Colorful Creatures in Gouache & Mixed Media: Explore Your Creativity | Marie-Noëlle Wurm | Skillshare

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Colorful Creatures in Gouache & Mixed Media: Explore Your Creativity

teacher avatar Marie-Noëlle Wurm, Artist, illustrator, HSP

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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.

      What You Need For the Classs


    • 3.

      Tap Into Your Creativity


    • 4.

      Make A Blob


    • 5.

      Make One More Blob


    • 6.

      Color Your First Blob


    • 7.

      Blob to Creature: Adding Eyes


    • 8.

      Blob to Creature: Arms, Legs + Finishing Touches


    • 9.

      Color Your Second Blob - Ideas for textures & details


    • 10.

      One More Creature - Eyes, Legs + Finishing Touches


    • 11.

      Switching Up the Formula


    • 12.

      Takeaways + See You Soon!


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About This Class

In this class, we're going to transform simple blobs into playfully colorful creatures in order to explore your creativity, and expand your sense of what you're allowed to do when confronted with a blank page.
I"ll take you along into my creative process, showing you exactly what my starting points for creating creatures are, and how I make decisions along the way. You'll be able to explore gouache, and mixed media, and hopefully taste some fo the freedom that creating creatures allows.  
You'll learn to: 

  • Start small and simple and complexify your image little by little
  • Add details and elements to make playful, recognizable creatures
  • Explore and expand your comfort zone by learning to go with the flow and improvise with what you have! 

I've always loved painting creatures, and I really hope that you'll fall in love with creature-making too — and that you'll come away with two colorful creatures to populate your walls or sit with you on your couch and make you smile. 

Music by Epidemic Sound

Meet Your Teacher

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Marie-Noëlle Wurm

Artist, illustrator, HSP

Top Teacher

I believe that every single one of us has a wealth of untapped creativity that lies within. Maybe there are brambles and thickets in the way so that it feels dark & scary or awakens the lurking beasts in the shadows. But it's there. I hope to lend a hand on this sometimes scary but beautiful journey of getting back in touch with your creativity, of expansion, exploration, of opening yourself up to the wealth of wisdom inside you--to help you gently brush away the brambles and the thickets, and clear away the path back to yourself & the creative fields that lie within.

Hi, my name is Marie-Noelle Wurm, and I'm a French, American and German artist & illustrator living in the South of France. You'll often find me sipping good coffee in local cafes, reading a book, working or plann... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I strongly believe that exploration and playfulness are like the peanut butter and jelly of the creative sandwich. When you're creating a creature, there's so much freedom. There is no proportions to respect. It doesn't have to look like anything. It can be fun and wild and playful, and silly and colorful, and all of those things that I think are so important when you're getting creative. Hi, my name is Marie-Noelle Wurm. I'm an artist and illustrator living in the South of France. As long as I can remember, I've always loved drawing creatures. Are we ready? In this class, we're going to be transforming simple blogs into playful, colorful, creative creatures, in order to explore creativity, expand our sense of what we're allowed to do when faced with a blank page and create some imaginary companions to keep us company on our couches. I'm going to take you through the process, step-by-step on how you can go from something that is very simple, a colorful blob, and how you can add elements to it to make it imaginary fun creature. We're going to be working with wash and mixed media, but feel free to use whatever materials you find the most fun. This class is geared more towards beginners, though I think that anyone can enjoy the process of creating a creature. If that sounds fun to you, I hope you'll join in, in our colorfully creative creature making workshop. I'll see you in class. It's good to loosen up a little before we start doing this. 2. What You Need For the Classs: Let's get into the materials that you're going to need for the class. Since I'm going to be using guash to create my creature, I want to make sure that I have two jars of water to clean my brushes and a rag that I forgot to film here, as well as a palette. This one is ceramic, but you can find some inexpensive plastic palettes as well. Of course you want to have a little bit of guash though you only need two colors and black and white for this project. In terms of guash, I would actually recommend acrylic guash so that you can layer it and add mix media materials over the top though I do think that you can do the same with traditional guash. Honestly, I'm just not as familiar with traditional guash and I've mostly experimented with acrylic guash. Of course we're also going to need some paper for our project and I'm going to ask you to have two different sheets for this project and this can be separate sheets like on my multimedia paper here that I'm showing you, but it can be within a sketchbook or any other paper that you find lying around. It is nice to have a bit of a thicker paper though, so that it doesn't buckle too much when you're painting. Of course you're going to need some brushes. I have a few different sizes here, though I would recommend using a mid-range to slightly larger brush for the beginning of the project and a smaller one for the detail work. For the mix media part of this class, I'm not going to give you any requirements, basically any sort of art materials that you have lying around can be part of this. So it could be colored pencils, markers, wax pastels, graphite, crackle, anything you can think of that could be fun to play around with on top of your guash layers and that's it, we're pretty much good to go. Make sure you have all your materials ready and let's get started. 3. Tap Into Your Creativity: Just one quick note, especially if you're a beginner and are not yet familiar with your own creative voice, remember that even if I'm demoling things, you can of course take inspiration from what I do. The most important thing is that you start tapping into your creativity and I know when you haven't done that a lot, it can often feel a little bit daunting or you might not even know where to start. But remember that all of us have had creativity in our lives at some point even if you don't remember it, you may have been two years old or three years old when you were creative. But what you'll notice with children if they have a lot of freedom, they work with what they have and that's what I'm asking you to do because you have much more than you believe that you do. The more that you show up in front of your page and tap into your own creativity, the more fun you're going to have, and also the more authentic work you're going to be creating. Play around with that. Tap into your inner child and get creative. 4. Make A Blob: So, for the first step, I'm going to ask you to pick two colors. I'm going to be using two colors straight out of the tube just to show you how simple and straight forward this can be. The two colors that I'm picking are, misty green and ultramarine deep. But of course, you can choose whatever colors you think are the most inspiring. If none of your two paints are that inspiring and you'd like to work with a pre-mixed color, please go ahead and do that and if you're still kind of new to painting and Gouache and color mixing sounds like a really daunting thing, then you can check out my class that's all about the magic of color mixing with Gouache called color collector. It's a long class, but by watching a few of the first videos, you might get a sense of a few mixes that you could make in order to start this one. So now we can choose the brush that we're going to use. I have a range of different sizes here. But for this first step, since we're going to be creating a blob, I recommend using a mid-range to large brush and to leave your tiniest little brushes on the side for now because that will be useful later on when we get into more detailed work. I took one that was more of the mid-range, but that's a personal preference and obviously if you want to go for your larger ones, that's totally fine as well. Now we are going to be putting paint to paper. This can often be the scariest part because we're confronted with a blank page, we have no idea where we're going and there might be a lot of nervous energy that happens at this moment. One thing that I like to think about when I'm starting out a piece, is to channel that nervousness and channel it into excitement. That feeling, it can be, of course terrifying, but it also can give you the energy to just jump right in or if you really struggling, you might want to take a few power poses. I've heard that works well too or a silly dance. I can actually honestly tell you that when I started out, sometimes I would be so nervous and I knew that taking the first step was often the most difficult one, that sometimes I would just close my eyes and start painting on the canvas with my eyes closed. So whatever it takes to get you started, to get you into painting, just do that. Once you've made your first mark, it's way easier to make more marks after that. The key here is not to think too much and just dive right in. We're making a blob. There is no right or wrong way to make a blob. So, just be brave and take that step that brings you towards the paint. So what you may have noticed is that, I lied earlier when I said that I was going to use the colors pure out of the tube. Honestly, it just got carried away and realized I wanted my blue to be slightly darker. So that's why I decided to add a little touch of black into my blue. But again, if you want to simply use your colors pure out of the tube, that's absolutely fine and you can totally do the exercise that way. You'll also notice that the way that I use my two jugs of water is that I have one main one in which I really put in my dark colors and it looks pretty dirty, pretty fast and then I use the second one with the cleaner water to really get my brush super clean, when I need it. So for example, in this case you see I didn't really clean it thoroughly and when I picked up the misty green with my brush, it actually got a tiny bit of that blue paint that was still in the brush, mixed in, making the misty green slightly darker. While that's fine, since what I wanted to show you guys was how simple you could make this blob by just using two colors. I had to go back and clean it a little bit more. You could of course, decide to mix both of your colors, your two colors and make a two-color blob where those two colors aren't separate. But here I'm showing you one possibility of keeping those two colors quite separate and just making random shapes that you bring together eventually into one consistent shape. In this one, I'm working actually pretty energetically and so you can see that my edges aren't totally crisp. You can actually also see the paint marks in the paint, and that's fine. I was going for something a little bit more raw here. The key is really to play around with these two colors, with the shapes and if you feel at any point like you want to darken one of your colors a little bit or lighten it up, then that's absolutely fine. You can add in some of that as well. Though it's absolutely not necessary. In terms of the consistency of the Gouache paint, a lot of people talk about looking for the consistency of thick cream. So adding enough water into your Gouache so that it slides pretty smoothly. However, you'll notice that sometimes I actually use it much thicker than that and in other artworks though not in this one, I actually even use it all the way to a watercolor type consistency, where it becomes very transparent. There's no real right or wrong way to use Gouache. Simply each different consistency will give you different opportunities and give a different feel to your paintings. So, work with what it is that you feel like exploring at that moment. Once you've arrived at some sort of big shape using these two colors, then you've already completed the first step in creating your creature and we'll move on to the next step. I want to make sure that you see that my shape is actually pretty rough and so yours can also be very rough as well. At this stage, we're going to be adding more details in the further steps. 5. Make One More Blob: Now that we've made our super-simple blob, we're going to take this and let it dry thoroughly. So you might have to wait a little for that. While you're waiting, instead of falling asleep, you could try to make a second blob. You have some leftover paint, you have time, so why not? For this second blob, decide on something you're going to do differently than the first blob. It can be anything. My first one had rough edges, and it was a little bit wild and a little bit messy. You can see the paint strokes in my paint. So maybe for this one, I'm going to try to do something very precise and deliberate with very clear cut edges. But again, we're staying simple. So just play around with that. Once you've done that one, you can let that one dry, and take your first one, which is now probably completely ready to move on to the next step. 6. Color Your First Blob: Let's add some beautiful colors to your blob. In this step, we're going to move from R to color blob to a very colorful blob. I'm going to ask you to grab all your other mixed media materials, whether it's colored pencils, big crayons, wax pastels, graphite, charcoal, whatever it is the you think would be fun to add on to this. We're going to use those. I decided to start out with my big crayon through in-between a crayon and a wax pastel in terms of texture and I've had these for a long time and I really love them because they're really big and chunky and they have really beautiful colors. I thought it would be super fun to layer this on top of the gouache. You can see that I'm working in a way that's pretty rough here. I'm putting the color here, a color there. Putting colors next to each other, in a haphazard manner and if you really want to put it plainly, I'm scribbling. Scribbling is often something that we consider negative or has a negative connotation. But honestly, I think it's a super powerful tool when you're wanting to let loose and get creative. I also brought out some of my color pencils, but I realized quickly that these color pencils in particular weren't working very well with my gouache, especially because I had a very thick layer of gouache and I was pressing down really hard with my colored pencils and that's something that you'll realize when you're working with mixed media is not every single tool is going to interact well with the other tools and it's fun to experiment and figure out which ones work with what or how you can use them in a way that works better. You'll also notice that I changed the direction of the paper. This is something that I do very frequently, especially if I'm working with abstract work, but not only, it's a really amazing way of changing your perspective, getting a new view on the work that you're creating and maybe spark some new ideas for a new texture or a new color. It's just another way of switching things up and increasing your creative energy in the moment. Once you feel like you've added enough colored to your blob, you're done. We can move on to the next step. 7. Blob to Creature: Adding Eyes: Now that you have your badass beautiful blob, we're going to start initiating transformation. The first step is going to be taking your blob and turning it every which way. No, that's not without reason, we're actually using this for something. You want to imagine where it is that you can possibly place eyes on this creature, because eyes are the window to the soul. If you're making a creature, your creature has a soul, so it got to have eyes, unless it's something like a blind mole or something like that. But we're just gonna keep it simple and make some eyes. As I was turning my sheet around to figure out where I can possibly place eyes. I had already decided that I was only going to put two eyes on this creature. Though, a creature is a creature, and that means that it could have one eye or 20 eyes. That's up to you. I decided to just go with two to keep it simple. I also decided that I would go for a very simple eye structure, two black dots. That's the simplest representation of an eye that you could imagine. But even with two black dots, I'm already giving a sense of where my creature is. Since my creature is already dark though, I'm going to have to add a little bit of detail, which I'll show you later in order to make those eyes pop out a little bit more. Keep that in mind when you're choosing where your eyes are going to go. If the background is too dark, maybe make it a little bit more contrasted or add a detail at the end so that those eyes really pop out because they're the most important element that identifies your creature as being something that is alive, and thinking, and has its own little internal story going on. 8. Blob to Creature: Arms, Legs + Finishing Touches: As I was placing the eyes of my creature, I realized that I wanted to add a little bit more detail to my colorful blob. It felt slightly unfinished. This might happen during your process at any point. Don't feel like the steps that I'm giving you are set in stone. You can play around with them. If at any moment you want to go back and add detail, that's totally fine. In the end, you're going to be creating a colorful creature. In this step, I'm basically going to be alternating between adding details that identify the creature as such. Things like arms, legs, eyes, maybe horns, beaks, tails, anything that will make it recognizable as a creature and maybe other details that are going to be more decorative. Adding some color here, a little bit of texture there, and just playing around with shape and color and form. Little elements that are going to add to your image and make it really uniquely yours. Once I added the eyes of my creature, I realized that it looked almost as though this creature was floating downwards. I decided to play with that and go with the feel of having it be a floaty ghostly creature and thus decided to transform part of it into some sort of floaty tail. That's the fun thing, once you place your eyes, then that can often give you ideas as to how to push a creature further. What other identifying elements you can add to it and give it character. I decided to add some arms. Arms and legs can be very simple. You don't need to know any anatomy. As long as you know how to paint a line, then you're fine. An arm can be just that. Align the bends and has little fingers on the end as many as you want. I decided to add arms here that were moving towards each other and add a little element as though it was holding something in its hands. I did this to make it a little bit more active and maybe give the impression that it's part of a larger story that you can try to invent when you look at it. This is absolutely not a requirement, and honestly, there are so many times that I've feed a creatures with just arms hanging limply by its side. It makes it super fun as well. Don't feel like you're creature has to have any story-like elements though it can be fun if you feel up for it. Then finally, I'm adding the finishing touches to the eyes so that they really pop out and so you can really see that this creature has eyes. One way of doing that, especially if you've done an eye that is just a pure black dot, is by adding a few little white highlights on the top edge of the eye, and maybe at the bottom. 9. Color Your Second Blob - Ideas for textures & details: Then we go, we're already finished with our first colorful creature. Now, obviously, your second one is probably dry, so you can start working on that one. In the second piece, I decided to mostly use gouache and move away from the mixed media simply because at that moment I felt like integrating more gouache into my painting. So don't feel like you have to use a certain amount of mixed media in order for your piece to be successful. These are just playgrounds, they are little tools and elements to add to your creative playground. Like I said earlier, my first creature is more of an energetic, wild, rock creature. So for this one, I thought I would go for something a little bit more graphical, a little bit more precise and with strokes that are slow and deliberate. Don't feel like you have to do exactly the same thing for your creatures. The key here is to really tap into what you're enjoying and what you have fun with. Here are a few ideas of textures and details that you can add to your color blob to make it even more interesting. You can add lines, splotches of paint, hatches, squiggles, zigzags, spatters, circles, triangles, basically any sort of identifiable shapes like squares, circles, triangles, or any sort of random shapes. Elements that are organic and random, things that give pattern and texture. All of those are going to participate in making your blob come to life. Don't be afraid to play around with a bunch of different colors, explore, experiment. That's the name of the game here. 10. One More Creature - Eyes, Legs + Finishing Touches: Once I'm satisfied with my colorful for blob, then I'm going to proceed the same way and turn my paper around and around to find the direction of my creature and decide where I'm going to place its eyes. If you end up choosing the direction that you painted your blob, like I did here, that's totally fine too. But do give yourself the freedom of trying to imagine what it could be like in other directions as well. What you'll notice here is I'm also doing something different from my first blob, where instead of creating two eyes, I'm only creating one to give the impression that my creature is looking towards the side. That can be something super fun to play with. The orientation of your eyes, where you place them, how many you put. Again, here I did one or two, but you could have 10 as well. Those are all going to create something really interesting and unique with your creative creature. Once I had decided where the eye was going to be placed on this creature, I actually decided to put that on the side for a moment and immediately start working on its legs. In the first creature, I had decided to create only arms and have the creature be some sort of slowly ghost-like thing. In this one, I thought it would be fun to add some legs. Legs don't have to be very complicated. Even a huge shape with simple stick legs can create a really, really funny contrast which already gives your character a personality. So don't be afraid if you don't know how to draw an arm or draw a leg. They can be so much simpler than you think they can and still give your image a unique flavor. Once that was done, I then decided to add another element, a beak. I don't know, I thought it would be super funny to have some beak making it some bird creature. Then I moved on to the eyes, and I decided to do an eye differently from the last. For this one, I went for another very basic form of an eye, a white dot with a black pupil. The size of your eye on your creature is also going to have a huge impact on how that creature is perceived. Because my creature seems so big and puffy and yet has very, very tiny eyes that are very, very open, it almost makes my creature look slightly dumb. 11. Switching Up the Formula: I now have my two fun little creatures to add to my creature encyclopedia. I can hang them on a wall or place them on a bookshelf. They can be little opportunities to smile and make yourself giggle in the morning when you're in need of that. One of the fun thing about creatures, is that there are probably as many creatures as there are stars in the universe, if not more. You can show up every single day in front of your blank sheet of paper and create a colorful, playful creature, and never run out of ways of making new ones. I hope that you got a taste of how much fun creating creatures can be and realize that it never gets old. I definitely never get tired of creating fun little characters, playing around with colors, squash, mixed media, and anything else I can get my hands on. I hope that you've tasted a little bit of that silliness, playfulness, and freedom that creatures allow. In this class, I've showed you a step-by-step way of creating a colorful creature. But don't think that that's the only way that you can create creatures. You can of course, take this formula and mash it around and play around, move each one of the elements. For example, instead of starting with creating an abstract colorful blob, you can start with placing eyes and then building your creature around those eyes. That's just one of the other options that you could have available. But I hope that what you'll notice is that in simplicity, we can create so many diverse creative things. That's one of the things that I hope you'll take away from this class. 12. Takeaways + See You Soon! : What I hope you'll take away from the class is to realize that creativity is often much simpler than we think it is. Getting your hands dirty, celebrates what's beautiful about us as human beings are a capacity to innovate, to imagine, and to learn through play. It's one of our greatest gifts. I hope you were able to taste that little flavor of freedom in your artwork. I hope you'll add this tool that you learned into your creativity toolkit and that you'll keep on painting and drawing and creating a bunch of colorful creatures to prop up around your house, to give to others and also to share with me and your fellow students in the project section because I'm really excited to see what it is that you come up with. Now is the time, I want to see your creatures. Thank so much for joining this class. I hope that you enjoyed it and if you still feel like getting a little bit more creative, I have a bunch of other classes here on skill share. For example, I have a 14 day drawing and painting challenge called the fearless or challenge, which you can check out in my profile. Of course, if you want to hear about any of my other classes, when they come out, make sure you click on the follow button right up here so you get the updates. I have nine other classes here on skill share and they all have some flavor of creativity because I'm super passionate about that. Feel free to check those out if you're still feeling like getting your hands dirty. We can also connect on Instagram. Of course I have that. I also do live drawing sessions and behind the scenes exclusive logs on my patron on page, which you can also check out if you enjoyed the class, please leave a review. It means a lot to me. I hope that if you haven't already, that you'll share in the project section, the creatures the you've made so that you can inspire me and the other students as well. I hope to see you very soon in the project section or in my next class. All right, see you soon. Happy painting.