Warm-Up Watercolor Florals & Leaves | Jennifer H. | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Warm-Up Watercolor Florals & Leaves

teacher avatar Jennifer H., RDÉ Co. - @rosedeliseco

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

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

7 Lessons (23m)



    • 4. EXERCISE 2 - LEAVES



    • 7. THANK YOU

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Hi guys! Thank you for checking out my latest class! 

I’ve put together this class to share my process for warming up & practicing loose florals and leaves in watercolor and to inspire you to implement these 10-15 min exercises in your own creative practice. 

Of course these exercises can be altered and customized according to your own needs and tastes. I just wanted to offer a little direction and inspiration. Warm ups before diving into a bigger project are definitely something I recommend & have helped me to improve faster. 

There are 4 exercises in total, each dedicated either to water-watercolor florals or to leaves/greenery with each exercises taking up to roughly 12 minutes each. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jennifer H.

RDÉ Co. - @rosedeliseco



Hi there! Thank you for stopping by and visiting my page. To tell you a little about me, I’ll start with what it is that I basically do every day: I paint & illustrate in my free hours (mostly minutes), I look after my little rascals, one of which already seems to have some artistic aspirations of her own and loves to steal my paint & brushes. 

I’ve enjoyed doing artwork for as long as I can remember - my mom once filled my entire room with my finger paintings when I was still in Kindergarten. She is a major source of inspiration for me (she's a seasoned oil paint artist), as well as my dad, who is a crafty handyman with an admirable work ethic. 

As I was able to rekindle my love for art via online classes and tutorials, I h... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. CLASS TRAILER : like many artists and creatives out there, I only get small blocks of free time and can always jump into serious projects. I mean, I could, but I may end up with a big mess, one of the crucial habits that have immensely improved. My experience painting is warming up. I used to think that warming up was just painting a couple of strokes randomly on a page and used to find it very discouraging and even pointless in this class. I want to show you guys the exercises I've developed that I like to implement in my creative practice every single day, or whenever I get a chance, we will go over four exercises That could be great to help you get over artists block or fill out the pages in your sketchbook. There's only one general rule for these exercises. Half fun. So if this is something you'd be interested to learn more about, please head over to the next video, where I will explain a little further 2. A LITTLE SIDE NOTE 2: Over the past two years, I've established a system where I can bounce my passion, along with my responsibilities at home and the family life. I've developed some of these habits over the course of a few months and found that they've really helped me improve and to just get some pressure free painting done. Let's go over the list of materials that I tend to use for these sessions. A sketchbook or paper that you have at hand watercolor or mixed media paper will do a swell watercolor paint, watercolor marker's ink or go wash whatever it is that you use in your artwork, paintbrushes, a pencil and everything else normally use. One of the reasons as to why I've chosen mixed media paper by Kansan is mainly because of how affordability is and the fact that you can just rip out the pages, and it takes almost all our media quite well. As you can see from some of my pieces here, I was able to go back for a second layer to add details, but it's important to watch how much water you have on the brush. Secondly, I need my warm up exercises to be pressure free and to serve as a warm up or draft before I dive into my actual work. If the paper was very expensive, I definitely would hesitate to paint on it nine out of 10 times. I actually like my warmup work. It has allowed me to be very loose and explore methods and illustration techniques I've never done before. I don't stick to one kind of procedure or method with these illustrations. They keep evolving, and at the end of the day, the long term goal is to improve over time. I have also noticed that sometimes I go through these pages and find that I really like a color palette or a composition or even something new. I tried out, which often inspires me during an artist's block or after a long time away from the desk to paint again. All right, I'm sure you guys have heard enough. Now let's get to some actual exercise 3. EXERCISE 1 - FLOWERS: one of exercise one flowers. For this piece, I recommend limiting your palate to only one color, or perhaps, too. Here I will be using pains. Great as it is, a color I often used broths painting. I suggest you also pick something that often shows up in your artwork. I've also got a little bit of ultra Marine, and a sailor blew here on my palette. Throughout painting, I will allow a little of either one to mix with the Payne's gray for some changes in Hugh. But I still want the pains great to really shine through. Before getting started, I had lightly drawn out two boxes in pencil on my page in a landscape orientation. I tend to do this in order to keep my illustrations smaller and therefore to save some paper, because I know how costly watercolor paper can be at the end of the day. It will also allow me to keep these warm obsessions wrapped up within 10 minutes or even less. I'm starting off with painting the biggest flowers. First, these air just basic five or so pedal flowers in different angles. I want the pedals to be very loose and big So I'm using my size 12 around paintbrush, and in order to really benefit from thes warm up exercises, it's really recommended. I really recommend that you try out different angles off whichever flowers or whatever subject you are practicing. I then, at some medium size flowers around the big ones, I'm not focusing too much on shape or on painting them. Realistically, I'm focusing more on variation of florals and unjust diversifying this composition. It's also a good idea to try out something new, because, who knows, perhaps you'll discover something new that you can implement in your artwork. Later on. I'm painting the flowers in a medium dark tone because I can go back once they've dried with a final brush and a darker tone off whichever color I've chosen for somewhere added interest, it's also a good idea to make some of the flowers a bit darker from the others. I've chosen to do that for the smaller ones. Now that I'm finally done with the flowers, it's time to move on to the Leafs. I'm just adding little stems to help me figure out the direction off where each one is going to go, I've told it the paint on my brush very well with water in order to paint in the leaves. I don't want them to dominate the peace. So that's the reason why I chose to do that. These are very simple. 1 to 2 maximum three strokes leaves. Once I'm satisfied with the position of the leaves and how maney I have in this composition , I start working on the details for this bit. I'm using a size six ramp brush. It's a synthetic brush, so has a bit of a snap to it and allows me to put in really fine details very quickly. I'm now adding stems that emanate from the flowers themselves just to pull everything kind of into the center. And I haven't planned it out this way. It just kind of like we're something that came to me as I was doing this warm up exercise, which is again the beauty and the spontaneous nous of this kind of exercise. I really encourage you guys to try things out and to really explore during these sessions, and the great thing is that at the end of the day or at the end of the session, you have a completed piece which can feel really satisfying. And it is now finally time for my most favorite part about this. I've got my white gel pan, and I am now adding more detailed to give this entire piece a little bit of a magical look to it. I'm adding dots, lines, whatever comes to me that moment. Like I said, nothing has been really planned here. And since this is more of an abstract piece, anything goes. I often tend to reference final pieces to my finished warm up exercises. That way I'm still getting my practice in, but I'm also putting time towards something useful in the end. If you spend about 10 to 15 minutes every day practicing something you want improving, whether it's the general shape of a flower or variation in tone and contrast, or even overall composition that this is really great. You're building your muscle memory and increasing the strength of your artistic eye. Over time, these convict come those exercises that you can build on and improve according to your own personal style and taste. I really hope you will enjoy painting this piece, and I would love to see it, But for now, let me show you another great exercise. In the next video 4. EXERCISE 2 - LEAVES : exercise number two leafs. Painting leaves is something I actually tend to struggle with every now and then, and I feel that always using the same one or two stroke. Simple leaves get a little boring if using every piece. And sometimes I just really want the leaves to shine in my artwork. So this woman is dedicated to leaves, but in different tones and hues. In order to create layers of different leaves, I will start up with the pale green leaves, the's air leaves. I paint most commonly in my artwork, and as you've seen me do it before, I like to paint in the stem first to help guide me in the direction to paint the leaves in in order to paint them over and over again. We'll put them together in this pattern like composition. In this exercise, we will also limit ourselves to pretty much only one color. Of course, you can use more than one color if you like, but I'm keeping yellow Oakar burned number, which is a brown color and some graham. My palette in order to achieve different tones and hues of my main greens, which are sap green and Hooker's green deep. Now I'm switching to stop green, which I have not diluted much in water because I wanted to stand out from the background. I end up switching my brush because as much as I love my escort a paintbrush, it's really more for detailed work. And it wasn't giving me the results I like. So I went with my medium size over brush. I'm painting them in different directions, and this is once again a pretty intuitive process. I want to fill this base in a balanced manner where I have enough white space to prevent making this composition look too crowded but not empty, either. Keep in mind that I'm trying to keep this exercise wrapped up under 12 minutes or less. I didn't have to use my dryer for this exercise because the leaves were drawing pretty quickly, and I'm not worried about muddying since this is a warm up and I'm pretty much using one mean color. Next. For some contrast, I'm actually using some of the burned number two, drawing a branch with stems shooting off on the sites. I learned this from Generation E via her YouTube channel. The Green have chosen for this bit is a bit more earthy. You can achieve that by mixing your green with a little bit of brown. Amusing Hooker's green Deep here. Once again, I switched out my brush to my medium brush again because I wanted the leaves to look a little bit softer and looser. Lastly, it is time to add little sprigs off small leaves or ferns. Whatever you like to call them. I mixed sap green with some gold green. You can achieve this color by mixing it with yellow Oakar or a darker tone of yellow. This time, I wanted to leave to look a bit finer, so I didn't use a smaller brush. And in order to fill the remaining white space, I also have some of the ferns poking out from the corners. I didn't feel like the piece was completed, so I added the swipes of a darker green that I mixed using Hooker's green deep, which is already a bit darker than sap green and a bit more earthy looking with a bit of gray. I believe the grace called Charcoal gray by Kumba Academy and there we have it. Let's go over the next exercise, featuring tropical leaves 5. EXERCISE 3 - TROPICAL LEAVES: welcome to exercise three guys. I've been wanting to pain tropical leaves for a while now, but always felt that they didn't go with the overall vibe of my artwork. But I do adore it Turns out that a warm obsession proved me wrong. Not only did I end up enjoying the process and discovering my own ways to paint these leaves, but I was able to infuse my personal style into it. Here we're starting off with a heart shaped leave, which I referenced off of my immature monster reliefs. I don't bother making this time super long because I'm treating this illustration like an abstract pattern of sorts. Because they are my background leaves. I'm using a pale green. I want to be able to add several layers of different leaves over them afterwards, Like in the previous exercise, I continued to fill the space in my composition, with leaves scattered around in a similar distance from each other and from different angles. I decided to use a bigger brush for the sake of saving time and because thes leaves just look a lot better when painted in even and loose strokes. Once I'm happy with the quantity of thes heart shaped leaves. I've changed my medium size brush and a mixed a darker green for my next type of greenery. They're supposed to be small palm leaves, but I'm not following any reference. Nor am I being 100% accurate here. For this part. I'm painting the leaves in quick and lose strokes to get them to look even. This is not something you want to overthink but rather enjoy. And remember, we're also building our muscle memory, and we're trying to get really comfortable with our brush and thes different shapes. Unlike the previous leaf type, thes palm leaves are all pointing to the center. I just like the way it looks. I've also chosen to kind of various size of each of the palm leaves just because due to the nature of this exercise, I just didn't have a lot of time to plan things out. The thing that I'm changing up here to my personal taste is adding different hues and tones of green. What's adding the leaves on each of the stems? As you can see, I didn't mention it earlier, but it's a good idea to rotate your paper as you work. I wouldn't tape down my paper to the desk for these kinds of exercises because it's a very fast moving exercise, and it may be easier to get the angles down properly if you can rotate next. I at my friend type of leaves, but unlike the previous two types of leaves, they are more like fillers. The two before were kind of. The centerpiece is, if that makes any sense, I didn't really bother adding a lot of variation for these leaves. Um, just because I don't want to stand out too much. And lastly, it's time to add my final leaf type, which is kind of made up. I felt like adding something really dark and small, and I thought that would be suitable to wrap up this made up pattern. I add a pains great to the greens that I was using before. This gives it a bit more off a bluish and colder Hugh. I really enjoy this step because you can add a little something that really pops out and pulls the whole piece together. That's the reason I went from light tones to dark tones as I worked through this exercise once again, I'm using a smaller brush. Just to get the final details down, I decided to go back to the palm leaves again and to add darker strands of green just for a little bit more variation. And here we have the completed piece. I hope you guys enjoyed it and are ready for the next one. 6. EXERCISE 4 - DECONSTRUCTED BOUQUET: In this final exercise, I will show you a more advanced warmup technique, keeping in mind that we may use it towards a final peace. Or, if you're not entirely happy with it, it can be developed further to accomplish the masterpiece envisioned. I call this a deconstructed bouquet, meaning I choose some elements of a bouquet or two or, in this case, three to create a new one, placing the elements where I like. And I may even change the overall composition. I like to go on Pinterest for. These types of bookcase, though, were not allowed to use the pictures as references. In most cases, we have an abundance of images to inspire us. I picked three images and made a mental note off the colors and the tones that I like, as well as to which flowers I'd like to include to break it down for you so you can join in on this exercise as well. I've come up with a couple of steps, step one, pick a couple of pictures that inspire you. In my case, I actually picked three, and even then I'm relying on them very loosely. I'm using them more as inspiration for my overall palette and VIPs. I do confess I completely changed up the color palette last minute and actually didn't end up relying on my pictures, but rather on my previously film exercises that got cut off. And I just got so tired of the moody color palette. I probably filmed this final exercise a total of four times before I actually was able to diagnose what the issue waas step to figure out which flower you want to use as your centre flowers or your most dominant flowers. For me, it's mostly roses, especially since I'm going for that soft and fresh palette. Step three have a rough idea for the overall composition, since the box that I'm painting in is a bit small, it limits the options quite a bit, which works out because I can always change it up in the final piece. You can also do a little rough thumbnail sketch to help you give an idea of the overall composition, which I often do as well and step for paint. Just paint with respect to the color palette. I just want to give you a heads up the paper that I used for these exercises generally is pure white. The paper I'm a use for the final piece, maybe ivory or it might even be pure cotton paper, and the colors I'm using in this warm up will most likely not end up looking exactly the same. I've made this mistake before, so I would treat this color palette as an approximate and do fresh watches on the paper that you will use for your final piece. When the time comes to work on it, just avoid the disappointment off. Having different colors are not your ideal palette with respect to composition or if you need to reference the actual flowers, I would check out websites like picks, obey or pixel that allow you to use their images for your artwork. At this stage, though, I wouldn't worry about what the overall composition will look like just so you can complete this exercise in a short period of time and focus on different aspects of this painting. Once I've put in my bigger and more dominant flowers, I paint in medium sized flowers, and you can either at two of those or even for it's nice to make it a little random and give them different angles, if possible. Not a must, but always a good idea here. I'm just painting in the stems real quick to help me determine which direction I want all leaves to come, and I just want to kind of to come out from the center. Keep in mind this may not end up being an original finished masterpiece or even lead to one , but with several of these compositions in your sketchbook, you will have the foundation to create some original pieces up your own, where you can mostly rely on memory or a for back to color palettes that worked really well or compositions that are pleasing to the eye. These are only suggestions. Please don't treat them as world's. What works for 1 may not work for someone else. Thes are warm up exercises mainly, and I'm just offering a little bit of direction so you can make the best use off what could be a very short amount of me time. Next, it's time for fillers. I'm trying to fill in all the white spaces without completely covering the box up. Some are for memory and some of cherry picked from different images as thes air lose and modern florals. I'm putting down my interpretation of them anyways. Actually previously never used to paint ecliptic stems or leaves in my previous artworks. And one of the great things about these exercises is that you can try out new stuff and life actually become more comfortable painting them. They are very loose and not super realistic looking. But I like how old they add just a little bit of more interest and movement in my bookcase because I like Teoh, different tones and values of greens. I kind of keep rotating my paper, just like in the previous exercise, too kind of space them out more, equally or randomly. I'm definitely adding a lot of Leafs everywhere. I'm just kind of testing to see what looks good and where else I can add some more because the more the merrier right. This is a step that can totally be skipped if you're short on time or not really planning on making any use of the artwork, like posting on social media, etcetera. But I'm adding a second layer to define the flowers more just by adding some shadows, and I'm adding some final touches here and there. This warm up exercise may take you up to 20 minutes the first time. But once you get used to it, it may be even faster and easier. And you can simplify these exercises as desired and make them even more detailed, depending on what you're working on next. I really hope you had a chance to try out this exercise at least once or better for an entire sketchbook with, um, which is currently what I'm working on. 7. THANK YOU : thank you guys for taking my class or even just dropping by to see what it is that I'm teaching here. And I hope you guys were able to take something with you to use towards your own warmup sessions or painting practice. And please remember to have fun and not distress over any of these exercises in the future . I encourage you to experiment further and try out this money new things as you can. If you've tweaked or adjust any of them to your own liking. I would love to see it or even re about it. Please leave me some feedback and hopefully else you in my next class. Goodbye.