Abstract Watercolor : Easy & Colorful Painting for Beginners | Stephanie Kilgast | Skillshare

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Abstract Watercolor : Easy & Colorful Painting for Beginners

teacher avatar Stephanie Kilgast, Contemporary 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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Watercolor Materials


    • 3.

      Color Blending


    • 4.

      Warming Up - Shapes


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Watercolor Abstract Painting


    • 7.

      Final Words


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About This Class

In this fun class, I will guide you through watercolor techniques so you can create your very own abstract watercolor painting.
It's an easy and fun class that is perfect for beginners!
I will show you how to blend colors, paint shapes and compose a cohesive painting with the colors of your choosing!

1. Materials
2. Color Blending
3. Painting Shapes
4. Composition
5. Composing an Abstract Painting


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Music by Amarante http://www.youtube.com/AmaranteMusic

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Stephanie Kilgast

Contemporary artist.


Inspired by natural forms, Stéphanie Kilgast’s artwork is an ode to nature and its current biodiversity. Plants, mushrooms, insects and other animals encounter in a vibrant swirl of colors under her brush or sculpting tools.

Since 2017, in her series “Discarded Objects”, she grows colorful organic sculptures on human-made objects, celebrating the beauty of nature in a dialogue with humanity, questioning the lost balance between human activities and nature.
Her work has a cheerful post apocalyptic feel to it, a reassuring reminder that nature has the capacity to grow back, if we only let it.

She built her reputation and her sculpting skills around hyperrealistic miniature food sculptures. Her wo... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I am Stephanie, and today I'm going to show you an easy class on making an abstract watercolor. I am going to guide you through, call a blending exercises and show you how, exactly you can merge different colors on paper. I'm also going to show you how to use the brush properly and how to warm up your wrists will also give you some tips and tricks on how to compose the painting. And finally, I'm going to go into details for the process of this particular painting. Thistle. Very fun class, perfect for beginners or even more advanced painters who just want to have a good time and some fun painting the project of this class is pretty straightforward. I'm going to ask you to make your own abstract watercolor. I really hope you're going to join us in this fun class, so let's just jump in 2. Watercolor Materials: for this class. We're going to need some paper. Make sure that you have at least 250 gram for the paper, and it needs to be water. Call a paper which has always a certain texture on the paper. Apart from that, you don't need to get the highest quality ones. Um, you can find rather cheap paper that's quite good. This one is is not bad, actually, although it's only glued on one side. I personally for studies that such a it's very good. You can also use something like that notebook two pains in so that works as well. But if you want to have a painting or make a painting and sell it, I would recommend that you take paper that is glued on the fourth sides. That way, when you are using um, Watcher Cola, it's going to get really wet, and the paper is going to get wobbly. And because it is glued on all four sides, you only have to wait that the paper drives again and the paper will stay nice and flats. Since I live in France, I tend to buy French brand, so class Sinton is one of those prints that I like, I quite like actually this paper, which is, um, a semi glazed texture. And then, of course, you have the renowned off paper, which is also French with brands harder Mueller, which is jam Drummond Brand is also very good. And another good Brandis Fabbri? No, But to be truthful, as long as your papers asset free and at least 250 gram, think it's going to be all rights And of course, we're going to need some watercolors. So these are Vongo watercolors. The study quality, They're not bad, but they are not awesome. I have leased that I brought from Tokyo, and then I have sh minka watercolors, which are my favorites. Whatever watch of color you have at home is going to be quite all right for this class. And then off course, if you rush is I really love these brushes. These are from Rosemary and Co, um, the hands made in the UK and the high quality and very cheap, but actually, for the qualities you also going to need some towels. This is an old toll old kitchen towel and, of course, some water 3. Color Blending: we're going to start with some blending exercises. And so the first thing you want to be able to master is simply too. Make a Grady int from color, too. The paper and the easiest way is to start with the color and then at some what I'm going to shoot. You don't want too much water on your brush. So dip it's and then remove most of the water by just going over the edge. And no, I'm just going to take Could be probably a bit more just going to add some orange to its Okay, so it's rather on the heavy side, and then I'm just making square. Don't worry about the shape for now. We're going to do it later on. Then you always have to work quickly, so again puts it in and just put Watcher. And as you can see, the color already goes from one side to the other. And, no, I'm simply going like so and then, like Sue to have a nice radiant. So it's actually really easy. It's kind of foolproof, but you have to be quick about it. So first a square, I'm going to show you a couple of times and I would inflate you tomb try. It's as well, so I'm actually going to take the color directly from and not bother. So as you can see, the color is very rich and then removed the pains and just remove most of the Watcher. Put a blank water street, just assign and then make, like, tiny strokes like this between the two to blend and then do it for the whole square. And as you can see, this one was The pigments are really nice. Yeah, that's pretty much it. So I wouldn't treat you to just try this one a few times. It's a fun exercise because kind of see the call of flu into the washer when you put the transparent square next to it, and this could actually be a choice to let it just, you know, do its thing. But for now, we just we would like to. I think it's good with water. Caller this a lot off surprise in a way, you know, it's like you don't really know what is going to do and this kind of the fun of it, like I think I put too much water there you can see. But so it's It's good to have some at least, to try to learn, to have some control over the pains and the more you do it and the more you get used to it , because you can see I'm working fairly quickly and you always want to rinse your brush in between. And also, when you're blending, you want you brush to be on the dry side, because otherwise you are going to add some watcher. And so your radiant is going to look really weird. You don't want that, but it's it doesn't it doesn't need to be too dry. This is actually how you make color cod's so when you buy new colors, um, it's good because there's quite a difference between the color that you see. Um, you know, without water. And once it is on the water, so it's goods to make color counts to actually realize how the color is going to be on the paper. Which was this Quite a difference between what you see here and how it's going to be So, for instance, this one, this purple one is that dark one here this year, So color cons can be actually really useful. And that's kind of how you do it now when you want to, on when you want to make a radiance from one color to another, what you're going to you is very similar. Um, so you're going to go that's safe from blue to yellow. So you're going to make one square off blue, some watcher and one square off yellow, and then you're going to much If it's not enough, water just added, and always rinse your brush in between. So should have started with the blue actually, since I put that first arm, but and since in this case the blue is stronger than the yellow, we're going to go from yellow to blue and then from blue to yellow again. Always work like this in okay and he again. So it's nicely lend its, - and this is to have nice edges. As you can see, my colors are kind of all mixed, really, and this is how I like to work. But I don't like the colors to be to clean, so you're making an outside edge, cleaning your brush and then having watcher in the center and then just blending it's insight. So it's basically what we did here. Onley, um, the grade Ian's goes from the edge to the inside, and now the more water you put in the middle and the more you push again to the edges. Basically, what's going to happen is that as you put watcher in the center like Sue, the paper is going to get very wets. And so it's makes a bit like mountain this years old flats, and this goes up, and so it pushes the color on the edge. And then you just as usual, needs to kind of work a little bit quickly. 12. Agree in that looks nice, and that way you have. You can have a very strong looking edge with a very light colored in her cell. Seen. Let's just make a couple of lose in different colors. You can mix and match colors so you don't need to just pick the colors you like. If you like to work in in black and gray skillful ounce, so you can also yet have just a little bit of fun. And look what happens. The more pain to add or now for this one, let's not overcharge it with water, so you do want to push the water until the edges. Otherwise, you're not going to have that effect. So basically, you are just going over and then blending in the inside so it looks clean. As you can see, the edge is darker than the inside and no, a bit of a close up. So I'm putting some colors rinsing on adding watcher in the middle and then push its to all the edges again. And be sure to nicely blend so you don't see any other edges inside. You want to have just the outer edge visible but not the inner edge. And so this one is a lots lighter because the first color I added was very lights. Now this, for now, is a little bit boring. There's no color blending or anything, so we're going to blend in colors. No, so we always starting a little bit the same so with the ultra Enge. But this time we're going to change it, so always rinse before you dip into another color. And no, I put some yellow and now I'm putting some watcher ends. I'm blending everything like so and just just lead the color flu, how it wants to and if you want, then adjust you. Would you want to add more yellow to at once stones you still can after. And you can also add other colors, like soccer is a good college God. It's makes everything look a little bit more interesting. And as you can see, you have quite interesting regents in here, so this is really light one. But we can also work on darker edges, and that's if you want to do darker cells. And while going to make Dr Cells later as well, I just want to charge your brush with dark color like him and then maybe bit of magenta and some purple lish magenta, like so and then just some water in the middle and then blend everything in. So, depending on how much wanted to be blended, just be living careful. You just don't want to see any edges inside, so you need just to work a little bit quickly ends. So it kind of works, and I like to add loco for interests. I tend to use Arco with little, um, like straight pigments and just out of the bits, too, just blend in some interests. Um, so the color in the end is a little bit more mutants, and you just kind of move the paint around. It's nothing more than that. So it's really kind of really a fun class. You just don't over think it. You can always add wash off course. For instance, if you don't like what you did here and you think OK, um, I don't like it. I wanted to be more orangey. You can simply do a wash over off color, so very I'm destroying your side. So very lights color and you just put the color on top and then maybe just watcher, and every time you do a wash, just be very careful. She puts some water on lightly colored adds watcher on the whole cell. If you don't do that, it's going to make an edge inside. And we're trying to avoid that because it just doesn't look. I'm going to add some awkward also for interests and maybe some more yellow. Let's just add some red. This one was not very interesting anyway, and so that way you can always we were rework your cells. If you don't like them, Well, sometimes you just kind of miss it. That's that's fine. Um, sometimes you're not quick enough for I know you just make a mistake, and, um and I think what is really interesting with that is with these color washes, you get really interesting results. When you layer them. Let me show you on something else. Let's just add a yellow wash lie till the washing, the blue here, the washes laying that. I'm just going to fancy like Sue. I don't want it to be all yellow. Some just going to add some watcher. I'm going to add some teal here. Okay, some to you. It feels nice. Okay, Just blended bits. So, as you can see, the wash is very lights, and so you can make a wash off blue Can even be a little bit, um, darker like this. I'm just having some pigments. Um, it's very wet, so it's never going to be that dark. And then I rinsed you have nothing on this side, so I have from blue to green. So this is actually another way to make radiance by overlapping them. I would encourage you to to try all the things out, and yeah, she just have 90 year and a feel for it. 4. Warming Up - Shapes: The shape we are aiming for is what I think of as a cell You have to imagine. So I'm taking a pencil. This is a watercolor pan sell because this is what I have on my desk. But any pencil will do. And I would like you to take a pencil or a pen, whatever you have and just draw with me. So think off a rectangle, but instead on having these sharp angles. What we are going to you is to round up all angles and draw it in one stroke like this. And then the next step to create the sales that I have in mind is to, instead of having the lines parallels to, well, don't have them. So you roamed and then you liked So and then you groaned again and Rome. And here and now you have something that kind of looks like cell or pavements. And you can also you don't have to have on Lee four sides, so you can add 1/5 side if you want you five fist also good or even six, but not more than six. And what are going to do? In the end, it's simply too that sells off different shades off different sizes and shapes and just bunch them together. So some people think of pavements for that, and that works. I like to think off cells or scales like the scales off insect on animal. And no, I've made very different ones. But you can imagine to have something that is less crazy, something like that, where there are all kind of looking the same with the size is very and just get a little bit of feel of it with the pencil because it's often easier to use a pencil to draw. We are more used to drawing with pencils, then with brushes. So just, you know, get a feel on what you like. If you like things to be a little bit like so, but traitor can be also smaller. You don't have to make them longer what you want to, um, keep in minds and this is good for later as well, is to have the shapes kind of similar among each other. Sue don't mix too much, because if you're going to mix if, for instance, you make like very round once and then very um, oblong ones, the composition is going to be more difficult. So keep in the same composition. Keep the shapes similar to warm you up a bit. Just draw some lines and draw the lines as close as you can just to get to have a feel off drawing lines. Do it quickly. Don't think too much about it. It's actually much easier to draw precisely to paint precisely if you do it quick. If now I would try to do this very slowly and then just show you. No, I'm I'm trying to do this slowly. The stroke is not as good, so I can get a clue there because you know more careful. But it's not as straight as if I go like this. It's pretty straight because, you know, I don't really have to think about it. Also draw some sauce, some circles just to get a feel of it. Nothing too fancy, Nothing too precise because it doesn't matter. We're not central going to put everything in it. It doesn't matter too much. No, we are going to fill everything anyway. So if you want to, you can already start to draw shapes to pain shapes. Don't worry about the color right now that is going to be full later. Just get a feel for the shape. So as you can see, what I'm doing is I make the exterior. So I'm just kind off thing around and then doing the interior, and you can always move the paper so you can imagine having it's easier. You know, this is much easier to do when your hand is like that. So if she needs to move the paper to get the right shape, you know that's fine, especially in the beginning. It's sometimes difficult to do something like lying. That's is, this year's not very natural. What is easier when drawing lines is to go towards your body. So when you go like this, that is easy. But this is harder. So when you think of that, try to draw like like this year and then so always go to your body, and that is going to be much easier to handle. Well, as when you go up, it's a little bit more awkward. I mean, it's perfectly doable, but if you're starting out, it's a lot easier to just go to your body and then like that, You you can vary the size of your stroke by pushing more or less. If I push less, it's going to be thinner. If I push more, it's going to be thicker. But avoid doing something that is like that because this is destroying you. Brush. So don't do something like that. Always. In that sense, I mean, it's pretty obvious, but sometimes people don't really know how to use brushes. Also, you want to use the full capacity off your brush, so not just a bit when you're covering, but really like you cover it. I think it often helps not you, over think it's. I've seen warming up exercises where you know you really attends because you're like, supposed to do it very precisely. Or but I feel like it's much easier and much more. You want to warm up your wrist with this woman up exercise, so it's not just warming up to get used to painting, which is really like warming up your hands and your strokes and you're going to be much more confident painting fasts, then painting slowly. So be very free with your moments and just try to get the shapes rights and to have a feel for them and once you're confident enough we can move on to the next stage, 5. Composition: The composition I decided on is very simple. I see them a cells, but it really doesn't matter. And you're going to have those bigger cells in the center off your paper. I'm showing you the composition, so you know what we are going to do so bigger in the central and you can see I would really quickly, and I don't really over think it's. And then when you get closer through the edges of the paper, the cells are going to shrink, so they're going to be a little bit smaller. Anyone's to have something that goes bits back and forth through slightly medium sized and smaller ones and also play around with distances between the cells. And you can have, like, just a few really tiny ones. Or a lot of them. No, a good way when composing is too, try to see the painting as a whole, but also in parts so you can see No. I've decided to have, like, something rather kind of like to growing things so him can't bigger and so and so we have that swale ity. That is quite interesting, but let's just and this isn't composition that works because there's some kind of flowing happening. There's some density that that is this feeling off growth in this kind of a connection when you are working like this on something that is random, um, random has never really random, random paintings. So what you want to think is tomb, You're trying to balance everything else. So when you start with something in the middle that is sick, you're kind of doing anything. You know, you don't really think about it too much in the beginning, and then you start to see your shape that that comes out of it, and then you work from that. So you're like, OK, this looks like so then I'm going to add here and there something, and you always want to kind of balance everything out. So in this composition sets, I'm always starting. Move bigger shapes in the middle and then smaller when you go to the edges, some this one and you don't have to go on all sides. So on this one, I decided to, you know, have something that is more like landscape. Almost. I feel like he it's knots if you consider I worked really quickly, So if I don't like that composition. I'm like, OK, I'm not going to work on that one. That's fine, but it's always kind of its tutor from composition. But that's the same subject, and I think it's good, especially if you're not used to doing compositions. She just kind of makes sketches first. It's a good exercise also just to, you know, use a brush because you're not afraid of doing something ugly. This is also why you want to use paper that is good quality but not too expensive. Good quality, because otherwise it's frustrating and not too expensive, because otherwise we're going to, you know, it's a waste of materials, okay, and so you can make really big ones. You can also play more with. Size is already in the center, so it doesn't have to being just round. You know what is important in this composition for to work is that in the center you have mostly big shapes, can have a few small ones, but they're more they're, you know, to fill up space, but you have, like, loose big shapes in the center. I originally thought about its as a crowd off. People sue all kinds of faces and then so you can finish the pain so it has an edge. You just make them smaller, you know, just a little bit smaller. And then you kind of play with its where you want to add where it's supposed to grew. It doesn't have to grow everywhere. It's more interesting if you leave blank spaces, and another rule that is important is to have, like some some kind of unity and you blank space Sue not have a to divide, it's and yes and then off course. You mean rule someone to be broken. So if you want to add some bigger shapes until the edge, that's fine, just at a bunch of them. And so that way you can easily compose something that is very simple. We just using a simple cell shape and just kind of have fun with it. You're really trying to make things float and flow and kind of connect each other bigger cells in the middle, smaller cells on the edges and lots of blank space for the painting to brief. And now that we have done all the exercises and warming up and then you have a good idea of your composition, we can start on the actual painting 6. Watercolor Abstract Painting: I personally, I'm going to paint directly. However, you can use pencil colors, draw the shapes before painting. I would not recommend it for two reasons. I think obstruct arts is working better when it is a little bit spontaneous, and it's also just going to be much longer and you're not going to have a better end results. Just because you did that now for the colors. I wanted to go with mostly green and blues, and then I'm probably going to add an accents color. Sue. I think the best is to just start because it's so much easier to explain when I'm actually painting. So as you can see right now, I'm just putting in colors I want in that particular cell and no like in the first warming up exercises, I'm adding some water in the center and then just blending everything together. So I said blue and greens are going to be my main focus, but I I really add often Auker simply because Aku gives kind of more muted color to it. It's like it. It gives some interest. It gives some depths, you know. So I always like to make my colors a little bit more dirty. And so this is what I'm doing here. So you can also a drone and other kinds of blues. And then, at some point when you like the great and you just leave a decide, you can always come back to it once a try to add more washes and you can also make them. You can also make the sell stock watch we're going to do is we have, ah, center that is going to be more blue and then I'm going to go he and it's going to be more green. And on the other side, it's also going to be more green when he is going to be grass ring and he is going to be olive green. So this is what I have in mind, and I don't really have any anything else in mind and try to much colors. So now I'm adding the same blue that was here. I'm adding here, so it's going to flow nicely between the two. I don't want to have two distinct colors for the general ones for now, because we're going to add accents colors as well, and those are just going to be difference. So just you have an idea of what I want. I'm going to on the ground screen. So this is going to be really beautiful away. A Ah, a little bit off. And when you're starting to make the radiance from blue just always like I want you have that green here some funding bits off green slowly in all my cells when they go on this side. I liked, you know, one going some starting in the middle. I think this one's dry. I'm just going to make a wash on this one. I really don't like it. I think it's just too pale. I was going to do wash on top. I want you had grown to it because I think I think right now it's It's really boring. So I'm going to add some drawn for some depth, Really, the only difficulty for the if you overthink, then it's going to be complex. And also, if you're too slow, you willing it. You work quickly, and then, of course, I need you on the blue soothe. Also, keep in mind. Then, when you other colors and they're wet, they see much stronger. Then once they start to write way, and I talked about an accent color, and this is the color that is not in the same colors, but that will bring some, suddenly, a bit of freshness. I'm going to use orange, but not too dark orange when we want something. You know that pops. So I'm using the complementary color off green. Um, accent colors works best like that. So it needs to be something that is complimentary grass and olives and greens and blues. And suddenly you put in some orange and it gives some vibrancy to it. And so now I have all the colors I know I want to use. And then I'm simply composing randomly. Relatively means that, for instance, the X and Cola. I'm not going to put one just directly aside. Random might be that, but I don't because I compose so all around is going to be green because I want to have green on this side and I'm going to add orange here, for instance, here and here's well and maybe here, so you want to have it balanced out through the painting. - It's also perfectly fine to have one or tune. That's ah like like this new new Grady INTs whatsoever. I'm just going to speed this up until we reach the edges and then I'm going to do some explaining. - You also wanted she try to have very little white space in between cells. Okay, now that we're going closer to the engines, what we're going to do is to use less color and more watcher through. If you remember the first warming up exercise I was doing just and ultra color and then just put water in the middle, and that's pretty much it's maybe ATS and add a dash of color just to have some some greedy INTs of some sorts but really, really lights. And then you just go on like this. You make them smaller, the cells and with water in the middle and just add a bit off colorful interests. And now it's also a good time to start to give a little bit more space. You don't have to. You can keep them us clues as you want, but you can also add space. - And so he as I'm I'm really working randomly, and as you can see here, there's some little space that just happens. And so I want to keep it. So I'm just going to continue working here and maybe adding a few dots here. But I'm going to make something that is a little bit divided into, and this is something that's you really not just needed. Teoh work very freely and very spontaneously. Just don't really over think it and and see where it leads you. And when. When you see an opportunity like this for me is kind of like an opportunity, Then just go with it. Trust yourself with the composition and trust your I so go wet pleases you. Another thing when you are composing like that. So composing undergo is that sometimes you need to pause and just look at your painting and wonder, What am I missing? You know what's not working right now? I look at my painting. See, this is kind of something's happening. What has happened a year? This is just not working. Somehow it needs to be more here and limitless. See? And this is where you have to pause and then think, What do I want? You won't want to keep this very small and then go like this. How do I want to have something that is going to cover all of this, you know? So you have you have several options. None off. It is better than the others. Distrust options. So you can say, OK, I want you have, like, big thing and here, tiny thing and here, like like a waste something. It can't even be that your painting, um in the end is like that and it's almost like a dancer with the wastes, all you decide that you want something that is maybe you decide. No, I don't want to. I don't want to. Ntt's I want one And that's way you will Odd cells in here and he and maybe it's in the diagonal. So these are all options. None of them are better than the others. It's just choices. And this is where you have to decide for yourself. I feel like this part is a little bit too light washed, so I'm just going to add more colors we owe. I think one of the difficulties off painting abstract is Teoh. No one to stop and often, um, you don't really knew. So it's like at some point you might be finished, but you're not quite sure. So one easy. Um, I wouldn't call it a technique, but an easy way off off trying to assess if it's finished or not, it's just too lets us aside and sleep over it. - This class is really all about having fun and unwinding for from a hellish life from a complicated life, exhausting life, how life can be sometimes don't forget to sign and date your peace. Once you're done, I'm not too sure yet. If this is finished or not, I will just come back to it later. And here the finished painting. I also made a few other variations to give you an idea of the possibilities. Try to find your own voice through this easy going class by simply picking the shapes and colors you like best. You might even want to make this part off a bigger painting or start a more complex composition 7. Final Words: Thank you so much for joining this class. If you have any questions, don't hesitates to comments in the common section below. I would love to see what you came up with. So please share your project with the class. If you want to share your work on social media, don't forget to tell me I go by the Monica. But I really hope you enjoyed this class. And I hope to see you in my next video by