Painting a Peony in Watercolor : in three styles | Irina Trzaskos | Skillshare

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Painting a Peony in Watercolor : in three styles

teacher avatar Irina Trzaskos, Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Mixing Colors


    • 4.

      Warm Up


    • 5.

      Painting a Peony in a Loose Style


    • 6.

      Painting a Peony in Ink and Watercolor


    • 7.

      Botanical Illustration


    • 8.

      Last Thoughts


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About This Class


Peonies are a timeless trend, and they will make a beautiful addition to your portfolio, or to your wall art collection.

Also, they are my favorite flowers and creating this class was such a joy for me. I hope you will like it, too.

In this class I will explain step by step how to draw and paint peonies in 3 different styles: 

-in a loose painterly style  

-using fine liner and watercolor

- in traditional realistic looking style. 

Also, we will do an easy warm up to get used to the shapes of the petals and will mix colors for our beautiful illustration.

If you are new to the watercolor medium and would like to understand it better, I have 2 classes on watercolor basics:

Essential Watercolor Techniques for Beginners

The Basics of Color Mixing in Watercolor

The classes are concise and fun.

This class is geared toward all peony and watercolor lovers. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Irina Trzaskos

Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. My name is Irina Trzaskos, I am an artist and illustrator. Welcome to my new class, painting peonies in watercolor. Today's class, I will show you step-by-step how to paint peonies in a different style. These beautiful flowers are a timeless trend among a myriad of markets such as Kongzi Court stationary, Boucher and design, and gift market. I hope my classes will help you build a beautiful and successful watercolor. In the next video, I'll show you the supplies we'll be using in this class. Let's get started. 2. Supplies: In this class, we'll be using following supplies; water colored paper, water colored paint, water, paper towel, a pallet, pencil, liner, make sure it's a waterproof one, an eraser. For brushes, we'll need a few small brushes, like number Tchaikovsky brush. I have number 4 here or a synthetic liner brush. Also I'll need a bigger brush, you can use squirrel brushes or soft synthetic brushes for water color. I'll say if you have a calligraphy brush, it can create really interesting effect, I'll show you later. You can find the list of supplies in the project section of the class. The next day we'll be mixing colors for our painting class. 3. Mixing Colors: Now let's try to make some colors for our peony flowers. If our peony is wide band, we have to mix three primary colors, yellow, red, and blue to obtain the gray, which will help us to create light petals. Let's try it. This is our perfect gray four wide peonies. We just need to add a little bit of yellow in it, and depending on the light, it will be more warm shade of gray or colder shade of gray. Most thin flowers are pink and a for a pink peony flower we'll need cold shades of red such as carmen or magenta. Put a light, light pink. We'll need to dilute our carmen red with a lot of white. Even more. Now try to add another drop of carmen in your watering nicks and a little more pigment until I get to this original dry carmen red. To make it darker, we need to add one drop of emerald green. If you want an even darker at another drop of emerald green in your carmen red. Now these are all colors for petals of our peony flowers from the white to light pink and getting brighter, brighter until it gets dark. This is probably the darkest shade we'll need for our peony painting. For our leaves we'll need some shades of green. If we'll go with natural color like this one, we'll need just basic green, a little bit of cadmium yellow. For the lighter shade we'll add more yellow and of course more water. For a darker shade, we can add one drop of ultramarine blue in our green. For some whimsical leaves we can use emerald green, mix it with ultramarine blue or some emerald green mixed with some purple. Also the leaves can be light green so we'll use just yellow and yellow green together. In some cases we'll need cadmium yellow to use on our middle flower. To make it lighter, we'll just add water and to make an darker we'll just add a little bit of magenta. These are all the colors we'll be using today and next video we'll make a quick warm-up to practice our petals. 4. Warm Up: Peony flowers are so beautiful, but it can be intimidating to try to draw them at once. Let's make a warm up before we start painting a full Peony flower. For warm up, I'll be using a sharp pen and a brush. I'll be using number 4 Collins [inaudible]. But I suggest to you to use any brush you're the most comfortable with, it even could be a water brush. Let's start by drawing some petals. Peony petals are so irregular and each of them look different. But the important part is to capture the feel of them. The general feel of the petals. Peony petals look like any kind of petals, let's picture like a perfect petal. But on top it's so irregular, so it can be like this. In the project section of the class, there is a link to a Pinterest board for inspiration where you can look at different Peonies and see how their petals are. Let's just draw a bunch of Peony petals to get used to their different shapes. We go like this. I'm going to make these. These are petals which are in the middle of the flower, so just don't play with it. Some are more narrow, some are wider, some are more round. You can look at the reference picture, sorry, I was just done. Repeat after me, to get used to this unusual quaky shapes. Now, I've gotten a feel of the middle petals. Let's try to draw some petals from the bottom of the flower. To do it, we'll start with an arch, this, and the top will be also irregular sometimes cut into half like this. So let's draw a bunch of those. An arch and again an irregular top. They are smoother than the middle petals. Now when we get used to the shape of the petals, let's try to do the same thing, but with water color. So take your favorite brush and let's do the same petals in crimson red. Now let's take a more watery water color and try this [inaudible] thing. So let's draw again at the top of the Peony and we'll need our paper towel. With water try to drive the color down just like this. [inaudible] leave this, the bottom line and next up let's try to draw a little circle with water. I made a thing like a seed and then take a drop of crimson red and just leave it there. Dry our brush on the paper towel, and then form the shape of the top. Now let's try the same thing for the bottom petal. Let's draw an arch, one drop of paint on it, and then form the shape. To drops of paint. This was our warm up. In the next video we'll get painting a Peony flower in our own painting style. 5. Painting a Peony in a Loose Style: Let's try to paint the Peony flower in a loose painterly style. I'll take Carmen red and dilute it with a lot of water. We'll start from the middle of the flower, just make some marks with your paintbrush. Don't forget to leave this white spaces which will look like overlapping petals too. Remember in our warm-up, let's try to make the petals on the outside of the flower, the same way as we were doing during warm-up. I'll just draw it first and then I'll drag it down. Let's say one petal is coming out here. While this one is drying, let's try out some more. For the second layer I mixed more paint with water. It has more pigment than first layer and will be adding more tip to our flowers. Just here and there, a few strokes to make it more interesting. Don't forget to leave the shapes of the petals as we practiced them in the warm up. Just follow your intuition as much as you feel is necessary. Don't over work it. I'll mix a little bit of cream [inaudible] with emerald green to add the last touches. I think this is enough. Also we can try to draw a half open or a bud of the peony. A half open flower will just start with an arch and on top of one bud, petal. Shape and then we'll join middle. Let's also try to add some leaves and stems. For leaves and stems, I will just mix a regor green with some yellow. With a little bit of practice and warm up, you'll be able to paint painterly and loose peonies fast and easy. For a rough almost abstract effect of the peony flowers, we can use a calligraphy brush. Let me show you. This'll be the middle of our flower. Then we can start drawing all their petals. Let's add a little bit darker shade of red. Again mixing it with emerald green. In next video we'll be painting peony flower in ink and watercolor. 6. Painting a Peony in Ink and Watercolor: Now let's draw our Peony using fine-liner and watercolor. I'll start by drawing a circle to know where I will situate my flower on paper. For this video, I used reference which has a yellow middle so it'll be more interesting. We'll have our middle. Then I'll start drawing create with fine-liner. It's up to you you can draw with pencil first or you can use a fine-liner, either way, like I do. So let's start from the middle. After we draw our yellow middle, well start drawing petals around it. I used the reference picture only for inspiration. After I draw the petals around our yellow middle, I'm starting to draw the petals which are outside. As you can see, I'm inventing my own flower. I think this is enough. Now let's add the stem, few leaves, and then pod. Now I can add our watercolor to the drawing. Again, we'll start with a yellow middle. Put this. I'll use cadmium yellow, and this style, I like, I'm leaving white spaces, but it's totally up to you. Then I'll make some Carmen red with cadmium orange. We'll start painting the petals, allowing a little bit of pink to flow into our yellow. It's totally fine. It's beautiful. As in cadmium orange into our red. Cadmium red makes this some beautiful color almost as we see on our reference picture. Still did it up to you, how much white space would you like to leave, or maybe you don't want any white space. Next, let's call it our wrap leaves. I mix in green with some yellow. The darker area I'll use just the regular green. Now let's add darker areas on our flower too. We'll use common red with a little bit of [inaudible] green. I'll select so I'll paint outer bud. I think we should add some darker yellow on our yellow middle. Also here, a pink spots on our yellow middle too. The last step as usually is in more details on our fine line. I think that's it. We have a vibrant beautiful sketch illustration. I hope you enjoyed the process. In next video we'll be painting a realistic looking peony. 7. Botanical Illustration: Now let's paint the Peony in realistic looking style. This style requires time and patience, but the results could be the most stunning. Let's start with drawing a peony in pencil. We'll show in pencil only the most obvious details of a flower and the rest we'll be painting in watercolor. Like the most of the flowers, peony has a round shape. So we'll start in drawing the circle. It's not the perfect circle. It repeats the shape of a flower as you see in reference picture. Then we'll have a leaf here and two leaves here. Next we'll draw the outline of the flower as we see it. It doesn't have to be exactly like in the picture, but it has to have this feel on that very clarity. Our main outline of the flower. All I have to raise our circle. We'll draw first. Next we have to draw the petals which are of the most obviously catching our attention when we look at the reference picture. These are the bottom petals. Then we have to select a section which we would like to show the most detail. I'm picking this bottom right area. This is the area I want to show the most detailed in my paintings, and these are petals I will be drawing details likely in pencil. This is enough for now. Next what we have to do we'll take our big squared brush and we'll mix a really, really large mix of pink and water. We have to mix it so light so it will be the color of the lightest area in our flower. A little lighter like this. Now I have to color entire flower with this mix of color. The same thing we'll do with our leaves. We'll color them with a little light green and using a different cup of water for my green colors. If you got some puddles on your first layer often, just dry your brush with paper towel and absorb of it with excess of water. Now you have to leave your layers totally to dry. After our first layers are totally dry, we'll mix some more paint with water, the same consistency as we did first time, and we'll leave uncovered only the areas which are the lightest on the flower. On some areas as on this petal, the color comes gradually from dark to light, so we have to put a little bit of color and then dry our brush and make a smooth gradient. Do the same here in the same way entire flower. At this stage, we'll have almost the entire flower colored with the second layer. We'll do the same thing with our leaves. Again, we'll have to wait until our second layer is totally dry. After our second layer is dry, we'll start working on details of our flower. We'll start from the area we decided which will capture the most attention of the viewer. It's close to the middle of the flower and now for each petal, we'll decide which part is lighter and which part is darker. Having our paper towel next to us, we'll be drying the brush and softening the edge of our darker area. If one petal is lighter, another next to it will be darker. Also, we'll work the rule that the bottom of a petal is always darker than the top, and the petals inside, closer to the middle of a flower are always darker than the outside edge like here. We are just putting the darker shade, then we'll wash our brush and dry it on the paper towels and soften the edge. At this stage, our paint is not as liquid as it was in first and second layer. We have more pigment. Now I can see that some area I left light should be darker, so I am darkening here as I go. After the edging, remain darker areas we'll have to let it dry again. When the red is totally dry, I'll add even more darker and details, and then painting. So I'm just going from petal to petal, l will notice where the darker spots are. Here I mixed some carmine red with emerald green. I'll be adding even darker shades on the bottom, and again, softening it. I see some not repeating their reference picture. It's okay. I just don't have patience for it. But if you do have patience, you can breath in, copy in the photography in this way. Just being pretty patient and paying attention to where the light is and where is the darker one. To an arc. I've gone with the small brush or with a synthetic aligner. We can add some lines and add details to add more texture chalk points here and there. Today it's up to you when you decide to scope with this technique. If you'll want to keep going and add layers and layers, you'll end up with really a realistic-looking painting. I think I'll stop here and I'll just add some more base to our leaves. I'll mix some green with ultramarine blue. I'll add the shade on our stem and on leaves. I'll leave some lighter ones. Also, I'd love to darken this arm. Everyone wants some stem tear some texture. For a synthetic aligner, I'm adding some more aligns for some texture on the leaves. So this is our realistic-looking paint. 8. Last Thoughts: Thank you for watching my class, I hope you liked that, please leave the review and upload the project in the project section of the class, I can't wait to see your flowers.