Let Loose: Paint Expressive Birds in Gouache | Alanna Cartier | Skillshare

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Let Loose: Paint Expressive Birds in Gouache

teacher avatar Alanna Cartier, Artist, illustrator

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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.

      Your Project


    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.



    • 8.



    • 9.

      Finishing Your Painting


    • 10.



    • 11.

      Thank You!


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About This Class

When you feel like you have to be perfect, it makes it hard to show up to paint. The process isn’t joyful and your paintings end up stiff and sad. To build more nourishing painting practice I had to find a way to quiet that critical inner voice, and let myself get loose and play. 

I want to share that process with you.

In this class, we are going to paint one goofy glorious expressive little bird (in Gouache!) in a loose and lively style, to learn to show up with more joy and less judgment. We'll focus on how to build up layers of colour, make loose expressive marks to convey textures, and let go of that judgy part of your brain so you can paint with more joy. This class is suitable for anyone with a mean little voice that tells them they shouldn't paint (you definitely should paint!)

Birds offer an excellent canvas to let loose and make marks, with their simple shapes and glorious textures (hello feathers!). Together, we'll study birds and sketch them, create an underpainting as a base layer of colour and texture, practice making marks in a low-pressure way, and bring it all together to create a beautiful finished painting. Along the way, we’ll practice being present in the moment, letting go of the results, and being kind to ourselves to make showing up to paint something you look forward to. 

Let's start painting! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Alanna Cartier

Artist, illustrator


I'm Alanna, artist and illustrator, collector of cookbooks, mother to one fat cat, and newly confident sewer. I spend a fair amount of time scrubbing gouache off of my upper arms, even though I have absolutely no idea how it got there. I believe that talent is a myth that stops us from pursuing the creative endeavours we are passionate about. I believe practice makes progress, and that perfection is imaginary (and boring to boot!). I am a big nerd for learning, which means that Skillshare is my home away from home. 

If you want to follow along with my creative journey, subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Instagram. If you post any projects from my classes please tag me, or use the hashtag #AlannaTeaches. It would just make my day!... See full profile

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Hi, I'm Alana and I'm an artist and illustrator from Toronto, Canada, and a top teacher here on Skillshare. My brain can be a real *******. I set out to paint something and during every step of the process, it chimes in with great advice like, you are a rotten painter. You'll never be good enough. You better make this line perfect or everyone will see your fault. It's great. It makes it hard to show up the pain when you feel like you have to be perfect. When every brushstroke feels like a mistake when you have to be in complete control so that you don't slip up and show everyone your imperfect self. The process isn't joyful and your paintings end up stiff and sad. To build a more joyful painting practice, I had to find a way to quiet that critical inner voice and let myself get loose and play. I want to share that process with you. Together, we're going to paint one goofy, glorious, expressive little bird in a loose and lively style. We'll learn to show up with more joy and less judgment. Together we'll study birds and sketch them, paint a gloriously messy under-painting, practice making marks to stay loose, and then bring it all together in a fancy finished fowl. Along the way, we'll practice being present in the moment, letting go of the results, and being kind to ourselves to make showing up to paint something you actually look forward to. This class is for anyone with a judgy brain that just will not shut up and let you paint. If you are ready to let loose, then let's get started. [MUSIC] 2. Your Project: [MUSIC] In this video, we'll cover what you need to do for your project. In this class, we'll be creating one simple painting of a bird in gouache together. You're welcome to paint along with me using the same reference photo or to choose another reference while following along to create something that is uniquely your own. I've included a page of reference photos for you to use in the project section of the class. This class will be broken down step-by-step so that you can paint along. The steps will include; Number 1, an overview of your materials, where we'll look at the supplies we need with a focus on brushes so that we can break down how to make marks that are varied and interesting. Number 2, sketching, where we'll do a few quick bird studies before we jump into creating a sketch for our final project. Three, underpainting. We'll mix colors and lay down loose layers to figure out where our colors will go and begin our painting. Four, mark-making factors. We'll hop over to a scrap piece of paper to test out some marks and play without any pressure. This will give our underpainting time to dry. Then Number 5, we'll finish our painting with marks, texture, and details. Only then will we engage that judging part of our brain to give us the insights we can use in our next painting. Next video, we'll explore the materials you'll need for this class. 3. Materials: [MUSIC] In this video, we'll cover the materials you need to complete your class project as well as a few other materials you may want to explore. We'll begin by sketching and for that I'll just use a page in my sketchbook, colorized pencil or just a regular colored pencil and an eraser, but also work on loose paper. Then we'll move on to painting and that will require something to hold water or with paint like a jar, something to hold your paints like a ceramic palette or palette paper and something to dry our brushes and clean extra paint from the bristles like a piece of paper towel. You may also want something that makes consistent lines like a pen, a pencil, or a marker. These can be great for details or for getting your scribble on when you feel stuck. I love colored pencils and posca pens for this purpose. I'll also be using a clip to hold down the pages of my sketchbook. But if you're working on loose paper you may want a sheet tape or another delicate surface tape to hold down your page and prevent it from getting all wiggly. Then of course you'll need gouache. I'm a big fan of acrylic gouache. I prefer holding or Turner Japanese brand acrylic gouache because it is so high-quality, bright and suits how I like to paint. I also love golden, silver, matte acrylics which are not technically gouache but behave nearly identical. They come in this beautiful Payne's gray color that I am obsessed with. You could also use traditional gouache to complete this class which is flat, matte and opaque just like acrylic gouache but doesn't have the acrylic binder that would make it waterproof. This can add a little extra complexity to layering your paint. You just want to make sure you're not adding too much water but it can give you great new and interesting textures. We'll also need brushes to complete this class but we'll cover that in the next video since brushes can have a big impact on the textures and marks you can make while you are painting. Let's head there now. 4. Brushes: [MUSIC] In this video, we'll cover brushes. What I recommend is the different marks and textures we can get from different brushes. First off, I like synthetic watercolor brushes when working with gouache, especially acrylic gouache. Since acrylic gouache is acrylic based, it can't be reactivated when wet and it can gunk up your brushes. This can be especially devastating with expensive natural fibers. Synthetic fibers can stand up to a bit more scrubbing and they are generally more affordable, which is why I recommend them. My favorite brushes are the Escoda Tame brushes, although I love the more affordable Princeton Glacier brushes as well. Now that we know the brands, it's so worth it to take a moment to look at different brushes shapes since they can affect the type and variety of marks you can make. Round. Round brushes are my most commonly used brush type. They have a pointed tip and long, closely arranged bristles. They are great for creating smooth lines in areas of color. You can make a variety of different strokes sizes based on the amount of pressure you use and the size of the brush. Working with larger brushes will give your lines more variations since there will be more variation between the thickest strokes and the thinnest strokes that particular brush can make. Next, flat brushes. Flat brushes have these straight row of bristles that are roughly even. They are great for filling big areas of color smoothly or for painting more geometric shapes. A bright brush is another flat brush with shorter bristles. Great for impasto effects with thicker paints but not ideal for working with gouache where we generally want flat areas with paint. Filbert. A filbert brush is a flat brush with a domed end. Filbert provide great coverage and are especially suited to organic shapes like petals and feathers because of the soft round edge of each brushstroke. They're one of my absolute favorite brushes, especially for painting birds. Fan brush. Just like the name suggests, fan brushes are wide, fan-shaped brushes. They look very artisty, but they are generally more of a special effect brush used to create texture. They can create gorgeous fine lines and loose textures. But I just got one for this class, so I haven't incorporated it into my practice yet. Rigger, script or liner brushes. Rigger, script, and liner brushes are long bristles brushes that are either flat, round or sometimes angled. The long bristles correct any shakiness in your hand to create smooth, long marks. They are excellent for wonderfully smooth expressive lines. When we are looking at texture and mark-making, we would be remiss not to mention that you are not confined to brushes, you can paint with all unconventional materials. Dried grasses, sticks, scraps of paper, old gift cards, palette knives, or my personal favorite, my fingers. They can all offer opportunities for new and interesting textures that will make your painting more dynamic and interesting. Just remember that gouache and acrylic gouache aren't suited to three-dimensional texture effects. It will crack. Ensure you're working in thin layers. Now that we have general understanding of our brushes, let's study birds and then move on to sketching them. [MUSIC] 5. Studying: [MUSIC] In this video, we'll take a minute to study birds, before we jump into sketching them in the next video. First off, what is studying? It's not reading textbooks or flashcards, or at least not in this context. As an artist, studying is an act of observing a subject closely, in order to understand it more deeply. Studying can involve sketching or painting, but it can also just involve looking. In our day-to-day lives, we rarely observe something closely enough to draw it. Instead, our eyes look at a bird and our brain fills that in with a simplified version. It helps us function in a chaotic world, full of different stimuli, but it doesn't help us translate drawings and paintings onto paper, so we study. How do we study? We grab a reference photo or a few, and we take some time to look closely at all the parts that make up our subject. We look for details that make it unique, details that don't behave how we expect, and anything else that catches our fancying. Having a detailed mental map of our subject helps us add interesting details, even when we aren't trying to paint or draw realistically. What should we pay attention to on a bird? Birds have beaks and wings, heads, necks, bodies, legs and feet, and then little tail feathers. Those are the necessary ingredients. When we vary them, we can create every different bird under the sun. When we pay close attention to the smallest details, that's how we can differentiate one bird from another. Feel free to take some time and study the reference photos I've provided for the class. In the next video, we'll do a few quick sketching exercises to get loose and get comfortable, before we jump into creating the sketch for our finished project. [MUSIC] 6. Sketching: In this video, we'll do a few quick sketching exercises before we jump into the sketch for our finished project. [MUSIC] I have a pencil, an eraser, my sketchbook to draw in, and a little kitchen timer. But you can just follow along with this video. I've also got my page of reference photos which I'm going to use as the basis for my sketches. We're going to begin with one one-minute sketch, followed by two two-minute sketches, and then we'll finish with a five-minute sketch for our project. You're welcome to sketch the same bird each time to gain a deeper understanding of that particular bird or to sketch different birds with each exercise like I do to gain a broader understanding of how bird bodies are put together. Doing quick sketches can feel scary. Your perfectionist brain may immediately jump in with, "I can't make something good in one minute," and that's fine. You don't have to make anything good. In these quick sketches, we're just looking to get down as much information as possible about this particular bird, that's it. No more pressure than that, and you can draw it as many times as you want. With that, let's jump into our first one-minute sketch. I'll be sketching a fancy little duck. Are you ready? Let's go. As I sketch, I'm focusing on just getting down the shapes of his body and holding my pencil very loosely. To be honest, it's hard to hold this tiny pencil tightly because it's so small. Immediately you'll start to see that a minute is actually longer than you would think. One minute gives you a lot of time to get down the general shape of your bird, so long as you don't get too bogged down in the details. I'd advise not spending too long on things like the beak, the eyes, or particular little feathers on your particular bird. If you do find yourself getting caught up in these details, just jump to a different part of your sketch. This is also your friendly reminder that this doesn't have to be perfect. If you look at my sketch, that beak is not at the same angle as the photo, but that is okay. Because first of all, this is just practice and second of all, if I were going to paint on this, [NOISE] I could tweak it as I go. Just going to mess with it for one more a second because I can't help myself. But you can already see that this is a pretty solid sketch for literally just one minute. If I were to sketch this duck again, would I make his beak point a little bit more downward, would I give him a bigger head? Yes. Yes, I would. But that's okay. Those are things that you learn through doing these one-minute sketches. Not a reason to beat yourself up after them. With that, let's try a two-minute sketch. I'm going to sketch this little quail. I'm also going to use the same page in my sketchbook. That way, it feels like practice. Ready, set, and [LAUGHTER] go. I focus on the shape of his head and his body first, especially because he's got this weird blobby head and a weird blobby body. Also I can't help myself from drawing his funny little head feather as well. He's actually got a very simple shape similar to a penguin, if you look at him. His wings are tucked in at his sides. So there's not a lot of differentiation between his wings and his body, but his wings are there. He's also got these short squat feet holding them up with regular little bird feet. His tail feathers are somewhere behind there. After doing a one-minute sketch, you might find that when you're doing a two-minute sketch, you actually finish early. That's a great opportunity to go back and start adding smaller details that you probably wouldn't focus on in a one-minute sketch. That could be like little ruffles of feathers, more refined sketching for details on the face, and just cleaner, nicer lines. Feel free to pause at any point as well and just look at your subject. Often, what makes a sketch better isn't what you're doing on the page, it's actually the time you take to look at your subject, to really truly observe what is going on. How does the head connect to the body? How do the body and feet connect? Where are the wings in that blobby shape? Where is his beak attached to his head? Where does his eye sit? All of those things can really bring your sketch to life. [NOISE] Just like that, we've already finished our second sketch. Those are two pretty recognizable birds, despite the fact that they are very loose. Next up, I'm going to try sketching this bird with his wings splayed out because it can add a little bit of extra complexity. That being said, you don't need to do anything else but observe closely and draw what you see. Let's get started. [NOISE] Just like in our previous two sketches, we're going to begin with the head and body. Those are the easiest shapes to really pay attention to when we get started. The head is a little oval pointing upwards, and the body is a long oval that points downwards towards the tail feathers. At any point where I can see something that connects and is easy to sketch, I'll just scribble it in like I did with the tail feathers there and how I do with the beaks. I'm not spending a lot of time fleshing at the detail of that beak to begin with, but I just want to see what direction it's pointing. Also, don't worry if your sketch overlaps other sketches you've already done. That's fine. It makes your page in your sketchbook or your flat piece of paper that you're working on look very dynamic. When you reach these wing feathers, you may feel tempted to pause and carefully draw each individual feather and I beg you, please don't. If you want to paint in a loose and lively style, you can't start it on a foundation of rigid lines. It's not going to be a fun time, and it also will take your whole two minutes or maybe more. Instead, just give the hint of the directionality of those feathers. I'm continuing to add details and refine my lines as I work my way through this two-minute sketch. One of the points that always interest me when I'm painting or drawing birds with their wings laid out is how those wings connect to the body and how the shapes of the wings differ from side to side of this bird. Because he's not sitting straight on, he is angled. So one wing is a different shape than the other. I'm also fleshing out his tail feathers and then looking for any other final details that I can add in these last 10 seconds. I think, frankly, I'm done and now [NOISE] you're done too. I love seeing all these sketches side by side because even I can see how much more confident my lines got from that first one-minute sketch to my third two-minute sketch. That's the value of exercises like this. They get us warmed up in a very low-pressure way, and then we are ready to jump into a more final finished piece that might feel like it has a bit more pressure. We'll feel ready to go. I hope you feel ready to go because next we're going to jump in to the sketch for our final finished painting. I'm going to give you five minutes for this one. I've decided to sketch this transcendent little green heron because I love his splayed out wings and I love his weird shaped head and neck. I thought it would be a fun challenge. So let's go. [NOISE] For this final finished project piece, I'm sketching across this full page in my sketchbook. I'm holding my pencil incredibly loosely. I'm actually holding it even by its side right now so that I don't get too bogged up in details. This also helps me get more fluid lines to create the shapes of my bird. I started with his head, his neck, his beak, and his body, the same way we have along through this whole process, and then I'm going to flesh out the wings. As I work my way through the different parts of this painting and paying keen attention to the way that different things attach to each other, where on the body do the wings connect? Where on the body does the neck connect? Where on the bird's neck does his head connect? Getting these connections right is more important than getting the shapes entirely perfect because we will be painting over this later. We can refine things as we go. Just because we have more time in this five-minute sketch doesn't mean we need to get bogged down in details. You'll notice I'm still sketching these feathers in a really loose and light hand. Now, this bird does have layers of feathers on his wings, so I'm paying keen attention to that because that will be a lot more helpful as I enter my painting. You'll often hear artists give advice to new artists about creating crisp, clean, confident lines as you enter your sketch. For me, that's just never really worked. The way that I work is I start really softly. I actually love that about using these colored pencils. It creates such a soft undersketch, if you will, that I can add more detail to later. The confidence comes with additional layers of my sketch. As you can see here, I'm starting to refine those lines with darker lines. Now if you don't want to see your lines in your final painting, you may want to continue working with a light hand. For me, I love being able to see the artist's hand even at the end of a painting. I don't mind if my lines show through, especially because they'll be in this beautiful red color rather than a gray graphite color. Seeing those lines of your sketch show through also adds more looseness and more expressiveness to your painting. It tells a story of the piece. It is definitely not a failure if that happens. The other advantage is we're working with gouache here. It's an opaque medium. If there are lines that you think, "I hate that, that does not look good, that makes me uncomfortable," that's perfectly fine. You can paint over it with a nice opaque layer of paint and no one will be any the wiser. You'll notice in this five-minute sketch, I'm spending a lot more time on the beak. For me, I find that that is a part of this sketch that really makes the bird look like the bird it is. It will also be more of a focal point in my finished painting, so I don't mind spending more time to get it right and make it look like that bird. I'm also just spending some time to refine the shape of these things. It's such an expressive swoop that this green heron has, so I want to make sure that it's right. Now that I have the upper wing pretty done, I'm going to go through and add just slightly more detail to this lower wing since it has this double layer of feathers as well. Again, you'll notice I'm not sketching precise, perfect little feathers. I'm just giving myself an idea of where those feathers will be and where I can lay down my brushstrokes during the painting phase of this process. At every step of this, it's important to note that your sketch doesn't have to look like what you're seeing. You're painting a green heron, you're not painting that photograph. It may also be worth noting that if, like me, you've just left a dot for your bird's eye, he may end up looking like a cartoon character. That doesn't mean you haven't created a very serious sketch that will turn into a very serious beautiful painting, it just means that when you leave a dot for an animal's eye, they end up looking a bit goofy. That's fine. Nothing to worry about. All the beautiful detail will emerge as we begin to paint this piece. Now we are in the final seconds of this five-minute sketch. I don't have a lot more detail I need to add and hopefully, you don't either. With that, [NOISE] now we are ready to move on to our underpainting. I'm so excited. I'll meet you in the next video. 7. Underpainting: In this video, we will add paint to our sketch. A first base layer, commonly known as an underpainting. The first thing I do when I'm beginning my underpainting is to decide on some of the colors I want to use. I don't have to stick with this plan, but it gives me somewhere to get started. What I'm looking for as I begin this underpainting is the mid tones of all the area of my painting. I can add shadows and highlights later. For the back of this heron I like this color here and I think that the warmer color above it could work as well. I'm just going to go through and grab the colors from my palette to match those colors that I liked. So I have to manage a enormous mixing chart. Don't make one this big, I don't advise it. In order to find which colors make up these colors that I like. A mixing chart can be super handy to mix precise colors quickly. I share the process to make one in my class, Acrylic wash adventures getting started. But you don't have to mix colors to have a perfectly wonderful underpainting. You can just use colors straight from the tube. This might make your painting of a bird slightly less realistic, but I bet it's going to make it a lot more expressive. It may also be worth noting that you don't have to choose realistic colors at all. I just really love the colors of this heron, so I want to stick pretty closely to the palette in the photo. My plan is to use the burnt sienna and raw umber mixed with the pale lime to mix both the color of the heron's back, that deep muddy brown and the color of his head, that warmer redder tone. By using that same pale lime with both of those colors, it's going to make my color palette more cohesive, even though they're different colors. Now I think I have nearly all the colors I need to begin my underpainting. I also I'm going to choose a color for my background. Now if this course wasn't specifically focusing on acrylic gouache, I probably would just grab some fluid acrylics because they're wonderfully translucent, I have a lovely green that I really like but I want to focus on showing you the effects you can get with acrylic gouache. Now, I'm checking my color chart again to see if there's a color I think would work. But I think I'm just going to go with that wonderful from the tube, green to make my life easy. Now, with all of the colors I'll use in my underpainting decided, I can get down to the messy, joyful work of painting. Anytime I'm painting something, I'm always going to start with the background because it is the most low pressure thing to paint I find. I'm just going to put down a nice brush stroke layer of this green. I generally water down my paint to a mix of 50 percent paint and 50 percent water because I find that makes my paint the most manageable. Depending on the particular paint you're using and the brand, and how opaque you want your base layer of paint, feel free to add more or less water as you so desire. People will often advise you against adding too much water to acrylic, but frankly, I have not found an upper limit to how much water I can add. I'm currently using a size 6 eskoda theme brush, and I'll use that for the entire background. It's big enough, but it's not huge, which means I will get a hand of brushstrokes. You'll also see that I am not trying to lay down a flat, smooth, beautiful area of color. Sometimes I'll even use two paints for my background's interchangeably just smashing paint here and there to create interesting textures. This adds a ton of dimension to your finished painting. Frankly, it's just really fun. When you try to create a very smooth, perfect, even layer of paint, especially right at the beginning of your painting, it can make every brushstroke that sneaks through feel like a failure. This way, every brushstroke is a success and they add a lot of life to this painting. In the background of the original photo, it's a reflection of trees, which would have a ton of different tones and textures anyhow. The one thing I am trying to do is to ensure that I'm not getting too much paint over the areas of my bird. A little overlap is fine, but I want to make sure that the colors I will lay down for my bird come across clearly. Anytime I have an area of color like green, and another color overlapping it, that underneath color is going to show through. That's part of the reason that we do an underpainting in the first place. Because all of this texture and color is going to peek through, no matter what we add on top. Now, as I continue to paint this background, it could be time to go into a bit more depth. But what the purpose of an underpainting is? After all, we could just paint our painting in one single layer, laying down each color precisely where we want it and adding detail. The advantage of an underpainting is that it creates a base layer of color and texture that ties the painting together. On top of that, it gives you the opportunity to fine tune colors and textures, composition and contrast before you focus on details. If you are a perfectionist like I am, it can be very easy to start painting and want to really dig into the most complicated part, the part you're most worried about messing up. Something like the eye, or the beak, or a particular part of the wing. Somewhere with a lot of detail. But the problem is, when you start on the most detailed part of your painting, first of all, it makes everything else look wonky because nothing else is filled in. Second of all, it creates a lot of pressure because once you have that, you have to make everything else coordinate with that very detailed bit of painting you've already done and it also means that if later on in your composition you realize that the eye, or the beak, or whatever detailed piece that you've already done is slightly off-center or needs to be moved, then the most detailed thing is going to have to be done over anyway. I like to leave all of the details to the end. If I do find myself starting to be drawn to painting the most detailed parts of the painting, I'll often just remind myself that my goal right now isn't to make a finished painting, it's just to cover this whole page in paint. You'll notice that I've moved on to painting around areas that are a bit more detailed or like a bit looser like the feathers. In those cases, I just could try to create a defined line around whatever I'm painting. It doesn't matter if it's precise because I don't mind if little bits of the paper show through in my finished painting. I also don't mind if a little bit of the green shows through on my feathers or anything else, because it'll make it look like some of the feathers have a little bit of translucency or transparency, and we'll make it much more interesting. I'm also noticing that the way that my brushstrokes are forming down here near the bottom of the painting, they're a bit darker. Likely, I'll go over this area with an extra layer of paint to add some weight to the bottom of my painting and to just make it look a little bit less chaotic. Now, I'm nearly done my background, I'm just going to go around and clean up any areas where I think it's too light by adding a little bit more paint and make the edges of my page just a little bit more consistent. There's nothing wrong with some jagged brushstrokes, but I just like a smooth line to the edges of my page. If you're using a binder clip like I'm to hold down your pages, you may also just want to move it to the side so that you don't end up with a funny gap where your clip was. Just makes sure wherever you're moving it doesn't have wet paint because you don't want to smudge your painting, if you can help it. But if you do, it just adds more character. Now that I'm done my background, I just rinse off my brush to get all of this green pigment out of the bristles, especially if you're using acrylic wash, this is important so that it doesn't kick on your bristles and make your brush really hard to use. Now I'm going to move on to painting back of my bird. I'm mixing together raw umber and pale lime. Just like with my background, I'm going to add water to this concoction in order to make it a more manageable paint. I might even add water as I'm painting to create more variation between different areas. You'll see in the original reference photo that there are areas on his wings that are quite dark and areas on his back that are a little lighter. Now, I'm just focusing on the mid-tone colors right now, not the darkest blacks, not the whitest whites. But even still, it's great to add variations in color to give unexpected moments within the painting. You'll also see that I grabbed a scrap piece of paper here to test whether my color is bright. Now when I'm working with acrylic wash, there's actually not a ton of color shift between wet and dry paint, but you can still be helpful to get some of that paint on paper in a low-pressure way so that you don't have to worry about it when you set your brush down in the color, just doesn't feel right. I'm covering his back because that's where these brown ton feathers are, or at least the top of his back, and I'm blending it into the wings as well. Now the wings are a lot darker, I'll add more layers to that area later. But to start, this is a great underpainting for these wings. You'll notice as I use my brush more, it has less pigment on it and sometimes I even add water to blend out the edges of a certain area of color. This can make the transitions between colors smoother and just helps to add highlights and other interesting details. As we begin to paint our actual bird, I'm keeping that spirit of studying alive as we work our way through this painting. I want to keenly observe where different colors are on this bird, not just where I assume they'll be. What I'm noticing is there's actually some of this brown on this forefront wing here, so I'm blending it out and adding water. Again, I can add more detail later, and I will, but I think this is a great beginning. I'm also noticing that there's a little bit of this brown along the edge of this heron's neck. What a great detail to notice? I think we're done with this color now and we'll move on to our next color. Even though we're still pretty early on in our underpainting, this may be the point at which you begin to question every choice you've made so far. Under paintings are ugly. They're supposed to be ugly. They're not going to show entirely in their finished painting. You're going to add a ton of detail and you can refine so much of this. This is a great moment to stop and remind yourself that this is a painting in progress, not a finished thing. You can't fail at something that isn't done yet. I'm just testing this color again on a scrap piece of paper to make sure it's what I want. Now I'm just adding a little bit more water to get the consistency of paint that I want. Now, add it to my head and neck of the heron. Now the one thing here is that, this is a unique area so far because we are blending two different areas of color. I like to do this with more water than I would usually use and I smash things with my fingers anywhere it looks like there's too harsh of a line of paint. The other thing to remember, again, this is a painting in progress and just an underpainting. We're going to add more layers on top of this. If your areas of transition aren't quite as crisp as you'd like them to be or as smooth as you'd like them to be, that's fine, we'll refine them more in future layers of the painting. I also just paint right over the eye here. Eyes especially are something that I tend to move around a lot as I'm working on a painting, so I'm not too worried about the placement that I had in my initial sketch. I'm also keenly observing to see any other areas of my painting with this color pops up. By using the same colors throughout to add different little textural interesting bits, again, it makes our painting a bit more cohesive. Now, I'm going to move on to the final color for this under painting. I'm using an ash blue and an ivory, mixed together in order to get different variations for the feathers, and this is where I'm going to be the loosest. Just like with my previous colors, I add some water, mix my paints together, and then I'm going to test that my color is the color that I have envisioned on a scrap piece of paper. As you can tell, I use these scrap piece of paper for ages, so you don't need a new one for each painting. They can become their own gorgeous abstract piece in their own right. Now for these feathers, I'm just going to start by making really loose marks. You'll notice on the feathers in the painting, there's a lot of variation between light and dark. Right now, I'm just really working with the lightest color. Later when I come in with a darker color, that will define the feathers more. Right now, I just want to make sure that my brushstrokes are working with the direction that the feathers will lay in the finished painting. I'm also trying to create a lot of variation in tones for this area, because there is so much variation in the reference photo. I'm adding a lot of water and working incredibly loosely. Normally, when I'm doing detailed feathers I'll use my filbert brush because I really liked the shape. But right now because I'm just working on the underpainting, I'm just using a regular sticks round brush. Generally, to get a lot of variation in our paintings and make things interesting, you probably don't want to use the same brush the whole time. But when you're working your way through under painting, it's fine to just stick with what you start with. I'm also focusing here on the back of my bird. I noticed that there are two layers of feathers. One, that I think is his back, and the other batch of feathers that I think are really his tail feathers. They are darker because they are in shadow, they lie underneath the higher-level feathers above them. I'm varying the tone between these two, based on the amount of water that I'm using. You'll notice that, in this particular area that I'm painting, and in this particular color, the wings, the back, I'm leaving a lot more of the page peeking through than I've done in any other area of the painting. That's because, first of all, I know I'm going to be adding a ton of detail here with darker colors, so I think that that will make it incredibly dynamic and secondly, because I really want to hint at the shape of the feathers to give myself something to work with as I move into details later. I find working so loosely over the feathers in my underpainting really helps me ensure that I keep that looseness in my final finished painting as I move into adding detail. Because I already have this chaotic base, I can't get too precious with each individual brushstroke as I transition into the final stages of my painting. I'm just going to add a little bit more water to my paint and then continue to fill in the rest of these areas of feathers. On the wings there are actually a few layers of feathers that we can see in our reference, so I just want to hint at them in this underpainting. Lots of loose brushstrokes. I'm even holding my brush in a really loose way so that I can't get too precious. I'm not gripping it really tightly close to the ferrule, I'm holding it more loosely by the end of the brush. That way, I get a lot less control over what I'm doing. It can be a great way to loosen up. With that, I think we are officially almost finished with this underpainting. I'm just going to clean off my brush to protect its bristles and then we'll move on to a mark-making exercise while our underpainting dries 8. Mark-Making: [MUSIC] Before we jump into making marks on our fine, feathered friends, let's take a brief break to experiment with some of the marks we can make on a scrap piece of paper or in our sketchbooks. You may be tempted to skip this step and go right on painting your final project, but I would kindly implore you not to, and here's why. Number 1, stepping away gives us a break from looking at our art. We're going to look at something else for awhile. The creative process can sometimes give us tunnel vision that blinds us to the parts of our paintings that are magical or the parts that aren't working as well as they could be. Stepping away and coming back and change your perspective on a piece. We can come back to our painting with fresh eyes that will help us see new possibilities that we may not have been able to see otherwise. Number 2, stepping away to experiment also lets us play without pressure. When we step away from our painting to make marks in a sketchbook or on a scrap piece of paper, it takes the pressure off to make them good. Whatever that means. You can just try things out without any of the fear. I do this all the time during my process on a scrap piece of paper to check whether the marks I'm planning on making give the effect that I want, and just to play to see what possibilities are available. Since we're doing this as part of a structured class on mark-making, I'd encourage you to let yourself dig into this part. There's no rash, that underpainting will still be patiently waiting whenever you come back to it. Let's go. Let's play. [MUSIC] Up until this point the class has been in real-time. What you see me paint is exactly how quickly I painted. But for this lesson, I'm actually going to speed things up a bit because I actually played with mark-making for quite a long time. I'd encourage you to do the same, but you don't need to watch my whole process because the point is for you to dig into your own process. I'm going to start by just putting a few rectangles on this page in my sketchbook. Again, you could also use just a scrap piece of watercolor paper. You don't have to have any rigid shapes on your page, this just helps me break up the space so that I make sure I'm trying a bunch of different things. I'm going to take different elements from my painting and recreate them here in a way that I can play and try new things so that I'll feel more confident when I come back to my final project. Once I have all my rectangles drawn, I'll begin to paint just really loosely, a few different elements of my painting. The things I want to focus on are the span of the wings, the back of my bird, where those feathers transition between colors, and also his neck. These are three areas that are quite different and where I think I can try out a lot of different possibilities. I've used exactly the same colors that I used in my underpainting to create these little swatches. Now I will begin to make marks on top. Just like I did when I was making my underpainting, I start with color. I'm going to try a few different variations of color in order to get the effects I want. First to start off, I think this Payne's gray could be really good. I also think this Japanesque blue black could work quite well. I'm going to try them both to see how they behave when combined with my underpainted layer. I used to just experiment on my paintings, and well, that is absolutely a perfectly acceptable way to work. I found it really stressful. When I would put unpredictable marks on my paintings, having no idea what they would do, I would end up getting very tight trying to fix perceived mistakes that I thought I was making. Now instead, I hop over to a scrap piece of paper and I can try out the things that I'm planning to do to see if they actually do what I think that they will do. This point I'm switching over to my filbert brush because I love the type of marks it makes for feathers. I'm going to start on my first rectangle. I'm layering color to try and create the effect of feathers that I see in the painting. Already, I can tell that these marks are actually closer together and more opaque than I think I want, I'm not getting enough contrast in values for what I would like. I'm going to go in and add another layer of feathers here like I see on the wing in my reference photo, but I'm not very competent in this experiment that I've tried here. I would likely go back in with a white pen or a Posca pen later to add more definition to this experiment that I've tried. We'll see if that makes it come to life again. But for now, I'm going to move on to my next rectangle. I don't like to work on just a single experiment at a time because it makes me too focused on one thing. I like to hop around in order to keep loose and to keep present in the process. For this experiment, I've switched over to a Size 0 round brush. I really like the small and more expressive lines I can make with this brush. I'm trying to create more definition in the feathers with a lighter pale gray color. Already I do like this effect a lot more than I liked what was happening in my first experiment. But now that, that first experiment is dry, I'm going back in with additional layers to see if I can tweak it to make it into something that I'm more excited about. Right now I'm using the blue black from the Turner Japanesque Klein to add a little bit more excitement. Then while that dries, I'll hop back over to my second experiment and add some more of the ash blue to see if I can create more definition in these feathers. I'm also adding in some of the Payne's gray to create more depth. These mark-making experiments are less about strategy or trying to find the right answer and more about being open to the possibility of what if; what if I try this? What happens when I do this? How could I do things differently? Feel free to grab whatever supplies excite you even if they're acrylic wash. For me, for example, I just grabbed the Posca pen and did a fun scribble because I thought it could create some interesting texture on the wings, and I do like that. It's made me realize that I think what I'm missing is a scribble. I'm going to grab my trusty colored pencil to add some scribbled lines to create more definition. When you're working in a loose expressive style, sometimes switching tools can be just the ticket to get you to loosen up. When I'm using a brush, I can create really gorgeous brush-stroke effects, but I can't just scribble. Sometimes the best way to be expressive is just to grab the best tool for the job, for the type of marks you want to make, whether that's a brush, a pen, or a colored pencil. Now I'm trying to use this white gel pen that I have in order to make some scribbles on top of my first wing experiment, but it's just not cooperating. It's actually quite an old gel pen and there's a good chance that it's dried out. I'm going to have to pivot and try something else, and that is where my trusty Posca pen comes in, old reliable. Already the second I start using this Posca pen, I can see that I like this a lot better. The contrast between that deep Payne's gray and the white is quite magical. I love the expressive lines I can get and dots, something that it's a little bit harder to make with a brush. I'm going to use the same principle and add some white gouache to my second panel to see how that interacts with what I already have down. [MUSIC] I don't love the big brush that I was using, so I've switched to my smaller size 0 brush to see what kind of expressive lines I can make. One thing I love about using white gouache as opposed to a Posca pen is the variation in color I can get as the pigment increases or decreases on my brush. Well, I use most gouache at a ratio of 50 percent paint to 50 percent water. I do tend to use white gouache with the barest amount of water possible so that I can get really juicy, expressive strokes. Now, I'm just going to add some of the green that I used to the background because one of the things I'm realizing is that in my painting, there will be the background that can play another element in me defining my feathers. I'm just going to add that in now. That adds such wonderful definition to my feathers and makes my brushstrokes look even more dynamic. One thing I love is looking at the differences between these three experiments. They all have a lot of the same elements, but used in different ways. I'm so glad I took this time to experiment as well because if I went with my first instincts, I probably would've used the techniques I used in panel 1 to create my feathers when I move back to my finished project. But number 2 is really speaking to me right now. Now that I have a good idea about what I want to do with my wings, I'm going to move on to the back of my bird and experiment in this area the same way I did with my wings. I'm starting by adding an additional layer of the brown paint that I used when I was painting the bird in the first place, and I'm adding some marks using my fingers with that quite opaque white gouache to create a gradation in the areas of color. Looks like I'm in the mood for finger-painting because I'm adding a little bit more darkness and contrast here with a darker shade with my fingers as well. I love the kind of marks that it makes. It is really fun. Now, I'm going to switch over to my size 0 brush to add some details to the feathers at the bottom. As we discussed in our underpainting, there's actually two layers of feathers here where the back of this bird fades into his tail feathers. I do like the smaller marks I'm making with this brush to add some contrast in terms of the types of strokes. For the next box, I want to try something a lot looser and lighter, so I'm coming in first with my pencil. Now, I'm going to use the opaque white gouache to create variation and a blending effect between those darker feathers and the brown area of the back. Already this feels pretty magical to me and has a better balance with the wings, I think. Now, I'm hopping over to the third panel in this row because I think at this point, I'm actually pretty loose. I'm not working in a tight way. I'm not getting bogged down by details. I'm letting myself truly be present and enjoy the process, and that always feels really great. Here, I'm using my Posca pen to add a scribble texture. I'm not sure if it works as well as the second panel, but that's okay. I'm also adding in some of that Payne's gray to see if I can create contrast between the lower layers of feathers and I'm smudging it, you guess it, with modern fingers. I used to distrust it when things came easily to me, like that second panel that just flew right out at me and it's my favorite right now. But what I found over time is that that inclination towards things that are hard or actually better is my perfection as I'm talking. It's actually quite a lot more difficult to let something be simple, to see those simple lines on the page and just leave them be. Now, I'm moving on to the last series of experiments I'm doing in this mark-making exercise, the neck of my bird. This is just an area where I see a lot of texture and wanted to play around before I commit to making marks on my final project. Here, I've added some of the brown color from the bird's back and some sepia color to the top of his head. Now, I'm fussing around with colored pencils. I love the texture that colored pencils can make for a really small feathers on a bird, so I'm playing around with that to see what effects I can get. I've scribbled into wet paint, I've created some marks across the base of the neck, and now I've added a little bit of white to see how that lays down because there is just a bit of light along the edge of his neck. I'm also adding my green background in so that I can see how this bit of neck contrasts with the background I've painted for my final project. I'm also going to add some scribbles with my Posca pen. I truly love Posca pens for the wonderful way that you can just quickly add opaque white lines. They are waterproof, which makes them wonderful to combine with acrylic gouache. Here, I've again scribbled into that wet Posca paint to add more layers of texture. Now, I'm going to move on to the second box on this row. I'm adding some of the burnt sienna, I believe, to see how it layers and whether it gets the effects that I want. This time, I want to experiment with my size 0 brush and more defined marks on the neck to mimic this Heron's feathers. As soon as I put brush to paper, I realize I don't really like this as much as my first attempt. But the advantages, this is just an experiment on a piece of paper. It's not a finished painting. I don't need to correct this. I don't need to do much of anything about it. It's fine just the way it is, even if it's not what I was looking to do. In this case, I'm going to try to add more definition to the feathers along the neck with darker colors of gouache instead of colored pencil this time to see how the texture differs and whether I like the effect. This time, I'm also going to add a little bit of the colored pencil to his fancy little Heron's cap to see if the texture of that works well. Man, do I like that effect? That's definitely going to be showing up in my final painting. Yes, please. But the additions I've made of the Payne's gray color and paint to his neck and the back of his neck, I don't like. This time, I'm trying just scribble texture all over to start as a base layer of texture. I want to see how this will contrast with the background so I'm just bringing in my background a little bit closer to the neck. I'm making a third attempt now to create the texture of the feathers on this Heron's neck. I started with a crisp white outline, then I'll dry it and continue to add more layers in gouache. I still don't think I like this as much as my first attempt at capturing these feathers for this Heron's neck, and that's okay. Sometimes you just get it right on the very first try. With that, I think I've experimented all I need to experiment. I'll just clean off my brush and then reflect on what I've done. I don't like my first set of wings, but the second and third both have the elements that I think I'm going to steal in my finished painting, especially those scribbled colored pencil lines and the expressive brush strokes that define my feathers. As we move towards the bird's back and his tail feathers, I love that second example, but I will steal some of the texture from the third. As we move toward the next that I experimented on, I love the white that I did on the third example and that scribbled little cap in the second one. Now, I'm ready to return to my final project. In the next video, we'll add marks, details to bring our final project to life. I'll see you there. 9. Finishing Your Painting: In this video, we'll take the mark-making techniques we've covered and put them to work, adding detail and texture to our bird friends to create a finished painting. As we enter into this final stage of the painting, I just want to remind you that we can plan all we want, but a painting calls us to be present in the moment. Unexpected things will happen both for the better and for the worse. When we're present, we can observe these challenges and beds of magic as they come up and respond as needed. Whether a mark you make turns out even more magically than you planned or you smash some part of your painting with your hand. That's all just part of the process and none of it is a failure. With that in mind, let's start painting. I'm going to begin on the back of my bird because, in my mark-making experiments, that's for I felt most competent with the techniques that I tried out. I might as well start with a quick wing. I'm going to add some loose pencil lines to hint at the feathers. I am holding my pencil in a stupid way to ensure that I don't get too tight, especially at this early stage of the painting. I'm going to add a second layer of this scribbled texture underneath of this, where this heroin's tail feathers are. But I'm going to leave less white space between my marks to create a darker area of color. I'll add one final scribble and then I'll move on to adding paint. I'm going to begin with this white gouache in order to create more variation between the gray and brown areas on this heroin's back. I'm using the paint in a very opaque way so that it will cover the paint beneath it. I'm using my filbert brush for this because I like the marks that it makes, but I'm also softening those marks with my fingers to blend the paint more thoroughly into layers beneath it. In general, when I'm adding final finishing details to my underpaintings, I like to start with bigger areas before I move on to the smaller and more detailed areas. Things like this bird's feeds, his eyes, his beak will come later on in the process. Males would be a good time to note that the places where you spend the most time in your painting are usually the places that are going to draw the most attention. If at any point you feel like you've made a mistake or you don't particularly like what you've done. That's okay. Fix it in the simplest, quickest way possible and move on. You don't need to perfect it. You just need to put a switch of paint there and keep going. Because if you spend a long time adding layers and layers of paint to correct a mistake, it's going to draw your viewers' eye right to that spot. It's also a great way to practice being present in your painting. Because when you get fixated on one tiny detail and try to correct it, you can lose sight of the rest of what's going on across the whole body of your painting. Now that I have a lot of gorgeous texture on the back of my bird, I am just using the same white gouache to begin to flesh out my feathers across my painting. I noticed in my reference photos some areas of feathers are a little bit brighter, so I'm using bigger switches in those areas to create a highlighted effect. Just because we came in with an underpainting, also doesn't mean that this finished final detail layer is actually just one single layer of paint. We can continue to layer paint until we get the effects that we want. In this case, I'm adding a layer of white to create some contrast at the end of the feathers. I'll come in with more lights and darks as I continue through this painting. As I work my way through the painting, I try and use as much of a single color as I can at a time. That's why I'm jumping around the painting to all of the different areas where I think that this white gouache is needed because acrylic gouache can't be reactivated with water. Once it's dry, it's dry. I don't like to waste paint, so hopping around my painting can help me use up spare paint that might otherwise go to waste. It also helps me step outside of what I'm doing. I'm not getting too focused or too bogged down on any single part of my painting. Anytime I'm working on an area that is slightly more detailed where I may need to refine shapes, I might just pick up my reference photo to get a closer look. One thing you'll notice is that the reference photos I've provided and most of the reference photos that I use aren't super large. One of the ways to avoid getting bogged down in details is just not to have the details available to you in the first place. By looking at the reference photo that is quite small, I can see all of the detail I need in order to make my bird look the way that I want him to look. But I can't get too bogged down in whether his eye isn't exactly the perfect place or the placement of each individual feather because I just don't have that information available to me. I have to be present in my painting to see what is working and what isn't in order to make decisions, rather than relying on a reference photo to tell me where each brushstroke should be. I'm adding a few dots and marks to the wings just to add some contrast and the effect of feathers. But there will be additional layers on top of this as I move through my painting. Using marks like this is a great way to add interest and looseness to your paintings. I'll just rinse my brush so that all that gouache doesn't dry on it and come in to make some marks on the wings. I want them to mirror the style of the tail feathers and the back of the bird. I'm just making it loose marks that are vaguely like feathers. I'm trying not to be too detailed about it or even too focused on making the marks match what I painted earlier in my underpainting. Having the marks be loose and lively and the paint underneath be loose and lively really adds life to my finished painting. I'm using a mixture of feather shapes and just straight lines. Now, I'll move on to the top wing. I really love having access to a mark-making tool like this when I'm painting with gouache. It's just something that really helps me loosen up because I can make looser marks than I could make with a brush. When I'm trying to draw lines with a brush because the variable pressure can create variable marks. I end up being very tight, trying to get consistent lines. Using a pencil, a Posca pen or some sort of marker can be a great way to maintain that looseness and liveliness throughout all of the steps of your painting. Now that I have a lots of scribbling marks all over my painting and the bird's wings, I'm going to come in with my Payne's Gray to begin adding some darker values to this painting. I don't know why it comes in this funny little pot. I don't feel comfortable painting out of it because I'm worried all my paint will dry out. I just use a brush to transfer some of the paint into my palette. As I go to make a mark with my filbert brush, I realized I actually think I want to start adding texture to the top part of the wings first. I've grabbed some dark sepia-colored hate. I'm going to begin with actually some quite opaque paint to add some dry brushing effects to the top of these wings, where the feathers are darker. By using less water and the dryer brush, I can easily get these dry brushing effects because the water doesn't spread the paint around in the same way that it would. Because I have this underpainting underneath, what shows through the dry brush texture is the paint that I've placed underneath of it. You get a lot more variation in color. Part of being present in a painting is actually allowing yourself to follow your whims. Just because I had mixed out the paint for the wings doesn't mean that I had to go there. I could switch to working on these areas of contrast at the top of the wings if that's what felt most right for me in this moment. Following your joy, following your level of comfort, following what feels easiest or what you know how to do but suddenly has awakened in the painting and feels clear is a perfectly acceptable way to move forward through your painting. I've added a small bit of contrast next to the bird's body because I see that in my reference photo. Now what feels most right to me to work on is actually the bird's neck because that's the part that is ugliest right now and is making me feel the judgiest. Sometimes it's that easy to quiet the judgy part of our brain to just lean into it and say, all right, that part of the painting that you think is ugly, I can work on that now, we can fix that. But sometimes it can be a bit harder to quiet that judgy voice. Painting is the time for joy and playfulness, not a time for being judgy. You're judging brain can do its thing when we're done painting. There's even a whole video about it in this class, but we don't need to worry about judging our painting a minute before that. This goes back to the idea of being present in your painting. You cannot be in the moment responding to your painting and all the possibilities it holds while judging what you create at the same time. It's actually not even possible. They use different parts of your brain. Until your painting is done, it can't be good or bad. It's just in progress. If your judging brain does start to get very loud, just think it and let it know that you'll be ready and willing to listen to its constructive criticism when you're done painting, not a moment sooner. If your judgy brain is saying mean, awful things that aren't constructive at all, well, then we're just going to pause a moment. We're going to take a very deep breath, in through our nose and out through our mouth. We are going to tell that voice, "I know you are trying to protect me, but I love me and those things you are saying are not helpful, or true, or kind to say to someone I love. So you are not invited back until you have something helpful or kind to say," and then you can just slam the door on that rude voice and get back to painting because we still have a lot of painting to do. I'm still working my way through the neck of this bird, adding dry brush effects, which is actually frankly quite strange to me. I don't normally use this much dry brushing in a painting, but when it works, it works. You just have to follow your gut as you are painting. As we reach this point, I think it's time to add this heron's fancy little cap. I'm going to use the techniques I use in our mark-making exercise. So I'm just going to start with a glorious little scribble. This also ties the heron's cap well into the other areas of my painting where I've used this color pencil to create marks. While I'm here, I'm going to create a soft dot just to mark out where the eye will be. Obviously, that's not what it's going to look like. Now, I'm finally going to move on to adding this Payne's gray to the wings. I'm using my filbert brush because I like the round brush strokes it makes, and I've added some water to this matte acrylic paint in order to get more variation in color and let some of my underpainting peek through. I'm focusing on looking for the areas of contrast in my reference photo. From what I can see, the area near the bird's body has darker areas of contrast because there's a shadow from his body, and as we get further down the wing, there's less contrast. So I'm using more water on my brush in those areas. I'm using my pencil marks as somewhat of a guide, but I'm also staying loose. Mark-making like this is actually one of my absolute favorite parts of painting where I can put just thick, juicy lines wherever I please. I can get my scribble on and I can really dig into the childish joy of my materials on paper. What brings you joy while you're painting, and how can you incorporate more of it into your process? How can you add those parts in, even if the painting doesn't necessarily call for them? Finding pockets of joy in the process is just as important as whatever ends up on your finished painting. Another thing to consider is what makes painting difficult for you? Where do you find yourself getting fussy and judgy, and how can you limit that in your process? For me, when I'm doing very fine lines with a brush, I know I'm going to get fussy. My neck will start to hurt, I'll crane over the desk, and it will just be a awful process. So I avoid doing that. Now I'm moving on to adding a few marks with my white Posca pen, like we practiced in the mark-making exercise. As always, I like to just test out my marks on a scrap piece of paper first to make sure that my pen is working properly and that it's doing exactly what I think it will be doing. I'm adding these marks to the transitional area between the white and the brown on the back of my bird, just to soften those areas of color. Now I will move on to adding a bit more detail to my heron's little cap. I've just filled in with just a little bit of that Payne's gray matte acrylic paint. Now that nearly every part of my painting is covered in luscious layers of pigment, I will move on to adding detail to my heron's face. This is one of the things I leave to last because it's so dependent on everything else that I've painted around it. Just like every other part of the painting, this heron's face doesn't have to be completed all at once. I'm just going to start by trying to find the right levels of contrast and the right colors for certain areas of his face and beak. I'm drawing color down from his fancy little head and pulling some of that darkness into the crease where his beak begins and where there are shadows on his beak. I'll probably add additional colors later, but who the heck knows? Now I'm nearly finished this painting. There's a lot of texture and detail over most of the area of my page. I'm just going to continue correcting the contrast in different areas, adding small details, refining his face, and painting his beaks. I'll also clean up that bit of white paint that I smudge on my background. It's not an issue. It's just part of the process. Just like that, I'm finished painting and I hope that you are too. Only now can we move on to the judging part of our process in the next video. I'll see you there. 10. Judging: [MUSIC] You've finished your beautiful painting. I'm so proud of you. Let's take a minute to celebrate ourselves for doing, not the outcome, not whether we like our painting. Showing up to do something vulnerable is hard and you did it. You rock. Feel free to set your painting aside or on your wall and triumph, or hop on the route of Skillshare and post your painting for the whole class to see. That can be the end of it. But if you want to improve your painting practice, there's also one more step that you can do, reflecting on what worked and what didn't. Not beat yourself up, just so that you can adjust course in your next painting. When we pause to reflect after we finish painting, we give the critical voice in our heads a chance to express itself in a healthy way that doesn't interfere with our joy or ability to create. It means that the painting part can be all fun, because we set aside the judging bit for later. The most important part to judging your paintings is to really focus in on the parts that you love, so you could repeat them. For example, I love these little feets because they are so simple, and I love how all of this expressive texture and scribble worked on his back. I also love the sweep of his wings and the way that the layered paint, sketch and scribbles combine in the final painting. What I don't love as much is the background. I just think that that green is maybe a bit too bold and I'll probably change it digitally. The other thing that doesn't sit quite right with me was actually the texture on his upper back. But after I finish filming, I just added some extra scribbles and I liked that part a bit more now. When you're reflecting on your work, remember to be kind and constructive. Focus on the things that you want to repeat or want to avoid in future paintings, and avoid judgments about your work. Not whether it's good or bad or whether you're a good or bad artist, focus on the things that you can do something about. Whether you like your art or not, it doesn't say anything about you as a person. With those reflections done, I've taught all I had to teach. In the next video, I just want to thank you for being here. [MUSIC] 11. Thank You!: [MUSIC] Thank you so much for taking my class. It's been such a joy painting together, playing, and exploring our creativity. Together we learned about brushes and the marks they can make. Studied birds and sketched them, created an underpainting, played with marks, and brought all of that together to create a beautiful finished painting. Three cheers for you. If you want to hear about my future classes or my own Skillshare projects, you can follow me here on Skillshare by clicking the follow button in my profile. If you're posting your work to Instagram, you can tag me @alannacartierillustration or use the hashtag alannateachers. You can also follow me at alannacartierillustration to keep up with my illustration journey or pitches to drop into my DM to chat about gouache. If you want updates about classes in progress or to support my teeny tiny small business, you can also sign up for my newsletter at alannacartier.com. I'll be so grateful if you could leave a review for this class. I read every single one and I keep the nice ones in a little document on my computer to give me pep talks when I feel like a talent was hacked, and your critical reviews help me bring you better, stronger, more joyful classes, jam packed with the things that you want to learn. Thank you again so much. I am so grateful for you and can't wait to see the beautiful things you create. [MUSIC]