Brush Strokes - Build your Watercolour Skills | Tanya J. De Wet | Skillshare

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Brush Strokes - Build your Watercolour Skills

teacher avatar Tanya J. De Wet,

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.

      00 Brush Strokes Intro+


    • 2.

      01 Know your Brushes


    • 3.

      02 Brush Experiments


    • 4.

      03 Brush Strokes


    • 5.

      04 Brush Care


    • 6.

      05 Class Project


    • 7.

      06 Bonus VIDEO


    • 8.

      07 Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Brush Strokes - Build your Watercolour Skills

About the Series “Building your Watercolour Skills, we are taking a closer look at areas of creativity where you may need more specific guidelines to accomplish a task. The classes will follow shorter lessons with emphasis on the processes & techniques to help you through all the learning curves that have worked for me.

It couldn’t be easier to tackle the projects & see them through to the end with a final tangible piece of Art or newly acquired Brush Stroke Library to save in a file. These will come in handy when you need a boost of creativity or a reminder of what your brushes can do.

Class description

The Brush Strokes Class is a systematic approach to bringing your Brush Strokes to life & build on your techniques.

We are using a limited palette again & narrowing down our attention to focus on Brush Strokes. We will start our lessons out with self-discovery of each of the brushes you have with fun & playful Brush marks.

 From there we are taking a look at deeper experimentation as I demonstrate some of my favourite methods to draw with a few brushes.

The Exercises will be for your benefit, but completely optional, although it would be nice to build your Brush Stroke Library early on.

 In the Brush Cleaning lesson, you’ll learn more tricks & discover how to deep clean even old brushes. If you have Water brushes, this class will benefit you tremendously as I disassemble a water brush, clean it thoroughly & put it back together perfectly.

The most satisfying lesson is the Bonus Video where you can follow along as we do a whole variety of Brush Stroke techniques to create a piece of Art ready to hang. Once you’ve created one piece, you’ll want to create more & more. With the Brush Stroke Class there is an abundance of actionable ideas & techniques you can copy into your existing knowledge.

It is my wish for you to enjoy the Experiments, Exercises & practice phase of your Watercolour Journey & grow as an Artist or creative being. By Building your Watercolour Skills through the Brush Strokes Class, your abilities & creativity will grow to the next level with ease.   

The Class Resources Include:

Brush Anatomy.pdf

Brush Stroke TOP TIPS.pdf

Build your Watercolour Skills.pdf

To receive regular updates, more information or to find other things I get up simply connect with me at

Meet Your Teacher

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Tanya J. De Wet



Hi there Creative Hearts,

I'm Tanya the Artist, Pattern Designer & Creative Educator for

At Andsodesigns, I get to create a beautiful Life filled with the Career Success, Creativity, Self-Mastery & all Your Dreams to become Wildly Successful too.

When I'm not working on my Creative pursuits, I love to dive deep into Workshops, Presentations & Retreats for Women. 

One of my free workbooks "Overcome the Dream Crushing Weeds" is available so you can start your creatice journey today. Coming from my own struggles as a hyper active perfectionist, I'm glad to share the inner healing with you to make your dreams come true.

We are all Co-Creators working on dissolving our bad habits & allowed ourselves to get our acts t... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. 00 Brush Strokes Intro+: Here we are, a new class. It's all about brassicas. Now, who knew that we could make a whole class just about brushes. I wanted the painting with all of them. And I'll definitely be sharing your field trips. Will discover what we can do with brushes, how each branch has a specific function, and what little tips and tricks we can accomplish with each of those brushes. Some are used to define techniques, and others are used to refine already drawn items, how to care for your brush properly. At the very end, I need you to stay tuned because I'll be demoing MyClass project in a bonus video. Join me and let's get this class guy. 2. 01 Know your Brushes: While hi there, welcome. To let you know that every brush in your arsenal can potentially be used for mark making. My suggestion would be that you take your paint and brushes on a sketchbook journey. You can full page after page with beautiful mark making and discover what your brush can do for you. On the color swatches, you'll see three colors. Yellow, ochre, viridian you, and Prussian blue. As always, I taste out the colors on spade pieces of watercolor paper that was cut off from larger projects. I keep a stack of these on the side of my table. The watercolor pad comes in very handy as you can pop that or a sketchbook in your bag to go and paint anywhere. The larger A4 sheets are what we are mostly going to use today. The other tools or to water jars are keep for clean mixes and glazing on the paper. Here's a top tip for you. It would be really nice if you kept your brushes upright in a glass container to prevent damage to the Brussels? I display mine on my desk like a paintbrush. Okay. The first brush is a small detail brush. And it exactly what it's used for details. Next up is a script line. It has a long thin brush and it's perfect for drawing thin lines or doing writing. Always replace the cap end. Right? See. Here is a liner brush also used for accurate littering or scrolling. This is appointed round. It is used to create sharp pointy marks while holding plenty of water to fall some areas. This one is a curved, angular or dagger. It is my favorite and I use it as often as I used my mom brush. The curved angular brush at the bottom gives a perfect glide from one told to the next, and gives a soft transition between continuous strokes. The fan brushes, I just adore these. The large soft bristles can create large, robust marks very quickly. While the dry one is a gym to have in your arsenal. The hard bristles are perfect for multiple lines, all splattering. It is actually an oil brush, but nobody said we can't use it for our watercolor to get texture. And I included in my collection simply because of its versatility. We all know the flat brush as it is used in drawing solid lines and filling in large spaces. This one has Seibel hair and is very soft. Don't forget that your flat brushes have a thin H2. The round is used most often to paint with. It is a great all-rounder, perfect for filling in objects, making Patrul marks. And when you compare it to the sharp point of appointed round, you can see that the differences of very clear, the soft round makes delegate tear drop shapes. And the pointed round will fall in little delicate corners. This guy is a full but also used in oil painting techniques, but I use it like a watercolor brush. We must never be limited by what we think something is. Explore and be creative. It has the same appearance as around, but is mounted on a flat hill. The flat, hard hogs, hey, bristle brush is another oil painting brush and is excellent for brushed techniques, stippling and sputtering. The large flat brush is perfect for filling in big washes. It is somewhat versatile, but definitely not one of my favorite. This one has synthetic Brussels. A pointed round number 1620. Look very impressive. But I've come across some hurdles with these ones as their hairs or synthetic and do not hold enough water. But I'll show you what I mean in the brush experiments section. My trusty number four, mop brush. I kid you not. This brush is a real go-to. Once you've learned how to use it while it was definitely one, I had to spend a lot of time with. I had to master how to handle the brush and how to get the water ratios accurate. But tricky, but well worth having and holds plenty of water and pigment and handles like a dream. Then we have a long cat stung brush with extra long hair and a folder front end. Once this brush is fully loaded, it can go for long stretches across your page. I would have preferred Seibel hair on this one. But keeping in mind that again, this is not a watercolor brush. It's merely one I've decided to include in my arsenal. It's proven really useful for gosh painting. And I've seen a lot of body paint. Artists use it. Next up, other water brushes are really like these guys. As I often use them to finish offer painting was details or soften ages. Once you start using these brushes, you'll see them as the versatile tools they are known for. You will be surprised at what they can do. They travel well. They pop in a handbag, sit on the side of a sketch book, and you can literally take them anywhere. They are available in different thicknesses and styles. Some have unrestricted waterflow and needs to be pushed to release the moisture. And others are droopy and Macy. So taste them out to see what character traits you can exploit or use the based. I won't be going over the rest of the brushes as these are doubles of things I've already discussed. We are also going to narrow them down to just a few. In the next lesson, I want you to take more time to discover the brushes you already have. You don't need to go out and buy anymore. Use the one that you have on your desk or hidden somewhere in a drawer and experiment with them. And if there is a brush that you don't like, cut holes in the Brussels or pulls some of them have to do something creative with them. Really push the brushes and your limits and see what comes out at the other end. Down to worry about outcomes at all, as we can call them experiments. A recap for the lesson. We went over the top tips for your brushes, that basic tools and supplies that you'll need for this class. And I described 15 different brushes and their uses so that you can identify some of them, that you might have gathered some of your things. And let's go over to the experimentation section. I'll see you in the next lesson. 3. 02 Brush Experiments: Glad you could make it to the brush experiments. This is exciting part of your journey making brush experiments and will help you to see what each of your brushes are doing. How to do the transfer of pigment to paper. As I said before, you have to take the brushes and push them to the limits. In the palette plate. I've mixed up some juicy paddles. We use Prussian blue, viridian hue, and yellow ochre. I'll start off with the number four mod brush. Scoop up some of the Prussian blue and touched the tip of the paper. Praise down, Lift up. Now it's rents the brush and take yellow ochre and paint an age on that shape. Rinsed brush again, and take Prussian blue, curve, align in one bolt stroke and add another side. Grab some viridian and tippett into the weight paint. Rents and type Prussian blue. Again. Drag the brush into a shape on the page and add color on the sides. Runs the branch and test-time, blood. Some of that witness of honor tau with the damp brush, scoop up some mixed pain from the paddle and layer down to see how much pigment comes through. If you follow the lung, you'll see that the previous shapes, our weight. And while this one is somewhat saturated with more solid color, but stowed juicy, you are in control of the brush, the water, the pigment, the movement, the pressure. And each of these changes will give you a different result. Drop in some viridian to see how the paint interacts with the dryer paddle. Getting a little closer, you can see how effortlessly the paint flows. Clear mixes can only be achieved when you let go and allow the water and pigment to move into the weight areas. Drop in some clean water and lead the water, push out the pigments to create texture. These are also called water blooms. Tip in some color. And notice how it moves. With the toppings of water and color. You can place them strategically to ensure a specific color in a specific place. Remember, you are in control of everything through out the process. Watercolors remind me of what Bruce Lee said. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless like water. And now put the water into a cup. It becomes the cup. You put the water in a bottle, it becomes the bottom. I think that's why I love watercolor so much. It's freeing, it's liberating. And it allows you to do things you cannot do with any other medium. This time on waiting the angular dagger and picking up some yellow ochre to make a shape on the page. Notice how I put it down with the sharp side to a state with a downward pressure and glided upwards to create a shape. Again, manipulating the placement, the pressure, and the movement of a loaded brush will give you different results depending on which direction you pushed it. With the second stroke. I do exactly the same, but without exaggerating the pressure. With this one, I started out and then almost overworked a dried off some of the weightiness with a thirsty brush and dropped in a little bit of a radian. A loaded brush boots down water and pigment, depending on what you load, the brush wealth. And a thirsty brush, we'll collect water and pigment off the surface. You can still add more color because this area is stalled, Dan, and it will give you another result. It's all about control. Working on a variety of single strokes with each of your brushes changing the angles and the pressure will help you to understand and figure out what each brush can be used for and how you can create different things to enhance your paintings. Here are some things you could try. Some single strokes, side dragging strokes, pushing strokes, stamping with the brush edge. And any variation of movement you can think of. With watercolor, you're not painting. You're laying down water. And what you fall into that water is the shapes and color pigments. And sometimes you need to soften out the shapes and other times you need to make hard ages water and the water color paint will go way you tell it to go. That's why it's very important to master your brushstrokes in order to show the paint Way to go. Those brushstrokes literally guide the water and guide the paint. Now, bring all of these little shapes together was a narrow end of the brush and connect them. See how easy that was. So now it's your turn to create experiments. I'll leave you with some music and fast-forward through the next ones. Okay? Okay. A recap for this lesson. Every brush can be used in multiple ways. Once you've laid in the color, you must leave it alone and let the water and paint dry off completely. The water, paint, brush strokes, and placements are controlled by you. Water is the secret. Remember, creative with your brush stroke. And a variety of color in each of those strokes will liven up your paintings. Next up, we'll look at the brushes and exercises you can use to improve your watercolors skills even more. 4. 03 Brush Strokes: We can start the brush stroke exercises by gathering our Piper, three columns, water jars, paper towels, and of course, our brushes are stopped by waking, OK, some of these drawing pans and make the color available. We want lashing of juicy color. As you wake up your colors, make sure to rent your brush out between them. I have yellow, ochre, viridian hue, and of course, Prussian blue. There we go. The color palette will help us to stay focused on our brushstrokes. I'm going to add a bonus video lighter to demonstrate how I create a piece of art, including all of the brush drugs we just learned. The actual brushstroke exercises will be done on A4 sheets. These are keep in a binder so that I can refer back to them. Let me quickly show you what I want you to do for your exercises. Praise the Full Belly of the brush down. Try and make this lines on the point to see how the new can go. Released some pressure on your brush. This time, I want you to press down, lift and drag a tale out. Let me show you again. Press down, drag and lift the brush to Michael little tail. Keep on practicing until it feels natural. In the beginning, everything feels awkward. But the more we do it, the better we get at it. Now do the opposite. Start with a send tail, drag, then press with the belly of the brush. And just like that, you have a new brush truck and you've learned how to alternate the angles. This is all part of the discovery process. You can drag, force, stamp, stippled, and do a huge amount of variations with your brushstrokes down frayed. You'll get the hang of it shortly. Okay. I have my I4 sheets really. It's time for me to get to my exercises. But before that, I want to go over the brush anatomy with you will take the very large pointed round and dunk it in the water, make sure you saturate those Hayes completely. That means the belly of the brush is completely full of water. This frontier is called the toe and bag with the hairs come together is the heel. The metal chamber that houses the haze is called the Ferro. It is held in place with a crimping technique and some really strong glue. And of course we have the handle offended a little brush reference for you and you can download it in the resource section. I would suggest I shaft grip somewhere in the middle. When you have a death grip in the front, you don't have any control over your brush. It might seem counterproductive, but it's better to start of learning less weight than to clasp your brush like pain. When I make this first set of strokes, you can clearly see that the brush wasn't loaded properly. You have a solid line in the middle with wishy washy color on the side. To remedy this, you must rather entire belly of the brush in the juicy paddles of paint. This will ensure enough color is soaked up into the brush. Now, gather some kind and try that brushstroke. Again. It's always a good idea to mix your color beforehand. You can, of course, work straight from the pans, but that's not always advisable. By using your pre-mixed titles, you have more control over what Cullen lays down on the paper. There's a huge difference between using your hand, your wrist, you're for or home, or even your home when you make your marks to steady your hand? I use my little finger to stabilize my hand on the page. Now, use the whole arm to drag a straight line of paint across the page. This gives you a straight line. When you do the same technique was just your forearm perverting the album. You'll see that your lines end up curved. You can spread out the dampers and collect some of the mix color on the petals. This dry brush technique will help you to see what else. No brush is capable of. Dry brush techniques come in very handy and it's well worth a try. And see what else we can career. I always advise people to take as many skill building classes as possible. And here on skill share, I also have a few classes. You can absolutely join in there to check it out for yourself and let me know if I should use the fan brush a little bit more. Okay, next up on the US and Russia. The brushes have been useful in many paintings and fits in the fast. I'll use the sign strokes and home and movements that I did before and compete my exercises. This time, I want you to just have a look. My other favorite, the water brush. Playing with your water brush will expand your brushstrokes and techniques based on the knowledge you already have. It's a little bit tricky in the beginning to discover how much water will come through in the end. But once you've mastered this and experimented a few times, you will see that the water brush is an excellent tool to use with your sketchbook. And with a minimal setup of a sketchbook or water brush and a few colors knew already in a defeated gate to that painting spot and paint. When we think in different terms and apply our skills to multiple ways, then we grow. And that my RT frames is why we do these experimental exercises to grow and to build on knowledge. That is perfect. Start putting down marks and see how thin you can get those little lines. Paint with it until the paint runs out. Then blend your colors into each other. Do some gradations and washes, and seeing if you can get your brush dry enough to do dry brush strokes. My favorite technique is to soften hard ages. This water brunch is a winner. As you can see, there are several very useful techniques you can master with a water watch. And when you play with yours, you'll soon realize how versatile it really leaves. A recap for this lesson. We learned to identify the brush anatomy. Remember you're downloading the Resources section and then how to prepay juicy parallels and to properly load your brush. The experimentation sheets can go into a brushstroke library. And then we had a deeper look at how important a water brush can be. This is when we take our water brush with us and travel light to anyway. Now we have no more excuses of where and when Japan. Wow, we've really covered a lot so far. So next up, we'll take a look at how to care for your brushes. 5. 04 Brush Care: British care is as important as any other aspect of art. When you take care of your brushes, you will extend the longevity. Gather all your brushes, some paper towels, soapy basin, and little bar of gentle soap. And some paper towels. Place all of your brushes into the tub and through all the water around to loosen up some of those initial treatments. Water brush can be disassembled by removing the cap, unscreened the brush head, and pushing down on the front? Nope. This will pop it out on the other side. You'll notice a sponge around the barrel where the water is dispersed into the brush. Keep this intact as it is quite delicate soil the nerve in the soapy water to loosen up the pigment that may have been stuck inside. Now you can take an old brush and clean the chamber with the small bar of soap in one hand, you can glide the brush across this, so this will loosen up any of the stubborn pigment. Dance crop your brushes too harshly. My mouth brush seems fairly clean. Are loaded up with some soap and just put it aside for now. You can see that a little bit of color is appearing in the soap bubbles. This means that pigment has been hiding inside the bristles. So I will lightly agitate the Brussels to loosen up more of the people and I'll quickly go through and do the rest while you listen to. Ok. I think it is. Now we can rents all of the soap off of the brushes and place them on a paper towel overnight. At this stage, I'll check each of them to see if the chamber is still secure. Yeah. With the water brush, I'll put the parts back together into from the back end and push it in place securely by using a sin handled brush. You'll know you have it when it makes a clipping sound. There. All your brushes are clean and you have a bouquet of brushes on your table again, ready for the next painting? The prayer for the cleaning is a tub of soapy water, a gentle soap bar, paper towels, time and patients of course. So we used a large tub of pre-mixed soap, water. We washed each of those brushes. We inspected the chambers and then assembled the water brush again. You are now ready to put your brush strokes into action. And I'll share the class project instructions next. 6. 05 Class Project: For the first class project, you are going to continue and bolt on your brush strokes before you can get that one thing you hanging on your wall. We first have to practice three lines of different brush strokes for each one of your brushes. Just luck on demonstrating. In the video. You can skip this whole state, but you will benefit when you have a file full of references referring back to them when you need inspiration or to plan out your next painting. Keeping a visual diary or record of this class project will help you to build your brush stroke knowledge and your watercolors skills. East. Yeah. Let me quickly show you how to share your class project and add them to the projects section. I'll be checking in on you to see how you are doing and giving you feedback on your progress. You will find that reloads and videos are projects and resources. Next to that, on a green button is create your project. On that green Create button. You can add cover image. So this first section is we'll cover in me. So the project tied to its colour Patent, project description. Yes. That should be announce. Sum means add more image. Will look at that. Here. I'll be sharing my class project. After I practiced my brush strokes, I chose my angled dagger brush as it has become one of my favorites. So you can choose your favorite brush and create something with simple brushstrokes. Remain the two mix up your cutters and took in some colors. Apply the things we've learned so far. Take it a recap for this lesson. We've practiced our brush strokes added to our library, and we make one piece for our. Next up. I'll be sharing my final thoughts with you. And I have a little surprise at the end. Yes. We are having a bonus video. See you there. 7. 06 Bonus VIDEO: Hello. Okay. At the time. Wow. Okay. Okay. And then begins okay. This begins okay. 8. 07 Final Thoughts: Okay. Yes.