How to Illustrate Any Topic: A Watercolor Guide For Beginners | Fatih Mıstaçoğlu | Skillshare

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How to Illustrate Any Topic: A Watercolor Guide For Beginners

teacher avatar Fatih Mıstaçoğlu, watercolor storyteller

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.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      What Is An Illustration?


    • 4.

      Why Do You Need One?


    • 5.

      Simplify Your Subject


    • 6.

      Find Your Strengths


    • 7.

      Avoid Your Weaknesses


    • 8.

      Mid-class Summary


    • 9.

      Simple Shapes


    • 10.



    • 11.



    • 12.

      Watercolor Shortcuts


    • 13.

      Pick Your Favourite


    • 14.

      Line Drawing


    • 15.

      Painting With Watercolors


    • 16.



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About This Class

Do you look at other artists and think “Wow! I could never do that!”

I’m an artist myself and still when I browse Instagram sometimes I think “These are so good! What’s the point? I’ll never be this good!” 

The art you see around you can be intimidating. But it shouldn’t! Because when it comes to art everyone is on their own lane and there is really no reason to compare. 

You can have art in your life just for fun or as a way to relax or to document your daily life. And you don’t have to meet any expectations. You do you, my friend. =) 

And when it comes to drawing or painting something, for your sketch journal or any other reason, there is more than one way to illustrate a topic. WAY MORE!

In this class I’ll teach you how to illustrate any topic. But what does that mean?

Here is my recipe for success!

1- Simplify your subject! The Pantheon or a bus ticket could be a reminder of Rome. There are a million ways to represent a topic and the closer you look, the simpler it gets. 

2- Find your strengths! What are you good at drawing? Buildings or faces? Trees or flowers? We will find yours and use them!

3- Avoid your weaknesses! If you are not good at drawing people’s faces, it’s OK not to. Or buildings. Or trees! This is not being a coward or lazy. This is being smart!

You’ll see how an ancient building, a store front, a slice of pizza or a bus ticket can all be a way to illustrate the same topic. And by doing this you’ll be able to keep yourself going and get better and better and better. After a while you’ll notice that your weaknesses are not your weaknesses anymore. 

In the second part of the class I've included a series of tips and tricks to give you the confidence to start illustrating:

  • Looking vs Seeing: What is the difference?
  • Simple Shapes: How can we break down a complicated scene?
  • Perspective: Do we need it?
  • Composition: What is it good for?
  • Line Drawing: Carefree and gorgeous!
  • Watercolors: All my tips and tricks and then some. 

Join me and after this class you’ll be able to illustrate any topic. Are you in? 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Fatih Mıstaçoğlu

watercolor storyteller

Top Teacher

Hello! My name is Fatih but you can call me Fab. I've been painting with watercolors for 11 and working as an independent artist for 6 years. Before that, I was a copywriter in advertising. And before that I was an au-pair. =)

I try to share what I do and how I do them over at my Instagram account and you can have a look at that over here:

I love painting with watercolors and recording videos while I paint. For my day to day art practice I keep sketch journals and document our daily life. Over time I collected quite a few skills and tips so I thought it was time to share them with you guys and that's how I joined the Skillshare family.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: What I love about illustration is, and you might not notice, that everyone can do it. Everyone can draw, and every person can paint. Today, I'm going to show you how. Get ready to become the illustrator that you already are. Hi, my name is Fab. I'm an illustrator based in Warsaw. I've been painting with watercolors for more than 10 years. In the last five, I've been working as a freelancer, painting for brands and individuals. I mainly use my illustrations for sketch journals and memory keeping because I love going back and looking at those pages. I'm a self-taught watercolor artist, and I believe artist for everyone, not for a select few. I draw and paint like nobody's watching, and I want to teach you to do the same. Interested? In this class, you will learn how to illustrate any topic. But what does it mean? Here is my recipe for success. One, simplify your subject. The Pantheon or a bus ticket could be a reminder of Rome. There are a million ways to represent the topic. The closer you look, the simpler it gets. Two, find your strengths. What are you good at drawing? Buildings or faces? Trees or flowers? You will find yours and use them. Three, avoid your weaknesses. If you are not good at drawing people's faces, it's okay not to, or buildings or trees. This is not being a coward or being lazy. It's being smart. I've also jam-packed this class with tips and tricks to level up your drawing skills, like, how we can break down a complicated scene to simple shapes. What is the difference between looking and seeing? It's actually quite big. How we can use perspective, and why we don't have to. Why we need composition, and how I draw and paint with watercolors. This class is perfect for anyone who were ever told, even by themselves, that they cannot draw or paint. I'm also looking forward to seeing those who feel stuck, overwhelmed, or out of practice. Yes, I'm talking about you. Those who join me will have the best class project ever. With my help, you will find three different ways to pencil-sketch the same topic. Imagine three different posters for the same movie. At the end, we will pick one to finalize with paints and everything. Jack and I prepared an amazing class for you guys to give you the artistic license to go and paint like nobody's watching. By the end of this class, you will be able to create your own illustrations for your sketch journals, social media accounts, or professional projects. If you're ready, don't do anything. The next video start automatically. Just wait. Don't touch anything. You will see. Be ready. Boom. 2. Class Project: You know what we say at Skillshare; no class, project, no class. Or I just made it up? Not sure. Anyway, this class is about finding a way to illustrate any topic, so I want you to exercise that mindset and find and sketch three different ideas illustrating the same topic. Then you'll pick one and finalize that illustration. How does that sound? Here are the steps. Step number 1, pick a topic and name your project. I will illustrate that. Step number two, post a photo of your first sketch. Don't worry if it's good or bad, this is the process. Step number three, brainstorm and find a different way to illustrate your topic. Show us the two. Step number four, one more time. Find different angles, write how you feel about each new sketch. Try to see which one made you more happy. Step number five, follow other students' projects, see how they get around a difficult topic. Step number six, looking at your three sketches, decide which one came from your strength, which one from your weakness? Pick one to continue. Step number seven, listen to my tips about line drawing and painting and finish your chosen sketch. You have to show us. But first, let's talk about what an illustration is? See you in the next lesson. Remember, don't touch anything it's all automatic. Checks stop the video. 3. What Is An Illustration?: Record. Audio is recording, Camera 1 is recording, Camera 2 is recording. I think it's a bit crooked. First of all, I would like to thank Jack for being with me here today. Hello, Jack. How are you doing today? If you watched my previous class, you will remember Jack that was helping me to record, and assist, and bring me coffee, and everything. Of course, it was all in my imagination because there is no one here but me, just me. First of all, what is an illustration? According to Oxford Learner's Dictionary, a drawing or a picture in a book, magazine, etc., especially that explains something. As you can see, this is a very wide definition. Many things could fit into this definition, and it is on purpose. Illustration can be many things, it can be as simple as a single line or as complicated as you make it to be. Here is the perfect example of that from Picasso-femme, a simple but great illustration containing only four lines. As long as it illustrates what you want to say in a visual form, it's an illustration. To prove you my point, let me show you my first sketch book. This is how it starts, and you will see, it gets better. This is my first drawing from 2011, it's a chair and a mug next to it. I was doing exercises from a book and I didn't know where it's going to go but I just start doing this. There's a coffee table, if you can see on the left. This is supposed to be my beautiful wife. More exercises from the book and I'm trying different ways, different techniques. Here, I got ambitious and tried to draw a more complicated scene, my sister's sitting room. More exercises. I get into colors and watercolors. Here is important. With this one, it's R2-D2. It was sitting on my desk at work. I felt, for the first time, I'm getting somewhere, that it looked good. More examples, some of them are better, some of the worse. Another shot at my wife, and she wasn't my wife back then. Here, we went on holiday and I illustrated the day with the cookies I was eating, and it did the job. It was simple, it was in front of me. More illustrations from our holiday. This is where I used to work. We will get to this later but as it's here now, we can go over it. I really like this quote, "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." I really believe in this quote. The same principle applies to everything when it comes to illustration, art, we must lose our fear of being wrong. This is my first sketchbook so I'm trying lots of different techniques, different ways to color. Here, I used to watch this TV show, 2 Broke Girls. I knew that I wouldn't be able to draw the girls or the scene of the show so I just did the player in my phone, and it still illustrates my topic. Like I said, there are a million ways to illustrate the topic. Different styles, copying some artists. This is the end of my first sketch book. I started with the chair, I tried to finish with the chair. You can see the improvement, there is a perspective now. Even though it has short legs, apparently, it's a chair. That's it, this is the end. As long as it illustrates what you want to say in a visual way, it's an illustration, no big deal. Stop being so hard on yourself and stop saying you cannot draw. If you can hold a pencil, you can draw, therefore, you can illustrate. But it's definitely a scary word. Some words are like that, they sound more than what they are. Illustration, wow. The original of the word illustration is late Middle English in the sense of elimination, spiritual or intellectual enlightenment. Via old French from Latin, [inaudible] from the word [inaudible] I don't speak French. As long as it represents what you want to say visually, holds the light towards your topic so to speak, it's an illustration and you are an illustrator, and you are an illustrator, you are an illustrator, and you are an illustrator. Here, I will give you an example. I'm going to illustrate my morning coffee and I'm going to use my left hand, and that is my least favorite hand. Least favorite. Please join me for this part. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and your least favorite hand, and illustrate your morning coffee with me. It's not going to be amazing, it's not going to be something you're proud of, but it will still be an illustration of your morning. There will be mistakes. I think that handle should have come out much wider than that, but still, it illustrates my morning coffee. If I put this in my sketch journal, I would look back and remember this day and illustrating my coffee. Later, don't forget to share this in your project gallery and we can all make fun of our least favorite hands. There, I did it. My left hand is an illustrator too. But of course, what I did might not be enough. You want better illustrations, you want prettier illustrations, and we will get there. Since we established what an illustration is, we can move on to why. Why do you need an illustration? That will help us manage their expectations. In the next lesson, we will talk about why do you need an illustration. See you in the next lesson. I will get a cup of coffee. Jack, if I'm bringing my own coffee, why are you here? 4. Why Do You Need One?: In the previous lesson, we learned what an illustration is. In this lesson, we will ask the question, why do you need an illustration and try to answer it. Why do you need an illustration? You want to illustrate something. I guess you wouldn't be in this class otherwise, but you don't know how or you need a pump of self confidence. Illustrations are used for many things. They are used heavily for marketing purposes and all sorts of media. But I feel like your quest is more personal. Maybe you want to keep a sketch on it like I was teaching in my previous class. You want to document your daily life. Great. What style will you use? You can use only line drawings or paint them like I do. You can do it monochromatically or colorful. You can doodle, you can draw realistically or expressively. Maybe you want to make an illustration for your wedding invitation or for a birthday card. Also great ideas. Maybe you want to spice up your bullet journal or your calendar. Whatever the reason is, you can do it. You can do it too. Even Jack can do it, but I'm not sure. Maybe just not Jack. Everyone else, but not Jack. Because an illustration doesn't need to be perfect. It doesn't even need to be complete. It only needs to illustrate your topic. Did you see the coffee mug I drew? It can be enough to deliver a message and that's all you need. Like everything else, it gets easier. If you give yourself permission to do simple illustrations, do those sketches and be persistent, soon you will doing more and more complicated ones. That's the way to illustrate any topic, but that's not all. "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." Joseph Chilton Pearce. I really believe in this quote and you should too. If you are afraid to fail, if you are afraid to be embarrassed, if you are afraid to be made fun of, you won't be able to create freely, which will stop you from illustrating everything you want. We don't have to be afraid because first of all, the world only sees what we show, and second, who cares? No one. No one cares. When we're outside walking and we trip over the pavement, we think that everyone is looking at us. No one is looking. We think that they do. It's the same when you do art. No one is watching, until you make them to. It's difficult to turn people's heads towards you, not the other way around. I always say that there is no bad drawing, but even if you think it's bad, no one is watching, so no worries. Just keep drawing, then it will get better. Then you will want to share it. Then people will look. We should decide why we need an illustration and that will adjust the expectation. We will know what kind of illustration we want, then we will choose our subject, and by simplifying it, we will illustrate whatever is possible. In the next lesson, we will talk about simplifying your subject. See you in the next lesson. Okay, that was good, I think. Was it good? 5. Simplify Your Subject: Hi. Welcome back. In this class, we will talk about how to simplify your subject and how this helps you. The key to be able to illustrate anything is not to over-complicate. For example, I want to illustrate a coffee date I had with my wife, but I'm not good at drawing people or interiors, but I'm better at drawing close up still objects. What else can illustrate this moment I want to save? My wife holding her cup of coffee? No, I'm not good at drawing hands. Our coffee mugs together on the table? Maybe. Sign or logo of the cafe? Sure. The text message on my phone from her asking me to meet? There are many ways to illustrate a topic, we don't have to pick the most difficult one every time. Let's try another. Let's say you went on a trip to Rome and you want to illustrate this with a few words next to it. Rome has many beautiful sites. You can pick one of those ancient sites to draw. Too many details? Okay. How about a shop or cafe you visit then liked? You can just draw the storefront. You can find many places like that on Google Maps Street View. How about something you ate? Food is a big part of any trip, especially in Rome. Could a slice of pizza remind you of Rome or Italian pasta? How about something you use or collected on your trip, like a bus or museum ticket. Maybe a map. That's easy to draw. As you can see, you can draw the Pantheon, a storefront, a slice of pizza, or a bus ticket, and they can all represent Rome. We should know our strengths and use them. To illustrate something you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Usually, like taking a photograph, zooming in helps you simplify your subject. When I say how to illustrate anything, I don't necessarily mean how to be able to draw everything. No one is good at drawing everything. Maybe a few people are, but if you are one of those people probably you wouldn't be here. When I say illustrate any topic, I mean, finding a suitable uncomfortable subject is key to be able to illustrate your topic and that's what you should learn. Because this way you'll be able to start a creative habit like keeping a sketch journal and by finding ways to illustrate your topic, you will get better and better without failing and getting discouraged. Let's try another example. You are keeping a sketch journal and your general topic is summer. You go to a holiday for a week to the seaside and want to capture this beautiful week on a page with different illustrations. How can you illustrate this? Let's see. You can draw the hotel or apartment you are staying in. This would remind you of your holiday when you look back in time, you don't like drawing architecture? Okay, how about the view from your window? Is it anything special? Do you see the sea, sunrise or sunset, or maybe there is a blooming magnolia tree in front of you. Could this be? Let's change the subject. How about interior of your hotel? Your unmade bed could illustrate your lazy mornings. Or the chair in front of a window where you read your book one afternoon. Zooming in further. How about the cup of coffee you had with your book next to it? Would you be able to draw this to illustrate your holiday? Maybe you had a room service. Can you draw your holiday breakfast? Let's go outside. Do you like the town you are staying? The street view, shops, houses? I forgot, no architecture. How about the sea, the beach? That would illustrate your holiday nicely. Zooming further. Your deck chair and umbrella could make a gorgeous illustration of your holiday. No? How about your towel? Beach towels are usually colorful and full of patterns. Zooming in. How about just your feet against the sea? Everyone shares of photo like that from holiday, at least they used to. Zooming in a little further. I know seashells, a few different seashells would look beautiful on your sketch journal page. So far I suggested 22 ideas to illustrate one topic, your holiday. There could be a million more. By thinking this way, you can find something to draw to illustrate your summer holiday or any other topic. In the next lesson, we'll talk about your strengths and how to use them to make your search for your subject faster. See you there. Go. How are we doing there Jake? You're doing press record again? 6. Find Your Strengths: Welcome back. In the last lesson, we talked about simplifying your subject and how that would help you find the suitable subjects for your drawings. In this lesson, we will talk about your strengths, which will help us narrow down your search for a simpler option for you to draw or paint. When I say strength, what I really mean is what you are good at. What are you good at drawing? I'm sure many people would answer to this, nothing, and that would annoy me very much but it is simply not true. Some subjects to some people come easier than the others. Maybe you did it a lot when you were little, maybe you are more observant over one subject than the others. But whatever the reason is, you are better at drawing some things than other things. What are those things? I can tell you about myself to help you further. I start drawing at the age of 26. Until then, I was told I wasn't good at drawing, it wasn't my thing. I kept repeating this to myself even in school. My sister, who is six years older than me was really good at drawing, on the other hand, and to get better grades, which I see how pointless it is to have a grading for something like art in school. She would do my drawings, paintings, and my teacher, who was also my sister's teacher back in the day, would give a grade on my painting addressed to my sister. No wonder I was discouraged. Probably I like some certain practices like drawing a human face and body and that is definitely one of my weaknesses and we will get there. But when I started drawing, I started with things in front of me, on the table, whatever I could find, so I'm better with still life. That's one of my strengths. Along that line, I'm also good with objects with certain angular features, with lots of lines and details like a model car or a toy. That's also one of my strengths. Round shapes, not so much. That need for looking for the details and angles to draw goes beyond my desk to architecture and scenery. I'm also good at drawing a building or a street view with lots of details but if it's a green meadow with a line of trees and blue sky, not so much. So architecture is my strength. Are you starting to think what is your strength? Again, I'm good with interiors because there are lots of lines and angles to follow. Strength. Logos, signs, products come easy to me because I can easily recreate them on my paper by looking and following the lines. These are also my strengths. Drawing food is often my strength, however, there are many types of foods. While drawing a burger is easy for me, a bowl of risotto is not so much. Do you see where I'm going with this? Just like I do, you have your own strengths, and when you play to your strengths while simplifying your subject, you can illustrate anything, anything. Let's go through the room example again, but this time, I will add more details in between and we will keep in mind our strengths. In this case, mine. Pantheon, architecture, strength. My wife on the Spanish steps, human body, weakness. A storefront, street view, strength. Barista at espresso bar, human body, weakness. Espresso, still life, strength. Holding gelato, hands, weakness. A slice of pizza, food, strength. My wife's new dress, fashion, weakness. A bus ticket, still life, strength. While you are zooming in, while you are simplifying your subject and trying to find the suitable topic to illustrate, you also focus on your strengths, which will get you there faster. This way, you will get the job done, you will be satisfied, and you want to create your new creative challenge and get better and better. In the next lesson, we will talk about your weaknesses, but don't worry, I'll be gentle, right Jack? See you on the next one. Jack, are you okay? 7. Avoid Your Weaknesses: In the previous lesson, we talked about your strengths and why you should focus on them. In this lesson, we will talk about your weaknesses and why you should avoid. When I say weakness, I don't mean my weakness towards cakes next to my coffee, even though that's my biggest weakness. No, I'm talking about subjects you are not good at drawing. My goal with this class is to give you the "I can do it mindset", and give you the tools to illustrate your topic with ease and speed so you won't fall out of your habits and keep practicing your art. When I say avoid your weaknesses, it might sound like neglect this thing you are not good at and never get better at it. But that's not what I'm saying. As a newbie. I just want you to start and focus on what you are good at and develop a long-lasting habit, which will in result help you get better and conquer other areas as well. Previously, I told you about my strengths, but alongside those I mentioned my weaknesses as well. Human body for example, it never came naturally to me and it takes lots of pushing to draw the human body, especially faces. My advice for you is to avoid subjects like these and find the other ones to illustrate your topic. But this doesn't mean I don't draw people, I do. When the time permits, when it's a really good fit, I go for it. The results are not good, but who cares. In time I got better at my weaknesses too, because I had my creative habits. I kept drawing what I'm good at. But every now and then I crossed a line and I tried something new. Identifying your weaknesses will help you get around them in the short-term. But by keep practicing, you'll get better at them in the long run. Also, I find ways around my weaknesses too. I know that human faces are always difficult for me. But I started getting better at the body. I found out that if I draw the body realistically, but I put a cute Kawaii face on it, the results are fun. So it led me to something new. If you have the same weakness as me, maybe this will help you to. Another trick I found for drawing human faces is sunglasses. If I draw myself in sunglasses, first of all, I look way cooler and secondly, it gets much easier. This is actually me avoiding drawing human eyes, but also you can keep doing this and make it your style. Drawing people portrayed with sunglasses. Dedicating an Instagram account to this would be really cool. Now when I think about it, I wish I had done it already. I identified my weakness and I avoid it if I'm short in time and energy. But from time to time, I work on it, I play with it and it helps you grow as an artist. Another weakness of mine is fuzzy, fluffy things like animal fur. Love to pet, hate to draw. Probably because I tend to draw all the details, but drawing every single fur is too much, for me at least. But I look at how other people do and sometimes it helps. When you are stuck with a certain style. You can also go and have a look at what other artists are doing. Sometimes it's not easy to find a solution to transform your subjects into your drawings. But when you see how other people overcame a similar subject can help you illustrate your topic easily. Please remember, people share what they're good at, their strengths and everyone has their weaknesses. They either avoid drawing them or they don't share them if they don't think they are good enough. This might make you feel like, they are so good. I'm not. What's the point? You will be wrong. You know your own failures. But what you don't know or see is how many failures those artists have. What you see on my Instagram is what I'm good at. What you see on other artists' pages is what they are good at. Everything is curated. If you can accept that you don't have to live up to these expectations, you can do whatever you are good at and get better at every new step. You do you, my friend. This was all for avoiding your weaknesses. Remember, everybody has their weaknesses and what you see are their strengths. This was the first part of our class. We're more focused on the mindset and how you can get around a difficult topic and find a way to illustrate your topic. In the second part, we will more focus on strategies to illustrate, and tips and tricks how to draw certain styles like architecture, food, etc. See you on the second part. Was that good enough? What do you think? Jack, the red button. Did you press this time? Yes. 8. Mid-class Summary: Welcome back. Up to this point, what we discussed was the taught process of finding a way to illustrate your topic. We learned that an illustration can be very simple, and that we are all illustrators. You are an illustrator, you are an illustrator, you are an illustrator, I am an illustrator, my left hand is an illustrator. This gives you the creative license to go ahead and draw and paint and do whatever you like. We learn that there are a million ways to illustrate a topic, and you just need to find which one is good for you based on your strengths or weaknesses, what is comfortable for you. We learned that we can simplify our subject by zooming into the scene. The Pantheon, the bus ticket, the same thing. After this point, which is the second part of this class, I will give you some practical advice to make your life easier. By now, you should all have chosen a topic, and start the project with the name, "I will illustrate..." I will illustrate my boyfriend. I will illustrate my weekend. In that project, there should be three sketches illustrating the same topic. Now, we will talk about the perspective, composition, color, and more. After that, we will pick one of your sketches and finalize your illustration. I'm excited. Are you ready? Let's go. Chop chop. 9. Simple Shapes: I'm ready. How do I look? Welcome to Part two. In this part we will have lots of practical advice and tips and tricks to get you illustrate your topic. In this lesson, we will talk about breaking complicated shapes into simple shapes. Drawing anything is actually simplifying what you are seeing in our 3D world onto a 2D paper. But sometimes this simplification gets rather complicated. You might not see it that way yet, but everything you look around you is composed of simple lines and shapes. To be able to draw, you need to see those shapes. In other terms, you need to start seeing rather than just looking. There's a whole lesson about this in my previous class. Right, Jack? A coffee mug is made out of one ellipse, one U-shape underneath and a C-shape attached on the side. That's it. That is an illustration of a coffee mug. The more details you add, the better it will get. Your lines don't have to be perfect. They can be shaky, they can be uneven, they can be even incomplete. When you complete an illustration, especially with colors at the end, no one is looking at the individual lines, they look at the whole thing. When you make a mistake, only you know that it is there. You can't even keep people's attention long enough for them to notice any mistake you might have, so don't worry about it. Let's break down a few more shapes so you will get used to this. A notebook. It's a rectangle, but from your point of view is usually kind of a diamond shape, kind of an L underneath as the bottom cover and a C-shape to connect them. If you put more details, like a few lines for the pages inside, the bookmark sticking out and the curve of the heart cover on top, it will look more realistic. A pen. An ellipse, two long lines and a V-shape as the tip. At the holders a C-shape for the pen cap and another C for the tip and a bit of scribble to represent the writings on it. There you go. Try to look at everything around you with this [inaudible]. Very quickly it will become a reflex and you will start seeing your surroundings differently. You will start seeing as an illustrator [inaudible], you will start seeing better. In the next lesson, we will talk about the perspective and how it is essential and not necessary at the same time. See you there. 10. Perspective: Jack, you're still allowed to smoke here. Welcome back. In the previous lesson, we talked about how to break down complicated objects into simple shapes and the difference between seeing versus looking. In this lesson, we will talk about the perspective. This topic is very much connected to the previous lesson. Perspective is described as the art of representing three-dimensional objects onto a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other. Just like I said, 3D world onto 2D paper. Normally, I don't care that much about perspective being perfect. When I am painting a scene if something is bigger or smaller than they're supposed to be, so be it. This is a painting, I'm trying to capture the feel of the place. If I need the perfect representation of it, I will take a photo. Having said that, here are a few things you can do to get the perspective right in your paintings. Start your sketch with the horizon line. People's heads who are as tall as you are will be on the horizon line no matter how far away they're. Anything shorter than you will be below the horizon line, and anything taller than you like trees will be above the horizon line. This will be helpful if you are painting a street view or a square with lots of people spread cross. Vanishing point. All the parallel lines meet at the vanishing point. But we know as parallel lines in our crooked world like the pavement, bottom of a building, and top of a building will not be parallel onto the paper. In fact, they will all lead to a certain point and cross each other. If you determine this point when you sketch, you can draw your buildings more accurately. Do I bother to do this? No. I do it by eye, and if my building is a bit wonky, so be it. It just became much more special. As my wife says, no one will be shooting from it. I think it's a Polish saying and I don't know if it translates to English so well. Let me know what it means in the discussion below. If you are drawing a room, like you're sitting room or a cafe, try to look at individual lines and don't trust what you think you know, because yes, you know that the room is like a box and the ceiling and the floor are parallel to each other, but they are not on a 2D painting. Really look at it and try to see, are these lines parallel? Now, they are moving towards each other as they move away from you, where are they going to meet? That's right, vanishing point. Very good. Once you put these down, the rest is putting whatever is in this room in its place. Do I bother to do this? You guessed it right? The answer is no. I go with relative shapes usually. I start sketching with something close to me and start building from that point forward. Chair is one and a half times taller than the table. Bookshelves three times taller than the table and twice as wide. These are not the real sizes, let me remind you. It is the relative sizes from where I'm sitting. When I do this further away, objects get smaller and closer objects gets bigger and so on. Once again, it doesn't have to be perfect. That's all I need to say about perspective. It is your friends, but you don't have to take him on every trip, if you know what I mean. What happens if you draw the cupcake bigger than the coffee cup? Now you have a huge cupcake. Who cares? Maybe you want to show in your illustration how important the cupcake was for you. The important thing is picking up the pencil and practicing the art. In the next lesson, we'll talk about composition. See you there, Jack, pop quiz, where is my coffee? 11. Composition: Jack, record. Press the red button. Welcome back. In the previous lesson, we talked about how important perspective is and why we shouldn't worry about it too much. In this lesson, we will talk about the composition. Composition is not always visible, but you will feel it when it's missing. There are a few rules you can follow to level up your compositioning. Rule of thirds. You might have heard this as the golden rule as well and basically this tells us not to compose our pages or paintings too symmetrically. We can do this by drawing a grid on our page 3-by-3 and putting our focal point into one of the intersections so that is not in the center. If you are creating a sketch journal page which will have several illustrations, remember to switch things up and don't be too repetitive. A big painting, a few small ones, a big title, smaller ones to very capital writing. Imagine your page is a magazine split. Again, there's a whole lesson about composition of our sketch journaling pages in my previous class. Color is a big part of the composition as well. You can use a limited color palette to avoid creating a messy page. You can use a color wheel to see which colors go well together and which shouldn't mix. But by having a limited palette, you don't have to worry about that. It helps to decide what colors to use before starting to paint. For example, if you are painting an autumn scene, you probably want the end results to be in red, orange, aria, so pick a palette accordingly. Another thing to keep in mind is the odd number rule. Odd number of objects like 3, 5, 7 are more interesting than even number of objects like 2, 4, 6. This probably goes back to not to make your paintings too symmetrical like we discussed earlier. But setting all these rules aside, I usually go with my gut and you should do it too. Like I said before, paint like nobody's watching, make up your own rules. When you do something wrong, your eyes will tell you and they will also tell you when you do something right. Just relax, draw, paint, make mistakes because who cares? You wanted to illustrate something and you did. This is a success. Move on to the next illustration. In the next lesson, we will talk about painting with watercolors and some of my shortcuts. Get your paints ready. See you there. Almost there. 12. Watercolor Shortcuts: Where were we? In the last lesson, we discussed composition. Jack, what did we discuss last or you weren't here? You are never here. In the previous lesson, we talked about composition. I hope that was helpful. In this lesson, we will talk about watercolors. Watercolor can be tricky to control, but also it makes some tasks very easy because it's a see-through medium. This means that the white in your painting comes from your page. You can use this to your advantage. Let's say you are painting an outdoor scene and the majority of your scene is a blue sky with clouds. This is how I paint my skies usually. I mix up a blue color I like and apply to the page randomly leaving big white spots. Then, with a clean but wet brush, I soften those edges of blue towards the white spots. Do you see how fluffy it gets? Like a cloud. We just painted clouds without painting them. But you need to act quick and don't let the paint dry. For a quick painting, this will give you a good result. You can add more shadows under the clouds or add more yellow or orange for sunsets and sunrises. Another example, let's say you are painting something shiny, like an apple or a balloon. To give this shiny feeling on the object, all you need to do is not to paint an elongated shape on the top left or right side of the object, depending where the light source is. Do you see how easy this is? You can do this with the shine on the coffee cup, black coffee, phone or laptop screens, cars, wherever you'll see a shine. Next time you see a shiny object, pay attention to the shape it produces. This will make your life easy in your quest of illustrating any topic. One last tip for painting with watercolors in general is, when you are adding shades, don't use black but use the darkest tone of the color of the object. This took me a while to learn, but when you add the shadows, darker tones of the object, like if it's a green object that could use a darker green object, and this makes your paintings more realistic. Is there anything you'd like to add, Jack? In the next lesson, we will talk about, I don't know what we'll talk about in the next lesson. 13. Pick Your Favourite: That was lots of information, wasn't it? During the break or in think a glass of water may be, Jack get them a glass of water. So far we discussed what is an illustration and how we can find a way to illustrate your topic with a limited skill set. To help you with that quest, I shared some of my tips and tricks, and shortcuts. You made three sketches, I hope, of the same topic you wanted to illustrate, and shared them with the rest of the class on your class project. Also, don't forget to check out other students' projects, and give each other a high-five every now, and then. Now it's time to choose one of your sketches, and in the upcoming lessons, we'll finalize that illustration. First, we will do the line drawing, and then [inaudible] color, can not wait. Coloring is my favorite part. Just click on to the next lesson or don't do anything, it will do it automatically. See you there. Cool 14. Line Drawing: Welcome back. Are you excited? Check your file. I'm kidding. I wouldn't be able to do this without it. You pick your favorite sketch. That one probably came from one of your strengths, so remember that for the future. You are likely to have more than a few strengths and you will find them in time. For me, a sketch is the way to see the general shape and the perspective of what I'm illustrating and I try not to go into too much detail. For the line drawings, I usually use Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment pen. 0.1 is my favorite. They make thin, crisp, waterproof lines. I make the entire line drawing with 0.1, and don't go into playing with other thicknesses. I don't try to draw anything perfectly. In fact, nothing is perfect. My lines are not straight and my circles are wonky. Please, don't worry about these things. No one is going to examine the individual lines in your paintings or drawings, but altogether, they will make sense. Whatever you are focusing on, try to put more details into that object and less in other places, and this will help bring the focus into that object. Now, let's finish this painting. Can't wait. Once I'm done, I erase the pencil marks. I like it this way. If you don't like the mess the eraser makes, like I do, you can use a kneaded eraser like mine. They are great. If you are going to do anything digital with it, you might want to scan your drawing before going into the painting. Sometimes it comes handy to have the line drawing on its own. Now, our illustration is ready for painting. Shall we paint? Come on. I can't wait. Let's paint like nobody's watching. Don't be weird. 15. Painting With Watercolors: Hey. There are birds up there. Shoot, shoot. Welcome back. This is my favorite part, painting. Sometimes I think I only bother with sketching and line drawing to get to this part. It's like I made a coloring book for myself page by page. I used watercolors to color my illustrations, but you don't have to. This class is to teach you to find a way to illustrate whatever you want and whichever way you want. If you have any other medium you are comfortable with, just go for it. Watercolors are not easy to control and unpredictable, but with every painting there is an element of surprise and I love that. Also, watercolors are forgiving. You can easily pick up some extra paint, or unintended splash if you act quickly. It's great for beginners this way. I start paintings from background to foreground, lighter colors to darker colors, and larger objects to smaller objects. You can lay watercolors, so it makes sense to lay the mid tones and the highlights, which we do by not painting and leaving it right you remember. After that you can make it darker where it's needed and add shadows to bring in more contrast. I use a paint brush, number 8 or 10 usually. Ninety percent of the painting, this is good enough. For very fine details, if I'm bothered to add them of course, I use a smaller brush like number 3. For very fine details by the way, you don't have to make everything look really realistic. You just need to make an impression of what you see and sometimes you can skip them entirely. If you are painting a street view and there are some red flowers in a pot somewhere in the background, all you need to do is to put some red dots over a green smudge. That's it. This is a painting, not a photograph. You won't gain anything by stressing over the details like this unless the objective of the illustration is to show those flowers, but then you'll be painting them up close. This way, you will finish your illustration quicker and start on a new one faster, especially at the beginning, quantity over quality, the whole image might be overwhelming. Focus at one thing at a time. First to the sky, how it goes from darker blue towards lighter blue for example, and then the house and then the trees. The whole purpose of this class is to give you the artistic license to draw and paint like nobody's watching. I don't know if this makes sense, but you need to have more bad paintings than the good paintings at the beginning. I know I say that there are no bad paintings, but you know what I mean. Yes, this is how we will improve. In fact, you don't have to make anything realistic. It's totally up to you. Like we discussed at the beginning of the class. What is an illustration? A drawing, or picture that explains something. That's it. I mean, it doesn't even have to explain anything to anyone but you. If you draw a few lines and put a bit of color on it, and this reminds you of your holiday,. that's it. You illustrate it. But I know you want to make something that others will appreciate and basically addict to your approval and your attention. For that purpose follow these steps in this class and you will do great things. I'm just trying to take the pressure off of you. Back to the painting. After the mid tones and highlights, the darker tones and shadows. We do it this way because like I said, watercolor is a see-through medium, so you can't paint a light color on top of a dark one because the dark one will show through. Shadows are usually forgotten, and this is a big mistake because they take very little work but improve the painting immensely. Shadows bring the contrast to our paintings and make them pop. Instead of a flat image, you get the sense of depth. It also helps to highlight your focal point and your main object depending on how you use it. When you add shadows, try using the same color more intensely, rather than using only black. You can use only black, or dark brown. It can be even your style, because remember, you can do whatever you want. But using the same colors from the same family will give a more realistic feeling. I'm just saying. I try to finish my illustrations with some splashes, or final touches, especially when I'm sketch journaling. Since these details help to bring the page together. Don't forget to splash around a bit. There you are. You illustrated one topic, but this way you can do many more. Let's some up what we talked about in this lesson. We do it from background to foreground and the lighter colors to darker colors and from a larger objects to smaller objects. First put the mid tones and highlights by not painting them, and then add the shadows. For shadows, try to use a darker colors of the same family rather than just black and brown. Try to finish your illustrations with a few splashes hence it gives a more casual and give me a watercolor look. Let's tidy it all up in the next lesson and then I will have a nap I think. Producing Jack, did I deserve a nap? I'm tired. You must be too. Naps are important. Daytime naps are the best for your creativity as well. Go have a nap and then class project. Don't forget to share, first nap then class project. Yes, Jack, you can have a nap too. Check, are you asleep? 16. Conclusion: Jack. I'm impressed that you've made it this far and congratulating you for finishing this class. I will quickly go through the lessons one more time to summarize. We learned that illustration is not a scary word and we are all illustrators. There are many other ways to illustrate one topic and we should find one suitable to our strengths and weaknesses. We can do that by zooming in and simplifying our subject. We talked about seeing versus looking, breaking down a scene to simple shapes, perspective, composition, and a few watercolor shortcuts. We can come back and go over any of these lessons in the future if you think you need it. I'm always here. Finally, we finished our illustrations with line drawings and watercolors. If I have to summarize this whole class into one key takeaway, that would be paint like nobody's watching. I would like every one of you to leave my class with the idea, I can draw anything I want and start your own sketch journals because that's a great way to create a long-lasting and productive habit. With every page you will get better and better. You can learn all about sketch in my previous class, watercolor sketch journaling. Thank you very much for your time. If you like this class or even disliked it, please leave a review so other students will know what to expect and I will know what to improve. If you share this class with others, I will jump up and down from happiness. If you complete the class project, I get a pleasant ticklish feeling at the back of my neck. Can't wait to see your class projects and see you on the next or previous classes. Bye. Jack, do you want to say something? Jack, say bye, for example. There is no Jack. I'm having a breakdown. There is no Jack, I'm having a breakdown. Bye.