Loose Bird Play! Drawing & Painting Watercolor or Gouache Birds in FUN Styles | Yasmina Creates | Skillshare

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Loose Bird Play! Drawing & Painting Watercolor or Gouache Birds in FUN Styles

teacher avatar Yasmina Creates, Artist & Creativity Cheerleader

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Recommended Supplies


    • 3.

      Drawing Birds


    • 4.

      Wet on Wet Basics


    • 5.

      Picking Colors


    • 6.

      Easy Wet on Wet Birds


    • 7.

      Observational Wet on Wet Birds


    • 8.

      Loose Bird Illustration


    • 9.

      Thumbnail Sketching


    • 10.

      Mixed Media Cartoony Bird


    • 11.

      You Finished! :)


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About This Class

Hello art friends, it's Yasmina! Drawing and painting loose and playful birds is SO fun, and I'm here to show you just how easy and joyful it can be.

In this class, we’ll learn a ton! Here’s a summary of the FUN stuff:

  • Art Supplies: No need for fancy stuff! You just need watercolor or gouache and anything else you have lying around on your desk.
  • How to Draw Birds: We’ll touch on realism and observing, but mostly on simplifying and painting from our imagination!
  • Wet on Wet Watercolor Magic: If watercolors make you a bit jittery, no worries! I'll walk you through the basics and the magic of wet-on-wet painting.
  • Color Fun: Does picking colors psych you out? Get ready to learn a fun and easy way to choose vibrant palettes.

Two Ways to Paint Wet on Wet Birds:

  • The Super Easy Way: Forget rules – just go with the flow. There's no wrong way!
  • The Observational Method: Seems like it’s harder, but trust me, it's still a blast and doable at any level.

Two Final Projects:

  • Starting Loose, Adding Detail: My way to bring birds to life.
  • Playful Cartoony Mixed Media Style: A bit out of my comfort zone, but it's where the fun happens! You’ll see how to paint a bigger composition playfully and I’ll even show you how to plan it with thumbnail sketching.

During our creative journey, you'll:

  • Practice: The only way to grow as an artist!
  • Experiment: Try new things and find new techniques you love!
  • Problem-Solve: Tackle challenges without breaking a sweat. (HAPPY Accidents! ;))
  • Play: Paint from your inner child!!! The ultimate goal that gets you in the flow state!

This class is all about painting birds and having fun! So, what are you waiting for? Let's dive into the colorful world of loose bird painting! See you in class! :)

Meet Your Teacher

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Yasmina Creates

Artist & Creativity Cheerleader

Top Teacher

I strive to make every class the highest quality, information-packed, inspiring, & easy to understand!

Creating is my biggest passion and I'm so happy to share it with you!! :)

Stay connected & in the loop by joining my Newsletter! (Also get 3 free coloring pages! :))

Did you know I have a book on drawing CUTE animals? Check it out!

See full profile

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1. Trailer: Birds are so much fun to draw and paint and I'm here to show you that you can do it too. Hello fellow artists. My name is Yasmina and I am a self taught watercolor and other mixed media artist. My passion is to share the joy of painting and drawing with you. And this is actually my 30th class. I've been creating full time art for a decade now. And I even have a published book on how to draw cute animals. In this class, we're going to paint one of my most favorite things to paint, loose birds. And I want to show you that you shouldn't be intimidated by birds. They're actually one of the easiest subjects to paint and draw because they're so universally recognizable, you can go far away from reality. Recognize it as a bird. You really have a lot of creative freedom with birds, and you shouldn't be afraid of making mistakes, especially when painting loosely. Let me show you how in this class, we're going to start the class off with supplies. And you don't need anything fancy, but you can play with mixed media in this class. So get out any fun things you have on your desk and any sort of wet media paints like watercolor or gush. And then we're going to dive into how to draw birds. We'll even touch on realism, but mostly focus on simplifying and even doodling from imagination, which is actually not that hard. And then we'll quickly cover the basics and the magic of wet on wet painting, which is the main technique we will use in this class. And if you have trouble picking colors, I'll show you an easy way to pick color palettes. And then we'll paint some super loose wet on wood birds in two ways. The super duper, easy way that can be done with imagination. And there's really no wrong way to do it, think you swear. And the more observational method, which is also super fun and to me it's easy. You just have to practice. And don't psych yourself out and just try both ways are so fun and so free to paint. And they're a great way to let loose play with color composition and just have fun and learn how to paint works while it mixes and mingles. We'll finish off a class with two finished art works. One is starting with a super loose wet and wet technique. And then we're going to add detail, which is how I usually paint my birds. And the is even more playful in cartooning, it's more of a mixed media play kind of bird. And we're going to do a whole composition that'll even show you how to plend it out with thumbnail sketching beforehand. And this project is a little bit out of my comfort zone, but I want to show you how to be more experimental. How to problem solve, and you'll learn a lot by watching it. In this class, we're going to practice, grow, play, and experiment. It is going to be such a blast, I can't wait to share the joy of painting birds with you. And the best part is you can take the things you learn from this class and use them for any subject matter you draw or paint. In the future, you will learn how to simplify subjects and make them in any way you like, and how to paint loosely. So are you ready for some loose bird play? Let's go. 2. Recommended Supplies: Hi, I'm so happy you could join me for this class. So the supplies for this class are super flexible. The first thing you need is a sketching pencil. You might want to have two different kinds, one for sketching out to just practice and one for sketching out before painting, which might be a light color. There's tons of different brands for that, but you can use anything you have on hand. It doesn't matter. The main thing you need for the painting portion is watercolor. And don't worry, even super cheap, budget friendly paints are perfectly okay to use. Like here, I painted with the cheapest paints I could find, which are creola. And as you can see, it's all about skill, not supplies. Professional artists can make any kind of supply, make beautiful paintings. I think a lot of beginners get stuck on this part because they can't afford the nicer stuff 'cause it's expensive. So don't worry about it and just use what you have. You can also use guash paint if you have it instead, because it acts a lot like watercolor, especially diluted. You'll also need some brushes. Any kind is fine, but I recommend a size six to eight round brush. It may be a small detail brush if it's hard for you to add detail with a larger brush. But you can do it if you just practice. So watercolor paper is also a necessity. It has to be watercolor paper because other papers aren't thick enough and they will warp when you use a lot of water. So make sure that the paper you choose is at least 140 pounds. You can get away with a lighter weight, but not by much. And if you want to help with warping even more, you can use artist tape, masking tape, or washi tape to hold down your page. You will also need something to mix your colors on. It can be a simple ceramic plate or a mixing palette. Or your palette might already have one attached to it. You'll also need some water, which you can use any container for, even a glass. Or you can use two water glasses if you want to make sure that your brush is super clean. So one initially cleans it and one makes sure it's clean. Another thing you might want is a paper towel, reusable rag or sponge, which is handy to soak up excess water on your brush and help keep it clean. I find it invaluable, especially if I pick up too much water. So this next part is pretty optional. This will be a mixed media class, but the supplies you use on top of your water colors are up to you. The three main supplies I recommend are colored pencils, micron pens, and a white gel pen for adding opaque highlights. You can also use a white posca marker instead, or white acrylic or guash paint with a small brush, anything that's an opaque white but you don't need this, it just helps to add highlights. You'll also see me use different colored Posca paint markers and water soluble neo colored two pastels. But you really don't need these. It's just something I like to use right now. There's a world of fun supplies you can experiment with. You can even use something as simple as a ballpoint pen or graphite pencil for just playful outlines and details. Anything you have is just fine, and any cheap supplies that you pick up is just fine as well. Just use what you have and play with it. But if you want to see a list of my current favorite supply brands, I have a detailed page on my website featuring them, which I will update as I have new favorites. But this is just my personal preference. There really is no one right supply. You can really use anything you like, even like cheap children's crayons. Okay, now that we know what we need, let's start the class. 3. Drawing Birds: Drawing birds can be extremely easy. Let me show you how. If you've taken my, you can draw anything class. You'll know that anything can be drawn by just using simple shapes to get the right proportions and then just adding in the details. If you want to draw birds, that's exactly what I would do. I would do many studies by first sketching out the basic shapes and lines you see. And then I would add in details. This is observational drawing and you don't have to be perfectly realistic to get valuable practice time in. At first, your drawings will be more wonky, but as you practice, you'll get better. But there is an even easier way to draw or paint birds and this is done by simplifying what you see. You are capturing just the essence of your subject. And this is similar to Sumi painting, the artist captures a subject with just a few inclines. I love the style. The beauty of drawing birds is they are actually very easily recognizable, so you can be super playful. Our brains know what they look like, it knows how to recognize them. Even if your birds are super far from reality, they will be recognizable. Look how easily I capture the poses in basic shapes of these birds. But I'm not being realistic. I'm still studying what I see, but I'm portraying it in a few simple lines. And the beauty of this is that you can do it in so many different ways and they are all correct. There are no wrong answers. This is just a skill that takes practice and I suggest to give it a go right now. This is your first assignment. Go Google or Pintres look up bird photography and try to draw each one very simply, like I do. You don't have to sketch out your bird first, but if you want to, you can, you can use basic shapes or just focus on the silhouette. Whatever you feel comfortable with. It doesn't even matter what your birds look like in the end. Just that you're practicing observing a realistic subject and then stylizing it by simplifying. Fill out at least one page of these studies. I'm telling you there's no wrong way to do this. And the more you do it, the easier it will become. Just look at your bird and then draw it very simply. You're taking out all the detail and you're just doing the outline. You're just doing the feeling of it. You're just practicing observing and then putting it down on the page. You can be more detailed if you like. You can be more realistic if you like. But you don't have to be. If you know what gesture drawing is, think of it this way. Just put it down quickly on paper. It can be super sketchy and messy too. Like there's no right way to do this. So to get the most practice time in, just fill out at least one page of these studies and look how small my birds are. They're tiny in this way. I can do a lot of them really quickly. Now when you're done with your page, we can move on to the next part. We are going to stylize what we see this time. So in the last one we just try to kind of be more accurate and in this one we're just going to be more playful. Here's where you use your imagination. Let's look at an example. There's a semi realistic sketch of this bird, and I can take this information and play with it even more. Here I used a basic oval shape for the body, and all I did was copy the pose of the bird by putting the wing and tail plus eyes and beak in the same places. Even the feet face the same direction, but they are simplified. You can still read this as a bird, but now it's done in my style. Here's another sketch that's inspired by the original. And one more, look how totally different they all are. And you can do this infinitely. I really mean this. Everyone has a unique way of seeing and stylizing. And now let's take a more complex pose here. I also simplified what I saw and already even just by doing a quick study, it has style in it, but then it can simplify even more and tweak little things like the fun pattern for the wing, the open mouth, and the butterfly. To add story, I just took a complex pose and made it easy to draw. By just simplifying and playing with the shapes and lines. You can also evolve ideas like I really like the body shape, and here I used two overlapping ovals to make it more rounded to help with the sketch. But I wanted its feet to be on the ground, so I just drew that in even though they're very long and not realistic. It looks cool. And this time I added a lady bug. It's so cute. Now it's a different story, but it's still inspired by reality. All of these go back to the original bird. You can get as cartoony as you want when you do this. Or you can be more realistic style that you like to draw is up to you. But I think being more cartoony will help you to just be more free. This kind of skill set takes time and practice, so give it a go. So here's your assignment. Take your page of simplified studies that you just did and put it where you can see it. Then take out another piece of paper or the next page in your sketchbook, like here, and doodle birds from your imagination. Based on the simplified studies you just did, try to stylize more like I showed you, you can play with the shapes of the body, the wings, the tail, the eyes, and so forth. If you're stuck on what to draw, just pick a bird from your studies page and copy it. Just tweaking here and there what you want to. In the last exercise, you learned the basic anatomy of the birds. And now we're going to take that information and draw it in infinite ways in whatever way we want to. You can be super playful with style and it will still be recognizable. It's okay if some of them look silly or ugly. The important thing is experimentation, variety and play. The more you experiment, the more you know what looks good or bad, and that's how you discover things you really like for your style. You can even pick your favorite doodles and use those in the later lessons when you make finished paintings or continue refining them until you like them even more. The more you draw these, the better you'll get a drawing them truly. You can draw birds in any way you want, and the goal here is to be able to doodle them from your imagination. Because they are so simple, you just need a body, a beak, eyes, and feet. Honestly, the wings and tail are even optional sometimes, just be playful. You really can make it super simple. Like here, I just started with circles for each bird. And notice I just moved where the beak and eyes are to show where they're facing. And add it simple tails, wings and feet and boom, they are birds. It doesn't get simpler than this. I can even make up very wonky shapes and then add those same features and they are recognizable as birds. Again, look how crazy these shapes are. I mean, you wouldn't think they look like birds, but they do because your brain's wired to see birds. They are such a unique animal that no other thing looks like them. So it doesn't matter what you do, just be playful. Try this out. You can do it too. The further away from reality you go, the more they'll have a unique personality. Take your time, doodling, and try different ideas. And remember that there are no Ran answers. Doing realistic studies is equally important, but a lot of beginners are scared of doing them. But I encourage you to just try, just observe, see the basic shapes, put them down, look at the proportions, make sure they're correct, and then just add in the details. It's not complicated, but it does take practice, especially to get the proportions right, you have to train your eyes to see better. I have tons of drawing classes that can help you to see better. But really, it just takes time and practice. So just try. Okay, now that we know how to sketch our playful birds, or realistic birds, whatever style you like the most, let's learn some basic but important watercolor techniques for the painting sessions. 4. Wet on Wet Basics: Wet on wet. Birds are so cute and so fun and easy to make. But before we dive into that lesson, let's quickly go over what wet on wet is. But if you already know how to use watercolors and you know what wet on what is, you can skip this lesson and go the next one. So in watercolor, if you would an area with water or paint mixed with the water, add a different color to it. The paint will spread and bloom, making gorgeous textures in the area that is wet. You can even add more colors to it, and they will mix and mingle. This is the magic of water color. Depending on how much water or paint is on the page and on your brush, you will get different results. Like here, I waited a little bit longer and it dried more and then added paint. As you can see, the lines are blurry, but they don't spread as much because the page is more dry. More water equals more craziness. Less water equals less spreading. Also, more paint equals more concentrated colors, and less paint equals less concentrated colors. This is wet on wet, we are using wet paint on wet paper. And you can control this effect by controlling the initial shape water and how wet your brush or paper is and how much paint you put down. It's mostly about letting go and letting the paint do its own thing. By relinquishing control, we get beautiful results. You have to try this out to see what I'm talking about that rhymed. Now let's learn about wet on dry. If you paint with a wet brush on dry paper, this is called wet on dry. This is actually what we do with our initial layer. Your paint will stay exactly where you put it, but if you add detail inside that layer while it's still wet, you're working with wet on wet again. So pretty much water plus water equals fun results that do their own thing. But dry paper plus water equal, it stays exactly where you put it. If you want to add crisp details with paint at any time, wait for any paint already on the page to fully dry first, and then you can add your perfect details. But if you want to be merloose and flowy, then just add a well set. You can tell if your paper is dry by seeing how glossy it is. Dry paper is completely matt while wet is shiny. So these are the two basic concepts we will play with in this class. Don't overthink it, just paint and you will learn how it works With experience. It's really not that complicated. Just don't try to control it too much and just have fun. Okay, we're almost ready to paint some birds. But first, let me give you a quick word on color. 5. Picking Colors: Color is something that a lot of artists struggle with. I get so many questions about how to pick cohesive colors, and I honestly don't really think about it. I just pick my colors intuitively. And 90% of the time it works out just fine. But if you struggle with color, I do have a short watercolor class that dives deeper into it. But I will also give you a fun idea that you can add to your artistic tool box in this lesson. First, take out your watercolor paints. If you have multiple sets, just pick your favorite palette and then take a piece of paper. It can even be the back a failed paintings and cut it up into small pieces like so. And then paint colors you're interested in using on the pieces. Or you can use your favorite colors only. Or if you want to be more playful and outside your comfort zone, throw in the ones that you never use but want to. Or if you want to take this even further and just keep these for future references, you can do your whole palette. If you do your whole palette, be sure to label the colors in case you forget which ones which you can put it on the back or the front. You can number them from one to whatever you have starting from the top left to the bottom right. And just count them if you need to, or if you know the color names, just write them down. Or if you already swatch to your colors, you can just simply match them to see which color it is. Now you have a little cheat set of your colors. You can physically move them around until you get a color combo that you like. This is a fun way to pick color combos that you can come back to whenever you feel stuck. And hopefully with practice, you'll get better at picking winning color combinations. Even mix, watch collections in a notebook with the ones you like the most, you can remember them for future pieces. And if you choose to mix colors, you can write down which colors you mix to make what. One more thing to keep in mind is less is more. For example, you can make pretty much any two colors work together and the same goes for three. But if you keep adding colors to the mix, it gets harder. So if you struggle, try to limit your color palette to four or less colors. But I personally don't follow this rule. I like to work with many, many colors, and I like to be super playful. So this really depends on your style. If you're more like me, then be like me. If you want to have a more cohesive palette, just pick a few colors. Don't let anything limit your creative play. Just do your own thing. This is just a tool you can use to make color picking easier. But if you practice intuitive color picking like I do, you will get better at it with time. And you can even test out your color choices on a scrap piece of paper as you go, if you're not sure and you don't want to mess up your colors on a bigger piece. This is also especially helpful so you can see what new colors they will make when they mix, because those will be added to your palette as you go. But for this class, just have fun and don't worry about it too much. Also, don't worry too much about copying my colors. You can just do your own thing. I really encourage that because that's how you will learn how to paint intuitively like I do. Okay, now let's paint some wet on wet birds. This is such a fun lesson guys. Yeah, let's go. 6. Easy Wet on Wet Birds: So this first lesson, anybody can do, even your kids can do this with you. So just have fun. And don't worry about it too much. And there's an infinite number of ways to do this and no raw answers. So give it a go. You can do it, I believe in you. You can use the pages of sketches you did earlier for inspiration, for poses, or actual references of real birds, or you can just wing it from your imagination. Uh huh, Get it? You can even copy me. What you do is up to you, but like I showed earlier, the brain will recognize a bird with super simple features. So don't overthink it and just play and be joyful in your creativity. I'll be using a cheap size six round brush to show you that you don't need fancy supplies to do these. Also, disregard the stuff I said about color in the last lesson. You don't need to pick a fancy color palette for this. Just intuitively pick your colors. This is the perfect exercise to practice that. So you start grab a good amount of water and then pick one of your favorite colors. And just pick up a lot of paint and then just put it down on the page. How you do these is up to you, but let me show you many examples. And I want you to also paint many birds. You can copy me or you can make up your own, just have fun. So I painted some belly and tail shapes to start, and then I picked up another fun color. And even though my first layer is still wet, I'm adding more paint and then painting out the whole shape. It just has to be bird like. I added the wing and the tail. For the second one, I use a darker color and did the same thing. But notice how much more the paint stands out because of the contrast of light versus dark. Playing with value like this can really jazz up your art. And just by adding a little beak, tail and feet, it looks like a bird. Next, I threw in some yellow for more pizzas and added little details with pink. I love to use many colors, but how much you want to use is up to you, and it's good to experiment. And then you'll see which color combos you like and which you don't. Now we're going to let those dry and make more while they do this time I started with the face and wing shape and added the belly with a loose outline of it and a little pattern inside of it to make it more fun. I added some texture to the wing. Cute hair, a beak, and feet with a darker color. I love the shape of this one. And next I started with the loose circle and added two colors to it. And then I added pink to the belly area. And while I have it on my brush, I decided to add cheeks to my previous birds for more acuteness. I love to add cheeks as part of my trademark style, but it's optional. So just do it if you want to notice how on the top love bird the paint didn't spread because the previous layer is dry. But on the other birds, it's still wet. So it makes a lovely texture and spreads. You can always just put some water down if your layer is dry and you want the cheeks to spread more and then put the paint in the middle of it. I added more detail to my new bird with wings, a tail, and feet. So I made a little mistake here. The face was too runny for my taste, and that is okay. If you make mistakes, we can fix them easily. Let me show you how I just clean my brush and water and use a paper towel to dry it off. This is called a thirsty brush. It's thirsty because it's empty. I just pick up excess paint and water off the page by gently painting over the area with my dry brush. And it erases because the brush picks up the excess paint and water. That looks much better. Now, for this next one, I thought it would be fun to start with a very light color and get variations of it going darker as I go down. I paint the silo wed doing so on this time I positioned the little feet as if it's sitting on a branch and gently painted it. And then I added in the super fun turquoise color, the love to spread. And notice how I painted the little flowers with just the tip of my brush. You don't have to paint backgrounds, but they can add more story. Of course, I also add in pink cheeks with this next bird, I wanted to be more graphic with the fun patterns. I started out with a belly shape and then added the bottom of the wing with a simple lines and then the head. I left empty space here to add a little pattern and added a tail with many lines and with a beak and feet. The sky is done. This next one just had an oval body shape with details added in. I love the colors I chose, but as you will see, he'll be my least favorite with how I finish him. But that's gonna be okay. It's okay. You're not gonna like them all, especially if you're loose and playful like you should be. We're going outside the box, outside of our comfort zones, so it's normal to not like everything you make. Once you're done filling your page with birds, you can go back to the ones that are fully dry and add details with your paint. Here I added a light shadow by just reactivating the paint at the feet. And here I added lots of little details and more defined face, but I love to use other media on top of water color. You can use all sorts of stuff. But here I'll show you my three main ones. No matter what you use on top, just always be sure that your paint is fully dry first, unless you want to use like watercolor pencils or something that looks cool with the paint still wet. And do experiment with whatever you have on hand. You can always test it out on a scrap piece of paper first if you're not sure how it will look on top of your water colors. But usually anything dry will look pretty much the same for this one. I use prisma color colored pencils to add the details. This is one of my go to ways to finish any art that I make. It's so easy to add fine details with colored pencil. And it blends into the water color very well. Since this other one is darker, I have to use a lighter medium, like a white jelpen on top. That's why I think it's so important to have some sort of opaque white. So the little foot got a little too lost here, so I added more paint to make it darker. And this next one was defined with a pen, but if you don't have one, you can even use a ballpoint pen, just something that's a darker color to make thin, uniform lines. Even a graphite pencil is fine. So even with just simple lines, we added a ton of character. And the crown just tops it off. With this one, I used a white gel pen to outline the eye and a micron pen to fill it in. Also little sparkles on the cheeks is my favorite way to add shiny cheeks. This next one I tried to make it more textured and outline, but I did not like how it turned out. He's a little angry bird. That's okay. You learn a lot with every piece. You also learned what not to do in the future. So this one I thought it needed more detail with water color. So I darkened the face and added stripes on its belly. I let it dry completely and added a white dot for an eye with a gel pen. This one needed more defined edges in contrast, so I added more details with a darker colored pencil and then more sparkles with the white gel pen and even bits of grass in the background. This one also isn't my favorite, but he's kind of cute. Here I showed you guys how to use colored pencils, a white gel pen and a micron pen on top of your water color. You can see how versatile and easy to use these three mediums are, but you have many, many, many options. For example, for these birds, I use a normal graphite pencil to add detail and made them feel fuzzy with quick lines. You can also use postcomarkers, crayons, pastels, acrylic paints, color gel pens, sharpies, really whatever is on your desk. But I think if I had to choose just three, it would be the micron pen colored pencils and white gel pen like I just showed. Which is exactly what I made these little guys with. Another thing I want you to know is that you can do this exercise with any subject you like. For example, here I did it with simple cat silhouettes and it was so much fun. This is one of my older Youtube videos, and lots of people have tried this technique and it's just it works so well for anything. You don't even have to paint animals like here. I painted cactuses. You can do this technique with any object. So now that you're done, look over your birds. Some came out really well, in my opinion, and others weren't my favorite. This is a good time to think about what you like or don't like about each bird. So you can put away the information into your subconscious mind for future pieces. And if you really like one of your birds, you can blow it up and paint it bigger. Do this exercise as often as you like to get better at using watercolor doodling and playing with shapes and composition. Now let's challenge ourselves with more complex wet on wet birds in the next lesson. It doesn't matter what skill level you are, I believe in you. You can do this. Just try. 7. Observational Wet on Wet Birds: This next painting style exercise takes some practice. But trust me, it is so rewarding. I don't care how hard it seems. Don't set yourself out, just do it. You will get better at observing shapes, playing with color, being loose, and guess what. You will improve with every try and it will transfer to being a better painter overall. And this will really help your observation skills, which are critical for any art you make. This is also a quick exercise, taking me around 15 minutes to paint all six birds because we will be using wet on wet. I recommend you tape down your page with masking tape, but you don't have to for this exercise. I recommend a larger round brush. I'll be using a size eight. You can paint details with a tip and make bigger strokes with the body of the brush. If you don't know what your brush is capable of, I recommend first taking out a scrap piece of paper and practice making different strokes like these with whatever brushes you have. But especially mastering the round brush is so important in water color, just be loose and see what it can do. Just take it out for a stroll and just try different angles, different pressure, and just see, see how it works. You learn a lot by doing so. Do it. And when you're ready to paint, grab your phone or tablet or computer and look up references of birds. I do so by just googling bird photography like last time. Don't be picky. Just choose the first one that catches your eye and paint it quickly. Like so, you can choose to paint with the same colors as the reference photos or make up your own palettes. Both are good skill sets to practice. Just paint the silhouette of the main shapes. And if you're not sure what those are, squint your eyes and it'll help you to separate the shapes. Here are some examples of the different shapes that you can see in birds, usually separated by color or anatomy features. And there isn't just one way to see this, there's lots of ways. So don't overthink it. Instead of thinking of it as a bird, just notice the shapes and lines and try to convey those. The goal is to not see with our mind with how your remember birds looking. That's the biggest mistake beginners makes to see with our eyes. It's to really observe. Instead of thinking of these as birds, just notice the shapes and lines and try to convey those. Don't see with your mind. See with your eyes. Don't worry about shading or detail and don't overthink it. Just trust your hand and your eyes. Just put it down on the page. Your eyes know what they're looking at and your hand knows how to put it down. Capture the essence of your bird. Work quickly and embrace wet on wet techniques. Don't get bogged down by perfection. Instead, be confident and playful with colors and forms, even if your birds all look messy and deformed. That's okay, just keep going. Just work quickly. The faster you work, the more you practice and then you'll get better at painting and drawing your birds in a shorter period of time. Let your paint do its own magical thing too. Let the wet and wet play. Let there be magic, especially if you're a beginner, your proportions and shapes will probably turn out pretty quirky. Just keep painting birds, They'll still be recognizable. You'll still have fun, and you'll still get better at it. The more you do this, the more you free hand, the more confident you become, The more you let go. The more you play with colors, you'll master wet on wet and so forth. There's just so many benefits to this exercise. If you take your time to sketch every bird first, you'll waste your time and probably just get one done instead of a whole page of practice in the same time period. Or it might even take you longer just to do one bird. So no sketching, just paint. And you'll also get better at using and mastering your brush. If it's hard for you to do these quickly. You can use a three minute timer per bird or more or less, depending on your preferred painting speed and how much time you have. But I would do 3 minutes or less. When we have a time constraint, it stops overthinking and forces us to act. It also makes beautiful, loose strokes move paint faster. Try to pick different birds and different poses, you can add patterns in, you can add detail and texture whatever you want to do. And the more you challenge yourself, the more you will grow. So if a pose feels especially difficult, like here, one of these is flying, with the wings being kind of hard to paint. That's good. Even if it turns out bad, you're challenging yourself to see. Because at the end of the day, everything is just shapes and lines. It's really not that much more complicated, It just seems that way. And if it's hard, that means your brain is working extra hard to learn this skill and you'll be better at it the next time you do it. It's like picking up heavier weights at the gym. Yeah, Maybe it's really hard to do, but you'll get more muscle out of it. And if you get stuck on the bird and you do a really, really bad job, just do it a couple times. Keep doing it until you get better at seeing it. Painting the same subject over and over again is a great way to learn how to paint it from imagination as well. So I keep repeating this, but it's all about practice. The more studies you do, the easier it we'll get to do them. And this is true for any subject or medium. The key to getting good at any skill, especially in art, is just to practice. But I hope you realize it's not that hard to paint playfully and loosely with lots of color and wet on wet. Or to even observe complex subjects by simplifying them into shapes. It's just something you do and the more you do it, the better you do it. Just do it if you want to, you can add a second layer of detail to any of these or go back in with a different medium like colored pencil and finish them off. Anything you want to do to practice more and to play, who knows, you could make a finished piece here and frame it. I mean, this is a really fun technique. In the next lesson, we'll use a similar technique and we'll finish it off. It'll be loose and semi realistic at the same time. It'll be fun. So just be playful and do what you like. Remember, it's okay if your results aren't as good as mine. The difference between you and me if your results aren't as good as mine, is, I've practiced drawing and painting birds a lot. So all you have to do is catch up by practicing more than me. The same is true for any artist out there that you think is better than you. They just put more time in, so go ahead and put the time in even 10 minutes a day. We'll get your results in the long run. And it's okay if you do 20 minutes every other day, Whatever you can do. Not all of these turned out great, but I had fun doing them and got valuable practice time in, and the results really don't matter at the end of the day, it's just having fun. Now that you played with our paints, let's paint just one in a semi realistic style, similar to the birds we just painted, but it's a finished artwork. And then I'll show you a more cartoony bird for my imagination that's more planned and fun. Even if you feel like you can't paint like I do challenge yourself and try. You'll be surprised at the results. 8. Loose Bird Illustration: So for this first final project, we're going to use the techniques we learned the last few lessons. But before we start painting, I want to show you this. I was recording for a reel and this painting just looked really not good. I chose the wrong color for the body and the outlines just, they're money and I just I did a bad job here. So what do you do when you mess up? Do you just like go in a turtle shell and hide and pretend that, you know, just you don't like art and give up. No, that sounds wrong, doesn't it? Surprisingly, a lot of beginners do this and then they just don't do art again. But here's what professionals do. They analyze what they did wrong and they try again. And that's how they become professionals. Even if it takes some ten tries to get the results that they want, they'll just keep trying, which is exactly what I did. I chose a new bird pose because I realized I didn't really like the other one. And this next one turned out so cute and is one of my favorite loose bird paintings. I wouldn't have painted it if I would have just given up and not wanted to try again. The moral of the story is to try, try again. Try again. Try again as many times as needed. And do, keep in mind, if you're a beginner, it will probably take you more tries before you really love what you make. But that's just normal. Everyone has to practice. And everyone started as a beginner. If you said unrealistic expectations, you're probably setting yourself up for failure because the real failure is giving up. So just have fun, enjoy the process and just enjoy the ride 'cause the journey is just more fun. I mean, paintings, the best, you know, get in the zone, get in the flow state, you know, just just do it. Okay, pep talk over, let's paint. So I pick a photo of a bird I really like. And you can use this too or pick your own photo. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner, you can copy me. I think that'll help you learn even faster this time. Since we are doing a more finished piece, we are going to start with a sketch. So the secret to drawing anything is to observe with our eyes instead of filling in the blanks with our mind. Which just means take your time to really look and then break it down into simple shapes. Simplify and just get the proportions right and then you can add the details. So basically, again, simplify what you see into simple shapes. Focus on proportions in the sketching phase and just mark where you want the details to be. And then when we finish it off, we'll add those in. Take your time. Erase as many times as you need to until you feel like you've got the proportions right. The proportions are key here. And then we can paint. Also, take a moment to notice my sketch isn't a perfect copy of the reference. And I rotated my bird a little bit as well. But it still looks accurate and recognizable and that's key. So take your time as long as you need to in the sketching phase until it looks about right. And don't be scared of imperfections or small mistakes. They aren't noticeable if your overall proportions are correct. Now let's go in and paint our bird loosely using the techniques we learned in the previous lessons. Use wet, wet, or you can control it more and wait for layers to dry in between. It's up to you how loose you want to be. I just love wet on wet. You can do realistic colors. But I decided to change the colors up and I use a lot of pink when it mixes with the blue. We get a third color, purple. Notice how loose I am. This is just the first layer. So just be playful and don't worry about it. I'm just getting the base colors down now to define the darker areas and give my bird more dimension and realism. I'm going to go in with the darker color here. And as I do this, it also makes more contrast. It just makes it look better. If you're not sure where you should darken, just squint your eyes. And this will help you to see value changes. I always squint my eyes when I need to see values. I do it all the time, every time I draw, every time I paint. So I'm serious, just squint your eyes. This is like the best trick. It's gonna group together lights and darks and make a complicated subject look simple. And that's what our goal is to simplify. Notice how I played with the branch it's on. And I painted over the legs because they were a little too light. I also decided to add the beak and the eye while the paint was partly wet and it bled out just a touch. And I really like this fuzzy look when it's very subtle, just make sure your previous layer is only a little bit wet, not super wet. I'll just go everywhere. Next, I add a simple pattern to the wing, tail and background. Just adding basic shapes and lines like this can add a lot of possessed hear work and texture and pattern. Once I felt like the painting portion is done, I dried it with a heat gun. Or you can use a hair dryer set on low or allow it to air dry. And now we can add detail if you want to. You can continue using paint and do a third layer. I decided to use a darker colored pencil instead. Like I said earlier, you can use whatever medium you want just by defining the eye. It gives it more life. And I continued adding detail around the whole illustration. Notice how the outline doesn't touch all the way around, and I leave some areas without it, and I make a fuzzy feeling with little lines. I also add patterns and light playful shading. Everything is super playful and I love to use scribbly lines. I finished off the background with simple leaves and I decided to add a pink cheek like I always do, but I want it to be more blurry, so I just wet the area first and then I add in the color and it makes blurry edges. For the finishing touches, I added a splatter by tapping a brush filled with paint and water on my finger. Just be sure to use colors you already used in the piece to make it cohesive. And if you want bigger splatter, use a bigger brush. If you want smaller splatter, use a smaller brush. And I added white highlights in the cheeks. So this little guy was so quick to paint, it only took me 15 minutes. One thing you'll notice is I kept it pretty simple with the background, the details, because I tend to overdo it in my previous paintings and in fact, you'll see it in the future painting. But nothing is stopping you from being super experimental and adding more details if you like. It's just something I've learned for myself to do less of. But don't be scared, just do your own thing. Mistakes are just happy accidents or lessons in disguise. And I hope you enjoyed painting your bird, and I hope you made one. And if you haven't, go ahead and do it, it's fun. And now let's do one more complex piece. 9. Thumbnail Sketching: Let's say you want to make a complex piece or bigger art, where do you start? How do you not waste supplies or just stare at a blank page? My advice is to do thumbnail sketching. Thumbnail sketching is so easy, so simple, you are just making a tiny, tiny sketch of your final composition, okay? So it's a neat way to try out many ideas so quickly. And by not painting the first thing that comes to mind, you can let your ideas naturally evolve and pick the best composition instead of just going with your first gut instinct. But to be honest, I do that too. So don't feel limited by this. This is just the tool you can use by seeing it small. You can make changes quickly with your sketch and see if it works. If it doesn't look good small, it almost certainly won't look good big. The good news is, your sketches don't have to be super accurate or beautiful. These are quick and easy. If you want to, you can even test out colors on your tiny sketch to see what color palettes you'll want to use. You can even test out values. If I do thumbnail sketches, I usually keep it simple like these, but it's up to you if you want to make it more complex. It depends on what kind of artist you are. Notice with each one, I change the pose and look of the bird and also the background and shapes of the branch. Until I land on one I really like, I can take my favorite elements from previous sketches and continue to play with them. I'm essentially evolving my idea and making sure the composition looks good. You can fill a whole page of these and pick your favorite and continue to refine it even more if you like. I am using this skill of stylizing that I showed you guys earlier to make these. They are very simple and cartoony and you can make a cute bird too. Just simplify and play. Don't overthink it. Don't overdo it. Just do your own thing, sketch a bunch of ideas, pick one you really like. And it's okay if you copy me too. The important thing is you're learning and the only way to do so is to do it. So do the thing, just have fun. And that's really been the thing in this class, is just do it. Just do it. Just do it. Nike should pay me for this. Seriously, you don't have to stick with your sketch perfectly when you do your final piece, either. It's just to give you a general idea. So don't overthink it and just do it. Just sketch. Okay, now that I picked a favorite piece, let's do it, let's paint it. Let's go. 10. Mixed Media Cartoony Bird: Now we're going to do a more complicated piece, but it's cartoony, it's fun, it's simple, it's just playful. Don't overthink it. Just try, Just try, I believe in you, so do keep in mind this one is less for you to follow along with me. It's just for you to see my process for a more complex piece. Because I do like 1 million things here. You know, I just, I did a lot and I problem solved a lot along the way. And I'll show you how to problem solve and that's important. I want you to just do your own thing for your final illustration. Do whatever floats your boat. You can make it more realistic, more cartoony. Whatever you want to do, just try the techniques we learned and give it a go. Here we go. Let's watch my process. I know I'm going to be using a lot of water, so I tape down my page with masking tape. And next I'm going to sketch out my main illustration. You can use a regular pencil, which you probably should since you'll have the option to erase. But I use a watercolor pencil because I usually don't erase that much. And when I add water, the lines will mostly disappear. But if you think you'll need multiple attempts to create the perfect sketch, it's best to stick with a standard pencil and eraser. Whatever you use, make sure it's light by just drawing lightly or picking a light colored lead. Notice how loose my sketches. We don't have to be perfect at this stage. And I usually use a sketch as a rough guideline, Mostly paying attention to the proportions and marking where I want things to be. And as you can see, I didn't copy my thumbnail sketch exactly. Just mostly kind of go with the flow in the moment. But if you like it more neat and perfect, that's fine too. You can copy your thumbnail sketch. Exactly. You can take your time and make a perfect sketch, whatever floats your boat. Now I start filling in my painting. I'm starting with a lighter color, because in watercolor, we work from light to dark since the medium is transparent. And we can't go back to being lighter unless we add opaque medium like guash acrylic. Here's the base color for the body and then the tree branch. Notice how I'm using the wet and wet technique we did earlier in the tree branch, butterfly wings and cheeks. But I'm also adding details when the page is dry too. So next I went in with some neocolor two pastels which are water soluble, and I added outlines of the flowers with them. I also added details into the bird and then painted it out to make it blurry. You don't have to go out and buy this supply, Just use what you have on hand. But if you want to get it, that's cool too. Whatever you want to do. But you can just use paint for your whole illustration. Honestly, watercolor paint is so versatile you can add detail with it. So just do what you like. I've just been enjoying using these because of how loose and scribbling that can be and I can activate them with water. I mean, it's just fun. Next, I added in a light background loosely. Notice how loose I really am. I just, you know, leave a lot of white dots and stuff. And I think when it's imperfect like this, it's more fun. But that's my style. I also went in with some pink using wet on wet for a nice detail that looks like smaller flowers. And then I decided to add more by doing a simple splatter, just like I showed in the last lesson. Just have lots of paint and water on your brush and tap it on your finger. If you get somewhere you don't want it, just use a thirsty or empty brush to pick it up, to erase it, or cover the areas you don't want splatter on with a paper towel before you do the splatter. So here's an example of me problem solving, which you will see a lot in this piece. U. A lot of things went wrong, especially since I went outside my comfort zone with the style, and I'm new to incorporating neal colors. I didn't like the texture I made earlier with the Neal color, so I just painted over it with the same color until I couldn't see it. And then I thought it would look cooler with the texture being in the background. So I scribbled with similar color that already used, and it added a lot of damp thin texture, which I liked. I also took a darker color and outlined the bird in it. I usually do this because it adds a cartoony style, especially for cute things. I loosely painted in the flowers with the color already used. I decided to throw in the pink into the body of the bird and darken the shadows with it. And thought the bird blended in the background a little too much. So I just outlined him again with an even darker color to add more contrast. But as you can see, I added way too much detail to his tail. And I will fix this later. I decided to add highlights using a post cut paint marker which is filled with acrylic paints, so it's opaque. You can use a white gel pen or a white guash or white acrylic instead. And my style is to add lines and little dots that make it look like sparkles and like it's shiny. I also use a yellow color to add a fun pattern around the eyes and centers of the flowers. I was not happy with my bird at this stage, But this is a good lesson in perseverance. I just continued. I outlined it in the yellow and it just didn't look right. So I thought maybe I should make it darker. Went back in with the darker blue pine and added some pink. And it looked even more busy and more muddy. And I was just like no. But I thought to myself, okay, let me just let me just try again. So I focus on the background and then I came back to him. I just gave myself a breather from him, but I wasn't about to give up. I added leaves with the darker color on the branches and around the flowers. And I think that made it nicer because now this color was used elsewhere in the piece and the bird wasn't too dark compared to the background. I also darkened the tree branch with a simple shadow beneath, and then I added light yellow around the piece and little circles in the background and more highlights. At this stage, I was pretty frustrated because I did, it just didn't look right. I should have stopped earlier. I think I kept going too far. So here is one of my best tips for this. If you come across this before you give up, before you stop, walk away and come back to it in a few hours, or even better the next day like I did here. And then I had a better idea of why it looked off and what I can do to fix it. You see, if you stare at something too long, it becomes hard to drudge. So always take this advice if you're not sure what to do, and especially if you make something for social media and you know you've been staring it for a while, Just take off the day and come back to the next day to see if you need to add anything to finish it. First off, I realized the belly pattern was just so busy. I painted over it with the yellow color to make a new base layer. And that's the fun of opaque paints. And I used the yellow to simplify the pattern around the eye on the right side as well. And then I took a lighter neo color to lighten the dark areas because it was too dark here. And these pastels are opaque. And by using it, it also made a cool texture where it shows a little bit of the darkness underneath. And I just really liked this texture and it really brightened up the face and body and added more depth. And then I also added some leaves with this color to make it more cohesive. Usually, I like to use any color I add in in more than one area, so it blends better. This is great advice if you want to add a new color in, because if you just put in one little area, sometimes it just looks off, but sometimes it doesn't. It's up to you. Next, I took some pink and added a fun pattern to the belly wings and tail. I even outlined some flowers with it. I added more details with turquoise and then finished it off with more highlights. The final result is busy, Yes, but I learned a lot and it was fun to layer. I also like how it turned out, but next time I will try to hold myself back from adding too many details. This is a lesson I learned over and over again in my art, and it's honestly my biggest weakness. I tend to overdo things, but I also enjoy doing that and being loose in the moment and having fun. So it's a balancing game, but this is definitely a little bit different from my style and I just had so much fun making him. I hope watching me make this taught you how to be playful and problem solve on the go. Be courageous and make your own cutie bird. Have fun. And don't worry too much about results. You will learn a lot no matter the outcome. Now let's finish off the class. 11. You Finished! :): Yeah, you made it to the end. I'm so excited for you. I hope you had fun playing with birds. They are such a fun subject to explore. We all have such a unique artistic voice when we put our own twists on them. So keep painting and keep playing. Keep experimenting with whatever media you have. You will naturally find and develop your favorite style of illustrating with time. If you haven't painted or drawn any birds yet, shame on you just kidding. But this is a great time to do it. Be sure to practice the skills that you learned by watching me, because without practicing, you won't remember anything I taught you. After all, the only way to learn is to do. Also be sure to share anything you make by uploading it to the project gallery. I can't wait to see what kind of cut loose and fun birdies you make. Remember, there is no wrong way, no wrong way at all to paint birds. They are such a fun subject that is so easily recognizable. So the sky really is the limit. I hope you found this class inspiring. And if you're interested in continuing learning from my other classes, I have 30 of them. That's right, 30 so far my biggest recommendations are you can draw anything. Anyone can water color the watercolor mixing class, draw cute animals class, and my other drawing classes. And I also have class where you can paint a lawn and do projects with me. And if you want to learn how to do lighting and stuff like I kind of made the last project, a little three D, you can take my gouache painting class for fruits and that one I actually show the basics of how to do light and shadows and kind of how I understand it. I also have a published book on learning how to draw cute animals. If you're interested in learning how to draw cute animals in my style, Okay, so that's it. Take care, and I'll see in the next class, keep learning and growing. Oh, and have a fabulous day, week and year and forever. Bye.