Fantasy Woodlands in Watercolor | Cheryl Sun Ong | Skillshare

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Fantasy Woodlands in Watercolor

teacher avatar Cheryl Sun Ong, Watercolor Artist

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.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Create Magic with Masking Fluid


    • 4.

      Background Blending Technique: Wet on Wet


    • 5.

      Woodland Sketch and Masking Fluid Guide


    • 6.

      Fantasy Woodlands Step 1: Create a Base Wash


    • 7.

      Fantasy Woodlands Step 2: More Background Blending


    • 8.

      Fantasy Woodlands Final Step: Final Details and Finishing Touches


    • 9.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Fantasy Woodlands in Watercolor

Hi, my name is Cheryl and I paint flowers, but I also love painting different kinds of landscapes! By practicing and learning different watercolor techniques, I have discovered a fun way of adding whimsy to an otherwise normal looking woodland painting.  I want to share my techniques with you so you can also experience and enjoy the magic of watercolor painting!

This step by step watercolor masterclass is aimed at students of all levels. We will tackle supplies; basic preparations, watercolor techniques; whimsical background painting demo, rough sketching demo, and everything that's essential in painting these fantasy woodlands.

My aim is for you to let go of control; explore your creativity and imagination, and to just enjoy learning new ways of painting!

This class can be interesting for:

  • Visual Artists
  • Painters
  • Illustrators
  • Designers
  • Hobbyists and everyone who likes to try watercolor painting!

By the end of the class, I hope you have enjoyed the process and learned how to let loose and be free, to be excited about happy accidents, and to just have fun painting Fantasy Woodlands in Watercolor.


Happy Painting!


Meet Your Teacher

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Cheryl Sun Ong

Watercolor Artist


Hello, I'm Cheryl. I’m a watercolor artist based in Sydney, Australia. I started painting with Watercolor February 2016 and have strived to learn the medium since then. Flowers, landscapes and birds became my muse and the style that I gravitated towards were Abstract and Impressionism, but with a bit of structure. It became the influence that inspired my paintings. I love to play tricks on minds and create impressions or illusions of reality. I want to impart hope by bringing joy and calm, and maybe, even give a short time escape from reality into a fantasy. Thanks to SkillShare, I will be able to share my techniques in watercolor; to help you capture nature and still evoke a more abstract and whimsical feel to arouse dreaminess and fantasy. 

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Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Hello, everyone. Welcome to my skill share class. My name is Cheryl, and I'm a watercolor artist and teacher living in Sydney, Australia. I started painting with watercolor in the late 2016 and have been in love with this medium ever since. I mostly paint watercolor florals, but I also love painting different kinds of landscapes, birds and even fruits. But in this class I'll be teaching how to paint this woodlands in watercolor that evokes fantasy. I want to share my methods with you so you can also enjoy the magic of watercolor painting . This class is suited for all skill levels. I will guide you on the supplies and colors that we are going to use and teach you the techniques that are essential in capturing this style of painting from how to do a rough sketch and apply masking fluid to proper background blending techniques all to prepare you for painting the final class project. At the end of the lesson, you will be able to paint this piece fantasy would lend in watercolor. I hope you'll join and enjoy my class. See you soon 2. Supplies: in this video, I'm going to guide you on. The supplies were going to use for our final project, as well as the importance of the quality of our supplies. You can use any pencil or a research you have on hand for sketching. I'm just using unordinary, mechanical pencil and eraser for brush. I'm using hockey brushes. They are traditional Chinese style brushes that are ideal for washes, grazing and varnishing. Their mainly made out of God's hair, which hold a lot of water and are good for picking up excess paint. And it's very soft, so it's good for blending large, radiant washings and one round Japanese or oriental brush in a size medium, which is about a size 10 in regular round brushes, I'm using three hockey brushes, one for wedding, the surface in the other two research for painting and blending, which I'll show you more on the techniques video. If you don't have hack a brushes, you can always use your ordinary flat and round brushes. I just prefer to use the Oriental ones because of how they perform in how soft the results are. Next is paint. I'm using a brand called Shien Han PWC. It's a professional quality you watercolor paints that are known for their vibrancy and transparency, which are the qualities I normally look for watercolor paints, and I just freeze them in empty pallets. I'm using this plastic one with big wells. This will be good for, especially when we're using bigger brushes to pick up pains. We'll also be needing Quash in white squash is a no pick water base paint, and we can use this to add highlights and other additional details. Next is masking fluid. Now. Masking fluid is a liquid latex that makes sections of your artwork resistant to water color so it retains the white on a paper or previous color that you painted. And we'll tackle more about this material in the next video. Who needs some type of container or pallet, where you can pour your masking fluid and a cheap brush? In this case, I'm using a small water brush just for convenience, because you can put water in the water brush, which makes it easier to wash. But you can use any type of brush that you have something that you don't mind getting ruined because masking fluid tends to ruin brushes. You also need masking tape to take the edge yourself your paper so that you can have a crisp white border to your painting. Once you take it off, end a water bottle and people tell us. Finally, you'll need good quality watercolor paper, and I recommend arches, Watercolor paper Hold Press 180 to 300 GSM. This what most artists use, and that's because it's one of the best out there. It's 100% cotton and acid free. Just good if you want to frame or archive your paintings, and also because of the texture and quality of the paper. That's why it's so good to paint what washes ingredient backgrounds on on. That's everything you need to start painting. I hope you are as excited as I am to start this class. See you on the next video. 3. Create Magic with Masking Fluid: in this video, we are going to talk about masking fluid and the magic it creates. Now. Masking fluid is a very helpful tool to any artists. It's a liquid form latex that, when completely dried, makes your surface resistant to water color, therefore, enabling you to preserve the white areas in your painting that are otherwise too tiny or too complex to paint around. When masking fluid is try, can just rub it off using your finger or an reserve. You'll also need a brush, something that you don't mind getting ruined because never use your good quality brushes to apply masking fluid because it will only when you're good brush. I'm using a cheap, small water brush with a tiny point because of its convenience. When using masking fluid, you have to diligently wash the brush after a couple of applications to avoid dry masking fluid to form in your brush. And this water brush makes it easier for me to wash it because it contains water and I just have to squeeze it and wipe it off the paper towel. You'll also need a container or a palette, something that you can pour your masking fluid into so, yeah, let me show you how it works. I'm just going to paint random shapes on my watercolor paper and let it try. I'm going to speed up the video a bit to save time, but a tip is to wash your brush every couple of applications and wipe it on the paper. Tell make sure that you remove any. I'm asking for it on your brush to avoid it from hardening any faster. Another tip is that you use a hair dryer or a heating tool to speed up the drying process. Once you're masking, fluid is completely dry. We can now have fun painting on the service without worrying about losing the shapes we want to preserve again. I'm going to speed up the video to save time. - Now that our paint is completely dry, we can start rubbing the masking fluid off with our finger or a razor mass concluded usually tends to come off pretty easily so you don't have to scrub harshly. Just rub it off gently with your fingers or and there you have it. You have successfully preserve the shapes using masking bullet, and we will be using this technique for our final project. I hope you are as excited as I am to see on the next video 4. Background Blending Technique: Wet on Wet: in this video, I'm going to show you how to create a smooth background. Using a wet on red blending technique now wet on wet simply means painting with your red brush with paint on red paper, and we will know more about this technique as we progress on tooth this video to give you an example. Here are some paintings I did using this technique because we're going to create a woodland painting. It is crucial we identify bears and light sources, and for our final project, the light source will come from the middle. That means that our lightest pain will go in the middle and smoothly go to the dark part to depict shadows. We are going to use three haocai brushes or flat brushes. If you don't have them, the large size will be for reading the paper. The other two reserved for painting, one for lead paint in blending and the other for feathering. So for a dental purposes, I've taped edges of the paper so two separate areas, and to have a white border, we are going to start by wedding the paper. One important thing to remember is that this particular technique will only work successfully while our surface is completely wet. So we do have to mind that period or wet window where we are free to do the blending. And once our people starts trying, then we won't be able to continue blending. So take your time to completely wet the surface of your paper. Also, I suggest that you prepare your paint mixture in advance like you see me have here in my palette. I have prepared lemon yellow sale a blue and purple, and you want to have enough so you can work continuously while their surface is still wet. Now loader hockey brush wig, lemon yellow and paint at the middle off the paper with an up and down motion. A tip here is to paint with a very light hat. Do not put too much pressure on the paper while you paint. Use a light hand and do an upward and downward lights. Troop, then reads airbrush and take out some of the excess moisture by absorbing it with a paper towel and then loaded with Salem. Now, with the same upward and downward motion of light strokes, start further away from the yellow and slowly bring it in and moving in closer to eat the yellow, repeat the same process on the other side of the yellow. Notice that the two colors that are next to each other they blend softly, and that's because our surfaces sweat. So the witness of our paper helps the paint soften the edges and therefore making the colors next each other blend beautifully. Now get your third hockey brush, which will become our feathering brush, and we will use it to blend the edges even more by feathering. Feathering is when you do the same up and down light strokes, but with an even lighter pressure and faster motion like you see me do here. This will help lose in the paint and blended even more. Make sure that you keep your feathering. Brush us, try as you possibly can. Now grab your previous brush for your painting brush and loaded being purple and again start further away from the blue. Then slowly bring it in as you try to blend it together with the blue. And an important reminder is that this will only successfully work while their paper is still wet. I can grab your feathering brush, make sure that it's completely dry. Then start feathering to keep your feathering brush fairly clean and dry. Make sure you rub off the excess moisture and paint on your towel each and every time you. Now you have a seamless, blended, soft looking greedy in background. At this point, if you're satisfied with the look of your background, then you can stop right here. But let me show you how you can continue working on your background if you're not completely satisfied. Now, the key thing to this is that your only be able to continue if your surface is still wet. Which mind still is. So what I do is a grab more yellow than do the procedure all over again. Leering pain, then feathering now onto the blue again. And I usually do this if I want my background to be more intense in pigment. And like I said, we'll only be able to do this while everything is still wet. Make sure that you rinse your brush thoroughly and take out the excess moisture from your brush each time you pick up new paint. Now onto our purple. Now I grabbed my feathering brush again. Make sure that it's completely dry and clean, then start feathering again. Tip is to keep your feathering brush fairly clean and dry by gently rubbing it off on your towel each time you feather. So now I have a more intense looking, blended, greedy in background. Now let's try this technique with a different color scheme. It's the same technique and procedure off reading the paper laying paint than feathering. I will use yellow pinks and purples this time, so start by wedding your paper. Now load your brush with yellow and start doing the upward and downward motion of light strokes focused on the middle off our paper way . Move onto Arpin color and we rinse our brush first and thoroughly clean and take out the moisture. Then load our brush with pink, start at the edge and slowly moving in and blended with the yellow with the same procedure on the other side. Friends are brush completely, then loaded with purple way . At this point, we can now start feathering, so grab your feathering brush, make sure that it's completely dry and clean. Then start feathering. Gently notice that the more re feather the edges that we see the softer and seamless. Our background becomes again at this point if you are satisfied with your backgrounds and you can stop. But as for me, I just want to intensify the look of this background even more so. I'm going to do the process all over again, using the same colors and the same technique to get a more intensified blended background. And the reason why I am still able to do this is because my surface is still but way now onto the feathering technique using my feathering brush. Wait now let this completely dry, either by air drying it or using any heating to like a hair dryer to speed up the process. And there you happen the blended greedy int technique in red on red. Don't be frustrated if you don't get it at first, continue to practice to give you more knowledge on the water to pigment ratio on your brush . There is a bit of a learning curve for this technique because everything is dependent and how long you can keep your surface wet, so just continue to practice and have fun. You will use this technique on our final projects, so I'll see you there 5. Woodland Sketch and Masking Fluid Guide: in this video I'm sharing with you to sketch we will use for a final project as well as the masking fluid application guide. So for the sketch, I'm just showing you how I did a simple with android. You can pause at this point and copy the final sketch on your paper way. Move onto theme. Ask included Application guy. You will need to apply masking fluid on all the black areas that you see. So imagine that the black parts and dots you see here issue painting them, asking for it for the tree area. It would be good if you can paint random sized thoughts of masking fluid in clusters so that it would look more natural for the bushes. Focus your random size dots closer to the outline like these. He made you here and this will give the illusion of highlights for your bushes. - You can pause at this point and just make this year a guard for the masking fluid application here. I'm just showing you how I did it in real life. Also, to give you an idea off the whole process from start to finish off putting masking fluid on your paper way , way once you're done with application that it tried completely and we'll head on to the next video. See you soon. 6. Fantasy Woodlands Step 1: Create a Base Wash: welcome to our final class project. We are going to paint a fantasy woodland painting using all the water call techniques we have learned so far. For our first step, we are going to create a base wash using the background blending technique to know more about it. Please watch the background blending technique video, but first, here are the colors that we are going to use for our final project. Lemon yellow se lo blue permanent File it oppression blue and in to Go. Here are a few samples of what our final painting will look like, and we can now take out our paper with a masking fluid that we did previously. And let's prepare all our mixtures in advance. - We are using our three ha que brushes again is the largest one used for reading the surface, so make sure that your surfaces completely and substantial you bet. Now, with our smaller hacky brush, which is for painting, we're going to start with the lightest pains that is lemon yellow and focus it on the middle part on our sketch. This is where our life source you situated, if you remember from our blended background technique, video we are able to do a light blended wash using the upward and downward motion. Stroke now rings airbrushed sorely and loaded with the second darkest color, which is our favorably the way things place it on the edge of the yellow and Duthie upward and downward motion stroke and slowly bring it in closer to yellow, even without lending even further is at the edges are softer than usual, And that's because our paper is wet, which helps a lot with the blending process. I'm just adding a little bit more off that they Lubutu intensify the colors even more. At this point, I'm going to start feathering using our feathering brush, which is our third hacker brush, which is still try and start with the upward and downward motion again. But this time, with even lighter pressure and faster motion, so that we can help the colors blend more smoothly again, make sure that you rub off any excess paint and moisture from your brush onto your paper, tell each time you feather so that you don't contaminate your actual painting, moving on to our darkest color, which is our purple. - At this point, I'm just I am the look of my painting, and this will help me decide to adjust on what pills I need to add. And because my paper is still wet. And take this opportunity to adjust and reincorporate my colors to make the painting look more vibrant here. I'm just going to start feathering again to blend in between colors. I've decided Teoh add more color to intensify the look off this painting, so I'm just going to go over it again and do the same process and then feathering it afterwards to soften any edges. And again, you can do this on Lee. If you're surface is still wet. Now grab your feathering brush and start feathering. Now our painting is starting to look more and more like a scenic fantasy with a beautiful, reflective water feature. Here, I'm just adding a little bit off that permanent violet to intensify some of the areas that are supposed to be treats. Now, with our Allan brush, we are going to define the bushes and separate them from the trees and the water picture, and the way will do that is we are going to drop in colors on those areas and because our paper is still wet. When you drop pains, it will blend and flow more easily. Grab a little bit off a little blue and drop it together with Violet and let them merge and interact with each other and just focus them on the bushes. And right then and there you see that the pushes looks more separated from everything else from the background. A little bit of that fail a blue on the middle part, just drop it in and let the pain to its own thing. And again make sure that your paper is still come to be wet, or else it will have hard edges, and it will be harder for you to drop in collar. Now we're using a little bit off Prussian blue, which is a darker blue, and dropping it on the lower part of the bushes to give the illusion of shadows and even grabbing a little bit off that indigo, which is star darkest color, and focus that on the lower part again that will give the illusion of the shadow of the bushes. One is that when you are dropping collars on wet paper is to use less water and more pigment on your brush so that when you do drop the collar on the wet paper, it won't flow as much, and it will just a and B situated on the areas that are next to it. Now let's create ripples on the water feature by loaded your brush with less water and more of that purple paint and just swipe it on the edge off the paper. Make sure that you load your brush with just a little bit for her and more of that paint so that it won't flow as much. And there you have it, our first layer and base wash. Now what you need to do this. Let this completely dry, either by air dry or using any heating tool to speed up the process. And I'll meet you back here on our Step two off this final class project. See you soon. 7. Fantasy Woodlands Step 2: More Background Blending: How is that our first layer is completely dry? Let's move on to step two. You will remove are masking fluid, and we will do more background blending technique. First that's removed a mascot food by gently rubbing it with our finger or and razor. - I have carefully rubbed off all the masking fluid, and now the next step is to do the background blending technique again. You want to paint over all the white areas to lessen the contrast, so we are going to do the same process well, wet the whole paper, lay the paint and then do the blending and the feathery. Here. I'm just going to start wedding our surface, and I'm gonna make sure that it's completely wet so that it will be easier for us to blend and feather our mixtures later on. Then let's prepare our mixture. We are going to use the same colors off the man yellow, a little blue and permanent violet. Now load your brush with lemon yellow and start painting at the middle of your painting. Theun will move on to our blue, and we will paint it on either side of our yellow again. It's the same technique, the blending backgrounds, acne that we've done previously. And we're just reinforcing all the colors so that we can mask the whiteness off the masking fluid areas now onto our permanent file. It this why it's crucial that you have good quality, transparent pains because you want to be able to apply multiple layers but still not cover up the layers underneath. You want your painting to be luminous, so always look for transparent watercolor paints are painting looks more cohesive now that we have raised over the white areas that was left by the masking fluid and just by doing the background leading technique again, we've incorporated the same colors and now are painting looks more vibrant while our painting still that we are going to define the bush areas more by dropping in darker color pretty much like what we did in our first step. And this is to separate our bushes from the tree area above and the water feature below drop in permanent violet and a variation of a low blue, together with the violet, even our oppression and indigo on the lower side of the bushes to depict more shadows way. Now, I'm just swiping a little bit off. That's a low blow on the sides of our water feature, just to give it more dimension and cohesiveness. I think this'll point our layer is done and you will let this one dry again. You can make the process of drying faster by using a heating tool, but you can always just leave it to air dry. So you are in the next video. 8. Fantasy Woodlands Final Step: Final Details and Finishing Touches: welcome to the final step off this fantasy woodland painting. We are going to put our final details and finishing touches now that our second layer is completely dry, you can now move on to define our foliage and bush areas. What do you see me do? Here is called negative painting technique, where in I paint the outline off a shape of a bush, then rinse my brush, take out excess water from the brush and then blends around the shape. What happens is that you create a shadow and give the illusion that the shape underneath is on the foreground. Notice how this simple technique separates and gives definition on the shape that you want to create. So by just outlining the shape and then blending around that shape, he gives the illusion that they are separate and one is in the background and the other on the foreground. So just continue on watching and observing how I do this technique. Also, be mindful of the colors you use. If the base there is violet thing, you can use the same color or darker version of the same shade, so we have more definition. If the base layer is lighter than the ones in the middle. Then you can use Teyla blue and blood to make it look softer. Trust your instincts and practice intuitiveness in your art. This will make you more comfortable in a loose style off painting. Just continue to define the shape of bushes by negative painting. Here I'm adding a little bit of Prussian blue underneath the bush shapes, and this will define and create the illusion of shadows. Also, this will help separate the bush areas from the lake. For our water feature, make sure that when you lay paint that you're inter brush thoroughly. Take out the access my shirt from your brush and blend the paint so that this will create a softer look. Now let's add more details to the tree area. By doing this fun technique called spring and splattering, you'll need to cover the lower area so that you won't contaminate it. And I'm just going to prepare more of my mixtures. Now load your brush with a lot of water and a lot of, say, low blue paint and start sprinkling the paint onto the tree area. Now you can do this by flickering the brush or the hair of the brush with their finger, like what you see need to hear are you can splash bigger puddles of paint by tapping your brush with your other finger. Like what you see me to hear. - You'll notice that just by doing this fund technique, you have added whimsical elements and also gives the illusion off branches and leaves on your painting. Here. I'm just adding a bit more detail by separating the bush areas from the water feature, and I do that by using or painting Prussian blue underneath the bushes and then blending it . - And here I'm just reinforcing darker colors on the foreground to create more dimension moving on with our trees. And I'm just going to water down some of the splashes that have fallen on the branches - using our darkest collar, which is indigo, and we are going to paint outlines on the branches to depict shadows. So just observe how I paint the outline and then rinse my brush and blend it a little bit so that it's not too harsh. Be mindful where your light sources and because our light source is coming from above, then we will focus our drop shadows on the lower parts of the trees that you see me do here . Here. I'm just going to soften the edges off our outlines a little bit by rinsing my brush, taking out the excess moisture from a brush and blending it. - And here I'm just adding a little bit more off that into go underneath the push areas and then blending it to reinforce the darker tones. Now grab your whitewash, which again is in a pick version off watercolor. And we are going to use this to add a little bit of highlights and adds a bit more detail to the bushes using the tip off my round brush. I'm just going to add tiny dots in various sizes and place them at random spaces. This will add more whimsical elements to our painting, and also you see me. Do you hear are flickers of brushstrokes to the pick, Push or foliage is underneath E. Bush areas. You'll notice that just by adding those simple elements, you have added a more fantastical feel to your painting. - And here I'm just using my round brush to paint silhouettes of birds. Add our final detail to this painting And there you happen. Your fantasy woodland painting is done. You cannot let this one dry before taking off the masking tape to reveal a crisp white porter. 9. Final Thoughts: congratulations for completing my class. I am so proud of you. I understand how it can be a challenge learning a new skill or new techniques, especially if you're a beginner. But I hope this class encourage you and inspired you to play with watercolors more and to continue practicing everything you've learned. Don't be frustrated if your work does not turn out the way you envisioned. Just keep on practicing to improve your skill and enjoy your creative journey. Remember to let loose and be free and to be excited about happy accidents. Going to just have fun with watercolor. See you on my next skill share class.