Watercolor Holidays: 24 Ways to Paint a Christmas Tree - Part 1 | Volta Voloshin-Smith | Skillshare

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Watercolor Holidays: 24 Ways to Paint a Christmas Tree - Part 1

teacher avatar Volta Voloshin-Smith, Watercolor Illustrator and Artist

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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

16 Lessons (48m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Recommended Art Supplies

    • 3. Watercolor Warm Up: Exercises & Drills

    • 4. Tree 1: Simple Lines

    • 5. Tree 2: Tear Drop Lines

    • 6. Tree 3: Minimalist: Single Wavy Line

    • 7. Tree 4: Abstract Flowing Lines

    • 8. Tree 5: Minimalist Style

    • 9. Tree 6: Simple with a Wavy Outline

    • 10. Tree 7: Simple, Using Brusho Powders

    • 11. Tree 8: Geometric with Ornaments

    • 12. Tree 9: Triangle Using Ink + Straw

    • 13. Tree 10: Dotted Style

    • 14. Tree 11: Geometric with Wavy Lines

    • 15. Tree 12: Spread Out Branches

    • 16. Class Project Info

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About This Class


In this class, you will learn 24 different & creative ways of sketching a Christmas tree for this holiday season. Why 24? I basically wanted to think of as many different styles as possible to get your creativity flowing! These sketches will make for great holiday cards or little framed artworks for your home.

Part 1 is great for beginners to art & watercolors and it covers the first 12 styles of Christmas trees.  These sketches are less detailed and quicker to paint. Each video progresses and builds on each other to get you ready for Part 2 (coming soon!). 

The class starts with a brief introduction to materials and then continues on with a few watercolor warm-up exercises that you can try at your leisure.

You also have access to a printable PDF file that includes line drawings of all sketches. Feel free to trace them or use as reference when you paint.



Meet Your Teacher

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Volta Voloshin-Smith

Watercolor Illustrator and Artist



I'm Volta, the artist behind the Color Snack Creative Studio & colorsnack.com blog, based in Dallas, TX.

I love sharing inspiring messages through my art and encouraging wonderful people like YOU to pursue a creative life. Over the years I've taught thousands of students online and during in-person workshops.

I'm originally from Moldova, and currently live in Dallas, Texas. 

I'm best known for my food illustrations and animations and have worked with notable brands like Dallas Mavericks, Pernod Ricard, and Michaels.

I also recently wrote a book on how to paint watercolor snacks and it will be out in July! 


Stay creative, sweet friend





 ... See full profile

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1. Class Intro: [MUSIC]. Hi friends, welcome. I'm so happy that you're here. Am Volta, the artists behind the color snack creative studio. Because of the holidays, I wanted to create a two-part skill share class that covers 24 types of Christmas trees. Yeah. I basically wanted to find every single fun way of sketching a Christmas tree, and I wanted to share that with you. The first part of the class is great for beginners to watercolors, since we'll be covering some simple and easy techniques, and designs and sketches that you can try at home. The watercolors skills you will learn in this class will build upon each other as you progress through the videos. The second part of the series is great for intermediate students, or someone who has had some previous art experience. In that class, we'll go through Christmas trees that are a little bit more involved and a little bit more detailed. Upon completing this class, you will have 24 creative ways of sketching a Christmas tree. You can use that to send a postcard to someone. You can fill up a whole sketchbook with them, or maybe you could frame them for yourself. In addition to including a PDF guide with line drawings that you could follow along, or use as reference. I'll also provide a bonus video to give you additional ideas of how you can use the sketches. I hope you'll join me in this class. I can't wait to see what you create. 2. Recommended Art Supplies: For this class, we'll be using the following supplies. So for the paper, I'll be using the Canson watercolor 140 pound weight paper and you can get them in larger sizes like this. Then for the actual cards and illustrations, I just simply cut up four pieces out of one large sheet. I recommend doing that because, having a smaller size to work on like this is less stressful. If you mess up, you can throw it away, get another one. It's also a little bit easier to control. That's the paper. For watercolors, I'll be using my Magellan mission goals set. But it also has some Danielle Smith colors in here. But really any set of watercolors will work here as long as you have a range of colors. We'll mostly be working with greens and blues, but some reds as well for like ornaments and adding little details here and there. Then for the brushes, I'll be using a Mozart supplies water brushes. I'm using the smallest tip brush and the medium size. As well, we'll be using a pencil to sketch some things on some of these trees, as well as a kneaded eraser or any eraser that you want to use to erase those lines. I recommend a kneaded eraser because it erases things really well. Then in addition to these supplies will be using a Posco White pen and it adds little details. This paint is very opaque, so it stands up against the watercolor. So it looks really nice and opaque and it really pops. Then I'm also using a mono twin brush pen. This is also to add little details and what not. You're welcome to use any brand. This is from Tambo, but any other brand or has waterproof ink. So, meaning that the ink won't bleed when you add water colors will work here. Then for one of the illustrations, I'll be using these Jelly Roll pens, which are also a little bit more opaque and they stand out against the watercolor really well and they're just fun little ways to add embellishments and little details. Of course, little piece of paper towel that you can use to wipe off any mistakes or lift off any pains as well as whenever you're using this water brush, you just wipe it off and grab another color. So I think these should be all of the art supplies and I'll include a PDF link to all of them if you want to get any of these on Amazon and what not. But this is it. 3. Watercolor Warm Up: Exercises & Drills: So before we get started on actually sketching these trees, I wanted to take a moment and do a couple of exercises that will help us with the sketches, just to get an idea of the different hand movements that you'll be doing. We'll start with this curvy line, which actually is almost pretty much the part of a tree that we'll be doing. You start at the top and make little curves like that. Another one that's a really cool one will be, so you can turn your paper around a little bit and it'll be basically like little candy cane shapes, it's like little stick that's bent at the top and then it goes down. You can practice making lots of movements like that. Let's see another one, is basically just doing little circles. So practicing our circles, I like to try out different colors because it makes it more fun. You see that here I have too much water, so I'm dabbing my brush and basically removing that. Instead I'm going to add more color to it. Another line movement we'll be doing is starting off really thin and then pushing down and lifting off. So you start thin, push on your brush and then you lift off. Takes a little bit of practice, but basically, very lightly at the beginning, then increase the pressure on your brush and liftoff like that. Another one is, start here, it's almost like a teardrop, so very thin at the top and almost curved at the bottom. Let me try it this way. Start very thin, and go over that line, and add the little teardrop. So these kinds of shapes are what are going to be used as the shapes inside of our holiday trees, like this. Some other ones are something like this, like a curved line and then a wavy one, curved again and a wavy one at the bottom. These will represent some of the branches on some of the style of the Christmas trees we'll be doing. I think that's it as far as practicing these little strokes. You're free to try these and get warmed up before you start. I think it's really nice to just doodle for a little bit before you get to actual work on a project or anything of that matter, just to reset your brain and get ready for creating art. See you in the next video. 4. Tree 1: Simple Lines: Our first tree is going to be very simple. I'm Loading and my brush with water colors. It's basically going to be composed of various lines. I'm going to start at the top. You'll recognize this brushstroke that we practice in a previous video. I'm starting off really thin and then putting more pressure onto my brush pen, and then lifting off. I'm actually going to connect these at the top. This is a very simple and easy little tree. You can even add little lines in between the larger ones. Now I'm going to do quick little tree trunk. I'm grabbing some of this brown color and doing a little rectangle shape. A little wider at the top, a little more narrow at the bottom, it gives it a little bit of character. Then I'm adding a little bit of a shadow onto the left hand side. 5. Tree 2: Tear Drop Lines: it's the next is our tree, made up of little little brushstrokes that resemble teardrops. So start off really thin at the top and then curve your lines and pull those in and keep adding one by one. And then you can add smaller ones inside of it in bigger ones at the edges. So those indicate, like the larger, uh, Christmas tree branches. I'm just doing the larger ones are kind of to get get an idea of the overall shape on and next I'm going to a smaller brushstrokes that go in between those I noticed that I might not of mine are perfect, you know, perfect little brush strokes. But that's okay because the point of this is to have fine. And the more we practice, the more control will get over these these little brush strokes gonna try to see where you see like a lot of empty space. He can add little well shapes and there just to make the the holiday tree a little fuller looking. Okay, so no final touch. I'm adding a little truck at the bottom. I'm just using brown color here. Uh, it's Prince Sienna, but you can you can use any in the shade of brown here will work where you can even leave that off, depending on the look you're going for. So I'm adding a little highlight here to the left hand side. 6. Tree 3: Minimalist: Single Wavy Line: Next we have our wavy line, which was part of our exercise. I'm using a smaller tooth brush pen, the smallest one. I have and go to start at the top. Start then I am going to increase the pressure, press down, make this line as it curve down and little wider, then go thin again, and then increase the thickness, then thick again. And then you see that I started really small here. I'm actually going to add the little small line, the top. We started small and then we're increasing the size, the width of these lines so that it looks like a Christmas tree. You're welcome to go back in there and add a little bit more color. Make sure you drag that color into the rest of this line. It's pretty consistent, and you can tilt it as well depending on, if that's easier for you or not. I'm going to add a little bit, and go for a darker green and then just add little droplets here on the edges, so that it looks a little more interesting. Then you can always pull in the darker color into the rest of your line, or your shape. At the very top, I'm going to add a little star. I'm grabbing my Opera Pink that you can do it in red or yellow or any color that you want, so adding here little star. Add lines just were, little interesting effect like that. 7. Tree 4: Abstract Flowing Lines: For our next sketch, again using a smaller brush pen, and we'll be doing those candy cane shapes that we practice before. We're going to start really small at the beginning. I'm turning this around. The top of the tree again is going to be narrow. Starting small, adding these little shapes and then increasing them in size as we go down. Notice I'm sketching them on top of each other. Then I'm going to go back in like this with a different shade of green. You'd be like a lighter one. Just add little more of these shapes again on top of the ones I already did. That will create an interesting little almost smoothing effect of the tree. It's almost like he captured this tree in movement. Then you can also add a little shock. I'm going to add this is going to do a few lines like that, just so that she kind of matches the overall look and feel. Then again at the top, you can add a little star decoration. 8. Tree 5: Minimalist Style: For our next Christmas tree shape, we're going to be doing a very simple shape. It will basically be a giant triangle. To make sure the paint that you mixed has lots of water so that the first lines that you sketch for the shape is very light. You'll see why we want it to be light in just a second. Sketch a, I believe this is called an isosceles triangle, if I remember correctly from my geometry class many years ago. Basically, the base is a little, this side is much smaller than these top two, because we want it to resemble a Christmas tree. Start adding some pigment at the very top and then pulling that color in to the rest of the shape. Then wipe off your brush and then add a little drop from your water brush and then start working in pulling the rest of the color into the rest of your shape. To smooth this out, you see I'm doing one-directional brush strokes with my hand. The motion is just from one side to the next. Instead of going up and down like this, it helps with not having those streaks. I'm going to add a little bit more pigment at the top just so that we can see that ombre effect a little better. Wipe it off on a paper towel and then blend that in to the rest of the shape. There we go, our cute little minimalist Christmas tree. 9. Tree 6: Simple with a Wavy Outline: Our next holiday tree is going to be super fun to create. We start at the top and basically create low wobbly lines, and essentially, we're sketching out the silhouette of a tree and increase, make sure your bottom line, it increases in width as you go down. The fun part about these, is that you can just have fun with it. These wobbly lines don't matter at all because they will all resemble same shape of the branches of the tree. Then the fun part is just adding the pigment and filling it all in, squeeze a little water on here, and then fill in your shape. You see I grabbed way too much pigments, it's little darker on the sides, so I'm just adding some water and pulling that into the rest of the shapes so that it's little bit more interesting, and it looks like it's part of the tree. Then as a final little touch, again, adding a little trunk with your favorite color of brown. Notice I'm leaving a little bit of whitespace because otherwise, these colors will bleed into each other. Give this top part tree, the green part is not dry yet. Just be mindful of that. You can either wait for it to dry or just leave a little sliver of painted paper so that you're safe. 10. Tree 7: Simple, Using Brusho Powders: This next tree is really fun as well, because I'm going to be using Brusho. If you're not familiar with Brusho, I'm about to show you, it's so much fun. I'm going to start with sketching. I'm just going to lightly add little bit of color so that it shows on the video, but I'm basically just sketching like little triangle at the top with water. Then, I'm going to do another, I don't know even what to call the shape, it's like a flat triangle. A little bigger, the top is missing. It's flat and not pointy. I was not suppose to color that. It tries to remove the color a little bit, but it just a little okay. Then finally, the bottom part, which is even larger. I'm pressing down, adding water, just to make sure you can see it. I'm grabbing my Brusho powders and I'm using leaf green and turquoise. I'm going to start with a little bit of turquoise on the right-hand side, and then I'm adding a leaf green, and the rest of it. Even I'm going to add some on the left-hand side. Then I'm taking my water brush and I'm just going over the lines again just to correct it to my liking. Since it's hard to sketch with water, since you can't really see those lines, so that's the trick with Brusho. You can then go over the lines a little bit. Since I don't like these higher lines and I'm just going in there and blending them in a little bit into the shapes, so they're not like super harsh lines. If you find yourself with those, you can easily correct those as well. There you have it. Our super-simple and super fun Brusho, Christmas tree. 11. Tree 8: Geometric with Ornaments: We're going to continue with our little triangle and then the flat triangle shape, and we're going to do another take on it. Again, I loaded up my water brush. I'm starting with a little triangle at the top as the tip of the tree, and I'm making a little rounded bottom. Just to make it a little more organic looking. Then during the second shape, extending the sides and again, a little curve, and you're welcome to turn this surround, if it's a little easier to sketch that way. Then I'm doing the last part of the tree, basically repeating the same shape, but just on a larger scale. I'm going to go over these lines a little bit to make them really vibrant. Then I'm going to add little ornaments and I'm going to start. They're just going to be little circle shapes and I'm using a pink here, but you're welcome to use a red color, or purple or yellow, whatever you like. Since this first one was a little more pigmented than the others, I'm going to remove and actually maybe add some highlights. Why not make these shapes pop a little bit? The way you do that, again, you wipe off your water brush on a paper towel and then remove it. Wipe and repeat that motion. So you're essentially erasing some of this pigment so that you could have a nice highlight. 12. Tree 9: Triangle Using Ink + Straw: This next little tree, we're going to start with a waterproof pen. You can use a Tambo, I'm using Mono twin from Tambo, but Micron pens are great for this. Basically any pen that has waterproof ink will work here and the reason why we want to do that is so that we can add watercolor and if it's waterproof, it will not bleed. Playing off a little bit on the shapes we've already done, so we'll be doing that little triangle at the top. Sketch that, then start the next triangle right inside of it. Make it a little bigger and finally, the last one inside of that line and make that one even bigger. I'm going to switch to this tip because it's a little wider. Am going to go over these lines because I want them to pop. We got our tree and now we're going to load up our brush with pigment again, tablets, greens in here and then just going to do little drops here and there. I am going to grab some of the lighter into it so that we have our gluts at different font colors, maybe even add a little bit of yellow to that. Then we're going to be using a straw to disperse these. Feel free to go back in if you think you want to add a little bit more, may be connect some of these shapes but I just think it's super fun and festive to have a tree whose colors are just bursting all over. A little bit more yellow here. Might add a little bit here, just so that the entire shape is filled and may be add some dark greens, darker shade of green in here. These colors mixed together and they create little [inaudible] droplets. Then of course, after you let this dry, it'll look like cool little Christmas tree. 13. Tree 10: Dotted Style: Our next tree is composed of little circles. So I'm going to start at the very top, and you can use various shades of green, so I'm going to wipe this off to look too pigmented you can play around with the different shades of green as you start composing the shape of your tree. It's also fun to vary these and sizes. Actually another fun variation I did on this, instead of having different shades of green, I just had different colors. It basically was like a tree made out of ornaments instead of green branches. Play around different shades, darker greens, smaller, little circles in between, expand them, contract them, mix the greens. I like this little playful teak on a Christmas tree. There you have it. Run minimalist and looking Christmas tree. I'm going to add little tree trunk also in the form of little circles here at the bottom. So if you happen to find yourself with too much pigment, at first you can always remove it. Just wipe it off on a paper towel or towel. our tree is finished. 14. Tree 11: Geometric with Wavy Lines: This next holiday trees is a other really fun style. We start with a little triangle at the top, like we've done many times before. Then instead of doing like a connecting line, straight line, we're going to do it as zigzag. Then extend another shape below it and do the same. It's a really fun little style that makes a realistic looking Christmas tree. You can fill in the shape or leave it empty. For this particular one I'm going to leave it empty because I want to add some little ornaments inside of it. Doing the last one a little lighter one and then finishing of these wavy zigzag lines. I'm going to do these ornaments in red. I will be doing them in various sizes. Starting at the top. A little too much water there. Just spread them around. Keep adding until you fill up the whole shape. I am going to add little highlights to these ornaments by removing like little sliver with my brush. Actually I've been using this medium size brush, but I'm going to switch really quickly to the very smallest one, because it will make it easier to add those tiny, tiny highlights. I messed up this line. All right, there you have it. Another tree in the books. 15. Tree 12: Spread Out Branches : For this next tree, I'm switching up my colors, so I'm just using a super dark turquoise type of green. I just wanted to mix a little, change up the shade of green, so it's a little more interesting. I'm starting with a little shape at the top and then extending little wavy lines. Oh, I mean curved. Start with a curved line like that, and then create the wavy lines at the bottom. You're essentially sketching out the branches of the tree. May start with curved lines and then wavy bottom lines. I'm actually going to fill these in with water color. Then just keep adding more till you get to the bottom. More wavy lines here. More here and another one right here. Now I'm just going to extend the trunk a little bit. I'll keep it green. Just to make it look easier. I've got to fill out this little crown on a tree. I'm going to go in with a little more pigment and just going to add little details at the top. So highlight those lines a little bit more just to give them some dimension, so that our sketch doesn't look too flat and it's more interesting that way. Then notice I'm adding these darker lines, the darker wavy lines and again so that our tree looks like a full little tree. Adding just a little shading on the side, not the trunk. I'm just trying to even out these colors a little bit. All right, let me go back and add these little details. There you have it. Another tree is complete. 16. Class Project Info: For your class project, I'd like you to pick three to four different types of Christmas trees and sketch them out. Upload your work for everyone else to admire and let me know if you have any questions. Stay tuned for part two of this class that will follow in a few days. In it, we'll dive into Christmas trees that are a little bit more detailed, but still a lot of fun. See you there.