Watercolor Wildlife: Mixing Lively Black and Neutral Colors | Lyndsay Newton | Skillshare

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Watercolor Wildlife: Mixing Lively Black and Neutral Colors

teacher avatar Lyndsay Newton, Wildlife Artist in Watercolors and Felt

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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.

      Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Color Theory


    • 5.

      Tips and Tricks


    • 6.

      Example Combos


    • 7.

      Mixing Warm and Cool Shades


    • 8.

      Mixing on the Paper


    • 9.

      Quick Intro to Edges


    • 10.

      Plan Your Painting


    • 11.

      Painting the White and Gray


    • 12.

      Painting the Fins


    • 13.

      Painting the Body


    • 14.



    • 15.

      Wrap up


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About This Class

Have you wanted to paint black and white wildlife, but felt intimidated? Have you heard that you shouldn’t use black paint from a tube, but didn’t know what else to do? Have you painted a black animal but felt your painting was a little dull or flat? Then join me to learn about mixing lively black and neutral colors!

In this class, we will learn

  • Color theory basics
  • Tips and tricks for choosing paint combinations
  • Common color combinations
  • How to make and adjust black and neutral mixes
  • How to plan your painting to get a variety of values and shades

This class provides exercises in which you’ll have the opportunity to

  • Try out color combinations with your own paints
  • Adjust your black mixtures to make warm and cool shades
  • Practice mixing colors on both the palette and the paper

We’ll take these new skills and knowledge and put them to practical use painting a simple but lovely watercolor orca.

This class is geared towards mid-to-advanced beginners who are looking to learn something new without adding too much complexity. If you have had a little practice with your current supplies and feel comfortable using them, come join us to take a step to the next level!

Meet Your Teacher

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Lyndsay Newton

Wildlife Artist in Watercolors and Felt


I’m excited you’re here!



I’m Lyndsay, a wildlife and animal artist based in the state of Georgia. I’ve been passionate about animals ever since I can remember. Both as a scientist and a zookeeper, my work has been focused on conserving and caring for animals. Similarly, my art focuses on all kinds of animals.


I've wandered through various art forms, but watercolor and felting appeal to me the most. I love how watercolors flow as they will, creating patterns that I could never imagine. When it comes to felting, I love the crunch of the needle as it shapes the wool, as well as the feel of soapy wool under my hands.


I am a passionate, lifelong learner. I also love to share what I&rs... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: We've all heard the saying, never use black paint. Well, how else are you supposed to paint wonderful animals like these? By taking this class, you can learn how to paint black animals without ever picking up a tube of black paint. Hi, I'm Lyndsay Newton, a watercolor wildlife painter. As a pet owner and former zookeeper, animals have always been a huge part of my life. It's no surprise that they entered my creative life as well. Art has been a part of my life for years. I've worked in other mediums, including quilling and needle felting in both two-dimensions and in 3D. When watercolor entered my life, I enjoyed taking my artist's eye from these mediums and applying it to my paintings. It's my pleasure to share what I've learned in my explorations with other artists like you. What is it about black animals that makes them so challenging to paint? While you should never say never, there is a good reason to avoid using black paints in your artwork. Pre-made black paints can come across as dull. When you create black paint by mixing colors, you create a rich black color that can bring your watercolor animals to life. You can also create warm and cool shades to liven your artwork even further. On top of all that, it's just plain fun to mix colors. This class is for beginners who have worked with watercolors some, but are still looking to grow their color mixing skills. It's also great for anyone who wants to see what they can accomplish with just two colors. To achieve this, I'll cover some basic color theory plus a few extra tips. We'll see what color combinations we can use, and we'll practice mixing colors on both the palate and the paper. We'll adjust our mixes to get warm and cool shades, and with all of that under our belts, we'll paint a simple but lovely watercolor orca. Let's get started. 2. Class Project: Hello everyone and welcome back. In this lesson, we'll take a closer look at the project that we're going to do for this class. At the end of the class, we'll put our new knowledge and skills to use by painting a watercolor orca using just two colors. Well, I will be using transparent pyrrole orange from Daniel Smith and phthalo, blue, red shade from M Graham. You should feel free to use whatever two colors you think would work best after trying your different color mixes. To create this painting, you'll need an outline of the orca, a piece of watercolor paper, some brushes, your two chosen paints, and some other basic watercolor supplies. I go into the supplies in more detail in the next lesson, so be sure to review that before getting started. We'll mix up a couple of neutralized colors, which you'll learn about in Lesson 7. We'll take the orca one step at a time, starting with the white and gray areas. Moving on to the fins, and finally painting New York as body. Well I'll explain my choices as we go along. I hope you see those as just suggestions and not a set of rules that you have to follow. I encourage you to make your own creative choices as you see fit. To get started, check out my next lesson on supplies. That way, you'll be sure to have everything you need and you'll be ready to make the most of the class. With that, I'll see you in the next lesson. 3. Supplies: Hello, everyone, and welcome back. In this lesson, we'll take a look at the supplies you need for this class. First, let's start with more general supplies. You want at least one cup for holding water and I recommend that you have two. The first cup can be used for rinsing the bulk of paint off of your brush, and then the second cup is used for clean water. You can also give your brush a rinse in this second cup to better clean it between paints. If you have pets at home, I also recommend using a lid on your water when you're not using it and that will help to keep curious pets from drinking your paint water. You want a palette for holding and mixing colors. I enjoy this Mijello 18-Well palette for holding colors. I personally prefer to mix on porcelain, so I also have this Richeson flower porcelain tray for color mixing. Also want a rag or cloth on hand. It's great for getting most of the paint out of your brush so you can keep your water cleaner and lasting longer. It's also helpful for getting the right amount of water on your brush. Paper towels are also an option. You'll need a pencil to transfer the outline of your orca onto watercolor paper. You have a few different options. You can get a pencil such as this one, this is an F hardness I find that it provides a nice light outline. A mechanical pencil is going to provide you a darker outline. That's what I use for this orca, since I want you to be able to see my outline really well. Having said that, once you've made your outline, you're also going to want a kneaded eraser. That's going to be to help lighten the outline. It's going be very important on the areas where it's going to be white, since you'll be able to see things very well. We won't put any dark paint there, and so that outline is going to really stand out. But where we're going to be putting black like around the back, this back fin, and other black areas, it's not going to be as much of a big deal because that black is going to cover up the outline that you have there. To transfer the outline, you can use graphite paper or you can use a source of light, such as a light box or bright window. You can even draw it freehand if you'd like. Finally, there is the three big supplies for watercolor: brushes, paint, and paper. I recommend that you invest in quality supplies. While you don't have to invest in the most expensive supplies out there, keep in mind that low quality supplies can work against you, which makes painting frustrating instead of fun. From my personal experience, it was decades before I enjoyed painting because I kept going for the cheap stuff. Once I invested in some quality supplies, painting became a pleasure. Let's start with brushes. While some artists have enjoyed working with relatively cheap brushes, I recommend that you look out for brushes that specifically say they're made for watercolor. Watercolor brushes come in a variety of formats, including natural hair brushes made of squirrel, sable, and Kolinsky sable, many types of synthetics, and synthetics that mimic natural hairs. I have found that I enjoy squirrel brushes, such as Princeton Neptune, which is entirely synthetic, as well as Silver Brush Black Velvet, which is a mixture of both natural and synthetic. These are very soft brushes. You may find you prefer a brush with a little more spring, such as a sable or Kolinsky sable, so use whatever suits you. I recommend having at least one larger brush and one smaller brush. I will be using Silver Brush Black Velvet in a round 8 and a round 2. If you have it, a second larger brush can be convenient for softening edges. I will have a Princeton Neptune round 8 on hand for this. If you don't want a third brush, you can rinse and use the brushes you already have. Next, let's talk paints. If you're looking to save money, you can try some quality student paints, such as the Winsor and Newton Cotman series. Since I live in the United States, my personal preference is to buy paints made in my country. It means that there is less travel, therefore less pollution, and it generally means that the paints are cheaper as well. I have enjoyed Daniel Smith, M Graham, and Da Vinci paints. If you live outside of North America, you may prefer to choose brands that are relatively local to you. When it comes to paper, I recommend 100 percent cotton paper. My personal preference is for cold press, and I have found it easier to work with than hot or rough. My favorite watercolor paper brands are Arches and Winsor and Newton Professional, the latter of which I buy in large sheets and cut down to size. On top of these supplies, there are several things that I will provide to you. You can find these on the Resources page. These are a list of the specific supplies I'm using, a copy of the reference photo which comes from Amaury Laporte on Flickr, information on credits and licensing for images and music used in this class, including the licensing for our reference photo, an outline of the orca that you can use if you prefer not to draw your own, and a photo of my final painting. With this, come join me in the next lesson where you'll learn a few basics about color theory. I'll see you there. 4. Color Theory: Hello everyone and welcome back. To begin our adventure in mixing the lively black and neutral colors, let's start with a few basics of color theory. We're going to keep things simple and focus just on the traditional primary colors. Those are red, yellow, and blue. You probably learned about these in elementary school. Similarly, you're likely familiar with mixing two of these colors at a time, red and yellow make orange, yellow and blue make green, and blue and red make purple. These three colors: orange, green, and purple, are known as secondary colors. Why do we see the colors that we see? Well, colors are made up of different wavelengths of light. When we're looking at an area of paint, what we're seeing are the wavelengths of light that that paint reflects. When we mix red and yellow, we now have two paints absorbing more wavelengths of light and reflecting a smaller range of wavelengths that we see as orange. That's the same when we mix yellow and blue to get green, or blue and red to get purple. What happens when you mix all three primary colors? Now, each of the three paints is absorbing a different set of wavelengths of light. With these three colors, the three sets of absorbed wavelengths overlap. Essentially, no light is reflected. Leaving black. This is a very simplified version of what's happening, but it's all we need to understand how to mix blacks. Having said that, it's annoying to try to make three different colors together and get the balanced just right, so you get black. How about mixing only two colors? Remember that red and yellow make orange. If you start with an orange paint, you're essentially already absorbing the wavelengths of those two primaries. All you have to do now is add blue to get your third primary. Same for yellow and purple and for red and green. Notice how in each of these pairs, they are across from each other in the color wheel. These three pairs of colors are referred to as complimentary colors. Now you know how to make black and neutral colors by mixing complimentary color pairs. Before we move on to the next lesson, there's one more thing I want to discuss so that things will make a bit more sense as we're continuing. What I'm going to talk to you about now is warm and cool colors. Red, orange, and yellow are often referred to as warm colors. If you think about it, we often think of a warm fire as flickering with red, orange, and yellow. On the opposite side are the cool colors, purple, blue, and green. We often think of cool blue water, cool green grass, and purples can mimic cool shadows. There's so much more to color theory than what I just covered. But this is the basics of what you need to know to be successful in this class. With that, let's go ahead and move on to the next lesson. I'll see you there. 5. Tips and Tricks: Hello, everyone, and welcome back. Now that we've covered a few basics of color theory, let's talk more about some other things to consider when choosing exactly which paints you're going to use to mix your blacks and neutrals. The first is granulation. Granulation is used to describe the uneven settling of paint pigments. Small pigments tend to settle out evenly, leaving a smooth paint like in this Quinacridone Rose. Large pigments, on the other hand, tend to settle out of a mixture, leaving unpredictable results. You can see a great example of this in this Green Apatite Genuine, which is made from the mineral green apatite. It's beautiful, but it's not a great pigment to create an even black mixture. As a general rule, you'll want to avoid granulating paints to avoid pigments settling out of your mixture, leaving you with bits of pigment in clumps that still look more like two colors than an even black mix. The next tip is to avoid multiple pigments. Take a look at these two pairs of paints. You can't tell by looking which one is made with a single pigment and which one is made with three pigments. In both of these cases, the single pigment of the pair is on the left and the one using three different pigments is on the right. Looking at the Aussie Red Gold, you can probably tell that it has yellow and red in it, but did you realize it also has purple in it? This Undersea Green, obviously, it has yellow and blue in it, but it also has an orange pigment in it. Now, it's not quite as important in mixing blacks as it is in mixing other colors, but just like with granulating paints, mixing paints with multiple pigments can yield unpredictable results. For example, what if we take a green paint that is made with yellow, blue, and orange? Will we get a neutral color by adding red? Or if we add red, will we end up with an orangish brown that needs to be further neutralized with more blue? You're more likely to have success mixing a single pigment green with a red. Also, consider soft versus strong pigments. Soft and strong are my own terms and I use them to refer to how the paints interact with other paints. For example, Hansa Yellow Light is a soft paint. It doesn't take a lot of blue or red to overwhelm the yellow. Here I have one dot of Hansa Yellow Light and a roughly equal amount of Phthalo Blue. Let me go ahead and mix these two together. I do get a green, but it's a pretty blue-leaning green. It's a very pretty color. However, if I wanted more of an even green, what I can do is add some extra Hansa Yellow Light, I think it needs about three times the amount before you start to see it even out. Get everything nice and mixed up. Now you have a green that's a little more middle-leaning and not quite as blue as this beautiful green is. Yeah, it does take quite a bit of Hansa Yellow Light to start to get a change in the green when mixed with something powerful like Phthalo Blue. When you have strong pigments like Phthalo Blue, they can easily overwhelm other pigments as you've just seen. You have to be careful to add just a little bit of a strong pigment to other pigments, unless you're adding it to another strong pigment. A great example is mixing Pyrrol Scarlet with Phthalo Blue Green shade. Both of these are strong pigments and you can mix them about equally. In my experience, mixing two strong pigments results in deep blacks, and mixing with one or two soft pigments produces shades of gray. They each have their purpose in watercolor painting. For this class, we'll focus on the strong pigments to get those vibrant blacks. One final thought, when trying out mixes to make black and neutral colors, feel free to test out all most complementary colors. Here's a black mixture that I have painted out here. It uses a red and a blue color, which we normally wouldn't think of as being complementary. This is Pyrrol Scarlet, Phthalo Blue, so these are two strong colors and that's why it makes this really nice, rich black. I was able to mix them about equally to get that color. However, even though they're not complementary, this red leans orange, which is the complement of blue, and this blue leans green, which is the complement of red. Even though red and blue typically make purple, this mixture is a nice, deep, lovely black color with just a hint of purple. In the end, don't hold back when trying out color mixes, jump in and have fun. With all that under our belts, let's see what color pairs we can choose to create some of those wonderful mixes that we can use in our watercolor orca. I'll see you in the next lesson. 6. Example Combos: Hello, everyone, and welcome back. We know our complementary color pairs and we know what to look for and what to avoid when choosing our paints. Now let's look at some specific color combinations that we can use based on some of the colors I have in my personal collection. First, let's quickly look at yellows and purples. Yellows are often softer colors, so it can be challenging to mix a deep black with them. You can get some interesting grays and browns with them, so feel free to try some mixes. Just consider that they may not be the best choice for this class. Next are reds and greens. These reds have different strengths. Starting with the Pyrrol Scarlett, you have a very strong red here. Moving to Alizarin Crimson, you're moving to a cooler shade and this is also more moderate strength. Moving even cooler, we get Quinacridone Rose, and this is a nice soft red. So it may not make the best blacks, but it's great for grays. Then Naphthamide Maroon, it is leaning towards the purple. It still neutralizes really well with these greens, so I'm keeping it in the red and it can make some really nice dark blacks. Moving on to the greens, we have Phthalo Green, which is a very bright strong green, makes some wonderful blacks. Perylene Green, interestingly enough, even though it looks green, it is actually a black pigment, PBK31. That does mean it makes some really great black colors and it mixes really well with the Naphthamide Maroon and the Alizarin Crimson. Then just to be complete, I've got Prussian Green here. It's very similar to the Perylene Green, not quite as dark. Do keep in mind that it does have two pigments unlike everything else that you've seen here. It has PB27 and PY97. But since blue and yellow make green as your primary pigments, that shouldn't be as much of a problem as it would be with some of the other multi-pigments that we'll see in this class. Our last traditional complementary color pair is orange and blue. Here I have red-orange by Sennelier. Note that it is an orange and a yellow, so it is one of those multi-pigment paints that you may want to avoid. I have made some good mixes with it using the Anthraquinone Blue that I'll mention later. I have Transparent Pyrrol Orange, which is a nice single pigment orange. This Quinacridone Deep Gold, it could also be considered a yellow. I felt it looked more like an earthy orange, so I decided to include it here, and it is also a mixture of an orange pigment and a yellow pigment. Moving onto our blues, we have this Anthraquinone Blue. It's a very nice, deep, dark blue, very strong, and it can make some lovely blacks. We also have French Ultramarine here. I use it for mixing some grays, not so much the blacks, but it is something nice to keep in mind. Phthalo Blue Red Shade. I'm actually going to be using this combination with my Transparent Pyrrol Orange. Again, a nice single pigment blue for mixing some of those strong blacks. Moving on, we're getting slightly cooler. We've got some Cerulean Blue Deep, which I enjoy mixing a neutral gray with. We have Phthalo Blue Green Shade. This is a little more green-leaning as opposed to the red shade, so cooler. Then we finally have Turquoise here. I have mixed some interesting neutral colors with Turquoise and some of these oranges, but again, keep in mind, this is my only blue that I have here that is multi-pigment. It has a blue and a green. Again, it might not always be the best choice for mixing those neutral colors. Not traditional, but you can get some good neutral mixes with Earth colors and blues. Perhaps the most classic is to mix Burnt Sienna PBr7 with an Ultramarine such as Ultramarine Blue or French Ultramarine. In fact, Daniel Smith even has a pre-made mixture of those two pigments. I also enjoy mixing Terra Rosa with some of these blues and in particular, this Cerulean Blue Deep. It makes a really deep, dark, rich gray. Not necessarily a black that you'd want to use for this class, but it really is a lovely color that I encourage you to try. If you don't have Terra Rosa from M. Graham, you could also try using something like Indian Red from Daniel Smith. Just keep in mind that this is a bit more granulating. I have still been able to make a good mix with the Indian Red and the Cerulean Blue Deep. Now that I've covered some potential mixes, grab your colors and make your own mixes. I encourage you to pick at least five combinations. I suggest that you start off with one of each complementary color pair: yellow-purple, red-green, and orange-blue. After that, add an Earth red with a blue. Finally, a wildcard, something that might not be a traditional complementary color pair, but something you'd like to try. Don't feel restricted to this list, though. If you have an extra orange blue pair you'd like to try and you're not really interested in the yellow-purple, by all means, swap them out. If you can't pick just five combinations, do as many as you like. This is time for you to have fun with your colors and see what happens. Once you've picked your color combinations, paint them out on your paper. Putting one color on the left, its complement on the right, and then the neutral color in the middle. Feel free to mix your colors on the palette for this exercise so you can get the balance between the two colors just right before you paint it out. When you're done painting, feel free to share this exercise in your project gallery and let us know what you learned from this exercise and what your favorite colors are. After that, hop on over to the next lesson where we'll practice warming up and cooling off our black mixtures. I'll meet you there. 7. Mixing Warm and Cool Shades: Hello everyone and welcome back. Now that you've tried out some mixes and found some pairings that you like, it's time to see what we can create by leaning our black mixture towards warm and cool shades. Remember that warm colors are reds, oranges and yellows, and cool colors are blues, purples, and greens. When mixing complimentary colors, you will have one warm color and one cool color. By adding a little bit extra of one color or the other to the black, you can lean your black color into a warm black or a cool black. Here's an example. I have a couple of mostly even black mixtures made of alizarin crimson and phthalo green. I've painted one of these out. But then I'm going to add some extra alizarin crimson to this mixture. Now you can see that this black looks warmer. That is more red than the neutral black. If I go to the other mixture and add some phthalo green to it, now we lean towards cool, towards the green. This is very helpful when painting black animals, because often you will see warm and cool blacks in the animal itself. Even if you don't see these warm and cool blacks in your reference photo, you can add some interest and life to your painting by using both warm and cool blacks. In addition, we can neutralize either color by adding just a little bit of its complement. Adding a little phthalo green to Alizarin crimson still leaves us with a red color, but one that's not as bright as the original, one that has a bit of a gray or purple tinge to it. You can do the opposite by adding a bit of Alizarin crimson to phthalo green and now you see the neutralized green. Now that you've seen an example, here's an exercise for you to try. For each complimentary pair that you try, paint seven different colors on your paper. On either extreme, paint, the pure color from each paint. Next, paint the most even black you can paint in the middle. After that lean your black color a little bit towards your warm color and paint that next to the black on the same side as the warm color that you started with. Repeat that for the cool color. Finally, paint a slightly neutralized warm color between your warm color and your warm black, and then repeat that with your cool color. I recommend that you try this with your three favorite pairs from the previous exercise. This will help you see what the range of colors is that you can use in your orchid painting. Once you see this range, you may find that you have a new favorite complimentary color pair. Again, when you're finished, feel free to share your exercises in your class project. There's still a little bit more mixing for us to do before we get started on our class project. Come join me in the next lesson, where we'll put our palettes to the side and start mixing on the paper. See you in the next lesson. 8. Mixing on the Paper: Hello, everyone, and welcome back. Let's do a quick practice of mixing our colors on the paper rather than in the palette. This will allow us to make use of wet-on-wet painting, which can let watercolors flow at random to create unexpected but beautiful patterns. This is simple to do. First, lay down your warm color. Then, where you want the black, add some of your cool complimentary color while your first layer is still wet. You can blend this out a bit such that you have a nice black where you initially laid down your paint, but it fades into a neutralized color as you move away from that area. You can also just let the colors flow wet on wet and see what your colors create. Repeat this, starting with your cool color. Do this three times, once with each of the color pairs you used in the previous exercise. As before, I encourage you to upload a picture of your results to your project gallery. We've got one final lesson before we turn to our class project. Next up, edges in watercolor. I'll see you there. 9. Quick Intro to Edges: Hello everyone and welcome back. Although a review of edges isn't a part of color mixing, it will be helpful once we start painting our watercolor Orca. Let's take a look at the types of edges we'll use in this class. First, the easiest types of edge to make is a hard edge. By loading your brush with paint and water and applying it to paper, you are forming a hard edge. There is a clear line where the paint ends and the unpainted paper begins. Next is a soft edge. There are a few different ways to make a soft edge. The method I will use in this class is to take a damp brush and wipe it across a hard edge. You'll want to do this while the paint is wet, but not overly so. I find that I usually need to wipe the area as soon as I can unless I put a lot of liquid on the paper. some papers will absorb the paint faster than others. This is one reason why I like Arche and Winsor and Newton professional papers. I find it easier to make soft edges with these two brands of watercolor papers. Finally, kind of an edge, kind of not. Let's discuss using wet on wet. Wet on wet means that instead of putting a brush load of paint and water on dry paper, you're putting it on wet paper. There are varying degrees to which the paper can be wet. I suggest aiming for a wetness that has a sheen but still shows the texture of cold-pressed paper. When you put wet paint on this wet paper, the paint begins to flow away from where it's most concentrated in a somewhat unpredictable pattern. If the wet paper goes out farther than where the paint can flow, you'll get a nice soft edge. This will be our goal for using wet on wet in this class. Be aware that if paper reaches the edge of the water, you'll get a hard edge. For this lesson, practice making all three types of edges. For your hard and soft edges, you can use the same area of paint. Just leave one side hard while you soften the other side. Keep practicing the soft edges until you know what level of wet works to get the results you want with your personal paper and paints. For wet on wet, practice until you can keep your paint from flowing to the other side of your water so that you can keep those soft edges. Again, when you're finished, feel free to share your exercises in your class project. With that, it's time to start our class project. Come join me in the next lesson, where I'll plan how I'm going to paint out my Orca before I put brush to paper. I'll see you there. 10. Plan Your Painting: Hello everyone. Welcome back. Before we start painting, let's take a look at our reference photo and make some decisions now, so we can go into our painting with a plan. First of all, let's consider what we're going to do with our colors. Keep in mind that cool colors recede on the painting, and warm colors come forward. On this outline, what is going to be the thing furthest from us is going to be the midline of the orca, both on the underneath and on the back, as well as this back fin. So we won't want to put warm colors there. This side part of the orca, if it were in 3D, that would be coming out at us the most. So if you want to use both colors, I would recommend using your warm colors here, and then you can have your black along the midline fading towards your warm color at the center, and then use your cool color underneath. I personally I'm going to be using my cool colors for the entire orca, because I like the cool colors. So I have a very muted cool color, probably a cool black rather than a blue for the shadow underneath. Then I'll make sure to have my blacks along the edge fading towards that blue in the center. Another thing that you could consider if you wanted to, is, again, I would still keep with the cool underneath. But you could also think of your orca as being heading towards the surface like that. If you do that, then you can think of this as being a good area for warm, and fade that warm down to your cool color at the tail. When it comes to color mixing, the colors that I'm going to want to be fairly even, I'm going to mix on the palette. That's going to mean this muted, probably cool black again, underneath. This is a light gray, so mix that on the palette as well, so I can make sure I get the right color that I want. But for the bulk of this black area on the orca, I am going to be mixing on the paper and that way I can get black on the orca, but still have some of that blue come through, and then I'll get that nice, interesting wet-on-wet edge as I'm going to be painting that out. So consider where you want to use wet-on-wet, or do you want to have it a little more controlled, and you can mix everything on the palette rather than the paper. But I think it is fun to let the colors do what they will on wet-on-wet. Another thing to consider is going to be the edges. We're going to have some mostly hard edges. Right here, of course, where the black meets the white, for the most part, that's a hard edge. However, if you look at this area here, especially here and here, it does look like a softer edge. There seemed to be some softer edges around the gray as well. So I'll probably keep those softer. This is also a little bit of a softer edge here where we get this white underneath the flukes. Those are just some suggestions as to what you can do. Definitely take the things that you like and keep those. But if you want to do something different, by all means, make this your own project. Just take a moment to think about what you're going to do with the orca, so that you have a plan before you go into your painting. Before you start your painting, just keep in mind that you'll want to pre-mix some of your colors. I'm going to premix and even black mixture, as well as a cool black, a warm black, and partially neutralized colors. I don't know that I'll use all of them, but I'll definitely have them on hand for whenever I need them. I also recommend that you test these colors on your paper first, so that you know you like them. Make sure that you have an outline of the orca on a piece of watercolor paper. If you don't want to draw your own, feel free to use my outline in the reference section. There you have it. It is time to put paint to paper. Come join me in the next lesson, where we'll start with the lighter colors of the orca. I'll see you there. 11. Painting the White and Gray: Hello, everyone, and welcome back. We'll start our painting by adding color to the white and gray areas. This is important because we don't want to accidentally brush up against the black while painting these areas and get a little bit of black to bleed in. Even if the paint is dry, there's still a risk of reactivating the black with a wet brush, and it will be very obvious on these areas since we will keep our colors light just enough to add some edges and definition to our orca. Let's paint. The first thing we're going to do is paint this jaw area. I'm going to cover the whole area with water, and I'm going to make sure that water reaches up to the edge where it meets the black. That way I don't end up with any unusual hard edges if my paint should travel farther than I expect. I want that water to have a nice sheen without having any puddles in it. Once the water is down, I'm going to grab a little bit of my cool black and put it underneath that chin. I'm going to put just a small amount of paint down and then let it flow wet-on-wet. For this next section, it's very thin, so I'm going to rinse out and use my round 2 in order to get those thin areas. Once those thin areas are finished, then I can go back to my Round 8 and go back into the bigger area. I have plenty of water in this bigger area, so I'm actually going to dry off my brush a little bit and then just move around the water that I already have. Once this area is ready, I'm going to grab some cool black. I'm going to use a little bit more than I did on the chin because this area is a little bit more shaded. I'm letting the paint flow wet-on-wet and I really liked this little segment here. I think it's very cute. I do think the frontmost area is a little bit darker than I want. So I'm going to go ahead clean off my brush, come back, and then I'm just going to push this paint around to help it be a little bit lighter. Then I keep in mind that it will dry lighter than it looks now. Then our last bit of white is going to be here. Again, pretty small area, so I don't mind really using my number 2 here. One thing that's different about this area is that because of the flukes and the sunlight coming from this direction, the dark is going to be at the top of the white rather than at the bottom. I'm grabbing my cool black and applying it at the top. Then I'll just help to pull that color down to make sure there's a little bit of color in this entire white area. For this gray patch, I am going to put down water even though I'm not going to use wet-on-wet techniques. The water will just help me to keep the gray dilute and not let it get too dark. Since we're not using wet-on-wet techniques, I don't have to get the water all the way to the edge of the gray. I can wait until after I've added the paint and then pull that paint to the edge when it's a little bit easier to see where my water and paint are. I'm going to be using my neutral black here rather than the cool black that I've been using for the rest of the areas. All we need to do now is make sure that our paint is dry so that we can move on to the next step. I'll see you in the next lesson. 12. Painting the Fins: Hello, everyone, and welcome back. Let's move on and turn our attention to some smaller areas. In this case, we have the pectoral fins at the front of the orca and the dorsal fin on its back. Filling in these small areas can help boost our confidence before we move on to the larger areas of the orca. Let's paint. To paint the fins, we will be using wet-on-wet again. That way we can mix our colors on the paper. For this pectoral fin, when we put down our water, we don't need to reach the edges all the way. We're going to be lining those edges with paint. I'm also going to try to leave the front edge of the fin lighter to help with the contrast against the darker fin in back. Once I have my water laid down, I'm going to lay down the blue paint so that it will be the predominant color. Whatever color you want to dominate in this painting is the one that you should lay down first. Once I have my blue paint down, as it's still bleeding into those wet white areas, I'm going to add orange. So add my complementary color. That way the colors can mix on the paper. I'm just going to dot the orange color in and allow the paints to flow as they like. That way they'll create some really pretty unique patterns. Because I want the blue color to be stronger, I'm going to add a little bit more blue to the areas that appear to me to be a little bit too orange. At the end, I'm going to come through with my two round to pick up a little bit of the paint so I can have a lighter edge at the front of that fin. Now I can see a white spot in the fin where the paint didn't finish bleeding in, I'm going to leave it alone and see what it looks like after it finishes drying. I might like it, I might not, but it's something I don't need to fix right now. While the paint is still wet, I can use my two round to smooth out the edges of the fin. We're going to paint our dorsal fin next. Our front pectoral fin needs to be dry before we paint the back one in order to avoid paint bleeding between the fins. As before, we're laying water down over the bulk of the fin, but we don't need to reach all the way to the edges. After the water is down, I'm going to start placing blue down along the edges of this dorsal fin. Ultimately, I want a dark front edge with a highlight just behind it. Since my blue is a little light, I'm going to use my neutralized orange to try to balance the blue and not go too orange. Because my blue is a little light, the orange is a little stronger than I'd like it to be, and that's okay. I'm just going to come back and dot in some blue into this fin. Once I like what I've got, I can use my two round to smooth out the edges. This gives the paint a little bit of time to dry. Then when I go back to pick up the paint out of that highlight, it's a little bit easier, it's not quite so wet and crazy. I want to get that front edge darker than it is, so I'm going to go over it again with my two round with a little bit of blue and then a little bit of orange. That way I can get a nice, relatively thin line back up front. As expected, that fresh paint bleeds into our highlight a bit. I'm going to go ahead and pull the paint out from that highlight one more time before I call the dorsal fin done. Now you may or may not need to go over your fin multiple times. Your fin is going to look different from mine and you might want to make different creative choices to get the colors just as you want them. Now I need to check this pectoral fin. You really need to make sure that it is dry, dry, dry. If it looks dry but it feels a little bit cool to the touch, it is not dry and it is dangerous to paint. Dangerous in the sense of you getting something that you don't want. But if it looks dry and it feels the same as this paper, this temperature, then it's fine. I can tell just by feeling it. It looks pretty dry, but it definitely does have a little bit of that coolness to it, a little bit of that bump to it. So we're going to give it a few minutes before we come back to it. Now I'm going to paint the flukes in the back with a very light neutral black. This is because as the sunlight hits the flukes, there's going to be a highlight at the top and back of the flukes. I don't want this highlight to be pure white, so I'm going to add gray just to tone it down a little bit. To keep it toned down, I'm even going to use a cloth to pick up the excess paint and water so that this fluke is as light gray as it can be. Once the front pectoral fin is dry, we can work on the back one. I'm going to lay down water for my wet-on-wet. Then it doesn't need to reach the top edge because that's where I'm going to put paint down. As long as it's pretty close to the edge, it's fine. I'm going to start with blue paint along the top edge of the back fin, and I want it darker here to contrast with the lighter edge of that front fin. I had a bit too much water, so I'm using a brush to pick up the excess. Now I'm coming back with paint on my two round to give me a bit more control and get the bulk of the paint right up against that top edge. When I have it how I like it, I can add the orange to let the paints mix on the paper. Now I'm just going to finish that fin by evening out the line of paint. Since this pectoral fin is dry, we can also start on the body. Actually, we need to make sure that dorsal is dry, too, and it is. I'll go ahead and I will meet you in the next lesson. 13. Painting the Body: Hello, everyone, and welcome back. Now we'll move on to the main body of the orca, and we're going to start with the head area. Now, ideally, what we want to do is wet the head and part of the body, and then when we finish the head, the body will still be wet so that we can extend that wetness into part of the tail, then do the body, and then the front of the tail will still be wet so that we can extend the wetness through the rest of the tail, and you do it in one fell swoop. Having said that, it's pretty easy to have some area dry out before you mean for it to. What I'm going to be doing is I'm going to be doing it with that extension, so wet the body, paint the head. The body will still be wet enough for me to continue painting towards the tail. Then even if my tail is wet enough to continue, I'm going to stop and let it dry so that you can see what you need to do in case your tail dries or your body dries. You approach it the same way. You'll get to see that in this lesson. With that, let's paint. To paint the head, I'm going to be laying water down in the area. I don't have to get the water all the way up to my edges because I'm going to be coming through and putting the paint exactly up against those edges. It'll be easier to see what I'm doing once I have color on my brush rather than clear water. I'm going to extend this water past the gray area, even though I intend to stop my head area somewhere between the pectoral fins and the dorsal fin. As I begin to paint the head, I'm going to lay down my blue color first. I'm going to get pretty close to the edge with my round 8, but I don't have to worry about getting exactly up to the edge until I come back with my round 2 and smooth out those edges. Once I've got my blue paint down, I'm going to switch to my complementary color, that's my orange, and I'm just going to drop it into those blue areas and let the paint mix together wet on wet. Once my colors are down, I switch to my number 2 round to even out the edges. Now that I'm finished with my head, I can see that my body has a matte appearance. This means that it's too dry to continue painting. If we try to wet the body and add paint at this stage, we will end up with blooms and other unwanted effects. So I'm going to let the body dry completely to show you what to do if your next segment dries out too much before you are ready. I'll show you how to continue your painting into a wet area when I finish the body and I'm ready for the tail. It takes a lot of patience to wait for all of this to dry, but it is dry and now we can continue. Now we're going to go ahead and we're going to put water up to here or so. So as we start to add paint here, it's going to go this direction as well and blend in so you don't get hard edges. But we don't want it to turn into a muddy mess, so I'm going to use this Neptune that I have been using. It is a very soft brush. It's really good for being able to do that. Then I'm going to do my body until about here, and then I'm going to do the tail, but I'm going to pull into the tail this water so that hopefully I can show you how we're going to move when it hasn't dried out too much. When you're laying water down over a painted area, be very gentle so as not to disturb the paint. It's okay if a little bit of paint reactivates with the water, but for the most part, we want to keep the color patterns that we've already created. With our water laid down and extending partway into the head and tail, it's time to add paint. As before, we'll lay down our dominant color and then our complementary color. With the gray on the back, we'll keep hard edges on the backside, but we'll have soft edges on the front and bottom. We'll leave the large white pattern at the bottom of the orca with hard edges just to keep things simple. If you'd rather not have any soft edges on the gray pattern on the back, that's fine. Just skip the step where I soften the edges. To make sure my tail stays wet, I'm going to add a bit of water to it, then come back to dot in my orange paint on the body. I'll finish up the body section by smoothing out the edges with my two round. I'll come back to soften those edges in the gray section after I let the body dry while I paint the tail. The front half of my tail is still wet, so I can safely add water to wet the remaining areas of the tail. I will not be wetting the fluke, as I will paint that separately. Once again, I will lay down my blue paint and then follow it up with orange. Now that the body has had some time to dry, I will add a soft edge to the front and bottom edges of the gray patch. Use what you learned in Lesson 9 to make sure your body is dry enough without being too dry and use a lightly damp two round to soften the edge. Similarly, when the area is the right amount of wet and dry, I will add a soft edge where the black of the orca meets the white area under the fluke. Now what we have is this is basically done. I do need to come back and add some black to that fluke, and then I need to look at my colors when I'm done and say, what do I need to do? Do they need to be darker? Do they need to be more blue, more orange? Whatever fits my personal desires and whatever fits your personal desires. So what you and I are going to do is going to be a little bit different, but you should be able to take what I'm doing and adapt it to what you'd like to see in your orca. With that, meet me in the next lesson. 14. Adjustments: Hello everyone and welcome back. Now it's time to make our adjustments. I'm not going to show the details of every step because the pattern is the same. Add water, then add your dominant color, then your complimentary color, and adjust as needed. So with that in mind, let's decide what to do. I think this orca is very beautiful with interesting patterns, but I do think it is a little light. I'm going to go through and darken each area of the orca. First, I'm going to paint in the fluke. I've decided to go with a cool black. As I add the black, I am careful to leave a sliver of light gray at the top of the fluke for a highlight. Next, I'm going to deepen the colors on the front pectoral fin and then the dorsal fin. I will go back and make sure my highlights on each fin stay lighter. I will go over the entire body with additional color. One thing to keep in mind, you can always use your neutralized colors rather than your pure colors if you just need some light adjustment. Neutralized colors are less likely to over adjust your mix. I will also re-soften the edges on both the gray area and the area under the fluke. Your painting is going to look different. What you want is going to be different. You may like having a lot of excess blue and orange. To really play up those colors, you might prefer for things to be more black, and if that was the case, you can always come back through with your neutral black and come a bit more along the edges using that wet on wet technique and letting it bleed into the center and have minimal color. There's a few different things you could do, but that's just what I've decided to do with this orca. I hope this is helpful for you making your own decisions as to how you're going to make your final adjustments. With that, it's time for us to wrap up and I'll see you in the next lesson. 15. Wrap up: Hello everyone and welcome back. As you continue your art journey, keep in mind the main principles that you've learned in this class. They are pair complementary and near-complementary colors to mix black and neutral colors. Choose non-granulating paints and paint with only one or two pigments. Choose strong colors to create deep blacks. In the end, don't be afraid to try out something new. You never know what you're going to discover. One final thing before we wrap up this class. I'd love for you to leave a review for me on Skillshare. When I hear from my students about what they did like and didn't like about a particular class, it allows me to make changes. Changes that benefit you and other students as I create future Skillshare classes. To leave a review, just click the word "Reviews" underneath this video and to the left, then the "Leave Review" button on the right. Once again, thank you for joining me and I look forward to seeing you in another Skillshare class. Bye-bye.