Hamsa Hand Watercolor Workshop | Ana Victoria Calderón | Skillshare

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Hamsa Hand Watercolor Workshop

teacher avatar Ana Victoria Calderón, 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.

      Tracing Trick


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Watercolor Project 1


    • 6.

      Watercolor Project 2


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About This Class

Every year I host a Watercolor Retreat either here in Mexico or abroad. In 2019 "Watercolors of Morocco" took place in mystical Marrakech. Every visual detail was extremely inspirational and the one amulet that we were all enchanted by was the beautiful Hamsa Hand (or Hand of Fatima), which kept showing up in the Riad and the Medina in all shapes, colors and variations. 

Artwork by retreat students

Although the Hamsa Hand is a universal sign of protection, power and strength that dates back to ancient Mesopotamia, represented in many cultures- in Morocco, the Hamsa is called 'Khamsa' or 'Khmisa' and is widely used as a protection from bad luck and evil people. The Hamsa is incorporated in many home decor items, jewelry and amulets.

I had do much fun teaching this class in beautiful Marrakech I was inspired to bring a version of this workshop to you!

In this online class I will:

  • Share templates for you to trace a Hamsa hand on to your watercolor paper.
  • Give you guidance on enhancing your drawing and making it your own.
  • Walk you through my painting process. 

I would consider this to be an advanced class, so if you are newer to watercolor please start by taking these courses:

For beginners:

For not so beginners, wanting to understand layering:

The book I mention in this class is "Creative Watercolor" where you will find the tracing trick. ;)

Tip: I purchased these vector outlines as a class resource from an online seller. For ethical reasons, if you ever want to trace another drawing you find online, make sure it is available for purchase and you are not simply "taking it". Every graphic you see online is made by a designer! Be respectful and do not use their work as a resource without giving them monetary compensation in return. A great site for this is Creative Market


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The Stills


Chapeau by Panda Transport (Hi Kathy!)

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Meet Your Teacher

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Ana Victoria Calderón


Top Teacher

My name is Ana Victoria Calderon, and I'm an American/Mexican artist and author based in Mexico City. I have a degree in Graphic Design with continued studies in Fine Arts. Over the past 10 years I have developed a signature watercolor technique, which I am very excited to share with you!

I teach in person workshops and creative retreats around the world, while licensing my art to amazing companies including Hallmark and Papyrus. I also paint editorial features for magazines, some of my most recent clients are Vanity Fair, Glamour Magazine, International Elle Beauty Awards and InStyle Magazine. In addition to my client work I am the author of four published books on watercolor painting, including "Creative Watercolor" and "Color Harmony for Artists" which are great complement to ... See full profile

Level: Advanced

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1. Intro : Hi, my name is Ana Victoria. I am a watercolor artist, author, and teacher here on Skillshare. Today, I am bringing to you a very exciting Skillshare class, which is based on my original workshop that I taught my students during my Watercolors of Morocco Retreat, and the class that I'm going to teach here is called Hamsa Hand or Hand of Fatima. It's a beautiful symbol that's used in many different cultures around the world. I will share a little bit more of that within the class with you. Basically, I'm going to replicate the in-person workshop that I taught for my students while we were in Morocco and bring that to you here in this class. We are going to start out with a tracing trick. I'm actually going to show you a couple of pages from my book which teach you how to transfer a drawing onto your watercolor paper using this really fun trick, and then you're going to paint an illustration of your own. You're going to try to make it super personal and add some details that are unique to you as an artist. I'm going to guide you through my entire personal process to see how I paint my own version. I'm really excited to share this class with you. I can't wait to see what you make. I'm sure everything will be beautiful. Feel free to ask any questions in the community section, and I'm excited to see your projects in the project gallery. 2. Supplies: The basic supplies you're going to need for this class are watercolors, this is my Sennelier watercolor pan set, you can use any brand of watercolors that you wish. You're going to need some brushes. The technique that I like to paint with is sort an illustrative style and it's wet on dry, so finer brushes like this will come in handy. I really like this Princeton brand lately, and this is a size 4 and the size one brush. They are round brushes with a pointy tip. These are really basic watercolor brushes that are useful. Then we have a liner brush like this. It's a 10 over zero, which is like a super zero. The brand is also Princeton and it's a select liner. Whatever kind of brand of watercolor brushes that you feel comfortable with, feel free to use this. These are the ones that I'm enjoying lately. You need some water, of course, always some paper towels or a kitchen towel. These are always good to have on hand. You are also going to need some watercolor paper, of course, for this class I'm using Canson. It's 9 by 12 inches cold pressed paper. I like this because it has this little spiral here and I can work on different projects at the same time. I am also going to be using some washi tape. You're going to need some washi tape for this class and an eraser. Then you're going to need a couple of pencils. You're going to need a soft brush like this, which is a pencil, you're going to need a B pencil like this, and then you can also be using an H pencil like this which is rougher. Then you're going to need a ballpoint pen. Lastly, you will be provided with some printouts, but I will provide for you within the class resources. There will be a couple of these. These will be used to trace your initial image, we'll go through it, but these will be provided for you to print out. So you will need a home printer to access these and that's pretty much it. Let's continue to the class. 3. Tracing Trick: For this class, I have prepared these outlines of the hamsa hand. These are the images that I made for my students in Morocco. I found some really good basic vectors of this symbol that I purchased online, and then I modified them a bit in Photoshop and printed these out to hand out over there. I'm basically handing them out to you now in this course. Here's a few examples of some of the guides, the templates that you can use. What you're going to do if you want to do an exact copy of one of these images, is you are going to transfer this drawing onto your watercolor paper. So usually when you would want to trace an outline of an image, you would hold up your paper to a window or a lightbox and sort your image underneath that and just trace over. But watercolor paper is extremely opaque and thick usually, so you won't be able to use that traditional tracing method with watercolor paper. There is actually a really cool trick that I have in my book that I'm going to share with you today, that's going to give you an amazing transfer effect. So if you haven't heard of my book, this is Creative Watercolor. It's a basic, step-by-step beginner book for watercolor paintings and it has a lot of different tutorials for beginners. On page 66, there is the drying trick that I'm going to share with you. It's a very simple way to transfer any photograph or drawing onto your watercolor paper. I use this trick for students a lot because sometimes they get caught in what to draw and they just wouldn't really dive into painting. It's not something that I really use too much in my personal work because I really do enjoy drawing up new images. But I understand if this is not the case, especially in a course like this, where what we're looking forward to is actually using these templates as a base. So I just wanted to say that before. In this drawing trick, what you can see here is that you have your original photo, in this case here it's a butterfly, and in this case, it's this outline that I prepared for everyone in the class. Then what you're going to do is actually flip over your page and start to trace with a pencil on the back of the image, and it has to be a soft pencil like an HB or a B pencil. An H will be too light, and then maybe charcoal will be too dirty. So you just go around, and trace, and trace, and trace, and trace all around until basically it looks like this here. So you cover the entire back side of your paper with just pencil scribbling. Then what you're going to do is actually you have to tape your drawing to the paper because this process of drawing might take a little bit and you don't want your drawing to move around at all. So what you do is, I already drew on the back of this, and you align it to where you want it to be. I'm going to try to center this pretty well. I'm going to use this very basic drawing because what I want to do later is use my personal style to embellish this specific image. Basically, you need to tape the edges around and washi tape is really good here because you'll be able to remove it easily afterwards. So whenever I teach in-person classes, I sometimes see students wanting to skip this step of taping the paper you're transferring to the paper, and I'm always very distressed because I know that if it moves around just a tiny bit to the right or to the left, your whole image will get just switched around and you won't have the same guides. So basically that's it. You need to have this here with the back scribbled like this, and then you go in with a pen, and I like to use a ballpoint pen like this for example, because you can place a lot of pressure onto your paper. Then basically just draw all around the edges, drawing, and drawing, and drawing, and eventually, when you finish that you can lift it up and you'll have your drawing here will be revealed. This is a really cool way if you're stuck or if you want to have specific guides. So that's basically a trick. I am going to go ahead and do that now. In the next segment, you'll be able to see this drawing will be revealed onto my watercolor paper. 4. Drawing: Now that you've traced your base illustration here, my honest suggestion is to really try to make something different than the original photo. That way you will have something unique and that's all your own. This is cool to have as a base, but right now what I'm going to do is just start to let my imagination take me somewhere new. I see this here and immediately the first thing that I'm drawn to is these lines that surround the hand, and I start to think of something like a rainbow, something like that I want to do. What I'm going to do is actually continue around these lines and draw really carefully with my H pencil. If a rainbow has like 8 colors, I'm counting 1, 2 and then I'm going to go 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, so I'm just going to go ahead and do that first. Now that I've finished painting these rings around the original drawing, I want to do a couple of more things that will make this specific drawing look unique. The first thing that I'm going to do is actually, I always like to put a little bit of vegetation with any type of drawing that I do and I really like this lotus shape. I think I'm going to draw a little bit of both plants here. When you work with the layout like this, think of different spaces like I have an area here that I want to fill up, and then I might replicate this vegetation here on these sides. Usually, this drawing it's a symmetrical drawing, a good tip here is to repeat whatever you do on one side towards the other. I'm going to actually continue drawing this plant here. Another detail that I really like to add to my paintings, I always like to mix the motifs of nature like Earth and sky. If you guys know my art, you know that I am a big fan of the night sky. Right now I'm walking through my creative process while I design a layout like this. Right now I'm thinking since I've decided this will be like a rainbow, so I'll start with a pink and orange, yellow, green, blue, navy, [inaudible] blah, blah, all the way to the violet here. If I have the violet here, I think I'm going to do the background here a little darker, maybe like an indigo. Then I want to continue with a celestial look. I'm starting to think that I want to do the actual hand in the classic. It's a classic bright blue. Think I'll do that like in a light background here and then it will go well with these plants. Then I can also do a few, I'm thinking of like a full moon and a couple of crescent moons on each side. I'm just going to go ahead and draw that in. Again, try to really work your creativity with this part of the workshop, make something unique, play around, try not to look at too many examples. Just draw, just enjoy the drawing process and you don't have to add anything too complicated, these are simple shapes, these are circles, these are plans, these are leaves, it's nothing too complex. I'm going to go ahead and draw the crescent moons here and I'll do a reflection on the other side. I have the sky looking this way, so now I feel that I have some good symmetry here. I want to add another detail, I always like to look at, taking an element here from like this smaller circle, I'll place it may be here to add some detail, and then I can add some simple ornaments, like half circle ornaments around the eye, and then you can do maybe like smaller circles inside. If you've ever painted Mandala's this is a similar experience, but instead of doing ornaments from the inside out, you're doing decor all around. It also depends on the color palette, the theme. I'll share some pictures of what my students did so you can see all the different options that you can have with a symbolic image like this. I have this. I think I want to make the eye into it's like the protective eye, that's what they call it in Mexico at least. It's like the Turkish eye, that's protective eye and it's in different shades of blue. When I traveled to Greece, I also saw this style a lot and it's like a couple of different blues with a black dot in the middle for the pupil. Now I take a step back at my drawing and just simply observe and see where I feel that I need to fill up some space with some more ornaments. Looking at this, I feel like I could add a couple of details here and maybe take the same ornament that I'm doing here and take it down here to integrate the whole layout. I think I'll do something similar to these little half-circles, but take them up to this side here and then take them up to this other side here. I can also do the circle within the circle. I'm going to go ahead and do the same thing down here and I'm not being too crazy with like a ruler. I'm also integrating the perfection of the drawing with a little bit of freehand design. There's a bunch of symmetry to the drawing, but then there's also the like imperfect human hand aspect to it. What I think I'm going to do is begin by painting this background here in a very light blue using a lot of water and blue. Then once that first layer dries, I'm going to also add some smaller stars in the same tone of blue inside here, I'm going to leave the rest of this empty because I'll fill it in later just with watercolor, I don't really have to use my pencil there. Just for some little final details, I feel like I might need a roundish shape around here and a roundish shape around here. I might take these two crescent moons and bring them down here in a larger scale. I have these two moons here and again, you play around with symmetry here and the motifs that you are interested in as well. To finalize this, I may do a couple of stars up here, and then our drawing will be ready to go into a watercolor phase. 5. Watercolor Project 1: It's time to start adding watercolor to my drawing. Basically what I'm going to do is, take you through my personal process of how I paint an illustration like this. Keep in mind, I always encourage you to do your own design, your own drawing. This is a good example for you to see how I do it, but please feel free to do your own design, and this will help you. This technique is pretty much layering wet-on-dry. If you want to dive deep into how to layer with watercolors, or even gouache or acrylics for that matter, go ahead and take my class on watercolor, gouache, and acrylics layering and blending. There's tons and tons of resources there to help you out if you still have questions here. I'm going to go ahead and paint my first layer. I'm going to grab some clean water here and I'm going to do my very first layer, which is going to be this beautiful sky blue. I'm grabbing some clean water and making a little puddle here. It's also good to have a little test sheet here to try out your different colors. In this case, I'm going to do a rainbow color palette, so I don't really need to do a swatch in this case, but I do have this handy here to test out colors before. I'm always going to have this here to the side. Now, I need this to be very watery because I'm going to paint over my drawing because I'm going to be layering this after. The reason your pencil needs to be very light in this case, and it's actually a little bit darker than I would do it when I'm painting on top, but for the camera I'm doing it a little darker than I usually would. The trick with watercolor here is to always have an active puddle of water moving around, and this way you'll get a really nice watercolor wash. With watercolor, what you do is, you always keep the little puddle going, especially with a backdrop like this. Remember, I'm doing it pretty transparent because I'm going to layer over this initial layer. I'm using a little bit of a bigger brush here because I need to fill out this space pretty fast so there's really no waiting around in this case. You need to keep moving here. Then I'm going to flip my paper around so that it's easier for me to paint on this area. I'm not too concerned with my first layer being this very light blue, especially because the colors that I'm going to use over this blue won't really alter what I'm trying to do later. That means that I'm going to be painting these icons here in greens and some violets, and blue is a part of green and blue is a part of violet. So whenever I paint over with those transparent watercolors, it won't really turn my colors into anything strange or anything, if that makes any sense. Again, I have a really, really complete color theory class here on Skillshare. This specific class here is meant to be like a workshop. Hopefully you will have taken a bunch of the foundational classes before doing a more complex class like this one so you won't be left wondering all the watercolor basics and how-tos. Here, as the puddle is still wet, I am moving my paint around and around. If you notice, I actually left a pretty large puddle of water on this side because it's where everything will eventually connect. I'm just going to pull that out here, and this way I will have a seamless area of watercolor. I have these extra puddles here, and while it's still wet, make sure it's still wet though, you can pull them out a little bit if you want. Otherwise, it'll dry and you'll have an interesting texture, but you may not want that much texture. Another trick for that is to just dry your brush a little bit and pick up some of the excess water. Just like this. I think in this case, it's better to have a little bit too much than not enough. Because when you are painting a large area like this, if it dries up, it's going to be hard to have a seamless layer. This is looking pretty good. When working with watercolor in this style, which is like an illustrative style, it's wet-on-dry, you really have to think about the order of the sections and layers that you're going to be painting. Obviously, right now this is super wet and I just have to leave it alone, and I can't paint anything over this right now. If I would, it would just turn into a huge blob and all the paint would bleed into each other. So I have to wait for this to dry completely before I can paint anything over this section. But there are some things that I can do in the meantime. There's also a lot of planning that goes into watercolor painting. Since you can't really erase anything, you have to think ahead. Right now, I have these areas here that I'm going to fill in and I've decided that I want to do it like a very ethereal rainbow-ish style. I'm counting that this rim right here is going to be a magenta, and obviously I can't paint around this blue area right now because I have to wait for that to dry. What I'm going to start doing is actually painting the second rim here, which is going to be an pinkish-orange. I'm going to grab some clean water. I have a little bit of orange here on my palette. This is just a little tube set that I had leftover. What I'm going to do is just prepare my color a little bit. I want it to be quite watery. I want my rainbow to be, I don't know, sweet and ethereal and dreamy. I don't want to use super bright. Super opaque colors in this case. I'm just making it watery. I have a little bit of magenta from a Dr. Ph. Martin that I used, leftover here in my palette. I'm just activating it again. Then I have my little tester here and I'm deciding that this is a good enough color. I'm just going to go ahead and start painting this area here. Remember, I am reserving the first rim to be a magenta, and in the meantime, I'm going to paint the orangish section here. I'm also trying to work pretty fast, just so that I get enough water all around this section here. I'm grabbing my clean water. Sometimes I'll just go in with some extra water while everything else is still wet. I always, always try to paint inside or right next to the pencil and not over it. That way, once this layer dries, I can go in and erase that and I'll have a really clean drawing. If you've taken my other classes, you'll notice that I suggest that quite a bit. I'm just going to continue painting these layers here. There's really not much to it. It's just me going through my painting process and hopefully you'll get something out of observing this. I just finished painting this orangish rainbow section here, and now I'm going to skip one which is going to be a lighter orange I'm going directly into yellow. As you see, if I were to wait for each area to dry completely before I could paint the one next to it, I would have to do a lot of waiting. So this is basically how you work with watercolor in this way. You have to think ahead a little bit and see what you can start painting while you wait for another area to dry. Also, you might have noticed that I'm doing a bit of mixing with my colors. I'm not grabbing just one yellow and putting it directly onto my palette I like to make my own yellow, so I mixed together a couple of different yellows; a warmer yellow, lemon yellow. I really find that if you make your own colors, your artwork will look extra special. It will be able to have its own identity, and style, and your colors will look really organic. It's just something that I always suggest in my classes. If you want to go deep into color, I have a really cool color class on finding your color identity. If you haven't taken that, that might be fun to take before a class like this. We're committing to a larger piece. I'm exploring everything with color technique, and color theory, and doing some personal searching is really helpful. I'm just going to continue painting and so on and so on, and eventually, I should be skipping one, and one, and one of all of these and then I'll be filling in the in-betweeners. Meanwhile, this blue area will have dried and I can start layering over that. That's going to be the next thing that I'm going to show you. 6. Watercolor Project 2: I've been working on this for quite a while now. You'll see that this looks very advance at this point. I want to talk about a few notes before moving forward. Right now as you noticed, I've been skipping one and one, and eventually, I ended up all the way here. I just left this last one to demonstrate. Basically, it's just about waiting for each area to dry completely before you can go in and paint whatever is next to it. In the meantime, I'm going to explain some of the next steps that I'll be doing and I'll leave the camera running so you can see what I'm working on. After I paint this final piece of the rainbow, which is this blue between turquoise and violet, I am going to go in and actually do final details on this painting. We're pretty much towards the end here, but you will notice that these tiny details at the very end really lift up a painting and especially will give it contrast. One of the things that I'm going to do is actually, this is the third layer of watercolor that I'll be adding here, just like I did this moon, I have a plane circle here with the second layer of watercolor under the first one. I waited for this to dry and then I can add the little crescent on with some indigo. Something else that I want to do is add some really fine lines in this plant here to do little details like I did here. Finally, I am going to grab some white ink. This is the white ink that I really like to use. I use it in pretty much all my classes. It's my favorite Copic Opaque White and I'm just going to use this little dish. I'm just really going to do some dots around here, not too fancy, not anything too crazy, and if you don't have that specific white, that's fine. You can use acrylics or you can use a gel pen if you want to do little final details in white at the end. A fun thing to do would also be if you have some gold paint. That looks really fun for final details as well. Just those little touches of magic that will make your illustration really pop. At the very end, what I'm going to do is actually this area here is going to be in this indigo color as the background to do sort starry night, and I might even do a little bit of splatter or some white dots to make it look like a night sky like little almost like a galaxy, not a galaxy, but a night sky. So those are things that are coming up at the very end for final details. I just want to share with you what the process looks like with the large illustration like this. If you are confused and feel a bit lost, I really recommend going to the watercolor wash and acrylics class. That class is really, really dives deep into layering, into having dark backgrounds or light backgrounds, blending. It will answer a lot of basic questions if you feel sort with this process still. This is more of like an intermediate advanced class or I'm even calling them workshops because this is what I do with my in-person students. I work like this. I'm just going to continue painting these little details that I told you about and I'll be back with some final comments once I'm done with this. This is my final image. I'm finally done and I'm super happy with how this turned out. It's very much the story that I always want to share in my paintings, which is a little bit of magic and mysticism but it's also quite joyful. This represents it pretty well. I'm happy with how it turned out. I wanted to do a side by side here so that you can see how out of one simple image with a little bit of personal style. Just adding details that are specific to your interests, and your color palette, and all this different art elements. You can make something that's totally unique. Just altering this enough where you add details that are different to what the original image is, and the same thing if you choose to use any of the other templates that I made for this class. Here's a couple more examples. Let's say you had this image as your base and maybe instead of these shapes here, you can paint flowers that you really like making or maybe if you're into flink botanical illustrations, you could do botanical artwork all around the hand or the symbol. Just change it up and also try to make it your own. That's something that I always encourage in every single one on my workshops and classes. At the same time, this workshop is cool because if you are always maybe a little bit concerned with drawing and feel like it's not your strongest point, tracing one of these is a really good way to just get you painting and having an image that's quite mystical, and mysterious, and symbolic. So same here. Let's say you have certain ways of painting your stars maybe you can swap them out for these, or instead of these circles or a certain element that you like making. I'm just working it out in my head the different kinds of things that you can do here. Also you can observe the elements that are already within this painting and maybe take them outwards. Maybe if you have these little swirls here, you can paint larger ones on this side or play around with that and try to not just make a stamp of the hand, but try to do an entire composition around that. As the examples that I showed you before, and I also do pictures in the discussion board to share examples of what other students have done. That's it. From this, we have this beautiful radiant rainbow, mysterious hamsa hand. Also this was usually out of frame, I just wanted to have this here to share with you how I tested out my colors before painting here. It was really important for me to have this rainbow not be too saturated. I wanted to really take it down a notch and make it very watery, pretty translucent, so I had to check. For example, this was too dark and I added more water, so I wanted it to look like this for the outer edge here. Always doing the final little details in the end really lifts up your painting. In my case, if you guys have taken my other classes, you'll know what I really like using some white ink at the end. My copic ink, this one. I absolutely love that especially for stars. I'm a huge fan of that, it's a signature in all of my work. Just feel free to play around, feel free to have fun with this. I can't wait to see your artwork. I know that you guys are going to make just beautiful pieces. I'm always amazed with everything that you post. Feel free to ask anything in the discussion board. I'm always constantly checking your questions there. I know sometimes it feels easier to just send me a DM on Instagram, but please try not to do that and post on the Discussion board instead. It'll be way easier for me to get back to you properly and also be able to see your pictures. DMs just get lost in and they are harder to see. Please ask in the Comment section in the Discussion Board, I'm all ears. I'm super interested in what your questions are, what you guys are making. Thank you so much for taking another one of my sculpture classes. I had a great time painting this with you, and I'll see you next time.