Blue china vases and bouquets: creative & stress-free techniques in watercolors | S Sukilopi | Skillshare

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Blue china vases and bouquets: creative & stress-free techniques in watercolors

teacher avatar S Sukilopi, Artist, Skillshare teacher

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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

8 Lessons (1h)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Material and Inspiration

    • 3. Motifs

    • 4. Important Steps

    • 5. First Vase

    • 6. Second Vase

    • 7. Bonus!

    • 8. Final Words

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About This Class


Hi, I’m Sandrine!

Do you love blue china pottery? The shapes of the vases and pots, the hand-painted patterns and motifs? How wonderful they look with flowers?

Although you might think it’s a difficult subject to paint, I will show you that it is actually quite easy.
All we need is a bit of preparation before we start using our watercolors, so that our inspiration can take the driving seat during the painting process :)

If you have taken any of my watercolors classes, you already know that I am a big advocate of simplifying the painting process by taking easy steps before picking up your brushes.
Why do I use and teach this method? Because I like to relax while I paint, without overthinking every brush stroke. Is it the right position? The right color? The right movement? and so on... This is a creativity-killer and once you are confident in your ability to paint a subject, you no longer need to worry about details and can start expressing yourself!

So in this class we will work on shapes, motives and palettes with pencils in our sketchbook, and once we’ve had fun doodling small vases and patterns we will start our fun and expressive paintings :)

I cannot wait to show you how to become confident in your artistic abilities and how to paint these beautiful floral pieces, so let’s start right now!

Material used for this class:

-pencil and eraser


-a few watercolor pencils (any brand, mine are Faber-Castell)

-a white gel pen and/or white paint marker (Posca type)

-watercolors (mine are a mixture of Daler-Rowney aquafine, Van Gogh and White Nights)

-300 grams watercolor paper (cold-pressed is my preference, usual brands are Hannemühle or Canson XL)

Class downloads (vases shapes and patterns references):

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

S Sukilopi

Artist, Skillshare teacher



Hello, I'm Sandrine.

I am an artist and Skillshare teacher who loves using all kinds of media and especially watercolors. I am also a Procreate lover and I especially enjoy painting portraits and whimsical art digitally.

I sell my art through exhibitions and on print on demand websites, such as Society6 and Redbubble.

My main sources of inspiration are my daily reveries, nature, music and books. I am also a major paper hoarder and collect everything and anything that is not completely white..

Last but not least, I am French (which you already know if you’ve heard me talk for half a second), living in Toulouse, south of France.  

I hope you will enjoy my classes, I am always ecstatic when my students post their project... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi everyone, my name is Sandrine, and in this class we will be painting beautiful China advisees with bouquet. If you know me or if you've seen any of my other classes, you know that I am passionate about being creative while painting. Throughout my experience, I have found out that planning is a key, not just planning papers and colors and brushes, but are so planning composition, volumes, shapes Before we even pick up a brush. So together we will find and drew elements of our paintings. Fuzzy shapes, patterns, motifs, book, e-Types. I will help you combine shapes and volumes that work together. And when the time comes to paint, you will see what happened. So remember to press the Follow button to be informed of my new classes and discussions and our sought to get bonuses from time to time. Are you ready? Let's go. 2. Material and Inspiration: So welcome to this class. Let's start by checking what materials we are going to use. We will need pencil and eraser, some watercolor pencils. I am personally using these Faber and Castile ones, but you can use any brand that you have. We will also need some white ink pens. Mine, the pilot choose number seven, and the white basketball, which is 0.7 millimeters. We will paint with three sizes of R1 brushes. Number 2610. As for the water colors, I am using a mixture of brands. I have here, some tubes by Vanguard, some data in Roni, Aquafina and my usual White Nights set. For this class, I will paint on the handle mu 300 grams called press paper. I also often used the cancer Excel paper or so 300 grams. Bus brands are great options. Additionally, you will need some piece of paper or a sketchbook to test Carlos as we paint. Finally, water, piece of cloth and kitchen paper. And now let's talk about inspiration. What we need for this class is to find some shapes for the disease, as well as patterns and motifs to paint on them. My go-to place for gathering reference images is of course, Pinterest. If you are using it, you can create a board and fill it with inspiring photos. For now, I will be searching for blue-white Chinese porcelain. And I am focusing first on various shapes and designs, pinning images with interesting motifs. You can also search for flowers in Chinese verse to find ideas for flowers and bouquet to paint. Later. I am writing the reference images to my shin wisely boat. 3. Motifs: Following my research, I have gathered a few ideas of shapes that I could use for my paintings. So let's start sketching some cute facies and pubs, and we'll decide later which ones we will keep for a paintings. There are many interesting shapes to sketch from our reference pictures. You could spend some time sketching these vases. It's quite fun and it's also good practice for when you will actually be drawing the vases on your watercolor paper. You can draw your own vices from your reference images. Or you can use the document provided in the class resources. The size of the verse is something you have to keep in mind while planning your painting. Because they need to be a balance between the size of the valves and the size of the bouquet. This is why I have divided my VS into three categories, low, medium, and tall ones. In this class we will explore two options. One is to paint a medium size versus the second one is to paint a tall vars. You can paint birth or, either, or even three types of assays, which looks fantastic. 1's framed. So let's imagine our paper. A3. A4 is divided into three equal parts. Your virus can either take 1 third of the space, half the space, or 2 third of the space, which means that the rest of the space, the white part, will be left for the flowers. So as you can see, you can start thinking of which flowers you want to paint and then decide which vars apart goes best with it. As you can see, I am drawing of my initial sketches with the felt pen. This is just a personal preference. I'd rather have my reference papers inked in my sketchbook. I find it easier to find them and to go back to them as opposed to a simple pencil sketch. This is our final vast collection. And now we will start practicing buttons. For this. I will also use my reference images from Pinterest. You can choose to copy buttons as they are, or to alter them slightly. It's up to you. Again, I will provide a reference sheet in the resources section of the class that you can use to practice your patterns. If you are going to use the document, please keep in mind that I created it digitally and that if you are going to design your patterns and motives by hand, it is likely that you will not achieve the same level of perfection and geometry, which is perfectly fine because it's in fact not. The result that we are looking for here. Since all these fallacies are usually decorated by hand. And it will look much more realistic to have some irregularities in your design, rather than having a perfectly symmetric digital like and a little bit boring design. So just relax and enjoy the doodling process. I would advise you to keep practicing until you feel confident. It's also a good time to reflect on which motifs appeal to you, the Merced, which ones are the easiest and the most fun to draw? Or which ones are the most challenging? Because maybe you're not looking for the easy option. Maybe what seems the most difficult motive to master is the one that you like the most. And that's fine. Just keep practicing and you'll get there. For example. One of the most challenging motifs for me is the one I am currently drawing. As you can see, I am not achieving a great result with that one. Some of these motifs could be used all over the surface of the virus, or simply at the bottom and top of it with the bigger main design in the middle. Okay. So this is a result of my practice and as before, I will link all the designs to keep them as the reference sheet. So we have until now worked on some possible shapes for the buses and on a variety of patterns to decorate them. I have chosen four main designs for the middle part of the vases that I am interested in. I have found these images on some reference pictures of China pottery. And what I am doing is simplifying them by sketching them with pencil first and then inking the finer version of each design. You might want to use the same drawings or some different ones. The main idea is to sketch until you get a simple and doable version of the design. So for example, this is the reference image I am using to design the flowers am currently drawing. As you can see, I have greatly simplified the line art and I keep sketching until I find it easy to draw this flower. The next subject I have chosen to paint is a peacock standing on a branch with some Weeping willow in the background. I will show you which images I have used as references and in which way I have simplified them. As you can see, the bird painted on the pottery are much more complex than the one I have drawn. And this is where you can add a little bit of your own style to your design. I am residing here, the reference image I have used to design the tree. I have decided to add another element to this peacock design, which are some branches of willow trees in the background. My reference image for this willow tree is roughly this one. The interesting thing here is to notice how I started using the same design with leaves on both sides of each branch. To finally simplify entirely this branches and leaves and just turn them into long little dots. My next design is a little pagoda. And again, I will insert my reference images for this drawing. Please notice how we eliminate all the little details and keep only the main lines. As for the peacock illustration, I will add some elements to my design to make it more complete. And in this case, I have chosen these beautiful shape that is commonly found on China pottery. I will draw it around the pagoda. And I will also add this floral design that I will sketch a very loosely around the main motif. Remember that we can refine our sketches while we are inking them. These finite design is a geometric or one. And I am trying to find an easy way to do delete to keep the pattern whacking. It is not an easy to learn, but you can try it if you want to have fun and experiment with it. We now have drawings ready to paint or not China vases. I'd advise you to erase the pencil lines from your reference sheets as it makes it a lot nicer for you to look at. You can have a special sketch book dedicated to patterns and reference drawings. I find it very helpful and a source of inspiration. 4. Important Steps: So in this lesson, we will talk about proportions, volumes, types of flowers and colors. I promise I will try not to make these boring for you. First of all, let's talk about proportions. In real life, it is very nice to see big bouquets of flowers in toll vices. However, as the subject of a painting, if these elements are big, it means that we will have to reduce the scale of our design to make it fit on our paper. By doing so, we will produce a more generic image without many noticeable details. If on the contrary, we focus on keeping the proportions we discussed in the previous lesson. We can fill the space more effectively and create a better composition. Composition also consists in choosing the right volumes to balance our painting. Here are some experiments, indeed, while preparing this class. And I would be curious to know if you think that all these paintings are working or if some are not. I personally believe that the volumes in number two are not working. The vast seems to massive and compact in comparison with the small and lose flowers. Picture three, with the tulips is fine. The boat is small and the flower store, and that makes for an interesting composition. As for number one, I find it's not too bad, but would work better with half-and-half proportions. As the bouquet is light and needs a bit more space to stand out. For the type of book K you would like to paint. It is entirely up to you. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to flowers. Feel free to check it out. You will find some of my favorite plants there and it can be a source of inspiration for you. For the tall bars, I have decided to paint some hydrogen jazz, or as we call them, infringe a pick these flowers because they have large blooms and it will balance the size of diverse, which will take most of the space. Also, since the verse will be told, we need to paint an interesting design on it. The forecast will then be on the vagus. So we must keep the book is simple and often CIA out just this type of flowers. Gorgeous, but not complicated. As for the second painting, we will work on a half and half design. That means that we will keep the vi's interesting, but not more than the flowers. Wild flowers in a loose bouquet will work well for this painting with various sizes and shapes, making a composition attractive at four colors. It is really up to you to compose a pilot that you like. Many colors can complement the blue of devises beautifully. We will discuss these colors options in the following lessons. 5. First Vase: We have finally reached the painting stage. At that point, you might wonder why we spent so long planning these. According to your painting experience, you might be able to skip some of the previous steps. But always keep in mind that the more you plan, the freer you will feel why painting. This is definitely true of water colors, not necessarily of oils or acrylics, with which things can be changed and covered up by various layers. For my first painting, I have chosen this total valves that I will now start sketching on my watercolor paper. If you do not feel confident yet in drawing the shape you have peaked, just practice it a few times on a piece of paper. The size of your watercolour paper, until your arm feels loose and relaxed and the vast looks good to you. As you will draw the outline of your valves on the watercolor paper. Keep your lines as light as possible and try to avoid erasing. Remember that the sketch only serves to show you where to paint. What we will do now is to cover the whole surface of the vast with clear water. Carefully, following the outline of the vast with a wet brush. You can tilt your paper or you had to check that the whole idea is properly covered. Next, we will dilute some ultra marine paint and start putting random color patches on our vals, except for the outline once again, that we will carefully follow. As I already know, that I will paint a motif in the middle of the vast. I keep that lighter, whereas I use more concentrated ultra marine on the top and bottom of the bus to get some contrast. You can also add some indigo to get a darker turn and differentiate. Just make sure that you do not get any neat lines of demarcation. I like to slightly tilt my watercolor pad to get the pigments running up and down for natural effect. And you can of course, adjust a few corners if needed to get a neat contour for your valves. We are now going to paint our main motif, which is the pico Kwan. And will not paint the motif in ultra marine only, but mix it with a touch of indigo. I always keep a bed next to me when I paint to test the colors I have mixed. You can place the next to your painting to check how it fits with it. This is a good tip. I believe, that can save you a lot of trouble because things can get messy pretty quickly in water colors. When you tried changing color directly on the paper. You can keep the motif next to you for reference. But if you have sketched it a first time and went over it with an ink pen, you should be familiar with it at this point. If not, it's not a problem to keep sketching. I always remember that this is at, you cannot go wrong. Whatever your motif looks like, it will be yours and yours. Only. As we know, there are no mistakes in painting. Only different interpretations of a subject. If you feel that the lines are too neat or too dark for a poetry painting, just but the motif a bit with some kitchen tower before it dries completely. This will give it a worn out look. So the most important part of this class is to enjoy what you are doing in the moment. Again, tell you that while I am painting this bird, I am not thinking of how good or bad it looks, or even about the camera above my head. And I better not mess this up. Truly, Ali, I'm thinking about it. This bird on its tree, its feathers, the movement of the branches and the way they spread, et cetera. And if I can help you feel this way, T2, I will be very happy. I am now adding some more indigo to my mix. As we need to add more contrast to the motif. I think that turns should be slightly darker than the bird, but lighter than the top and bottom of the vast. The leaves are just some little bloodshed of paint. I am mostly paying attention to the shapes of the Bush's, if you will, to get a tree shape that I like. I am now I think some simple little flowers here and there to complement the design. But think the paint in places to get these irregular Look. If you use is designed for your vars, you could be painting any type of flower or pattern around domain motif, like the other fluid type we have worked on. For example, using my white, I am going to decorate the bottom of the vast with this repetitive pattern. As you can see, I am then adding more Indigo. To bring out the white of the pattern. And they're so making it a little bit the tea, we sum diluted paint for a more authentic look. For the top of the valves, you have various options. Either draw a white pattern if the area is very dark, or paint a dark one if the background is light enough, either would work. It just depends on the terms of your painting. I have chosen this cross pattern and I am using indigo paint. I will later at some white dots, the patterns as a line above and under it. Please note that I am using indigo for the top line and ultra Marine for the bottom one to match the background. Also, remember to smudge your lines to blend them into the rest of. These are little tips, very easy to apply, but that make a difference in the final result. So here is our vast sofa. We could easily leave it like that. But I think that a few pencil lines would add more definition. In some places. It is a matter of taste, of course, but I really like the look of watercolor pencil in paintings. Especially if it is activated by water in some places on me. It is now time to add our Weeping willow branches. Very easy. Use a thin brush and paint little dashes going downwards and not to regular. And finally, as a last step of these vast painting, I will share with you how I messed up the bottom of the virus while trying to add an extra pattern above the white one. As you see a covered it with indigo by t dt everything a bit for Atlantic City and decided to forget about it, although it was better before. Anyways tend to move on to the booking. As I mentioned, I will be painting hydrogen jazz. I believe they will look very nice in this vice. As I mentioned, I will be painting hydrogen jazz. I believe they will look very nice in this vast shape. But pure Nice could work to or send flowers which are also large blooms. We will first find the shapes of the flowers with clear water. I am loosely painting three shapes here, some kind of irregular circles touching each other. We will now add patches of colors inside the shapes and let them lead in the left circle I am using first come in color, then touches a violet, as violet is usually very pigment. It, it needs to be well diluted so as not to overwhelm the other colors. For the metered shape. Same process with theory, learn blue and violet paint. The violet is a nice transition between the two flowers. And finally, I am using Carmen and Ross paint for the last bloom. At this point, all you need to do is to apply your paint quickly before the water dries and just enjoy this fan process. You can see that I am correcting the shape of the first flower by adding some paint on the side. And if it's too pigment TDD or not blending, again, patting with kitchen paper will help. To paint the leaves. I will use my previous mixture of ultra marine and indigo and add some emerald green until I am pleased with the way the colors work together. You can paint some simple leaf shapes, adding more pigments in the lower parts of the leaves. For contrast. We will now apply our second layer of paint on the bouquet. For each flower, simply mix the two colors you have previously used and keep them well, pigment it as your first layer, as dry it. The random brushstrokes will add definition and live to the flowers. My advice is to vary the colors inside each bloom, which means to not over mix the colors so as to get different shades with each stroke. In the second flower, for example, you can see a nice variety of blues and purples. Again, this is a fan and carefree process. Just go with the flow and let the brush guide. You. Do not look at any reference photo for this. Just imagine what I tranches looked like with all their little groups of flowers of different shapes and colors. What matters here is your impression of the flower, not its exact reproduction. So this is our Bazin bookcase so far. I like you to load like this and you could very well leave it as it is. However. And since I mentioned previously, I love watercolor pencils. So i will proceed an add lots of small flower shapes everywhere with a pencil matching each bloom. Then I will randomly deserve some of the pencil pigments because I do not want the book to look over worked. The final touch is to add some white hats to the imaginary little flowers. Please note that I am adding the white dot to the dark parts of the blooms so that they will show better. This also contributes to the invocation of flowers. Even if the shapes are loose. This is our painting. I hope you like it and we'll paint one to see you in the next lesson. Five, another Bazin bouquet. 6. Second Vase: For the second mass, we will paint this kind of shape, which is in the medium sized category. As you can see, the type of device is at about half of my page. Now here you may notice that I did not exactly reproduce the original shape. This one is more rounded and he just came to me naturally. So I went on with it. Always stressed and follow your inspiration as previously, and we'll cover the surface of the valves with water. I am tilting the paper to show you how much water there is. Of course, this will depend on the absorption level of your paper, but there should be enough water for the pigments to spread loosely. I will again use ultramarine blue and indigo to paint the verse. The process for painting the vagus is at that stage, is the same as in the previous lesson. So I will not talk a bit more about balancing the flowers with the design on device. In the previous painting, the focus was more on device because of the detailed and attractive peacock motif. That is why we pick the hydrogen jazz that are uncomplicated flower shapes. For this painting, however, I would like to do the opposite and show you how to design a pretty but simple valve so that the attention is drawn to the flowers. The bouquet type I want to paint is something like this. Various sizes, shapes, and movements. A lively bunch of flowers. So I checked my references and decided to go with this design for the vi's, which I quite enjoyed sketching the flower garlands around the Pagoda at tested the idea. And 32 worked. So let's do it together. Immediately after painting the background of the vagus. And while the paper is still wet, we are going to drop some blood. She's of ultramarine blue and let the pigments spread. After the first big blood she's, I am making smaller marks in between. That will be the flower buds. If your paper has absorbed the water 2-5 spray, the middle of device, very likely with a water spray. You can add some pigment in the center of the big flowers if you wish. After lifting the pen drive or drying it with a hair dryer, we will use a smaller brush. And number two. And some wavy lines between the shapes. And next, we will add some smart dashes, underlines, which will represent the leaves. It is now time to mix our blues and paint a simple pattern at the top of the bus. We will then add another layer of indigo at the bottom of the valley as it is to light and not contrasting enough with the rest of the valves. Remember to slightly smudge the line with Clearwater. So let's go and paint some flowers while this is drying. The colors I will use for the bouquet. Upcoming scarlet English read medium cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, and a touch of violet. You can use the same colors if you like. Otherwise, feel free to use your own pilot. The good thing is that all colors go well with blue and white. In my opinion. It is a little bit complicated to explain how to paint the flowers as the process is quite instinctive. And again, my best advice is to let you inspiration guide you. Just try to vary the volumes, the shapes, and the direction of the flowers, keeping it all spontaneous and simple. There is no need to bother yourself with the type of flowers, et cetera. Here, we just want to create a lively composition. Take this as an opportunity to use your imagination and create some kind of colourful floor firework. You can diversify the amount of water in your brush to get various tones and effects. And they're so use simple brush marks and strokes to create flower shapes. I am sure that if you have some thin, it will showing you bookie. I am painting a diversity of shapes as you can see, and filling gaps with smaller flowers in the center. Just remember to leave some space, further leaves that we will add later. This needs to dry. So let's go back to our VOS. We will use our postcards and pilot pens to add details to our design. The top button needs a little bit of definition. So I will simply add white lines to the indigo ones. And as for the bottom of the valley, as I have picked these two patterns, let's start with the most simple one, again, a cross paths with white spots. For the other one, I drew it first with watercolor pencil to get it right. Then drew over read with the postcard pen. A beat of indigo wash on top photon DCT. And we are done. For this type of floral design. I prefer using a thinner pen as the flowers are meant to be delicate. Of course, you could draw better and more precise flowers. But I really like these little scrubbers and are these wiggly lines, there are super easy to draw and create a great effect, in my opinion. Alright, it's now time for our indigo wash and finally, some watercolor pencil details. Ok, so let's go and complete our bouquet with some foliage, flowers, stems. And we let some final touches. You will see that I will switch between number two and number six brushes depending on what I'm painting. As for the colours we will use to paint the leaves and order green elements, they are permanent yellow, green, and MRR green. Depending on your flowers, you can find big or small leaves. Just fill the gaps with a variety of shapes, colours, and add some stamps to the flowers. While grass here and there without over thinking it. And as you can see, there is not much space in the center of the bouquet to bank some specific shapes. So I just add some green touches to fill the space and evoke the leafs. At this stage, I advise you to step back and take a good look at your painting. As far as mine is concerned, I could totally leave it as it is. However, I feel that I could give the whole painting just a little bit more definition by adding a few details. First of all, I will add some dark heart to the flowers. And then, but some of them so that is not to regular. Next, I will test and peak somewhat the color pencils to match the leaves and add some dictates. I deserve some of the pigments, then add some less touches to the flowers. As usual. A smudge, a few lines with a wet brush and viola second bouquets done. 7. Bonus!: So in case you're wondering what this bonus video is about, it's actually the first vice and flowers I painted for this class. But it's also the wine I feel that shows the list techniques. And that's why I have not used it as an actual lesson. However, some of you might be interested in the process of the painting. So I have added heat and thus spit painting video. If you wish to slow down the speed, just press the little button at the bottom left of your screen. And GI. Yeah. Okay. And the other how can you help me? So okay. Okay. Okay. Right. Okay. Okay. No. Okay. 8. Final Words : So this is the end of the class. I really hope that you have enjoyed it and I am looking forward to seeing your paintings in the project section of the class below and will be notified. And it will be my pleasure to see her at work and to comment on it. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and here-and Skill Share. If you want to see some of my you're notified above my new classes. Thank you very much for taking my class, take care, and will see you soon.