Watercolour Techniques: How to Paint Feathers | Sharone Stevens | Skillshare

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Watercolour Techniques: How to Paint Feathers

teacher avatar Sharone Stevens, Watercolour, Illustration & Lettering

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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

23 Lessons (3h)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Tips & Techniques Part 1

    • 4. Tips & Techniques Part 2

    • 5. Feather 1 - Sketching the Outline

    • 6. Feather 1 - Painting

    • 7. Feather 2 - Sketching the Outline

    • 8. Feather 2 - Painting the First Layers

    • 9. Feather 2 - Stripes & Final Details

    • 10. Feather 3 - Sketching the Outline

    • 11. Feather 3 - Painting the First Layers

    • 12. Feather 3 - More Layers

    • 13. Feather 3 - Final Details

    • 14. Feather 4 - Sketching the Outline

    • 15. Feather 4 - Painting the First Layers

    • 16. Feather 4 - Painting the Second Layers

    • 17. Feather 4 - More Layers

    • 18. Feather 4 - Speckles & Final Details

    • 19. Feather 5 - Sketching the Outline

    • 20. Feather 5 - Painting the Eye

    • 21. Feather 5 - Painting the Hairs

    • 22. Feather 5 - Final Details

    • 23. Project & Final Thoughts

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About This Class


In this class, I will guide you through my process of creating five different types of feathers using watercolour paints. 

I will start by giving you an overview of the supplies that I use and then we will practice a variety of basic techniques that will be useful in the class. These include wet on wet, wet on dry, creating gradients, layering, dry brush and using different brush strokes. I will also cover how much water you should use and how to fix mistakes. I will then take you through my process, step by step in real time, for painting five feathers, including the beautiful peacock feather.

I hope this class will allow you to feel more confident using watercolours and that you will be able to create a page of beautiful feathers, that you are really proud of, by the end of it!


Meet Your Teacher

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Sharone Stevens

Watercolour, Illustration & Lettering

Top Teacher

I'm Sharone - a watercolour artist, illustrator and modern calligrapher. Welcome to my little corner of Skillshare, I'm so glad you're here!

My biggest passions in life are creating beautiful artwork and lettering...and sharing all of my knowledge with you so you can do the same! 

I find painting and lettering to be both fun and also incredibly therapeutic, allowing me to calm my mind by focusing on each pen or brush stroke. And throughout my classes I hope to share that with you. Most of my classes are in real time so you can paint right along with me as I explain exactly what I'm doing and give you tips to help you progress.

I'm always learning myself and welcome any feedback and suggestions for future classes and would love to ... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi, my name is Sharon and I'm a creative behind Sharone Stevens design. I am a watercolor artist, illustrator, and modern calligrapher. Painting with watercolor is one of my absolute favorite things to do, not only for my business, but also in my personal time. I find it incredibly relaxing and therapeutic and particularly love how many different styles you can create using different techniques. For my fast Skillshare class of hopefully many, I have chosen one of my favorite things to paint, feathers. One of the reasons why I've chosen feathers is because I think they are an easy place to start when you are at the beginning of your watercolor journey. You can make them as simple or as detailed as you wish, depending on the techniques you use and the level of competency you have with watercolor. In this class, I will start by taking you through a quick overview of the supplies that I use, as some tips for getting setup and started. We will then go through a number of different techniques that we will use through the class, so you have a chance to practice them first. We will also look at some different brush strokes that will allow us to create the different textures that you see in feathers. We will then get down to painting the feathers, going through the process of painting five different feathers. All of my painting in the videos will be in real time, so you can paint right along with me. I hope you will share either your work-in-progress or your finished pieces with me. I really hope you enjoy this class and it helps you on your way to loving watercolor just as much as I do. Let's get started. 2. Supplies: Hi everyone and welcome to this class. I want to start by quickly running you through some of the supplies that I use and what you'll need for this class. Bear in mind, particularly if you're a beginner, you don't need to invest in the most expensive product straightway. There are cheaper options out there which are still good, so you can find out color is for you. However, there are certain things that you want to look out for when you're buying your supplies so that you don't end up compromising on the quality of your work. Let's start by looking at watercolor paper. There are two main types of watercolor paper, hot pressed and cold pressed. Hot press watercolor paper has a completely smooth surface, so it's usually the paper of choice when you want to work really delicately. Cold pressed watercolor paper or your sentence here referred to as NOT, is what we'll be using for this class. It's one of the most popular types of paper and is probably the easiest to use. It has a more textured surface. I don't know if you you can see this in the camera. It has a slight twist to it and because of that, it's more absorbent than the hot pressed, meaning that you can use it for both washes and more detailed work. When choosing your paper, you want to make sure it's fairly heavy so it will absorb your paints and your water. Go for at least a 140 pounds or 300 grams per square. You can buy individual sheets of paper or pass like this one, or blocks where the paper is attached to all four sides, which helps to keep the paper nice and flat. When you finish, you can remove the paper by just using a flat knife into this gap here, and running around the edges to separate the paper from the block. For my finished pieces, I also like to go for papers that are 100 percent cotton because they tend to be stronger, more durable, and less likely to turn yellow over time. I would definitely recommend that you avoid using mixed media paper or sketching paper as it won't be as absorbent and will start to buckle as soon as you add water. Now let's look at watercolor paints. My favorite paint set is this Winsor and Newton artist grade, half pans, which has 24 colors. The most common way to buy watercolor paints is either in pans like these or in tubes. I tend to prefer pans, my style of painting that really easy and quick to use and they last a really long time. Tubes are good for when you need to make bigger quantities of paint or when you want to create a more intense color. But I find they take longer time to mix up and you can end up with quite a lot of wastage. They can also be more expensive, which is unideal when you're starting out and just wanting to experiment. You can buy watercolors in either student grade or artist grade. Artist grade tend to have a high quality of ingredients, including a high concentration of pigment, but they are more expensive. If you are in it for the long haul and want to invest, I think you really do get your money's worth in terms of permanence, intensity of color, and transparency which is really important with watercolors. But if you're a beginner and wanting to buy your first watercolors, I'd recommend going for a student grades sap from a reliable brand like Winsor and Newton, is what I started out with. They're still really good quality, but they are more affordable. Now let's look at watercolor brushes. My favorite go-to brushes are round brushes. They're the most popular and most commonly used watercolor brushes. As you can see, they tape it to a point at the end and this allows you to vary the thickness of your stroke by adjusting the amount of pressure you apply to the paper. For this class, I'd recommend something like a size 6 or a size 8 for your largest brush and a size 2 and a size 2_0 for your smaller brushes. The larger brushes we'll used for the initial layers where we want to cover a large surface area, and the smaller brushes will use for the finer details. In addition to round brushes also liked to use spot brushes for the finest details. They have a shorter hair and a thinner body, and this allows you to paint with a better level of accuracy. Other supplies you will need include a glass of water, to wash your brushes with. You may like to have two. One that you can watch the pigment off of your brush and another for adding clean water to brush. If you don't have two pots of water, I would always recommend you to readily wash out your water, refresh it so it's clean because it can get dirty quite quickly and you don't want it to be affecting the colors that you're painting with. You may also find it useful to have a paper towel for taking any excess water off of your brush or blotting the paper to fix any mistakes. For the initial sketches, I like to use a fine mechanical pencil like this one. When sketching it out line, just remember to keep it as fine as light as possible because once you've painted over it, it will become somewhat permanent and you really don't want to be able to see those pencil lines in new finished pieces. It's useful to have an eraser on hand to move any excess pencil marks, and a needed arrays and like this to soft money outlines you've made. To do this you just press it against the pencil. I like this, just blotting it on the paper. It's really useful thing to have. I also have this Tombow Mono Eraser, which as you can see is a really fine tip. It's really useful for erasing with much more accuracy. Depending on the topic I'm painting. I like to have a point of reference so that I feel confident I'm creating something with a correct structure, proportions, and details. For these feathers are looked at a variety of photos just by scanning images on Google. Now, because I'm not worried about creating something truly realistic with these feathers, are just going to have a look at the basic anatomy and shape and some different patterns and inspiration. Looking at all of these images, you can begin to see some commonalities in the basic structure. The barb tends to be either straight or it can be slightly curved and it shows you what you can see. Plain feathers, stripy feathers, speckled feathers, ones are thin and tall or shorter and more round. Based on this research, I got an idea for the different types of shapes of feathers that I could create. Just to quickly recap, the supplies are recommended for you include watercolor paper, so cold pressed about a 140 pounds, watercolor paints, different size round brushes, water, paper towel, and a pencil, and eraser. Finally, I just wanted to mention a few little tips which may seem obvious. Make sure you're comfortable with how you're seated. I'd always recommend sitting at a table rather than lying down or working on your lap. Also, just have a quick think about the lighting, the temperature, and the space around you. You want to be relaxed and not stressed or disrupted by any environmental factors which could easily be fixed. Now let's move on to looking at some basic tips and techniques. 3. Tips & Techniques Part 1: In this video, I want to cover some basic watercolor tips and techniques, particularly focusing on things that will be useful further on in this class. As we paint the feathers, we're looking at how to hold your brush, how much water to use and how you can make colors lighter or darker by manipulating the ratio of water to pigment. The wet on wet technique, the wet on dry technique including layering, creating gradients and using a dry brush. We'll also do some basic brush exercises and then finally we'll cover how to fix mistakes. Let's start by looking at the most basic thing of all, how to hold your brush. Firstly, make sure your grip is soft but firm so the brush wont slip around and always use the side of the brush to paint with applying the pressure you need for the size of stroke that you wanted to create. This will prevent you from damaging the bristles of the brush. I usually like to make sure my hand is rested on the table so that my stripes are nice and steady. Try to work from the top to the bottom of the paper so your hand doesn't smash the paint that you've already laid down. But if your paint is dry, you can just pop a paper towel underneath your hand so you don't leave any marks on your piece. How much water you need to use is something that is best learned through experimentation and is really dependent on what type of effect you're going for is something that will eventually become second nature with the more you practice and you won't even have to think about it. Personally, I like to use a minimal amount of water because I like to have a good level of control when I'm painting. One thing to remember is that the more water you have have on your brush or on the paper, the less control you have, which can be a good thing if you want to create a more loose and expressive style of art. But if you want to paint some details that are really accurate or small, you want a much dryer brush. Generally, I tend to dip my brush in the water and then push it against the side of the glass a couple of times to remove the excess water. I want us to start by practicing varying the amount of water we add to the pigment so that we can create different intensities of color. Pick up your pigment onto your palette adding a decent amount of water. We want to start with a light color. I'm just going to tap this on my paper towel and then add it to the paper and then take some of that water out of your brush using your paper towel. Go straight back to palette without adding any more water and add the color again. Now there is less water in this mix and the color is darker. Let's repeat this again and the color will be darker still. You can see that it needed a bit more pigment there. Let's just do this a few more times. For the most intense and darkest colors you want an always dry brush. Now let's go the other way, making it lighter. Add some water to your brush and start diluting that pigment gradually. Taking a bit of the water off with your paper towel and then adding some more water and again, this is a really good thing to practice to get you familiar with how much water you need. Wet on wet is the technique of applying wet paint to a wet surface. I just want to show you some of the dry examples here so you can see how it dries because sometimes it looks different when it is still wet and you want to make sure you don't overwork it and you want to leave it to dry naturally. You can see these soft edges in here, and you can also create gradients using wet on wet. Grab one of your medium or larger brushes. I'm using a size six, and make sure you have a clean pot of water here because the first layer we'll be putting down is just plain water. Add that to the paint. I still got some pigment on my brush, just make sure it's cleaned off with your paper towel and dry again. If you want to add too much water here you want a nice even shin of water. Just start by using some simple light brush strokes. You'll see that the pain instantly starts bleeding into that wet surface. Wash off your brush and then I'm going to lay down a layer of color and then add your color. Straight away you will see that the paint starts to bleed into the wet surface creating a nice soft edge. Once it starts drying, don't be tempted to add anymore water to it because it will push the pigment away, creating these harsh lines and edges. It can work quite well for some effects like clouds or something like that. But if you want a nice made blend, then we want to make sure we don't disturb that pigment as it dries. Next we'll create a gradient using this technique. After when [inaudible] ready, is quite good to practice working within a boundary, creating nice defined edges. Making sure my fast layer of water is nice and even. I'm going to grab my paint, again, you don't want any excess water here and I'm going to start by adding it to the edge fast, pulling it around. Take the pigment and water off your brush and stop moving this around. Blending in any edges and pulling the pigment out, so it's nice and even. As you do this, your brush will pick up some of the pigments, so keep cleaning it and drying it. Nice light strikes, making it nice and even. Wet on dry is when you apply wet paint to a dry surface. This can either be onto an untouched part of your paper, orange paper, that's already dried completely. With this method, you have much more control, so you can be much more intentional and accurate with your painting. Let's start by painting a simple flat wash and then some fine brush strokes. As you can see, these strokes are creating much crisper edges and the paint is any going where I lay my brush is not bleeding into the dry paper. This is a great way to add detail, depth, and dimension to your work and is a method I like to use the most, because I like to have that level of control when I'm painting. Next let's look at layering. We want to lay down a first layer of paint. We then want to wait until it's completely dry before adding the second core. We'll move on to creating a wet on dry gradient. Choose a very light base layer. Now let's leave this to dry for a little while and depending on how much water you've put on the paper, they should take about ten minutes to be completely dry. Now grab some paint of your gradient, start at the edges. This is a good way to practice making nice neat edges, working within an outline like this. You want to fill about a third of the circle. Clean your brush and dry it. We need it slightly damper than when we did the gradient in the wet on wet. You can see it's a bit trickier than before to blend this in. You need to be careful not to make your brush too wet as it will stop pushing the pigment back. Keep cleaning your brush as it will pick up the pigment from the paper and keep blending in, putting the paint out to make it nice and even. I'm just going to check this is still not completely dry. Let's move on to our brush exercises and we'll come back to that in a bit 4. Tips & Techniques Part 2: This was a good idea to spend some time getting to know your tools and feeling comfortable with them, and understanding what they can do and what effect they can create. So here I want us to create some thin and thick strokes with our brushes. The great thing about round brushes is because they take me to a point even with the larger brushes, you can create quite a fine line if I use a light touch and the tip of the brush. These fine lines is something that we'll be using to create hairlines in the feathers. So it's a great thing to practice out of the class. So start with one of your larger brushes, so I'm going to be using a size 6. We'll start by creating some thin lines, so you want the brush to be quiet dry for these, you don't want any excess water coming out so dab your brush on your paper towel just to take the excess off and then, you hold it at a slight angle with only a small amount of pressure moving it sideways. You want to create a nice, steady line with the similar thickness. Make sure your arms are also relaxed. I like to rest my hand on the table so it's nice and steady. Now pick up one of your pigment and start creating some thicker strokes. Now I'm using my size 2. It's much easier to create these thinner lines and then create some nice thick ones. Finally, I'm going to pick up my smallest brush, which is a 2.0 and then pick up some color, [inaudible] for orange, take off yet fast. Now, I just want us to practice creating some curve lines which will be using for the downy part of the feathers. I can add shape. So now this is drying. Let's get back and add a second layer. Using one of your smaller brushes, I'm using a size 2. I'm going to mix a brown. I want to make it slightly darker. One of the key things to remember about layering with watercolors is that you should always be working from light to dark, building your colors with each layer. Don't start off with a really intense, bold color because you won't have any way to go from there. You also need to remember when layering, to not use too much water. You want to use the absolute minimum. Otherwise, you'll start to disturb those layers underneath. Because watercolors are transparent in nature, you will see light colors on top of dark colors. This is really important to remember when you want to have highlights in your work. As with many artists, I like to use the white at the watercolor paper for the brightest highlights, leaving it completely untouched. So I always need to think about any light to areas or highlights that I won't have at the beginning, so I can work around these areas as I build my color. You can always make them dark later on but it's my choice to make them lighter, especially when the paint has already dried. [MUSIC] Using an almost dry brush to lay your pigment down with, to really add a nice texture to your work. So make sure your brush is clean, take off the water with a paper towel, blotting or squeezing the brush and add your pigment. So use your paper towel to make sure your brush is as dry as possible and then you'll pigment back in. The key is to use nice light strokes here. Use more the side of the brush than the tip. If you're brush is dry enough, it will create these broken edges, and look a bit patchy, because it's only covering the most raised parts of the paper. This is much easier to do the more texture your paper has in it. It may take a few [inaudible] to get this right. But that's okay, just keep practicing. We'll be using this technique for the pattern on the second feather. [MUSIC] Fixing mistakes is not always easy or possible in watercolor. So it's always good to remember to build up your last gradually working from light to dark. You'll find that some pigment stain the paper more than others, and so it will be harder to remove. So you might just want to experiment with your paints to find out how each of them work. If you add too much water or too much paint on your paper, you can usually fix this by lifting it immediately, while it's still wet with a dry brush. The dry brush will act as a sponge absorbing the excess moisture. But this only works when your paint is wet enough so you have to work quickly. So washing it, with clean water in between lifts, as a brush will be soaking out that pigment and then dry on your paper towel. Always make sure your brush is clean and dry, so washing it with clean water in between lifts. You can do this to correct mistakes or create highlights in your work. You'll never be able to remove all of the pigment. So if you really want permanent highlights, you really need to work around them from the start, leaving the area untouched. The more pigment and less water you have, the harder it will be to fix. So here, I've added some paint and have left it for just one minute. Obviously, that's not long but you can see, I can remove some of this but it's leaving a lot behind because it has already stained the paper in that short amount of time. [MUSIC] I'm doing this again with the same amount of pigment and water, but I'm going to do this immediately. [MUSIC] You can see I've managed to lift a lot more here. Bear in mind, the edges will always dry quicker as there's less water there and that will create these hash lines, so you can try to blend them in a bit. So now that we've been through the basic tips and techniques, that we'll need for the class, let's get started on our first feather. 5. Feather 1 - Sketching the Outline: For the first further, we're going to draw a nice defined outline, and then fill in using a wet on wet technique to create these nice soft plants. Here is the basic shape we are going to be working to. Grab your pencil. We'll start by drawing the bind with a slight curve. Then adding a bit of width with a rounded, slightly flat top incoming to the bind in a V, continuing down, curving round and down the other side. Now we have our basic outline. Make sure your pencil line is nice and light. Soften it if you need to use your razor. I'm going to keep mine just like this so that you'll be able to see it in the video. 6. Feather 1 - Painting : For this feather, we want to use three different colors. You can use any colors you like. I'll be using lemon yellow, winsor orange with a touch of lemon yellow mixed in, a winsor red with a touch of lemon yellow again mixed in. I'll also be using a very diluted payne's gray for the shadow of the bone. We want to prepare our paints first, so we're ready to go. I'm using a size 6 brush. I've got two pots of water here, one I will be washing off my pigment with and we want one to keep clean for the first layer of water. Winsor orange, and I'm adding a bit of the lemon yellow to soften it. I'm going for nice subtle colors here. Again, adding a little bit lemon yellow. As you can see, it's quite dirty already. I just check the pigments off of the brush with your towel, we want it nice and clean, and add your water. Try not to go over these edges. It doesn't matter if you dye completely up to the edges as we can use the first color to define the edges a bit more. Now, picking up the smaller brush, a size 4, I'm going to start around the edges making nice defined corners. As you can see that is just a little over the bone. I'm just going to use the edge of my paper towel to pick that up quick clean. Nice and neat. Now, pick up your second color. It's starting to dry at the top here, so I'm just going to clean and dry my brush and blend in a little. Continue on working quite quickly. Now I want to add this darkest color. I'm just going to give this a light coat of water as it's now dry. Then define that bone edge. You can see it's drying out now, it's not blending in as much, so be careful not to do too much now. Using a dry brush to just encourage the pigment out. I want to get some more definition around this bone. Adding a bit payne's gray to the red mix, I'm just going to give this bone some depth. So a fine line on the right side and at the bottom. Using an almost dry brush just to blend in a little. I think it's finished now. I hope you've enjoyed this feather and you're happy with your painting. Let's move on to our next feather. 7. Feather 2 - Sketching the Outline: The next feather we'll paint is like an owl feather. We're not going to paint it to realistically. This is generally the look we're going to go for, a fairly, short, narrow shape. The main color is brown, using different shades and we'll use the dry brush effect to create the stripes. We're going to start by drawing this basic outline in pencil. We'll start with the bone, almost straight down, adding some widths coming to a point, and making a jagged edge for the outline, representing the hairs of the feather, and coming in about an inch from the bottom. Then roughly mirroring this the other side, bringing in to a bit of a dip at the top. 8. Feather 2 - Painting the First Layers: For this feather, I'll be using a few shades of brown, raw umber, burnt sienna, and a touch of Payne's gray, burnt sienna and a touch of ivory black to dial it down a bit, and then ivory black. Using a larger brush, I'm going to use my Size 6, mix up that first layer of a very light brown. I'm using raw umber for this and diluting it down so it's really pale. Now we're going to start building up the layers around the edge and down the sides of the bone to really create some definition. I'm going to grab a Size 4 brush and mix up this next color, burnt sienna, adding in a tiny touch of Payne's gray. I'm bringing it in gradually so I have control as it's changing. Because I didn't use a lot of water in that last layer, it's pretty much drawing now and just starting to define the outline at the hairs here and then blending it in. Down the other side, using little flaky strikes to get those pointy tips, blending it in quickly before it dries. I'm just going to mix a little more of this color. Adding some definition around the bone and some darkness at the top. Make sure you keep the bone untouched for now. We want that to be a nice highlight. Using a small brush, I'm using a Size 0, go back to that first color, the raw umber and then paint in some wispy, downy feathers in an S-shape like we practiced before. This will be the first layer of these. Next we want to start building up some color here and around the edges. Using my Size 4, I'm going to mix some more of this, a bit more Payne's gray, blending that in. Now we'll leave that to dry. 9. Feather 2 - Stripes & Final Details: I'm just going to double-check this is completely dry. Now I'm going to mix up a really dark brown using burnt sienna and a touch of ivory black. Use your paper towel to make sure your brush is as dry as possible and then adding back in some of that pigment, now start at the base using little stripes. We want these stripes to slant slightly outputs and your brush should be creating that nice broken textured effect that we practiced, and go up to the edge. Starting again a little way up, tapering this one off before we get to the edge, and again. This is still a bit wet at the top here, so it's blending in. Now starting on the opposite side, so it don't need to be the same thickness, you can make some of them a little bit different. Now we want to add some layers to these downy hairs, so using the same color as the stripes, with little bit more water, add some more of these wiggly stripes on top. Now using some diluted ivory black, just add in a fine line for the edge of the bone at the bottom. Using an only stripe brush blend in slightly and using a more pigment that mix of that same color we used for this stripes, the burnt sienna and a touch of ivory black, I'm just going to add an extra layer of these hairs and then add some dark areas around the base, blending it in, and to the tips around the edges. Now I just want to check this top is dry and I'm going to add the stripes, and again and then I'm going to add some darker brown to the very top. Just keep adding in these final bits of color, building up those layers, and getting as much definition as you want until you're happy with the final look. I think we're done now, I hope you're happy with your feather and I can't see it, so don't forget to share it with me in the gallery. 10. Feather 3 - Sketching the Outline: This next feather is quite tall and narrow. With this feather, we want to concentrate on building up the layers and focusing on all these fine hairs. This will take a little longer than the ones we've painted so far as we'll be painting a bit more delicately using those fine brush strokes that we practiced in the techniques video. This is the basic outline we'll be working to, so grab your pencil and start by drawing a long curved line for the bond, making it nice and tall. Then starting from the top, make it nice and thin. We're not going to draw the jagged edges in here, we're just going to run parallel to the bond. We want a very basic guide for our painting. Then adding a literal width to the bond all the way down and there's our basic shape. 11. Feather 3 - Painting the First Layers: The main palette for this feather, will be this lovely mix of Cerulean blue with a touch of Winsor yellow making it and little bit greener. Then building on the layers will make a nice mix of Cerulean blue with a little bit of indigo to add some darkness to it. Then we'll be using ivory black for the bind. I'm going to start with my large round six brush, to make some first layer with this Cerulean blue. We want a fair amount of water in this mix because we want it nice and pale, adding in little touch of Winsor yellow. It's going to add a bit more blue and back into that. It's running alongside there bind. Then stop flicking out to create, it's nice, jaggedy edges along the outline. We use this color to cover the whole base of the feather, leaving a highlight down the bind. Just keep working round flicking this out. Then making nice neat curve around the top, and starting from the bottom on the other side and working upwards, again leaving the bind untouched. We want to wait for this to dry. We shouldn't take too long, just few minutes because we haven't added that much water into this first layer, so watch through way, let's mix up our next color. It would be the same mix, but just a bit more intense, more pigmented. Adding back in a plain, and touch of the yellow again. I think that quite nice. Moving down to the size full brush now, and its looking quite dry. Then start working your way up from the bottom along the bind. Lending out with little fleeky strikes again but not covering the whole base. We want that first layer to becoming three, so it gives a nice bit of depth and texture. Then do the same on the other side. We don't need to stand out too much on this stage, we want to build them up gradually, so at the end you can see all the different intensities of color coming through. We want to make this a bit darker, adding a bit more of the blue. This time I'm just going to add a small touch of paint gray, just to make it slightly darker. Now we want to wait until this is completely dry, as we want those crisp edges. We want this lighter, so add a little bit more water. Then just working on this fleeky fine lines coming out from the bind again, making some of these edges nice and smooth curving round. That is it for our first few layers, now let's wait for it to dry and we move on to the next layer. 12. Feather 3 - More Layers: For the next layer I'm going to make some of that lovely cerulean blue with a bit of indigo this time, and adding small touch of Payne's gray just to make it slightly darker. Use a size 2 to paint some nice fine strokes from the center. Add some depth here next to the bone. Blend all this in at the top. Now using my finest brush the two zero, I'm going to mix up that first color again, cerulean blue with touch of winsor yellow, and paint those little wispy downy hairs at the base in an almost S shape. I'm picking up that darker color still with my fine brush. I'm going to work on these edges, adding some definition to these hairs. Lots of fine strokes, starting from the outside edge coming in. Then I'm going to add a second layer of darker wispy hairs here at the base over these fine ones. You don't want to cover the mold. You want both colors to be showing through. Once you've done that, let's move on to painting the bone and adding in the final details. 13. Feather 3 - Final Details: Next we want to start working on the inner edge of the bone. I'm going to be using an intense ivory black for this, so with very little water and keeping my brush nice and dry. I'm going to work on the left side of the inside of the bone with my finest brush. I want to leave some white on the right for a highlight. So keeping my brush dry with my paper towel so that I have control over the paint and it's nice and dark. Going all the way to the top and then starting to blend in very slightly. Now I'm going to do the same at the bottom adding some extra definition underneath those downy feathers and blending it in. I'm just going to go over this then I'm going to add a little paint grain mixed in with that blue here. I'm going to do few more wispy hairs at the base for the final layer of these downy hairs. Then, I'm just going to work on the outer edge of the bone with this deeper color to add some more depth and the adding in some few hairs here and there. So just keep adding in any more details and definition that you think is needed. I think we're done. I hope you've enjoyed this feather. Please do share your work with me either in the gallery or you can tag me on Instagram @sharonestevensdesign. I'd really love to see your work. 14. Feather 4 - Sketching the Outline: The next feather is actually my favorite of all the feathers. I love the contrast between the soft blends that you can see underneath and a definition in detail that you get from the edges and the speckles. The permanent color here is brown with much dark shades near the bone on the edges. Then looking closely you can see a lot of fine hairs painted in there. Again, we have the Downey hairs at the base, it makes a pale pink a little bit darker shades brown. Then finally you have the speckle of inconsistently dotted around clustered mourning, the center and the base with a few near the tip. Let's grab our pencil and start by sketching out the feather. So we'll start with the bone. So nice curve and then adding a little bit of width, but keeping it nice and narrow, and starting at the top, having a bit of a flat top here. Then just drawing in those jagged edges. I'm just going to soften these pencil lines. 15. Feather 4 - Painting the First Layers: So looking at the feather again, you can see it's got this lovely orangey pink blend underneath on the left side. So we're going to do wet on dry with this. So we have a nice amount of control over where this goes. Because we really just want to, on the left side, to leave this nice space here which comes back as a nice highlight, and then it will create a more of a light brown. So I'll be using a raw amber to create the first layer on the right side. So I'll be using my size four brush. Okay, I'm just want to start by adding some definition to these edges which is where that color is focused around and then blending in. Okay, I want to add a bit more around this area. I think I'm going to add a touch of orange, just mix, and then add in here, and then a bit more at the bottom. Then again, just blending it out. I think I want to make it even, dark in the areas. I'm just going to add a touch more here just to build that up. Okay, I think that will do for that side, I don't want to overwork it. So now we'll mix up the color for this side. So a light brown, I'm going to be using a raw amber and again, we want this fatty pale using the first layer and we will be building them up. So really nice and light. Okay, now let's leave those to dry. 16. Feather 4 - Painting the Second Layers: I want to start adding some definition around those edges with a slightly darker brown, so I'm going to use a burnt amber and a slightly smaller brush. I'm using a size 2. Picking up my burnt amber, we can see that's a bit dark than the real amber. Because we're building up layers we want to use a minimal amount of water here, because we don't want to disturb the layers underneath. Keeping my brush nice and dry, I'm just going to start working on defining some of these layers making these edges nice and feathery, and jagged. Then just using a damp brush to just pull the pigment and blend it in. One thing to remember when working with layers is that until you actually get to the finished thing, you can feel quite uncertain with how it's going to turn out. Sometimes just doesn't look right or you just doubt yourself, but you just need to have faith and keep going or just keep building them up gradually. I'm going to grab a little bit more of this burnt amber. Again, taking the excess water off my brush and carrying on down this side working on these edges making them nice and defined. Then taking off the pigment and the water on the damp brush just blending it out. Again, I'm going to work up this vein. I've got a nice bit of highlight here, so I want to keep that as much as possible. I'm just going to blend this out ever so slightly, so that I can keep the highlight there and not go over it. Checking the other side that's dry, we're going to do the same thing for this other side but probably making it a bit darker. Having a bit more of coverage. You can use a pigment that's a bit more darker, we do want to make that side darker. But again, dry brush. [inaudible] just stop from blending what you've done before it dries. Again, trying to keep a little bit of highlight, you don't want to completely cover the whole side. I'm using little flaky brush strokes for the hairs, we can see blending in again. We can see some of these edges aren't perfect but that's fine because we are going to be layering it, so doesn't matter if it's not blended in perfectly. You wont see them at the end. 17. Feather 4 - More Layers: The next thing I want to do is use my finest brush semi two zero, and start building in some of the fine hairlines. We'll build layers over this, we'll glaze over it. But we want those underneath. I'm going to carry on using I'm actually going to use a slightly darker, slightly more intense, raw umber for these, but we do want them very fine and very subtle. You can test out your color, and if it's too dark just tally it a bit more. I'm going to test out this now, start from here. Yeah, I think that's nice. Make them nice and light over this highlights that we don't cover up too much. Just go wait a couple of minutes now for the other side, to make sure it's completely dry before we start working on that. Whilst we're waiting for the right side, dry, we're just going to create our first layer of the downy feathers here. We're going to go back to the orangy pinky color we started with. We want to fairly washy and then this little wiggle strikes nice light. That's first layer. The next thing we can do is just mix up a tiny amount of this really dark brown, to accentuate this bind here. I'm going to use a little bit of the burnt umber, and add a tiny amount of indigo, you want to be really careful. Wash that off, just to make it nice and dark a little bit more. My brush nice and dry, and I'm just going to go down the center to the bottom and then it's going to go off the left side. Then add a pair of shadow here. Then using Homer's dry brush, just blend in, a little and then a very fine line up the other side in the bottom, on the left side slightly, and we can add similar depth to this once it's dry and build up. I think that's dry enough now. Again, starting has on that side, say using the same brown. Still using my two zero brush. I need to worry about these hairs being everywhere. You can leave caps. You just generally want them to follow the same pattern, say always be parallel to each other but curving around. Now this left side is dry. We want to add some more definition, build that definition in the edges and around the bind again. We're going to use the burnt umber, and indigo again. I'm going to grab a slightly larger brush just to mix it up with. Actually, I think we're going to just start with this burnt umber. I think it's looking quite nice and intense, I think yeah. It's going around these, blending that color in. Nice dark top, so i'm just going to color this in here, and just keep blending before it dries. Because I'm not using much water here, its going to dry very quickly. We are going to add some dark paint in here. Again, I'm trying to keep this highlight as much as possible though. Now, you can see this pinky brown is not got the strength that I wanted here. I might try and just add a little bit more in. I cant leave that out. I'm going to use a slightly larger brash size two again. Having some more of this, but umber I'm starting on the other side, putting this up. 18. Feather 4 - Speckles & Final Details: So now, we want to add some darker layers over these downy feathers, so you can use this burnt amber. Just a few because I don't want to draw out this pink too much. Okay, so this left side is mostly dry. I'm going to mix up a darker brown. Using this burnt amber again with small amount of indigo. Okay, I'm just working on the left tips. I'm painting the vine. I'm blending it in. Checking the right side is dry. Then doing the same there. Generally we're making the right side darker so, its going to work in the direction that has even more coverage. A little a bit of definition in there so I think we're almost done now for the layers. I just want to make this bone a little more subtle. I'm just going to make this get slightly thinner. Adding a little bit of shade in there as well. So it becomes quite subtle. Then with an almost dry brush, just brushing in a little bit of the color over it. It dampens it down a little bit. We don't want it to be bright white. Okay so now that it's layers are drying, I'm just looking at it and I want to blend out some of this color on this here, so I'm going to use this. Let's have a little bit more burnt amber with indigo. I'm actually going to use a little bit of Payne's gray hair to make it even darker. I'm going to blend this out straight away. Again here, blend it out. Mixing up a really dark brown. Then I'm going to grab my 2/0 brush. Then just try to make the leaf dry add some definition, quite some definition. Then final little bits. Okay, when it's completely dry, we want to add the final speckles. I'm just going to use my ivory black for this. Using my finest brush 2/0. We want to start here and disperse about widths and then have some at the top as well. So just a little speckles near the bone, over here. I'm dotting them around, and on this side as well, and on the tip. A little bit definition anywhere. Tiny points of definition. Okay, I think we're done with that one. I hope you're happy with how you feather's blend. Let's move on to the peacock feather now. 19. Feather 5 - Sketching the Outline: The fifth and final feather will be this beautiful peacock feather. This is obviously quite different to the other feathers we've painted so far. We'll be layering those colors in the eye to start with, and then concentrating on those fine brush strokes for the hairs, which will take quite a lot of time. We're just going to sketch the outline of the eye and the bone. We're not going to draw any of the hairs, as we'll paint those in. Start by grabbing your pencil, and we're going to draw that egg-shape first. We want to make sure we leave a big enough gap at the top for all of those hairs. Narrower at the top, and then a nice round bottom, keeping it nice and light. The next thing we'll do is we'll paint the first shape in here. About halfway down, I'll draw a flat line top. A line curved around at the edges and then pulling it round in a circular bottom. Then next we want to draw the center. The circular shape at the top, and then coming to a point and then coming up, and going down again so having an actual V-shape here, okay like that. Then starting from this eye I will draw the bone of the feather. Line down it don't have to be completely straight, you can make it slightly curved, nice and long. You want a decent amount, and then just thicken it with an extra line. Okay so that will do for our basic outline. 20. Feather 5 - Painting the Eye: The main colors I'll use in this palette are Winsor blue and French ultra, mainly, for the center of the eye, but also for adding in some bluey-coloured hairs. We'll also use raw amber, a mix of Winsor yellow and cerulean blue, to create this lovely, almost illuminous color around the edges of the hair line, and a mix of olive green and French ultra for the dark hairs and definition. The first thing we want to add some color to is this center point here. Grabbing a medium-sized brush, I'm going to grab a size two. Then, I'm going to use French ultra for this, so rubbing that blue, just tap some of that water off, and add that in, creating a nice defined edge, and then leaving a line in the center for the highlight of the bone. Coming to a point to the bottom, leave that edge of the bone. We'll darken that up, as we go along. Wash off that brush. Now, I'm going to grab a slightly larger brush, a size four, and we want to make the color of this outline. Whilst this is drying, we'll paint this, and then we can get back into the center, because we don't want the colors to bleed into each other. We want nice defined edges. I'm going to use a raw umber for this, so you can use a brown. Wanted to start quite light, because we can always add to it. Working on that outline. Then again, right at the bottom, just leave this line here for the highlight of the bone. Whilst it's still wet, I'm just going to add some more pigment to the edges and let it blend in. Now, we want to give it just a minute, for it to dry, so we can add that middle color, without it bleeding in. I haven't added much water, so it shouldn't take too long. We can be mixing up our next color, whilst we do that. Because it's quite a fine area, I'm going to use a size two again. For this, I'm going to use a Winsor blue. As you can see, it's already quite brighter. I'm going to give it another minute to dry. Now, that's dry. I'm going to add in that blue into the center. Pick up your paint, take off any excess water. If it starts to bleed in, then just stop and wait for it to dry again. Working quite delicately here, and then working down that line. Now, that this is dry, we can just work on the outline, with this luminous green. To make this green, I'll just use one of my makeup brushes. We want to get some Winsor yellow, and then mix it with a little bit of this cerulean blue. You can see that straightaway turned into this lovely luminous green that we want. I'm going to use a smaller brush for this. Because, I want to create some fine lines, I'm going to go for my zero brush. Pick out that paint, so catch your brush, and then, you want to think about where you're not going to smudge, so start from this side, and then, you want to get a little strikes. Actually, I'm going to make it a bit bigger than this. I'm just going to blend that out, a bit. I'm actually going to use a bigger brush than this. I'm going to speed change to a size 2. I'm going to mix more of that color and then add in that blue again. Then just carry on working around the edge here and down here until we have a point. I'm going to go back here. Since that shade is darker, press a bit better. I'm going to go way over this. Then grab some water and just blend this. I put this as I'm taking off my brush. Taking off my brush. As I look down, add a bit more here using two strikes. Then we blend this out. Tanning pigment off your brush, drying your brush, and blending it out. This is going to be the base class that doesn't have to be exact tiny tour see much about it. Now what we can do is while you're waiting for that to dry, we can go in and add some dark times today center pace. Picking the size 2 again. Going back to this French outstra. Building up that color. Now we want to add some fine lines on top of this brown area to give it a nice highlight texture. So grab one of your medium brushes, and we'll be using the row on that again. I'll just going to use a slightly more intense colors and we did before. You can see and grabbing the Islamist brush, you don't that much water, and then we want the lines coming from the bottom whacking away up. We'll start here and then you want to draw a line down the center to be working towards fine lines. Then starting to slant as you get to this point, going to mix up. Add some more of this. Now we want to do exactly the same with this light blue in the light display shape. We're going to make some of that color again, which was the winds up blue. which is this one. Small jitter telnet to dock, just want them to be subtle lines. Grab my small brush, lighting color. Take off the excess again that's quite thick. Then curving around. 21. Feather 5 - Painting the Hairs: Now we want to start working on the hairs of this feather. We'll start by working on the outer edge here with lots of little short strikes using the same color at a darker intensity, so olive green and a bit of French ocher again. I'm going to use my smallish brush. I'm choosy, right? Now start working at a small distance from the edge of the brown leaving that nice luminous color to come through, always working up forwards with these little strikes. I'm just going to turn the paper around so I can get this left side. I'm going to add some of that same color again. From the top, start painting the hairs. We want these to be a little bit weakly, not completely straight, like an S shape. Then just work your way around. This is only the first layer of hairs, so we don't want the green to be too strong yet. When you get here, just start from the bine curving upwards. You can make some shorter and we can have an odd few coming out here. Just blend in at the edge of the bine. Start to make this more space down as you get further down. Now I want to work on the left side, so I'm going to turn the paper around again. I'm just going to mix up a bit more of this paint with one of my bigger brushes. Carry on painting these hairs keeping them quite close together at the stem. When you get to the bine, just paint a soft line down there, and this will blend into the hairs nicely, but it will also make the bine stand out. Again, space these hairs a bit further apart as you move down. Now we have our first layer of pale green hairs. Now we want to add in a layer of pale blue hairs. I'm going to use french ocher for this. We want to keep it fairly light, so keep it nice and diluted. I want this to be a bit darker, so I'm going to add a little more pigment. Try again, and this works better. So remember to take off the excess water to from your brush. So these lines and nice and fine. Making them disperse towards the bottom. I'm going to turn around again now to work on the other side. Now I got a nice brush pipe tower here, and I want to start mixing up a darker gray, we can fill in here, around the edges and just create a fine layer of hair with. So, I'm going to use the same mixture as before, that's olive green. Again, I'm going to add in some front ultra. So I'm going to use my size zero brush, and starts again at the top. So this isn't dark as I wanted to. So I'm going to add a touch of Payne's gray to this mix. That's looking better. So work on these color up to the edges, to create the illusion of the hair that's building together. I'm not using much water here, so it should be drying quite quickly. I'm just going to keep working over it until I get the strength of the color that I want. Now I'm going to add a bit of a haze to the outside of the bone down here to really make it stand out. We want to keep it nice and pale. I'm going to blend this out. I'm just going to grab my bigger brush to blend this as there is a bit too much paint on there. I want to pick up some of that water and pigment. That's looking better. Now I want to start working down the left side, so I'm going to turn my page round again. I'm just doing the same as before, I'm using a size zero here again. I'm just working on building those strokes and then planting them into the longer hairs. So just keep going, adding hairs blending them from the edge and the bind until you are done with this layer. 22. Feather 5 - Final Details: Okay, let's take a look and see what final details we want to add to this feather now. I want to add some more depth to the spine, and maybe even up the hairs here, and add a bit of darker outline here, and layer up these hairs here. Let's start with the middle. I'm going to grab my size four brush and wet this color again. Next I want to work on the spine I'm going to grab a smaller brush and get a tiny bit of Payne's gray and dilute it, adding a bit of definition. Blending it in leaving a little bit of white. Just making it a little bit darker at the bottom. We are almost there. I want to add a bit more color here. I'm using my size zero here, adding in some little texture details. Then just adding some hairs in the top. I'm just going to add another layer in the center. Adding a bit of Payne's gray to this blue here. Then finally one last coat in this brown area. Really darkening that edge. Just add more definition in any where your piece needs it. I'm just going to add a little bit of Payne's gray. Blend it out. Okay, I think we're done now. There's a peacock feather. 23. Project & Final Thoughts: Hi, everyone. I want to start by thanking you for taking my class. It really means a lot to me. I hope you've enjoyed it and maybe you've even learned something. For the project, I'd like you to create and share with me one or more of your feathers, simple as that. You're also welcome to share with me some of the techniques and exercises that we practiced in the earlier videos. I'd love to see anything you've created onto this class. If you're on Instagram, please tag me in your work as well @sharonestevensdesign. Don't forget the E. I'll be running some features in my stories on that. I would love to show your work. I just want to leave you with some final tips. Watercolor is a wonderful medium but I know it can be frustrating if you're a beginner or just can't get the effect you want. So remember to try and be patient, practice, and pay attention to what the paint's are doing. I think one of the key ways to progress in watercolor painting and finding your own style is to simply experiment. Try different techniques. Try adding more water or more pigment to different strokes. Try different size brushes. Play around and have fun learning how the paint are more to react to each other on the scale of wet to dry. Most importantly, relax and enjoy it. Finally, if you've liked this class, please do give me a thumbs up. Likewise, if you have any feedback or suggestions for future classes, I'd really love to hear from you. So thanks again and have fun with your paints. Until next time.