Explore 8 Summer Flowers in Watercolor | Simple Tips & Techniques for Beginners | Neesha @PaperWand Studio | Skillshare

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Explore 8 Summer Flowers in Watercolor | Simple Tips & Techniques for Beginners

teacher avatar Neesha @PaperWand Studio, Watercolor | Illustration Studio

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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.

      Welcome & Class Preview


    • 2.

      Supplies and Prep Info


    • 3.

      Sweet Pea


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Greater Quaking Grass


    • 6.



    • 7.



    • 8.



    • 9.



    • 10.



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About This Class

Happy Summer!!  This class combines Summer Florals & Watercolors in an easy to follow format. 
I've chosen 8 summer flowers to paint in step-by-step tutorials. Grab your paint supplies and paint along! 

Also included for reference is a Pinterest Board: https://pin.it/s4kcttruo5z6c6
Feel free keep this on hand as you paint.


I'll show you tips and techniques for each flower and how to paint them in a loose watercolor style. You can use these techniques to create even more florals for your creative projects. 


OVERVIEW of the Lessons: 

• Lesson 1: Sweet Pea
• Lesson 2: Yarrow
• Lesson 3: Greater Quaking Grass
• Lesson 4: Aster
• Lesson 5: Cornflower
• Lesson 6: Cosmos
• Lesson 7: Hydrangea
• Lesson 8:  Peony 

** BONUS TUTORIALS: on my YouTube Channel

• Sunflower: https://youtu.be/2tzhnw9yZFI
• Icelandic Poppy: https://youtu.be/kzrQ8I3ryxs


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Neesha @PaperWand Studio

Watercolor | Illustration Studio


Like catching fireflies at summer's dusk, PaperWand creations are a way of making time stand still—if only briefly—to celebrate whimsy and wonder. They invite you to reconnect with your imagination and relish the big magic in little moments.

Our workshops and classes are inspired by the most timeless of emotions: a little bit of nostalgia, an endless well of delight. We hope they inspire you to play, laugh, and make believe a little more each day.


I'm Neesha. I'm an illustrator + designer with an online home at PaperWand.com.

Following 15 years in the graphic design industry, I've explored many creative paths. Ranging from being an art teacher, a kids' book illustrator, and nursery muralist. I love t... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Welcome & Class Preview: Welcome to Summer Florals, Simple Tips and Techniques for Beginners. I'm Neesha. I'm an artist, illustrator, and designer with lots of botanical and nature-inspired classes on Skillshare. In this class, I will take you through some of my favorite summer florals to paint. This is a loose watercolor style of painting. These lessons cover a variety of skills. I'll show you wet on wet, and how to build colors that way, wet on dry, how to create really fine texture lines, when and how to layer colors and blend them effectively, how to use glazing to shift your color from warm to cool or cool to warm, how to build shadows with complimentary colors and using analogous colors on the color wheel to make fun color harmonies. There are eight florals total, and each one can be completed in about five to ten minutes. Grab your supplies, and let's get started. 2. Supplies and Prep Info: For this class, I have a Pinterest board specifically for all the flowers. In here, I have all of the reference images that I used for each of the florals that we'll be painting for each lesson. There are eight florals total, and you can find them all here. There are a few extra that are not covered in this class, and that is because those tutorials are on my YouTube channel. I'll go ahead and leave a link for these bonus videos in the description. Feel free to have a look and try those as well. In the next section I cover supplies, and if you've already taken some of my classes, this will be a little bit of a repeat so feel free to skip it. If you're brand new, I recommend watching in that way you'll have a good overview of what I use personally and why I like each item. Let's talk supplies. We're going to go over some paper and brushes and paints. This Canson brand is a really good one if you're starting out. It is a student grade one. There are different brands that I also use besides Canson. This is the Legion paper. It's cold presses well and I like this sometimes, but my absolute favorite is the Arches brand. I have this in cold press and in hot press. The hot press has a smooth surface so there's no texture. I use it sometimes and then the one I use the most however is the cold press Arches paper. It's my favorite. It's professional quality, and if you're looking for something that will give you the best results, go with the highest quality paper for your budget. In general, if I'm practicing a lot and not doing a final piece, I'll use one of the student grade papers like the Canson. When I'm ready for my final piece, then I will move my painting onto the Arches. For this class, I have two sizes of paint brushes, these are round brushes in a large and a medium. You can do a medium size which is about a six or an eight. I really like this black velvet one. It comes to a nice point at the end and you can get some really fine details with that end. Then the large brush is somewhere between 12-14 or 16. Just depends how big you like to paint. You can get watercolors in a set like this. They come in a dried out tray form. These are student grade. I do prefer the higher-quality watercolors that come in a pan set or liquid form. These will give you much better results. They're also easier to customize. You can get individual colors and get a custom palette. The other brand that I really like is the Dr. Ph. Martin's. These are radiant concentrated watercolors and they're liquid. You give them a shake and then you can add it to your palette. They're very concentrated so only a drop or two is really necessary. They last a really long time and they're beautiful. They give you a really wonderful results. If you don't already have watercolors as with everything in supplies, I say get the highest quality for your budget. I will link everything down below that I'm using, and let's get started. 3. Sweet Pea: Our first summer floral will be a Sweet Pea. This is a loose style of watercolors and we're going to start with a very light translucent lavender color. So using just the end of the brush and a really diluted purplish color am putting in these floppy petals and then while it's still wet, I'm dropping in a little bit of that yellow along the bottom of the petals where the stem will attach. I also have a Pinterest board linked in the description and in there you'll find all the images for the summer floros. You can use those and have them on hand and refer back to them, so you can see the size and shape and color. So once you have your clusters that are in roughly the spot you want, you can start putting in a little green for the stems. Just keep in mind that if your petals are still wet, then to avoid touching them, unless that's the effect you want, that green will bleed into your petals when it's still wet. So with a smaller brush, I'm adding in these little curly bits. There's wispy parts of that stem that are just off a few of the stem pieces and then towards the bottom of the stem, you can start adding the leaves that are coming out and then even some of the little lines like the veins and then remember, if any of those lines get a little bit too saturated or dark and you want to keep it delegate, you can just use a rinse to clean brush and then sort of soften out some of those edges and pick up any extra paint. Then with a clean rinsed brush, we can go in with our darker layers. These petals are still a bit damp, so the colors are going to blend in a little bit on their own. If not, just add a little bit more water and you can soften out the edges as well and then I'm adding the dark shades wherever I see a shadow and you can use one of the reference images to look back on if it helps. Adding in the second layer will really build up the shadows and then the areas that you leave alone will be where the light is hitting your petals. You can also vary up your colors by adding a little bit more blues or more of a red undertone purple. You can really play up the cool and warm colors but still stay in the purple range and have fun with it, play around. Then we'll do the same shadow building on the stem and leaves. So go ahead and add some more greenish layers and then you can also darken up some areas and leave some areas light and translucent. So put in your final details and then we'll be done. Thanks for joining me. I hope you had so much fun painting along. Remember that you can post your work in the projects tab on Skill-share and that way I won't miss it. 4. Yarrow: This tutorial is painting yarrow. We'll start by taking a look at the Pinterest image. I have it linked below in the description. These little tiny flowers are sort of close. They grow in clusters. Using a little bit of orange and pink and reds, we will build up our first layer of petals. Each of these flowers look like they have about four to six petals each. You can roughly eyeball it. It's a loose painting, so no need to be exact. I'm also leaving the centers open with some white space so I can drop in a different color there. Then the ones that are behind, where you can see petals popping out from behind, you can just put the tops of the petals and that'll show them going into the background. As you are putting in your petals, you can also vary up your colors. Adding a little orange into your pinks or a little bit more red will add some visual interest. You can also go in with some darker layers and build up a little bit of shadow areas on some of these petals and that will give you that light and shadow effect. Then rinsing your brush, adding in some green stem pieces. If you refer to that image, you can see that they fan out a little bit from a main stem, so put in the smaller top pieces and then we'll put in the main stem underneath. To build out the leaves, we're going to use just the end of the brush with a light pressure and just make these really long lines coming out from the center stem. Then you can go back and connect a few of them so that they look a little bit thicker towards the middle of each of these lines. Again, refer to the image in the Pinterest board. It'll be a little bit easier to see visually what I'm referring to. Add in as many leaves and little details as you like. As the last step, we'll add in a little bit of yellow into the center. Just drop it right in onto those flowers and then make your final touches and we'll be done. Thanks for joining me. I hope you had so much fun painting along. Remember that you can post your work in the Projects tab on Skillshare and that way, I won't miss it. 5. Greater Quaking Grass: This tutorial is painting greater quaking grass. This is a fun one to paint. It's pretty simple and quick. I chose this because it works well in contrast with other big florals and blooms. When you're thinking about a composition and having a variety of shapes and sizes, this will work really well. We're going to start with a light green and just start putting in these small little pieces in little segments. You can refer again to that pinterest board. I'm going to have some reference images there. You can see what the shape is like. Then we'll put a few of these in, and then we'll build up our textures and layers on top. These have a slightly rounded top where they connect to the stems and then they taper off and get narrow towards the bottom. I'm using the side of the brush to make the small segments and using slightly different shades of green. Some are a little bit more yellow-green and then some with little bit more blue. Then while it's still damp, I'm adding in some of that shadow towards the rounded top parts. Then you will see that the color will bleed naturally and mix up together a little bit. If not, on your paint is already dried, don't worry, just rewrite it a little bit and then you can soften out the edges. Then with the end of the brush using a light touch we'll put in the little stems. You can see from that reference image they are really long and thin. Then they bend outwards a little bit where they attach to each of these. Now we can add in some shadows under each of these tiny segments. I'm using a little darker shade. It's a little bit of purple mixed in with my green. Then I'm putting it on the underneath portion to show where the light is hitting on top and then the shadow is along the bottom of each of the sections. Now let's try it a little bit and I'm adding a slight glaze on top, which is just means another layer of yellow and warming up that green color. That's the fun thing about watercolors is that when they are so translucent, you can actually shift your talons warmer and cooler just by layering another diluted layer on top. Go through and add any final details and darken up any areas that you like, and then we'll be done. Thanks for joining me. I hope you had so much fun painting along. Remember that you can post your work in the projects tab on skill share. That way I won't miss it. 6. Aster: This video is painting Aster. I'll start off painting the center. I'm using the end of the brush with a yellow and it's mixed with a little bit of orange and brown, drop in the darker colors around the bottom, and while it's still wet, they will naturally blend together in gradation on their own. Then with a rinsed brush, I'm putting in the petals very lightly at first, this is a light lavender purplish, bluish color, and these petals are very narrow. Then refer back to the Pinterest images, I have it linked in the description. I'm slightly touching the center area and it's okay if that yellow and brownish color blends out a little bit. I like seeing the flow of colors between each of the parts of the flower. As you're building these petals out, keep in mind if it's a turned flower, the petals closer to you will be longer, and then the petals that are further away from you will be a little bit shorter and that will give you that perspective of a flower turned. Then continue with your next flower, starting with that center, with the yellow and the orangeish brown along the bottom and putting in the petals as well. I'm also adding a little variety in my shades. Some may look a little more purple, some may look a little bit more bluish. Then guiding in the centers for the next ones. I'm dropping in a little bit more yellow into the highlight area, but also keeping in mind to keep some areas white and that that paper show us through and that will also add to your highlights. If you get too much paint in any area like that, you can use your brush to soak it up. I have a paper towel on hand that I'm using to dab the extra paint off. It's like a sponge. It'll just come right up. While those dry, we can put in the stems. These are thin and narrow and I'm using a green and just dropping them in right underneath. Then you can also start putting in the little leaves, they're somewhat narrow and a little bit of floppy. Now that the top first petals have dried, we can go in and add our shadow layers and darken up some of the petals. The darkest areas will be right underneath that center yellow part, so I'm dropping in that darker purple and then using the end of the brush to flick out a little bit of that paint. Now building up the layers in the center area, the darker brownish orange will be along the bottom, the medium orange in the middle, and then the yellow and lighter colors towards the top. While those dry, we can go in with our second layer on the leaves and the stem and put in some shadows in darker areas. Once I know where my dark shadows are, I'm going to rinse my brush, and then with a clean brush, I'm going to soften and blend out some other sharper edges. Just finishing up these final touches and then we'll be done. Thanks for joining me. I hope you had so much fun painting along. Remember that you can post your work in the projects tab on Skillshare, and that way, I will miss it. 7. Cornflower: This video is painting cornflower. We'll start with some blue paint and start putting in the outer petals. I'm leaving that center open for now. Also, you can keep that Pinterest image on hand if you want to refer to it. It's in the description below. Then for the second flower, this will be a side view. Only do half of that circle. Then we'll also add in a few little buds that are just starting to grow. While it's still wet, you can drop in a little bit more paint and just darken up a few areas. See I have some light and dark tones. Then rinse your brush. Then we can start adding in the green. The bottom of the two buds and in the bottom of the other two flowers. I'm starting with a light shade of green and then we can go in and add some details and darken up the areas in the next layers. Then putting in the leaves. These are longer and a little bit narrower. All I'm doing is pushing down with some pressure on my brush and then releasing that pressure towards the end of the leaf. While it's still damp, you can go in and add a little bit more color and paint wherever you want to make the color a little bit stronger. If you look at some of the images, you'll see there's a slightly purplish-lavender tinge to some of these petals and the ends of the buds. So I'm just dropping those in while it's a little bit damp. Also bringing in a few lighter strokes towards the center of that first flower. If any of your area got too much color like this, I want to lighten up a few of these petals. I'm just using a clean brush that's rinsed like a sponge and just picking up some excess paint. Then going in and adding that lavender-purply color on that second flower. Then with a dark blue purple, add in some of those texture lines into the center of that first flower. Then using that same color to add some texture and more details onto the buds in that second flower. Then rinsing the brush and just using that clean wet brush to soften out some of these edges. You can spread the paint and make a few more diluted marks near the stronger ones. You can also build up that lavender color if you want that to be stronger as well. Then going in with a stronger blue-purple with some texture lines along the bottom of the flowers where they attach to the stems and then adding shadows onto the leaves as well. For the leaves and stem, I'm using a slightly darker green with just a tiny bit of purple mixed in. As a final touch, go through and add any other layers you want for the darker shadows. A little bit more lavender color. Make your final touches and when we'll be done. Thanks for joining me. I hope you had so much fun painting along. Remember that you can post your work in the "Projects tab" on Skillshare. That way I won't miss it. 8. Cosmos: This video is painting cosmos. I love how these flowers look. They have these very delicate, almost see-through petals, and they're big and cupcake like. So start with a light pink wash of petals, we're going to build in our first layers. Also, you can refer to the reference images in the painter's board. It's linked in the description below. You can also dab up some extra paint with a paper towel. I'm just using that in the center to keep it light and translucent. Then with some green, we can put in the stems, and they're attached right along the bottom of the flower, and it's okay if it touches a little bit. I'm putting in just a few of the bottom little leaf parts of that stem as well. Then I'm adding a little of a dome shape for the buds that show the new growth. Then using a smaller brush, I'm putting in some of the details. So starting with the yellow center, and slightly more of an orange yellow for the bottom of that center part. Then I'm using a darker pink to put inside these lines and details onto the petals, and then rinsing my brush, I'm softening out some of those edges. It's always easier to start lighter and then build up your colors and get darker, and you can control the saturation that way. I'm putting the darker shades towards the center of the flower, where it connects to the stem and closest on the buds, where it connects to the leaf parts of that stem. Then using some more green for the rest of the leaves, you can see in the reference image they have a very distinct wispy leaf texture, where they're thin and light and then they branch out almost like tiny little twigs. Then with a darker green, I'm going in and just adding a few more shadow lines, and putting a few more of these little twig like leaf patterns, and then we'll be done. Thanks for joining me. I hope you had so much fun painting along. Remember that you can post your work in the projects tab on Skill Share, and that way I won't miss it. 9. Hydrangea: This tutorial is painting Hydrangea. At first this one can look overwhelming or intimidating, but it's really just some simple little florals all balled up together. They grow in these little balled up clusters. I'm starting with a light lavender purple paint and mixing in a little bit of blues in there as well and putting in these petals, there are about four to each flower. I'm putting them in a somewhat circular shape. It doesn't have to be perfect just go ahead and start. Then you can tuck in a few petals in the back to show them peeking out from behind as you build up your circle shape. Have a look at the Pinterest board. The link is in the description below, and you can find your color palette that way as well. The one I'm painting is a lavender and slightly bluish version. The key to this is to remember to leave some whitespace in-between your flowers. That way they won't all mixed together and then you'll just have one ball of color. While that first one dries, I'll start on that second ball of flowers. It'll be right next to it. Again, I'm leaving some whitespace and then also varying up the tones of blues, pinks and purples. While those two dry, I'll start putting in the leaves. Hydrangeas are quite wide and they have a little bit of a tear drop shape. The edges have a little bit of texture if you look at the photos for the reference. I'm just using the end of the brush to pull out a little bit of paint to create that rough edge. I'm also using the brush to pick up any extra paint to keep it light and translucent since this is the first layer. Put in as many leaves as you like, and then we can build out some stems. Now that the petals have dried a bit, we can add in the centers am just dropping a little dot right in the center on some of them keeping it really saturated and then rinsing my brush and doing a few of them a little bit more diluted. I'm also going in and adding some shadow layers onto the petals, especially on that second ball of flowers it's underneath and in the background a bit more so I'm adding a darker shade on those. Then while that dries, we can add in the details on the leaves with a center vein and then a few more lines coming off that center one. Also I'm adding in some shadows now, so any areas like under the leaves or underneath where the stem is in shadow, I'm adding some extra layers on there. I'm using a little bit of purple in that green to get a darker shadow. Then I'm using a clean rinsed brush and softening out some of those edges. I am now going to go through and just build up a little bit more shadow because it's a ball-like structure with all these little flowers that make up the circular shape. The shadows will be underneath as if it was one ball or sphere. You're going to build up your layers of shadows underneath and then the light will be hitting on the top, so keep those ones light and translucent. For the last steps, we'll just build up any extra layers and shadows and color and putting your final details and then we'll be done. Thanks for joining me. I hope you had so much fun painting along. Remember that you can post your work in the projects tab on Skillshare and that way I won't miss it. 10. Peony: This video is painting peonies, we are starting with the center part and then I'll build out the other petals around the edges. You can look at the Pinterest board as a reference. I have lots of peony pictures in there, and then I'll also put a small bud next to the bigger flower. Peonies are kind of a bowl shaped flower they are, very full, lots of layers, lots of petals, so keep that in mind when you're building them. Then with some green paint, we can put in some stems and also the tiny leaves that attach underneath. If you get some color bleeding like this, you can just use a clean brush and then soak it up and dab it on a paper towel. It's just going to take away some of that extra painting water. Then I am going in with a second layer, a little bit stronger color and adding in some shadows and details into some of these petals. Some areas aren't dried yet so they're bleeding a little bit and blending on their own. I'm also adding a little bit of yellow around the tops. You can also use a paper towel to dab up any extra paint in areas you want to keep more light and translucent. As you're adding in these extra layers keep in mind the overall shape. The center is a little bit more round like a ball and as the petals open outward the bottom petals they are more flat, so there will be a little bit more horizontal in shape. While the petals dry, I'll build up the shadows in layers on the leaves and the stems. Then go through and add any final details and shadows that you like and we'll be done. Thanks for joining me. I hope you had so much fun painting along. Remember that you can post your work in the Projects tab on skill share and that way I won't miss it.