Watercolor for beginners: Paint a Leafy Watercolor Wreath | Madi Smit-Kliffen Madiliefje | Skillshare

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Watercolor for beginners: Paint a Leafy Watercolor Wreath

teacher avatar Madi Smit-Kliffen Madiliefje, "Creativity is contagious. Pass it on."

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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

7 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Colors

    • 4. Leaf practice

    • 5. Painting the wreath

    • 6. Bonus lesson: adding lettering

    • 7. Final thoughts

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About This Class


In this class we will be painting a watercolor wreath consisting of leaves and branches. I will take you through it step-by-step with real time videos. We will be talking about materials and colors first. Then we will dive deeper into painting leaves and branches. I will show you a few different types and a bunch of techniques and then you are ready to start painting your wreath!

A bonus lesson in lettering will show you how to add some typography of your choosing to the wreath, but it's beautiful on its own too.

I'm excited to get started, let's dive right in! :-)

xx Madi

Meet Your Teacher

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Madi Smit-Kliffen Madiliefje

"Creativity is contagious. Pass it on."


Hi there my fellow art lovers! :-)

My name is Madi and I'm a watercolor artist based in the Netherlands. I fell in love with watercolor about 2 years ago and it has brought me so much joy since! Skillshare has taught me so much (and still does!), I've met
amazing people and teachers on here and that's one of the reason why I started teaching. I wanted other creative enthousiasts to have the same experiences that I had. I started teaching in May 2019 and will continue to upload classes as I go!

Behind the scenes I'm currently working on a webshop and I would love to teach some workshops in real life as well :-)

I hope you enjoy my classes! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions via instagram (@madiliefje) or e-mail ([email protected]) ;-)See full profile

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1. Introduction: hi and welcome to my Scotia class on how to paint a leafy watercolor wreath. I'll show you which materials and colors we'll be using today. Then I have a little practice lined up for our leaves and branches on. Then we'll start painting our wreath. I added a little bonus lesson to add some lettering to your wreath if that's something that you would like. Onda, Uh, I'm just really excited to get started, and I hope you are, too. 2. Materials : So let me show you which materials we will be using today. Some watercolor paper and this is the royal talents. Mixed media paper. It's an A four format, but you can use, uh, bigger size or smaller size. If you like anyone of color, people will do Abusing pencil. This is a two inch pencil to draw the outline of the wreath of using my van Gogh run Bush. This is, ah, number four. I really like this brush because it has a good tip, which is perfect to paint the stumps of the leafs. If you have a bigger brush. Did you like to work with? You could always use that. Just make sure that has a good tip. Andi, I do recommend a round brush because it's just the most versatile. I will also be using some hands to do the lettering afterwards of using my micron pens. But you could use any pen that you like because we won't be using what a color over it. It doesn't necessarily have to be waterproof ink and you, racer, I'll abusing my van Gogh watercolor paints. We'll show you in the next video, which colors we will be using have two cups of water, one for Clearwater, and once you clean my brush in, have a paint palette. Would you like to use to make some colors or border than down a little bit? I found it really helpful. If you don't have a paint pellet, you could just use the ceramic plate. And I have a paper towel to dry my brush or take up some excess water. I always have need tohave nearby. So do you thought all the materials that people abusing today and next up I will show you the colors. 3. Colors : So let me show you what colors we are going to use today. We'll be using and a certain off agrees. I like to use my sack cream as base color. You could have a different name in your paint palette, but, um, you will probably have a normal. It's just a normal green when I put it on the paper. No, I like to mix this with some pains. Great. To get a really nice kind of muted screen from this wreath I chose, Ah, a little of muted colors because I think they go really well together. Also be using them what are down a little bit. But we will get to that when we started painting. Also, add a little KRouge in blue to get him more to kind green, which I like in combination with a kind of muted down green color. Really nice. And then I also like to use, um, a little yellow amusing, a yellow deep to get that little lighter green color. What? You'll go really nicely with the darker ones. Of course, you can use whatever colors you like, but I like Teoh mix these and just got a really nice nice palette going. It's all about your personal preference, though. I like these muted down colors a lot to combine them. I do recommend that you use a variety in colors. Um, just to get a more dynamic composition. If you make everything in the same color than about Lucas. Nice. Um, I also have an olive green and my palate, which is nice to put in there. Sometimes we'll see if it fits. Yes, the colors that we will be using today. 4. Leaf practice: that. All right, so I want to start by doing some practice exercises just to show you hot too. Listen of your hand and how to make the leaves before we start painting the the rial reef. So I will be using just so normal green. Oh, it's so we're going to start with making just a normal line with the tip of your brush without putting any pressure on. So you will use this for making the stems. And you wanted to be a very fine line. Um, so try to not put pressure on your brush and just move your hand instead. You just make of earth in London Tried out a few times. Doesn't matter if it's completely straight or not in nature. And not everything is straight and perfect either them. I'm just I'm not putting pressure on the brush. I'm just putting to tip to the paper and moving, moving my hand. All right, so next up, we're gonna be putting a little pressure on the brush in between not putting pressure on it . So you got like, this little squiggly nine. So start by not applying pressure, and then I want to put all the pressure on the brush make, it'll fan out and then I'm gonna lift it up. I'm not have fresh anymore. I hope that's clear. So now we're gonna do this in one loan stroke, so I'm going to start no pressure. Put on a lot of pressure. Um, lift up, lift up. I put some pressure again. Now I live in Russia. So now you can really seem the difference between putting no pressure on your brush and putting some pressure on your brush. Now, if you if you are using a bigger brush than these spaces in between, will be bigger. Of course. And you can just play around. Was that now I want to show you because this is important and making the lease. Um, you're actually using this technique quite a lot. So I want to show you how to make a leaf. It's It's called a two stroke technique, so you'll make a little stone without applying pressure. And then you will apply pressure to your brush while you're going in and taken upward Semi circle. That makes sense. So we've drawn this them so fresh underbrush, semi circle and on the lift up to make the point. So that's your one stroke? No. We're going to do the second stroke just the same. But on the other side. And there you made your first leave. So now, because I'm using Ah, smaller brushes. Well, I have this very big white area in between Now. You can leave it like that. It gives a little, a little bit of a different look. Um, I usually like to fill it in which you can just do while it's still wet. So the painting this sound like fresher lift up second side. You can always readjust the shape of your leaf. If it isn't what you wanted it to be, there's no right or wrong here. These aren't all the same in nature. Just that your creative new flu now, as you saw me do, and on the 2nd 1 um, here, I put the second stroke next to the 1st 1 but you don't have to. So you could also make the 1st 1 and then make the 2nd 1 start like, halfway in. You got, like, this kind of leave. That's possible, too. It's really just painters choice. All right, so on, I'm going to show you a different leaf where we will still be using this technique. But here we did it horizontally. And now we're going to do it started vertically. So you're going Teoh pain to stem again without pressure. And then you're gonna put pressure on the brush, but just in the same direction and you're going to stretch it out a little bit and then come to a point again and you'll get, like, this sort of tropical leaf feel if you make a lot of them on one stem, Then you get kind of like a poem Lee for something like that. So we'll start with the staff. No pressure, Memmel. By pressure. Well, we're just going up. Um, well, release the pressure. All these like that. Now, you can vary this in in length. You can go really long if you want to, or you can go smaller. Time to leave. But you see the difference between these two strokes. And this is basically one stroke. Uh, leaf read. Then I also wanted to show you something that I like to do, which is, um, you could use it for, um, other plants as well. For, like, lavender or things that go in that sort of shape. Uh, I like to make the small marks and you go from, like, big, so small, Ana, I'll just show is easier. So I'll make like circles, but with two strokes and it'll leave a little white space in between. So I'm just not applying a lot of pressure, but just a little to tip will undergo. And then I'm just gonna just gonna go from big. It's a small and then I'm gonna use if you're only using the tip of my brush and then you can like the pain to some afterwards, you could also put the stems throughout the Leafs if you want to, and you could make it even longer, you could make it even whiter. But this is kind of the the idea that was going for So there's again. There's no right around here. Um, I just like to make these these little marks. It's under like, um and they're not really semi circles, but I hope you know what I mean. Sometimes it's hard to explain and then you paint the staff and you could does it make to go here? I'm connect all the leaves up to it. All right, um, so I want to show you how to take, for example, these leaves and put him into a brush. Right? So what I like to do is I like to paint this time first, um, on mental at the Leeds. So I'll be looking at. OK, where do I want my branch to go? Um, so that's dependent on your wreath or your composition. But let's say for now it's gonna go up here, so I'm gonna paint the some first with this little pressure is a can. And then I like to start from the bottom. Mostly, which is also easier. So you don't Well, it's not easiest. It's whatever you like. Really, You could also start at the top. Just make sure if you start at the bottom that you don't go over the leaves that you've already painted. But I like to start at the bottom cause I like to go big to small, and then I have more of an of an overview of where to go. So paying a little stem to leave off the main stem and then I'll just, uh, that somebody's where I feel like it. So now I'm using the two stroke variety. Of course, you can do this with any type of Lee if you want, so I like to make him a little smaller. As I grew up, police up here and there You have your first brunch? No, for the of this smaller one. The one stroke. What? You can also make that into a French so you could do it the same way as this pain to stone . Do you like to have one at the top? And you can just go alternating size. So you just get in l stem and then you like, rush you to the brush. You lift up again. It's gonna be really good. It's really nice. Kind of like meditation sometimes. But you could also make it more like a tropical relief. Um, and then you would put them on either side of the same height and go like that, and usually they don't really have a stand them None. What I like to do is that except paint one side, because when you're in the groove, better if you keep going here and then exited the other side, just make sure that your hand isn't touching What you've already painted, I might be in dries pretty quickly. It's due to to them how much water I use. The brush you use, the paper you use. See you then. You've got a really different feel to do this one while we were still using the same kind of technique. So it's really fun. You can really play around with it and make whatever type of branch relief that you like. Now, these ones I've already showed you how to do any composition. You could do this and like a long one, I also like to use them as fillers eso When you've painted all your big leaves and branches and you're like, you know, I need a little something, something there, um, you can just do a little ones. So, like two or three. That's cute. Now there are a lot of different types of believes and branches that you could use, but I wanted to keep this pretty simple. And so this is what we will be using. And I've only used one color, but we will be using a variety of colors in the in the reef to get a more dynamic composition. But I hope that this was, um, clear and that, you know, know how to make leaves and house incorporates into the reef. So, uh, I can't wait to get started on make a proper reef with you guys, so let's go do that. 5. Painting the wreath: So now that we've had some practice, let's start working on the real wreath. I've cleaned up my palate and I've gotten a new people tell. But you don't necessarily have to do that so far. The reef. I will be using this bull to measure out the circle. You can use whatever you have. Um, this is just handy in your by. It's about 15 centimeters in diameter. We'll just be putting and upside down on the paper. I want to make sure it's, um, in about the center of the paper. Think this is about right now Just trace around the bowl What we have circle. All right. So, no, my lines are pretty visible. I hope for the video. But if you painted yourself, um, please make sure that you go over your lance with, uh, with an eraser. Um, to erase, I'm just a little bit. So that's still visible for you, but it won't, um, be able. You won't be able to see it through your paint because I will be using a lot of muted tones on, and you could see the pencil lines through it. If it's if it's too thick, so make sure you raises a little just a little here. Eso You still see that there was that There is a circle there, but it's just she's a little less visible. I run the race anymore. Um, because then you won't see circle anymore on the video, but just it out for yourself. All right, So, um, I'm going to start. I like to make my composition. Um, do not go all the way around. So, um I don't know. It's just another thing that I like. So I like to make him open on both sides and was relieved open somewhere at the top and a little at the bottom. And then usually the lease a kind of, like tells it like I won't do it like this cause I was more, I don't know, just doesn't seem right. So I'm gonna be doing a little a little tilted, but you can do whatever you like. Of course. If you want to make it gold around, then you can for sure than that. Um, I like to start with the big branches on these first, um, and then, you know, you can see you where you need a little bit of filling. You can make some smaller branches or so smaller leaves or whatever you like, So I'll be starting with a dark green color. So I will be taking some sap green. And then I will add some pains. Great king of this really, really dark greeting, which I like. Then I will just be adding a little drop of water to make it a little a little less strong . So to say, All right, so that I'm gonna start painting my first branch, which is gonna go, um, somewhere around here. Um, I'll be using the two struck Leafs, so just the normal on that we practice so you can stay on this line that you've drawn, or you can go out or into it a little bit. I do like to make my starting point on the line, and then I fear off of it so that you do have that nice circle that that you wanted to have . So they stay inside those nights a little bit. All right? - Now a Z, you can see him using quite a bit of water. Sort of pained. Well, dry up with a little bit of public senate here and there having something that I like. But if you don't like that, then use of the less water or that pure your brush on the paper, tell before you paint, then there will be a lot less water on it. Try not to overwork it, though. Watercolor looks best when you just let it and trying to control it. So there's my first leave Now I feel like he's a little tiny one here. Just complete it. Know what I like to do is I still like to work a little symmetrical. So whenever I paint something on this side of Lex painted on the outer side as well, but I won't do it like I won't do it over here, But I'll do it. I probably here so that the same leaves and branches do, um okay, gives them nice overall look, but they won't be exactly opposite each other. So with the next one, But over here, I want to leave this. Top it open. Don't be scared, Teoh. Make mistakes. There really aren't any. If you look at plants in nature, I mean, no, no. Two leaves are the same. You don't always have a perfect point or perfect shape. All right, so my nav meant to biggest branches, and I'm gonna work around those and build up the composition. So I really like this kind of tool color. So I'm gonna use that one next. Gonna take some sap green that I'm gonna It's intrusion blue. Did you see the more blue at more returns? But it is to like, color just about where we want to go. But now I want to ask a little bit of great to give it that muted down tuned as well. I'll be using that and pretty much all the colors will be using just to get, like, an overall fuel that there's like, a drop of the same color and everything not really ties it together. I feel like it's so that you, um, bright, it's better. So I'm going to start by painting a leave down here. I'm gonna let it if you're off bits and right. But I'm going to start on the circle, Um, and of using a branch with some more around it leaves, which I didn't show you, but, um, it's basically the same as this one on Lee. You don't know they come to a tip. Eso you just keep the pressure on like the little leaves that we made, but a little bigger. It's just like that. And then I'm gonna be doing the same to this branch. When I put it under here on that interfere off to the left, you could say it's kind of like, uh, has a little you could look to see you feel dread round the use and commuted Green blue. All right, so now go. You're taking a bit of this color. I'm gonna put into another pellet. A little bit of this. Just get slightly different. Feel going to try a little like there, see what it does right now. I'm gonna make a branch that goes up here. Not sure what I'm gonna do yet. So you were Texas. - I've decided on some longer leaves and a little more slowing. Do you? Almost like the one stroke leaves that we made? Just spread them out of the whole people of more away from stem. Yeah, quite OK with that. So then I want to do the same. But down here, if you don't like the shape of the if you can always change it. Be sure not overwork it. Usually when you take a step back. Um, look at it. Do you think, uh, I was still pretty great? Says you see at these leaves are still a little bit different than those one. So, you know, you can just mix it up a little bit. Okay? So now I want to have, um, one down here on one of here to tie together on of using a more the lighter green for that . So I'll take some sap green ago in the lab, though. Yeah. So deep. You get this nice, like, green color on them. A lab. A little pain is great as well. It's, um, Newt, that down a little, this was probably a bit too much. I'm gonna go in with a little more yellow. Yes, you can see it's still a very different color from this one, but they do all go together because there's a little drop of Payne's gray and everything. Right. So now for this last one, um, our last big one. I'm gonna be using the 11 or type brunch that I showed you. Someone I shift my pages. Will. No, I wanted Teoh end about here. Start about here. Don't start to narrow, cause then you make you different for yourself from the lab. Most them. I think that. And then I'm going to the same up here that wants to come. Some, like from here, Syria, pain that I stand here. I think that so now you have your, like, basic framework. Let's call that, um And now you can add some little fillers. Eso As you can see, I think this area needs a little bit. Um, this area could use a little bit. I strikes it, paint them, you know, like they're not touching, but they are in each other's, like a line, if you know what I mean. Um, so I'm gonna be using this one, but then in, like, a small version and then all of using this muted down dark tone because I think that that one is is good for some fillers. It still takes him south green ago. Mix it with some Payne's gray got that really nice dark color. I really love this green. I wish that didn't have to mix it all the time. They would just make it like this They probably do, though, but I don't have a ballot. And I'm just gonna gonna go and see. Yeah, where it needs a little bit. Like you just said. Think this is a little more tying together? It's here. Okay. So I don't really like how this one turned out. So next to each other, So I'm just gonna put another branch next to here and make it into something. Think that I have the same feeling with this one. So I'm also gonna add a little branch There just looks a little flat, then really? Put it right. S. I'm gonna put one that goes into the circle a little bit. A good it's better. So now you have your greenery done. You could add still more if you want to, but I'm going to stop here. And then next up, I'm gonna with the lettering and 6. Bonus lesson: adding lettering: So I like this reef for putting a month of the year in, or maybe the year itself, which is what I'm gonna do. I'll be putting 2020 in here, but you could also do have very do more whatever you want. You could also put somebody's name in it. Sorry. First cell, Really? But I'm gonna be doing 2020 so I'll be drawing some lives. Just, uh, help me guide where the letters would come. I want him to be out in the middle, which you over here much Probably be You're kind of you can use. So whichever type of tiote typography do you want? Um, I'm just gonna be using my own style, - so I'm quite happy with that. I made some adjustments, but we'll know which lends to trees been rooted in pen. So I'll be taking my my confined liner under 0.2. Then I'll just trace over good pencilling and then wait for your into dry and erase your pencil eyes. And there you have your water calories. I hope you had a lot of fun 7. Final thoughts: Thank you so much for pacing along with me and following my skill share class. I would love to see your finished painting. So be sure to upload it to the project section. If you share it on social media, be sure to attack me. I would love to see your work until next time.