Watercolor: Basic Techniques | Sandra Mejia | Skillshare

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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

5 Lessons (10m)





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About This Class


The contents of this class are also found in my Watercolor Florals: Orchids class (so part of the content of that class will be duplicated if you take both).  I wanted to make the first part of the class available for everyone for free, since it explains the basic techniques that I use to paint my watercolors. The Watercolor Florals: Orchids and Watercolors for Illustrators include these basic techniques and much more!

In this class I cover some basic techniques that will help you get started with watercolors. You will learn simple ways of creating shadows and highlight, adding textures and my tips on how to gain brush control so that you can make more precise lines. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Sandra Mejia

Illustrator + Pattern Designer

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Hello! I'm a Freelance Illustrator. I was born in Medellín, Colombia (puedes escribirme en Español!). I create detailed, stylized, playful illustrations, patterns and characters from my studio in Ottawa, Canada.

I have very big eyes and I love animals. Most of my inspiration comes from nature and animals.

I love mixing traditional and digital media to create illustrations and patterns for a number of corporate clients around the world to use in home decor products, stationery, fabrics, kids products and greeting cards.

“I’m very passionate about what I do and believe that through my art I can impact the world in a positive manner.  This is why I teach online and why I create fun, colourful and happy world... See full profile

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1. FREE TRAILER : Hello. I'm Sandra Bowers. I'm a Freelance Illustrator in Surface Pattern Design. Join me while I show you the basics of blending colors, adding shadows and highlights, show you how to add texture and how to gain brush control. 2. FREE CLASS PROJECT: This class project is very simple but it will help you a lot with your watercolor techniques. First, start practicing shadows and highlights. Add in texture, and then practice brush control. 3. FREE BLENDING: First, I will show you how to blend colors using the pan watercolors. Put some water down and grab the first color. I'm using this light blue lay it down here. Clean your brush and then apply the second color which is going to be a green. Lay down on this side and start to mix it with little touches and leave it so it starts to blend. That is called wet on wet. While that dries, I'm going to show you the wet and dry technique. Make a blue circle and let it dry. That was using the pan set. Now I'll show you the same techniques with liquid water colors. Apply water and then add some yellow ocher [inaudible] or whatever color you choose. Wash your brush and apply the second color, liquid water colors are very concentrated so you don't need a lot. Let that dry. Now paint a yellow circle and let that dry too. Let's go back to the pan set select green and start putting it in on one side of the circle. Keep drawing your brush. Don't squeeze it like this because you will ruin the tip, do it like this softly and like in a rotating motion, the dry brush helps you blend your colors and soften the transition. If I use water, I can really leave the dry paint that create highlights. I can also use water to blend the edges until they fade away softly. That's a great advantage of the pan set. Now apply a little bit of the blue liquid water color here with the pan set. Keep drying your brush to blend it in and merges the colors would soft strokes. See that it doesn't leave that easily. This might be an advantage or a disadvantage of the liquid water colors. I personally prefer that they don't leave that easily, but you should choose according to how you paint. Here, I'm trying to fade the border and it doesn't become seamless as in the top one, don't scrap your paper a lot because you may ruin it. These are things that you should consider before you choose your paints. Try them out and know how they work so you can choose your favorite one. For me, the vibrancy of the colors in these ones is so much better. Also, when I'm going to start working in the details, my details would never leave the paint underneath. Since the pan sets needs a little bit more water, they will leave the and they will be more translucent. Also, water layers on top will leave the paint. That doesn't happen here. Not all pan sets react the same way. Try out your paints and decide what suits you and your art. Art is a very personal thing, so make it your own. I mostly use wet and dry because I love having control over what's happening in my paintings so this is what we will be using most. 4. FREE SHADOWS & HIGHLIGHTS: Make a light circle and make a leafy shape and let them dry a bit. Now start building up on the areas that are in the shadow. Dry your brush constantly to blend. Let's say the light source is here and that the shadows are in the opposite side. Now do the same to the leaf. Laying your full brush down helps spread the paint. I'm rough with my brushes but still they last me a long time. I've had these for around three years and they're still perfect. If it's too dark add more water, dry the brush and just blend it in. Keep adding layers so it builds up gradually. This is how you can fix these things if you mess it up, just modify the shape a bit. Or it doesn't have to be so perfect, that's why it's hard and it's fun. Flowers and things in nature are not usually one shade, so I like mixing colors. When you add them, add them with the same intensity and don't add a lot of color in the light areas and add a lot of color in the dark areas. That's how I create shadows and highlights. 5. FREE DRY BRUSHING: This is a technique I use to add texture, so I use an old brush. This has to be done with two watercolors or with gouache, because you need the paint to be thick. Grab some paint with your brush, dry it up so it's not super saturated, and just rub on your paper to create texture.