Explore Winter in Your Botanical Sketchbook | Anne Butera | Skillshare

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Explore Winter in Your Botanical Sketchbook

teacher avatar Anne Butera, Artist. Instigating creativity and joy.

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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.



    • 3.

      Go Outside


    • 4.



    • 5.

      The Colors of Winter


    • 6.

      Winter Skies


    • 7.



    • 8.

      Birch Bark


    • 9.

      Tracks in Snow


    • 10.

      Coneflower Skeletons


    • 11.

      Sweet Peas


    • 12.



    • 13.

      Your Sketchbook


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About This Class

Winter is my least favorite season. My inspiration comes from blooming flowers in the garden. In winter the garden is dead and sleeping and I often feel uninspired and sometimes even creatively blocked or stuck during the winter months.

In this class I hope to challenge you (and myself) to get outside and to find inspiration in nature and in the pages of your sketchbook.

No matter the season nature holds inspiration for your art and possible subjects for your botanical sketchbook. Let's discover it!



  • Be open to and discover inspiration in the natural world no matter what the season. Look for:
    • Color
    • Shapes
    • Textures
  • Let go of perfectionism and any pressure to create “perfect looking pages”.
  • Look at sketchbooks as a place to explore, experiment, play, be curious and have fun.
  • Be willing to break the “rules” in order to embrace inspiration and generate ideas.
  • Play with different media and learn which materials will work best for creating botanical sketchbook pages.
  • Learn to capture the beauty of the season in a very low-pressure way by creating simple spreads of colorful, nature-inspired swatches.
  • Mix and match colors with watercolor on your palette.
  • Learn wet on wet techniques with watercolor to allow colors to mix on paper.
  • Learn how to paint tiny watercolor skies.
  • Play with collage and create a messy, 3-D, mixed media piece.
  • Begin playing with gouache.
  • Begin playing with acrylic craft paint.
  • Layer wet paint over dry.
  • Learn how to think about the composition of your sketchbook pages and what combinations of objects create the most eye-catching displays. Discover simple tricks to help you plan out your page before you start painting without having to create a pencil sketch first.
  • Gain confidence creating in your sketchbook by starting with very simple pages and working up to more complex compositions.
  • Mix media in your sketchbook.
  • Use a long, pointed round brush to paint tiny, fine lines.
  • Be playful with your pages.
  • Begin playing with colored pencils.
  • Use hand lettering in your sketchbook pages.
  • Learn how to protect the pages in your sketchbook and keep a smooth surface on subsequent pages after a bulky collage.

Meet Your Teacher

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Anne Butera

Artist. Instigating creativity and joy.

Top Teacher

I'm a full-time artist, art educator and writer, but for a long time I believed I wasn't good at art and could never be an artist.

The beginning of my story might sound similar to yours. When I was a child I loved to make things, but as I grew up I "learned" I wasn't good at art and stopped making it.

But that wasn't the end of my story.

I love teaching on Skillshare because through my classes I can help YOU reclaim YOUR creativity. I know what it's like to yearn to make art but not know where to start.

Are you ready to begin rewriting your story?

Read My Blog

Get My Free Sketchbook Guide

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Anne Butera. As a painter inspired by flowers blooming in the garden, winter is my least favorite season. I often feel uninspired and sometimes even stalk or blocked during the winter months, but I've found that I can reclaim my inspiration in the pages of my sketchbook. The more I work in my sketch book, the more inspired I become. In this class, I'm inviting you to find inspiration and joy in the pages of your sketchbook too. In this class, I won't be showing you how to create perfect detailed botanical illustrations. I am going to be breaking some rules. I'll be creating a page of skies and one of animal tracks in a botanical sketchbook. I'm going to create with a messy collage next to [inaudible] and with cheap craft paint beside water color. I'm going to explore and play and have fun and not take myself too seriously. I'm inviting you to do the same, break the rules, follow your curiosity, go outside and explore winter, and then come back and explore winter and find creativity in the pages of your sketchbook. Are you ready? Then let's get started. 2. Brainstorming: Before we get started creating pages, I want you to brainstorm some ideas. In all of my classes, I share examples of how I play with creative ideas but I want you to feel that these examples are merely starting points. What I most want to pass on to you is a sense of curiosity and the courage to move from dreaming to doing. I want you to spend a few minutes writing up a list and I'm titling my list, Winter Brainstorming. You could make a list called winter joys or winter inspirations. I want you to fill that list with any sorts of words of ideas that you associate with winter. It can be images. It could be descriptors. Just anything wintery can go on your list. Don't think too hard about it. Just write down whatever first comes to mind. What do you see in the winter time? What do you feel? When someone says the word winter, what first comes to mind? These sorts of words and this free association is a great way to generate ideas. Having a list like this is wonderful to come back to when you're not feeling very inspired. It can also be interesting to compare what goes on your list and then what you actually end up creating. Sometimes, it's not the same. A list like this is also wonderful for helping you to savor the season. I know I've said that winter is not my favorite season, but there are lots of things that I do love about it. Having a list like this to refer to and remind me of what I can savor and what I love about winter is really helpful if I'm feeling down. So spend some time writing your list. Your list might look totally different than mine and that's okay. Then just get the ideas down. After that, once you have your list, I'm going to help you move from dreaming to doing. 3. Go Outside: I have created a list and you've created list. Let's set them aside and take a look at winter. What do you see? What do you see when you go outside? What does the real winter look like? Maybe your winter doesn't look like mine. So take some time to go outside. Observe what details catch your eye? What colors do you see? What textures? Take a camera with you and capture a few photos. Get down on the ground and really look at least where I live in Wisconsin, it's too cold most of the time to bring a sketchbook outside with me. So photographs are the way to go to capture what I see. I'll be honest with you, and it's probably not a surprise when I say that winter is not my favorite season. When I'm outside in winter, I usually want to hurry back inside. I often feel uninspired during the winter. Sometimes I feel stuck or blocked, but it doesn't need to be that way and I hope that this class will be inspiring for you and I'm hoping to inspire myself. I'm calling this a botanical sketchbook. Even though not all of the pages we create will be botanicals. I'm doing that because the process of discovering inspiration in the natural world fits perfectly in a botanical sketchbook. Although, when I make my botanical calendars each year, the seasonal botanical paintings I choose for the winter months are usually houseplants inspired by my indoor garden. I won't be demonstrating painting indoor plants in this class. I do have another class all about painting orchids If you're interested. Instead, this class will challenge you to go outside, to observe, and to capture natural beauty in your sketchbook. I hope you'll keep an open mind. I hope you'll keep your eyes open and I hope you'll keep your heart open to. Open with a sense of possibility and open to inspiration. So let's get started exploring winter and see what we can create. 4. Materials: Before we get started creating, I just wanted to go over the materials that I'll be using in this class. If you have different materials, feel free to use them. You don't need to have everything that I have here to be successful and have fun in your sketchbook. These are just the materials that I have and that I have chosen to use if you prefer other materials, use those. If you don't have certain materials, don't worry about it. I'm also sharing the materials list in the handout for the class, make sure you get a hold of that as well. First off, you need a sketchbook or somewhere to create. This is the sketchbook I am using. It's the delta series from the Stillman and birn. It's not something that I've used before, but I'm enjoying it. You'll need some watercolor paint. I'm using this set of Yarka St. Petersburg. You need water, you need a pallet, you need some brushes. I'm also going to be using some scraps of watercolor paper that we'll be using outside of the sketchbook. I've got this whole bunch of materials for collage. Use whatever you have at home and on hand, scissors and glue are helpful for the collage as well. I'm using craft paint, this Craft Smart brand acrylic paint and gouache, that's Holbein Artists' gouache. An additional palette that I'm using is this disposable palette. I'm also using tracing paper. If you don't have a palette like this, you can just use a plastic plate. I'll be using this exact plate in class for mixing my gouache paint. I'll be using colored pencils. These are prismacolor premier, also a sharpener is handy to have on hand. Clothes pins or some kind of clips to hold your sketchbook open are handy, and one other material I didn't mention, is a piece of mat board. I'm using that to help create a smooth surface after creating a three-dimensional mixed media piece. I hope that seeing these materials has you inspired to begin creating in your sketchbook. 5. The Colors of Winter: For this first page, we're going to be inspired by the colors we saw outside. This is a great warm up exercise. We'll be working from life for inspiration. We're going to be learning some water color paint mixing and this is really low pressure, so it's a great place to start. It's something that I often demonstrate in my classes, I love mixing color. So filling a page with some color swatches is a great warm up. I've got my sketchbook here and I've got some paints. If you feel confident mixing colors, you can skip on to the next lesson. If you need a little extra help with color mixing, I do have another class, learn to fearlessly mix and use color for water color painting. So feel free to take that if you need a little extra help. Otherwise, I'm going to just get started painting, and you can paint along with me or paint your own mixes. Get some inspiration from watching me play with paint. I've got my sketchbook and my watercolors. I'm going to start with some ocher. I'm thinking of sweet pea leaves. Here are all of my paints set up. You don't have to have that many different paints or colors. Feel free to use what you have. Even if you're not using watercolor, that's okay. I'm starting with ocher, a deep yellow and just grabbing up some paint was my brush and getting a nice puddle of color on my palate and now I'm going to add some white to it. That's going to frown on in watercolor circles, but I do like adding white to create some opaque colors. Here I'm going to use a little scrap of watercolor paper as my test strip to test out my colors before putting them in my sketchbook. So let's see how this color looks. That's a pretty nice color, but I think I want to keep mixing. So I'm going to add some of this buff titanium, it's a warmer cream color. That's a nice color too. I think I'm going add this golden color. I often go back and forth adding different paints to my mixes until I'm happy with a color. Part of it is just because I enjoy doing so. So let's test this color and see. I think that's pretty good. So I'm going to make my swatch in my sketchbook. I am going to be painting circles. You can paint any shape that you want. I made my circle and then I'm just dabbing in some more color. I hope to get a variegated look, a gradient in my circle. I've got one color down and I think I'm going to paint some brown next. One of my favorite ways to make brown is to mix green and red. This deep dark green is my favorite green, rushing Green from [inaudible] , St. Petersburg, I use that in a lot of mixes. I'm getting a nice puddle of paint on my palate. Then I'm going to grab up some of the red and just swirl the color together mixing it on the palate. It's coming out beautifully. Let's try it on my scrap of paper. That's not quite the color that I'm thinking of. That looks a little green to my eye. So I'll rinse my brush and I think, let's see, where's the red. Mix that in, it's looking warm and chocolaty. It's another gorgeous color. Test that out. I think I'll add a little bit more green. It's a little warmer than the color I'm thinking of. Of course, you could fill your page in your sketch book with all these colors as well and not worry so much about the color that you have in your head. So here's my second circle, dabbing in color along the edge. If your circle of paint is very wet, the extra color that you dab in will just spread everywhere. But if it's not too wet, you'll get that gradient. So let's see what happens if I add some ocher to that brown. Just swirling it in my paint palate and then testing it out on my scrap. I like that. So I'm willing to paint another circle. It doesn't matter if your circles are perfect circles and it doesn't matter if you're a circles are perfectly in line. I'm going to add some color directly to the page. That was some ocher that I dropped into my swatch. Now I'm speeding up the video. Again, it's not important which colors I mix. I'm just demonstrating the process of creating a page. Another way to mix brown or gray is to take red, yellow, and blue and mix them together. Depending on which colors you choose and the proportions of colors you mix, you'll get different colors. So that was a beautiful dove gray. Now I'm going to mix another brownie color with green and red, and that's a lovely rusty color. That was olive green that I used that time. I think I like this green kind of a like in color. There is like in on the fence. In this gray, the blue is coming out of the mix and I sometimes really love how that looks. I added some black to that brown to deepen the color. I don't often use black, but sometimes it's fun to see what happens when you add it to a mix. Here it's a cool brown that I'm getting. I also added some green and some red and that just intensified everything. So you have all sorts of options when you have this many colors on your palate, you can start mixing them together. You can add other colors to them. You could fill up your whole palate with different mixes. So red, blue, yellow, that'll give you graze and browns and that's a lovely golden brown. I think I'm going to try for another gray. You can also mix purple and yellow. That's a nice gray, like a stormy sky or the color of the birch bark and I love these warm greens. The olive mixed with some red. It's on its way to becoming brown, but it's not there yet. Adding white to any of your colors will give you other variations as well adding black. So just play around. I think it's so much fun to play and experiment and try out different combinations and then record them on your sketch book. If you want to be able to mix the colors again, take notes about what colors you mix together. Otherwise, just have fun with it and see what happens as you add more one color, more of another color. There's really a seemingly infinite number of grays and browns that you can mix with your red and blue and yellow. Another mossy like any color. I liked the ocher and white. That's another version. Add some more red to your brown and some yellow so your brown becomes warmer with more red and yellow. Beautiful color. Then some black to that and you have a cooler darker brown. There is just an example. Once it's dried, you can name your colors. Just write down what the color was inspired by. You can give a title to your page. I also really love my test swatch scrap of paper. You could tape that to your page or staple it into the page, or just leave it loose. It's just such a joy to me to collect colors in this way, and I hope it will be for you to. Now that we've created a page playing was color in a really low pressure fun way, we're going to do another easy watercolor exercise, and that is painting skies with watercolor. I'll see you there. 6. Winter Skies: For this page, we're going to look to the sky for inspiration. We're be breaking the rules of Botanical Sketchbooks by including skies. We'll be learning wet-on-wet techniques using flat and gradient washes. We'll be learning how to pick up the paint off the page with our brush. For this exercise, we're going to do something that is not strictly botanical. I'm going to paint some skies. I think winter skies can be so inspiring. It's one of the most changeable interesting things in nature in the winter, because the sky is part of nature. I see painted skies as fitting in wonderfully in your Botanical Sketchbook. All you have to do for this exercise to gain inspiration is to look up or to look out your window. These little rectangles of watercolor paper that I cut are almost like little views out the window. But I'm just going to demonstrate six different skies and when they're dried, I will glue them into my sketchbook. You could also work directly in your sketchbook, either drawing in little rectangles or squares, or just eyeballing it and not worrying about being exact. I'm going to move my sketchbook out of the way for this one and work one rectangle at a time. For some of them, I'm going to start by painting just clear water on first and then adding in color. On my palette I have the colors that we mixed for the color exercise and a few other colors. I'm play with blues and grays for the skies mostly. On the wet page, I'm dropping in some blue and gray and just brushing the color across the wet page. Using a damper brush without color, I can pull up some of the blue and gray and make swoopy cloud shapes and effects. I can add more color to deepen other areas. Then that one, I'm just going to let dry and see what happens. I'm going to make some deeper colors now, more of a gray. Remember, gray is blue and red and yellow. Depending on the proportions, you'll get all sorts of different options for your colors of gray. Those three colors also make brown. But I'm not paint any brown in my skies. This one is starting also with just clear water first. This deep gray color I'm painting in as a gradient wash and then going back to darken some spots. I'm going to dab in some blue that I'm mixing with this gray and see how that reacts. Letting the colors mix on the page is fun. Mixing them with your brush on the page can create some interesting effects and then the damp brush can pick up the paint. Also dabbing in just some clear water, can create interesting cloud-like effects. If you go in and paint around the lighter spots, that will help the clouds stand out some more. Then going back in and pulling up more of the paint will make that spot lighter because while it's still damp, the color will want to bleed into that area. If you just work on it a little, you can help create lights and darks. That one I'll let dry. I'm onto another one. This one I'm working paint directly on the dry surface instead of painting with water first. I've also sped up the video here. Here I'm going to add some pinks and yellows to create either a sunrise or a sunset effect. If you start with water first, you're generally get paler colors unless you keep layering more and more paint. If you start with paint first, then you can usually get some darker colors. Of course, it all depends on how you work the paint on the page and how much you add. This is a great quick exercise. That one was finished really quick. You can also spend more time on it if you want to, but really that's not necessary. Working on another gray color here, I always find the color mixing to be such a joy. Wetting my paper, dropping in that deep dark gray, starting out darker at the top, and moving lighter towards the bottom, and then dabbing in color to give a modeled effect. Let that one dry, create another one. Starting out with water on the page, adding some blue, adding some gray, deepening color here and there for the effect of clouds. I'll let that one dry too. Now that they're all dry, I have glued them into my sketchbook and wrote little notes about them. I have rearranged the order of them, and this one on the bottom, I actually turned upside down. This is a really fun, quick way to create in your sketchbook. Now that we have painted skies and done two exercises with watercolor, we're going to totally change gears. Are you ready to do some collage? If so, I'll see you in the next lesson. 7. Nests: We're going to be looking up towards the sky again and finding our inspiration in the branches of the trees for this page. We're going to be breaking the rules of botanical sketch books, again, using scraps from around the house for our collage, learning some simple weaving in the round, and have some fun by doing something completely different, which will hopefully spur your creativity. When the leaves come down from the trees, there are some secrets that are revealed. One of those things is the nests that are nestled in the branches. If you're looking up when you're walking under trees, I bet you'll see some nests left behind by birds. Sometimes there's more than one nest in a single tree, which is pretty neat. It's like you're being led in on a secret. We're going to have a lot of fun today doing some collage. I've prepared some things here, it's a little tree shape. I reused a paper for that, it gives it a nice texture. Then all these other bits, there's some twine and yarn and ribbons, some paper scraps. If you have paper scraps, tearing them into narrow strips works well for this. There's some fabric scraps I gathered, some little bits of nature too. Then we're going to be making nests and this is going to be the base. I've cut these strips and just folded them. There are three pieces here, two of them are folded together like this, and then another is folded around it. You want to have an odd number of spines to go around. I just used some craft card stock and cut it into strips for that. Use whatever you have. I've got some tape here in case we need that later. We're going to be starting with some yarn. I'm just going to wrap this yarn around the center. Just anchor everything. I'll go around a couple times here and a couple of times here. Just twining everything together. Then once that's pretty well together, I'm going to start weaving. For weaving you go over, under, over, under, over, under, and you just keep continuing that rhythm as you go around this star shape. When I'm finished, I'm just going to wrap the extra piece in the back and then choose something else. Here's a little piece of fabric scrap. I'll put that in the back and then I will start weaving, continuing the over under. Over, under, over, under, and then just keep going. Pull the bits in the back when you're finished, and choose something else. If you have a strip of paper, squeezing it, crunching it, crumpling it. That helps make it easier to we've. Now find out where you left off, or close to it and continue the pattern of over and under. This is a little bit repetitive, but it's also fun I find. It's fun to do something that doesn't really have any rules. Here, this large strip of a map, there's some fat parts and some skinny parts to it if you squish it. Then I'm going to need a little bit of tape, I think. There are those pieces of the paper and then the map. I'll just tape these all together in the back with one little piece and then start weaving. This will be a little bit harder to do because the paper is a little thicker and it's not an even strip. But that'll make it a little more interesting. Just make sure that I'm following this pattern. Some of the pieces get smashed and you can't tell if it's over or under. We'll just fold that. I've sped up the video here. Just so we'll go a little faster. Because it's pretty repetitive and it's a really simple concept. No special skills needed here. That this is something if you have kids, you can do it with your kids too. Whenever you needed a piece of tape to hold things together in the back, just add one in there. Nobody's going to see the backs off. It's messy. That's okay. For this yarn just continuing, I'm trying not to pull it too far towards the center where you can't see it. That is the one downside. Another thing you can do is twist it around the edge to hold it in place. Here, twist, twist, and then twist and then that, or maybe the opposite way. That'll just hold it out a little bit and keep everything from being pushed into the center. When you have narrow pieces like string and yarn, they tend to want to go in the center. We're getting the air, maybe another piece of tape here. It's looking good. Just going to continue with this. These are pieces from a sewing pattern that really fine paper, almost like tissue paper, I guess. I'm twisting this together. I'll make longer pieces by taking shorter pieces and twisting them together. They stick together pretty well when you twist and squeeze it together. I've found that they're fun to work with like this and pretty adaptable. Just keep weaving. Use whatever you have on hand. It's really fun to look around and imagine the uses that things that could otherwise be considered junk can have for your sketchbook. Here's a piece of fabric. You want to vary the colors and the textures of what you're doing. The reason that I thought of doing this, I had done something similar in the sketchbook that I worked on with Dana Barbarian. I was thinking about it when I was looking up and seeing those nests in the trees and thinking, that would be a very fun thing to do for my winter sketchbook class. Because it's really different. It's not something that you generally think of, something this large and a three-dimensional, you don't generally think of as being part of a sketchbook. This twine is giving a really interesting dynamic because it's twisty on its own. Let's see how that looks. Couple more things in here. How about some ribbon having all different textures and colors and widths of what you wrap around makes it really interesting. Now let's take a look at the sketchbook and see how this nest looks in our little tree branch. I'm liking it. The next thing I'm going to do is fold down the pieces of card stock that spines the center part of the nest. I'm just folding that card stock over. You're not going to see those bits. Then in the back, why don't we tape them down? This is pretty flexible. You can smash it around. When you're handling it at this point, unless you've used a lot of fragile things, I've haven't really. I can smash it as much as I need to to get everything in place. It's not neat, it's pretty messy, which I think is part of the appeal of it. Then just weave in any other ends or things that are sticking out or that don't look quite right. Shape it as much as you need to and figure out where you want to position it. I'm going to add a couple of these natural bits. Here's a little bit of cedar. I'm just going to twist that in there. I'm going to hold itself in place. What else do I have? Yeah, this lavender. It's going to look good sticking out. I used lavender in that other sketchbook page. Maybe you'll find something in your backyard or something that you had saved. Two pieces of lavender. Looks nice over by the cedar. Then here's a leaf, little oak leaf. Maybe I'll put it down here. You want to have balance in the different objects. Now, next thing I need to do is glue down my tree branch. I'm going to use a scrap piece of paper. Turn my tree branch upside down, get my glue stick. This is just Omar's school glue stick. It's purple now, but it dries clear. Then I will set that. Now that it's covered in glue, move my scrap over my sketchbook here and just press it down. Smooth it against the paper. It's all stuck down. Then grab your nest. Figure out how you want it to be. Here's another little bit that I can twist in there. Then I'm going to find a couple more bits. Let's see. That's too long. How about this piece of paper? You can add anything you want at this point and just weave it in without going doing the under over bit to stick it wherever you think it'll fit and look interesting. One thing you notice with those nests is that there are always little bit hanging off. Now I'm just going to add some glue to where that tape is. It gives a nice flat surface for the glue. Figure out where I want it and then push it down. It'll take a little while to dry, but it's already stuck on their nicely. That looks pretty cool. That collage was really fun for me, and I hope that you will have a chance to do a fun, messy collage too. Next, we're going to get out some more paints. I'll see you there. 8. Birch Bark: For this page, we're going to be painting a piece of birch bark. We're going to be learning how to paint with gouache. We're going to be mixing colors, layering paint, and experimenting with mark-making. For this page, I'm using this piece of birch bark I found in the backyard as my inspiration. There's lots of colors on my piece of bark. I'm using gouache to paint this page. Squeezing out my colors on my plastic plate which I'm using as a pallet. I've squeezed out white, yellow ocher, moss green, olive green, sepia, and black. I'm starting using this large craft brush and mixing a warm, creamy gray. White and yellow ocher and black. I'm mixing on my palate. Then a little bit of green. Pulling out some more of that white to lighten up this color, add a little more black then this is just going to be my base color for this piece of birch bark. Using a lot of water in my mix then using the side of my brush to paint a basic shape. I'm going to pretend that my piece of bark is flat. Just because I think that shape will be more interesting than this very curled shape of the bark. Now taking some sepia and yellow ocher and black for some dark color that I'll use on the edge here, I'm just going to blend colors and add them in to this piece of bark. I started with the light background and now I'm adding darker details. These dark colors around the edges. The tip of my brush allows me to paint finer lines and smaller details. The nice thing about using gouache is that the colors will bleed together a little bit, but they'll also remain distinct. I can continue to add layers and details and layers and details to make the texture really interesting. Let the colors bleed a little bit and give a sense of texture with the bleeding colors as well. I'm going to switch to another brush here. A very fine pointed brush. Then add a little bit more white. Gouache is a type of watercolor, but it is a lot more opaque. When I'm using the paint like this, squeezed directly from the tube, you can lay it on very thick on the page. It can be even more opaque. If you've never used gouache before, my class, getting started with gouache, learn the basics, build confidence will help you get started and give you some fun exercises to build your confidence in this medium. Unlike water color, when you're using gouache like this, it's going to be very thick paint and it's going to stay relatively in place. It's not all going to bleed together. So adding some green details, moving back and forth between colors, if I move my brush quickly and barely touched the page, I'll get finer lines. Then I can blur those lines, blending them in with the wet other layers of paint. I can keep doing this as long as my paint is still wet on the page. What's most interesting about the birch bark to me is all the texture and also all the colors that I see when I look at the piece of birch bark. It has a lot more colors than I would have thought. When I think of birch trees, I think of them as being white but when you look at them up close, you see that they aren't really white. At least not entirely. Adding the dark paint thickly on top of everything makes darker lines. I can go back and add any dark details or any spots that I think need a little more definition. When you're painting on your own, if you are painting birch bark or some other bark, it's really fun to go back and forth and add more and more layers, create more texture, let the colors bleed a bit, let them mix on the page a bit then experiment with different mark making. See what sorts of marks each of your brushes can make. This isn't really something that you can mess up. So just keep playing and having fun. Another fun option could be to paint a number of different types of tree bark on one page and use it as a comparison. I actually think that this brush must have had a little bit of old paint on it because I'm getting a blue or green come through with the white, which I think is okay. It just adds another dimension of color and just blending everything here a bit. Add a little more of the ocher in to warm things up a bit. More white paint on these lines. I don't want the lines to be too uniform or too much in a row. I want them to be different shapes, different widths so this is something that you can easily fix by just adding more layers. That's the beauty of white gouache. You can layer lighter colors on top of dark colors which is something you can't do with watercolor. Let's see one more brush here. I'll go back and add some more dark details. I'm switching back and forth between dark and light and dark and light, blending, covering up, making bold marks, making finer marks. It's just a fun process that you can get lost in. Making the edges interesting and also defining them a bit so they don't blend into the page. I'm just looking at the page overall and seeing what it needs. Not worrying too much about what reality is, what that piece of actual birch bark looks like. So making things look balanced. Making things look interesting and not too regular. I also like the juxtaposition of this fairly simple page next to the more complex and messy looking page that's on the other side of this spread. You don't always have to think of both pages of your sketchbook when you're creating one or the other but sometimes it's fun to see what they look like next to one another. Just adding a little more white here to cover up some of those other marks. Now I'm going to take a brush pen, this is a pen tell brush pen, I'll just write birch bark on the bottom of the page to finish it off and there's my page. Painting the birch bark with gouache was really fun. Now we're going to do another page of painting. This time I'm going to use acrylic craft paint and it's going to be quick and really easy. I'll see you in class. 9. Tracks in Snow: For this page, we're going to be using some acrylic craft paint to paint some tracks in the snow. We're going to be breaking the rules of botanical sketchbooks again by adding animal tracks into our sketchbook. We're going to be learning a bit about painting with acrylic craft paint. We're going to be using a disposable palette, painting and even background and layering wet paint onto dry. When you walk through the snow, you will see signs of who has been there before you. Here are some dear tracks, and that's going to inspire our next page. We've got a really big lumpy collage here, and to make it easier to work, I'll show you what I do. Take a piece of mat board and put it over the collaged area and then you'll have a smooth surface. I'm just going to use some clothespins to keep the page flat. When you work, you'll have a flat, smooth surface. Maybe I'll put that closed pin on that so I didn't see how that works. I can paint on here and not worry about it being lumpy. I'm going to use some craft paint, this is acrylic craft paint, crafts mart brand, and I'm going to use a disposable palette. I don't really dispose any of these pallet pages, I think it's really fun to see the paint marks, so get a fresh sheet here. It's a waxy surface and good for color mixing. Some pieces shed from that to nest. I've got gray, I've got white, I've got this creamy vanilla color and a light blue. I'm going to mix these colors to create our snow. That's not coming out very easily. and it looks like it's separated a bit. Actually I'm going to shake that up and squeeze a new bit out. There we go. Maybe shake up all of my bottles. It's a good reminder. I haven't used them for awhile, so we'll mix it back together. Move any little dried bits that fall off, so a light blue, a cream, or a white and gray. I'm just going to paint a background of snow using this wide brush, this is a craft brush. Nothing fancy, so adding the cream and the white and gray and blue and just painting a smooth background. This painting meditative, I would say. It's also really fun. You can loosen up, make bold strokes, and there's no way to mess up. Just keep layering on the paint, adding more water if you need to. I don't want it to be too wet, but the paint moves more smoothly if there is some water. It's fun when you're painting like this to stand up. That way your arm has lots more space to move, and I'm just going over the page to get a nice even for coating of paint. It looks like that clip is slipping, so I'm going to try it up here. I'm just continuing to add more color, and you can start with some darker color first, and then lighter layer on top, or you can use very light and dark. You can have uneven color if you want, or maybe a gradient. There's just so many options. It would also be fun to maybe use some metallic or glittery paint, to give the hint of the sparkle that fresh leaf fallen snow has. It's really up to you. There's no right or wrong way. You can just paint your background. It's also fun to paint a few different backgrounds at once, and just get in the groove. If you're going to be painting with acrylic paint, add just a little more white here. Give a little more lightness to this background. I'm fine with some blending of the colors and blue showing through. Let's swipe up that spill. This is sketch book, so if it's messy, if they're spills and smear, that's okay with me. Just wipe it off, it's not going to hurt anything, and then just smooth out the paint on this page till I have a nice even coating for my background of snow. I'll let that dry, now it's dry. I have some navy blue and some more gray, and that's what I'm going to use to paint my tracks, on this dry page. You don't have to let it totally dry, but the colors will bleed a bit if it's not totally dry. It's not going to bleed a lot like watercolor, because acrylic tends to stay where you put it. I'm just going to paint some simple dear tracks, and dear tracks are shaped like teardrop side-by-side. Just going to paint one set of tracks across the page, so I'll stagger these footprints. You can paint as many as you want and you don't have to do dear tracks. If you see other interesting tracks where you live, use that as your inspiration. I really love the way bird footprints look in snow, especially under the bird feeder. That's another option, or you can get a book from the library about animal tracks and paint, whatever you find to be interesting. One footprint here, keeping this really simple. Trying to add some more paint here. Picking up paint as I put it down, so I may have to let this dry, to get some depth of color, that's just making lines. Trying to add more paint. This is dry, I'm going to add a bit more color here, and it should layer and cover up those lines. Looking good. Must have still been a little bit wet, but if I dab on the Paint, there we go. All tracks in the snow always make me think of secret messages. Just add a little extra fun to a really simple and easy page to paint. Painting these tracks in the snow. It was really quick and easy and fun. I hope you'll experiment and do some of your own tracks. I did a page that was all little bit press filling up the whole page, and that was really fun. Maybe you'd like to try something like that. The next lesson we're going to switch back to watercolor. I'll see you there. 10. Coneflower Skeletons: For this page, I'm going to go back to painting a traditional botanical, but with a little twist. We're going to be doing a page in mixed media using watercolor and gouache. Be painting a detailed illustration for this one. I'll show you how to re-imagine composition, paint some very fine lines, and I'll even show you how to fix a minor mistake. After a snowstorm one of the most fun things is looking around at all the plants covered with little hats of snow. For the next page, I'm going to use these cone flowers as inspiration. You can see there's still a little bit of snow on this branch that I brought in, but it's quickly melting. I'm going to change up the composition, the arrangement of these stems a bit to make it more interesting. I'm going to be starting with watercolor. Using a long pointed round brush, and it's going to work perfectly for this. I'm going to move this out of the way and just start painting. Well, this pointed brush can paint very fine, tiny lines. Right now I'm just making little lines, overlapping them, keeping them fine, especially at the tips of these marks, and then thickening them as they come to the center, and overlapping so that the center will be dark. Cone flowers, their Latin name, echinacea, comes from a word that means hedgehog, because the centers of the flowers have this pokey hedgehog look, which is very beautiful when they are in flower and I think makes for really interesting seed head plants skeletons in the winter garden. It also provides food for a lot of birds and other animals. I'm continuing, just making these marks here overlapping, and darkening things. Now to create the stem, I can just pull the paint downward. This is a size ten brush and it holds a lot of paint, and so it's great for painting fine lines, and it's also good for painting thicker lines and making other sorts of marks. Here is the first leaf. Just making it up as I go. Not trying to perfectly recreate my subject. For one thing, this is a sketchbook, and for another thing, this is just a fun exercise so, we don't need to be perfect. I think working from these dead plants actually invites us to be very imperfect, because if you look carefully, these skeletons of plants, these crumpled leaves, these seed heads that are slightly pecked by birds, they are far from perfect. It helps loosen this up by a bit, I think. I just put my finger in that wet paint, so I'm going to add a little more to cover up that smudge. When you're working, please beware of where the paint is still wet and try not to put your finger there. But if it happens, that's okay, you can fix it most of the time. But again, it's a sketchbook, so if it's imperfect, if you have mistakes, that's okay. I put my second seed head at a lower height than the first one on my original inspiration stem, they're about the same height. I think staggering their heights makes for a more interesting composition. I'm just continuing to go over these seed heads and stems, adding more color, adding more details, adding some more paint to the stem, and I'm going to add a third stem. Usually they say for the interesting compositions, you should have an odd number of things in your painting. I don't always follow that rule, but there is space on the page, so I fit in another stem and seed head. I'm just moving the paint around and adding more tiny fine marks for the seed heads, overlapping, moving quickly, going back and adding more where I see it needs it. If you dab paint in the middle, it'll darken the area. Adding another leaf here. These crumpled dead leaves are fun to paint in part because it doesn't really matter how it looks, you're not trying to capture something exactly, or at least I'm not. If you want to capture something exactly, go right ahead, but I think it's fun to take some artistic license here. Using the side of my brush to pull up some more paint. Adding some little wispy marks. Some hints of leaves. I love the fine lines that this brush can paint, it's Princeton velvet touch, long round brush, and it's so versatile. Just adding a bit more color, a little more detail. You can keep going as long as you think you need to, while the paint is wet, moving things around. These seed heads are so fun to paint. Then let's see, I'm going to just add some lines here to the stems to give some depth and texture to them. I think I'll probably add some more once the paint dries. I may need some more for the seed heads too, so I'll let this dry. All right, now this page is dry, make sure, it feels dry. I'll add some more lines, and I'm not trying to paint straight lines at all, I want them to be a little wonky, a little wavy, because it's going to add interest. The center, I think needs a little bit more darkness. I'm going to be painting snow on in a second, but I want the base to be more dark. A few more lines, just to add texture and interest. You don't have to if you don't want to, or you can go in and do a different color, maybe add some green or black or a warmer brown. Nothing lighter though, because it won't show up. A couple of details on these leaves. I'll rinse off this brush, switch to another brush for painting some gouache, that's going to be our snow. I'll add some fresh white paint to this plate where we used gouache before. The other paint is dry, so I'm going to reactivate some of the black to make some gray. Then just start painting some snow, like a little pointed hat. But I'm using gouache because it's opaque and it will paint over our watercolor marks. You could also use acrylic, and you have to put it on fairly thick, don't use too much water or else the brown will show through. Also, if you use a lot of water, the brown will start to reactivate on the page. I'm just dabbing in this paint, and forming little cap shapes. Not going to make them quite as tall as the ones in that video. Adding some gray on the edges for some depth and dimension, and there's our page. I really enjoy painting these cone flower skeletons. In the next lesson, we're going to continue working with watercolor and be inspired by some sweet peas skeletons. I'll see you in class. 11. Sweet Peas: In this lesson, we'll be painting sweet peas. We will be loosening up while painting a delicate watercolor illustration, letting the colors blend on the page and will be varying the line weight. These two pages are dry now, and once you make sure they're totally dry, you can protect them using a piece of tracing paper, put it between the pages and that'll prevent the colors from bleeding, or smudging from page to page. I'm also keeping this mat board here after the collage to keep the pages smooth and easier to work with, so you don't have that texture coming through. Then to hold the book opened, I am using some clothes pins. You can use any sort of clips, either binder clips or bulldog clips, and that keeps the page flat and smooth, and easy to work on. For this page, let's pull that over. I'm inspired by the sweet pea skeletons I saw in my garden. I have brought in a piece here without the snow, and I'll be painting that. So I'm using the colors that we already mixed before, have it here on my palette. I also have my paints in case I need to mix more colors, and I've got my long appointed brush. They're long pointed round Princeton velvet touch size ten brush. This page is bulging a little bit, so I may push down on the side here to keep it flatter, so that the paint won't spread on the page. I'm starting out with the very tip of the brush, painting these swirly tendrils of the sweet peas. Then because of the nature of this brush, I can also paint the wider marks that are the leaves and the stems. I'm just using the brush to create the shapes. I started with that ocher, tan, golden color and now I'm adding some brown for details, and I'm letting the paint blend on the page. I'm going to paint some more tendrils. This brush is really perfect for painting fine lines like this. Then coming back and adding these leaf shapes. Like with the leaves on the cone flowers, with this sweet pea, because the leaves are crumpled, I'm not too concerned about their shapes, so I'm not trying to create a perfect leaf shape here at all, but you'll definitely get the hint of the leaves. Without the pressure of trying to recreate something perfectly. This paint is still wet and I can go back in with the brown. That'll blend and bleed a little bit, but also keep the distinct colors. I can pull the paint down on the page and pull it across to create the different shapes, and I'm not fussing with it very much. Once it's down, it's down. I may add a little color, but I'm not going over and over. I'm just letting the image form on the page without too much planning either. I know the basic shape of this stem and the arrangement of leaves and tendrils. I'm not trying to create it perfectly as I've already mentioned, but just recreating the essence in terms of colors and arrangement. I'm really loving how the brown and the tan are mixing on the page. It's fun to let those colors do their thing without trying to control it very much. Often my art is so controlled doing something like this really helps me to loosen up. Although these tendrils are fine details, they're fairly easy to paint. If you feel like you need some practice, you can try them out on a separate paper first. Don't worry too much about it. Mine aren't perfect, and that's really not the point. I can smooth out edges, add a little more color, drop in some of the darker brown, blend it on the page, maybe add a few more details. Here a couple more tendrils. I could add more stems if I wanted, or a whole another piece of the sweet pea, but I think I'm going to keep it fairly simple. Just add a few more details. See where else does it need? I think down here, I'm going to smooth out the paint, glopped up a bit and then add a little squiggle of a tendril. Now I think I will call this done. Now that it dried, you can see how the paint dried on the page, it hasn't moved around a lot and the colors are pretty much the same as they were when it was wet. Now that I've created a couple pages of watercolors, I'm ready to switch gears again and change media. Next is colored pencils. I'll see you there. 12. Conifers: For this page, I'm going to be inspired by conifers. We'll be simplifying our subject using colored pencil to create the illustrations, use confident lines and scribbly marks, and will be layering color. Conifers are just about the only color that you see other than tans and browns, and white in the winter landscape. On the opposite page of the [inaudible] , I'm going to be drawing some conifers. I've got my colored pencils here. I chose some browns and a handful of greens. All of these are Prismacolor colored pencils, which are my preferred brand. They're very waxy, and they layer nicely and blend nicely. I've also got my pencil sharpener in case I need to sharpen and my inspiration's up here. I'm going to start with this balsam. I'll be using this green. This is kelp green, but don't worry about the exact color. These needles are really simple to sketch. They're just simple short lines. Here, I'm taking the brown to create the stem color. It gets wider where the stems connect to one another. I'll add more details to the stem later, but this just gives a basic layout. I'm just going to add needles on the sides of these stems. I'm not counting them or being exact in how I lay them down. I'm varying colors using lighter and darker to give contrast. I'm just switching back and forth and adding needles where I think they need to be. Observing my subject, I see that the needles come out from both sides of the stems, and then every once in a while, a needle will come up across the top of the stem as well. I'm trying to keep all of the needles that I sketch about the same size, except for a couple on the ends. Switching out the colors gives contrast. These colors can layer and blend on the page. I'm not doing a lot of layering for this. Then just darkening some of the spots on the stem using scribbly marks to create some texture. I'm coming back in wherever I think I need a bit more color. Here, I'm using a lighter green and adding where I think it needs some, and then coming back with a darker brown. You can always add more later if you think you need to, and just overlook this stem as a whole and see where it might need a bit more, if it looks thin. For the next stem, I'm going to be sketching pine. That's the tree that we saw in the video. I don't have a stem of that here on my table. I'm just starting out with the brown stem and a couple of spots where I see the needles will come off. I'm sketching a white pine. I know that white pines have bundles of five needles. They're longer than the balsam needles and slightly curved. I am varying colors here again and putting the bundles of five with varying colors of green. You can use different types of pine with different numbers of needles if you want to. You can find whatever trees are near you or work from a field guide, it's really up to you. I'm making the needles slightly different lengths so that you have a hint of three-dimensions here so that it's not a flat piece on the page. Darkening the ends of the bundles, the brown, adding one more here at the end of the needles, and then going back to the stem, just making scribbly marks, because this stem is textured, and adding the darker brown as well. This actually might be simpler to draw than the balsam. I'm taking what I see and making it simpler as well. For this last stem I'm going to draw here, I'm doing cedar. Cedar needles are different from either of these other two conifers that I already sketched because they are a lot shorter and they overlap. They almost look like scales to me. To create that look on this page, I'm just doing little scribbly marks, not lifting my pencil, just moving my pencil along on the page to create these marks, overlapping needles. This works well with a pencil that's not super sharp. This one, I'm going to simplify so there won't be quite as many stems and needles on this little branch, and then switching back and forth between the brown and the green because in some places, there are the green needles and some places there are the brown stem bits. I'm looking to the piece of stem that I have here on the table as inspiration, but not copying it exactly. I don't want it to be heavy. The look of this stem that I have here on the table has a lot of branching and a lot of needles and it is heavy. I want my page to look more balanced. Each of the other stems are fairly light, they don't have a lot of needles, they don't have a lot of branching parts to the stems. But I can go back here and add in more color, more needles as I need to, darken up places, switch to a darker brown on the stem to create texture and contrast, layering the colors, blending them a bit, and then switching to this lighter green, and just making scribbly marks on top of the other green that I already drew. These will blend on the page but also create some highlights, so there's lights and darks adding a sense of three dimensionality to the page, even though it is a flat page. Let's see, what else do I need? I'm going to write the word "conifer" here at the bottom of the page. My pencil needs some sharpening. I find it handy to have a little sharpener on hand. Little bits flew everywhere, but here, I am darkening my letters for the word "conifer" and not doing any fancy lettering, just writing the letters out. I think I'm going to label the stems as well using brown this time. I'm not going to get super exact. You could do Latin names, you could do full names. I'm just going to write balsam, pine, and cedar. You don't have to write in any text if you don't want to. Even though this page is a lot more detailed than the other pages we've done so far, it was pretty simple to do. Without too much effort and with a lot of fun, I was able to create a beautiful page. I hope you will try it too. In the next lesson, I'll be talking about your sketchbook and your project for this class. See you there. 13. Your Sketchbook: <<These examples that I've shared in class with you, just touch the surface of ways in which you can explore winter in your sketchbook, whether you're choosing to focus mostly on Botanicals or if you want to branch out and do something totally different. Maybe you can look back on your list that we created way back near the beginning of class and find some inspiration for a play in your sketchbook. I hope that you are inspired to go out into the world and find inspiration and go into your imagination and explore all the possibilities for creativity that you can bring to life on the pages of your sketchbook. <<Here are a few more examples from my own sketchbooks of different sorts of pages I've created based on the inspirations around me in the winter months. Things like house plants, birds that I've seen, even just colors. I hope that seeing these pages and creating pages with me has you fully inspired. <<For the project for this class, I would love to see any page that you create. Just upload it, and tell us about your experience exploring winter. I know that your pages will also help to inspire your fellow classmates. I really can't wait to see what you create. I hope you'll follow me here on skill share so you'll always be in the know when I have a new class coming out. If there's something you'd like to learn, let me know, I can try and create a class on that topic. My virtual door is always open, so feel free to e-mail me or contact me through my website, mygiantstrawberry.com. I hope you'll sign up for my joy letter while you're there too. Thank you so much for creating with me. I really can't wait to see what you create.