Your Watercolor Journey: Create Geometric Landscapes Using Masking Tape | Ewa Kleszcz | Skillshare

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Your Watercolor Journey: Create Geometric Landscapes Using Masking Tape

teacher avatar Ewa Kleszcz, illustellar | Find Bliss in Making Art

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Brainstorming

    • 4. Background Preparation

    • 5. Masking

    • 6. Choosing Color Palette

    • 7. Time to Paint, Part 1

    • 8. Time to Paint, Part 2

    • 9. Removing the Tape

    • 10. Embellishing

    • 11. Bonus: Framing

    • 12. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Learn how to paint an eye-catching geometric landscape using watercolors and masking tape! 

I’ll guide you through every step of the process, so you can create a beautiful, clean looking piece of artwork in no time! 

You’ll learn how to brainstorm your ideas using mini-sketches, how to leverage different widths of masking tape when building your shapes, how to apply paint, remove the masking tape and embellish your finished painting. 

It’s a fun and easy technique that will allow you to quickly achieve great results, whether you’re an advanced student or you’re just starting out your watercolor journey! 

By the end of this class, you’ll have a ready to frame painting, that you can put on your own wall or give as a gift to someone you love.


Meet Your Teacher

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Ewa Kleszcz

illustellar | Find Bliss in Making Art

Top Teacher


Hi there! My name is Ewa, and I'm an illustrator and embroidery artist in love with all things nature. 

Born and raised in a big city (Warsaw, Poland), I yearn to live by the ocean, and this longing for contact with the natural world is the leitmotif of my art. 



I love combining organic elements with geometry and I draw inspiration from the underwater world, plant life, cosmos, and Japanese patterns.

I’ve always been incorporating tons of details and intricate patterns into my drawings and lately, this practice translated to my embroidery, which consists of hundreds of french knots and other elaborate details.

This repetitive act of embellishing my art with copious dots, circles... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to your watercolor journey. In today's class, we are going to create a modern geometric landscape using watercolors and masking tape. If you are looking for a short and sweet inspiring project that will allow you to create something cool in no time, you're in the right place. Hi everyone. My name is Emma, and I'm a self-taught artist and father of illustration and design brand illustrator. In my works, I love to combine geometric shapes with organic elements. Today I will show you how to do it in a fun and easy way. You will learn how to brainstorm your ideas using mini sketches. I will walk you through building shapes with masking tape, applying your paints in two different techniques, and finally, removing the masking tape and embellishing your painting. By the end of this class, you will have a knowledge of what it takes to create fresh, eye-catching geometric wall art that you can put on your own wall or give someone as a gift. The project for this class will be to create your own geometric landscape. You will choose a scenery you love the most, whether it'd be forest, ocean, or mountains, and complete steps I share in each video that will lead you through the process of making your own little masterpiece. This class is for you, whether you're a seasoned artist or you're just starting out your watercolor journey. I just can't wait to see what you'll create. So let's get started. 2. Supplies: Let's go over the supplies you'll need for this class. Obviously you need your watercolors. I use many different brands and I like to mix and match, but I primarily use the Russian brand Nevskaya Palitra. These are great quality and affordable introductory paints, very popular here in Poland. However, feel free to use what you have at hand. The next thing is your paper. You can play around with different brands. Just be sure it's specifically a watercolor paper. It's got to be 140 pounds or 300 grams, so it can handle a lot of water. A smooth hot pressed paper will be the best for this project. As in the end, you will embellish the painted surface with different pens and too grainy paper can make it harder. Then you will need your round brushes. They don't have to be fancy, as long as they don't look like this, you're good to go. You will also need a palette. I really love the ceramic ones. I found that they are much better for mixing paints than the plastic ones, and you can clean them completely afterwards. You can use a small plate for this purpose, if you like. I'll just stick with your plastic palette for now. Prepare your water jar and keep the paper towels handy. For the sketching and brainstorming phase, you will need a pencil, an eraser, and just a plain paper or sketchbook. For the embellishing phase, you can use a white gel pen. White acrylic pen, this is a brand I like a lot, or just a simple black pen. Micron ones are really good. You can also use a gold pen if you have one. Last but not least, you will need your masking tape and scissors. I use 10 millimeters, six millimeters, and three millimeters masking tape. This one is really thin. I primarily use this brand. You can find it on Amazon, or you can look for something similar in your local hobby store. You can also use a washi tape, just tested beforehand and check if it can handle a lot of water. That's it. Let's jump into a brainstorming phase. 3. Brainstorming: The first step here is to choose your topic. In this class, we'll be talking about ocean, forest, and mountain landscape. However, if you're just dying to paint a meadow full of flowers, please do. If you need an inspiration, you can search for relevant photos on Pinterest. Here's the [inaudible] I created especially for this purpose. When you're scrolling through the pictures, look for interesting shapes that could be easily translated and simplified into a geometric form, but you don't have to overthink it. Basically, if you want to create a forest, you can build it from different size triangle shapes, put very closely together, or from irregular angular shapes like this. When creating mountains, you can use a lot of jagged lines or bigger triangles. With ocean, you can use flat shapes depicting waves. They can be very basic in the beginning. Or you can use more jagged lines if you want to go for a raging storm effect or something like that. The easiest way to do it is to start from the bottom and build your shapes one upon another. Now that you have chosen your topic, let's talk about the shape of the background. I'm obsessed with hexagons and I've created a whole big project by some of them on Instagram, but you can easily stick to a rectangle, square, or choose a triangle or even octagon. If you decide to use a circle, you can do it, but just be aware that you won't be able too much borders as neatly as you can do with the straight lines. It will have to look like this. Now, sketch a few different shapes on a piece of paper and try to fit your chosen landscape into them. Check what works and what doesn't. See what composition you like the most and stick with it for now. When you finish, take a photo of your little sketches and upload it into a project gallery by creating your class project, documenting your creative process like that can be very satisfying. In the end, you will be amazed when you compare these sketches to your finished artwork. 4. Background Preparation: Now that you have selected your background shape, trim your watercolor paper to it. I will be working with hexagon, square, and triangle to show you different techniques. If you'd like to use hexagon or octagon, I've prepared mockups you can download. You will find them in the resources in your project tab, print and cut them out to create a template, put it on a watercolor paper, and outline the shape. If you feel confident enough, you don't have to sketch your landscape on a watercolor paper before you start building shapes with masking tape, you can pick up your initial project sketch from time to time and add bullets and improvise. On the other hand, if you'll prefer to know exactly where to put your tape, sketch the shapes very lightly with your pencil or create just little guideline marks and be sure the tape will cover them completely, so you can easily erase them after peeling it. If you will put a layer of paint on top of a pencil marks, you won't be able to erase them later, so keep that in mind. However, if this accident happens in this project, do not despair, you will be able to hide the stray mark or a line like that by covering it with swindles and patterns in the embellishing phase. 5. Masking: Let's talk about the process of outlining your landscape with masking tape. Use the thickest tape you have to create your borders and at the same time to take down your paper to a clipboard or fiberboard, or whatever waterproof surface you have at hand, you can even use your desktop. Normally, you take the watercolor paper down to a flat surface like that, so it won't warp and buckle after you put a lot of water on it. My duty little secret is that very often I don't do that at all. I like to rotate the paper when I'm working in many different directions. Such clipboards are just too bulky for me. The paper will buckle a little, but unless you were drawing it with water, you can smooth the painting out later by putting some heavy books on it so it's just up to you. When you are putting the masking tape on paper, you have to press it down really hard so the paint and water won't seep underneath it. I usually use three sizes of masking tape. The thickest one is good for creating borders and sometimes most prominent shapes in your composition. The other two I use to build smaller shapes inside the bigger ones and to add another level of intricacy to it. The good example is this painting with thick border, thinner shapes here and this little guys here. Remember that if you want some bigger parts of your painting to remain white, you have to plan it before hand and leave the surface untouched by paint like I did here with these snow caps. Let's jump into it and I will show how to do it. I have prepared the other two examples beforehand. Here's how they look like. Here we have ocean waves. Then lastly, with a really thin tape you can still press it a little harder. Here we will have our mountains. This is a forest. When you will finish this step, snap a picture of your background and upload it to your class project. It will be cool to compare it with a finished artwork. 6. Choosing Color Palette: When choosing the color palette for this project, you have to take a few things under consideration. First is the overall mood of your landscape. Consider the time of the year and time of the day. You can paint snowy mountains at sunset, in which case you will choose blue, perhaps gray, and a little bit of pink and orange. Your summer forest will consist of different shades of green, but autumn forest can have a whole rainbow of colors. On the other hand, the colors don't have to be realistic at all and you can just let your imagination run wild. You can paint this landscape in two different ways. You can either go for a mosaic like effect and fill each shape individually with different color. Looks something like this. Or you can use a more fluid approach, ignore the shapes and let the colors blend one into another. In this case, you have to be a little bit more careful when choosing your colors. If you use only shades of green or shades of blue, that's okay. But if you want to add orange accents to a blue mountain, it can easily turn into this muddy green. Sometimes it's better to wait a second until the blue part is more dry and then put orange next to it, so they won't blend to easily. This transition not always looks this nice, but you can mask it with some patterns afterwards. The last thing you need to have in mind is choosing colors and level of the transparency in context of lighter embellishing effects. Let me explain. If you want to add patterns to the surface using white pen, then the layer of paint should be opaque and dark enough, so it will provide a nice contrast like here. On the other hand, if you will be using black pens, the layer of paint should be relatively light, so black patterns can be visible. That's it. See you in the next lesson. 7. Time to Paint, Part 1: As I have mentioned before, you can apply paint here in two different techniques. You can stick to one or two similar colors per shape to create a mosaic-like effect or let the paint flow freely between shapes and allow colors to mix with each other. I will start with the mosaic to create this autumn forest. I will be using white pen to embellish it lighter so I want to make sure the colors are vivid, opaque, and pretty dark. 8. Time to Paint, Part 2: Now, I will show you how to paint this ocean and mountain landscape using the more fluid technique. Here we can easily mess something out. Paint can create blobs and blooms, but we don't have to worry about it. Everything can be covered with patterns later. Now that your painting is ready, just let it sit until it's completely dry. If you are as impatient as I am, you can speed this process by using a hair drier, be careful though. If you see that a lot of paint has pulled in one of the corners like here, just take a clean brush and put it gently to the parlor first so it can drink an excess of water and paint. If you won't do it, the stream of hot air can splash the paint all over your painting and that would be a disaster. That's it. I'll see you in the next lesson. 9. Removing the Tape: Now it's time for a fun part. In projects like this, pulling the masking tape can be more satisfying than painting. Before you start, please make sure the paint is completely dry, especially in the corners. You can lightly touch it with your fingers to be sure. Otherwise, you could just throw in your painting. When you remove the masking tape, do it gently, don't yank to hurt as this can damage the surface of a paper. Just be patient and enjoy the process. 10. Embellishing: Before you start embellishing your painting, take into consideration if there are any mistakes you would like to mask with patterns. If you see a pattern that you don't like, think how you can cover it. The whole idea for a pattern can stem from this one place. Oftentimes, I'm mostly happy about paintings I thought were ruined because necessity of covering mistakes gave me a new and surprising ideas. Just have fun with it. For example, here I will change this blue into a cloud. Here I will use this line to start building geometric pattern inside the shape. If after peeling off the tape you will discover that accident happened and paint seeked underneath it, you can mask such stains with white acrylic paint. It won't be perfect. But it's at least something. I've prepared some examples of patterns I've used in my previous works. I hope they will inspire you and give you some ideas. To add more interest to the painting, choose at least two or three different patterns and use them alternately on filling your shapes. Let's get started with embellishing. Here are my finished paintings. In this ocean one, I didn't have a lot of space, so I decided to stick mostly two dots and that's okay because they look like a sea foam. On the other hand, I like to go with the flow, so in this painting, I completely forgot that I was going to use black pen for embellishing and see what happened. I had to add white for contrast on this dark area. I added it to fill other shapes for balance. You have to keep in mind such details and plan a little if you want to have more control over the process. When you are done, take a photo of your finished painting and share it in your class projects so we can all admire your work. 11. Bonus: Framing: You finished your beautiful artwork. Now what, framing unusual shapes like hexagons or circles can be tricky, but there are ways to do it. The easiest way is to put your finished painting on a colored paper background contrasting with white borders and frame it this way. Very eye-catching way to framing unusual shapes is to put them into glass floating frames. Basically, you place your artwork between two pieces of glass. This can look gorgeous, especially if the wall is painted with blue or gray or other color that is not white. 12. Final Thoughts: Congratulations on finishing this class. Thank you so much for taking it. I truly hope you've learned some new tricks and techniques and you feel inspired to start painting. You can use masking tape with watercolors in many different creations, like bookmarks or greeting cards. It can make your life a lot easier every time you need to get a crisp straight line. But for now, I'm so excited to see what you'll create in this class. I would love to look at your sketches and see what topic and background shape you have chosen. Not to mention your finished artwork. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to comment on the discussion below. If you are planning to share your painting on Instagram and you would like to be featured on my Instagram stories, follow me, tag me in your posts, and use this brilliant hashtag I've created, especially for the purpose. Have fun with the project, and I'll see you next time.