How To Paint Butterflies - Drawing & Painting Butterflies in Watercolor | Julia Bausenhardt | Skillshare

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How To Paint Butterflies - Drawing & Painting Butterflies in Watercolor

teacher avatar Julia Bausenhardt, Nature Sketching & Illustration

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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.

      Butterfly Anatomy


    • 4.

      Sketching Tips


    • 5.

      Adding Color


    • 6.

      Sketching a Blue Butterfly


    • 7.

      Drawing Butterflies From Different Positions


    • 8.

      Painting A Monarch


    • 9.

      Swallowtail in watercolor


    • 10.

      Swallowtail side view (in ink)


    • 11.

      Your Project


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About This Class

Learn basic techniques for drawing and painting butterflies in realistic watercolor. I will teach you principles you can apply to draw or paint any butterfly or moth, and I will share my step by step process from pencil sketch to finished watercolor.

We will take a quick look at butterfly anatomy, and I will share some tricks that will make it easier to get these wonderful creatures looking right on paper. Butterflies look great when painted in watercolor or colored pencils, and you can create striking illustrations with them.

This class is perfect for anyone who wants to learn to draw these joyful creatures that can be observed everywhere, and who wants to connect with nature through studying and drawing butterflies. The class is great for beginners, and with the step by step process I show and a bit of practice, you’ll be sketching butterflies in no time. You will need basic drawing skills for the class, and a way to add color to your sketches. This class is suitable for beginners and intermediate students.

I’m Julia, an illustrator and nature journaler from Germany, and I’m excited to share my favorite sketchbook techniques with you.

Meet Your Teacher

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Julia Bausenhardt

Nature Sketching & Illustration

Top Teacher


Hey, I'm Julia! I’m an illustrator & field sketcher from Germany.

I’ve been passionate about the natural world all my life, and I’m dedicated to connect art and nature in my work. With my work I want to increase awareness for the natural world we live in and its fascinating fauna and flora. I share my sketching adventures regularly on my blog.

I work mostly in traditional techniques like watercolor, gouache or ink and I love field sketching and nature journaling.

Showing people how they can discover and connect to nature through making art is an important part of what I do - that's why I teach here on Skillshare. Drawing and painting are excellent ways to learn more about nature. I want to help people deepe... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hello. I'm Julia, an illustrator and nature journaler. Thank you for joining me. In this class, you are going to learn the basic techniques for drawing and painting butterflies in a realistic way. I will teach you principles that you can apply to any butterfly or moth drawing. I will share my step-by-step process from pencil sketch to color. We will take a quick look at butterfly anatomy and what makes these wonderful creatures so special. I will share some tricks that will make it easier to get butterflies looking right on paper. Butterflies look great when painted in watercolor or with colored pencils. We'll be taking a look at both of these techniques. So this class is perfect for anyone who wants to learn to draw and paint these joyful creatures that can be observed everywhere, and who wants to connect with nature through studying and drawing butterflies. This class is suitable for beginners or intermediate students, and with the help of the step-by-step process that I show and a bit of practice, you'll be sketching butterflies in no time. You will need basic drawing skills for the class and a way to add color to your sketches. I hope you'll be inspired to explore drawing and painting butterflies by the end of this class. So, grab your sketchbook and let's take a look. 2. Tools: Let's quickly go over the tools for this class. So this is basically my sketch kit that I also use in the field. So I have my sketchbook here. It has watercolor paper, that can take a little bit of water if you're working with watercolor. Then I have a pencil and an eraser, and I also have my fountain pen, which you absolutely don't need, but if you'd like to work in ink then you could use a fountain pen or like a liner. Then I have my watercolor field kit, which is just the small basic field kit, but you can mix all kinds of colors that you need from this one. Then I will also use for this class these colored pencils, so you don't necessarily need them. You can also work with watercolors only but I find they give a nice texture, particularly for butterfly wings, so I like to have them around when I do them. May also can come in handy when you're sketching outside. Then what else I like to keep around is just a gel pen, or some other adding white to your page, like whitewash or something like that. Let me show you just what I will be showing you in this class. What kind of sketches, what kind of drawing, so here you can see two big beautiful butterflies that were done in watercolor, and this is the drawing that we will take a closer look at. Here you can see an ink drawing, so this is also definitely possible if you don't want to mess around with watercolors, and just want to concentrate on the different structures, and the overall shapes, then you can also work in ink, that's absolutely fine. Here you can see another page, where I combine these two techniques. So another approach in color, where I've also noted in my nature journal the different aspects and the different things that I observed from these butterflies, then a quick sketch. Here also in ink, and here you can see another more detailed ink sketch. So this can be helpful if you really want to concentrate on these finer details. Then here we have these last two. I just wanted to show how you can, and I don't know if we will cover this later, but how you can indicate the wide fringe at the edge of the wings. If you just put a background behind it, then you can do this very nicely, and so this is actually the same butterfly. One time it's opened, and here it's closed, and you can see the outer part sometimes looks vastly different from the inner wings. So this is basically what we're going to do in this class. We're trying to draw and paint butterflies in a way that you could identify them later, or that you can just get realistic drawings with the tools that we will be using. 3. Butterfly Anatomy: Butterflies can seem a bit complicated but once you get an understanding of their structure, they are really not that hard to draw. The main challenge will be keeping track of all the little markings and dots on their wings. Let's take a quick look at butterfly anatomy so that you know what you're drawing. I always find with a bit of knowledge, you will be able to sketch your subjects more easily, and that's because when you draw something, you automatically simplify it and without knowing what you see, you can't simplify in the right places. Let's start with butterfly wings. When the butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it unfolds its wings by pumping fluid into them through these little veins that you can see as these fine lines. Once the wings are dry and the butterfly can fly, and usually you can't see one larger patch in the middle from which the smaller veins branch out. You can see this in the drawing here as well as in the photograph. Most butterflies and moths have this basic vein pattern, the structures, the wing, although you can't always see this. When a butterfly lands with open wings, you can see all of the front wing and though hind wings are partially covered. When you look at butterflies in books or collections, like in this photograph on the left, then the wings are usually spread out for identification purposes. This is not how you will see a live butterfly in nature, it never extends its front wings that far. If you look on this picture in the middle here, you can see there's almost a horizontal line and even in this one, which has a sort of a curved line that extends a little bit, it doesn't really extend over the head, like with this one where this really steep curve. This is not a realistic position for a butterfly. Just remember this, if you sketch from life, you will not have this problem, but if you sometimes work with reference books, you will see a lot of these images. These are for scientific purposes and not for live sketching or anything like that. It's a good idea to keep this in mind. When a butterfly sits for awhile, then it folds beings vertically and then you can only see the back of the wing and the small part of the front wing so you can see all of this hind wing here. Often the patterns are quite different to on the outside. In this little white one here, they're actually quite similar, but in a lot of very colorful butterflies you will see when they fold up, they will have this brown or black, really not that spectacular color and this really helps them to blend with their surroundings. Let's also take a quick look at moths. These usually fold their wings flat towards the body and difference between butterflies and moths is that butterflies are usually active during the day and have more prominent colors, whereas moths are nocturnal and tend to have camouflage colors. Often they also quite ferry, as you can see in this one here on the right. You can see these patterns. They will help the moth to really blend with its surroundings. When seen from the side, you can see the body and legs of a butterfly. The body of a butterfly's usually also that furry and they have large eyes as you can see here and this rolled-up tong. Sometimes you can see this tong extended towards the flower if the butterfly sits down and wants to drink nectar from the flower than he will roll out his tong. Also butterflies tend to have these antennas with these clubs at the end whereas moths can have quiet the divers antennae. Here you can see this is almost shaped like a feather. It's a bit hard to see in the photo, but there are these small ass coming off of the middle part. Here you can see this, the antenna pointing towards the other direction towards the body. They are just tapering out in these thin lines. You can see the three pairs of legs here that are similar on all insects. The legs are segmented and they are connected to this middle part of the body to the thorax, the breast region. Usually a pod that first points up a little bit and then down and then away from the animal. You can see this on the hind leg here very well and also in the photograph so there's a part that goes up, then it goes down, and a part that points sort of away in this slight curve. The last part is the foot and you can see here in the drawing that it has these little tiny segments with a little claw at the end so that the butterfly can hold to whatever he's sitting on. If you paint your butterfly from above, then you have to worry about the legs at all because you usually don't see them. Let's also take a look at the different markings of butterflies. Butterfly wings are made up of many little scales and that means they can have a wide variety of colors and patterns. They can have quite colorful and intricate markings and this is often what fascinates people when they watch butterflies. These markings can also be a bit hard to keep track of when you're drawing them, particularly when they're very small and detail. What's important to note is that the markings are all always symmetrical. If you have drawn one side then you can simply copy the same patterns, so to speak, on the other side. Let's look at some of the wing markings that you will see on butterflies. There's a large variety of them. There can be these big round markings called eye spots, and these resemble eyes and for the butterfly, this is a strategy to keep predators away. When the butterfly feels bird approaching or sees him approach, then he will try to flesh his eye spots at the bird and the bird will hopefully think that this is a larger predator and will be confused for a moment and this is the time in which the butterfly can hopefully fly away. Some butterflies have these spots or small ring dots in one or several colors, and this is basically the same strategy. It also looks a lot like an eye. There can also be fringes or bends around the wing edge like in this admiral, and when butterflies are in these extreme colors or like orange or red, men, this is usually assigned for predators to keep away because this butterfly is definitely poisonous. This is another strategy for butterflies to signal to predators that it's not a good idea to eat them. The shape of wings can also differ. Sometimes the hind wings have these wavy edges or even a tail like in this swallowtail here and this is another kind of marking that you will often see in butterflies. I hope this was a helpful overview on butterfly anatomy and now let's go and sketch some butterflies. 4. Sketching Tips: Let's take a look at some basic techniques that will help you sketch butterflies. I'm using this nice yellow butterfly here. It's a brimstone, it's just a nice, easy subject for our first sketches. You will want to lay down the basic shapes first. For a butterfly you see from above the easiest way to start is to draw a triangle that's standing on the top and you can see me adding the side portions of that here. For moths, by the way, you'll usually draw a triangle shape too, but the other way round. Here it's standing on the top, I'm already adding a little bit of the body that I can see. I'm starting loosely, I'm actually applying a bit more pressure than I usually would this very light butterfly. You will be able to see the lines a little bit better if I press down harder. But usually for such a light subject, I would try and go easy with my pencil lines. You draw a line through the middle, that's the axis. Then you can start refining the edges for the outline as I did here in a few places. I've already added the body as we learned, butterflies have three different sections that you can see. The head, the thorax, and the abdomen, and each of these can usually be seen. Some species have very fluffy hair that covers these parts. You can see in our little brimstone, the fluffy part is sort of in the middle, in his breasts or thorax region. I'm just adding more definition to the sort of wavy lines that form the wings, the front and the hind wings. I'm also adding a bit more definition to the head and the antenna. The antenna are sometimes straight and sometimes slightly curved, depending on the species and what the butterflies doing. Often for these butterflies, they have these little clubs at the end. You can also see that the hind wings extend below the body so you don't draw the body all the way to the end. You can make these parallel marks for all of these measurements, all these parallel lines, because from above the creatures should be symmetrical. What I'm doing now is I've defined my basic shapes, and now I'm adding these veins and markings, and details, in some butterflies. You can't really see the individual veins. That's fine keep drawing what you see and don't add anything. Notice how I draw what I see on one side, on the other side too. This keeps me from forgetting anything. I add these little markings on one side and then I immediately try to add them on the other side too. Usually these bigger cells near the base of the wing and smaller vein compartments spreading out from there as you can see here. Now, we're switching to the side view of this butterfly, and this is a triangle too, as you can see. So this time the hind wing overlaps the front wing so it will take up more space than the front wing. In one corner of your triangle you can draw the body. So usually it's lined with a bit of fur, sometimes more, sometimes less. The eye is quite big from the side. Usually you can also see the legs and in some species you will only see four legs on the ground, and in some you will see all six. So there are the eyes, as I said, quite big, and sometimes you can also see the tong either rolled up or stretched out towards the flower. Now I'm adding with searching lines, the hind wing and the defining shapes for this part of the wing. At this stage, everything is still quite loose. I can erase the lines that I don't want later and then add a clean, nice pencil line over that. Adding the antennae and the tong. I've decided not to curl it up, but you show it like it is there reaching out for the center of the flower. I will add in a bit of the flowers too. So it's like this life-like sketch and now I'm ready to add in some of the veins as you can see. I hope that you can see this in the reference. Some of the veins are visible, so they're very light, actually almost white. I won't add in too much of these just to show you what this can look like. For this video, I wanted to show you the real time speed. This is the speed that I draw in usually in later videos, I have sped up things quite a bit to save a bit of time. But in this video, I wanted to give you an overview of what this looks like. Now I'm adding the flower shape to indicate what this butterfly sits on and what he does. Finding the outline a bit more. I think that's a good sketch, now we can add color. 5. Adding Color: Now I'm bringing out my watercolors. The first thing that I'll do is mix up the right color. I'm using my lemon yellow and just a little bit of white gouache. You can see me adding raw Sienna too, but I quickly saw that I don't need it and I just add more lemon yellow, and the white gouache to take the acidity of the lemon yellow away a little bit. I've sped up this part just a bit so that you don't fall asleep while you're watching me paint, and I'm starting by adding the paint to the wings, trying to make this a smooth layer of paint so that the color is evenly spread throughout all of the parts. I'm using quite big brushes, size eight synthetic round brush, and it has quite the fine tip so I can get away with this big brush like this. You can see that on the left side, I have dropped in a slightly darker yellow on the edge of the wings, and I will do the same on the right side in a moment. There you can see me adding the darker yellow and it gives a little bit more definition to the outer edge of the wing. While one butterfly is drying, I'm adding color to the second one. Essentially that's the way that I often work with journal page, so I may draw several elements on my page and then I go through them bit by bit, adding layers of paint and letting them dry while I'm working on another area of the page. What I do now on the outside of the hind wing is I'm dropping in just the tiny bit of green so just a greenish, yellow mix because this is the color that I can see on my butterfly. Again, a slightly darker yellow on the edge of the wings to intensify this a little bit more. Now that things have dried, I can paint in the body and from the side you can see that a good portion of the body is also slightly yellow, so I'm adding in just a tiny bit of yellow. Now I'm mixing this light gray color that I want to use for the rest of the body, these fluffy parts of the body. As as you can see, this is just a light gray and I'm adding in quite loosely. This is why I've waited for the other layers to dry because by now the gray would be spreading all over the yellow parts if I hadn't let that other layer dry. I'm also adding the same gray to the side view. I'm painting over the details for now. I have drawn in the eyes and some parts of the mouth, and I'm painting over this now, but I can still see it and I can bring that out later again when this layer is dried too. Now I'm going in with my colored pencils. I like to use colored pencils at this stage because I can get very fine lines out of them. You could also do this with a very fine brush and watercolor, but I like to have color pencils around. This was a light brown tone. Now I'm switching back to water colors and just adding in a little bit of the blue flower that this butterfly is sitting on. You can see I'm switching my tools around quite a bit, adding a bit of water to let this nice blue tone seep into the middle. The watercolor, we'll just do its thing and flow towards the watery pots. I don't want to have a lot of detail. These are just to show what the butterfly is sitting on. This does read as flowers, and now I come back to work on the details here, the eye part of the butterfly with my color pencil, and this is a black one, I believe. There are some parts that I want to be a little bit darker. Here you can see the selection of color pencils that I have. I'm using this dark gray one here. You'd also use this nice soft brown that I had in the beginning. It doesn't really matter too much. All I want to use this for is to get a bit more texture and some of the fine lines and details and markings like these little dots on the wings. Now that everything has dried, I can work on both butterflies at once, which is a nice time saver. I'm adding the fury body parts with lots of little strokes. I'm also adding a bit more definition to the legs to show that he's sitting on this flower, and fortunately, I only have to add legs to one butterfly. When you see them from the top, you usually don't see the legs. Makes things a little bit easier. Now I'm taking out my white gel pen. Let's see how it will work. Sometimes they work quite well, sometimes not so, and I just want to give a bit more definition to these veins that I can see. I don't suppose you can see this very well in the video, but it leaves a slight white line so, that's good enough for me, and on the other one too. Sometimes these gel pens are a little bit hard to paint on top over watercolor layers so the paint has to be completely dry and even then, they sometimes don't work that well. In that case, I feel absolutely free to use a small brush and a little bit of white gouache that works fine also. I'm mixing up a bit more of that yellow, green color, and I'm adding it to some of the wing parts here to add a bit more contrast and add in more color. I can see the butterfly has this greenish tint, and I want to make that impression a bit more visible. I'm careful to paint around my white lines that I just laid in, and I think this does a good job. Basically, my sketch is finished. It wasn't too hard, was it? Now I can start to add my notes. Usually when I am journaling, I will add notes about the species, the Latin name, and then the things that I observed. When I see a butterfly in the wild, I will maybe note, what it did and how big it was. That's always nice to know, especially when you don't know the exact species. This can help with finding out which kind of butterfly it is. Here I'm writing out the differences between the male and female. These two yellow ones are males and the female is actually almost white. Now I'm just taking down a few notes how they spent the winter. These guys spent the winter in their butterfly form, which is quite interesting I think so. They don't die in autumn or on winter. They wake up in the next spring and then they mate, and after that, I guess they die. Yes. These are the kind of nodes that I take in my nature journal, just interesting things that I've learned, or all that I've observed and that I might want to remember. 6. Sketching a Blue Butterfly: Let's do another one of this basic sketching session. This time I've chosen common blue butterfly. Again, you can see I've started more or less with my triangle. In this case it's almost a rectangle. I've added the body and now I'm adding the wings. I'm measuring the wings with my pencil. This helps me to get the angles right. I'm still searching for the right lines for the right angles so that I can get these basic shapes right. Now I have them. You can see that this photo was taken slightly from behind and on top of the butterfly. The winged seem to extend further on top of the head of the animal. This looks closer to some of the scientific poses that I've shown you that are not really realistic. But in this case, I think you can see that this is a real butterfly sitting on a surface, just photographed from slightly behind. So you can see a lot of his wings. I'm refining my angles a bit, erasing my lines. Now I'm adding in the eyes, the antennae. I want to make sure this one actually has this wide fringe at the edge and I want to make sure that I preserve this and I don't want to paint over it. I'm actually drawing it in. I will show you when we add the color, how I bring out this wide fringe a little bit better. Also adding the shadow, I'm not sure if I will actually paint that in as well. But I think it could make for a nice shape. This is the basic drawing, I'm adding in a few of the veins. They are not all that well visible but I'll just draw in a few. I've sped things up here a little bit. By now you know the routine. My first drawing is finished. For the next sketch, which is from a similar species, you can see that the outside looks quite a bit different. Again, I'm starting with more or less a rectangle. I'm starting to define the wing shape. The hind wing is in front of the front wing as always, when you see them from the side. The legs are visible and the eye is also quite big. So, I make sure to add that in. I keep refining the lines and the angles. Adding a little bit of that fair part on the body and you can see the same wide fringe on the edge of the wing here.I want to make sure that I will paint this in on this side view as well. On the outside this one has actually quite the intricate markings, so I'm adding these small dots and then this bend with even more dots and really taking my time here. This video is sped up, but I'm actually really trying to observe where the dots go and taking my time to put each one in the right place. Once you have such a detailed sketch, then really nothing can go wrong. Be sure to take your time for this initial sketch and then the stage where we will add color, will just be this relaxing exercise in color. I'm mixing a nice blue color with ultramarine blue and now we're switching to the darker version, to the view from the top. You can see there's an intense blue in the middle and on the edges of the wings, there's actually this violet brown tone. I mix in a little bit of this. You can see that my ultramarine blue is slightly granulating, so it has this texture and I think this is quite nice. It gives the wing a bit of a structure from the get-go. Dropping in more blue. For now I don't worry about the different elements. The wing and the body, they all flow together in the same color and I will bring out these details later in the painting process. For now, I just want to focus on the colors and on this basic layer. While the first one is drying, I'm mixing up different color for the second one for the side view. This is a light blue, so I've taken a little bit of Taylor Blue, which is a cooler blue and I've added in some whitewash to get this baby blue color or this almost took was color. I'm adding in a little bit of light gray because I can see that the wing changes into this light gray and so I'm I'm mixing these two colors and making a smooth transition. As long as the paint is still wet, you can easily do this. Now I'm adding a little bit of a warmer tone, this raw amber. I'm adding this to the top of the wing, right where these orange dots will go later. This has a little bit of a warmer tone. I'm mixing quite a bit of blue so that I can add in more blue. Also, the body from the side has this light-blue. I want to keep this first layer, just a smooth layer of color. Mixing a bit of CPR, which is a dark brown to add these dark edges around the wings of the first butterfly. You can see there are these brown bands. I want to add these on top of my first layer. I don't want to have a hard edge. So I'm blending it out with a little bit of water. I'm also adding a bit more blue in some places and a bit more violet to make the wing color darker. Also adding in a bit more of the CPR color. Watercolor always dries a little bit lighter, don't be afraid to add what seems like a lot of color. The intensity will go back when all of this has dried. If you've added too much and want to lift out some color, again, you can also do this once the layer is dry. You can re-wet it and pick up again some color. Maybe we'll see it throughout these lessons. While the body color is drying, I can take out my color pencil again and I can work on some of the details, the antenna, nice thin lines. The eyes. A bit of the fury part. Just sketching this in with quick lines and of course the feet. These are such delicate lines and I wouldn't want to destroy what I have drawn with my brush. Depending on your brush skills and your patience, you can also do this with a brush. I'm intensifying the light blue a bit more here and then I'm adding a bit of black on top of my pencil lines. Now I'm adding in the dark parts, the markings on the second butterfly. I'm doing this with my color pencil because it's just easier to draw this in than to paint this in. Usually when I'm outside in the field, then I will do this the same way. Sometimes, even just with a pencil, when I don't have these colored pencils with me, this is just the quickest and easiest way to work for me. I often rely on these sharp tips of pencils. You can see this is quickly coming together, I'm just filling out these pencil dots. Now I'm using again a blue colored pencil and a little bit of black to refine the body and the wings of the dark blue butterfly. You can see I'm adding a few veins, not everywhere, but few of them. Now I'm using a light blue and with this light blue pencil, you can actually draw back in some lightness. So this will make a nice lighter layer over my dark watercolor and this will also give the wings some texture. Maybe you know this from observing butterflies that they seem to have this velvety texture. This is just what you can get by adding colored pencils. Which is, I think this is quite nice. Remember when I talked about how I want to bring out the wide fringe around the butterfly a bit more. This is how I do it. I use a kind of a dark green color and I just add it around the butterfly. So you can see the wide edge quite well now that it is surrounded by this darker green. This is a very easy method to add additional contrast to your sketch and I really use it quite a lot. Adding a bit of blue to my green mix, I thought I might add in the shadow that I sketched in earlier. But it doesn't even really need it. But this is really a great way to give your sketch more contrast and to show these white parts that otherwise would be lost against the white of the paper. For the second one, I am taking my light brown colored pencil and I'm adding in a bit more of these brownish parts at the edge of the wing. This was a water-soluble colored pencil, so I've added a little bit of water and it gets activated and then I can spread the color around a bit more. Also adding the orange parts with colored pencil, those little dots. I'm adding a little bit of a surface for the animals who sit on. I say this sketch is almost finished. The last thing that I want to add is another way to add these light fringes, these light border. This time what I want to do is just add a few strokes with my light blue colored pencil to show that the butterfly has this soft fluffy fringe around his wings. I'm also adding the white border around the dots with my gel pen, and I'm quickly finding out the gel pen is not doing a very good job so I'm bringing out my very fine brush. This is a size one or a size zero even. You can see it has a very fine tip and I'm adding whitewash on top. With whitewash, depending on the quality of your paint, you might have to do several layers because it tends to sink into the layers below. But you can still get very nice white layer over darker layers with it. So you can see me, I'm adding more white to the white that I previously applied. That's it. That's the finished sketch. One from the top and one from the side. Similar species, very diverse colors and markings. I think this is a very interesting page. 7. Drawing Butterflies From Different Positions: Let's look at some methods for drawing butterflies from different positions. One trick that you can use is making a paper model like this, so that you can get a better grasp of all the different angles and planes that are going on. This is something that you can definitely use, if you just want to get a little bit of practice in and want to sketch butterflies from different positions. This is what I'll do in this lesson. I have collected butterflies and few different positions and I want to show you how I do it. I'm starting with parallel lines because the wings always end up at these parallel lines. I start by defining the negative shape between the wings and the head. You can see me from there, I can make these quick lines that define the rest of the wing. The parallel lines helped me to keep straight. This is very quick, so I keep my sketches under a minute also. Here we have already in a mixed one. I'm also using my pencil to get a better measurement of the angles. I'm using it to get the angles right. Here you can see again these parallel lines. The wings will always line up at these parallel guidelines in the end. I'm keeping it quiet rough again. Now, I'm adding a few flowers for these two guys to sit on, and I'm actually going into more detail now for the wing markings. So there are these orange bands, some white dots, and then these orange bands at the hind wings. I'm keeping it fairly loose. For quick sketches like this, you don't have to go into this rendering mode, where everything has to be at the right place. Trust try to work very quickly, very loosely. I'm also adding the markings for the second butterfly here. Again, I'm keeping things lose. The eyes, then a bit more detail on the antennae and the hind wings. This is basically the sketch that our work from. I add a little bit of the flower that is sitting on. But I will take this into color now. So this admiral has these orange bands on his body. I append those in first. I don't have to be too precise because it's a dark butterfly and I can just paint over anything that doesn't match these bands later with my dark color. I don't have to pay too much attention, to what I'm doing here. Trying to show what colors I mix. So this is sepia, a dark brown, and burnt sienna, which gives a little bit of warmth to my dark. I've also added a little bit of Payne's gray. So I want the dark makes, but I also want the darkness to be a little bit warmed up. I'm mixing my dark, quickly adding a second layer of this orange, so that it can really pop. I'm ready to add in my dark color. You can see I pressed the base of my brush to the painting wreck, to remove a little bit of water from the brush, so that it's not as diluted because I don't want that. It's so fairly light as you can see. But as long as this is where I can drop in more pigment and it will spread around. You can see that I'm doing that here. I'm painting right over a little bit of the orange edge that I can see here. I'm correcting a few of the minor mistakes that I made earlier, when a painted over some of these pencil lines, but that's okay. I knew I would do this. I'm also painting in the body. So the body is slightly lighter, but since the paint is wet, it will all flow together; and I will need to refine the single shapes later on. Dropping in more pigment. On the hind wing, there are no markings, no spots. This is an easy shape to work with. I'm carefully painting around these bands and markings that I can see, so that I don't have to add them in later because this is much quicker than adding in a second layer of white later. So I prefer these two to the other option. You can see the paint is still wet. So there's no harm done, when I go over the same areas with another bit of paint to make everything darker. I'm reactivating my orange, to fill in that last area. Now everything has dried. I'm using my pencil to define these white edges on the wings. I won't paint them in. I don't think I will, but it's good to have a defined edge for the wing. Painting in the dark spots on the hind wing with a really small brush. I'm also refining a few of the spots that I painted earlier, where I just dropped in color. Now, I'm adding a bit of structure, a bit more color where I think it's needed. Now I'm mixing up a nice pink color for the flower. Now, I've switched to my big brush again. This will just have to be very lose. I'm not interested in rendering a whole detailed flower, but I just want to tell the viewer that this butterfly sits on the flower. I don't even know what it is. It's not a thistle. These guys like to sit on thistles a lot. They're similarly colored, but I think this is something else that I don't recognize. I'm bringing out my color pencil for the antenna. Now, something a little bit different. If you don't have color with you or if you don't want to go through the process of painting a watercolor, you can just take notes of the colors in a sketch. Can also take notes about the behavior of the butterfly. What I will do now is add a little bit of structure with a pencil drawing. So we will actually do pencil drawing that's a little bit more finished, but it still has these diagrammatic parts in it with the lines and the notes. I'm essentially scribbling in the darker parts here. What I like to do is keep the lines in the same direction as I can see the structure on the animal. All of these little scales on the wings of the butterfly, they point away from the body. This is what I want to show in my sketch. This is what I try to achieve with this hatching here. You can see this gives a bit of texture. Actually, looks a little bit like the scales that you can see. I'm also redrawing the outline of the wing a little bit, so that you can see where the wing ends and then where it overlaps the hind wing. I'm working on the fluffiness of the body a bit more on these little hairs that you can see everywhere. But you can recognize the different parts of the butterfly. So these are two different versions, and now I'd just like to do some very loose, very quick sketches for warm-up practices. Feel free to join me with this. As you can see, I'm always working from this triangle shape wherever I can. Then I use these parallel lines to line up the different parts of the wings. You can see these are very loose, almost gestural sketches. So these are great as a warming up exercise. I'm just indicating the markings very loosely, and then I continue to the next individual. Again, I have this triangle shape and I'm searching for the lines that I can see. I'm adding in the legs and then let's continue to the next one. This is an admiral again. We can see the triangle shape in the reference. I'm starting with the body and then I'm trying to find the angles of the wing. Adding the legs and refining the wings. So you can see the basic form of this doesn't have to take up a lot of time. So now I have time to add in the markings and a bit of detail on the head. It's done. As I said, this is a great way to warm up to get your pencil going. Let's do a last one. This is a swallow tail. Started with a triangular shape of the wing in the front, and then added the wing in the back, and then the body that's featured quite prominently here. Few legs, a little bit of refinement on the angles, few details on the shape. Few markings and I am at my sketch essentially. Try to do these quick sketches at the start of each painting session or each sketching session. You will see that you will get better at these weird angles and these weird shapes in a very short time. 8. Painting A Monarch: In this video, I'll show you how I sketch a monarch butterfly seen from the side with a little bit of both wing pairs showing. I'm starting with my familiar triangle shape again, but this time I want to think about the shapes that I see more like a volume or a form with several planes, and this will help me to get a closer approximation of the shape that I can see. I've already sketched in both wings and I've made this little line at the top of these ends so this will help me to measure where my wings will end and how far they will go. I'm adding in the body and there are lots of little white dots on the body so I'm trying to draw them all in. As you can see, the monarch has quite the busy pattern, so you can see a lot of the veins that are dark on this bright orange background, and I will have to sketch this all in later. I'm refining the wing edges a bit better, a bit more, so I'm really trying to find out what goes where and as I said, I'm trying to think of this as a three-dimensional form instead of just a flat shape. I'm starting to add in the big cells, so I'm trying to look at the dark orange spots, and from there I can add the smaller dots and the markings and dots at the edge of the wing. I'm doing the same for the second wing so obviously there is the stock bend at the edge with these little white dots and then these larger cells with a dark edge around them. I'm trying to sketch these markings quickly so I don't want to be caught up in details at this stage, I still want some precision, but not too much so if I actually miss one dot in my sketch, this is not such a big thing. But I still want to get the basic structure right and I'm taking a bit of time to make sure I have these dark lines, these individual veins more or less in the right place. This is obviously a thing that will, as everything, get easier with practice so if you do this a lot and look at a lot of butterfly specimen, then it will get easier over time. I'm actually doing a lot of looking back and forth between my reference and my paper. I'm darkening a few places, just as a reminder for me, what is a colored space and water is a dark space so that I know where I can put my color safely later. Now I'm seeing that I have forgotten one of these veins, one of these cells, so I can make corrections at this stage. Now I'm adding my watercolor, and the first thing that I'll mix up is this bright orange color for the wings. I can just add in this bright color, it doesn't matter if it goes a little bit over the edge because I can go in with a darker color later and fix that. The wings in the front are almost all orange. As you can see, the light hits the wing pair that turned towards us. I can create the illusion of depth by giving the wing that's further behind a darker color, just like I can see in the photograph. I'm adding a bit of a more intense orange, darker orange to that now, dropping in just a little bit of that same color here and there on the front wing pair. Now I'm mixing up a light brown and I'll go over that orange area making it darker so I don't have to fuss around with covering it up individually, all of the single dots, but I can just go over it with that darker brown mix and the rest of it will end up black so I don't have to worry about any of the colors there. Now while this is drying, I'm adding in the details, the eyes and the legs and the antenna with my color pencil, and I'm also going around the white dots on the body so that I don't fill them in with black color. I could also do this, go over these areas and add in the dots with wash or gel pen later, but in this case, I think it'll be better if I just leave them in white. I'm taking a dark mix, this is a CPI and Payne's gray mix, so I'm just with my brush, I'm going around these dots, trying to leave them wide as much as I can, it's always a little bit finicky with such small spaces. Also adding in the eyes and a little bit of the smaller lines here, the finer lines. Now that the wing part has dried, I can do the same thing with my color pencil, so I am going around all of the dots, makes them more visible in an instant, so this is the bit where you have to be a little bit patient. It's a little bit fiddly, but it will pay off in the end. I'm also marking the lighter spots on the inner parts of the wing. As you can see, the wing that's darker, also has these light dots, but they also darker, so light plays a huge role in this. We'll give you this beautiful three-dimensional effect later in your sketch. Now I can make bolder strokes with my pencil for the veins, and again, with my brush, I can fill in the black parts and some of the veins. I'm taking my time trying to be careful with this big brush so that I don't over paint any white parts. I'll come back for some of the white dots later with some white to bring it out again a little bit more, but for now I'm concentrating on adding in the dark veins, the dark lines. Here you can really punch the contrast, so don't make your color mix too watery. Really use a lot of dark color for this so that you don't have to go over it a second or third time, so don't dilute your color too much. You can see I'm not adding any more water, I'm just picking up paint and pigment. I want this outer dark line to read well, so I will go over it so that it will end up as a nice curve. With butterflies, often a bit of patients is required, so here you can see me straightening that curve and adding a bit more paint so that these dark parts really stand out. Now that everything has dried, I'm going over the dark lines, one more time to make sure that they really pop out. I'm bringing my small brush and the whitewash to make some of the white dots a bit bigger. It happens that you paint over some of the lines that you made earlier, and so I just want to bring out some of the details again. From this moment on, it's all rendering and making clear where some of these dots are sitting. This is the finished sketch for a monarch butterfly. 9. Swallowtail in watercolor: Let's sketch a swallowtail from a three-quarter view. I'm starting with the body here, and I'm adding the main shape of the wings. This still looks a bit like a triangle, but you can see the front wings are almost pointed back. I'm doing this very quickly. As we discussed earlier, the more you do this, the more you will get comfortable with these weird shapes. I'm still trying to keep everything parallel. You can see me drawing in these parallel lines so that each subpart of the butterfly's wings sits at the right place. Now that I have the basic form laid out, I can turn towards the detail. I refine the wings a little bit more and add the little wavy elements at the edge. Small stuff like the antenna, the bend on the back. I'm adding in the dark patterns very lightly for now. For this sketch, I wanted to go into a little bit more detail on this, why I am taking my time with the sketch. You can see this is also nice paper, so this is not my sketchbook, but this is actually cotton paper. I'll be able to do a lot of manipulation with the paper. Cotton paper reacts a bit differently to your normal sketchbook, wood pulp paper. It's a lot nicer in many respects and you have a little bit more freedom with your watercolor. I'm adding all of the areas where I will put colorful markings and refine this tail that the swallowtail has. I'm basically done with the sketch. Now my watercolor. This is a light lemon yellow mixed with a little bit of white. I want a very soft yellow color for this and you could actually use what I have here. This is a ready-made color which is called Jaune brilliant , which is this pastel yellow, is yellow with a lot of white mixed in. It's a light Naples yellow. What you can see me do here is, I'm wetting down the part of the wing that's supposed to have this light yellow color. I'm adding a thin layer of water. All I have to do now is drop in the yellow paint, and it will spread around on its own, forming a very even layer of paint. I'm doing the same thing on the other side. This is a technique that you can do on wood pulp paper. Sometimes it will work depending on the amount of water. If you use too much water, you will get a lot of back runs. With cotton paper, it soaks up a lot of the water, and you have much more control about the amount of water that you have and how the paint will spread around. It's actually much nicer to use this technique on cotton paper, but it will still work on sketching paper on wood pulp or watercolor paper. I'm lifting out a little bit of my light yellow again. This is another thing that works best with this more expensive paper. I don't want to be this all even. While this layer of yellow is not completely dried yet, I can bring out my trusted black color pencil and add the black details around the head. So the antenna, the eyes, the mouth, and this dark part, this dark streak along the body. It hasn't dried everywhere yet, so I have to be a bit careful adding this dark outline to the wing. As I said earlier, using colored pencil just makes a few things easier. These very detailed and intricate markings that you sometimes have on butterflies, it's just easier to do this with a colored pencil then with a brush and watercolor. Going around the colored markings that I can see. I'll leave that space free for now and I'll come back with my color later. I'm redrawing the outline of this striped pattern here. I'm keeping it light because some of the lines, some of the black is really only just like it's sprayed on. I want to keep this very light black character here. You can see I'm only drawing very light areas of black here. The same thing on the other side, I'm indicating the parts that are black. These stripes get their outlines. Then I can come back with my brush and fill in the outlines. So much for the color pencil and now, I can come back with my watercolor. The first thing that I'll do is I will add the light-blue, these blue spots on the hind wing. I've actually made a mistake here. There are only four blue spots in total, and I've painted in another one, but not to worry I can cover this up. I think I just saw this and yes, and I'm dabbing out the color and then quickly adding some black over the spots so I don't make the same mistake again. These are all the blue parts on the butterfly. Manning a bit off the light yellow mix to the edges, and now, I want to add this orange spot on the hind wing. On one side of the butterfly in the reference, this part is missing or it's not complete. This is what happens when butterflies age. Many of these don't live that long and they start to fall apart after a while. This is completely normal process. Sometimes they're not quite symmetrical but, there may be small parts of the wings missing, particularly at the edges. They just crumble apart after a while. They're not made to last sadly. Now, that my color layers have dried, I can mix up a nice docs. This paints gray, and I'm taking my small size five round brush. I think I've even used a new brush for this so that I have a really nice tip. I'm adding dark paints over my initial sketch. Trying to take my time so that I don't make any mistakes because at this stage with this dark paint, this would not be so great to remove and paint over. Some of these bends, some of these stripes they have a little bit jagged edges. I'm trying to paint that into. They're not just straight bends, but they have a little bit of variation. Because of the overlapping single cells in the butterfly's wing. Trying something a little bit different here, I've wetted the area and I'm trying to spread around the dark paint a bit more, seeing how that goes. There are these areas where the dark merges with a white or with a yellow rather, and I want to try to achieve this effect by wetting down an area and then dropping in a small amount of paint. We can't use too much pain for this, but with just very little I think it's okay. You still want the yellow to show through. But you'd also leave it at these color pencil lines. If you were to do a sketch and time is of the essence, then it's totally okay to, not to fuss around too much with these details. You can see I'm painting over a lot of what I did earlier here. It wasn't a good idea for all of the areas. For some of these like on the hind wings, I think it worked out nicely. But sometimes you make these experiments and you find out what works and what doesn't, and that's always worth your time I think. It's always each new painting is a learning opportunity. Now, I'm painting the same details that I painted on the left side. I will repeat more or less on the right side. Keeping true to the symmetry of the butterfly. Again, I'm taking my time. Smoothing out a bit of the dark pots so that I can achieve a similar effect like on the left side, and then doing in with this strong dark gray for the rest of the stripes. Making these small strokes for the lighter areas. These tiny little dots and as you can see, this is basically the finished sketch. I'm adding and correcting a few things at this stage, but basically it's finished. I'm trying to widen these small parts at the edge of the wing a bit more, although you won't really be able to see them that well because there's not much contrast to the white of the paper. I'm whitening also the areas where this sort of light gray color makes these faint stripes. I'm adding a bit more contrast to some areas with my gray, plotting out the parts where I think doesn't work, and then we have a beautiful sketch of a swallowtail. That's it, that's the finished sketch. 10. Swallowtail side view (in ink): Let's paint another swallowtail this time from the side. For this one, I want to finish this sketch with ink because, water color is nice, but sometimes the situation calls for something with a little bit more simplicity. I want to show you another option to finish your sketch. As you can see for the side view, I've again taken this idea of having a volume with different planes, so this helps me to get a feeling for the three dimensional structure of the animal in very short time. Notice the parallel lines that I have at the top of the wing. This is reflected in the base of the wing where you could also connect these and have this parallel line. I've quickly laid down the basic shape for the butterfly. On the outside they have very interesting markings, and I'm taking a bit of time to get these right. The main challenge here I think will be showing these two overlapping wings, but showing them as distinct wings, as two individual shapes distinct from each other. You can see in the reference that the bands, the stripes are overlapping on the wings and this can seem a bit confusing. I hope I can show in my sketch where the planes are, where the different shapes end. I'm using an deep pen for this and some waterproof ink. This is drawing ink by Rohrer and Klingner and [inaudible] and it has the small eyedropper that I can use with my deep pen. It doesn't really matter which type of ink you use. I happen to like this one. You can make very thick lines with this deep pen. This is a Nikko pen, Japanese Manga pen and the more you press down, the thicker your line will be. If you need particularly thin lines, then you can turn your nib around and draw with the front side so to speak, with the other side. I am drawing the outline of the wing in one big curve so that it will be a smooth line. I'm breaking up the lines on the edge of the wing slightly to indicate that there's a bit of texture and a bit of broken up lines. You can see I'm changing the direction of the pen and I'm turning it round to get these really fine lines for the ferry part of the body and I can also make really fine lines for the legs. Still, I'm not wasting too much time on the details. I want to get my basic shapes right. I want to get the lines in the right direction. Now I can start with adding in dark parts for the pattern. I'm likely indicating where the pattern has to go, and then I can draw in the individual lines. If you make a dotted line that's not drawn through, then it would automatically look like they're something thinner or maybe it's not just such a prominent line. This is an interesting addition to your sketching tool kit, I think. Of course this is not something that you will want to take with you when you're outside, but you could bring a fountain pen with you that works in a similar way. When you're home at the studio, you can easily use one of these deep pens for sketching. It's a really nice way to sketch, and that's why I show it again from time to time. It's really a quick way of sketching too. As I said, I want to be mindful about these two wings standing apart as two separate wings. I want to keep this line that's separating the wings prominent. Now for the details on the hind wing, don't think I have to add that much. They're not as dark and I'm using the back of my nib, turning it round to get more fine lines that are not as dark. I'm adding a few of the veins that I can see, and I'm adding a bit of contrast around the body. That's my finished sketch. 11. Your Project: I'd love to see your butterfly drawings and paintings, so please share your work with us. You can show your sketches or share refinished butterfly paintings, or the details of markings. Feel free to choose a butterfly that you love, or that you saw outside recently. I hope you've enjoyed this class on how to draw butterflies. There are so many possibilities to include butterflies into your sketchbook or your other illustration projects, and I really hope you've discovered how fun and easy it can be to draw these colorful creatures. Remember, getting better at drawing butterflies will only happen if you do it regularly, so make sure you draw a lot, practice a lot, and then you will see the results. Thank you very much for being a part of this class. I hope this was useful for you and that you enjoyed it. See you outside. Bye.