Botanical Illustration for Beginners: Watercolor Basics | Cristina Handrea | Skillshare

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Botanical Illustration for Beginners: Watercolor Basics

teacher avatar Cristina Handrea

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.



    • 3.

      Secure the paper


    • 4.

      Construction and Drawing of the flower


    • 5.

      Erase the Construction


    • 6.

      Fade the Drawing


    • 7.

      Vibrant yellow


    • 8.

      Light green for the leafs


    • 9.

      Amber for shaping the petals


    • 10.

      Deep green for modeling the leafs


    • 11.

      Shadowing the Flower


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About This Class

There are times when you want to learn something new but it turns out to be really difficult to get started. You can’t quite figure out where to start, you feel lost without any guidance and you don’t know how to get to where you want to go.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were people who could help get you started on your journey?

If you are a beginner and looking to expand your artistic ability, this course will be a great way to inspire you and to try something new!

In this course you will be shown how to make your drawings come to life using vibrant watercolors and tips on how to illustrate in a simple way. This course will teach you how to make simple and beautiful drawings using watercolors. No prior experience is needed.

This course is great for anyone who wants to learn how to paint botanical illustrations.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert artist, this course will provide you with all the tools and techniques needed to create your own botanical masterpieces. You will start out by learning the basics of watercolor painting and color mixing. Then you will move onto the project which involves creating a composition using pencils, brushes and watercolor paints.

Botanical Illustration for Beginners is a complete course designed to help you gain confidence in your watercolor painting skills.

If you are interested in learning more about the wonderful world of watercolor illustrations and expand your knowledge, you can find more in the course:

Gorgeous Botanical illustration Guide to watercolor painting 

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1. Welcome!: Hello, my name is Christine and welcome to the second botanical illustration course. This is a very simple and easy to follow course, and you will have a lot of fun making this watercolor painting. In this course, you'll learn how to create your own artwork of a globe flower. This flower stands out by its beautiful yellow petals and it's delicate leaves. You will give brightness to this illustration by layering multiple colors and keeping the edges nice and sharp. Starting with the construction, you will learn how to integrate the flower in simple geometric shapes that are easy to understand by mixing the primary colors, you'll learn how to create original nuances and play with the layering technique. And now let's go into the course. 2. Materials: For this illustration, you will need the following items. A plastic plate, which is very easy to clean and reuse two vessels of water, one for cleaning your brush and the other to add to the colors. A couple of napkins for cleaning the brush or discharged the access from it, the painter's tape for securing the paper on the working table, a white eraser with thin edges and the pencil, the one used in this video is a fine 12 brushes, one with a bigger belly for a more efficient coverage, and the other slightly thinner for more control on lines of watercolor paper. The one used in this video has a very finance smooth surface and it's very pleasant to work on because its luminosity is from Canson, the side is A4 and it has 300 grams per square meter and a watercolor palette. The one used in this video, it's called sonnet, and it has very nicely segmented colors and the great variety of nuances, the color you will need for now, our yellow medium, raw sienna, and ultramarine light. So now that you know what is needed, you are ready for the illustration. 3. Secure the paper: First thing you will need to do is secure the paper. So starting from the bottom repo base of the painter's tape and security to the table. Another pays for the top, then a bigger base for the left side, and then to the right side. So there you go. The paper is secured. 4. Construction and Drawing of the flower: For the next step, you will need a pencil and eraser. Start by tracing two lines to about two centimeters away from the top and the bottom. So you don't go too near to the edge when drawing. If you have a wider tape, you can use it to cover more of the edges. So you can skip this step. Then from the middle of the top line, go down with a straight vertical line. From the top, you'll want to draw a square starting with its sides from the half of each segment of the top-line. This is where the Corolla of the flower will fit. Continuing, choose a point on the vertical line about two centimeters away from the bottom line, from their direct aligned to the upper-right corner of the paper and then curve it back to the middle, just underneath the square on the top of the line, place a little circle, which stands for the bud. Next, you will start to draw the first three leaves from the half of the stem, one to the right and to the left, living from a narrower point. This stamp and going upwards give the leaf on elongate shape with a couple of pointed tips on the top edges and then go back to the stem. And the second leaf with a little scoop in the middle, going upward with a sharp tip, making the front of the leaf with more light. And then doing the other edge from the back. And the third, a little wider than the other two with the five-point, it keeps going down with one side, making the edges, and then going back to the stem from where the leaf left, that the first leaves are done. You can reshape the main stem, giving it a little tilt to the left and making it a bit thicker beneath the battles make the stem a little wider so the flower can rest on a more steady place and make a more smooth transition between the flower and the stem. And then do the same for the second stem beneath the circle, make the line more wider than go down to the main stem, pressing the leaf from the back where you will want to make the stem a bit thicker. Continuing with the second bundle of leaves, go to the bottom right side of the stem and outline a wide live with for pointy edges. You can cross the bottom limit as long as you are aware of it shaped the leaf with four pointed tips sticking out of the frame. Continuing above with another narrower leaf with three tips. And the third, a little hidden behind the second stem. Nicely go down, hiding in the back. And the fourth one going up, almost mirroring the one from above, going a little behind it. And embrace the main stem. Then in the back of this leaf hide one more so it can soften a little, the edge look of the bundle back of the main stem. Now give the little bud a tiny leaf at the bottom left, and start shaping the outer petals of the bud. From the stem live with one petal to the left. Then at the right, at 1, a little wider with a little tip sticking out and one more tiny petal at the right. Now you can move up and finish drawing the Corolla of the flower by shaping the petals, drawing the flower, make sure you use round moves. Start with a beautiful round petal at the middle. Keeping the shapes round, go to the right and continue with the next battle. Using the shape of the square to direct the petals will help you keep its compact look. The third will embrace the second, filling the bottom right corner of the square and a tiny fold at the edge. And then go to the upper-right corner of the square and fill the rest of the right side of the square. It's some lovely round petals. And then to the left with another petal. Now you can move to the left side of the square. Keep your line clean and round and move to the left with a narrower petal that covers the top of the big petal, leaving a space between them. And then from the left, go upward with another one, underside the last one, and then go back to the bottom of the flower. Three more battles to the left, fitting in the square with rounded shapes, with folded edges filling the bottom of the square. And then moving up to another one with a nice and big fold that will reflect the light coming from the left side. And the last big battle at the back with two folded corners sticking out of the top side of the square to break the formal little and give the flower a fresh and vital look. After finishing the petal, move to the middle of the flower, between the spaces left among the pedal and shape a couple of tiny pedals, so it doesn't look like it's empty underneath them. When you are done, make sure you are pleased with the result and every line is in its place. If you notice anything unpleasant, take your time to reshape. Now you have finished the drawing step. Well done. 5. Erase the Construction: For the next step, you will use the edge of the eraser to remove the first drawn lights. So slowly go up and erase the top limit. The edges of the square. Carefully going between the petals in the middle and the edges of the outer petals. What's left from the vertical line going nicely besides the upper part of the stem. And carefully going between the lines of the leaf. Erase the bottom line at the end so you can get rid of what's left from the eraser. Use a fan-shaped brush and lightly sweep around. 6. Fade the Drawing: Now using one wave moves so you don't smudge the graphite on the paper lightly, go around and fade away the lines of the drawing. This will give you a clean finish to the illustration. Don't press too much, just barely touched the surface. If you wonder, why bother making the drawing if at the end of it, I just erase it almost completely. You can think of the drawing as being glycan assistant is there if you need help to navigate on the paper, but it does not stand in your way or attract too much attention to the eye. So making that clear, you can prepare your working table for the next step. 7. Vibrant yellow : Now you are ready for the first layer of color. For more efficiency, you can use the bigger brush. Start by giving your brush and good soak in water. Then move to the yellow and give it a couple of good tabs. For now, you will only work with this warm yellow that will give the entire illustration a lovely brightness and energy. The thickness of the colors should be medium, so it can have a good coverage without feeling too heavy on the paper. After loading your brush with a good amount of color, you can start to apply it. Letting the paper absorb a good quantity of moisture, move around the shapes of the petals and distribute the color evenly on the coral. So the yellow can give unity and harmony to your flower. Go around the edges and make sure you cover every petal with this beautiful yellow moving up with round moves on the contour, use the tip of the brush to fill the narrower shapes. And now the less free barrels to the left going smoothly on their shapes with gentle moves. Finishing the bottom left corner and then going upward to the last one. After you have evenly distributed the color and the Corolla, feel your brush and move down to the main stem using the tip of the brush to direct the color until you reach the bottom. So go nicely downward and do not rush. Working with short moves. Going among the leafs, descend slowly. And at the end, doing a couple of lines, fade. The ending of this step. Now the bad, giving it a good saturated yellow from the pellet, the little leaflet, and down the stem, making it a bit wider at the top and the bottom, just like in the drawing, goes slowly on the direction of the drawing and carefully fill every tip of the top lives. Feel your brush one more time and go along their edges, directing the color to the main stem, smoothly covering every tip. So you can keep the shape. And the last one to the right nicely going across the second step. And now the ones from the bottom, doing the ones from the left side and the back, crossing over the second stem. Then move to the one from the right bottom, finishing the color from the palette. And nicely field its form, its edges. Moving your brush over the leaf. And now the one above. Before moving to the next step, make sure the first layer of color has dried out. 8. Light green for the leafs : For the next layer of color, you will need the narrower brush. This will help you execute more thinner and precise lines. Make sure that your brush forms a stiff tip that does not remain banned after applying pressure on it. This time, you will want to create a light green for the stems and the leaves using the yellow use previously, and blue ultramarine. When working on this step, you will want to leave some yellow from the underneath exposed in the places where the most light glaze on the flower. Now, feel your brush nicely and discharged the tip of it so it doesn't drop too much in one go. So starting from the top of the main stem, choose the right side for laying the green color, leaving a thin string of yellow on the left side of it. Work your way down with the tip of your brush until you meet the bottom. Nicely. Go among the top bundle of leaves and going down towards the second, keeping the right side of it until you meet the end. Then fill the brush again. Now, move to the BOD and give it a light green living the tip yellow. Because on the bud, the yellow was not entirely dry. It spread and faded to the top. And then go down It's stem with a thin line on the right side till the half of it. Going upward with the tip of the brush, keeping the left side of the stem yellow. Then fill your brush and move back to robot, giving the tips a little green culture so they can be a little more visible to the eye. And now to the little leaflet. How little shadow? Move to the top left leaves and give their edges some nice contours living on each of them, some stripes of yellow. So firstly, back of the leaf and give the middle edge another culture. Then feel with green, the half from the bag that does not catch too much light. Being directed to the right. Then move to the one below, starting with, it's covering the right side of the leaf with green. And to the left side leave some more yellow and work just on the edges. Then of two, the one from the right side of the stem, coloring the top edges with a light green. Then going with some green below the stem, making sure you don't cover the yellow light of the stem. And then to the bottom leaves covered with green, the one from behind that stem, and then go down to the next filled a brush wants more and start from the bottom. Lift the center of it more lighted and give us some thin stripes of green. By doing this, you will give the leaf are nice and glossy aspect. And now the one to the left side of the stem, coloring the edge from the left, then going to its underside, covering it with green. And the last one from the bottom covered completely with green, go nicely from the bottom of the leaf to the top, feeling every tip and making them extra edge. Even if it seems like all the yellow is now covered with green, its brightness still shines through the thin layer of green, making it look full of life and personality. 9. Amber for shaping the petals: Further for the next layer of color for the flower, start by adding to your bullet a good amount of yellow. After that, add to the yellow, a bit of sienna, a lovely earth pigment with a wonderful transparency. The nuance you have to obtain is a beautiful golden amber, not very saturated. With this layer. You will model the shapes of the petals and you will identify the parts of the flower that has to be shadowed further, starting with the first petal from the center, give it some thin stripes of color from the middle to its bottom, where you will want to drop some more color, let it build up a little. So feel your brush and take your time. Giving is base and nice shadow shaped, almost like a sun, with its rays spreading on the paddle. Move the color gathered on the base and help it make its way on the thin stripes. Then give the bottom of the petal a little counter on the edge. Now counter the right side of the petal. Places shadow on the petal from the right. Give the bottom right corner of the flower and nice saturated shadow. Then move up to the right corner and feel the inner side of the petal with Amber. On each of them. Focus on shaping their form by coloring the undersides and the half bottom of them, leaving their tops and edges yellow. Use vertical motions when laying your color to give the flower more fatality. Continue with the petal from the back and use your tip along its forms to make sure you don't cover is beautiful folded edges, keeping the color nicely saturated under side the petal. And then go to the parallels from the left and give their undersides some nice Amber shadows. The one below with a bigger share with just a little stripe of light on the edge. And the other with the edge a little more wider than going to the right. Place another shadow above the front petal and then continue shadowing the petals from the middle going in between them so the flower can have more death and details to focus on. Take your time to adjust and define a couple more details. If you feel like add more drops of color on the shadows. If you want to amplify or some stripes to suggest their direction. You can add some contrary to the edges so the parallel detached from the background. So nicely go to the petals from the left. And with just a bit of color, culture, their outer edge. 10. Deep green for modeling the leafs: Now you can continue to work on the details of the leaves and the stems. Start by adding a nice amount of saturated yellow to the palette. Then give the blue a good soak in water and mix the two on the ballot until you arrive to a beautiful deep cold green. Make sure your color is thicker so you can use it in a more graphic manner. Going to the bottom, start with the big lift from the right. Starting with the edge from the left, Live from the stem within parallel stripe. The way you direct the lines will dictate the shape of the leaf. Keep the dimensions of the lines similar one to the other. Go from the stem and move along the other lines until you reach the tips of the leaf. When going near the tips, gradually gathered together the lines to have more control. When going through this step. You can hold the handle of the brush from our nearer point to the head. Continue countering the leaf and filling it with thin stripes of green. Starting from the bottom of the leaf to the epics. Finish the leaf with a nice shadow above it and gather some more color on its tip. Build some more color to the bottom of the leaf going along the lines that are still wet. So the green can look like a shadow left from the main step. Now, moving to the left, feel the back part of the leaf with green. So nicely go on it's form and fill all the edges. Then descend along the stem to detach the leaf from it. Then, with a good amount of color in your brush, climb up to the stem on the right side of it until you reach the top bundle of the leaves. And now from the top, descend on the right edge of the stem. Taking a little more color and dropping it along the way to make the shadow darker. Go between the leaves with the thin stripe and meet the rest of the line. Continue the same process for the second stem, living from the bottom to the halfway, and then descend from the top building at the base of the bud, more green. Then gift the little leaf underneath the BOD, a couple of contours on each of the three edges. Then move to the bottom right leaf. Keep the middle of it lightly colored so it can reflect more light. With that in mind, go along the stripes of yellow from the leaf and drop some more color on the tip of it. Nicely going from the stem towards the end of the leaf, gathering more color on the tip. Then fill with green, the two leads from the back of the stamps. When doing this, be careful when going near the stamps so you don't cover the part of them where the light falls. So nicely feel the little leaves from the height, making sure every tip, it's covered with this beautiful green. Then fill your brush a little more and go down to the end of the stamp and give the right side of it a little faded green. Move to the top right side of the main stem and give the leaf are nice green tip and the little bit of contour start off leaving from the main stem on the bottom edge. And then go beneath the second stem and place a nice shadow and a lovely green tip. And now to the left, using a lighter green, continue the process. Going on the right side of the leaf with a light green. And then moving to the lower part, canter the edges with a couple of thicker stripes. And on the yellow part of the stem make the lines a little narrower. And for the last leaf, fill the back of the leaf with green and control the outline. So going from the tip of the leaf down its left edge to the stem and then filling the back of the leaf with this beautiful green. At the end, move to the left side of the main stem and trace a very fine shadow. So living from the top, shadowing the underneath of the flower, slowly descend with a thin line on the left part going down the leaves. And the same for the second stem, living from the top on the left part, meeting the green leaf from behind. 11. Shadowing the Flower: Before moving on to the last step, make sure your watercolor is entirely dry. By doing that, the next color you'll lay on the paper will not combine with the ones before, resulting to more precise lines and shadows. Next on, start by adding a nice amount of sienna on the palette. And then at Blue, by adding a cooler tone to it, you will tamper the redness of the color and make it more suitable for shadowing. Add a little more sienna and mix your colors nicely. And little test. Start from the bottom bundle of leaves, shadow the right side of the stem with a thin stripe. Do the line from two moves so it can be easier to control. So leaving from the leaves on the right side of the stem go upwards. Make sure in the process, you don't cover all the green from beneath now nicely from the top. Slowly going down. Then go to the leaves from behind the stem and give them a couple of thin stripes, just like in the previous step. Doing the culture. Carefully going along the stem, using the tip of your brush. Then go to the bottom leaf from the right, and following the darker green shadow, the base of it. Don't go too far with the shadow on the lines just cover their beginnings. Move to the left and shadow the backside of the leaf. And now the end of the stem with a lighter color shadowing the underneath of the leaf to moving to the top right leaf. Give it a nice culture and some fine stripes over the lighted middle to the tip. Because this leaf is a little more lighted, you will want to use a shadow less saturated. So the contrast of the colors won't break the form of the leaf, continue shadowing the edges and then go on the middle of the leaf with a couple of faded stripes. Mixing some more sienna on my palette. Now shift to the left part and shadow the back of the top leaf with a darker shade at the bottom of the leaf and then with a couple of stripes to the tips. Discharging a little the brush to have more precision go nicely on the inner edge of the leaf and give it a couple of fine stripes going down and meeting the stem. Shading a little more of the pace of it. Move to the last leaf from the left and gave it stapes a couple of shadows, but don't overdo it. And for the last work on the green part of the leaf, giving the bottom edges some contrast. Now, you can continue with shadowing the right side of the second step. After placing a bit of shadow on the leaf from below the BOD, go down the right side and then from the main stem go up, meeting the rest of it on the BOD, leaving the tip of the petals lighted shadow there counter. Firstly, the one to the left, going down, then slowly moving to the right side. Keep on shadowing the edges of the petals. Saying hello to the little bug on the flower. And then for the last battle to the right, a little counter. Then using a good amount of color, drop some of it at the base of the petals. Then using some clean water, fade the color upwards. Keep on spreading the shadows and blend it a little with a contour lines giving a little shadow for the petal from behind. Then go down to the right. And give the bottom edges of the leaf dibs a couple of nice shadows. Pick the left side of the tip where the leaf is facing down. When doing this. Then go to the left and contour the edge and the little tip down here. Then move to the leaf from above, then give its down facing edge a little shadow. And to the one from the middle. And now adding a little bit of sienna on the pedal. For the petals, follow the pattern and the direction of the previous shadows. Move from the half of the middle panel and go down to its base. You can opt to use a nuance that is richer in Sienna. If you want to warm up a little the shadows from the paradox. Going down to the right, Give the bottom corner a small shadow that is placed in the little space between the bottom petal and the one above it. And then go along the right side of the middle battle up to the right corner of the square. Underside, the small petal from the back. Then give the two parallels, a couple of vertical stripes connecting them with their bottom. This will give an illusion of direction for the leaves and will make them look a little taller, Go to the pellet and refill the brush. Then move to the left corner and give the next two pedals and ice counter at the bottom corner. And then with a little bit of clean water, fade the shadow upwards. Then having a couple of adjustments to make around the petals. Putting everything in its place. Too little shadows underneath the right and left side. Petals from the middle. Continue by culturing the underside of the bellow from the middle left. And now the one in the back going nicely around the edges, nicely saturating the shadow on the lower part. A couple of details on the pose from the middle, going between them with the high contrast shadow. Between the middle left petal and the one from the center, place a couple of tiny vertical stripes and give the middle one a nice contour on the edge. At last, use a faded tone of Sienna to call a little the strong contrasts between the yellow tone and the less shadow layer. This will enhance the plasticity of the end result and we'll soften it a bit. Go around the big portions of yellow and place a couple of delicate shadows. Well done. You have finished your illustration or for wonderful globe flower.