Watercolor Wreath with Simple Feathers | Neesha @PaperWand | Skillshare

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Watercolor Wreath with Simple Feathers

teacher avatar Neesha @PaperWand, Watercolor | Illustration Studio

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Intro & Supplies

    • 2. Plume Feathers - Base Layers

    • 3. Arrow Feathers - Base Layers

    • 4. Wide Feathers - Base Layers

    • 5. Top & Bottom Heavy - Base Layers

    • 6. Detail Layers - All Feathers

    • 7. Final Project - Feather Wreath

    • 8. Wrap Up

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About This Class


Learn how to paint this simple feather wreath with basic watercolor steps.

Meet Your Teacher

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Neesha @PaperWand

Watercolor | Illustration Studio


Like catching fireflies at summer's dusk, PaperWand creations are a way of making time stand still—if only briefly—to celebrate whimsy and wonder. They invite you to reconnect with your imagination and relish the big magic in little moments.

Our workshops and classes are inspired by the most timeless of emotions: a little bit of nostalgia, an endless well of delight. We hope they inspire you to play, laugh, and make believe a little more each day.


I'm Neesha. I'm an illustrator + designer with an online home at PaperWand.com.

Following 15 years in the graphic design industry, I've explored many creative paths. Ranging from being an art teacher, a kids' book illustrator, and nursery muralist. I love t... See full profile

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1. Intro & Supplies: Hi and welcome. My name is Nisha. I'm an artist and an illustrator, and sometimes I like to teach painting online. This is a watercolor glass. It's for beginners, and it's painting watercolor feathers. We have a final project at the end. We'll be putting the watercolor fathers into a wreath, and I can't wait to show you. Let's get started. Okay, let's talk supplies, paper paints and brushes. Okay, So as a general rule, the higher the quality your supplies, the better your watercolor experience will be. But with that said, I'm also a big fan of starting with what you have and starting where you are. You can always start with what you have. And then, if you find yourself struggling, then maybe move to the next bracket of quality supplies and just see how it goes. So you'll need three brush sizes. A large, a medium and a small. Your large will be anywhere from 12 to 16 size. Medium will be anywhere from 6 to 8 size and then the small, which is a detail brush, maybe like a zero or a one. These are round watercolor brushes, so you can find them online or in art store, and they all come to a tapered point at the very end. Okay, you can also have a pencil on hand if you find sketching out. Your design first helps. I tend not to use pencils, but totally fine. If you dio, you'll also need a little bit of white opaque paint. This is acrylic and wash will also work. Okay, so for the paints, you can get a lot of variety. There's tubes and pans and these trays. This is a student grade one, the one with the circles. It's fine for for if you're starting out, I used this set here, though this is the professional grade pan set, and they are customizable, so you can pull out different colors and at different ones. When you run out again, just use what you're comfortable with. And if you've experimented with um and tried different brands and you have a favorite use that alright, my favorite paper to uses this arches paper. This is cold press, which means it has a rough texture. I really love that texture in my work. It's a watercolor block, which means the sides air sealed and that means if use a lot of water in your work, though paper won't start to buckle on you. You can also get watercolor pads that are loose sheets. This is a close up. This the texture I was talking about. You can also get hot pressed watercolor paper. It's smooth, and I will give you different results. If you're not sure about hot press or cold press or loose sheets or watercolor pads and blocks, um, again, just experiment and use what you have. You also need a clean juror of water and some paper towels on hand, and we are ready to go. 2. Plume Feathers - Base Layers: okay, We'll start with a medium sized brush in some greenish blue paint and just with really light pressure, make a thin line. This is kind of a wispy plume type of feather, so it's a very delicate shape and lots of little lines just using the end of your brush. Keep in mind that the bottom part of the feather will be a little thicker towards the base , and it gets lighter and with beer as you go up towards the top. Okay, can I pull a 2nd 1 in here? This is, ah, bluer shade, and I switched to a detail rush to show you the difference. Uh, still using a really light pressure to make a thin lines, you'll get a more delicate line with thes smaller brush. Also, the length of each of these lines is getting shorter as it goes towards the top, and the lines are longer as they get closer to the bottom, and that's it. That's all there is to these plume style of feathers 3. Arrow Feathers - Base Layers: So let's start with another style. This is a narrow shape, Father, um, using a size six brush with a light green paint and just starting to put in the basic shape and then using the end of the brush to kind of flick out some hedges. Remember to go in one direction so you're going upwards and getting smaller along the top edge. Thank Elaine. A little bit more yellow into this green. It was more of, ah, line green color. And then I'm renting my brush. And then along the very bottom there are some wispy bits, um, on this feather. So just using the end of the Russian pulling out whatever color is already there, just making really light strokes with a really clean brush. Okay, we'll do a 2nd 1 here to show you a different style. So it's the same greenish color and is looking a little like belief right now. But what in the stem? And start treating the edges the same way, just pulling out some of that texture and also remembering to put the wispy parts on the bottom. You can do this soft bottom, wispy parts when the paint is still wet and get that really soft effect. Okay, this is 1/3 type of a relief in a warmer color palette. So when you use a bit of yellow oranges and some slightly pinkish colors, treat the edges. Ah, the same way using the end of the Russian pulling out little feather parts and also the wispy soft parts of the bottom once you have your shape in your feathers, still, damn, you can drop in a second color. This is a pinkish orange car. And is this what on wet? So essentially putting what paint on already wet part of your paper and a natural bleed will happen, and the colors will mix in a really pretty way. Feel free to mix it up and use different colors. This is the practice part of our painting, so this is the time to experiment and try different color palettes and combinations and then just soften out any edges that you like. And then we'll let this drive if we put on the the other layer of details 4. Wide Feathers - Base Layers: Okay, so these air wide feathers, they have soft edges, and they're almost like a rounded rectangle. I'm using a large size brush in a purple paint to start, and then I'll blend in a teal ish blue on the bottom half along the bottom. Just pull out a small stem piece. We'll put in a little bit brighter blue on the bottom. And this is the fun thing about watercolors is that when you have a wet on wet technique like this, the colors will just blend for you on the paper and it'll dry. You're really pretty pretty pattern. All right, I'm switching to a detailed brush and softening out the edges and just pulling short. Little strokes along the very sides, the top and along the bottom as well is really a soft, large rectangle e shape, and then, with the clean rinse brush, go in and add your little wispy parts along the bottom. Okay, so we'll do a 2nd 1 here to show you a slightly different options is gonna be a light blue one, and it's gonna have a very similar shape at a really simple pattern on top. I'm using a medium brush and doing the same brushstrokes to pull the feather pieces out and then using the detail brush to do the smaller, uh, other parts of the bottom and to find that centers, then peace. And then we'll let this dry before we had on the extra details. Also, just take this time just without any edges and get your shape the way you want it, and then we'll start the next style. 5. Top & Bottom Heavy - Base Layers: Okay, so this is the last style where it's either a top heavy feather or a bottom heavy feather. And I'm going to start with a round brush and in orangish base, I am gonna add a little more yellow to bring out that color and then pull Stan and then using switching to a medium brush, I'm using the end to pull out the little strokes along the bottom and along the edges. And while it's still wet, similar to the other went on what we did. I'm dropping in little splotches of a reddish orange. Okay, so this is going to be a bottom heavy feather, and we're gonna put a sort of a roundish base, and it's gonna get narrow towards the top. Amusing. A medium brush and a red based color and similar to the other one that was top heavy. I'm dropping in a second color while it's still wet and letting that natural bleed happen. Um, this is a bit brown, but I'm gonna add in a little bit more of a purple, so I get a a better color combination. Okay, so I just go through. And if you're happy, Great. Uh, there's some areas you want to just fix real quick, go ahead and do that and then we'll let this layer dry before we add in some details. 6. Detail Layers - All Feathers: Okay, So once the base layers a role dry, we'll go in and do some fun details. Ah, you need to get an acrylic paint or on opaque type of paints. Hogwash will also work. And, using a detail brush, start putting in some dots lines, arrows, tribes, whatever you would like. I always love this stage because you can really customize each of these feathers and make um, really fun for this one I'm using. Um, this is sort of an arrow. We angled line. Kind of like a chevron pattern just along the top. And then I will go on the bottom and add some guts. Okay, so you get the general idea. I'm gonna speed up the video a little bit. Um, and have fun with this one. Okay. For the next one, I'm using the same detail brush and put stripes in this time and have them kind of angled similar to the arrow shapes on the left. But I'm just using watercolor and blending out the edges. If you get too much pain to, you can always rinse your brush and going with a clean brush and pick up some of that extra pain and then I'm also pulling a little bit darker color through the center. Teoh, define that stem piece and also keep a paper towel on hand in case he gets too much pain to . You can always block away some of that color. Okay, now that the left one has dried, I'm going in with that darker tone and just putting in some shadows on the arrows so that there is a sharp edge and also putting that dark linguist underneath the dots and then using a paper towel. If it does get too much saturation, just keep it wet and just blood away. In general, with watercolor, you work light to dark, so that's why we're layering the details on top. It's much easier to remove paint if it's stating what once the paint has dried, it's a lot harder to pick up pain. So I was like to add the darker tones slowly and not too much, cause it's hard to take away paint once it's dried. Okay, and for that yellow pinkish one, get it. Put the dots on the top where we had done the wet on wet technique on the top half, and then I'll do a little combination. So do some of the stripes along the bottom as well. Been pulling the color through on the stem and also on that wispy part down at the bottom. And then we'll let this dry and we'll be done with this layer. Okay, so for the details on the wide feathers, these are the sort of rounded, rectangular shaped ones. I'm gonna use that same acrylic paint and detailed brush and put some dots on the left. One. I'll go ahead and also speed up the video. These aren't really similar to what we just practiced. And then I'll use the dots on the right side feather. And to lighten up some of these where the paint is too dark. I'm just rinsing my brush in clean water and then going in and just softening some of those by picking up a little bit of that paint. So that is not too strong and adding a little stronger blue along the center and defining that edge. And for these plume style feathers, I'm going in with the white acrylic paint, and I'm just going into the subtle detail. This is probably even at noticeable, but it makes a difference when you look at the whole and I'm putting in a little highlight along the center and then on some of the side pieces in there you go. Now we'll do the last top in bottom heavy feathers and we'll be done, guys. So for this one, amusing the same white acrylic paint and a detailed fresh and pulling some white along the center and then pulling the strokes out from the middle. And then I'm going in with a dark purple and putting some thin details just to define some of the shapes and add some pattern. Go ahead and use this practice father as your your test, try different patterns. Try different techniques and styles and see what you like. This one. I wanted to sort of do a striped feel and kind of a a boho style feather, so you'll see that I'm blending out the bigger stripes and then leaving that white paint on the alternating stripes. The way to blend thes edges and the colors is do use just a clean brush and while it's damp , just kind of scrub at the paint and just soften it out. Okay, then with the darker purple going in and just defining some of the edges of those wider stripes. Remember, if you like the wispy bottom to put that back in if it got lost, I'm going. And then with the white acrylic paint just adding in some circles in making little pattern along my little boho feather. And as the final touches just go back in. And if you needed to find any of the edges, um, you can do that with a darker color. Okay, so for the top heavy father, I'm gonna use a contrast in color this time. It's gonna be a green kind of like a peacock green. And then using the detail brush, putting two large stripes along the top and then some light two dots along the bottom and also a few dots along the very, very top just to pull through. Some of that dot theme in the last step allowed a darker orange along the center and along some of the bottom wispy edges. And we have all of our feather themes done so we can start our final project 7. Final Project - Feather Wreath: Okay, so now we have a variety of fathers and styles and designs for you to play around with. Let's get started on our final reef. A trick that I like to use so that I don't use pencils is getting something that circle like a Tupperware lid, and you can just go around with a light paint. I'm using a detailed brush, and I'm going around in a few sections and leaving some open spaces. That way, I have some flexibility in my final design. Keep this color pretty light. You're going to use it as a guide, and when you are finished, you'll have a rough circle to start with. Okay, so I will speed up the video a little bit because this is the same technique we just did with our practice feathers. I'm going to start with a medium brush and start putting in all the different feather shapes and just doing the base layer. So go around in a circle and start putting those in. I rotate my paper a lot, depending on the angle, so remember you can always do that. If it's easier to paint in a certain angle, just give your paper has been. And just remember when the paint is wet, it will bleed a little like this green one just did, because it touched the feather next to it. So just keep that in mind as well. When you're painting, you can always skip a space and then come back when that first base layer is dry. So now I'm putting in a wider shaped feather, just the base layer. Once we get all the base, ah, feather shapes in, then we can come back and do the details after they're fully dried. I'm also keeping all the colors pretty light and translucent. It's always easier to add paint and make it darker in the next layer or the next step. If you want to plan out your father colors beforehand, then go ahead and do that. I'm kind of going more intuitively with this one and just choosing colors as I go, um, trying to mix up the cool colors and warm colors and just playing and letting it be more of a fun process. Okay, so now that I've got a lot of the wider feathers and the narrow of feathers in, I'm gonna add in the plume style and just took them in and around the wreath. And what I'm doing is trying to find a playful balance. So if I do something on the left, allowed a little bit on the right for do something on the top, I'll add a little bit on the bottom. This will keep your eye moving around the design, and it adds to the visual interest of the final result. My orange plume touched my what? Purple feather. So since it was already bleeding, I went ahead and added a few splotches off the orange into their. Sometimes you just go with it. Call it a happy accident, and that's part of watercolor painting. If you are painting along and this part, the video is too fast or sped up, just hit. Pause, uh, catch up to a point where you are comfortable, and then you can always come back and let it play again. So now that I've got a good base layer, I'm going in with a few accent details, just a few swirls. Just add a little visual interest and have switched to a detail brush, most adding some thin lines behind a few of the feathers feel free to play around with accents like this. It can bring a lot of fun elements to your work. Okay, so after your first layer is fully dry, you can go into the detail steps. So, like we did with the practice feathers put in your lines your dots, your arose using your watercolors or also using your white opaque paint. You'll see me bounce around with the different details. I won't put too similar ones next to each other because that will be two redundant. So if you do dots on one of other consider stripes or arrows on the next one and so on, it's also good to sometimes step back and look at your overall design before you keep adding and adding and adding, knowing when to stop is it was a hard one for me. I can paint all day, and then I go to the point where I think OK, maybe I went too far. So take breaks and take a look at your work as a whole, and then decide where you want to keep adding. So here I'm putting in the white acrylic paint, and then I did not wait for it to dry, so he will see me putting in the water color, and it's gonna start to bleed a little bit. Um, I would recommend not being impatient, like me, letting that layer dry first. And then if you want to go back in with some details, you can. So I'm gonna try to fix this because the colors are getting a little mixed up. My colleagues do drive pretty fast, though, so now that it's dry, I'm adding in the dots right on top. Another thing to keep in mind is if you have one feather that has a lot of details, dots and arrows and lines, then you want to repeat that at least once or twice more so that you get a balance. So there's some that are subtly designed and some that are more complex, so you get both, and once you're layers have dried and you want to increase the contrast, you can go in and build on your layers. Just add more color and saturation into those areas and get more contrast. You can also keep a paper towel handy. Sometimes, if you get too much paint or it's too saturated, just dab away with your paper towel while it is still damp. You can pick up a lot of that extra color. And there you go. A final feather wreath with all your designs in your shapes and your colors. I can't wait to see all your work. 8. Wrap Up: Thank you for joining me. This was so much fun. And you Didn't you finish the class? I can't wait to see your work. Please post it. I would love to see and also post any comments or questions that you have or just say hi. I'm really friendly and I love to meet you. You can also see what other classes I have or any other content that I'm making over at my online hope. It's paper wand dot com and pop over there and say hi to I can't wait to see you again. Have fun, Happy painting, friends.