Easy & Relaxing Watercolor: Cherry Blossoms | Kamides - Katrin Graff | Skillshare

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Easy & Relaxing Watercolor: Cherry Blossoms

teacher avatar Kamides - Katrin Graff, Watercolor Illustrations

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.

      Your Class Project


    • 3.

      Watercolor Supplies


    • 4.

      Research for Reference Images


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Warm Up Exercises


    • 7.

      First Wash: Blossoms


    • 8.

      Second Wash: Shadows


    • 9.

      Adding Last Details


    • 10.

      Final Thought


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About This Class

Do you love floral watercolors and want to step up your watercolor game? Learn how to paint a gorgeous cherry blossom branch step-by-step.

In this relaxing class, I will show you how to paint a watercolor spring branch filled with delicate cherry blossoms. This class might be a bit more of an intermediate class, but every beginner, who is up for a little challenge should be fine. I break down the process into easy follow along step-by-step lessons. 

So what are you waiting for. Allow yourself some me-time, grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee and let's start painting.

If this class hasn't quite the right topic for you but you are interested in painting palm trees, feel free to check out my first skillshare class "Watercolor Summer Vibes: Beach Scene with Palm Trees

Or browse for some other Watercolor classes.
Keep creating and have fun.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kamides - Katrin Graff

Watercolor Illustrations


Hey, my name is Katrin Graff.

I am a web designer by profession, but a watercolor artist & teacher by passion.

As well I am a mother of 2 young kids living in Southern Germany.

I studied multimedia design and been working as a web designer for about 20 years.

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to draw. I could sit for hours drawing and painting with watercolors. In my classes I want to show you a bit of my passion and help you to advance your drawing / painting skills.

Can't wait to see your projects.



See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Do you want to learn how to paint a semi-realistic cherry blossom branch with only two colors? Then join me in this relaxing follow-along class, where I'll break down the process into easy and actionable steps. Hi, my name is Katrin Graff. I'm a designer and illustrator from Germany. I'm as well a mother of two small kids born in 2017 and 2020. Drawing and painting is my creative escape. Watercolor is my favorite medium. It is relaxing to paint but a little unpredictable, but you can achieve beautiful and delicate paintings, which I really like. My favorite subjects are florals, animals, coffee, and ocean scenes. In fact, my first Skillshare class was about painting a beach scene scene palm trees. While I don't live anywhere close to the ocean, I like to daydream about it. Now that spring is around the corner, flowers and trees are about to bloom. Cherry blossoms just have something light and airy that makes me dream and uplifts my mood. Follow along with me in this class, where I'll show you how to research for reference images, arrange a sketch, apply a first watercolor wash, add a definition wash, and finishing off your painting by adding some details. By the end of this class, you'll have a better understanding of how to apply the wet-on-wet technique to achieve a delicate gradient for your blossoms, apply some layering for more definition, and how to add some details with the dry-on-wet technique to give your painting some more interest. By finishing your cherry blossom branch, I hope you feel more confident to paint with this magical medium. My watercolor classes are easy to follow along for beginners and are a great way to learn something new and stay creative. Allow yourself some me time, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and join me in this class. 2. Your Class Project: First off, thank you for joining me today. We're going to create a unique botanical illustration of a branch filled with beautiful, delicate blossoms. When it comes to painting leaves, florals, or pretty much anything, I'm a fan of having reference photos. If you haven't been studying a subject for a couple of times, this is the easiest way. I enjoy the look of a semi realistic, semi loose illustration. I'm providing some reference photos which you can find in the Project and Resources tab down below. Once you're there, you'll see a column on the right called Resources. That's where you can click to download the reference photo for this class. However, if you like to paint from a photo that you took yourself, or simply paint your own favorite flower instead, please feel free to do so. The sketching and painting techniques that you'll be learning, are universal no matter what reference photos you're using. I encourage you to make this painting your own. I'd love to see what you made in this class today. 3. Watercolor Supplies: Let's talk about supplies. We will be starting by sketching. A pencil and an eraser will be needed, and some blank piece of sketching paper. This is a fairly thin paper that has only 60 GSM, so you can see through. Then if you like, you can make some outlines with a fine liner. For example, a Micron there is waterproof, so you could color over them with your watercolors. I as well recommend if you don't have a mine pencil which isn't required, I'll just be using this one here. You can use a fairly hard lead pencil, maybe a 3H or HB, which is a normal pencil, because we want only very light sketches on our watercolor paper so that we don't have to erase too much. The watercolor paper I'll be using today is this Bloc L'Aquarelle Heritage By Canson. This is 100 percent cotton and has 300 GSM or 140 pounds. You always find all the details on the cover of your paper sheets. If you're fairly new to watercolors, I recommend to try different types of watercolors and different brands. There are in some brands that provide a selection pad like Hahnemuhle with different samples of paper in it. To make this class easy, I will only use two colors. For today's class, I'm using my two colors, but most of the time I'll use colors in half pens. If you have only them, that's totally fine as well. I'll be using this Alizarin Crimson by Schmincke and Payne's Gray from the Cotman range student grade colors by Winsor & Newton. I'll probably be using only one brush. I'll have this round brush, Size 6. I just picked this brush up local drugstore, which was fairly inexpensive. I actually had this as a gift for my son, but I like them so much that I'm keep using that for my own paintings. Then of course we need a jar of water, some mixing palette. I already have the colors in here. This is the pink straight out of the tube. This is a bit diluted with water and there's even more water in it, and here's my Payne's Gray. I'm really only using these two colors to make it more easy. Then it's always good to have some paper towel at hand. When you get your materials together, let's go to the next lesson where we will be researching for reference photo. 4. Research for Reference Images: The best reference image you can have is your own. A picture that you took yourself and have the right to use in any way you like, but most of the time, you probably won't have the perfect image yourself, so let's explore some websites that provide stock photos that are license free and can be used without running into the trouble with copyright. Two websites that I like to use are Unsplash and Pexels. They are both built pretty much the same. There's a big search bar where you just type in what you're looking for. Here are some really nice images of cherry blossom trees and branches. I really like the colors of the blue and the pink. Let's see what the other got. Here is already something that I was looking for. I want a single branch with big blossoms. I'm going to remember that one here. I think that's not even a cherry blossom, but you could use this one as well. It is a nice big blossom here. This one is nice as well. Where you can see the single blossoms. I'm going for the five petal shaped ones. Let's see. There are some others like this one here, which has more petals. You can't really differentiate the single ones and this is harder to draw. What I'm aiming for is something like this, this branch here. The single parts are just really spread out, but we want to make our own composition anyway. Let's remember this branch, and the blossoms here, and the one on top. I think they are already enough. Let's go to the next lesson. 5. Sketch: Get your pencil and eraser ready and let's start the composition. Depending on how comfortable you are with your drawing skills you can either make some rough sketches on a lightweight sketching paper or you go straight onto your watercolor paper. I'm going to make the initial sketch on a separate paper and then I transfer the finished composition onto my watercolor paper. By doing so, I can make changes and I don't have to erase too much, which would just hurt my watercolor paper. In the beginning if you're not sure how to paint or draw your objects, you want to think about composition. I will first locate the main flowers to make sure that my composition is good and right in middle. I don't want the blossoms to be too low or too high on the paper. I'm starting with this branch shape here, just closely, and then I'm starting with the middle where my flower is. Branches are a little bit diagonal so to give it more dynamic, then I start with the main flower here, main blossom, which will be our biggest one, maybe like this one here, or even more from the front, lets see, and maybe like this here, so you have this circular shape or even pentagon. You have the circle in the middle where the stamens are, and then you can draw the petals. If you look closer, you'll see that they have a star shape in the middle, so they go together very narrow, which is this shape here. We start middle, outward, and then draw half circle here. We don't have to go into the details too much right now. Just make loose shapes. Here it's overlapping a little bit, although you already want this part overlapping here. What I like about this branch is that it has some leaves as well and some buds, so I want to include them as well. This has a little secondary stem here where the buds and the leaves are splitting off. You can see it, a little rough edges. I'm going to draw one part here. Back to our blossoms. With the second one, I want something that's more from the side, so let's see, or maybe this one here. Yeah. This looks nice. Try to figure out the geometric shape, it's more of an oval, so not really a circle. I'm going to draw this here. Since the center is more to the right, let's draw in some of the stamens in the middle facing there as well, it gives a little bit of a direction. Let's add the stamens here as well. They are really distinctive for cherry blossoms. Having this five defined petals, and the dark pink center, and the stamens already make our cherry blossom. Now I want to have bigger one here as well, that's facing to the right. I think this one looks nice. Because these two are separate here, I want this third one to be overlapping or being underneath it. He can see on some petals, there's this little corner here. Some are really round, and some have this triangular shape, which I think looks really nice, so I want to incorporate that in some of the petals. They are not too even, then at the stamens. We're done with this blossom. Let's go back to our branch, which has a nice couple of buds up here. I think I finish off the branch with, actually this is a nice blossom too, so maybe one or two buds and blossom here. Second, you can of course find your own image and your own blossoms. I'm going for different shapes, so one from the top, one from this side, and then let it tilt it, which is underneath, and a blossom that's just opening, and the buds. When your composition is done, you can either draw or refined version on to your watercolor paper, or do it like me. Here's a light source to trace the sketch. If you trace the outline with a fine liner, you can see it better. Just do this very quickly. 6. Warm Up Exercises: Now let's get started with our watercolors. If you have tubes, squeeze them onto your mixing palette. If you have pens, just activate them with some water. Before we do the actual drawing, I want to do some warm-up exercises so that we get to know our paint and our paper. Now let's warm-up and try our colors so that we know how much water to use and how to achieve the wet-on-wet technique with our first wash. Start with drawing some square shapes. With every shape to the right, we add more and more water so the first rectangle has a lot of pigment. I want you to explore the gradients you can achieve with just one color. Get some more water into your paint and see how the color gets lighter. You now got the different hues of your pink. The one to the right is about what we want for our blossoms. Now let's test layering. Make sure you have a decent amount of paint ready. Paint a large rectangle. See it's about the same value. I don't want a gradient in this rectangle, so go back and forth. Now we have to let it dry completely and we paint a second layer of a half of the rectangle. Without adding any more water, I go into our activity paint and let's paint a second layer. Now we have to let it dry again. I apply the next layer, just as we did before just the half of it. Now we have to let it dry again. Let's do this one more time. Now you can see how the color gets darker by adding more and more layers. Now let's try the wet-on-wet technique for our blossoms. We start with a really light pink. Let's draw a petal shape, like a teardrop shape, raindrop shape. To test it out, you could choose different amount of water. So for this, just to make it clearer, I will add a lot of water to it so that you have a little bit of a puddle. Then let's go into our pigment color and dip it at the end of the petal. This here is really wet, so the pigment spread out wide, but they as well make this little oval shape here. Again, go into the pigment. Now you can see that it spreads out a little bit more. Let's try it again. Here on the second petal, you can already see that this was too much water and it spread everywhere. This one was too dry, so the pigments dark right to the end. Here, it spits out pretty nicely. So class, practice this a little bit. Now let's try and practice a curved petal that you see it from the front. Again, plot that same technique we just practiced. Let's do some more. Now we already got a little collection of really cute-looking petals. Let's go back to the ones here and try to add a little curve to it. I activate a little bit of my paints gray, and I'm going to mix it with my crimson. I want to give the impression that you see this petal from the back as if it's curved like this. So that's an open petal and now you can see the outside. You could do it the side as well like a little round shape, with just the edge petal. I think this here was still a bit wet, so then you don't get a straight, defined line. When the petals are dry, you can add some things to it to give it more details. Not too much. Just try it a couple of times and see what works for you. You can even make outline like this. Practice this a little bit more until you feel comfortable with your blossoms, and then I'll see you in the next lesson. 7. First Wash: Blossoms: Now that we did our warm-up exercises, keep this sheet of paper close by so we can test some washes here. Then have your reference images to the side so you can look at them all the time. We as well have our traced image on the watercolor paper. So now we can start with the first wash. We can now want to test the intensity of my colors. With this I take the watercolor paper we just had for the warm-up exercise. So it's always good to check if the color is just the right amount diluted that you want. So let's begin in the upper left corner if you're right-handed. So you can go downwards without the trouble of going over the wet area. So now I go in my pigment with a drier brush and just tip in a few areas. I want to be the color more intense. For this, it's good to have the reference image close by it. I'm starting with this bad here. Again, get the light wash. If you want, you can leave some highlights. Just white. I tried to keep a gap between the petals here because they're narrowing down quite in. So to really get these gaps in between the petals as you can see here. So we will just do this with plus signs. We don't want to be our blossoms to be realistic. So don't overthink it. Just supply the first light wash, dip in some darker pigment in the middle, and let the colors flow. If you want a light gradient, dry the brush a bit, get rid of the pigment, and go into the water. Maybe trace the outline a little bit. The last bud. Again, add some color and let it blend. Now that the blossom already try it. I can see that the lesson was already too dry. So the colors didn't really blend. I can go in and just reactivate the color a little bit. Once we got all our flowers painted, we let them dry and then go to the next lesson where we will apply a definition wash by adding some shadows. 8. Second Wash: Shadows: Now, we're applying some shadows in the petals. I'll show you here again. For example, you can see it's a bit of highlight, here's a shadow in the middle, as well here some highlighted area, and here's a shadow. In the middle is the shadow, highlight at the end. Select this. Just go down with the brush like a bold stroke. Don't overthink it too much, just going some areas with a really light wash to layer it. I think that's about enough, we don't want to overdo it. Our blossoms are nearly finished. In the next lesson, we just add some details, and of course, the branch. 9. Adding Last Details: For our details, here the little statements and the little stems for the blossoms. I will make a mix of Payne's gray and my pink because I don't want it to be too dark and then for the branch, I'm going to use the Payne's gray straight away so that we have a really nice variation of tones just with these two colors. Activate my Payne's gray again, make mix here. Tested on my test paper. I think I want it to be a darker, so I go back into the pigment. That looks about good. Again, I start in the left upper corner. I'm just pretty much color out our sketch. Again, as well I could choose some dark color and apply some wet on wet here as well to get a nice gradient within the color, so that depends on your liking. As I said before, I encourage you to use the techniques that you prefer. But these dark spots, these tenements, I think these blossoms already look like nice cherry blossoms. They're very characteristic. To give the branch a bit structure, you can leave some highlight spots instead of coloring out the whole branch, give it a bit of shadow and highlights as well. Now I want to paint these leaves. You cannot test the intensity of the wash. Add some more pigment. For the leaf, start with the light touch of the brush and then press down the body onto the paper and like that, you get a leaf shape. If your brush isn't wet enough, you will see the paper structure through like here. Again, just about much what you need, can as well go over it a second time. I'll probably will do that anyway because I want to paint this leaf here, which is darker on the left side. Here it's brighter in the middle so you could make two shapes here and then I make these little rough rid edges, just give it a more character, so I tried to leave this white line here. Once this has dried, I will go back in and add some more details where I think they are needed. Here I add some main work. Make a longer line in the middle. Then two or three smaller lines to the left and right to the sides. To add these details really makes a difference. High and dark contrasts just give a more interest to the eye. If you think there's something missing in your image, maybe you'll try to add some dark spots and see what happens. Most of the time it does wonder. I see this in most of the beginners paintings, that the painting looks a bit shallow and a bit boring. Really go in and give it a bit more contrast by adding some dark spots. Don't overdo it. Really just some spots here and there and as well what color is dry, lighter than they appear when they're wet. Wait till your image has dried completely and then you can see better way you want to add some more details. 10. Final Thought: Congratulations on finishing this project with me. You should now have a beautiful watercolor painting. For final cleanup, go ahead and erase all the remaining pencil marks. But do make sure that your painting is dry. You can now go and sign it. Snap a picture, and upload it to the project gallery area. You can find the gallery under the same project and resources tab. On the right, you'll see a green button that says "Create Project". Tap that. Once you're there, you'll have the option to upload a photo, add a title, and write a little description. You can also follow me on Skillshare by clicking the "Follow" button on top. This means that you will get an e-mail notification as soon as I launch my new class or have an announcement to share with my students. If you liked this class, please leave a review. I read every single one of them and they give me so much fulfillment as a teacher. I can't wait to see your watercolor painting. I hope you had fun and I'll see you in the future.