Draw Vibrant Rainbow Art: Easy Tips to Create Abstract Masterpieces Using Neon Highlighters | Adam Palmeter | Skillshare

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Draw Vibrant Rainbow Art: Easy Tips to Create Abstract Masterpieces Using Neon Highlighters

teacher avatar Adam Palmeter, Artist / Comedian / Teacher / Author

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.

      Let's Go!


    • 2.

      Getting Your Supplies


    • 3.

      Creating Your First Layer


    • 4.

      Cross Hatching


    • 5.

      Color Blending


    • 6.

      Adding Final Details


    • 7.

      Bonus Tips & Conclusion


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About This Class

Want to create vibrant, fun, and unique artwork? Learn how with materials you already have lying around your home!

This class is for artists of ANY level who are looking for a creative way to work on their brushstroke by making crosshatched neon rainbows. By just using three highlighters and some paper, you can create yourself an exciting piece of functional, neon artwork!

I'll walk you through everything you need to know to get started with this quick and easy project, including:

  • Choosing your supplies and materials
  • Creating your base layer to get started
  • Using the cross hatch technique to create depth
  • Blending colors to create cool transparent effects

Plus I'll share some of my favorite bonus tips on sharing and more at the end of the class. If you're looking for an effortless and expressive project, look no further!

Meet Your Teacher

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Adam Palmeter

Artist / Comedian / Teacher / Author

Top Teacher

My NEW stand up comedy album OLDER TEENAGER - Live from Playa del Carmen is available HERE !

Hello, I'm Adam. I am a visual artist, stand up comedian, author and Skillshare Top Teacher teacher living a little here, a little there, telling jokes and painting walls in as many places as possible. My professional background is in early childhood education and have over a decade of classroom experience in Brooklyn, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City, Buffalo, and most recently, I have been teaching remote art lessons to high school students from wherever I am in the world. Education has always been my passion.

This is why I wrote and illustrateed the OPPORTUNI-TREE children's books, a series of educational books, lesson plans and activities that introduce young children to the wo... See full profile

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1. Let's Go!: Hi, I'm artist Adam Palmeter. Today, I'm going to show you how to create colorful, vibrant rainbow artwork just like this, using a few things around the house. Are you looking to build a new drawing skill, or do you simply want to explore a fun, new, creative avenue? Do you want a rainbow wall in your house? Either way, this fun class project has got you covered from large scale murals to these small rainbow cards. My artwork depends on a competent brushstroke. This is a great exercise to not only strengthen that skill set, but also provide you with a piece of fun and functional artwork. The sales from my originals support my lifestyle of traveling around the world and creating more art as I go. As a professional artists with over a decade of teaching experience, I'd like to teach you how to create one of my most popular styles, plus, who doesn't like rainbows? They have been on trend like forever. You can create a whole rainbow wall in your bedroom, dorm room, living room, classroom, or create a unique selfie wall for a party or business all incredibly easy. But not just making rainbows, during my class project, you'll learn tips on brushstrokes, color palettes, composition, and the simple touches that make it hard. You don't have to be a professional artist to create something beautiful. By the time you finish this class project, you will have a piece of vibrant abstract art that is as small or as big as you want. Get ready to grab the few items you need, and let's get to class. 2. Getting Your Supplies: Let's chat supplies. One of the best things about this project is you only need two things, paper and markers. For the work you see behind me, I use Sharpie highlighters. I have a 4-pack which comes with the ink indicator, and these have been by far the most vibrant markers I have used. I love using the Sharpie chiseled tip. It's at an angle and it actually mimics the brushes that I use in my larger artwork. As you can see, these Sharpie highlighters really pop, but they're not the only thing you can use. I've experimented with other kinds of markers. I actually started this project using black Sharpies until I realized that the overlapping neon colors look really vibrant. But that's not all I've used. You can use anything you want. I've had success with Pastel highlighters. These look nice, don't they? Even playing with different color palettes, choose what you like. I like to use the primary colors because they overlay making the secondary colors, getting this really nice cross hatch you see behind you and rainbow. But again, if you don't have these other markers, anything really you find around the house just to get the exercise in is going to work for you. You can use anything around the house, Crayola markers, crayons, colored pencils wherever you want. But if you want this vibrancy, this is what I'm going to recommend. It's the best product out here to get these colors. My favorite paper to use is watercolor paper. It's thick, it's got that tooth to it and it really soaks up the ink quite nice. Nothing really pops like watercolor paper. However, if you don't have this, really, printer paper, other paper you find around the house will work just fine. This behind me is actually poster board. You can get this at a local craft store for only a few bucks and you can cover a lot of space. All right, if you've got a marker and paper, let's get started. 3. Creating Your First Layer: All right, so we have our Sharpie markers. The first one one like to use is yellow. Why? Because it's the lightest. You're going to want to go lightest, next lightest, to darkest, and another good reason to start with the yellow is the other colors won't bleed into the tip. You're able to protect the integrity of the marker for a little bit longer. I like a nice crispy yellow and I'm sure you do too. Let's get started. I like to use a chisel-tip highlighter because it actually mimics the chisel-tip brushes that I use for my mural work. Real quick to show you what I mean by using the chisel-tip on both sides. Your first stroke would be flat to the page. Your second stroke is either side of the chisel-tip. Now, if you're right-handed, I lean in right. This is going to be the chisel-tip that is on the closest side towards me. So I'll be leaning it in like this, giving me that spacing, and it naturally takes me in this half circle direction. I like to imagine there being a line that descends all the way across the paper that you can follow. Now, changing the side, I use a chisel-tip on the far end. I'm actually turning it in on itself and I'm coming in at a different angle. Using the same stroke with my arm, I've just shifted how my fingers are holding the highlighter. Again, it takes me in this half circle pattern as I follow the line of the chisel-tip itself. As you can see, I like to think of it as a palm leaf, it has very thin leaves coming out. There's that natural symmetry to it, and I think that's my inspiration for this type of work. That in mind, changing the composition of the paper helps ensure that the direction of the palms get the proper overlap amongst all the colors. I like to keep some space between the same colored palms. Again, flat to the paper, Right of the page. Now, leaning towards right, you get that space. Again, nice and easy it's not a race. This is quite a meditative practice for me as well as for others. It gives you a chance to focus on your form, your confidence, and where your hand is traveling across your paper. Now again, I turn the Sharpie in to get the far side, and I make that initial stroke. I imagine the line taking it down naturally. Nicely through, nice and easy. You can see I go off the page a little bit here. It might be good to put down some newspaper or something, or if you don't want to ruin that table. Again, I change the composition of the paper. I like to keep this white space between the similar colors as though they don't overlap. I like to use about 15-20 percent of the page for each color palm. So I have these two sides here and I'm going to focus on this side. Naturally, I would like to see the palm spreading out in an opposite direction as the first two. You don't want the similar colors to overlap as you want to save that space to overlap with the other colors creating the new colors. It's important to keep that white space between the similar colors. For the final palm, shifting my paper here. Again, that first initial stroke, I'm going to put flat to the page and confidently bring it across. The goal of this exercise is to try to do the same stroke again and again. Nice and easy. From small-scale work to large-scale this is what's important. Again, for my second part, I'm going to turn the marker in using the far side of the chisel, and here we are. We finished with our first color. Your page should look something like this. A nice curvature of the palm, some negative space between the similar colors, and just overall taking over most of the page without taking over all of it. Your page doesn't have to look just like mine. In fact, it shouldn't. I've always played with the size of the palms as well. You can do some smaller ones off to the side. It's about fun. As you can see, I did not fully go across the page here, which is fine. This is about form, function, and brushstrokes. Now, let's move on to our second color. 4. Cross Hatching: Now it's time to move on to our second color, pink. It is neon pink, it is absolutely gorgeous and this is a very important part of creating this artwork is going to be the crosshatch. We see where our yellow is laid out. The first stroke, using your pink, is going to be in a different direction than where one of the yellow strokes are. But I want half of this new color to overlap the yellow and the other half to be on the plain white so we can see that beautiful pink. Now, what does neon yellow and neon pink make? Correct, neon orange, look at how gorgeous that is. Again, we're going to be following the same stroke pattern as we did with the yellow. We're going to get that same spacing just next to our first stroke, and we're going to begin that angling in of the palm. Of course, they're not perfect, but what is? Now, I'm going to make this palm go all the way over this yellow. As you can see, I've almost just about completely covered this yellow. We can see it has the same shape. I like having that natural wave. Think of sound waves, good vibes, tropical. These are all things that are always beautiful. Paying attention to this crosshatch, this is really the essence of how vibrant this work is. These are beautifully vibrant highlighters, that's why I love to use them and it really makes it pop in real life, just like with our first color, we're going to sue the second color aiming in different directions. Again, I'm going to change the composition. Now, I'm not going to make as big of a leaf as I did here. I want to make a small one overlapping this edge of the yellow here. My first initial stroke will be that crosshatch. Again, paying attention to the direction of the first color and the second. For our second direction, I'm going to be going a different direction than I did with our first pink, right off the page, not going too fast, nice and controlled strokes. Second part of the palm, we're going to be turning our chisel and still finding that curve. That takes us off the page. Notice the spacing here, those are the same as spacing here. It's not perfect, but this exercise is really just about having fun and working on your confident brushstroke. I'm going to take over this corner right here, leaving some more whitespace and some pink and some yellow by itself. These two palms are coming in like this. I'm going to start my first stroke, coming right down like that. Plant it right off the page. You can use any kind of highlighter really. However, these are my absolute favorite. Why? Look at how bright that is. Also the chiseled tips are really sharp and you get this great ink indicator to let you know when you're getting low. So turn the chisel, continue on the other side of the pink palm. Focus on your speed, as you can see here, I would go a little quick and it gets a little lighter than it would on these thicker lines here. It's a good indicator of the speed you're using while creating your brushstrokes. But the heavier hand I was on either of these stroke, you can see just how much more bold that overlap is. You get a really nice bright orange. We have the first layers of our two colors. Now, it's time to move on to the third color. 5. Color Blending: Time for the third and final color, blue. Again, we're going to approach this the same way we have with our first two colors by recognizing the composition and the direction that our poms are going to be going in. For blue, I'm going to start with this corner down here, a nice overlap with the pink and the yellow as well as a little bit of that orange. Already you can see just how more dominant this color is versus the yellow and the pink. Perhaps you can see how it bleeds a bit into the yellow here. For whatever reason, the blue just seems to come out a lot faster than the other colors so that's another reason why I use it last. But you can see this fantastic overlap here. We have some purples, some greens and with that orange. You really begin to get a sense of the vibrancy of this artwork. Now, turning the angle in, angle my paper a bit. Perfect. Now, as I continue, I'm going to turn the page. Again, for the composition sake, I want to see where's the best place to lay a layer of blue. When I think about composition, I think where the directions of the pink and the yellow already going and where is the blue going to have a nice natural fit. I think a nice cross-section across this pink and this already pink and yellow will be good. First stroke, don't be afraid to take big bold strokes. I like to get an entire two pack of this paper just for that reason. You can play with different sizes, strokes, timing, colors and really have fun. Now, as you can see, there's not a lot of room between this blue and this blue, so I'm even going to angle this a bit more to bring it in down here. The blue is dark and can be overbearing if you use it too much. You can always draw more, you can't draw less. Now we get to see a lot of vibrancy all through here. This is coming together real pretty, I hope yours as well. As we continue, you can see the natural area to fill in will be over here, over here, so what I'm going to do is choose to do one more big blue pom and let's see. How about right down the middle. Feel free to play with your spacing, I like to keep it still just about the width of the tip between each other. Of course it's not perfect. Again, what is? That's not. But look at how pretty that is. Now that we've done all three colors, I like to play a little bit of clean up and actually add smaller versions of these poms into certain sections of the painting to even out the composition. That's what we're going to be diving into in the next part of this video. Let's get started. 6. Adding Final Details: Now on to final touches. Return to yellow. What I want to find here are places on the page where there really isn't yellow, such as this. We have the pink, we have the blue and yellow on either side. Now instead of making the big poms we'll make smaller ones. This is a much more fine motor skill which I love to practice. We're going to find this area here, which way are these going? We have the blue going down here. We have the pink going this way, so I'm going to make the yellow straight across almost in just a small version of what we're doing. Now, we're not going off the page obviously, so pay attention to where you pick up your brush and try to duplicate that with each stroke. First stroke here, I'm going to come right down the middle of this blue and pink. Notice how lightly I'm touching the page. You've already got blue and pink down there and the yellow is a very soft color and it will soak right into the other colors. You have this nice cross-section and then again, turning your chiseled tip, we're going to make these smaller and smaller as to not overlap with the same color. You see I'm just ending it right before it gets to the other yellow. We don't want to supersaturate it with yellow. This is what it should look like. Now getting back to our pink. We have pink here, we have pink here, we have pink here. Let's try to fill in some small pink around here. First stroke. Again, small, compact and just moving gracefully across the page. Look how that pretty that looks. This is our first line that really doesn't hit the end of the page, and as you can see, my stroke gets lighter as I get towards the end of the brush stroke. It fades away a bit, there is no hard stop. But I think it's actually quite pretty and adds a bit of character to the picture. Again, this area, we're going to add a little bit more pink right down the middle. You can angle it. I want to bring this one all the way almost to the corner here, and honestly I love these little small bits. There's the second round of pink. Now moving on to our final color, because blue is so dominating, we're only going to find a couple pockets and I think that's even here, maybe a little bit of blue here, and just a touch over there could really pull this whole composition together. We have blue going this way, blue going that way, let's go right here on the side and let's make a small one. This is going off the page, but you do what you like. Perhaps your page looks something like this. This is what a typical page looks like for me when I'm finished now, I might sit down and do three or four of these at a time and they're all going to look different. Again, I play with the size of the stroke maybe going off the page, staying on the page. Feel free to play around. One of my favorite things to do is to finish a bunch of these pages and then make them into something else functional and fun, and that's what I'm going to show you in this next video. 7. Bonus Tips & Conclusion: All right, guys. Let's talk about what you can do with this artwork. Let's talk framing. This is an 11 by 14 piece of paper. What I like to do is to order a 20 by 16 inch frame, with a mat around the actual artwork. It'll really make the colors pop and give it that extra touch of class you need to get those sales. If you don't want a frame and looking for something more fun and functional to use it for, birthday cards, just fold it in half, write your name inside and it may be their birthday, but you're getting the attention. Check out this wall behind me. I used poster board that I just bought at a local craft shop for a few bucks. With a few of these together, you can create a big selfie wall, make it as big or as small as you want. These are great for decorating your dorm room, your bedroom, living room, you having a party for your business, make a cool selfie wall. People love these. Hey, teachers, these are fantastic place-mats for kids. All you have to do is laminate them and the kids will love them, or just decorate your classroom to make it more fun and inviting, and really big bookmarks or you can cut them up into regular-sized bookmarks. Either way, you're going to have some cool bookmarks. What I like to do is scan them into a computer, digitize them and upload to print on demand websites. Then you can have your artwork on mugs, bags, apparel, leggings, socks, backpacks, coasters, posters, mosters, tapestries, bedspreads, and pretty much any product you can think of. If you want to see what I'm doing with my artwork, check the link below to my shop. Thank you so much for joining my class today. I'd love to see what you've made, so please share your work in the project gallery, as well as social media, and be sure to tag me and Skillshare so we can have a look. Feel free to get creative and take these exercises in whatever direction you'd like. I'd love to see what you're making. I hope by practicing this exercise, you too will develop greater focus, more confidence in your brushstroke, as well as some nice artwork. If you want to see where I am in the world and what I'm working on, as well as details on my next Skillshare class, go ahead and follow me on Instagram, @adampalmeter, or through my website, adampalmeter.com. I sincerely hope to see you in class again real soon.