fit on my scanner bed. I scan them at least 300 dpi for my scans to work with. 8. Digital Coloring: Note these are scanned. I've opened my file in Photoshop. Now, the first thing I'm going to do is rotate this piece. I'm going to do a trick that I usually like to use. Down here in the adjustments palette, scroll down to levels. In levels, you're going to use your white dropper. Drop it on the brightest white in your piece. It'll brighten the piece and it'll definitely simplify some of these details. I'm cropping it in to just where the artwork is. Since I'm going to delete the background. It's going to take me a little time to clean up all the specs that are on my scanner and in my artwork, I'm going to go ahead and crop it in as close as I can. Delete cropped pixels because I just don't need them anymore. To flatten these layers and to create a brand new layer where I've got the levels affecting that background layer and yet to keep those layers intact, I'm going to create a new layer that is merged. To do that, on my keyboard I use Command, Alt, Shift, E, and it'll create a new layer on top. There it is. I'm going to hide those layers and create another layer underneath. I don't need those two, but I do want a layer underneath of just a white fill, a background fill color. Whenever I fill, I use Command Delete on my keyboard to use the background color or Alt Delete on my keyboard to use that foreground color. Now that I have this, I'm going to use the magic wand and it did a pretty good job to pick up all the white. Right now what we're trying to do is just to remove all the background. As I zoom in, I see there's some areas that it did pick up, that I didn't want it to pick up. It didn't pick up that I wanted it to pick up. It's not that contiguous box up at the top is not clicked, it did select those pieces. But now I'm just going to use the lasso tool holding down the Shift key. I'm going to select everything that I did want removed. We're selecting everything we're going to eventually delete. I don't want the fills of white within the trousers of the deer. I just want those outlines. I carefully select everything. Again, I'm holding down the Shift key the entire time so that everything that I pick up with the lasso, I add it to the selection that's already going on. If I ever make a mistake, I hit Command Z so that I can keep on selecting. Now I'm going to change what I'm doing on my keyboard with my left-hand and press down the alt button. This will deselect whatever is selected. I didn't want those pieces to be deleted because then I'd have like little hollow spots within my reindeer. I don't see anything else, but maybe between the legs here on the deer. That's not really, let's say space between the legs of the dear, it was just aligned to indicate that that wasn't one big leg. I don't want that deleted and now I'm just going to hit delete and it's going to remove everything that we have in the selection right now. You'll be able to see that layer that's underneath this layer and the bright white. Hit Command D to deselect. I'm going to invert this layer just to show you in black what was left behind. There's still quite a few specs that need to be removed. These pieces would show if the artwork were blown up larger, they might show in print. It just doesn't look very clean. I'm going to double-click on my layer and add a stroke. This is just something that I do to make it more visible to myself or what has not been removed from this layer. I see a lot of dots. I'm going to change the color just so it's a little easier on the eyes. I'm telling myself and my brain with the eraser right now, I am going to just erase everything I see that is this powder blue. I'm changing my brush or erasers to be a clean edge, to be larger or smaller, they quickly adjust the size of the eraser using my keyboard with the two bracket buttons that are just above the return on the keyboard and I remove all that's left. Again, Command C If you ever make a mistake. Now that it's all clean, I removed that layer effect. I'm going to select the marquee, whatever is pulled into that square box that I made with the marquee tool, I cut Command X and I paste Command V to create a new layer. Because they are going to need to lay on top of each other. Place this using the arrow tool, right where I want it. They should be well aligned since we did our original artwork that way. I've got my two layers going on and I hit multiply just so you can see how they might mesh together nicely. You can leave it this way if you'd like. I'm going to recolor a lot of those lines. First off, I'm going to crop this piece down, but I'm not going to want to delete cropped pixels, because remember I still have that underneath layer, the original scan down there. That has the pencil lines to the right of it. I don't want to delete that. But it's cropped down so that all we see is what's in front of us. Now I'm going to select each piece that I would like to have a different color selected with the lasso tool command X to cut, command V to paste. To do that with each part that I want to be a different layer or a different color, in this case, command x. This time I'm going to paste in place. To do that, if you'd like to do it the traditional way, it's in edit, paste, paste special. I'm going to remove the visibility of layers that I've already added so I know exactly what hasn't been cut and pasted into its own layer and continue on. I've got everything in separate layers now all these lines are in separate layers. Now I'm going to just change the color. I'm going to do that with a shortcut using the color overlay layer style. I double-click on my layer. I hit color overlay, and then I select which color I want it to be when it fills. We'll add a navy blue, just looking a little violet, something subdued. I'll rename my layers. Now I'm just going to change the color of each one of these, rename them. Doing this in the simplest way I can think of. The quickest way to work is usually the best because it's the easiest to maintain. With the lights I do want to change the color of just the outline of the lights. But I am also going to fill them. I want them to be a simple color and almost black. I'm going to add a layer underneath those lights. With my lasso tool, I am selecting some of them to be my first color. I'm creating a bit of a pattern just like Christmas lights tend to do. This first set of lights, again holding my Shift button to select lots of different colors or lots of different selections and have them all filled. Alt, Delete with the same color. Deselect, Command D and move on to select, hold down the Shift button while selecting more lights. Hold down the shift buttons select more. It's still on the same layer and I'm going to just use another color, bright yellow. Again hit Alt Delete to fill those. I'll continue with the pattern with two more colors. I added another layer, and now I'm selecting the tops of these light bulbs. They're all going to be the same color, but I'm going to do something slightly different and I'll show you that. I created a new layer again. I'm going to double-click on that layer. Now that I have all of those tops of the light bulb selected, and I'm going to add a gradient overlay. I want them to have a bit of a golden look. This is a quick way to add some color differentiation. It's a little, feels a little random. You see the yellow and you see the orange. But it's not really changing up as often as I would want it to be. Now I play with these sliders and just click on the line to add another color and done. That was colored pretty quickly. Now I'm going to name this layer and group them so that they are going to be all together. Move altogether if I need them to. Now as I've been filling things, I'm also going to fill by creating a new layer and adding a little color with the very random lasso tool. Adding a little white, knock it back down to about 50 percent to make those glasses look like transparent glasses. Again with the bow tie. But this time I'm not going to fill the bow tie with a color. I'm going to fill the bow tie in the pants with something else. 9. Digital Collage: In some of my pieces, I would like to add what was actually something that I concentrated more on in college. I liked to do cut paper. We've got a selection, I can always change it. I'm going to add a layer and now I'm going to pull up some artwork to insert. This is the artwork, I'm going to dress my reindeer up in this pattern. I'm going to select all, copy Command C. To paste this in, I'm going to do another fancy paste Command. Command, Alt, Shift, and V will paste it into that selection, and it creates a layer mask at the same time. I'm just going to transform it. Holding down the controls, the edges of that, play around with how it might look. It's fun to make it look very obvious, that is not really wearing this. He's looking like he's got some saggy hips there. I'm going to adjust my layer mask basically by selecting that, and I'm going to delete it from the layer mask by just hitting "Delete." Once I make sure that the layer mask is selected, make sure that the black is on the background. That does mean delete on a layer mask that is not showing. The way to select this layer mask, I just hit command and click on it so that I have the same selection up again, and I'm going to fill these paints with a color, that white is looking a little too stack to me. I'm going to select this chartreuse type color. I filled it by hitting Alt-Delete, and I'm going to make the layer on top multiplies that I can see it underneath. That color looks a little hideous, so we're going to adjust it just a little bit, make it lighter by double-clicking on the color, and then control-clicking on the layer to select that shape again, and filling it again with Alt-Delete. The suspenders too aren't really reading as suspenders, I'm going to add that same color that I had on the paints. There it looks a lot more like it's connected to his outfit. I might play a little more with the colors, I can always change that. Now that it's pretty much done, I'm going to crop it to a perfect square, just to give it a little breathing room. I'm going to add just a little touch, a hint of a background. Using the Marquee tool, I'm going to select the Ellipse tool circle, and on a new layer create a perfect little circle and fill it with a contrasting color, maybe a light blue. There's my finished reindeer. Now that you've seen the whole process, I'll show you some pieces that I've already done. Now these reindeer were done in the same way and you can see how I've got all those layers of cutting and pasting into, of coloring different lines that were created with pencil working on top of watercolor. There's a lot of fun variations that you can create with this same process. 10. Background: Evergreen Forest: In watercolor story, I showed you how to make what we call a value forest just because we were exploring values. I'm going to quickly do another value study of these value forest trees. Now when I'm making trees, I really just make a lot of these pointed downward and they get to be more and more lush. There get to be more and more lines coming down from the top. I started at mid-grade as far as darkness goes. Now I'm going to play with my water and paint ratio by adding more dark. The way that they first look might not look so impressive. But it's in the volume of the repetition in the details that you bring in the second and third layers. If you're not really impressing yourself with what you're painting right off the bat, don't get discouraged. As it progresses it might just look better. Mix this color with a little bit of the sepia, almost black and I'll alternate and go closer in to that first row of trees that are now completely dry. There's a very quick, simple forest you did with one brush, one color. This could work with any of our color schemes and would look quite lovely as an evergreen forests too. 11. Background: Birch Forest: So we're going to imagine our birch forest. Let's draw some lines. Birch trees just are very vertical. Sometimes they have tiny little branches coming off of them. So I am just drawing a lot of horizontal lines with the occasional twig or bump. In the bottom, we're going to imagine a snow, and we're only going to paint right now the background color, which would be the color shining behind through the trees. Now this is a wet on wet technique, meaning that you're going to need a lot of water, large brush, size 10, and if possible, use liquid water colors. So I'm using Dr. Ph Martin's liquid water colors. This is slate blue, and if you would like, you can take your paper down, especially if it's thinner than 150 pound, it will buckle. It will bend. So real quickly here I'm going to put on some water. We have to work somewhat fast because we're putting on water and then we're putting on paint, and the paint needs to go on to a wet palette. As I've done before with the reindeer, I'm going to incorporate two colors, at least. Now I'm going to go with my prussian blue, which is actually very similar to this slate blue. The slate blue is a little less saturated. Less colorful, I suppose, is another way to say it. I do want to leave some areas white. Wet on wet is fun if you can see those colors really bleed, and you won't be able to get much of a variety of colors if you don't leave some areas white. Some of that paper getting bled onto, and you have to be somewhat comfortable with irregularities, and actually see them as beautiful. Truly appreciate this technique. You can see some beautiful separations in the watercolor breaking down in different areas. Even a little red as the color itself breaks down, and that's something that I will forever love about these paints. Now we're going to use a smaller brush to bring in the details. So what's fun about birch trees is within them, as the bird comes off, and as it has little knots in the body and the trunk of the tree you see bits of brown, and this is saddle brown. This is a fluid water color. I'll use that and the sepia. I'm going to do these little knots, and hopefully a very watered down brown. If you're familiar with birch trees, I think you see what's happening here. You get that ragged peel, and then I'm going to drop a little bit of a darker paint in. Something tricky always in painting is when you're doing something rhythmically, and you have to keep it random. 12. Details: Gold: Now I'm only going to use one form of metallic. If you want to explore a lot of different ways to approach metallics, there is a class for that as well. These are my watercolor metallics from Gansai Tambi. You'll need to add water to activate the paints and just let it sit there for a while. I'm really trying to loosen up here, doesn't have to be perfect just to gain, the collective look of all these tiny brushstrokes that we just love to see. It's not about making one brush stroke more perfect than the other. At least that's not how I approach watercolor. Let's incorporate more metallics. How about those paints matches? The darker the color, the lighter the metallic you want to use on top. I think that this is partly what I really love about Christmas design because it's so iconic, you don't need to make it too complicated. Very simple paintings, simple shapes, simple motifs, get the point across because we've seen them so many times. 13. Details: Snowflakes: Now, I'm going to use a liner brush. At my very simplified way of doing snowflakes, I start with an asterisk. That's an X with a vertical line in between. This is a size two, it's got a long body of hair. Add V shapes to the end, and maybe a circle between the legs of those V's and maybe a cross hatch in the middle of each one of those sprigs. If you are going to go a little more complex, you could do a hexagon. It's like a house shape, my little house is upside down so to speak. Then those that I'm calling legs, extensions of lines come out from there. Again, adding what feel like branches, a little V in the middle, and I could just leave it like that or I could add circles again. That it's almost as if as long as you have a radial design that works about some triangles within those little radial design. Play with your snowflakes, they don't need to be equally sized. Of course in nature, they are perfectly symmetrical. But once you have a dozen of these on the page, it will really look frosty and snowy, and pretty fun. The magic about them is that one, they're very simple and two, it's in the collection of having several of them that really translate. 14. Details: Holly: Finally, as another easy exercise that is very iconic, we're going to paint holly around our snowman. I'm still mixing my paints. I'm still mixing my green with my white and a little bit of water to be the catalyst to make it smooth through. Basically, the shape of holly is by making two U shapes that are next to each other, and then another set contrasting facing the other and joining them at the bottom. We had three circles to make the berries, and that is basically it. Again, it's about the reputation and the collection of having all these shapes put together to feel full and beautiful and festive. Alternate your colors between darks and lights. I'm using the green as well as the blue, just to add interest and differentiate the leaves from each other. You'll spend a lot of time smoothing those edges and making sure that you have a shape that makes sense. Don't stop yourself after the first one, make a few, and then see how it looks. I'm going to provide a little bit of out line work actually to my snowman, and I want to keep with that graphical feel, by playing with the thick and thin on the lines. What's fun about doing this is, it gives you an opportunity to add more color, very natural way. I'm going to go to a very small brush, a detail brush. This is a size one, just to add detail. Let's add some holly to our snowman, and traditional colors of sap green and bright red. Here are the two snowmen with holly surrounding them. If you really enjoy doing the holly foliage, which is just one kind, you'll probably enjoy exploring this class, where you can watch me do a holiday wreath with more foliage, and I spent a little more time on the color schemes that are used with that, and how I incorporate each one of these shapes to overlap nicely. Because I already do have these two floral classes available, I didn't want to be redundant for those of you who have taken them. But if you haven't, you might want to explore just more of these shapes. Foliage is so big. Botanical elements add just a heartwarming feel to any card, any design, and definitely for Christmas, these are great things to explore. 15. Lettering: Happy Holidays: What feels like already a card, my color swatch palette, I'm going to write Happy Holidays. I have two classes on the subject of hand lettering, and we always start with something easy and build up. I'm going to start working towards a script. I've got my H. I looped this through, not too hard. A very standard looking a may be a little narrower. To make it interesting, the P's aren't exactly matching because again, if I could have done that, I would have typed it. I'm really just trying to be conscientious as I write my letters in the way that I already write them. Later on when I do this with a brush, it will add its own dimension. Right now I've got Happy Holidays where all the letters except for the H and the Y are pretty standard as far as handwriting goes. For this part, I do suggest that you use a liner brush or script brush, that's what they're for. Of course they also lean themselves to these curvy edges, these flourishes. You got a full, almost, inch of brush bristles that are holding paint and water for you so you don't have to dip back so often. I'm going to mix all the dark colors I have left on my palette. I have a very loaded brush, and I'm always going to write on the downward slope. I'm skipping a lot of the parts that go up. I'm not sure, dipping back in here, then I'm going to skip it. Again, I'm only doing the verticals at this point. I'm not following my pencil lines perfectly because every time that I add a layer of work to my work, it's an opportunity to make the layer before it even better. Now I'm going to go and address those horizontals. I am going to go on that P horizontal, very light in my pressure. Again, I am doing only the obvious horizontals. So now we have the parts that actually would go back up with our brush. Those would be the thinnest parts. Again, this would usually be a part where my brush would go up. But I'm keeping it going down because it's going to be a lot easier for me. Maybe a little more brain work on the front end, but definitely a smoother ride because I'm not constantly thinking, pressure as I go down, let up as I go up, pressure as I go down, I'm just doing one thing at a time. 16. Lettering: Wonderland Serif: I find that it's always fun to do the cover for you just because that's what made you want to do the class. Let me show you how I do it. In a right wonderland, I'm going to try to give it that wintery flare. I am just doing this freestyle with the occasional curlicue in it to add more wimzy, I want to maintain that feel of how this is done by hand and it's pretty unmistakable. I'm keeping the first half at least of the letter wide and playing with the thick and thin. That would be my thick and then my thin is on the other side. I'm using the two reds that we have used in this class already. The Vermilion is predominant here. Every so often I'm using the permanent red. They are meshing into each other here on my palate. Now, I made a circle there, a dot with the tip of that R. I didn't mean to close that in, but now that I did do that, I am going to keep it consistent and go back and add a bit of a dot into these curlicues, since this is a serif font, and I want to keep in mind that the ends of my letters either have a curlicue or a serif. I'm really trying to channel that Christmas nostalgia, frosty the snowman, and then all those claymation specials. This brush is a Size 5. 17. Lettering: Bounce + Shadow: Now I'm going to use as much smaller brush that I like to use, it's a size 2. I'm going bring out my metallics. Do I want it to be light-gold, or yellow-gold, or red-gold, or blue-gold, or champagne-gold, or white-gold? That's a lot of gold options. I get them wet, inactivated and then worry about that later. I'm going to write the word watercolor in a bit of a bounce calligraphy style and I'll walk you through a little bit of how I got to this point. But it does require a lot of that brain work that I was trying to avoid, you having to suffer through in our happy holidays lettering. Instead of having to think through each brushstroke and how much pressure you are applying into it, I decided to go step-by-step where we do all one direction at a time. With bounce lettering, you really just don't have that luxury. You just have to really focus when you're writing that W. You're applying pressure as you're going down, letting up as you go up, applying pressure as you go down, letting up as you go up, and with every letter you face that. Then with every connector you need to consider, do I want this to be thick or thin. Since I'm having a hard time deciding what gold to use, I'm using them all and I don't mind that at all. Now, I'm just going to add a few details into my Wonderland word with the gold to tie them together. As I've done in my lettering classes, I'm going to add a little bit of a drop shadow. This is Prussian blue and Van Dyke green. This is probably the most nerve-wracking part, going into these very small areas with a water down color. Therefore it has a lot of water and therefore you have less control to create these drop shadows. I like to leave a little bit of a white line in between the letter form and the drop shadow. 18. Post Your Progress: I hope you got a lot of ideas for your Christmas designs. You know what to do now, you've got to create something and you've got to show us, review this class, let me know if you liked it and what you liked about it. If you'd like to share on Instagram, your project or your progress, you are welcome to do that. You can tag meet at watercolordevo. Don't forget to follow here on Skillshare and to get updates about my latest class, and I actually do feast on student class ideas.