Christmas Watercolor Illustrations: How to Paint Realistic Mistletoe & Candy Canes | Petals by Priya Watercolor | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Christmas Watercolor Illustrations: How to Paint Realistic Mistletoe & Candy Canes

teacher avatar Petals by Priya Watercolor, Watercolor Artist & Teacher

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

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.

      Welcome to Class!


    • 2.

      Class Projects


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Illustration Process


    • 5.

      Watercolor Mistletoe Part I


    • 6.

      Watercolor Mistletoe Part II


    • 7.

      Watercolor Candy Canes Part I


    • 8.

      Watercolor Candy Canes Part II


    • 9.

      Resources & Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

This class will teach you how to illustrate and paint realistic-style mistletoe and candy canes using watercolor!

Throughout the class, you will learn everything you need to know to create stunning holiday illustrations, including conducting inspo research, creating a digital sketch, transferring your sketch to watercolor paper using an LED light board, and of course, completing the painting! Before each project, we’ll also work through several practice exercises to get the hang of the more intermediate and advanced painting techniques. We’ll work through each lesson step by step so you can follow along at your own pace and feel confident every step of the way. This class is suitable for artists of all levels!

If you have questions or run into challenges during class, please feel free to post them in the discussion tab below. I will be responding to questions and comments frequently.

About the Artist

Hello and welcome! My name is Priya and I’m the owner of Petals by Priya Watercolor Designs. I’m an artist, art teacher, surface designer, and paper goods shop owner based in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. I’m passionate about teaching art in an approachable manner and helping artists at any level feel excited and empowered to create beautiful artwork that embraces their own unique style.

One of my absolute favorite parts about being an artist is connecting with other creatives and sharing our love for art, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Let’s connect!

Next Steps

Please don’t forget to upload your projects to the “Projects & Resources” section here on Skillshare. It’s a great way to receive feedback on your artwork and connect with fellow students and creatives. If you also share your project on social media, please tag me on Instagram so I can like and comment on your work and share it with my audience! 

Thanks again for joining this class. I can’t wait to see what you create! Have a question? Feel free to send me an email or DM me on Instagram!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Petals by Priya Watercolor

Watercolor Artist & Teacher

Top Teacher

My name is Priya Hazari and I'm a watercolor artist and owner of Petals by Priya Watercolor Designs. I specialize in painting loose watercolor florals and botanicals and am deeply inspired by the vibrant colors and beautiful nature surrounding me in Honolulu, Hawaii!

My journey with watercolors started as a hobby in 2018 and is now my full-time career. Over the years, I've had the pleasure of teaching in-depth painting and creative business classes to 5,000 students online and in person. I've also been able to see my designs come to life on products through licensing projects, and have transformed my artwork into prints and stationery items that are sold in retail stores around the United States. It's been a dream come true!

Though there are many aspects to my crea... See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Welcome to Class!: The holiday season is upon us and there's no better way to get in the spirit of making yourself a cup of hot cocoa, decorating your tree, turning on your favorite Christmas album, and of course, painting some festive holiday illustrations in watercolor. My name is Priya from Petals by Priya Watercolor Designs and I'm a full-time artist based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Well, my background is primarily in loose floral and botanical paintings. I also enjoy creating more detailed illustrations, especially when it comes to holiday-themed artwork. That's what we'll be doing together today. In this class, you'll learn how to paint realistic-style mistletoe and candy cane illustrations using a variety of watercolor techniques. I'll be breaking down everything you need to know. No matter what level or how much watercolor experience you have, you'll be able to follow along easily. Before each project, we'll start by completing a few practice exercises to get the hang of some of the more intermediate and advanced techniques, such as blending, shading, and utilizing color values to add depth and interest to our paintings. That way, we can learn about each of the techniques and start building up our muscle memory before diving into the projects. Also included in this class is a lesson dedicated to teaching you my illustration process from start to finish, including conducting and spell research, creating digital sketches on the iPad, transferring our final outlines to watercolor paper using a light board, and finally, completing the illustration. Now, if you prefer to paint freely without any sketching, you can absolutely do that and still participate in this class. But for those of you who want to dig a little deeper into the illustrative process, that lesson will be for you. I've also included free downloadable sketches of each of the projects for class today that you can download and reference in the resource section below. By the time you're finished with this class, not only will you have two beautiful holiday paintings, you'll also come away with invaluable watercolor and illustrative techniques that you can take with you as you continue on in your journey with watercolors. Before we jump into the class, if you want to learn more or connect with me on social media, you can find me on Instagram, on my website,, or on YouTube @petalsbyPriyaWatercolor. Now, if you're ready to get started, grab your hot cocoa, your watercolor supplies, and let's get to it. 2. Class Projects: We'll be completing two kinds of three projects in class today, the mistletoe and two different candy canes. As I mentioned before, we'll start each project with a few practice exercises. I know it can be tempting to jump right into painting the main pieces, but I want to encourage you to participate in the short practice sessions so you can truly get the hang of each technique, not only for the projects in this class, but also so that you can confidently apply them to any future paintings you work on down the road. At the end of class, please remember to upload your final projects to the projects and resources tab below. It's a great way to receive feedback on your work and connect with other students. You can do this by navigating to the projects and resources tab, clicking on the green button that says Create Project and uploading a title, photos and brief description or comment if you'd like. I know firsthand, how scary and intimidating it can feel to put your work out there. But Skillshare has a very supportive and encouraging community of creatives. There's no need to be shy. I went ahead and uploaded my project first and I hope to see yours there soon. Finally, if you have any questions or you run into any challenges along the way, you can also post those in the discussion section. I'll be checking that frequently to answer any questions or comments. 3. Supplies: Let's talk about the supplies you'll need for this class. Starting with watercolor paper, I'll be using Legion Stonehenge, 100 percent cotton paper. For brushes, I'll be using Princeton velvet touch round brushes, ranging from Size 2-8. But any round brushes that you have at home, will do it just fine. For watercolor paints, I'm going to be using pretty much the same color palette of red and green for each of the projects, because I want my final pieces to be coordinated and cohesive. But you're welcome to use any colors you have available that you like working with. If you'd rather paint bright neon candy canes, you can absolutely do that. The most important part of this class is learning the painting and illustrated techniques. I don't want you to worry too much about choosing the perfect colors. Other watercolors supplies we'll need include a jar or bowl of clean water, mixing palette and a paper towel for dabbing excess water off your brush. If you choose to follow along with the illustration lesson, I'll also be using the Procreate app on my iPad for creating digital sketches. But you can also just use a pencil and paper if you don't have a drawing tablet, my printer for printing out the final sketch. You don't have to have a special art printer or anything for this step, we'll just be printing out a simple black and white sketch to trace onto our watercolor paper. Any basic printer will do just fine. I'll also be using an LED light board for tracing the sketch onto my watercolor paper. If you do not have a light board, don't worry. I'll tell you another workaround for this in the illustration lesson. I'll also use masking tape to hold my paper in place while I transfer my sketches, and of course, a pencil and kneaded eraser. Once you've gathered all your supplies, I'll see you in the next video for the sketching and illustration process. 4. Illustration Process: In this lesson, I'll walk you through my illustration process from start to finish. Now I will say I used to never be one to sketch anything out prior to painting. But as I've learned new skills and techniques, I find myself gravitating more and more to it as I have a much higher chance of falling in love with my final painting when I put in a little extra time and effort into the prep work. One more thing I want to mention, there's definitely a time and place for utilizing this illustration process. For example when I'm painting loose florals, which is my primary subject, I almost never sketch anything out beforehand. I much prefer to just go with the flow and trust my artistic intuition. But when my end goal is to paint a specific object, like a candy cane, mistletoe, or a more detailed botanical illustration, that's when I'll use this method and put more time into the prep work upfront. Let's get started. For this demonstration, I'm going to use this mistletoe sketch as an example as we go through the four main steps. Step number 1 is taking a look at inspiration photos to help get the idea of what my subject looks like before I start sketching. Keep in mind we're simply gathering inspiration from these photos and starting to identify the key characteristics of the mistletoe. What we're not doing is copying or tracing any of these photos. We want our creations to be 100 percent our own. At this point we're simply pointing out things that we want to keep in mind as we sketch. One of my favorite sites to gather inspiration is, which has thousands of royalty-free photos you can use. But I also like to browse Pinterest for additional inspiration and color palettes. As I browse these photos, I'm just taking note of what features I'll include in my mistletoe sketch, like the rounded nature of the leaves and the general shape of the stem. Step number 2 is creating the digital sketch on my iPad using Procreate. Like I mentioned earlier, if you don't have an iPad or you don't have Procreate, that's totally fine. You can just use a pen and paper to create your sketch. I just prefer to use Procreate because it allows me to make mistakes and rework my drawing without having to erase and damage my paper. When I'm done sketching, I export it as a PNG and send it to my laptop and via Google Drive or email. Step number 3 is printing out my sketch and transferring the outline to my watercolor paper. First, I print out my finalized sketch onto just regular 8.5 by 11 inch printer paper. To do this, I'll create a Photoshop file that's 8.5 by 11 inches. I import my sketch and resize it to whatever size you want your final painting to be, and then print. Once it's printed, I transfer it onto my watercolor paper using this LED tracing board that plugs directly into my laptop. I'll show you how to do this first and then I'll tell you about another method that works if you don't have a light board. First, I take masking tape and tape my sketch onto the board. Then I turn on the LED lights to the maximum setting and I take my watercolor paper and tape it down on top of the sketch. I always make sure to tape everything down firmly so nothing moves while you're tracing because that can be really frustrating when that happens and you have to start over. Finally, I use a sketching pencil to trace the outline onto my paper. Make sure you're drawing very lightly so the pencil marks and indents aren't too harsh. Once it's done, I carefully remove the masking tape and move on to the next step. As I mentioned before, if you don't have a tracing board, you can still do this process. You'll just need to use the natural light coming in through your window instead. Just make sure you have enough natural light to shine through your thick watercolor paper and be sure to use gentle masking tape or washy tape on your window. You can also use tracing paper if you'd like, instead of these two methods. I haven't personally done that, but I know a lot of other illustrators who do. That's another option as well. Step number 4 is lightening your sketch using a kneaded eraser. The reason you want to lighten your sketch is because as soon as you lay any paint on top you won't be able to go back and erase those pencil marks. I like to do this first to make sure the pencil lines don't interfere with my final painting. I generally recommend using a kneaded eraser for this process because all you have to do is gently roll it over your paper and it lightens the pencil marks really well. If you have to use a regular eraser, you can, but just be very careful not to tear or disrupt the surface of your watercolor paper. Of course, Step number 5 is completing the actual painting process, but we'll go through that stuff together in the next section. There you have it. Those are the four main steps to my illustration process. Then the next few videos, we'll start painting each of the projects. 5. Watercolor Mistletoe Part I: First up, we'll learn how to paint this mistletoe illustration. You're welcome to create your own sketch or as a reminder, you can download mine in the resource section. In the previous lesson, you saw my process for getting this final sketch transferred onto my watercolor paper and I lightened it using my kneaded eraser. If you haven't done that step yet, I highly encourage you to do that now because once you start layering water and paint over the top of it, you won't be able to go back and erase any of those lines. Before we start on the actual painting, I want to practice a few of the key techniques we'll be using for this painting. Go ahead and grab a piece of scratch paper and let's practice together. The first technique I want you to practice is blending, because we'll be using that technique on each of the mistletoe leaves to get those nice soft blends between color values. Go ahead and load up some extra dark pigment onto your brush. It doesn't matter what color you use because we're just practicing right now. I'm just going to mix up a color using my sap green and Payne's gray. I'm loading up my brush and I want you to start practicing just on scratch paper by painting just a dark rectangle just like that. Now before that dries, I want you to rinse off the rest of that pigment off your brush, dab off any excess water and just try to blend it out so you get a nice smooth gradient from dark to light. I'm rinsing off that excess color, dabbing off the excess water, and then gently blending out that color. The goal here is to have a nice smooth blend from dark to light. So let's try that one more time. I'm loading up my brush with my dark green value. Just painting a little shape here, rinsing off the excess color on my brush and before this part dries, I'm just gently blending it out. Just like that. It's a nice gradual change from dark to light. We don't want to see any harsh lines where you can obviously tell the difference. Let's practice that again because again, we're training our muscle memory here. The more you practice, the more natural it will come to you. But this time I'm going to do it in a little bit more of a leaf shape. Instead of drawing a rectangle, I'm just going to apply some pressure onto my brush and just do a basic leaf shape. Again, we're just practicing here, so I don't want you to feel any pressure to make things look perfect. Rinsing off the excess water on my brush and just gently smoothing that out. Now you can start to see a really nice smooth bleed and blend on that leaf. I'm going to go ahead and do that one more time. I'm getting that dark green value on my brush. Gently pressing down onto my paper, rinsing off, dabbing it on my paper towel, and then gently blending it out. If you have too much water like I do there, just rinse off your brush again, dab off all the excess water and just let your bristles soak up some of that excess. That's also a great lesson on water control. If you've taken any of my other classes, you probably are already familiar with these but it's always good to practice. Just gently work on it until it's nice and smooth. Again, that's the technique we'll be using on each of the mistletoe leaves, which helps just give it a little more depth and realism rather than just having it be one flat color. Now the next concept I want to demonstrate is using color values to create even more depth and interest in your painting. The value of a color is its relative lightness or darkness. A darker value means you have more pigment on your brush and a lighter value as you have a higher concentration of water, gets lighter and lighter. Let me walk you through a little demonstration of what I mean. Here you can see my palette. I'm loading up my brush with mostly pigment, so there's hardly any water in here. That's going to give us the darkest value. I'll show you what that looks like on paper. I'm going to paint a little value scale here. That is very dark, almost black because it's just mostly that dark color. But as I gently rinse off additional color off my brush, you'll start to see that value lighten up. I want you to do this along with me and just practice slowly rinsing off some of that color so that you have a higher concentration of water in your mixture. Just keep working up your value scale until it's as light as you can go. That's the cool thing about color values and watercolor is this is all just one color but they look so different depending on how much water versus pigment you have in your mixture. I can probably do it one more time before it gets pretty much clear. There you go. Not only are we using variation of values in each of the leaves like we did here also with blending but color values will also help us create interest when we add the berries into the mistletoe. I'll show you what that will look like. Not only are there different sizes of berries, so you have some small, you have some bigger, but also different values. There's some darker berries here, there's some lighter ones. Then also within each berry, you can also vary the value. That's a mouthful. But then each berry, you can vary the value. That gives it a really nice 3D-rounded effect. You can see here there's a lighter value and then those darker values to add shadow and make it look more round. Let's practice a value scale one more time. Load up your brush with the highest concentration of just straight-up pigment and then just gently rinse off some of that color and work your way towards a lighter value. It's all the same color, but they look different depending on how much water you have in your mixture. It's one of my favorite parts about watercolor. So many different ways that the water affects how your painting looks and how your colors look. One more very light value. It's pretty much just clear water by that point. There you have it. Feel free to keep practicing your blending and your value scales. When you're ready, we'll get started on the actual mistletoe painting. 6. Watercolor Mistletoe Part II: I'm going to be working on the painting in three steps. First, I'm going to paint each of the leaves and the stems using those blending techniques we just practiced. Then I'll add the berries, making sure to vary the size and the values of each of them to give it a little bit more interest. Then finally, I'll add the red ribbon on top, also adding shadows and blending where needed. Let's start with the leaves and the stems. Again, the color I'm going to be using is a mixture of sap green, Payne's gray, and a touch of indigo to give it a little bit of a blue hue. I'm going to do a couple of these in real-time so we can go through them together, and then I'll speed it up as I continue to fill it out. Starting opposite of what we just did in the value skills. When you're working on watercolor illustrations, it's always best to work from light to dark because you can always add darker values on top of lights, but it's not so easy to go back and remove color. I'm going to start with a really light value, which, again, means lots of water in my mixture. I'm just going to go ahead and paint a light first layer on this leaf petal. As you can see, it's a very light color because I have a lot of water in my brush and just a touch of color. I'm just going to gently fill it in. It's nice when you already have your sketch done because at this point, it's just pretty much like a coloring page that you're filling in. So you don't have to worry about the shape or the lines because they're already there for you. Now, I'm loading up a darker value of that same color. This is where we can practice our blending. I'm just gently going over the stem, touching in some color there using the wet-on-wet technique, rinsing off my brush, and gently smoothing it out. This is the process we'll be doing on each of the leaves. The constant back and forth between blending and layering in some darker colors. That's looking pretty good for the first one. Let's do a couple more together in real-time. Starting with a really light value, a lot of water in your brush and just a touch of color. I'm just going to go ahead and gently fill in the base layer. Once that base layer is nice and filled in, I'm loading up just a medium value of the same color, and while this base layer is still wet, I'm just gently tapping in some of that darker value. You're just slowly building up a nice gentle blend. Rinsing off my brush, dabbing off the excess water, and smoothing it out a bit, just like we did in the practice lesson. One more thing I want to note here is because I'm right-handed, I'm working from left to right on the illustration so I don't have to worry about my hand touching any of the wet paint or damaging any of those lines. Obviously, if you're left-handed, you'll do the opposite. I'll do one more layer here, tapping in an even darker value. Just slowly building up that depth, rinsing off my brush, and smoothing it out. Again, if you get too much water on your petal, no worries, just rinse off your brush, make sure you get all the excess water off, and then let your bristles soak up some of that excess water. I'll do one more in real-time, and then I'll start to speed it up. This process does definitely take more time than just filling in each leaf the same exact value of green, but it gives our illustration a lot more depth. You can see here on our final painting, each of the petals really has that shadow and the highlight, and it just look a little more realistic. Very light value on my brush, filling in that base layer, and then slowly working my way to a darker value using the wet-on-wet technique. So that first layer is still a little bit wet as I add it, and then gently blending it out. You're always working from light to dark. You'll probably notice that your water bowl starts to get pretty muddied up from all this blending and rinsing off color. So just make sure to change that out periodically because you always want nice clean water when you're blending. If you want to make it even more dramatic, you can go in with a really dark value at the end and just tap in some final color along the edges. Rinse off your brush and just smooth out those lines a little bit. It's fun to do that every so often, just so that all of your leaves don't look the exact same. Hopefully, you're feeling comfortable with that process by now. I'll speed up the rest of this and then we'll move on to the berries. Now all of our leaves are filled in and we can get started on the berries. Just like we talked about in our practice sessions, we're going to make sure we vary the value and also the size and shape. Getting started left to right, you're just going to start adding in your berries using a variety of values. So have some of them be lighter, have some be darker, and then also don't be afraid to tap in some shadows. I'll show you an example on this one. I'm putting down a nice very light base layer. Let me make it just a little bit darker so it's easier for you to see. Then once I have that base layer down, I'm going to tap in some extra shadows. I'm getting a dark value of my same red berry color. I'm just going to gently tap in some color around the edges to make the illusion that it's rounded and 3D, and then gently blending it out. You don't have to do that on every single berry, but it does help to make some of them look a little bit more realistic. The one right next to it, I'm just going to make very dark and filled in. Then I'm just going to continue adding in these barriers as I go. On the bigger ones, I'll tap in the shadows because it's a little bit easier to do on a larger scale. Again, tapping those in right there and then gently blending it out. It's the same process we used for the blending of all of the leaves, but it's just on the barriers instead. Again, not doing it on every single berry. Just here and there. Also, if you're not happy with where the berries were in your sketch or if you use my sketch, feel free to just add them wherever you see fit. If you see an area that's maybe lacking, go ahead and add some more there. Or if it's a little too full in some areas, you don't have to add in anymore. I'm just going to make my way through the illustration, adding in these berries and making sure to switch up the value. Now our berries are done, our leaves are done, everything is looking great, so we can go ahead and do the last step, which is adding in the red ribbon on top. We're going to use a lot of the same techniques that we did, varying the value and blending, and we're just going to be adding a little bit of shadow along where the ribbon is tied. Let's go ahead and get started. I'm using the same red color that I used for my berries. I'm just going to be following the lines from my sketch. I'm just prepping my paint here. I'm going to start with a really light value. I'm just going to gently outline where this bow is going to go. Again, you don't have to add a bow if you don't want to, or you can do a different style bow if you'd like. Or if you downloaded my sketch, you can do the exact same one that I'm doing. I just added in a very light layer, making it thicker in some parts, thinner in others. I'm just going to gently tap in using the wet-on-wet technique, tap in some darker value where those shadows would be. So right there on the intersection. Don't worry, we're going to be blending these out along the top there, and then on either side coming down. It looks messy now, but we're going to use the skills that we just learned. Using a clean damp brush, I'm just going to start blending out those shadows so it's a little cleaner. I'm making sure to work quickly because I want this layer to stay wet as I tap in these shadows. Again, that's called the wet-on-wet technique. Your first layer is still wet while you go in and add a second layer. That's my favorite part about watercolor. It feels very organically simplistic. It doesn't have to look perfect. That's the best part about this style is it's a blend between realistic and loose. I would still characterize this as a loose-style watercolor, but it does have some definition with the sketches and the realism in the leaves. There you have it. Not only did you create this beautiful mistletoe painting, but even more importantly, you learned some of my favorite intermediate and advanced watercolor techniques that you can implement into all your future projects as well, like blending and understanding color values. I hope you enjoyed this one, I definitely did. In the next lesson, we'll be painting beautiful candy canes and implementing a lot of these same techniques to help give them depth and look more 3D. 7. Watercolor Candy Canes Part I: In this lesson, we'll be painting these two different candy canes. One red and one green. Of course, you're always welcome to use any other colors you'd like to work with if you want to give your candy canes and more creative flare. I've already transferred my sketch onto my watercolor paper using the process we went through earlier in class. I lightened the pencil marks using my kneaded eraser. If you haven't done so already, you can go ahead and do that. Just a reminder again, you want to make sure your pencil marks are nice and light before you start layering on your paint. Now, just like we did in the previous lesson, I want to start with a couple of practice exercises to warm up. You can grab your piece of scratch paper that we used in the last lesson. Let's get started. You can see in these candy canes that they look realistic and rounded because we have these shadows on either side. It really makes it look like it's 3D and that you could just pick it up right off the page. I know we practiced blending in the last lesson for the mistletoe, but this time we're going to be using it on both sides. We're going to be blending from the left to the right with a nice highlight in the middle to give it that rounded effect. You're familiar with blending, but this time it will just be a little bit more advanced. Let's practice. I'm going to start just by penciling in little rectangle. You don't have to do this part, but it's just going to help guide me a little bit. Once that rectangle is in there I'm going to load up my brush again, we're just practicing here, so don't worry too much about what color you are using. I'm just going to add a bit of color here on this side, and also on the opposite side. Then we're going to blend them together so they meet in the middle with a nice light highlight. You want to cover quickly because you don't want either of those sides to dry. Rinse off your brush, dab it on the paper towel, and just start working out that color. It blends nicely. We want the middle part to be really light, so don't be afraid to rinse off your brush again. You don't want it to be too saturated with color. I'm just gently blending it out. This is the process we'll be using on each section of the candy cane. I want you to get really comfortable with it. You can go back in with a second layer, dark value and we'll just get comfortable adding in color using the wet-on-wet technique and then blending it up. The other thing is my second layer, rinsed off my brush. I'm gently smoothing it out again. There you have it. It takes a little bit of work to get the balance of colors right because you want to have it nice and dark enough on the side so that it really looks like a shadow but you want to keep the middle nice and light so it looks like a rounded highlight. Let's do that one more time. I'm going to make it a little bigger so it's easier to demonstrate. I'm just going to add in some of that color on the top and on the bottom. Again, you don't have to worry about this being perfect. Don't worry about the colors. Don't worry about making the edges perfectly smooth. We're just practicing blending here. You'll have to work quickly. You really don't want either of the sides to dry before you start blending. The rise, that's where you start to get harsh drying lines. In between each of these strokes, I'm just rinsing off the color of my brush so that's nice and clean so I can blend it well. If you struggle with this, don't worry. It's more of an advanced technique, so it's going to take a little bit more practice. If you don't get it on the first try, you can always tap in more color like I'm doing here, and then blend it out again. That's another nice part about watercolors. You can always layer one more and try again. Those are looking pretty good. Just a reminder, this is how each of those sections are going to look on the page once we start painting the candy canes. You can see just like we did in the practice, we have darker on either side and then a nice highlight in the middle to give it that rounded effect. Another thing I want to mention here is these white sections of the candy cane are not actually white. I used a very light value of gray because I still wanted to get those shadows on there to make it look rounded. If I just didn't add anything in the white sections and just left it as white paper it would look flat and unrealistic and a little bit more cartoony but because these sections have nice blending and shading, you're going to have to use just a very light value of gray to indicate those shadows. Yes, they are white, but really when we're painting them, they're going to be a very light value of gray. I actually am going to be using a premixed light gray. I'll show you what that looks like here. That is going to be way too dark, even though it looks like it's going to be too dark, or the white sections of the candy cane. Just like we did in our values lesson earlier, I'm adding a lot of weight to that mixture to make it really light. It's just going to be barely noticeable. There are a few different ways to mix up a gray if you don't already have a premixed one. One of my favorites is just to use mostly water but just a touch of Payne's gray. Just like what we did on the other side where we practiced blending in these rectangles I'm going to do that one more time using the light gray that I just mixed. I'm going to pencil in a rectangle. Doesn't have to be perfect. I'm going to go ahead and mix up my gray color, making sure I'm using just barely a touch of color, mostly just water. I'm going to do the same exercise. I'm adding in the gray. Again, you hardly want to notice that it's even gray. For the most part, you want it to look white. I'm adding that in on either side, rinsing off the pigment, and just gently blending it out. You can barely tell there's even color there, but you do still get those shadows on either side. Once you're comfortable with all of those practice exercises, we can get started on the actual candy canes. I'm going to start by doing the light gray section of the red candy cane first and then I'll go in with the red color. 8. Watercolor Candy Canes Part II: This might start to feel a bit tedious because we're going to be doing the same thing on every section of the candy cane, but I'm going to get started with the light gray sections. Starting here at the very corner, I'm taking my darker value of gray which again is not actually dark, but it's the darkest value. I'm just tapping in the shadows on the either side, before rinsing off my brush and gently blending it. This is a little harder to demonstrate because you don't want your gray to even be that noticeable. You just want the shadows to be there. Middle part should be a nice highlight, and then slightly, slightly darker on either side. Again, I'll show you what that would look like on the finished painting. You can see here very slight shadows that you can't tell that this is majorly gray. Just shadows on the outside and highlight on the inside, and that's what we'll be doing on each and every section. There are couple more in real time, and then I'll speed up the process while you work on yours. Tapping in very slight shadows on either side. I want it to be barely noticeable, then rinse off your brush and blend it into the middle. One more time here. Slight shadows on the side. Rinsing off your brush and blending into the middle. I went ahead and started a brand new bowl of clean water just for the gray because I was starting to have a little hint of green and red for my berries and my leaves, and I wanted this to just be purely light gray. You might want to do that, too. I'm going to speed up the rest of this process, but I'll just be doing the gray part and then we'll move on to adding in the red after this. Now all of our gray parts are filled in for the red candy cane so we can get started adding in the red. I'm actually using the same red mixture that I used for the berries on the mistletoe, and we'll do the same exact process we just did, except using the red. I'm starting by loading up my brush with a fairly dark value of the red. I'm just going to carefully add in my shadows among the edge. Rinse off my brush so it's nice and clean, and then gently blend those together. I also want to note, you want to make sure that all of your gray sections are dry before you start adding in the second because we want to have nice clean lines. If the gray was still wet and I started adding in the red, then they would bleed together and just create a mess. Make sure your grays are all nice and dry before adding in the red. We'll just do this section by section, just like we did with the gray. I'll do one more in real time, and then speed up the process so you can work on yours. It's a little too light so I'm going to go back in with a darker value. There we go. I'm using darker shadows on either side before it dries. I'm rinsing off my brush. It's nice and clean. Then blending into the middle to make the highlight. You can always go back in with a second layer if you want it to be a little bit more dramatic, have a little bit more contrast. You can just go ahead and tap in a darker value shadow on the edges, and then soften it out a bit. I'm going to go ahead and finish out the rest of this, but take your time and just remember, you can always add more layers and just blend, blend, blend until you're happy with how it looks. I'm actually going in and adding a darker value just at the very tip because I really just want these shadows to be bold. I'm just going back in, which is the nice part. You can do this, too. You can always go back in and add more. That's why I generally like to start lighter because it's harder to take it away if you go too hard, but you can always add more. I'm going to do that to these first two, and then we'll continue on. I'm just filling in the last little section of red. The nice part about projects like this, the mistletoe and this candy cane, is you're learning new techniques, but then you get tons of chances to really refine, practice, and hone them in. We learned how to blend, we learned how to create highlights and really change our value, and then we're getting tons of practice. So each section, you're getting better and better, which is just something I really love about this project and why I chose these projects is because it's a lot of repetition and building in your muscle memory, which is a huge part in improving your watercolor skills. You're getting water control practice, muscle memory, blending practice, understanding how your paint works on the paper. Just great practice. I'm just finishing up this very last section here, and you can see that I'm lifting some color off the page right there so it's a little bit too dark. You can rinse off all the pigment and water off your brush and just gently lift some color right off the page to create a highlight if it's too dark. That's another technique that's called lifting, and there you have it. Now we'll do that same exact process. Get even more practice on your second candy cane, and I'm going to be using the exact same green mixture that I used in the mistletoe leaf petals. Once again, I'm going to start with the light gray and we'll do the same exact process. I'm just going to do a couple in real time and then I'll speed up the rest so you can work on yours. Starting with the gray, using clean water to make sure my brush is very clean. Don't want anything to get muddied up, and just gently tapping in those shadows on this side. Tapping them in and then blending it out. I'll continue doing that throughout the rest of this candy cane, and then we'll meet back up to start adding in the green. As I was adding in my gray shadows, you can see I had a little accident here, which is where I accidentally got a little bit of red from the last candy cane into this gray section. It's not perfect, but I took a little bit of paper towel, got it wet, and just tried to soak up some other excess color on there. It doesn't look perfect. But once we start adding in the green color, it won't be as noticeable. I'm just going to go ahead and finish adding in these shadows here, and then we can start adding in the green color. Now all of the light gray sections are included and we can get started adding in the green. But of course, you don't have to be using green. If you want to use a different color, go for it. We'll do the same exact process. Again, lots of practice with blending, lots of practice with highlighting, lots of practice using our color values. I'll do a couple in real time, and then I'll fast-forward. This section here is very small, so I'm just going to use the very tip of my brush here. Adding the shadows on either side. Make sure your brush is thoroughly rinsed up and then start blending it up. I go back in and tap in just a little more of that shadow. The very end section is a little different than the rest. That's mostly shadow here. Just like that, and then you can move on to the next sections. Just like with the last one, you do want to make sure that all of your gray sections are dry before you start adding the green because you don't want those to blend together. Each section you want to look nice and clean and crisp. Then you're just blending it out. Again, if you need to create a stronger highlight, just rinse off your brush and let your bristles just lift some of that color right off the page, and that creates a nice strong highlight there. Now you're familiar with what we will doing next, so I'll speed up the rest of mine. You can work on yours and then we'll meet back up. We're all set. So feel free to keep practicing these. Try painting them in different colors and you can vary them by making the candy cane's stripes thinner, thicker, or by painting additional lines in-between the main stripes. Feel free to get creative and just have fun painting these festive holiday candy canes. In the next and final lesson, I'll talk through some creative ways to use your paintings. I'll share some additional learning resources and we will wrap up the class. 9. Resources & Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you made it to the end of the class. I'm so grateful you decided to join me today and I hope you enjoy the painting process and learn some new helpful techniques. Now whether you completed one or both of the projects in class today there are a lot of fun ways to incorporate your work into other holiday crafts and decor this season. Here are a few creative ideas. You can frame your paintings and hang them up by your Christmas tree. You can gift your paintings to your friend or family member. I personally love to give and receive handmade gifts I think they're just so special and meaningful. You can use your skills to create holiday greeting cards. If you want to do this I have another class you can check out called how to create and print Greeting cards using your artwork. You can paint gift tags to spruce up the presence underneath your tree. Again, if you want to learn how to do this I also teach you how to make gift tags and greeting cards in another class called easy watercolor Christmas cards and gift tags. You can check that one out as well if you'd like. No matter what you decide I hope you enjoyed painting alongside me today and I just want to thank you again for choosing to join me in this class. Happy holidays and happy painting from me to you.