How to Paint a Watercolor World Map | Shelley Hitz | Skillshare

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How to Paint a Watercolor World Map

teacher avatar Shelley Hitz, Watercolor and Lettering 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.

      Reference Photo


    • 4.

      Pencil Sketch


    • 5.

      Let's Paint!


    • 6.

      Adding Extras


    • 7.

      Next Steps


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About This Class

Have you seen watercolor world maps and wondered how to create one yourself?

Not that long ago, I was wondering the exact same thing. I wanted to create a world map but really had no idea where to start. It seemed overwhelming.

In this class, I'm going to take you step-by-step through the process of creating a watercolor world map the easy way. I did a lot of research and in the class resources, you'll be able to download a template that will make the entire process so much easier.

By the end of this class, you will have a beautiful watercolor world map that you can either add lettering to or you can frame. You can also scan it and use it digitally for many different projects.

Are you ready for an adventure?

Let's get started.

p.s. If you want to know when I release new classes, make sure to click the "follow" button on my profile here:

Meet Your Teacher

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Shelley Hitz

Watercolor and Lettering Artist


Ready to learn the art of lettering and watercolor, the easy way? I know what it's like to be a beginner. And I know what it's like to battle the inner critic. The fear, self-doubt, and comparison.

But, I have learned to embrace the artist in me and have re-discovered the joy of creating art.

Art can help you:

Relax and have fun. It's been an amazing form of self-care for me. Discover the power of color. Creating art can bring you so much joy. Create beautiful pieces you can display in your home or give as gifts. And so much more!

I'm passionate about teaching others and love seeing each of you have the courage to embrace your creativity and choose to create art.

In my classes, I will take you step-by-step through the learning process and cheer you on in th... See full profile

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1. Introduction: have you seen water color maps of the world and wondered how they did them. I got the proportion right and how they really got it. Toe look so good. High mining Micheli hits I'm an artist and illustrator And not that long ago I was thinking the same thing. I just wanted to create a world map out of water color, but really had no idea how to do it. In this short class, I'm gonna take you step by step through the process of creating this watercolor piece of your own that you can be proud of. I did a lot of research, and in the class resource is you'll be able to download the tumble it I found that gives you commercial rights to use it in your own paintings. Then I'm gonna take you through the steps of what I did to take that image and be able to create it in watercolor paper as a beautiful water color piece. At the end of this class, you will have a beautiful watercolor world that you can either add lettering to or you could frame it as it ISS. You can also scan it and then use it digitally for a multitude of projects. I'm gonna make this simple for you and give you the step by step instructions on how I created my watercolor world map. So let's get started. 2. Supplies: so to start off, let's talk about the supplies you'll need. You'll need some watercolor paper. I have cut this paper toe eight by 10 size so that it will fit in typical frames. But for this class, I recommend either eight by 10 or like a typical 8.5 by 11 9 by 14. Something like that, and them you'll need some brushes. So whatever brushes you have use one that is a little bit bigger for some of the bigger work and then have a smaller brush for the detail work. You'll need some watercolor paints, these air, my mission gold pains. And these are the ones that I am primarily using. Right now I have a ton of pains and I love watercolor pained. And so, if you'd like to know exactly every single supply recommend and why I recommend taking my watercolor and ink supplies class in that link is in your class. Resource is, I also have this world map that I have scanned and I have for you in the class. Resource is area, so this is a very important part of this particular class. I've already done the research for you this is in your class. Resource is you'll find that when you're on a computer. Currently, you cannot access it through a mobile device. I hope skill share does change that in the future. But on your computer you'll see the tab. Your project. Just click on the your project and you'll find the PDS to download and print from there. This will save you a lot of time, but I also have the link to this resource in your cost. Resource is so you can know exactly where I found this. I found this on Wikipedia and you can find it there. So you also need just a few of the regular watercolor supplies. You need some sort of palette, some paper towels, a couple things of water and all of the just typical stuff you need for watercolor painting . But that's about it. The other thing I will be using and showing you in this class is this light pad. This is a huge, huge own H u i O n and the link and everything is in my watercolor and ink supplies class. You can find that I do use this light pad to trace for this class, But you can also simply use just this map and just sketch it from a reference. So use this as a reference and then just sketch it onto your watercolor paper. That way, there's many different ways you can do it. You don't have to have the light pad, but I will be showing you how to use the light pad in this class. Gather your supplies and let's get started. 3. Reference Photo: The first step is to decide on a reference photo. Like I mentioned in the Supplies video. I have already done the research, and I have researched this public domain map for you. This is a world map that then you have rights to use commercially. There is no official copyright when it is public domain. I really think that many artists don't realize the copyright laws, and we we need to be careful that when we take references from images online that we have permission to use them. So there is a site called Paint My Photo, and that's a great site toe. Find reference photos that the photographers give you permission to use. Public domain images are great stock images. If you purchase those images, give to read the license and the permissions, but those may be OK to use as well in certain circumstances. But if you're selling things and you're using it for commercial purposes, public domain is a really great way to go. So this is a public domain image, and like I said, what I did was I printed it off. Gray Scale and I have included both the original color version as well as this exact version that I have created in your class. Resource is, I also added the link toe where you can find this original resource in the class. Resource is pdf as well. This is from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a great source to find public domain images, and what I did was, once I printed it off, it was still really difficult to see the outline of the country's. So I just took a micron pen, and I just just really loosely went around each of the countries and created an outline. So if you want to do this a little bit more detailed, and maybe use a pen that's even a smaller size, I think I used in 05 micron. For this, you could use a No. One or smaller to get even a rural and more fine detail around each of the countries. You can print off the original map in grayscale, and then you can actually create this in your own Pan Inc. Or you can just use what I've created for you have already done the work for you, and what I'm doing is trying to save you time and giving you the process that I've used, so you'll need to have this printed often ready for the next step, which is sketching it onto your watercolor paper lightly with pencil. 4. Pencil Sketch: in this video, we're gonna create the initial pencil sketch of the world map that then you will water color in the next video. And so this was kind of a tricky part for me. And what I ended up doing is I ended up using a light box or a light pad. This is the brand H u i o n Hugh Young. If that's how you say it. I got this on Amazon for I think it was around $35. It's amore inexpensive version. One thing that I do want to mention I did not realize when I purchased this is that you have toe always keep it plugged in for it to work. It does, does not have any sort of battery or charging system. So if you don't have a power outlet close to where you're working, this is not gonna be convenient for you. But it is an expensive, and it's a great way to start. I've even seen inexpensive Crayola light boxes that you can get for just under $15 so there's options, but if you don't have a light pad or a light box and you want to do this class. What you're going to do is just do what you would normally do for a regular reference. You're going to look at this picture and then you're just gonna start drawing it as closely as you can to the reference image and you're just gonna draw it. Rely tli on your watercolor paper and that will work. I mean, it will be a little more trial and error, depending on how good your eyes for a reference, sometimes even just putting the paper over top of this, especially if you have thinner paper. Will you'll still be able to see it through with watercolor paper? I find that you really need to use some sort of light pad, so I'm gonna show you how this works with the light pad again. This watercolor paper I have is eight by 10 inches, and I cut it into this size because it's a size that's easily frame a ble. Now this life had does come with a little clip on the side so you can clip your papers in there so they will stay a little bit better and see here There's there's the clip, and what I found is that When I turn this on with my video lighting equipment, you really can't see it unless I turn off the lights. So let me go ahead and turn on the light pad. So I just turned on the light pad, and now I'm gonna have to turn off the lights because I cannot trace it with all these extra lights shining on it. Okay, so now you can see the image of this world map behind the watercolor paper. So you just want a line your paper up with how you want it to show up on your watercolor paper. If you're going to write a lettering phrase, for instance, on the bottom or on the top, you'll want the world map to be more on one end or the other. You can also just put the world map in the center, and then you have space on the top in the bottom toe letter Fewer or the world map can just be the main part of your painting. I think I'm gonna go ahead for this one and make it more on the top than I have some space at the bottom toe letter. And I have included 20 different adventure lettering, phrases and quotes in the class. Resource is, if you do want to add lettering to your map afterwards. So what I'm looking at, there's this far piece here this far piece here. So I'm just kind of trying to line that up and just trying to make sure it's kind of, um street at the top. And you can also tape it down a little bit if you want. I'm not going to really worry about that right now. I do have my pencil and my kneaded eraser if I need to do any racing. So now that I have this lined up, I'm just gonna go around the edges and I'm just going to do a light pencil sketch. You want to do this very light because once you water color paint over top of this, you're not gonna be able to erase your pencil lines, so you want it to just be dark enough that you can see it, but light enough that it's not going to show up underneath your water color paint. And basically I'm just going around this really loose pen sketch that I already did. This is the one that you have in your member area, and I'm not worried about each of the countries being exactly perfect. I want it to look as closely as it can to the original image. But again, this is not supposed to be on exact replica of the map, Just meant to represent the world and adventure. However, you can get as specific as you want and get as detailed as you want. I also like to work a little bit faster. I don't necessarily love to just spend hours and hours on something. And so, you know, that's just my style. If you are a perfectionist and really want to take your time on this, go for it. You know, you can take your time and do as much as you want. Just gonna look underneath here just to see what was under there So you can kind of look underneath. And if it's hard to see a certain spot, what exactly it looks like you can always lift it up. And I'm just kind of putting my other hand close to wherever I'm pencil sketching. That way I can push it down just a little bit better to really get a good view of the lines in that area because I didn't tape down my watercolor paper. It does need me to hold it down a little bit more. There are so many things you can do with this type of project. Once you get the system down and what works for you, you can create these world maps and use them for so many different things. You can use them in different sizes, like you can take the image that I've given you and you can resize it in an imaging software and then you can use it. You know, in smaller sizes you can do watercolor in many different colors and then you can scan it. You can use it for postcards, for greeting cards, for prints. You can just the options air. Really, unless of what you can do with this once you really have the process down and you feel comfortable with us. My very 1st 1 that I did, I did scan. So I have it to use later, and I learned some things on it. I did some things the wrong way. I ended up not really planning out my lettering lee out very well And so the lettering didn't turn out as well as I wanted it to. But I did scan it before he added the lettering to it. And so now I have that image I can use digitally at any point in any project. And I love that because a world map is just so useful for so many different types of projects. Well, I think I have pretty much have this done. So now you can see this is my pencil sketch of the world map. And then this was the original world map. And so it looks fairly similar, and I try to do a light pencil sketch. But now I can even come over it with my eraser and just lightly a race just a little bit. Just you know what the edges air still there, but it's just really light so that when I watercolor over top of it, those edges don't show through too much. I just want to be careful when you were racing, obviously, that you're not pressing down very hard and that you're not erasing the main edges completely. You're just lightening it up a little bit, so that's another option. You could do once you have the pencil sketch. If you wanted to make sure it's really light underneath. Another option, if you have the light pad, is just to paint right on top of the light pad. And, you know, you could turn the light pad on and you can see the outline, and then you could just paint right around that I did try that, and it just it felt a little bit harder. I was a little bit harder for me to really see exactly where I was painting. And then I was nervous is going to get it on to the light, pad the water onto the light pod and all of that. But that's something else you can try, and it may work well for you. It just wasn't the technique that worked the best for me. So now that you have your sketch, we're going to know, choose our colors that we're gonna use, and we're gonna paint in this watercolor world 5. Let's Paint!: now we're gonna start painting. You'll need to choose your paint colors. I chose pink, purple and blue. All of those colors go well together and they blend well together. If you're not sure how color is gonna blend together, just get a scrap piece of paper. Always have some within reach in my studio. So and then you can just take the colors and just do some tests and see how they will blend and mix together because you don't want to do something and then realize, Oh, this created a really weird brown color or black color. So what you can do is just do a test, See how these colors are going to mix together. You know, these three colors look really good, and I already know that I've used them before. But that's a good little test to do as well. And you can even do a little bit more lending in here. See, just make sure that you're gonna be happy with the outcome, so it it really is worth taking a minute and just swatch ing out your colors. Now. Some of these are pretty small, and so I have a Round six. But you know, you may even want to use to use a smaller brush of around four here you can use around to, just depending on what you want to do. I'm going to start with this six and then I have a smaller Windsor and Newton Siri's seven round zero that I think I'll use for around the edges. So, basically, you're just going to take your paint and you're going, Teoh, come in. Around these areas that you have penciled in, I'm going to go ahead and take the smaller brush for the detail. Work around the edges and there's different styles like you can do more of a loose watercolor, which is my style. You can do more of a realistic, and if you're wanting to actually make it the colors of the map, you know the blues and the greens and the Browns. You can certainly do that. I tend to do more of the bright colors. That's more of my style. I like the bright colors, and I also have the original map close by. So if I'm ever wondering, I could just brilliance over to that map and just see, you know what it was supposed to look like some of this is definitely more detail work, and it's just gonna take a little bit more time. But you don't want to rush some of the details because you want to make sure that it looks like the world map. So what I'm gonna do now that I have this part in here, I'm gonna add a little bit more pink to that side, and I'm gonna take some purple and added into here to kind of get a blend of the two if you want, you can also dips, um, purple. And around here, if you want more of like a tide, I look actually, me just show you like I can just do a few spots here and there of the purple. I will tell you when you erase a lot of those lines, it does make it a little bit harder on your eyes to see. And so I'm continually looking back over to my reference photo to just to make sure that I'm following the lines correctly, and it's definitely not exact, but it is gonna be close enough that people will definitely be able to know. We'll know what it is that is a map. Since this down here is already kind of dried, I'm gonna add some more pink to it again. That way I can add in the purple. Also, just add a little bit of water along this side, and that's what's gonna help. It's a blend, so I just need to make sure you have somewhat paint or that you have some extra water in there. And then that will help the two colors to blend. One of the superpowers of watercolor is Thea Bility for you to do color mixing and to do blends, and it just, you know it's magical. I love watching him. It looks different every time. And, you know, you could just come in here and do a variety of different things. However, you want that watercolor to kind of look and watercolor has a mind of its own, and so it's not always going to blend exactly how you want it. But that's kind of the fun things. Then you get a lot of like happy accidents and just things that look really cool. So up at the top, I'm not really liking how this is exactly blending, so I'm gonna come back over it, whistle more paint and just see if I can get it to blend a little bit better. If not, I mean, it's fine the way it is, too. But you don't want to overwork your watercolor paper. If you work it too much, it's just not gonna tow look right, But you can come back over it and, you know, just add to it a little bit. I think what I'll do is I'll just make this purple kind of come over a little bit further. I'm just coming back over the edges with a little bit more paint what you know, making it wet again to kind of smooth out how it was drying. Sometimes, you know, you just wanna let it dry the way it's going to dry. Sometimes you may want to come back over it. It just depends what you're looking for. And it's always gonna dry, lighter. And so just know that whatever color you have, when it's wet, it's gonna dry lighter. You could see this one was pretty light compared to the others, so I think I'm gonna do some of these little ones here, still purple and Then once I get into the main land, I'm going to start some blending with some blue. So I'm gonna go ahead and get my bigger brush. I'm gonna come in here with some blue I mix the peacock blue with some of the cobalt blue from my mission gold watercolors. But again, use whatever colors you want to use. Conceal those blended really nice together. Basically, you're just going to do the same thing for the rest of the map. I'm going to go ahead and speed up the video, the rest of the video for you so that you don't have to just sit here and watch me do the entire thing. But you can see it come into a finished piece way. Have it There is my painted were watercolor world map. But you can see now I have this beautiful watercolor map and I can do all sorts of things with it. So let's talk about in the next video the options you have for this map 6. Adding Extras: congratulations. You should now have a beautiful watercolor map of the world. And what I recommend doing is before you really do anything else to it, I recommend scanning it and saving the image. That way, you always have this image that you can re use for anything. If you want, you can go around and see if there's any little pencil marks on there and erase those pencil marks. I like using this Tom Bowman 00 Eraser for small things like on here. I can see there's a little bit of some pencil marks around here that I can erase off. You want to be careful that everything is dry and that you're not gonna smudge anything, but you may want to come around and just erase any extra erased remarks. You may also want to add some ink to your drawing, so what you could do is you could add patterns into here. You could draw flowers is you could make it have botanical line drawings and do different florals and leaves. You could do a line drawing around the edge. I kind of liked the more loose Look, I'm just having it like this, and you can also add splatters. So if you've taken any of my classes, you know, I love splatters, and so you can add splatters. Now, if you do want to add splatters and make sure that it doesn't interfere with the rest of the painting, you can just put some paper over top of this and then do your splatters. You can do all sorts of things to this now that you have the finished map. I also have a space down here for lettering. I could put adventure awaits. I could do all sorts of quotes down here inthe e class. Resource is, I have 20 different quotes for you that you can use all related to adventure. You can also research your own quotes, but I really figure that you're taking my class because you're wanting to save time. So I've done the research for you, and those quotes are in your class. Resource is, you can also add fun gold accents. So in my watercolor and ink supplies class, I share a bunch of different ways to add gold accents. You could add it with a just regular gold jelly roll pan. You could add gold accents with gold paint, the fine tech. You could actually do your lettering and do it as in bossing. I'm going to do another class on in Boston later. But you could have your lettering be in Boston and it could be like a gold and bossed lettering. That actually sounds really cool. And I kind of like that idea. Now have a watercolor world map that you can had to. You can't sell it. You can give it away. You can frame it. You can add lettering to it. You can do all sorts of different things to it. And I encourage you to experiment. Experiment with different things just to see what you're gonna like the bust. But I'm excited to see all of the different variations you create as you share them in the project area. 7. Next Steps: there you have it. You should now have a finished piece that is a water color world map. You cannot take this skill, and you can recreate it over and over again with different colors, different variations, different sizes and enjoy the process. Not only that, you can now frame what you created to give us a gift to put up in your own home, or you can add lettering phrases to it. There are so many fun adventure lettering, phrases that go well with this project. If you enjoy this class, I would really appreciate you simply taking a moment to post your review here on skill share. There should be a pop up at the top of your screen that says, Would you recommend this class to other students? Simply click yes and post a sentence or two about what you learned, what you appreciated or what you've gained from this class, and it would mean the world to me. It also helps to reach more people with this training. And so I appreciate you taking a moment to do that again. This is Shelly heads. Thank you so much for joining me in this class. I hope you learn something new and most importantly, that you had a lot of fun. Watercolor is so fun. I love it. And if you haven't taken my watercolor and ink supplies clash yet, I recommend taking that as well as my 10 easy watercolor backgrounds class. And if you're in the lettering, I also have a class on watercolor lettering. And so I love to invite you to join me in any of those classes as well. Click the follow button here on skill share to make sure you get notified when I create new classes. And I'm always posting new inspiration and many tutorials on my INSTAGRAM account and instagram stories, you can find me at color, my world beautiful, and I will see you in the next class.