Watercolor Magic: Mixed Media & Experimental Techniques | Yasmina Creates | Skillshare

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Watercolor Magic: Mixed Media & Experimental Techniques

teacher avatar Yasmina Creates, Artist & Creativity Cheerleader

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.

      What is Mixed Media?


    • 3.



    • 4.

      4 Simple Questions


    • 5.

      Commonly Mixed Media


    • 6.

      A Mini Project


    • 7.

      Let's Get Messy


    • 8.

      My Results


    • 9.

      Final Project Demo


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About This Class

This class is for anyone that loves working with watercolors and wants to find new and exciting techniques and to try out the mixing of different mediums. This class contains:

  • The Demystification of Mixed Media
  • An In Depth Look into Supplies
  • Four Questions for Mixing Any Media With Watercolors
  • The Most Commonly Mixed Media
  • Putting it to Practice
  • Experimentation With Unlikely Supplies
  • 2 Live Demos 

Plus so much more!! See you in class! ;)


Meet Your Teacher

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Yasmina Creates

Artist & Creativity Cheerleader

Top Teacher

I strive to make every class the highest quality, information-packed, inspiring, & easy to understand!

Creating is my biggest passion and I'm so happy to share it with you!! :)


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 Did you know I have a book on drawing CUTE animals? Check it out! 


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Level: Beginner

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1. Trailer: I have always loved experimenting in my art, trying out new combinations of mediums, or finding that new thing nobody else knows about yet. These things make watercolors more fun and exciting and less stressful. Adding new media into your watercolors will make it easier to fix mistakes and to achieve the look you're going for. I made this class to light that fire in you that wants to try new things and discover. We're going to start with some inspiring mixed media examples, and I'll demystify the word for you. Then I'll show you the supplies you can use, which you should already have on hand, from cheap art kits to common things found around the house. I'll then teach you the four simple questions that help you use any medium with your watercolors, and then I'll show you some of the most commonly mixed mediums. We'll probably learn to practice with the mini-project which will rescue your old half-finished illustration, and then we'll get our hands dirty by experimenting. I will show you my results and the class will share theirs. Who knows how many cool techniques we'll discover together? I'll finish the class off with a live demo example of the final project which will be an experimental piece that uses new mediums and techniques. This class will be a blast, so let's get right into it. Enroll now to start your magical journey. 2. What is Mixed Media?: So what exactly is mixed media? If you google mixed media, you will find a certain style of illustration. You may like this style, but this is not the only type of art you can create. The true and simple definition of mixed media is the mixing of two or more different mediums. So if you've taken my previous ink and watercolor class, you've already done some. Mixed media art can look like anything in any style, and I made a Pinterest board to show you this. All of these illustrations are made with at least two different mediums combined. The combinations can be watercolors, or pastels, or inks or acrylics, color pencils, gouache, and the list goes on and on until limitless combinations. There are so many different tools and techniques out there for you to discover. When going through this class, think of yourself as a mad scientist looking for that next big breakthrough. Your goal is to expand your tools and your style so that you can express yourself in a more interesting way and for you to finally tried all those strange supplies you collected over the years and even find new favorites. Let's get started. 3. Supplies: This is a watercolor class at its core. So you will need the basic watercolor essentials. First off, you will need watercolor paint, any kind will do, watercolor paper, this must be at least 140 pounds so it doesn't warp. You will also need brushes, two water containers, a paper towel, and you might want a pencil, and eraser. If you want supply recommendations, you can download a PDF of my favorite watercolor supplies under the Your Project section of the class, or take my anyone can watercolor class for an in-depth look. But now that we have the basics covered, let's dive into more interesting things that we can use. I hope you've collected strange things over the years, or tried out different mediums, and random supplies. Yes, those random cheap art kits that you picked up on sale are perfect for this. Now's the time to get all of those out of the dusty corners of your closet. Any art supplies you have can be used, like crayons, markers, pastels, charcoal, pencils, and so forth. If you only have watercolors, that's okay too. You can watch the whole class first, and then decide if you want to buy any of the various supplies that are used. An optional, but fun part of the class, will be testing out random things from around the house. Just make sure what you use is safe to touch. If there's a toxicity warning, don't use it. You're looking for things like rubbing alcohol, salt, nail polish, sunscreen, and even soap. You can also use objects found in nature, like leaves, sticks, or feathers. It's all about how creative you want to get. I want you to step out of your comfort zone, in the box you are used to making your art in. We are here to try out as many different techniques as we can. You will see me use a lot of random things. But I want you to try things that I don't. Isn't there need to think that you could be the first to discover some awesome watercolor mixed media technique? But if you do, don't hold it. Be sure to share with everyone else. Before we start experimenting, let's learn about the things we should keep in mind when mixing any media with watercolors. 4. 4 Simple Questions: You can generally mix any medium with watercolors. If you just keep a few things in mind, just ask yourself these questions when introducing a new medium to your watercolors. If you're not sure of the answer, then it's good chance to get to know your mediums better by finding out through doing. The things to keep in mind for any medium are its opacity, dry time, water resistance, and most importantly, it's water solubility which means whether it's waterproof or not. Like I said earlier you can use any medium if you keep his characteristics in mind. Opacity is how transparent medium is. Even different watercolor colors have different levels of transparency. An example of an opaque medium is gouache. You can't see through it when it's used properly. Dry time is also important, because you don't want to smear your other medium. For example, charcoal doesn't have a dry time because the dry medium, but oil paints from the tube can take weeks to fully dry. Water resistance is important because if a medium resists water, it resists watercolor. A good example of this, is the oil pastels or crayons. The waterproof nature is the most important component because if a media is not water proof, you cannot use watercolors on top of it unless you wanted to smear. Mediums that are not waterproof should be used lasts in a painting. A good example of this gouache which is not waterproof. Another good example is ink, if you're going to draw out your illustration with ink before painting it, be sure the Ink is waterproof. But if you're going to add ink after the painting is done, it doesn't have to be. Now that we went over the basics, let's learn about the most commonly mixed mediums. 5. Commonly Mixed Media: Before we start experimenting, I want to show you the most commonly mixed media with watercolors. I will show you some ways of using each media, but don't let that limit you. Try out different things and get creative when you use it. Let's start with acrylic paint. Acrylic paint can be used strictly for texture, or it can be diluted for watercolor effect. Acrylic paint dries into a slightly shiny hardened plastic. So you can now put watercolors on top of it. So it's best used for detailed work, like small areas or for highlights since it can't paint lighter in watercolor. So when used use normally it's opaque, it dries fairly quickly, but if you paint thicker, it takes more time. It's completely water resistant and water-proof once dry. Next is gouache. Gouache is similar to watercolors. In fact, it's pretty much watercolor with white sink added in. So there's no need to buy a new set of fancy gouache. You can just buy a big tube of white gouache and mix it with liquid watercolors or tubes. It will act just like regular gouache, and the colors will be close to the ones used in your painting, since the paint is the same. When using the proper gouache to water consistency, gouache is very opaque, just like acrylic paint. This means you don't need to be so careful with leaving the white of the page if you're going to add gouache at the end. It also makes it easy to add highlights and small details or to fix mistakes with colored gouache. But it is water-soluble once dry. So don't apply it until you're on the last layer of your painting. You can also layer it, but always use a thick consistency, which just means more pain than water. Because if you use too much water, you will reactivate the layer below and it will blend. The upside to its water-soluble nature is it's easy to erase it at anytime by using a little water. Another positive, is it dries mat. So it's easy to photograph. If watercolors and acrylics had a baby, it would be gouache. So in summary, gouache is opaque, it dries very fast, it's not water resistant, but it is water-soluble. Next, let's talk about crayons, oil pastels, and contés. As you can see, the watercolors resisted the crayon and the oil pastels, but it did not resist the conté, which is very similar to oil pastels. Whichever you prefer to use depends on which effect you want. I personally preferred contés. But I also sometimes use a clear or white crayon to add highlights before painting for a cool resist texture. You can also use pastels or contés on top of watercolors to add highlights, and you can easily blend them out or you can leave the rough look if you like the texture. You can also mix ink with watercolor, and I made a detailed class about that. The ink is gray because it acts like watercolor, but it's waterproof, so it's the best for outlines. You can also use alcohol based ink markers, technical pens, brush pens, and anything else you have lying around, below or above the watercolors. Just be sure to check if they're waterproof with a simple test. You can also experiment charcoal, graphite, and color pencils. As you can see, they are fine to use below watercolors. Unlike almost every other medium, they're fine to use on top as well. This covers the most commonly mixed media. Now, let's see it in action with a quick mini project. 6. A Mini Project: If you're anything like me, you must have half-finished pieces that you just never got around to completing. Whether it was bad timing or loss of inspiration, or just some mistake that you thought was too big to fix, I challenge you to dig out one of those pieces and to finish it using some of the mixed media techniques we've covered in the previous lesson. With your watercolors of course. My pieces is this half finished cottage. So far everything was done in watercolors, but now I'll play around with other media. Keep it loose and experimental and most importantly, don't be afraid of making mistakes. They're only lessons, and nobody has to see this unless you want them to. After all, learning takes time and experience. Let's get to the painting. I start off with oil pastels and charcoal, adding some character with the outlines. Then I use white gouache to add some highlights. I used the purple pencil and then more charcoal. As you can see, I jump between all the random tools that I have. Do whatever is most comfortable to you. I use more charcoal and then a layout pencil to outline the rest of the house and then a brown crayon, keeping in mind that the watercolors will go easily over the charcoal, but the crayon will resist the watercolors. Now, here's a fun little experiment. I use the clear white crayon to draw in bricks before adding watercolor, knowing this will result in a textured white bricks once I paint over it. I continue painting with watercolors, and there is this technique is showing everywhere I used the crayon, I continue layering the different medias. Now I use my uni-ball signal white gel pen to add white dots over the plant holders. This is one of my favorite ways to add white, especially small circles or details. I use a little bit of ink for the slight outlines and I mix gouache with pain to create a slight beige color and use it to add highlights around the piece. Then I made a pink color using white gouache and my Dr. Ph. Martin's Concentrated Watercolors and added more bricks for interest. I use purple gouache paint over the frame of the house because I didn't like the way it looked. Then I use a lighter gouache to add bricks again. Now it matches the bricks on the left. I continue to use gouache to add highlights and lighter bricks. Now I use the gel pen to add a design to the roof, but I didn't like how it looked. It was a little thick in the end and would have required a lot of gouache to cover it. So this time I will use acrylic paint. I cover the roof with a nice pink and then blend some gray in. As you can see, acrylic paints are really easy to blend while they're wet. I use light pink acrylic paint to add polka dots. But as you can see, I can also use the gel pen. It just takes experimentation to see what things you can layer together and what you can't. I add a couple of finishing touches and a fine splatter with a toothbrush, being careful to lift it up on the house right away since I don't want the gouache to reactivate and smear. I finish off using watercolors to make a background, and Voila, I just finished an abandoned watercolor piece, and it's infused with more life and depth because of all the different mediums that I used. I hope you do this exercise not only to make a new work of art, but also to familiarize yourself with different mediums that you can layer, and for the experience of doing so, I cannot wait to see what you create. 7. Let's Get Messy: Now this is the really fun part. In this exercise, you're going to experiment with all the different supplies that you have and all the strange things you find around the house. In the next lesson, I will show you what I discovered. But if you want to learn a lot, I suggest you try this exercise on your own first and get as creative as you can. Then when you feel like you're out of ideas, you can watch the next lesson to compare discoveries. Then you can mimic the ones you like and add them to your experimentation journal. As they say, you can only learn by doing. So roll up your sleeves and get messy. You can do this in any way you want. Like here I drew out even circles and filled them in with random experiments. But I'm going the more messy route and just fitting things on the page. It just goes well with the mass scientists way for me, but the method is up to you. Now, gather all the supplies that you have lying around the house and all the strange things that you can try out. You'll also need all your normal watercolor supplies ready. So here's your assignment. Try out as many different things as you can. Don't be afraid of failing or making mistakes. Those don't exist in this exercise or in any of the artwork you ever create. Experiment and let your creativity soar. Most importantly, label each and every experiment because this is meant to be a reference for your future projects and you're not going to remember how you got that's super cool effect after you're done. So are you ready? Go wild, and when you're done, watch the next lesson to see my results. It won't be as fun if you cheat, because it's always better to discover than to copy. 8. My Results: I hope you had fun in discovering new things. Don't get greedy, be sure to share them with the rest of the class if you did. As for my results, I did three full pages of experimentation. Some of the results were expected. Some didn't do anything. But a couple really stood out and that's the point of this exercise. Let's go over the coolest discoveries and effects. Nail polish, once it's dry, resisted the paint. Something cool can be done with this like maybe polka dot backgrounds. Adding cornstarch to my paint and letting it dry gave this smokey and cloudy effect. I already know how crayons act in resisting watercolor, but isn't this texture awesome? Dripping lots and lots of rubbing alcohol in the same spot gave this awesome texture. Painting a leaf and then using it to print three times with less and less paint each time gave this gorgeous result. Putting crumpled gift wrap paper on wet paint and letting it dry gave this nice and subtle texture. Just poking paint with a wet on wet technique with a round 10 brush on the left and a round 0 brush on the right gave this awesome effect. This one was a surprise and you'll see me use this in the final project. I had no idea that glitter would stick to just wet paint and no glue. I used the hard fan brush to make this cool texture. This also gave me the idea to use a feather as a brush in the final project. Putting a green leaf into wet paint and letting it dry gave this awesome imprint. Removing plastic wrap before it was fully dry gave this amazing murky effect. A drop of Bombay pen cleaner in wet paint gave this ghostly spear effect, which is different from just rubbing alcohol. Using lots of watercolor medium and a wet on wet effect gave this awesomely strange gradient texture. Using fingerprints in wet paint gave this cool subtle texture. Last but not least, using a sharp object to indent the paper before painting gave this unique texture which I can see being used for wooden floors or tree bark. These were my favorite discoveries and definitely got me more familiar with things I can use with watercolors. This is your chance to be the teacher by showing other students what you discovered. Who knows, It could be something amazing that all of us can use in the future. So be sure to do the exercise and to share what you made. 9. Final Project Demo: For the final project here, so I'm going to use supplies you don't regularly use and to replicate some of your experiments in your illustration. I don't care how many you use as long as you at least use one new supply in one new experiment or discovery. As you will see, I use the couple of each. This is an experimental piece, so don't worry too much about the results. I want to make one note before I show you what I did. If you want to, you can just use more than one medium for the final project. For example, while quickly painting this tiger, I only use three mediums, watercolor, charcoal, and gouache. If you preferred to make a simple piece with only a few different mediums like this or even just two, that's fine as well, as long as you learn something new. Now, I will show you one experimental piece from start to finish so that you can get an idea of how to implement different media and techniques. So let's get started. I start out with a loose sketch of what I wanted to paint and then I use waterproof colored inks from the tube and ink markers to outline my piece. I also add details with a waterproof micron pen. Next, I start painting in the grass and this is a great opportunity to use one of those techniques that are really liked. The technique is leaf prints. I pull leaves into the paint while it's still wet and let a dry completely, then I take them off and as you can see a cool texture is now present in the grass. Next, I use white crayon to fill in the spots on the dear, so I don't have to worry about paint getting on them. I could have also used masking fluid, but the cool texture from crayons should mimic for and contribute to the looseness of the piece. Then I paint the deer with watercolors as I normally would. Using a feather, I add texture to the grass. The strokes are random and dynamic. I then use a glue pen to draw the outlines of the flowers, the end side and the swash under self-care. I sprinkled gold glitter over them and it sticks the glue and to the parts that painting that are still wet. Then I use gouache mixed with some paint to make slight colored highlights in the fur. I then mix a light green color with the gouache and paint more grass blades. The higher capacity contrasts with the transparency. I then use Copic opaque white, which is my absolute favorite white to use to add highlights and small flowers throughout the piece. This can also be done with white gouache or with white ink. From my previous experiments, I saw that adding glitter to wet paint makes it stick without any glue. So I painted out the parts I want to be shiny and sprinkle with glitter on them. This illustration now feels complete and as you can see, it's loose, charming, and is more interesting than if I just used watercolors. I think I overdid it a little with the glitter, but does not mean that I wasted my time that the piece is bad. It's just a lesson for my future work. Not every painting turns out to be a masterpiece, but every painting teaches you something. Hope you learned a lot from this class. I know I did. I'm super excited to see what you make. So be sure to share it in the project gallery or you can even tag me on Instagram. If you have any questions, leave them in the community section of the class and I'll get back to you soon as I can. So that's it for this class, but if you're still itching for more learning, check on my other classes. But for now, I'll see you in the next class, happy painting and experimenting.