Doodling in Abstract: Reverse Coloring | Sarah Leigh | Skillshare

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Doodling in Abstract: Reverse Coloring

teacher avatar Sarah Leigh, I'm Knot Tangled - Illustrations & 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

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Painting the Background Colors


    • 4.

      Types of Doodles


    • 5.

      Putting it all Together


    • 6.

      Final Project


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

What is Reverse Coloring? 

In this 30 minute class you'll learn watercolor techniques with water-based brush pens and will create an abstract piece you will be proud to show off - and you'll relax while you do it, too!

No prior knowledge or experience required - suitable for beginners or fun more advanced. 

At the end of the class you'll have a beautiful piece of art you'll be proud to display.

Meet Your Teacher

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Sarah Leigh

I'm Knot Tangled - Illustrations & Art


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1. Introduction: hello and welcome to doodling in abstract reverse coloring with reverse coloring. Reverse coloring is laying down color and then drawing black lines on top. So basically the rivers of coloring, like in a coloring book and develop this method because I found it to be a more relaxing for me than just coloring in a coloring book. And it also allows me to create beautiful and abstract pieces that you can use for greeting cards or even put under wall. They make great art journaling pieces, Teoh. So I can't wait to start this class you and see what you create Thanks so much. 2. Supplies: for reverse coloring. You don't need a lot of supplies, which is why it's something that's really fun to do when you travel or even just sitting on the couch. You can use a brush and water, or even easier. You can use a water pen. A lot of people are making those. Now you can get him in any art supply store. Michaels Anything like that. I also like to use, um, brush pens, but it's very important that with this thes brush, pens need to be water based. So no ink base, new ka picks and a brush pen looks like this, but and these air Tom bows, you can also use ego line. I think Coy makes some to Michael's as an off brand that also makes some. So get a lighter color and a darker color. And it's easiest to start with two colors in the same family. Ah, light, light one and a dark, dark ones. You want a big variance. You can also dio like a red and an orange, or also like a blue and a green. But you want to do complementary colors that you knew. We're gonna blend well together. You're gonna want a white ink pen. Thistles. Probably my favorite, the unit Ball one. But there's a couple other ones, and you can see it's just like a gel pen. Um, and then you're gonna want an ink pen, and I have a couple different here. Um, so I have this one from Jean Davenport is just a basic fountain pen, and then you can also use microns. One is a good. This one's a little too skinny, I think often the 005 But you can use because Euro eights are really nice one and then for your paper. You want todo watercolor paper. I tend to like La Presse because it's easy to work with, and it tends to be smooth to write on. Easier to mix with your fingers and people like hot or cold press better and cool presses a bumpy paper, but generally you want to do a heavyweight paper. Printer paper will not work. Mixed media sometimes works, but sometimes we wrinkle funny with extra water so you can play with that. It tends to annoy me. So any paper that say, like £140 above, I find to be good for this, and that's basically all you need 3. Painting the Background Colors: So let's begin with starting and laying our color based generally with things like water color. You want to start with your lighter color first. So this is a light blue. I can't really tell from the marker in the lid, but what you want to do is just gently scribble. You can even write a word that you can just do lines. This is early matter. You're just trying to get ink on paper. So then I take my water brush. Doesn't matter what side of the use, and I just start to squeeze and move it around and you're gonna see some of the letters stay just a little bit the darker. But that's gonna be good for this. You can even squeeze a little bit more water, and that's again. Why use this heavy duty paper? And I even like to take my finger and just more shit around and you know what I make it to ? Even you want to leave some dark places in some light. But since this is your late one, you don't have to go to because we're gonna at least you one more layer. Now it's really important with watercolors this is the hard part, right? You want to let this dry? So, um and you know, watercolor is dry when it's not shiny. You can see this catches the light, right? Especially like Aurora right up here. That way, you know it's not dry. So you're gonna wait till it's totally Matt, and you can even just play around with moving the water around, so you get some interesting effects. But for now, we're just gonna leave it like this and wait for it to dry. So you can see at this point, it's totally dry. You see their little bit of wrinkle. But that's okay. And it's so totally cold. Um, I mean, warming. You don't feel any wetness, so All right. So at this point now we're gonna take our darker color. And, um, if you're not used to doing abstracts, this could be a little tricky, right? Could you go or do I put it next seven, Jenna, Do is you wanna think about a little bit of composition on your paper? Don't over analyse this. You don't need to. What? You can see. There's a little bit of dark here, but basically over here is like super playing, right? You can see a little bit of lines. And but up here, it's also kind of playing, too. So what, I'm gonna dio Because I'm gonna scribble some in their scribble some in there and then maybe just a bit in there so you can see wherever it wasn't super interesting or a lot of small spaces where I added some of the dark. So take my water brush pen again. And I am just gonna smear this around a bunch of water kind of fun to make him connect rate because then they can go back in the one another. So I just continue to move this water and paint around a little bit out here, really die like this, let out. So you can always add just maybe a tiny bit up here. And if you're not really sure if you like, are what's looking, you can always take a step back and look or you can even take a picture of it with your phone or just a camera to kind of see, um, it's a way to cheat, to see if you like, Are we starting toe be laid out? You can always move this around a little bit too. But some of those hard edges right there like that are fun. You want some of those shortages? You want some of this where it's a little bit lighter up there. Maybe a little lighter down here. You can always I have just a little bit of the trying to get these too much in the water because then they start to lose a little bit of their potency. But you want some darker spots like that? Yeah, we're gonna do is we're just gonna wait for this to dry again and come out a little bit more darkness here. A little bit there again. You can always use your finger to kind of push that in. Can I add some dimension? As you can see, you have your later value a little bit of a darker value. It's kind of what you're going for with us before you start doodling where reverse coloring on it as I like to call you. Gonna one again. Let this completely dry so you can see I didn't use as much water at that time. So there's not as much for their to take time to drive, but can give it another maybe like, 20 minutes or so. And you should be ready 4. Types of Doodles: So while the rest is drying, I can show you what we're gonna do for a reverse coloring, which is, you know, putting doodles on top of color. And we're gonna keep these pretty simple. Um, nothing Teoh crazy with any of these one I really like to dio is just a bunch of little circles. So those look kind of like this and you wanna vary the size your circle so you get some little ones and big ones. It's a big little and you kind of want to make sure there's no space between any of them. You can see some spaces in there you can make This is neat or as a Cory Zia's you want Teoh . You see, the various sizes make it look just a little bit different each way. So that's one another really easy one to dio or just some lines. So how do you do lines Just like this? You could make those different heights. So here's your one to another example would be to show something like circles. So again, you know, we've already done our circles without her lines. So what, you would do it like these. Like many mandalas so you could do one circle and then another circle, and then you could even do, like one outside. And don't worry, these are not meant to be perfect. This is meant to be very organic feeling. So for here, what you could done do is color lines and around this part, right? And what makes this a part of these little Minuteman dollars a little interesting is you want a very your line thickness, So you can make this middle one a little bit thicker. You can take this on and make it a little thicker. And then you can put some circles in here. So you've really just built off the 1st 2 that we did. You can see right here. I'm working kind of quick just to share you. But again, just circles filling this in. All right, So there's one. Another example would be to take that circle, do another circle around it. You can even do like a little one in their right. And then, uh, really big one. And you can see these circles or super wobbly. This is not a perfect circle. None of these are even come close to it. But another thing you can do because we're already drawing on top of color. You can let some of that color bleed through. All right, so there's a circle with some lines, and then you can do some more lines all time. So I like to keep a lot of these shapes and lines and everything feeling very organic because the water killer we put down does feel very organic and loose and a life. So I want to keep the feeling you can just color outside that again, make a little bit different with different line weights. And you can see this is a really messy when I might actually do this a little bit. Neater line wise on I my own kind of gives you an idea, though, what we're going for. So here's number three, uh, number four. I like to dio You can see my numbers are all over the place. Are these just like a little branches? Little circles on him. They're meant to look a little bit like a plant. Try to keep them not straight. Um, no, they are just little lines. With circles at the top, you can even color. That was in a little bit. Nothing too crazy there. Um, and one other one I like to do just to take up space is kind of like 1/2 circle of these. So for number five, I like to dio air these house circles. And if he did my other video, you would remember these and feel free to do any of the flowers for my last video to or any really other patterns you like. So this one, you just make little circles and you just build so you make a u shape, color it in one to you shoot one to, and you can have those building a bunch of different sizes and move on from there. But there's some basic shapes will be working with when we do our reverse coloring. 5. Putting it all Together: Now it's time to do our reverse coloring, so we bleed on our base, and then we have a black pen here in a white pun, and basically you're going to use the white pun or it's a little darker, but you don't have to and use the black pen where it's a little later. One place I like to start as you see these little outside pieces where it's bleated. Excuse me, blood group, and they're a little later to do the little lines that we did. So I like to keep them a little bit tighter together. If you'll freed. Always turn your paper A like these not necessarily have a top, but sometimes they do, so we'll do one there. You can vary the width of your lines. I think it keeps them kind of interesting to put on tight together. But it's up to you, and you can make this is meditative, as you, Blake or serious is you'd like. You see there is a notable spot. There comes. I like that sometimes. Listen to music when I do this. Um, it's a little hard to do in the car if someone else is driving or you know, if you're driving, A wouldn't recommend it. But if someone else is driving, it can be a little tricky just because it's hard to keep drawing when there's bumps in the road and other things like that. But it's great when you're traveling, watching TV, me having your morning coffee year before. But it's a great way to center your mind. You don't have to think too hard when you do this, which is kind of fun. So let's do one more subtle lines here. Cool. So we did. Let's do one more. I lied. We'll do one. We're here and you can see this is not really something that, um, I heavily think out beforehand. You wanna just think of it building because it, you know, much like Barbara says, You leave to some happy accidents when you don't plan with something like those, and I do recommend starting on a smaller piece of paper. It's not as overwhelming as a, you know, a very large piece of paper. The smaller pieces like this. If you make a mistake, you can just keep going because it's abstract. You'd be surprised people notice as much. It will just be a mistake to you. It just kind of fun and not necessarily a mistake. The other people, So you need to get some lines in that's already looking a little bit more interesting. What I would like to do next, I believe, is, since we have a lot of space year, I think I might do a circle here. Now here's a tip about the little mini man dollars. You have to be careful. I would recommend keeping a piece, Uh, maybe even just one or one and a bunch of little ones or, you know, maybe like four. But the problem is you don't want to do to, because all of a sudden then you've made a face, and it's very easy for us to make shapes with recognize right, Whether we think we have artistic skill or not, we're going to go Teoh patterns and things you recognize. And what do we recognize? Two eyes. So it's very easy to be like Circle here circle here, and all of sudden you've made an awkward looking face. Now that could be something you're going for. But you're looking for something a little bit more free flow and all of a sudden it looks like a weird grimaces. And that's usually one with a little bit harder to fix, but not unfixable, which is kind of funny. So let's do this when I'm with this black pen first. So I'm gonna make a circle make this one kind of big, because And the reason I'm putting the circle here is because if you look, I mean, I had a lot of empty space or here. I mean, it's kind of cool The way the pattern is going, you have a little bit of bleed through, but it's not that interesting. That's why I decided to put it up here. And what I'm gonna do with this one is I believe in a color, this part in whites. Do some lines again and you wanna be careful also to when you use these links. Um, you wanna have patients while you do this? Because a lot of times, if you run your hand over they smear is you can see the this pen for me. I probably don't have it, and they're very tight, but it will leak. I CTO be unable to do any art project with getting a little bit dirty, but, you know, it kind of makes it fun. And I developed this because I realized I need a coloring book picture. And, you know, I sat down the color I was all excited was, um and all I have done, it's like, Yeah, I'm gonna get into coloring how cool it is that I've made my coloring book page. I realized I hated it. And I know that I am among the most people. Love it. I would be among the minority here, but I have a lot more fun putting color down and then doodling on top. I'm not really sure why. Um, but it makes me have your So here we are. I like to just go over these lines a little bit. And what kind of makes it fun is if you do them a little bit, Wait here. I'm just doing this year. We can maybe stretched that one out a little bit, and then what we can do from here as they can do a couple of those circle things. And as you noticed, you kind of hard to see the black because it's so light. Excuse me. It's their dark so I like to just do a little bit of that in the air so they stick a little bit more eso from here. Where else can we add some fun things? Um, this bridge, right years We're gonna be a really cool place down some circles. So actually, it's doing here because it's kind of dark. What were you doing is you're just filling in space with doodles. I would take this pun here, maybe draw some lines in here. You can see there's a lot of empty space here, So I'm thinking about what to do in here for if I may be, just leave it and draw so little partial use in here. And then you see, I don't quite finished. Um, when I get towards the edge, it's kind of like that Blue is laying totally on top. See how it's kind of not finished right there like they're peaking. Ferial, Another thing you can dio is yeah, this looks if you get all this white space like I just said, I'm gonna do is I'm gonna outline this and sons to just a couple of lines right here. Like how dark this is appear so we're gonna add a little bit on lines here. If there's another shape you prefer again at any time, you can fill them in. Um, I like to play it out. My shape sometimes worry, and sometimes not just so I don't have to think about them while I'm doing them. Sometimes that I think is the quietest stick is a like I think what I'm gonna dio as. I'm gonna add some more circles here, I'm gonna add some more. Just dots on the outside of that. It's just a highlight. It a little bit backwards, I guess. But put some circles in here. Sometimes people might wonder where I get my inspiration for things like this. And I'm inspired a lot by nature, um, outside a lot with animals and, um, live in the country. So plants anything like that? Water, rivers, lakes, the ocean. Obviously. So for using a lot of circles, a lot of blue also two. I'm always fascinated that so many patterns in cultures around the world have used circles online specifically just toe add color dimension, tell stories of religious meanings to, um and, um it was kind of cool. It's a little bit universal that way, Which is kind of fun. I know you wanna It was dark in that up a little bit. The nice thing about this year's you don't have to do it all in one sitting. You can take your time. We're gonna as many times as you would like. There's a lot of different mediums you can do with this with this. Well, alcohol ink on you Put paper is another one for sure. Another really cool way to do that. You can use, um, you can do it with acrylics, but you got to be careful with what pens used on top of the acrylics cut. Almost have to use acrylic workers on top. Otherwise, uh, like that will kill your microns, for example. I would know because I killed them before. Um, that's definitely some you want to watch out for no mention here. I like to know what you know. I have watercolor pans to, but this is just such an easy way to do it. And it makes such a little mess, which is nice if you're the type that makes a mess. When I read you art supplies, this is a way to cheat. Not so much. Make a mess. Just kind of fun. Things like this. You can make a really nice decorations records if you need to make with gay, uh, birthday card. Or like you and a thank you card. You know what kind of colors people like and they have. You can buy heavy water colors, white paper for greeting cards. Make for something fun that you can make for someone. And it's definitely unique. This looks, like, always be inspired by our So you see how does, like, complete a line? So what I'm gonna do, Mr Straw Samore coming out here and this one you can see feels a little alien little different. That respect, it could be fun. I noticed. I tend to copy whatever the colors are. This one, especially with it all over the place of canna, maybe deep sea alien ish. That's why I went for kind of I did. If you're interested in doing something, maybe that's a little bit more green. You can always to leaves just a bunch of random leaves. I think that you would find on a plant if you're ever bored with these type of patterns, there's a ton more places to find patterns you can look on Pinterest thunders, entangle you can look up Zen doodle. There's a lot of different patterns you can use, Um, a lot of different techniques to do things like this. But this is how I do mine so you can see we're getting close to being done. Um, And again, if you want, you can fill the whole paper. I like to let some of the watercolor bleed through because I have a big watercolor fan. I like how it it looks, especially with the different patterns and things in there would be kind of fun if you're curious. This is the micro looks like and I am kind of letting the past doodles I've done, but also just the shape of this dictate. So I'm gonna go toe close to the edge for this home. No, I'm gonna let it kind of explode out and I salute you. Wanna watch when you do these things to you that you you do leave some open space. You don't want to fill it up to full. Um, because if you noticed these air kind of smaller patterns right and will be boring if you feel like the whole thing with lines. I mean, it's totally up to you what you decide to do, but it can get boring if it's all very similar. I am gonna do a couple more here, though. Of course. You know, again there are no rules, their mistakes, but also no need Teoh be a perfectionist with this, which is nice. Something I know a lot of us struggle with. So that's pretty much where I'm gonna stop. I could keep going if I once here, but it'll really want to kind of to you, if you would want to do more there, feel free. Um, otherwise you have a fun, little reversed coloring piece that you can enjoy and keep and have fun with. 6. Final Project: Okay, So for your final piece, I want you to think about what shapes you want to do. Feel free to copy the ones that I did. If you want to do some research and find some other ones, you can check and look at my resource hat will have some other examples for you. You could do organic, you congee leaves. You could do flowers like I have in my previous skill share. You can do things that our lines could do more triangle based. Think like Aztec. So it's kind of up to you what you want to do if you have a certain pattern group that you feel really strongly with, like maybe some certain patterns from Africa or Celtic or anything like that. Feel free to include those because you wanna do something that's meaningful to you and fun to you. This is just a base way to start. What you're gonna do is you're gonna lay the color like we did in our previous video. Are two pence I recommend staying did to just cause it makes it easiest to start with. And then you're gonna take your white and you're black pen. Whichever black men you choose and just do some deals on top and reverse color and have fun with it again. Try to keep it to a small size. So, you know, maybe five by 7586 by eight. You can even do smaller than that If you'd like to when you first start. Um, but definitely don't feel like you need to dio something huge. It can be very overwhelming at first to do something, you stick with something a little smaller, something you can have fun with. If you make a mistake, It's no big deal. I mean, if you're really hated, you throw it away. But I prefer you to post what you've done and what you finished. And I hope you have a good time. Thanks. 7. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for taking the class. I hope you got some fun out of it. Some relaxation learn. So your weight's doing fun things. But all of your tools I have that You take this with you and post some of your artwork. I loved what you guys create. If you post on social media, please has shack reverse coloring or not tangle. And I love the share some of them to so post away can't see what you come up with. And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. Thanks.