Dramatic Food Illustration With Watercolors - Paint Me A Dessert! | The Artmother | Skillshare

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Dramatic Food Illustration With Watercolors - Paint Me A Dessert!

teacher avatar The Artmother, Professional Art Teacher and Artist

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.



    • 2.

      What Makes an Image Dramatic?


    • 3.



    • 4.

      The Sketch


    • 5.

      The Base Layer


    • 6.

      Darkening The Layers


    • 7.

      Adding Shadows


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Bonus Dramatic Effect


    • 10.

      Your Project


    • 11.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Have you ever wondered how to approach a watercolor painting which contains lots of layers? How to achieve more depth? Get a realistic look? A dramatic effect?

If you answer is yes to any of these questions, you are in the right place!

Welcome to the "Dramatic Food Illustration With Watercolors"!

In this class we are going to create a food illustration with watercolors and we will try to give it a dramatic look following my usual practice of adding contrastive highlights, vibrant colors and a black background with a secret ingredient.

You can do your own illustration applying the shown process, but I will provide you the outlines for an exact piece of cake, so that you can follow along.

In the process you will have chance to learn:

- to create a practical sketch for your paintings

- plan a complex painting 

- to deal with more layers

- understand the process of working from light to dark

- to use a limited color palette

- to mix colors for shadows

- to create different textures

- to create a realistic look

- to apply my painting process to your future art

....and so much more!

You can be a beginner in watercolors – the class will be easy to follow with highlighting the key points you need to keep in mind and a complex process broken down to comprehensive easy steps.

So, if you are ready to paint me a dessert let’s get into it!

I am sure, it will be a piece of cake to paint this piece of cake :)


Meet Your Teacher

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The Artmother

Professional Art Teacher and Artist

Top Teacher

Welcome! My name is Alexandra Finta - a passionate artist, a happy mother and an enthusiastic teacher - in short The Artmother. I am a professional art teacher with a Masters Degree in Art Education with years of experience in teaching in person and online. As an artist, I am creating in all different kinds of mediums from acrylics, watercolors, graphite and digital. I have years of experience in graphic design and photography.

For more info check out my website here: www.theartmotherart.com

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook:)

I am very passionate about helping very beginners to explore their artistic abilities and to build their confidence in creating art, so I have built an open comm... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Hi. My name is Alexandra Gabor and I'm a professional art teacher, did a Master's Degree in Art Education. I'm also an artist. What do I like as well apart from watercolors, pigments, and paints? Food and desserts. Welcome to the dramatic food illustration with watercolors. In this class, we are going to create a food illustration with watercolors and we'll try to give it a dramatic look following my usual practice of finding contrasting highlights, watermark colors, and a black background with a secret ingredient. You can do your own illustration applying the shown process but I will provide you the outlines for this exact piece of cake so that you can follow along. In the process, you will have a chance to learn so much. You will learn layering, understand the process of working from light to dark, and learn to create different textures and so much more. You can be a beginner in watercolors, the class will be easy to follow with highlighting the key points you need to keep in mind and the complex process broken down to comprehensive easy steps. If you're are ready to paint me a desert, let's get into it. I'm sure it will be a piece of cake to paint this piece of cake. [LAUGHTER] [NOISE] 2. What Makes an Image Dramatic?: [MUSIC] What makes a food illustration dramatic? Let's take a look on some food photography as our reference in this class will be a photo we find on a stock photo site. The art of creating a dramatic mood is by playing with light, limited light, and usually dark backgrounds gives the photographs a rustic look. The highlights become more obvious and there is higher contrast in the overall picture, which is so much more easier for a beginner to capture as the shapes of the highlights and the shadows become more easy to distinguish. There is less blending and less gradation needed when it comes to painting. If you'll notice the colors are usually vibrant and limited. There is a dominant color which takes over the main subject. Sometimes there is a secondary color or supportive color. Usually, but not necessarily, the complement of the dominant color. These three things, the higher contrast, the more obvious highlights and shadows, and the limited color palette are the most important characteristics which will make your food illustration more dramatic. A dark background is just a cherry on the top of the cake. [LAUGHTER] This is the piece of cake that I'm going to use as my reference picture. The reason I've chosen this because there is a real high contrast as you can see these shapes of the highlights are really easily recognizable. The color is vibrant and it will be just a great subject to paint. Let's see what supplies I'm going to use in the next video. 3. Supplies: [MUSIC] Supplies. You will need your usual watercolor supplies, watercolor, paper paints and brushes, and some other accessories you used to use. If you decide to do your own illustration from a different reference photo, choose your colors as you will, but try to stay in a limited color palette and keep this in mind when you are choosing your reference photo as well. Use one main color for the icing or gelatin. Another as a secondary color for your fluid or decoration you have in your dessert, for example as I have these leaves here and then have a brown for the cake dough if it can be seen. For those who will follow me, what I will be using is an artist-grade open, set from Prima Marketing called tropicals. It has wonderful vibrant colors. I will use a limited color palette, meaning I will use only the pink, the green and the brown, and a little purple when mixing shadows. Make sure you have prepared a deep pink color depending on your start it might be rose madder, magenta, quinacridone magenta. Then have a light green and also a darker green for the leaf. I think sap green and hookers green would be fine. Then find a nice warm brown like burnt umber or Van **** brown, again, depending on what you have, and have a little warm yellow for the base of the cake dough as well. [MUSIC] After you have prepared your paints, I'll let you wall and create or scat. 4. The Sketch: [MUSIC] The sketch. Creating a detailed sketch before starting painting is crucial. If you can't draw, I suggest you take a look on my beginner level of drawing course where you will learn the essentials. Anyhow, you can still trace an image. It is not a wrong thing to do. You will save time and you can be sure that everything will be where it should be. I am creating the sketch with a watercolor pencil so that it blends to my paints later. When you trace an image or even draw, you need to get the contour lines right. In the case of this cake you need the triangle line, the shapes of the leaves, and the shapes of the strawberries at the sides. It is very important to get the shapes of the highlights right so I need them at the top of this cake as we are going to work from light to dark. These shapes will remain the white of the paper so you cannot paint over them. You can cover them up with masking fluid or just be careful when painting and this is what I'm going to do. You only need to leave out the biggest shapes, the little thin lines and dots will be added as details at the end. I'm including my own sketch in the resources section so that you can simply copy it. After you have your sketch on your watercolor paper, lets start with laying down the first layer of color. [MUSIC] 5. The Base Layer: [MUSIC] Laying down color. When you start painting anything, the first thing you need to do is to lay down the base color. If you cover up the highlights with masking fluid, you have an easier thing to do because you need to pay less attention. But if you didn't be careful. Start with creating a light layer of each color being for the gelatin at top, light yellow for the dough, and light green for the leaves. At the side of the cake, I already defined some shapes I have from the strawberries, which I do by painting the shapes with a new load of paint. It will differentiate it from the layer it is in. I also repainted the side part of the gelatin with a second layer to make this base layer a bit darker than it is at the top as the top is hit by the light, mostly. This is the base layer, a light layer of pink with a darker part at the side of the cake. A light layer of yellow and a light layer of green, which might appear yellow to you now, which is because it is really vibrant green color I'm using and contains lots of yellow. In a very light layer it appears as yellow anyways. All big highlights at the top are left as the white of the paper. Now, wait until everything is dry and continue to the next layers. [MUSIC] 6. Darkening The Layers: [MUSIC] Darkening the layers. At this second stage, you need to think of the first base layer of colors as the lightest shapes in your reference picture. Basically take a look on your reference picture and observe it. Now focus on finding the lightest pink shapes, lightest green shapes in the leaf. When going over the whole painting again, with more concentrated paint, leave these lighter colored shapes out similarly, as you did with the highlights. This is not a hyper-realistic paintings, so you don't need to be super precise. I love to paint into terribly, but with following a plan and a sketch and a reference picture. After you have darkened the pink and the green, do the same with the yellow part. I have a cream in this cake. But the way I'm going to differentiate it from the dough is by applying different texture. At first, I add a darker layer of yellow to the bottom part and a rather light brown layer to the green part. Here I am doing vertical brushstrokes, checking the reference picture for shadows in the cream, and try to apply their directions. In the bottom part, I add texture with the brown. By applying dots to the wet paint. It will create a nice variety of darker and lighter shapes which bleed into each other. When this layer is dry, I get even more concentrated colors. I add brown on my brush and paint a dark line to the bottom of the cake to make it a bit contrast. I go over my daughter's texture again with more concentrated paint and also refund the shadows in the cream. Again, I get as concentrated colors on my brush from the pink as well, and I go over the shadowy parts. But this is the darkest I can get from this color and it is not enough. I will mix a new color for [MUSIC] my shadows in the next video. 7. Adding Shadows: [MUSIC] Shadows. Sometimes it is enough to get the highest concentration of a color to create shadows. But in an image with a high contrast and when your intention is to get more depth, you need to mix shadows. It is a common practice to mix purple or a complimentary color into the color to get a shadow. But now I will add the brown as well. I will have a mixture from the pink, the purple, and the brown. It will give me a really nice desaturated, brownish, pinkish, grayish color, which will be perfect for my shadows. It is also a usual thing to mix black with a color to get its shade. There are lots of painters against it because it may give you various results. Flat or dull colors. Because blacks are usually created with the combination of various pigments, so you might end up with mud, but just try to mix black with your pink. It should give you a nice burgundy, at least mine does. But as I'm working only with this help and set right now, I have to use, what I have and my darkest colors in this set are purple and the brown. That's why I'm using them. I encourage you, however, to try out several mixtures, swatch them, and then see what will work for you the best. Back to the painting. I'm going over the gelatin part with this shadowy mixture and even at the cast shadow below the painting to give it a more realistic effect. In the leaf, I get the shadows with the highest concentration of the darker green. When this first layer is dry, I look for the shapes of the darkest shadows in my reference picture and paint them with a second layer. I also add a [MUSIC] little of this shadow mixture to my brown. I go over the dotted texture again with that and [FOREIGN] we are finished. Let's add some details in the next video. 8. Details: [MUSIC] Details. What I love to use for details is a white gel pen. What I do is that I simply go over the painting rechecking the reference picture for additional highlights that I didn't leave out at the beginning and simply add them. I can add some textures as well or line back, what feels good to you. As you are not trying to be hyper-realistic, do what feels right, but make sure not to overdo it. What I love to do with a white gel pen is to add some lines, then smudge them with my fingers. I can add some additional light effects with this as well. Now, you can sign your artwork as it looks amazing, and realistic,, and dramatic, or follow me to the next video where I will apply a dark background to it to make the illustration even more dramatic. [MUSIC] 9. Bonus Dramatic Effect: [MUSIC] Bonus dramatic effect. I love black. The usage of black in my art is the most characteristic thing I guess. I thought I would add a black background to this cake as well. What I absolutely love using for this is the Dr. Ph. Martin's concentrated water colors or black ink. Warning, if you are afraid you will rain ruin your painting with this process or you don't have concentrated water colors or ink, don't do this. To create a seamless black surface around, you need these supplies. Simple black water colors can make some unwanted textures. A lot of border might make your paper buckle if you didn't stretch it. If you are happy with your artwork now, watch this part only for fun. If you have experienced the painting backgrounds of course, paint a background as you wish. Be creative, but if you have these supplies and you would love to try it out, come and join me. What I am doing is that I simply paint around the cake with a Dr. Ph. Martin's concentrated water colors and try not to use too much water. If you add water, you will have some unwanted textures. The concentrated water colors are fluid enough to fill the paper and thick enough to create a seamless layer. At the edges I love to create a dry brush effect. I simply let my brush load of the paint and I let the remaining paint out at the edges with quick brushstrokes. I would say I'm done, but the simple black background is really flat. What I love to add is a secret ingredient and that is chalk. When the black layer is completely dry, I take a light colored chalk or you can use dry pastel as well and add a little layer and smudge it with your hands. I tried to add it to the sides where there might be light, so I will not add any of this where there is the shadow of the cake. I love to use this method. It is so messy and cool. [LAUGHTER] What is not good about it is that now you cannot varnish the painting with anything because the chalk soaks it up, it will not be seen. But if you digitize this texture or hang it with a glass, it will be totally fine. So how do you like it? [MUSIC] 10. Your Project: Your project is to create dramatic food illustration. It can be anything really, but stick to the rules field learned at the beginning. High-contrast, obvious highlights and shadows, and limited color palette. I would love to do a little process recap here. Make us catch with drawing the contour lines, outlines of the most important big shapes, and also the shapes of the big highlights. Create a layer of the base colors with leaving out the highlights and use really light watered down colors. Then create a layer with more concentrated colors, leaving out the shapes of the lightest colors. Then create a layer of the most concentrated colors and paint the darkest parts. Create a mixture for shadows and paint the darkest shadows in few layers. Add details with white gel pen gouache, acrylics or anything you have. Done, if you will, add the bonus dramatic effect. 11. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Well, here we are at the end of this class. I hope you enjoyed it. I can't wait to see your result and I hope we will have a nice delicious gallery here full of wonderful food illustrations. If you need help with anything, feel free to contact me. Use the discussion tab to ask your questions and make sure you follow me on social media, on Instagram, Facebook, and also here on Skillshare to be up to date. You are welcome to take my other classes as well and I would be really happy if you would leave me a review on this one. Thank you for taking the class, see you soon.