Learn to Paint Realistic Watercolor Butterflies | Anne Butera | Skillshare

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Learn to Paint Realistic Watercolor Butterflies

teacher avatar Anne Butera, watercolor artist, pattern designer

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.

      Finding Butterfly Inspiration


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Practice Sketching


    • 5.

      Choosing a Subject and Mixing Paint


    • 6.

      Painting a Blue Butterfly


    • 7.

      Painting a Red Butterfly


    • 8.

      Painting a Green Butterfly


    • 9.

      Your Project


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About This Class

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and magical visitors to my garden, always bringing me joy with their presence. They also lend themselves beautifully to watercolor and make striking illustrations when rendered realistically.


In this class I will share:

  • How/where I find inspiration/subjects/models for painting realistic watercolor butterfly illustrations
  • The materials I use for my watercolor paintings
  • Tips for sketching to help you get a feel for the shapes/patterns of butterflies
  • How to choose subjects so you'll be most successful and how to mix paint to match
  • My process for painting butterflies with watercolor:
    • Creating an initial sketch on the watercolor paper
    • Preparing the sketched paper for paint
    • Putting down initial color washes
    • Adding details
    • Finishing the painting

This class is designed to give beginning watercolorists the confidence and skills to be successful at painting realistic butterfly illustrations.

Meet Your Teacher

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Anne Butera

watercolor artist, pattern designer

Top Teacher


The beginning of my story might sound similar to yours. When I was a child I loved to make things, but as I grew up I "learned" I wasn't good at art and stopped making it.

But that's not the end of my story.

As an adult I eventually realized something was missing from my life and I began to play with the idea of learning how to paint. I was encouraged by the example of other artists who had begun their creative journeys as adults with no formal training. Their stories gave me confidence to try.

When I started out learning how to paint I didn't know where to start. I learned by doing (and by failing and trying again). 

It's been a long road, but today I work as a watercolor artist.

My art has been featured in magazines an... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi. I'm Anne Butera. I'm the artist behind the website and blog, My Giant Strawberry. I love inspiring you to embrace your creativity and discover your joy. In this class, I'm going to share one of my favorite subjects to paint, the butterfly. Butterflies are beautiful subjects. They're magical garden visitors. Although they might look a little complicated, they're not so hard to paint. In this class, I'll help you get started learning how to create beautiful paintings. We're going to look for inspiration. We'll do some sketching, and then we'll get busy painting. If you'd like to start paying realistic watercolor butterflies yourself, I'll see you in the first lesson and we'll get started. 2. Finding Butterfly Inspiration: My favorite way to paint is with my natural subject in front of me. I love painting flowers. But unlike flowers, where I can go out to my garden, cut one, bring it into my studio and paint from that, butterflies are a little more complicated. Although bringing live butterflies into my studio to paint from won't quite work, I love to collect bits of nature I find when I'm out on my walks. At times, I find bodies of butterflies and bring the fragile bits into my studio and I can work from them. Another option, of course, is to take photographs of butterflies. Since they often don't sit still, it's hard to get clear photos, but if you're patient, sometimes you're rewarded and you can use those photographs to work from. Something else that works great is using a butterfly reference book. You can use an encyclopedia or a field guide and use its images as inspiration for your art. There are so many different types of butterfly with many color, shape, and pattern variations. The photos in such a reference book give you nearly endless inspiration and subjects for your painting. Of course, the Internet provides many, many resources that you can use for inspiration for your art. I've included some in the handouts, as well as giving you information about copyright, which you'll want to keep in mind as well. In the next lesson, we'll talk about supplies. I'll see you there. 3. Supplies: I want to start by just talking about the supplies that I'm going to be using in this class and the types of supplies you'll need for doing your own paintings. First off, you're going to need a sketch books. I have a bunch of different sketch books for different purposes. Watercolor sketch book is great for. You can do your paintings in here. But I like to use a watercolor sketch book for testing out colors and doing quick little drawings, seeing how the colors mix together. You'll also probably want a sketch book that you can do drawings on with either pen or markers or pencil. I like the this Canson extra large mixed media book. The paper is really nice and it accepts a lot of different types of media. The paper you're going to need for painting, some watercolor paper. I like to work on watercolor blocks that are taped down on all four sides. They're easy to work on and they don't buckle as much as loose sheets. I like the arches. That's probably my favorite I've used at the most. I also like this new Canson heritage paper. It works really well. You're going to need to paint. I have a few different types of pen watercolors. If you have tubes, definitely use those. You don't have to go out and buy different paint. I just prefer the pens. Use any brand that you have or that you like. I'll mention some brands in the handouts for you. I'm going to need some brushes. Variety of sizes is good. You'll need a larger size. This one is a 12 and then you'll need some small ones for doing details. This is a little spotter and then some middle size. So long as you have a large one and something that's pretty small. Whatever else is fine. You'll need a palette for mixing your paints. You can use a big plastic palette like this one that I have, keep a small ceramic palette. Even a plate or dish would work fine. Then you'll need some water in a jar. Try and keep your water as clean as possible. If you prefer working with loose sheets of paper. If you want to do just a single butterfly on a piece. Small little scraps are perfect for that. Need a pencil for sketching out your design on your watercolor paper and a kneaded eraser is great for lightening the lines that you make and for erasing. I also use my pencil eraser. Use a mechanical pencil because it never is doll. I have some paper towels here. Tend to use them over and over again, so they're a bit colorful. You can use a cloth rag that'll work too. Whatever you have use that, it's great. The next lesson we'll get started practicing with some sketching. I'll see you there. 4. Practice Sketching: Before you start painting, it's a good idea to become comfortable drawing butterflies. If you're already comfortable with your drawing skills, you can skip this lesson and I'll see you in the next one. But if you need a little confidence-building, drawing and sketching will help you with that. You can sketch just half of a butterfly, you can use colored pencil to capture the colors or if you're really needing help, start out by tracing a butterfly. Just lay down some tracing paper on top of a photograph of a butterfly and outline the shapes. You can use pen or pencil. By tracing the shapes, you'll get comfortable drawing those shapes. On a butterfly that has complicated patterning, this can be very helpful. You can see where the different spots and lines lie on the wings. It gives you a good way of observing the shapes and patterns. You can see firsthand that although butterflies are symmetrical, that symmetry isn't quite perfect. As in all of nature, there's never absolute perfection, which is helpful for us as artists because we'll never be able to create our own perfection either. So we don't have to worry about striving for it. But just using your pen and outlining all the shapes will help you become comfortable and it'll help you build your confidence. If you don't feel as if you're very good at drawing, this can be very helpful. If your paper gets out of place, it's easy to put it back. Just line up your lines. This drawing doesn't have to be very detailed, it certainly doesn't have to be perfect, but it's just helping you to get a feel for the shapes and patterning. If you are ready to move on to working with pencil on paper, doing the rough sketches in your sketchbook can be very helpful. These rough sketches don't have to be perfect. Nothing you do has to be perfect. That's one of the beauties of art. You want it to reflect your hand, I've heard it called. It shows that a real person created this. It's not a photograph, it's drawn by hand. So just doing these sketchy drawings, taking the pencil over and over the shapes, refining the shapes, not worrying about getting things perfect, not worrying about using your eraser, this will help you feel drawing is also really good for observing. Taking a look at where the different patterns are on the wings, observing the symmetry, drawing is wonderful for observing. The more you do, the more comfortable you'll be. If you spend a little time with your sketchbook, looking at photographs of butterflies, and doing some drawing, you'll get a lot more comfortable creating the shapes of butterflies. The first step when you're doing the watercolor painting is to draw the outline of the butterfly so that you can then paint it. The more comfortable you are with your drawing, the more comfortable you will be once you're starting your painting. I'll often observe the photographs in my butterfly field guide and borrow patterns and colors from a number of different butterflies. Although my creation is realistic looking, it's not necessarily depicting a real butterfly. Once you have the sketchy outline of your drawing, you can go over everything with a darker line to help finish it. One thing to remember when you're working in your sketchbook, no one has to see the sketches but you. So if you're still figuring things out, if you're still working out an idea, that's okay. Things don't have to be perfect. I keep saying that over and over again, but I truly believe it. We really limit ourselves when we try to make things perfect and really, the more you do, the better you'll be, and the more comfortable you'll be. Your lines will be more confident, you'll work more quickly. A blank page can be intimidating. You can get nervous. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. So just working, getting in the groove, sometimes drawing can be almost like meditation. You're very present in the moment. Helps block out the outside world and other thoughts, worries when you're really focused on creating. The veining on the butterfly wings, we'll be painting that with a fine brush finishing off the details of our butterflies in watercolor and so, if we get comfortable knowing where the veins lie, it'll be a lot easier. Although, try to limit your use of the eraser. Sometimes it helps to erase a little bit. It's a little hard using the very fine paint brushes and so, if we know what we want it to look like before we get started, it's a lot easier. One of the wonderful things about butterflies is that there are so many different shapes and sizes and patterns and colors. I'm demonstrating these sketches in just black pencil but of course, you can use other media. Colored pencils are nice, but I really want to show how you observe the shapes and patterns. When I'm working on these butterfly sketches, looking at not only the example butterflies that I'm sketching from but also, comparing one wing, one side of the butterfly to the other. I want to create a balance in a symmetry and harmony within the butterfly so it looks right. One thing to help you be more successful when you're both drawing and painting is to choose butterflies with simpler shapes until you get more comfortable and more confident with your painting and your drawing. Simpler shapes, simpler patterns. Here with this one, I am observing that the bottom wings are overlapping the top wings and not the opposite. Sometimes we have preconceived notions of how something should look and it's important to really observe not follow along with what our brain thinks, but with what our eyes see. So starting with a simpler design in the beginning will help you to be more successful. This butterfly has more detailed patterning, little spots and dots. I'm going to darken the dark parts just with some messy scribbles just to give the hint that that area is dark. If we were painting this, we would paint it with the darker areas with a color that would correspond to that color. But with pencil, just have to darken it with the graphite. On your own, you'll want to just do as many sketches as you can, become more and more comfortable with the shapes and what butterflies really look like. I found that until I really was observing their shapes and the patterns, I couldn't truly capture what they looked like, which I guess just make sense. If you're drawing from memory, sometimes your memory is not very accurate. It's important to always look at your subject and you'll have a lot more accurate drawing in that case. Of course, if you want to paint or draw more fanciful designs, that's perfectly fine as well. I prefer most of the time being more realistic. Now that we have done our drawings, we'll get on to preparing to do our paintings. I'll see you there. 5. Choosing a Subject and Mixing Paint: When you're looking for a subject to paint, you want to choose one that catches your eye. That is also fairly simple in terms of shape and pattern. Flip through images in your book from your camera roll online and see what catches your eye and look for simple shapes, colors, and patterns. Something that's a single color will be easier to paint than one that has multiple colors. I'm going to show you how I paint this blue butterfly. There's some brown, There's some black, and there's that beautiful blue, will be mixing those in a minute. I also am going to paint this pretty red butterfly that has some brown, some rust, and some black lining. We will paint that in a moment too. Also I'm captured by these colors. This one has black and green, and I think we'll paint that one too. First we're going to make some blue for that blue butterfly. Looking at my blues, pretty bright blue. I'm going to use this. Think this is scenarios blue. I'm not sure if that's how you say it. Really pretty color. That looks pretty close to the color that we're going to want. My technique using these paint watercolors is to wet my brush. Swipe the wet brush against the pan of color, and then just use the edge of the palate to transfer the color from the brush to the well in the palette. Adding water to help get all the color up there. That's a really nice blue. You usually like to mix my colors with something. I have this, I think this is [inaudible]. I had a little bit of that. That just brightens up and gives it another dimension. That color I know from using it in the past, it doesn't always like to mix and stay mixed when you create a color mix. We'll see how that works and sometimes it gives you interesting results. For this butterfly, there's also a little bit of brown and some black. I'm going to say just to rinse off my brush here, will make the brown. I think I'll go with this pre-mixed form brown. This burnt sienna. Browns are very easy to mix using red, blue, and yellow. But burnt sienna is a nice color here, just to lighten this up a little bit. I'm going to use this little bit of yellow to warm it up just a little more. I'd also like, a little bit darker of a brown. I'll show you my favorite brown mix. This nearly empty well is my favorite rushing green. It will give you a gorgeous brown, or actually a whole series of gorgeous brown's mixed with different reds. It makes some really beautiful colors if you mix it with like a violet, pinkish violet color. I think I'm going to mix it looks scarlet. They go on a little bit more green. Clean up my brush a little bit, and pick up a little more over here. That gives you just a really nice dark brown. You get all the color off my brush into the well. My mixes are always really wet when I first mix them. Then I will let my palette dry because I find it a lot easier to work with when the colors are drying. The main reason being that I can get darker colors that way. When is this wet, it's hard to get a good saturated dark color. Now for this black, they have a black. It's lamp black. Don't worry about trying to keep track of the colors. I'll have all the names of the colors in the handouts. Here's the black. It's looking a bit gray, actually might be the color that's there's still some of the color left on my paintbrush. But I'm going go for that. Leave it, I usually like to mix other colors. Payne's gray is nice, mix with black or an indigo or other dark blue. Think for a really nice mix. I'm just going to keep it basic. This is for our blue butterfly. Let's see. I'm going to make some colors for our red butterfly. They knew the red is more on the rusty color side. Let me use this orange to start out with. This one is called French Chameleon. Now it looks more orange than red to me. It's very similar in color to this scarlet. These are my three different brands that I use. We're going to be doing the French vermilion in here, and then I'm going to add some of this madder lake red. Just to deepen it a little bit. We're also going to want to mix a lighter orange color. That looks nice. Then maybe a straight red. I think I'm going to use this brown in the red butterfly and the black for the lines as well. Let's see. For the orange, the lighter orange, I'll be right back, I'm going to rinse off my brush. I'm back I got some freshwater and my brush is rinsed. One thing I didn't mention was that when I'm mixing colors, I use a brush that's not one of my favorite ones. That way my favorite brushes don't get worn from mixing because it's a little hard on the brushes. I'm going to start with this yellow. Mix with warm yellow. I'm going to make my orange, my paler orange. I think I'll just take a little bit of the French vermilion and mix it. Then this gives us an orangey. Actually reminds me of ketchup mixed with mustard. Weird. Add a little more of the yellow. Just because I want to be able to have a little variation, it's nice to mix your colors on the page and see what happens. For this one, since we're going to be using the browns and the blacks from this butterfly, the blue butterfly, I don't think I'm going to mix anymore colors. So that leaves us with our last butterfly, which is the green and black one. Let's see for that one, spread out with this green. I really like this little pale green. It's really versatile, I think. I'm going to mix this with some of that scenarios blue that we used for the blue. I just want to deepen it up. I'm also going to mix some yellow. I'm going to put a deeper one. Maybe a little bit more of the green to warm it up a little. I think of colors in terms of warm and cool, less than the actual shade. I want a yellow. I'm going to go with a brighter yellow and that orange yellow we had. Let's see. Maybe even mix them in this lemon yellow. So we've got a bright yellow. We're going to let these colors, this yellow and this green play together on Kart paper. Let's see. I may actually just add a little of this straight green up here. Sometimes in the smaller wells, I'll mix something that I know I don't need a lot of. It's nice to have a variety, one of them I'm going to mix with our warm yellow here. Yeah, there we go. It's kind of pee green, chartreuse color. They can just imagine these three colors on our paper and how they're going to play together because I'm going to dab some of them in there. Helps to give just a little extra interest to your painting when you let the colors play and mix on the page. Since we're going to be using black for all three of our paintings, I think I'm going to add a little more black to this well. So just pick up some more color and brush it off. Scrape it off into the well. We're just going for quick simple colors for this class. Of course, if you're doing other butterflies or if you have different brands of paint, your color mixes will be slightly different, and that's fine. There are so many different ways to get to the colors that you want. I don't really go by any technical rule, color mixing rules. I don't play by those rules. I just go on with my gut and see what happens. Most of the time I'm happily surprised. Sometimes things don't quite work out all right, but most of the time it's good. I'm going to let all of these colors dry a bit and we'll come back later and start working on our painting. See you then. 6. Painting a Blue Butterfly: I'm going to start by sketching the basic outline of the butterfly on my watercolor paper using pencil. Trying not to go too dark or too hard because that'll damage the paper. Once I do one side, I try and match that side to the other. The better your sketch is, the more successful you'll be when you go to paint. Try not to erase too much because it's rough on the paper. I'm going to take my kneaded eraser, and if I just dab at the paper with the kneaded eraser, that will pick up the excess graphite from the paper and lighten the lines, so that it's easier to erase them and have them invisible once the painting is on the paper. I've got my water, got my palate. Everything's ready to go. I'm going to start by taking some clear water and covering the first top wing with the water. I'm going to wet the page with my brush. I'm using a fairly large brush to begin with, making sure that the section is completely covered. Now I'm going to drop in some color. Just wetting my brush with the paint and dabbing the paint onto the wet paper, and the paint will fill in. It will move across the page. But I'm going to continue adding in the wet area, smoothing out the sides a bit, making sure the whole space has some paint. I'm dabbing and slightly moving the paint with the brush. The tip of the brush, along the edge will give a smooth edge. I'm moving the paint, dabbing in some more where I see it needs some. I'm not trying to have a uniform shade. I'm going to do the other side. In the same way, wetting the paper first and then dabbing in paint. I've sped up the video here because I'm a fairly slow painter. On the wing that is still wet, I'm going to lift up some of the paint, being careful not to touch the wet spots with my hand. That'll just give some gradation, some texture, some interest to the wing. So dabbing in the color onto the wet paper. As I go, I'm following my marks on the page, the pencil marks, but I'm also trying to match as best I can, one half to the other half. Now I've let this dry. You can test the dryness by touching it. If it's cool, that means it's still wet. I'm going to erase the pencil marks. You have to make sure that the paint is entirely dry before you erase, or else you may smear the paint or damage the paper. I've erased and I'm going to be ready to start on the bottom half of the butterfly. I like to wait until the one wing is entirely dry before I paint the bottom part of the wing so that I don't have to worry about paint going where I don't want it, or running in ways that I don't want it. It gives me more control. I do the same thing when I'm painting flowers. I will paint one petal, let that dry before I paint an adjacent petal. Otherwise, you may have a massive smeared paint. I'm switching to a smaller brush and I'm changing to this brown, the lighter brown that we made. I'm painting that bottom edge at the bottom wing, where there was the brown. I wouldn't call it a stripe, but the brown coloring. Before I started painting the brown, I made sure that that edge was not super saturated. Otherwise, the paint would run too much. Want to make sure that it blends a little bit, but it doesn't run. If I take a dry brush and run it across the line, the edge, it will help keep it from running. Just lifting up some more paint, giving some texture and then move on to the next wing. In the same way, putting down the water before I put down the paint, touching up a little bit on the edge of the other wing. Dropping in the color, that beautiful blue. Filling in the whole wing shape, moving the paint around. I like how there's a darkness grade where the two, the top and the bottom overlap. I'm lifting up some of the paint along the edge so I can paint in the brown. Some of the brown that I'm painting is going on the dry paper, keeping a smooth edge just outside of where the blue is. I'm just evening things out and blending. Now that this bottom half is dry, I will erase the bottom, making sure that my lines are all gone, and I'm going to start some of the detailing. I'm using a fine brush and the black paint to do the edge of the wing, this top edge. I'm going slowly. These details with the fine brushes, they are really a make it or break it for the painting. Especially when you're using such a dark color like this black. If your line is too wide, you don't really have an easy way to fix that. Go slowly and build up the width and the color. Here I'm slowly building the shape of this curve. I want the corner of the wing, that top corner, to have a nice smooth curve that overlaps onto the blue. I'm going to build it up slowly, adding a little bit at a time. It's better to be slow and take your time than to rush at this part of the painting. Just filling it in. You can always add more paint, but especially with a dark color like this, it's not easy to take it off. Making sure my line is smooth. I have an even finer brush and I'm going to paint the bottom edge and the side. At this point, I'm not following directly with my example butterfly. I'm just seeing what looks good with what I have on the page. One thing I haven't done much so far, painting this butterfly, is rotate my paper. When I'm painting usually I do rotate my paper a lot. Just tap the best angle for painting. It's harder to do when I have my cameras set up. That's why I haven't rotated it until now. On your own feel free to rotate your paper as much as you need to. The joint of your wrist has its natural way of moving and you should go with that not work against it. Otherwise it's just awkward. You'll be a lot more successful if you work in a comfortable position. Here I'm with this small brush again doing this opposite wing. Usually I work left to right on the paper. For some reason I started on the opposite side with this painting with the details, I'm not sure why. Working on this bottom wing, again with the narrow brush and slow outlining building up the color. They have sped up the video, otherwise we'd be here a whole day. But the nice thing about doing the outlining and painting these details is that it really gives a finished look to your painting. I paint a little dark overlap here. Edging the wing, just following along with the edge and also trying to get a similar shape and outline as the other side. If it's not perfect that's okay. As I mentioned before, symmetry in nature is not perfect. If you're painting isn't that's okay. Just trying to get a refined shape here. Now I'm going to paint the fine lines inside the wings. Being very careful at this point, using the very fine brush, going slowly, wanting to get as close to being symmetrical as I can. With a fine brush sometimes it's hard to get a long continuous line because such tiny brush can't hold very much paint. Take your time with this. Slowly build your lines and work within your painting to come to a balance and harmony with your own unique rendering of your butterfly. I look to my examples for inspiration, but I also try to get as close as I can within my painting to having a nice harmony. I'll spend a lot of time looking at the wings, seeing what the shapes are like, and figuring out where my line should go. Because butterflies are natural, you want to have a natural look to your painting. It's better to start out a little bit too light and build up darker. I've sped up my recording again here just so we can get finished in a timely manner. But I am taking things slowly, just giving the basic outline of my lines, and I can go back and darken them as I need to. That one turned out pretty dark. But that's okay, don't panic. Just add where you see your painting could need a little bit more. I don't want to overdo it here. But the details will give you a really nice finished result. Going over the lines you've already painted with more paint can be helpful to build up the color. I didn't really talk about building up the color on the wings. If after your first layer of paint you thought that things looked a little pale, you can always go back and add more layers. You can do it in the same manner as we did with the first layer. Going with a clear water wash and then dropping in color. That's especially nice when you're adding a different color to your painting. It'll let it spread nicely without having the colors get muddy. But with this painting I liked the colors that we had happening, I liked the depth of color, and the variations and gradations. I did not add another layer. Water color can be a little bit unpredictable at times. You won't really know until the paper has dried. Sometimes things spread more than others. You can always go back and add more color. Here on the bottom wings, I'm trying to get a nice arrangement of veins. Actually with my example photo, the veins were not very distinct. But I wanted to have more details for my painting, so I've painted them darker. As I mentioned before, when you're doing your own paintings, you can use photographs as your starting point. That will help you to keep your painting looking realistic. But you can definitely go your own way with how you finish them. With the shapes and colors, It'll still look realistic. But it won't be an exact duplicate of the butterfly. Now I'm going to paint the body. I like my butterfly bodies to be a little fuzzy looking, so I'm going to try to get that look when I add the paint. Here I'm just adding the paint to the dry paper. I'm blotting it in to give it a bit of a fuzzy look. Added little more water, dropped in a little black on top of that dark brown. Here I'm blotting and lifting slightly, dabbing the paper with my brush to give a nice texture to our butterfly body. Make it dimensional looking. Then here come the antennae. Using a very fine brush, going slowly. I like the look of slightly asymmetrical, especially with the antennae. Here we are. In the next lesson we'll paint another butterfly. See you there. 7. Painting a Red Butterfly: My butterfly is already drawn on my watercolor paper and I've already dabbed the page with my kneaded eraser, so the first step is to add the clear water to the first wing, making sure the whole space is covered evenly. Now, we'll take this dark, reddish orange and dropping the color. Making sure all of the wing has paint. Moving and blending the paint, creating the smooth edge and drop-ins move that lighter orange and also some brown on the edge here. I've sped up the video for the sake of time, but you should still be able to see all the steps here. Switch to a smaller brush and now I'm just blending the colors, the brown along the edge, a darker reddish orange, the lighter orange. I want to have the colors blend, but also have some striations, some gradients to give interest in texture to the butterfly and I'll do the same thing here on the opposite wing. Adding the water to the page and making sure it's entirely covered and then adding the paint. Using the tip of the brush to create the edges and dropping in more color as needed, smoothing it out, moving it around the page. The tip of your brush will give you a nice, smooth edge and you want to have a smooth edge. You can refine the shape while the paint is wet like this, move the paint around, adjust the shape, add in more color, the lighter orange, change to a smaller brush and add some of that brown. The color difference between the two angles of the cameras are really due to the lighting, so I'm sorry if it looks different. I'll just keep working and now that the top wings are dry, we're going to add the water to the page for the bottom wings. Doing them one at a time. Because they're not touching, you could do both sides at the same time, but I find that it's better to do them one at a time, because that way you don't accidentally put your hand in wet paint that's on the other part of the paper. It just helps you to take your time and make sure that the paint stays the right consistency, the right wetness for you to work it. Add some of the lighter color and blend it in. Drop in some of the darker orange-brown, that first brown that I mixed in the same space that the brown mark on the blue butterfly is. But I wanted it to blend a little bit more, to bleed and to blend, add some more. You don't want the color to be uniform, you want it to have an organic feel. Working on the second bottom wing, you can see there's still a little red on my brush, but since we are going to be painting red on top of it, that's okay. If you were painting vastly different colors, you'll want to make sure that your brush is thoroughly Brenton clean. We'll just do the same exact thing on this side, adding in the paint colors one-by-one, blending them, moving the colors around, working on refining the edge and the shape. We've got the brown, we've got the lighter orange, the darker reddish orange and just keep adding until you're happy with it. Now, that it's dry or somewhat dry, I'm going to add the body and it's dry enough that I can paint in the body and not worry about the color bleeding into the damp areas. Painting in the body with both our colors of brown, working in a similar way to the other butterfly we painted, dabbing the paint, refining the body shape. One thing I didn't really talk about was the fact that, although I sketch out the wings of a butterfly, when I'm painting, I don't sketch the body, I do that entirely with paint. I'm adding layer after layer of paint here and getting some texture with the tip of the brush or finding the shape of the head, I can play with it as long as it's wet like this. Now, it's time for the antennae. We shall pain with this brown, the dark brown and a very fine brush. Doing one side and then the other. I'm going back as needed, adding more painted as needed. Now, I'm going to do the edges of this butterfly, the edges of the wings. As I mentioned before, be sure to move your paper as much as you need to. I haven't really done it much while demonstrating these paintings, just because it's a little awkward with the camera's set up. They're a bit in the way. But move your page as much as you need to. Don't think that you need to keep it still or in one spot, I'm always turning my paper. You want to be the most comfortable you can. Now, with this edge and with any fine details, you just want to take your time. Go slowly at the paint a little bit at a time, you should be in no hurry. You can go back and darken areas or smooth out lines, add a little more shaping, more coloring as you need to, on the bottom here, I'm going to keep it very thin, a very thin line and you can change directions, when you're painting line. Oops, just dab any paint off the page when it's wet like that and it shouldn't leave a stain. If it does leave some color behind, you can add some clean water and keep dabbing until you've removed your stain. Just work on, you want to work on one side at a time, you can go back and refine the other lines as you go or match them up as much as you can, have a nice uniform look. I'm going to paint the interior, painting on these wings with a very fine brush. Sometimes I can't decide which angle to go at the painting and they'll have to change it around a bit and that's okay. Just make sure you're comfortable as you're working. Again with these fine brushes, you'll have to continuously add paint, because of small tip does not hold a lot of paint. Although I'm looking at the model photograph of the butterfly, I'm really working within the confines of what is on the page because I want to have harmony, I want the veining to fit with the coloring and the shape that has evolved with this painting. I'm going by feel, keeping a realistic look and although I mentioned when I was mixing the paint that I was going to have black veining, this is actually the dark brown that I'm using to paint the veins. I'm thinking that although the top wings have a dark brown for their veining, I'm probably going to use some lighter brown on the bottom. I want the top veins to be more distinct than the bottom veins and when you're doing your own butterflies, the choice is entirely yours. If you want it to be ultra realistic, or if you want to be more fanciful, if you want to add your own details. I'm mixing some of the dark brown into the lighter brown and painting my veins. I want them to be there, more for a textural element, I don't want them to be very obvious, light and delicate. I really like how these colors have dried and flowed. You're never really sure how they're going to change as they dry. The different color mixtures of the veining and I think we're just about done, just a couple more lines here and there's our red butterfly. In the next lesson, I will paint another one. See you there. 8. Painting a Green Butterfly: This is the last butterfly that I will demonstrate but the shape drawn on the paper already. I'm just adding the water to the first wing, making sure the whole shape is covered evenly. Smoothing out the water. Now I'm going to start heading with color. I want the greens and the yellow to play together on the page. Some areas will be darker, some will be warmer, some will be more green, some will be more yellow. I'm just adding these various colors. Letting them mix, letting one dominate in one area and another and another. I'm also going to be putting black in here. That'll change the way it looks. Moving on to the second wing. Wedding the page. I'm going to fix that corner. Just doing the same sort of thing on the other wing and trying to mimic the color distribution on the first wing. But I'm also okay if there's some differences. This is an organic shape, organic patterning. I'm adding the black wall. The first wing is still wet some of the black paint is going to spread. If you move your paintbrush quickly across the edge without stopping, then the paint will not pool and spread. It'll spread a little bit. You can see here I'm going more slowly and so it spreads a little more into the wet paint which is what I want here. I want a little bit of it to spread. Adding more paint, refining the shape. If you do this when the paper is too wet and the paint is too wet, it's going to spread entirely across the wet area. I'm also working the black onto some of the dry paper to have a smooth black edge and refine the shape. My butterfly example had a lot more black than my painting is going to have. We want more of the green and yellow to show through. Moving on to the second wing, this part can be a little bit stressful when you're trying to match the one side to the other. You're never quite sure if the paint is going to spread in the same way, if the paper is in exactly the same state of wetness. Sometimes when you're working like this, it's not going to work out. But that's okay. You can always try again. I'm noticing that these wings are not quite the same shape. I'm going to try and even them out a little bit. That's one of the things I do when I'm painting butterflies. I start with the basic design and then I refine it as I go. Try and match one side to the other as best I can but also knowing that even in nature there are some imperfections, symmetry isn't exact. Right now working on the bottom wings once the top are dry, remember we don't want to have the paint go in areas we have already painted because I like the way the colors have spread on the top. Again, in the same manner, the bottom wings are going to be green with yellow. The colors mixing. Then also some bet black. On the bottom the black is going to be more of a border with less of the color intruding into the shape. Actually I really like how there are some differences in how the color moves in each of these wings, just gives the butterfly a sense of individuality. It's just one of the natures of watercolor. Because the paint and the paper, you have some control over it. Some of it is out of your control. It's nice to relinquish your control to a degree and see where things take you. I can always add color as needed, adjust things. Starting here with the black and I'm working on both. Wings just like I did with the top, adding the edging, having some of it overlap into the green. I just love the way it looks when the paint is spreading. Some very beautiful effects. This butterfly looks a bit tie-dyed actually. Just adding more as I go along and then moving on to the other side. If your paint is drier and your paper is dryer, then when you add the black it's not going to spread as much. You have to make sure that you are doing this while the paper is still wet. But as I said, not too wet or else it's going to spread all over and you'll just have one big mess. It's nice to be able to adjust the edges with your black paint. Because you can paint on the dry paper and increase the size and change the shape of it just like I did on the top. Just adding a bit. Those colors are so dramatic. Now that this is dry, I'm seeing there's a little gap on the right side. I'm going to add a little bit of green in there and just overlap it into the color that's already there and it should be okay. Add a little black on the bottom and on the top edge just to fix that hole. The next step is to draw some veiling, some paints. Amazing. It's almost like drawing with your very fine paintbrush. Here I'm really going to look at the wings themselves and see where I think I need the veins to go. I've strayed fairly far away from my example photograph. I'm just going to go with what I think looks right. Taking a look at some of other butterflies, seeing where their veins are. Comparing that to my paper and just painting them in. I'll just keep turning my page, looking at it from different angles, comparing one side to another. This is a really fun part. Putting the finishing touches, the last details of your painting to really make it look finished. Trying to decide where the line should go. Again you want to take your time and not rush things. You can make little adjustments if your lines aren't perfect. Add more paint smoothen the paint that you have already put on. I don't want too many lines here. Just enough to give the finished details to our butterfly. Comparing one side to another, looking for holes. Then the last step is to paint in the body. This one is going to have some black, but also near the bottom it's going to be a lot lighter. I'm going to paint some yellow and have the yellow and the black blend. The colors are going to bleed into one another. I'm going to push that black paint back up and dab at it. Here I don't use a lot of white, but it's nice to drop some white into the butterfly body to give it a matte look and a look that is somewhat milky and cloudy. Now the antennae with the fine, fine brush, starting with the top little part and adding the longer parts. I just need a few more details on the body, some edging on the bottom half, maybe some lines here. Just a few last details. Will be dropping in a little bit more black on the top, blending it, pulling up a little bit of the paint. Here we have our last butterfly. The next lesson I'll talk about your butterflies. I'll see you there. 9. Your Project: I hope you're ready to begin sketching and painting some butterflies of your own. For your class project paint at least one watercolor butterfly and share a photo of it in the project section of this class. After you've finished your painting, you may want to frame it and hang it on your wall, or you can take it into the digital realm and have products printed with your image. In the handout, you'll find some suggestions for companies that will print products and fabric with your designs. Thanks so much for taking this class. I hope you've enjoyed sketching and painting with me. See you next time.