How to paint botanical watercolors | Victoria Diaz | Skillshare

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How to paint botanical watercolors

teacher avatar Victoria Diaz, Teaching Art

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.

      Initial Drawing


    • 4.

      Preparing Color


    • 5.

      Reference Picture


    • 6.

      First Layer


    • 7.



    • 8.

      Final Layer and Details


    • 9.



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About This Class

Learn from Victoria Diaz the techniques for a realistic watercolor botanical painting.

The students will learn to plan the stages for this type of painting, they’ll master the layering technique and will be able to put their new knowledge into any future watercolor project.

This class is ideal for someone who knows a bit about watercolors and wants to get better at them, those who are into botanical painting, and of course those who are just beginning their art journey.

You can get inspired by her work on Instagram Victoria Diaz Art or her Etsy Shop. Make sure to follow her on Skillshare to get notified when more clases are published.

Meet Your Teacher

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Victoria Diaz

Teaching Art


Hi there, I'm Victoria, watercolor and pencil  artist and I want to teach you all I know art related. Techniques, Composition, Color and more technical stuff like how some papers are made, or were do pigments come from! I have a more realistic approach but I also go nuts from time to time and experiment with other styles.

I live in a region surrounded by nature, it's a bit chilly, but every time we have warmer weather I go outside to capture the beauty of what inspires me the most. And my classes will represent that. We'll illustrate plants, flowers, fruits, animals, we'll use watercolors and colored pencils for the most part.

I have a few classes already and I will be uploading more on a regular basis. 

If you are interested in drawing and painting a... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Intro: Hi. My name is Victoria. Yes, minorities and use trader. I work mostly in water colors and pencils, especially color pencils. To am I live in sounder Teeley near the Patagonia. I have an art studio. This this one thing. I love it. It's everything I did here. I did twice a week Watercolor classes, but also you for drawing classes and other kind off techniques. And I have my own religion. Well, we did to new authority, realistic but turning color watercolor way will talk about materials and the reference picture. And we will also tackle these project layer by layer until we get to the final details that will give your painting they touch toe, be a realistic painting. And also I want to go to you too. Boast, it s often issue can so you can get feedback from me and the other students. And if it helps you to feel more comfortable, maybe you could watch this video a few times before starting your project. But that's up to you. Um, also, if you're not comfortable with the idea off doing your initial drawing by hand free hands, I mean, you can trace trying to say is that this class was made thinking off people that are just starting out with art or painting or watercolors over dosa who are in more intermediate level. I think that's it, so let's get to it. 2. Materials: Hi, guys. This unit will talk about materials. First thing we need. Very important, of course, is a watercolor paper. You can get some student grade like the one I'm showing you. Or if you prefer to go with a better paper, you can buy some a professional grade. Just make sure you have a think one. Maybe £140 are 300 deer. Same. This is the one that I will be using 100% cotton and asked free. It's hot breast, which means it's very smooth. You can also get one of these bad. It's Gunson Excel watercolor paper idea for students and for practicing. I use it a lot for practice. It's a £140 or 300 GSM as well, and all of these papers come in a similar size. It's either letter size or a four. Next thing you need our brushes a medium sized brush like this one with a nice, fine point. This around synthetic. No special brand, no expensive brushes, a number to a bit finer, and the last one we will be using in our and a final layer, it's Ah, 50 or ah, 30 even at 20 will work fine. They are very, very small. They're perfect for doing details. Some watercolors in this class, I will be using tubes. You can buy some watercolors in pans or in tubes. Or maybe you already have your own weather colors. I will be using a makes off different greats, student grades and professional Great. Now let's move on to the pallets. If you buy tubes and it's your first time, I recommend you use white simple dish. Or maybe get on UN expensive palette for you to put all your color scene and let them crying. Then you can reactivate them with your brush and a little water. Next thing you need, it's, um, some masking tape on HB pencil and an eraser paper towel, a small container with clear water and rigid surface to put your paper on and tape it with the masking tape. That way it won't move or bucko if you use too much water and that's it for the materials. Now let's move on to the next unit 3. Initial Drawing: we're going to start drawing with a very light hand. First, we're going to make some marks where a subject will be located in your paper, a rough line of the inclination of the sites, then the width of the leaf. After that, we'll go downwards, estimating the inclination of the site and the length comparing through. A rest of the drawing were ready. Did then do the same on the other side. Do you notice? I'm using my other hands finger to point out where the Korea of daily face and use it as a reference for the other half of belief. Now, when we get to the bottom, look up to the tip of the leaf and make sure to use it as a reference point. Now we're repeating the process with the stem hollow should be. And how much incline is it? We're left. All this nines were rough lines don't gonna light him. Now that we have our first get ready, we'll start to arrest the lines we know are not accurate and live the nights we know they are That way. The drawing is clean. Repeat the process until you're satisfied with the accuracy in the clarity of the lines. As you can see, the drawing is very light. I don't want it visible through the layers of watercolor. So if you think airlines are too dark to rest them a little bit just enough so you can still see the drawing. If you don't feel confident with the idea of drawing freehand, you can trace. Don't use tracing paper. It has a waxy substance and whether colors won't stick to the nines. Instead, put a coat of graphite on the back of the picture, place it over your watercolor paper and with your pencil drove over the picture. You transfer the graphic to the watercolor paper, - doing some leaflet lines to get an idea of the shape inside the leaf. And that's it. So I see in the next unit 4. Preparing Color: OK, guys, Now we're going to prepare some colors. First, I need to clean up my palate and I will do that with a little bit of paper and some clean water. It reactivates really quickly, So it's not too hard now with my biggest brush, the number six, um, I will be reactivating some colors, a few agreements and maybe a few year lows and some breads. I put a little bit of water into it. Cholera, and let them sit there for a few seconds until they reactivate. You get it's here than toe pick up color. It will be fresh and moist. Um, okay, Now this green is too too green, too. Um, artificial. I want to tone it down with a bit of red because red is the opposite color in the color will, Which means when you put two opposite colors together, you neutralize them. Just a tiny bit of bread. Not too much, because I still wanted to have ah, green shape. I'm looking at the picture of the reference picture making sure the green that I'm preparing Ah, looks like the green off the picture. Now this leave has different, um, tones off green and some yellow. So I need to prepare different towns off green and different times of yellow. And also I need to prepare different consistencies, meaning I need to have some greens, very milk, agree ins on the same greens. I will need them to be more watery. That way I will have more transparency now that I'm ready with my mixed colors. I'm going to do some swatches to make sure they look nice on the paper. My yellows. Since they are very watery, they will be very translucent and show their white of the paper through. And that's what I'm looking for. The meat owns and darkest owns. I think this are okay. In any case, if I need to prepare anything else, I can always do it in in the same moment I'm painting. It's just that the idea is to have my colors already before I start fading. But we can always do some color corrections on the gulf. Now let's get to the next unit 5. Reference Picture: for this class. I'm going to provide the reference picture. I took myself from my own plants. But if you will be doing another project after the's one, I'll show you how you can find your botanical subject. If you're going to use the Internet, find a picture that you're allowed to use without restrictions. That way, if you want to share your project on the Web, social media or anywhere else, you won't get in trouble with any copyright loss. There are a couple of websites known for their free copyright images, like picks obey. You can browse your subject, and you will find tons of resources to choose. The one that's more appealing to you has good laden, and it's not out of focus. Downloaded as biggest you can, so you're able to see more details. When you start your paintings, another one is more fighting. You can also take the picture yourself, go to a park or even your own baggier to find a beautiful botanical subject. Yes, I did with this picture what I did waas To put the leaf over a clean background and next to a window to get plenty of light, not directly to sunlight, or it will be too bright and will mess up with the tongues and details of the leaf. Also, no shadows. They will compromise the picture swell. Take a couple of pictures to choose from. You can print or view from your cell phone or computer, and you're good to go. 6. First Layer: Before we start the painting, we need to take the paper done to a rigid surface. When applying the bigger bone off, water papers can get a little deformed, but if we take them down, they will go back to the original shape. Once the baiting is fully dry and your project is finished, you can carefully take the masking tape out. Now let's begin the fun part. We already have our initial colors prepared. If they had dried, don't worry. Just reactivate them with your brush and a tiny drop of water. Now we want to apply the first mayor of color. The lightest color in this case will be our yellow mixed with yellow ocher or any other one year low you have. It has to be a very watery mixture covered the whole leaf. Some sections you can apply the green water remix If you don't know how much water you need in your paper. Considered this the paper. Once you wedded with your brush, please needs to have a shine, not a bottle. Just a shine. And if you want to make sure that the color you're picking up your with your brush is the correct color tested in another piece of the same paper. If you think you could too much water color on your subject, you can always lift it out with a piece off tower paper or Iraq. If you want to know if you're using the right amount of water till to your board with your paper on and the light will shine in the water and we'll show you if it's too dry or too wet. Once you have covered the whole leaf, let it dry. Go prepare some tea or coffee and I'll see you in the next unit. 7. Midlayers: Now we're going to start applying our middle layers. We have some greens prepared. We will be switching from one makes to another. I'm going to try to put my palette as close as I can to the camera with the other side of my hand touching lightly. If my paper is ready to put another layer meaning it, it feels not too cold or wet. Since we're not doing details, I will be using my number six round brush. I'm analyzing the leaf. I wanna be aware where the later areas are. I'm going to start painting now with a watery mix. But it has to have more color than the previous layer. I will gradually go dark. Now I have covered. Have Billy for ready. I'll cover the other half and always keep in mind my lighter areas to avoid painting over them. This is a light area, but it's too a bit darker in the picture. So I'm gonna put another layer over it with a very water washed. Now I'm gonna keep labouring some greens. I'm going all around the leaf because the border is much darker down the center. I'm still avoiding to put color in the later areas, but I don't want ah, hard ege. So with my brush with a bit of water, I will touch the border off the color to make us off transition. The color will run smoothly towards moist or wet area that will make some very organic shapes. I just noticed I didn't respect one lighter area, so I'm letting the color with my clean brush with a bit of water. I wrapped gently the green color that's not supposed to be there. And then with my paper, I touched very lightly to let the paper soak the color lifting with my paper will give me some organic shapes. Now I'm going all around the leaf again. Now remember, the borders are much darker, so I'm putting a more consistent mix of weather color, less water, more pigment while you watch this video. I wanted to take the time to apologize because in the moment that I'm making this class recording this class, I've bean very sick, so you might notice a taint in my voice from one unit to another. So I'm sorry, and recording classes is new to me. It's my first time skill share, or any other online platform, So it's been a real adventure. Can you see how I'm building up color and shape with a layer and technique They do. You don't have to put color in every layer in the exact same place because it will look very funny and stiff on. You need to used your brush and give little touches and let the water take a chart and let the pigments spread and take their own shape. Now I'm repeating the lifting method because I don't want it to be so flat. This will give me more interesting shapes. Now I'm taking my number two round brush and doing the same with the stem. The bottom of the stem has a magenta shading it. So you should prepare some purples are magenta as and do the same steps that you did before a A few layers. Ah, what a remix, Then more milk a mix on and some blending the borders toe get it mixed and blend with the greens. Since my leaf is a still a bit moist Um, I'm, uh, putting last layer off very, very dark and thick green. I will let this dry and then start doing some details in the next unit 8. Final Layer and Details: way are her final state adjusting values. I didn't some darks lifting some lights way. We will be adding some details with our number 50 or 20 or the finest brushy. Have a hand. We will be painting some details, and we will be lifting some details because we're inner darker areas we need to lyft with their brush, some tiny tiny veins and inner later arrests. We will be painting those same veins, but with darker tones. This will take some time and patience. Always have at hand piece of clean tower paper or rag. A dull paper is better because you can make some fine points and lift very tiny details. If you're trying to do your details with your paper wet, those details will fade and disappear. So you better wait for your paper to be dry or work in another area of your life. Always have your reference picture at hand. Tried to look at it. This myth us again. You need to really, really analyze your reference picture. You noticed that some veins have more volume, so in one side you will do more of like a lying with a green tone and on the other side, you will have to. You will have to blend it with your tiny brush and a bit of water so you have one side will be soft and the other side would be having more rough. If you think your lines are getting too crazy, you can rob a bit of your clean water with your brush over them and lift the color with your towel paper. You can also add on extra layer of paint to make them disappear. I want my leave to have some volume, and for that I will be painting the shadows well to paint. The shadow, which is our soft grey, will add some water to the area we wanna paint and then we'll put some color in it and let the color spread. Take the shape of the area and we will be correcting with the point of our brush, which will be clean. But what way can do this a few times until we get the dark, the value we are looking for and I think this is it. Don't forget to post your work in progress and then post again your final project to get feedback from your fellow students and from myself. 9. Closing: a lot. Right? Guys? I hope you got to enjoy this class. I hope your project waas everything you expected. If not, please keep practicing and practicing and practicing. Now you know how to a team. The realistic look for a watercolor painting. Now you know how to mix your colors and how to layer and how to choose your subjects or take the reference picture. Or maybe look for the reference picture on the Internet, You know, on that so and nothing stopping you for you to keep practicing, okay? And follow me on skill share because I loved this platform and I decided I will be uploading more classes in with fuel. A few months I will be uploading more classes. All related, of course, to art and painting and watercolors and Connor pencil and really see that stuff. So remember practice and I'll see you next time. Bye.