How to Paint: Watercolor Houseplants | Fiddleleaf Fig Plant | Audrey Moon | Skillshare

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How to Paint: Watercolor Houseplants | Fiddleleaf Fig Plant

teacher avatar Audrey Moon, Watercolorist and Modern Calligrapher

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.

      Welcome video


    • 2.

      My Supplies


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Color Mixing


    • 5.

      Painting Individual Leaves


    • 6.

      Putting it Together Part 1


    • 7.

      Putting it Together Part 2


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Welcome to How to Paint: Houseplants edition!

This is the first of the houseplants series: the Fiddleleaf Fig Plant!

Check out the other plants in this series:

  1. Fiddleleaf Fig Plant
  2. Boston Fern
  3. Pothos Plant 
  4. Monstera

This easy to grow houseplant will make a great impression in your home. Its large leaves are attractive, and it doesn't take up too much room. 

Using your observation, sketching, color mixing, and basic watercolor skills, you'll be able to paint this plant with your eyes closed!

Try painting this and then digitizing it (in my other Skillshare class!) to print it on cards, mugs, decals, and more.

Don't forget to make a project for this class so I can see all your wonderful works. If you're on Instagram, please tag me (@ThingsUnseenDesigns), and use #WatercolorWithTUD! I love to feature my students and their work!

See you in class!

Meet Your Teacher

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Audrey Moon

Watercolorist and Modern Calligrapher

Top Teacher

I'm so glad you're here! Whether you're new or a long-time student, I hope there's something for you in my classes.

My creative journey started with the bullet journal. Since then, I picked up watercoloring and calligraphy. It's been a bit of a whirlwind, to say the least! I published my first class on loose florals in September 2017, and have been steadily adding new classes. 

I love meeting new students and making connections. I hope to see you in one of my classes soon.

Thank you, and let's make the world a more beautiful place!


Website ][ Instagram ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome video: Hi there, my name is Audrey, and I'm the creative behind Things Unseen Designs. I'm a water colorist, calligrapher, and educator. I'm excited to launch a new series on how to paint house plants right here on Skillshare. This series came about because as a gardener myself, I love anything that has to do with plants, and growing your own plants indoors does wonders for your home aesthetically and for your health. First up in this series is the fiddle-leaf fig plant. This low maintenance plant has large glossy leaves, making it ideal for interior decorating. Bonus, it also helps to improve the air quality in your homes. In this class, I'll take you through my steps of gathering supplies, sketching, testing out colors, and finally painting the whole thing together. All of the videos are going to be in real time so you won't miss a bit. I hope you're excited to get started. Let's break out our paints and dive right in. I'll see you in class. 2. My Supplies: Hey everyone. In this class, we're going to be using basic watercolors supplies, and in this video, I'll show you what I will be using. First, I have watercolor paper. Next, I have some paper towel. You can also use an old rag if you want. These are the paints that I will be using. I actually created this watercolor palette on my own with two paints. If you're interested in how to create your own, feel free to check out my blog, I'll leave a link in the notes section. Next, I have a small bottle filled with water, and I use this to keep my paints nice and wet. So throughout my painting, I will just spritz every now and then to keep it wet. Next, I have a variety of watercolor brushes. Here, I have a size 12, a four, a two, and a one. You don't need all of these sizes, or if you have different sizes, that's okay too. I would just recommend having at least one large, one medium, and one or two smaller brushes. With watercolors, obviously, you need some water. So I have a small jar here. I have a pencil and an eraser, because we will be doing some sketching in this class. Lastly, I will be using the Bleed Proof White again. This is again, one of my favorites to use for layering at the end to give that nice stark white contrasts. There you have it. Those are all the supplies that I will be using. So go ahead and gather yours, and I'll see you in the next video. Let's get started painting. 3. Sketching: Hey everyone. So before we start painting, I want to take you through my process of sketching, color mixing, and painting individual elements. The first thing that I like to do when I have a subject that I want to paint, is either I take photographs of it and observe it in real life, or I search for images just on Google. Today we're going to paint the Fiddleleaf fig plant. Try saying that 15 times in a row. When you do a quick Google search, you'll see lots of great images. This is an awesome house plant. It's large, rich green leaves, and is a great accent to any home. The first thing that I'm doing is just scrolling and just seeing what I like. I see that most of the plants have one main trunk, a lot of them are potted in really cute baskets or ceramic pots. Some them are large, some of them are small. So yeah, you'd see a whole variety. So I like to just choose a couple to sketch. So here in my sketch, it's a little bit faint and hard to see, but you'll see that I sketched out different leaves from different perspectives. So this is the leaf kind of when you look at it straight on, and I have a couple of leaves that are from the side view. This is from the back view or from the underside, and then I have some of the trunks down here. So let's do a couple of sketches together. So through observation, I'm noticing that the leaves tend to have kind of a heart shape to it almost, and the edges of the leaves are a little bit rounded, not quite scarlet, but a little bit wavy. I also notice that the veins are coming out on the same side. Sometimes the alternate, but these are coming from the same side. So those are just some of the observations that I'm making. So based on that, I'm going to sketch a couple of leaves. So let's just do some of these basic ones. So like I said, it's almost like a heart shape, can almost make a wrinkly heart shape if you want. Like so. Then have the vein coming down the middle. Now for the side view, you'll see that the leaf on this side, you'll paint only half of it, and then the other half is just peaking, it's just peaking out of the sides. But let's try that. So first I'm going to draw the main center stem, and then the edges of the leaf, again are a little bit wavy. Now up here, I didn't have the leaf going all the way up to a point here, but I had it crooked like that, because I can remember a leaf in the center it's almost a heart shape, it doesn't create a point. So you want that to be reflected on this side view as well. Now let's have the other side of the leaf, just kind of peaking out, maybe like that, and you can have another side right there. Then again, let's draw in the veins and then do the same for the other leaf as well. It's looking pretty good so far. So let's keep on sketching some other leaves. Let's try doing this one where you see the underside of the leaf, and it's still a little bit folded out. So you see that this part of the leaf is a little bit bigger than this other one. So it looks like we're looking at it from the left side. So let's draw this left side of the leaf. So again, I'm going to draw my main stem first, and then on the other side it's going to be a little bit narrower. Again drawing those veins. The last one, I know I have a couple more sketches here, but the last one I want to sketch with you is this little guy. I like this one because, this main leaf is eclipsing the other side of the leaf, and all you're seeing is just this leaf right there. So let's try sketching this one. So again, I have the main stem, and then I have just this leaf coming out right there. Drawing the veins, and there you go. If you want you can practice drawing these little, try these little trunks, but you really don't have to, they're very simple. They tend to be very thin. All right. Now, we're just sketching here because we want to have a better understanding of how the leaf is shaped, where the veins go. So we're just putting it in our memory. We're not going to sketch in our final work, but the sketching is still helpful because we can better understand how the subject is structured. All right. In the next video, join me as we practice color theory and mixing different creams. 4. Color Mixing: All right. Hi everyone. So in this video I want to show you how I do my color mixing and paint some of these individual elements. The reason why I do this is that I like to prepare the colors ahead of time, so that I can see what colors work well together and how to achieve new color mixes. Sometimes I use my default which is usually hooker's green dark plus a Paynes gray. But sometimes I might want to keep this color as is, or maybe I'll mix it with some blue or some burnt sienna. So I like to just experiment and I encourage you to do the same. So over here, I painted the sketches that we did earlier using these color. So I'm going to take you through those steps and how I do that. The reason why I break it down into three or more steps, is because I like to take a subject and then break it down into smaller parts. It's easier to practice, it's easier to digest, and then later, it's easier to paint the whole thing. It doesn't seem as intimidating or overwhelming. So when you see these individual leaves and then put them all together in your final work, it's seems a lot more manageable than trying to tackle the entire thing at once. So let's break out our paints and paint some of these sketch leaves that we did earlier. Here we go. Let's start with our colors, and I right now I'm using a size six brush. So not too big but not too small, and I'm going to start with my hooker's green dark. I just like to paint just the darkest first, and then I wash out my brush a little bit and then draw the color out, just so I can see what it looks like in its different values. I wash out the brush a little bit more. So that's what hookers green dark looks like. I'm going to label it really fast. Now, this is a good green to start from, and now I'm going to experiment a little bit. One of the color combinations that you might not think to use, is green plus an orangey red color. So let's see what that looks like. But I like this color because it's not quite Brown, but it's got a much darker hue that I like. It's going to draw it out all that all. So I'm going to name this hooker's green dark plus red orange. The actual name of the paint color escapes me but that's what it is. Another color that I used in my original sketch was sap green, and I like sap green because it has a yellow tint to it. So I'm just going to do a swatch of that just so you can see. Then label that as well, so just sap green. Another one of my favorite combinations is hookers green dark plus Payne's gray. If you've seen my other videos, I do this combination pretty often. So let me do that real quick. See I just love this dark color as well. So this is the hooker's green dark plus Payne's gray. So you can see here, that I also did a couple of more swatches of yellows and browns, and I think I probably did that just to see if I could use it as a highlight or definitely use it for the trunks, especially the brown. So let's just do those real quick. So for more yellowy leaf color, I mixed sap green yellow or bright yellow I think, and naples yellow. So this was sap green plus bright yellow and naples yellow. Then lastly some brown for our trunk. So like I said earlier, you can continue to experiment with different colors. Try mixing green with purple, with pink, with yellow ochre. Just try. You'll never know what color combinations you like. So go ahead and do that and then join me the next video, where we'll start painting our individual elements. 5. Painting Individual Leaves: Hi, welcome back everyone. So we're going to paint the individual elements of the fiddle-leaf fig plant, and here I took the sketches that I did earlier, and I just painted them. I chose different greens on just whatever was to my liking, so I want to just encourage you to do the same, if you have different greens than I do then feel free to use them, experiment with different combinations. The only rule that I would have is, if you see on my sketch here, especially with these leaves that are folded up, you want to make sure that you designate which side is light and which side is dark. So for example, I have the light coming in this way, so this half of the leaf is going to be painted lighter than this other half of the leaf. So just make sure that that is consistent and then it will look fine. So I'm going to start with that basic heart shaped leaf that looks like you're looking at it head on. So I'm going to grab some sap green. Now when you paint this one, I want you to paint that in a squiggly edged shape, but then leave some white space in the middle for the vein, so it's like that. I'm just going to add paint half of it. I'm going paint the other half. Do remember to paint our leaf just a little bit, have a white space in the middle, and it's okay if you accidentally paint over it, it's fine. That's why the bleed proof whites later on will be really nice. But at least this way you know where the vein is. Now at this time, if you wanted to do some wet unwind and then drop in some hookers green dark there, and make the leaf a little bit more interesting, that's up to you. Now we're going to just let that dry and then we'll come back to it. Let us do the other one. Let's do another leaf, the second leaf that we sketched, the one that looks like it's folded up and half of it is going to be light and then the other half is going to be darker. Let's try painting that one. So we'll paint the light one first because in watercolor you always want to go from light to dark. So I'm going to make that one, that sap green, and Naples yellow and bright yellow color that we made earlier. So with that you're going to draw that paint that mean stem first or paint that mean vein first, and then just with your brush just freely just make those wavy lines. Now I'm going to come in with the sap green, and then paint the other side of the leaf. Again, you want to leave some white space between your first and second leaf. It's okay if you let it bleed in like right there. It just creates a cool effect, but you don't want to do it too much because then it just looks like it's trying too hard. Let's do the one where it looks like you're looking at the under-sided leaf. So I'm going to make that one the darkest color that I have which is like my hookers green dark plus the payne's gray. So this one if you remember is going to have one-half of the leaf large, leave some white space or the vein, and then other side is going to be narrower. So let's try painting that one. The last leaf that we'll paint is the one that we sketched last which was this guy right there, where most of the leaf or one-half of the leaf is showing and then just this lever right up there. Let's do that one. So again, we want to paint one-half of that light. So I'm going to use my just regular sap green. I'm going to water it down a little bit so it's a little bit lighter. So if you had more sketches of leaves, feel free to use this space to experiment, try different color combinations, and just start experimenting on your own. Join me in the next video, where we will combine all of our individual elements into a full grown plant. I'll see you there. 6. Putting it Together Part 1: Hey everyone. So in this video, we're finally going to put all of those elements together and paint the fiddle leaf fig planets. Here I have my finished plant, and as you can see I put together some of those individual elements into one plant, and then I also added a little pot at the bottom. So that's what we'll be doing in this video. I'm going to paint my plant just right here in this section. Right now, I'm using the size six brush, and later I will probably use my size one with the bleed proof whites. I'm going to work from top to bottom, but then also work from light to dark. So I will start with this leaf right here first and then move onto this light leaf here to this one, and then this light one there, and then continue to move down. So in this top one, I have a darker green color. So I'm just going to quickly mix. Remember, this is wiggly or wavy hatch shape and make sure to leave some white space as well. Now, if that's not dark enough for you that's okay. We can always go back and do some layering, which is when we'll add color on top of it. We can also add some darker black right now if you wanted to. I like how that's looking so far. Now I'm going to move on to this light leaf right there. Now for this, you want to paint the main vein first. Now right now that's a little bit of yellow for my liking. So it's okay for now, I'm just going to let that dry and then go over it with a slightly darker green color later. I'm going to choose a light green color for this leaf right here, and I'm going to go even lighter for this light leaf right there. Now I'm going to come back and then fill in with these darker colors. I'm going to be using mostly factoring for this. Now let's just continue moving on down. These are just front-facing leaves, so I'm just going to randomly draw those shapes and then paint them in. Okay, so I'm done painting all of the leaves, and remember how I said that this one was a little bit too yellow just for my taste. So I'm going to go over it with just a little bit of SAP or hookers green dark, but water a down just a little bit just so that it's not too dark. Although if I did make it too dark, I would just need to make this upper part a little bit darker even more. So I'm just going to go over it. So this process is called glazing or layering where you simply go over a previous layer with a new color. It's not necessarily to cover up mistakes, that's definitely not the only reason. You usually do this because you want the undertone to show through, but you want the final tone to be a different color or to be like a different shade. So I'm just doing that to some of the areas that I want to either darken up or that I want the color to change. So I'm going to go ahead and let all of my leaf layers dry, and at this time, I'm going to add in the stems or the trunk, I mean. So here I have maybe like three or four trunks coming in, but I don't want that many maybe I'll just do two this time. So to paint the part, I'm going to maybe do some blue and aqua mixed in together. First, I'm going to just draw the outline, and then go in it with a lot of water and a little bit more paint, and then wash it out. You can always come in with some more paint and then punch it in for a cool wet-on-wet effect. Then this upper white area, I purposely left dark, but I'm going to go back now and paint it in. It's going to have to be a lot darker because that is the inside of the pot. So I'm going to put some blue and some paints gray in there together, and then just lightly just paint that part. Again, leaving some white space to give the illusion of a 3D object. 7. Putting it Together Part 2: All right. That's looking really good so far. Now the last step is to add in some of the veins. Now, in my original fiddleleaf plant I added white veins. But in reality, the veins aren't white. Depending on the lighting they could be a darker green, they could be a yellow green. So I took some creative liberty and freedom to make them white. So this is where it is now up to you. You can make them slightly brown or blue or yellow or however you feel. If you're going more for the realistic look, then perhaps you want to go with a yellowish green look. But if you want to be more loose and free with it, then you could do white. So I'm going to use my handy daddy Bleedproof White. Just like my cactus and succulents video or class, when you first open your Bleedproof White, is going to be very viscous inside and globule. So what I like to do I just like to scoop out a brush fall like that, and then use the top so that I don't contaminate everything that's inside the jar. Then since it's so thick, I spray just a little bit of water until I get the consistency that I like. So actually I'm going to use an even smaller brush, I'm going to to use a size zero, and if you have some of that white. If you left some of the white of the paper showing through, that's great. Then you don't need to paint over it. But if you didn't, then this is your chance to use a Bleedproof White to make that main stem. Now that you're done with all the white, you can darken up your leaves even more at this point if you'd like. You can see in my original, the places where the leaves are kind of meet I darkened up, I added some extra shadow there. So it's really up to you. I'll demonstrate how to do that a little bit. So for example, I can gray here, it's a good place to ask more shadow. So then I take some of that sap green and that dark green that I have with the paints gray and black. You don't want too much water, so just have mostly paint. Then I'm going to use a different clean brush to paint that out and fade it out. All right. There you have it. I really like how this turned out. All the different shades of green really add a unique look to this plant. I love the part that we added at the bottom, and I can't wait to see your fiddleleaf fig plant. 8. Final Thoughts: Hi there. Congrats on making it to the end of this class and painting the fiddleleaf fig plant with me. I hope it was helpful as we sketched together, tested all colors, and painted individual leaves in preparation for the final painting. Sometimes when you observe nature, whether it's in real life or in photos, it can be difficult to simplify it. But the more you practice, the better you'll be. If you want to take your painting to the next level, try painting the interior of a home or around your plant, or you can take my digitizing class and learn to paint cool patterns like this. At this time, take a moment to start a project so you can show off your awesome work. If you're on Instagram, you can type me at thingsunseendesigns and use the hashtag, WatercolorWithTUD. I love to feature my students work in my Instagram stories. So I want to feature yours. I always end my classes with a couple of tips. So here are two. The first is to make it your own. I explained briefly in a previous video that I wanted the veins of the fiddleleaf fig plant to really pop. So instead of trying to be scientifically accurate, I decided to do something completely different and make the veins white. That's my creative decision. You may decide to make the leaves a little bit bluish or yellowish. You wouldn't be too far off from the real thing because depending on the lighting, it might actually have those undertones. So I encourage you to be free and confident with your artistic choices. In the end, it's your artwork and no one can argue with your interpretation. The second tip is to always practice. I hear a lot from students and followers about how tutorials, classes, and videos are discouraging or intimidating because they look so easy. To an extent that's true. It's because the teacher has tried his or her best to try to make it as simple for you to follow. So they messed up a lot, I messed up a lot in order to learn from my mistakes and to be able to present you the best class possible. For this particular plant, I painted it at least four or five different times until I got the one that I really liked. On average, for every successful painting there are probably 5-10 that I don't particularly care for. But, I try to learn from every single one of them. I make notes about what I liked and didn't like and how I can improve the next time. That's exactly what practicing is. Learning from your mistakes and growing from them. So don't give up, don't be discouraged, just keep practicing, and you'll get there. Before I say final goodbye, I just want to say thank you for taking my class. I hope to see all of your awesome projects soon. Please join me in my next skillchat class as we paint the Boston for us together. Until next time, bye.