Modern Watercolor Florals: 3 Ways | Amarilys Henderson | Skillshare

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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.

      Modern Watercolor Florals


    • 2.

      Let's Talk Florals


    • 3.

      Dropped Florals: Overview


    • 4.

      Dropped: Painting Practice


    • 5.

      Dropped: Painting a Bouquet


    • 6.

      Vintage Florals: Overview


    • 7.

      Vintage: Painting Practice


    • 8.

      Vintage: Painting a Bouquet


    • 9.

      Illustrative: Overview


    • 10.

      Illustrative: Practice Painting


    • 11.

      Illustrative: Painting a Bouquet


    • 12.

      Wrap Up


    • 13.

      BONUS: Common Hang-ups


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About This Class

Watercolor is hot and florals reign! Find your style by trying out THREE on-trend, gorgeous ways to paint florals in watercolor. Amarilys will guide you on how to paint a single flower three ways and then she'll tackle a full arrangement in each style.  

What you can expect from this class: 

  • Painting inspiration!
  • A variety of demos--watch several paintings come together from start to finish
  • A look into these three styles--the markets they're prevalant in and their unique art principles
  • Recommended materials specific to each style
  • Hear suggestions to tackle many common floral-painting hang-ups such as composition, shading, and color selection
  • Supplies List in the Project Section

Through learning these techniques, you'll find your homegrown fluid style as you compare and contrast by practicing these approachable lessons.

The best paintings were a joy to create. Enjoy this class, let loose, and move forward in your bold, modern watercolor florals!


Meet Your Teacher

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Amarilys Henderson

Watercolor Illustrator, Design Thinker

Top Teacher

Hello! I'm Amarilys. I process on paper and I problem-solve with keystrokes.

As a commercial illustrator, I've had the pleasure of bringing the dynamic vibrance of colorful watercolor strokes to everyday products. My work is licensed for greeting and Christmas cards, art prints, drawing books, and home decor items. My design background influences much of my recent work, revolving around typography and florals.

While my professional work in illustration is driven by trend, my personal work springs from my faith. Follow along on Instagram


Learn a variety of fun and on-trend techniques to improve your work!

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1. Modern Watercolor Florals: Hi, I'm back for another class. This time, I wanted to talk about watercolor florals in Illustrator. I do a lot of florals. Some of the techniques we're going to cover are very much on trend. Actually, I chose three styles that are very different from each other and yet very prevalent right now. But the class is designed to make floral paintings be approachable. If you just want to take the class because you want to look at the eye candy, that's totally okay too. I get that. I'm Amarilys. I was actually named after a flower spelled in Spanish and then misspelled. I will be having a lot of demos. You'll be seeing my hands a lot painting. You can watch the video, it will be short. Then sit down with your paper and your paints, and post your first exercise, which is just simple little painting that I'll talk about in the next session. 2. Let's Talk Florals: If you haven't taken a class from me before or if this is the first time you see my face, I'm Amarilys. I'm an illustrator and I do, do a lot of florals. A lot of times they're in the background of a card, or they're bordering on a wedding invitation, or they are finer pieces that are supposed to be reproduced and sold in larger stores. I love the characteristics of flowers. I love organic shapes and how these folds go together into each other. I find it mesmerizing. I love their color, and I also like leaves. Leaves provide this structure, these design elements, silhouettes to contrast the striking flower. I obviously really like flowers. I have always tried to paint my namesake. I started out very realistic, very detailed, and really that's a good way to start. I looked at my paintings a year or two ago, maybe a year ago. I saw the progression of how I painted flowers, and how I started with something more realistic and where I'm at now. Of course I like my recent work the most. But it's always good to start with sketching some. Even if that's not what your final painting is going to look like, even if you're going for something imaginative, it's great to really dive into what the subject really looks like before you break it down into shapes and brushstrokes and colors. Here is a rose. When we paint our roses, they are not going to look necessarily like this, but we will do it in three different styles. I really more than anything, would love to see everyone's style develop as they paint their flowers. First off, I'm going to ask you to get to sketching. These are going to be studies to help us notice how those petals form, how they fold in a rose. There is nothing like actually looking at a reference and sketching it. You can do this with a pencil or brush or marker. It's just for you to take a closer look. In the class project part of this class, you'll see in that section that at the bottom there is a download for this PDF. It's a sheet of paper, mostly blank, but it has a rose already there for you to use as a reference, and to get going on this. Post your project in the community class project area, just take a picture or scan it, so that we can see how your sketches will later influence your paintings. 3. Dropped Florals: Overview: All right. Let's talk about what I call dropped watercolors. This wet on wet technique, Chinese painting has a lot of it. First of all, talk about the supplies. So the best kind of paper for this specific way of painting is the heavier the better. So I use Arches watercolor paper. I sometimes use a rough texture just to keep it interesting. It's totally up to you. As far as the watercolor paints themselves, the more fluid the better. So I use these kind of watercolors, they're Dr. PH Martin's radiant concentrated watercolors. If you've taken my watercolor calendar class, you've seen these before. I use a drop or two at a time. For a brush, the type of brush that I like to use for these kind of paintings are actually pretty large. I like to use a larger brush because of the variety of line quality that I can get. So as I press down, my lines get thicker, and they are as wide as that brush is. But it could actually be as thin. Also, my line could be as thin as the tip of this brush. That kind of line quality is very important in these kinds of paintings. A setting that you might see, this style of watercolor florals used in a lot is on fabrics. So we're talking fashion design, a lot of flowing watercolor, pattern designs of a florals that are just, they might be large or small, but usually they are large that you can really get the saturation of those colors coming through. Sometimes you'll see this type of art on paintings, on reproduce canvases. I think of Helen Dealtry and her scarves and then actually her line at Target recently. This style leans more towards a fine art feel. So those are the places where you'll see it the most. 4. Dropped: Painting Practice: I'm going to first show you the basic practice of painting like this. I first start with water. My waters a little dirty right now because I wanted you to be able to see it through my camera lens. Now I'm doing these strokes, these petals all in water. I I'm pressing down to get those wide brush strokes to portray the pedal. Then I'm thinning them up at the edges as they curve in. If you look at my rows on the left, you see that those shadows provide a darker shape. Now I'm going to come in with that color and guide the color around the way that I want it to go. My color samples there on the right to keep it straight to know which colors are going in where. I'm working with a reference which I don't usually do. But it sure helps to discover a bit more and I'm always going darker in the center. I'm using a lot of paint, dropping it into the middle and let it bleed out into those smaller outward petals of this bowl shape of a rose. Then towards the end, I just add interest. I add different colors. I dropped them randomly just to bring in something a little different. I might add in some splattered around the edges or some very stark shapes to contrast these bleeding, the colors of the flower itself. This time, I'm not going to look at my reference. I'm just going to take from what I've learned from painting that other rose, my first one, and paint away from from what I think I saw or what I remember. Notice how I'm doing my brushstrokes. I pushed down to make those wide angles. Then I use my tip to refine at these petals and work similarly and once you understand the design language of these flowers, then you may not even need a reference. I'm going to bring in another color and I'm going to get much bolder as I get darker with these colors. I never quite know how these are going to dry. The longer I do this, the more I get a sense of that. But part of it is the surprise of the process. Now I always start in the middle because it just gives me a nice point of reference. A little sad story about me is I was painting some of these in a very creative fury. It was a wonderful evening. When I did these two paintings, large paintings, I had my paints right next to me. I was doing those watery washes and then I just dropped, knocked over some of my jungle green. Actually the whole thing just, it was a huge mess. They went straight across my foot and all over my painting. I was shocked. I was a little devastated, but in the end of that is pretty lovely and went with it. In Photoshop, I cleaned it up, I took it off, I did what I could to remove it. But the piece of art is framed and I've had it at shows. I show it just that way because I actually do really like it. Something that I really like about this leaf is actually that it's playing the pink into the green. This is getting very wet and that's why we use that thick paper using the same colors. But mixing them is a great way to keep your piece unified. I am constantly looking at the silhouette of these, and I'm constantly pushing the paint to where I want it to go. I'll even move the paper back and forth to manipulate where those darks land. 5. Dropped: Painting a Bouquet: Now, that was fun, but painting some roses and some leaves are not really going to address how we go about this technique. So we're going to dive into different kinds of flowers now. First of all, I'm going to lay out a framework. It's very easy to get out of control, overwhelmed if we don't have some layout when we're working wet-on-wet because we have to work so fast. So what I did was I did a few hints of some outlines in a very light watercolor or very pale, sure but which is what I'll be using a lot more of. Here, I'm starting to lay in those folds. I'm using my tip to make those outlines and then I've actually dipping in and pushing in further with the brush. Once I know that those lines are looking good, I go in a little thicker for some of those folds. We're going to be working in layers. So I'm going to be working first all over the place. I'm starting on this flower in the lower left. I put in this wet wash of the whole bowl of the inside of this tulip and then I'm dropping in the colors along the edges so that when they bleed, they will bleed into this blue that I'm bringing in later. So the most saturated violets are on the outside and the riches blues are on the inside. There are also these hints of pink that I'm just going to randomly put in just very little notes, we don't want to distribute it all around. This is getting pretty wet, I'm going to need to work on something else pretty soon. But something else that I want to point out is on the outside of that petal on that right-hand side, I have a hard line there. I'm going to bring my brush in that's actually dry and I'm going to swoop in to unify those two colors. I'm going to unify that petal so that I get a bit of a gradient from dark to light. Now, I'm going to leave this flower alone because I want to keep some of those whites. With this way of working, it's very easy to get out of control with our colors because we're moving so fast and we want to bring in more colors. It's important to leave those whites as you do in traditional watercolor painting. Then this is my favorite flower, what we're working on, since the blossoms are nice and open, we get to work in those blades very gradually. Again, I'm going in wet, I'm trying to not touch the parts that I want to leave a crisp white, and I'm dropping in the purples. I see how those violets tend to crown around within those tulips, and yet there's a blue. This photo has been somewhat manipulated, so I don't think this is how they look naturally, but it is what I love about this picture. So that's why I'm using this reference. Now that I have my colors mostly laid in, I'm going to drag them down just a little bit more because now I'm pulling just those colors that I already have established down further into this center. But the center still has that white, so I don't want to go too close to the middle. To change it up a bit, I start working with those outlines. Again, I'm going from wet-on-wet to things that are very wet to doing outlines and back and forth because I'm working while the water is drying. It's also really encouraging to see these outlines bring the flower to life when all I see is a blob, for now, while I'm working on things. I'm alternating my colors because that's part of what I enjoy, part of my signature. So I don't always outline with the same color and I don't always outline with the same line quality, I want to vary all of those. Now, this one can really come to life because that really wet wash has mostly dried. It's not completely dry, you'll see that it bleeds a little bit, but I'm okay with that. I am using pinks and reds, I don't combine them before I start painting. I lay in the watery paint and then I add in more colors and let them blend themselves right on the paper. I'm always paying attention to where the most value is, where the darkest colors are because that's where I want to start. Then I drag my brush that is mostly dry by the time I lay down those colors to create those gradients from dark to light. Since I went a little darker, a little heavy on that one, I'm going to go lighter on this one mostly focusing on those folds and those outlines and in the center, I let it get a little washed out and messy. Now, if you remember in my practice painting, I made the leaves or I painted them in light pink before I added the green. I'm applying the same principle to this flower. It is going to be purple, blue, a cooler color. But I wanted to do the under painting in this light pink, bringing some of that blue and it's going to create a unique gray violet and that's what I'm going for. Instead of using a color straight from my palette, I'm combining these. This is a great technique to use on colors that are lighter color that you want to add interest to, but you can't touch too much and make them too dark. This painting has two more stages. One is this, this is the next to last of doing these small flowers that we're bordering and they provide a nice shape contrast. I'm really getting creative on this, I'm obviously not working off the reference very heavily. I just want to use the shape of my brush to create the shape of these petals. I'm going to play with some outlines and a few color gradations to create a path where the eye is going from the upper right-hand corner down into this heavy left-hand side. Lastly, I'm going to bring in those leaves. I'm showing you how mixing the greed for those leaves, I don't want it to be a saturated green because it's going to fall into the backdrop. It's a bit of a filler. I want it to be subdued and almost gray as the focal point are these bright colors of the flowers themselves. When I'm creating a bouquet in this style, those leaves come in at the end to provide a filler away for the viewer to float along the eye, and to create a backdrop for those colorful flowers. It's time to create that last step that really punches this piece. I waited for it to dry, so everything is dry and now I'm coming in with these very dark spots. I painted some darker outlines, I do small dabs of contrasting colors to make it look interesting. I really tried to not touch the peace too much at this point, but at the same time, I really value this step. It makes the painting go from wet-on-wet floral that just looks nice to something that might stand out and look professional. 6. Vintage Florals: Overview: Now we're going to talk about more of a vintage throwback style to doing our watercolor flowers. I turned my little floral arrangement around. You can see these are very popular in this style. Just to clarify, this is the stuff we're talking about. As you can see, these paintings are tiny compared to what I typically do. They are tight paintings. They typically are done in wash, very flat colors, they are consistent. Now, how did I make my watercolors look this way? I wanted to keep working in my own medium, in watercolor, and so the way that I worked around that was by adding acrylic ink. I'll drop a little acrylic ink onto my palette and it's usually something that I can just throw away because it's not something that's easy to clean off, and it dries very fast. I'll squirt a little bit of these paints next to that white, and I'll start to blend away and find the perfect shade. It provides a pastel quality to my watercolors that is flat, so this is not the time to be wanting to make bleeds into my paintings, that's not what this style is about. As far as paper goes, you can be very flexible with what paper you use. You can even use card stock. I use much smaller brushes for this technique. Those are the materials you'll need. Some paints that hopefully you can squirt out onto a pallet simply because if you mix that acrylic white ink with a paint that's in a well, it's going to dry and leave a bit of a plasticky cover over it and it's going to compromise the quality of your watercolor paints. These tight vintage florals, you'll see them on stationery and beautiful little paper products. The key to these paintings is of course, staying in step with their style. But more than anything, it's those color palettes, though we're using mint greens and peaches and light yellows. It'll make a huge difference in your paintings to be consistent with those colors. 7. Vintage: Painting Practice: Let's work on those colors. The first thing I do is to take out my white ink and I made it a line so that I can mix my colors with the white and that contaminate the white very much. With this technique, you're going to be juggling three mediums; the pate, the water, and the white ink. But you can also use white watercolor. I find that the ink is much more opaque and leaves a nice flat outcome. If you want more color, you add more of the watercolor. If you want your color to be lighter, you add the white ink and if you want it to flow better on your brush, then you add a little water. Now, let's begin painting. I like to start these floral, since color is so important with the green, it sets the tone for the rest of the flowers and the green leaves in these paintings tend to create a unified look.This color that I'm using right now is in olive green mixed with white and a little bit of water. Doodle different shapes. What's important here is the silhouette, much like the wet on wet technique that we talked about before. It is about that outline, shape, and something that's really fun though with this medium is that you can start with dark and go to light. That's actually a luxury that we don't get to have a lot in watercolor. I am making these leaves. Some of them are this light green, I'm playing with an indigo mixed with the white and the water. Change the shape of your leaves but always make sure that it is opaque, that there are crisp lines on the outside and they're very simple. Don't look down on your paintings like they're too simple, that is the nature of this style. Then we'll add details that will bring it to life. Another design element that's used a lot in these paintings are dots. They can come in the form of berries or as buds usually or they're just randomly placed, these little polka dots. I want to make sure that I include that as a whimsical touch that helps give these chunky blocky flowers and leaves some grace, some movement, make the painting more dynamic. Now we're going to start painting some flowers. I'm doing these all pieced, this is just a practice run and just like before, we're going to stick with roses just so you can see the contrast of each style using the same flower. Roses are very simple in the style. They are really just ellipses, circles, ovals. They might have a little more shape to them, but mostly they're very rounded out and you don't need to worry about petals and how things fold into each other at all at this stage. These paintings are done in layers. First of all, we're just going to do those circle shapes. I will also occasionally do some that do swirl around and aren't totally flat in nature. I like to just remind myself what these shapes look like and it's just fun. If I mess it up, I just fill it in and convert it into a flat rose that later I'll bring the petals into. Now, I'm going to do something a little unexpected. But once you look around, you'll see that there are a lot of cool colored flowers in these floral arrangements. I'm using this emerald green to make a flower. It's really dark. It's something that I don't usually do in watercolor but again, what's great about working with this ink combo is I can work from dark to light, whereas in watercolor, I always have to work from light to dark. To carry out that same color, I'm also going to bring in some of that foliage in that same color. Now comes the fun part when you start to see things come together and this actually look like flowers and not just doodles. I'm mixing together this raw amber with the white. The flowers themselves tend to be a vivid color, the background of those roses, let's say. But then the lines within tend to be very unsaturated colors. They might be indigos, navies, browns, very neutral colors, and it keeps this painting looking like it's still a throwback to vintage style. That is the key. Colors are very important in how you use them here. As you see when I start dabbling in those center dots, you really get a sense of what these flowers look like before they were just blobs. The ones that had a little white in them that I did those worlds on. I think they add a little more dimension, but they somewhat fear from the original style. So that's just me bringing in my style into this painting. Now, I'm going to bring in those light touches on the dark flower. Where's the pink coral lens were light and then the lines on top are dark, I did the reverse for the emerald green ones setting a little mint on top. I think that is essential when capitalizing what is great about using this medium and two, it just brings a characteristic look. Again, I'm bringing in that mid green, just a little bit of a light blue color, some twigs, all of these vintage details that make these paintings so fun. Then, I did actually take them into Photoshop and put them together to see how they would look, put together as a bouquet. 8. Vintage: Painting a Bouquet: I'm starting again with my white. This time I'm going to put my flowers together. I'm starting with a sketch. So I'm laying out my main flower that I want to be the focal point, I have one circle on the right indicator flower, one on the left, so there is a balance. I wanted this to be in a crescent shape, and so I went ahead and laid out that shape. Since we're going to be using opaque colors, we'll be able to erase these lines later. On the ends, I'm adding some of those buds that help create that drooping crescent shape, when I hadn't started laying in some flat colors. Those two coral shapes are next to each other, I like to add just a little bit of difference so that they stand out from each other, and so one has a little more yellow, one has a little more pink. But again, I'm using those same colors over and over again, I'm mixing them together to make new combinations. But that way my color scheme is very unified and it stays looking very put together. With these paintings there is always a limited color scheme, and so you want to keep to that. If you're using gouache, it's a lot easier to stick to that color scheme as you are probably just using that color in a flat way. Right now, I'm constantly looking at how my composition is going. With a bouquet, you want to fill in all those extra little gaps, and the hardest thing is when you have some gaps leftover. Though with this flat medium, we can work on top, work layering in a way that you can't with a translucent medium. I'm adding in some leaves. Like I said, leaves always help me to keep the color scheme unified, it creates a rhythm, a pattern throughout the bouquet. The first thing I wanted to do just to review was I put in the flowers that I want as the most important focal features, then I laded some leaves, some elements to help enforce the shape that I want from my bouquet. Once those are in, I'm adding in some more secondary flowers. These are going to be in the brightest color, or the lightest color that I have. They are not the focal point, but since they're overlapping and coming out from behind the ones that are, they can stand well on their own as light yellows. What's great about this style of working is you can work again from dark to light, so I'm filling in some of those gaps in dark green so that I have that full bouquet look, giving you a break from the hyper lapse. But now I'm filling in with even more smaller flowers, these little daisies. They come in handy as filler and that's why they're the last thing that I put on. Now we get to add in those details that make this painting look like a floral and somewhat more professional. What I want you to notice with the lines that I'm adding on top, they're very simple design motifs, and again, I'm using a very small brush. But what I've noticed is that the background color it tends to be bright and vibrant, very fun, and then the colors on top tend to be muted. So they are yellow ochers, they have brown or they're navy. With these small strokes that you're bringing in, those burgundy's, those ochers, those brown's, you're bringing in the dimension of these petals in the flowers. This is a one shot deal, and so you might feel a lot of pressure but really it's designed to feel fun. As I've said before in another class that I taught here on Skillshare, how much fun you put it into a piece really shows, and that's what people want to buy and want to look at. These lines you're adding, they're simple little swirls, you want to use different line quality. If you look at that lower right blue flower that I was working on, some of those lines are thick and some are thinner. It's that variety that creates interest in your piece. I'm adding lights on top of darks and just adding lines everywhere. That's really what brings these pieces to life. Then after that, I'm bringing in some more darks to pull it back and forth, so the eyes going back and forth, looking in and looking out. Also what's fun is to use some unexpected colors, using the coral on top of the green or vice versa, this is a limited color scheme, but you can use it however you want. One of the last things I do here is to go in with a dark, neutral color like navy blue or a browner and ocher, add in any last silhouettes of flowers, of leaves, things that keep it more grounded. Before this, it just looked like flowers and leaves. There's something about adding a little unexpected touch of navy or gray in silhouette form and little touches at the end to make the piece look more professional and a little unexpected. 9. Illustrative: Overview: Now we get to paint in the style that I paint most often, and it's an illustrative approach. We'll start with light washes, put in some details. But the heart of these florals are that they are imaginative, they use design principles such as rhythm and pattern and line and color more than, let's say, painterly qualities, which would be having those flows from watery lights to dark bleeds and things like that that we covered in the segment that was on the dropped watercolors style. The materials that you'll need are watercolors and paints, sounds very redundant. Here's my pallet. You see it pretty often in my picture. When I do illustrations, I tend to use this Canson brand watercolor paper. It's just the right weight, it's just the right price, it's a bright white, it doesn't warp very much so it's great for my illustration work. As far as brushes. It's fun to have a variety of sizes. You want to do a variety of shapes for your flowers. I really like thinner liner brushes and I'll show you how I use those at the end. The strength of these paintings are in their imaginativeness. You'll see these flowers in greeting cards with some hand lettering. You'll see them with some stationary and products. They tend to be more on the side of things that you keep, like notebooks, and journals and folders and things like that. They'll be on calendars or in picture books. I also see these florals used a lot in home decorating. They're focused on colors that are used often in home decor. So you want to be watching those trends, those color schemes, because if it doesn't fit what will sell next fall or whatever, it will not get purchased. 10. Illustrative: Practice Painting: Now I chose to show you illustrate of florals at the end, because by now you're probably itching to do flowers your way. I'm doing roses. Again, they're not my favorite flower, but we're just going to be consistent. As you can see, I'm using a brush that's rounded at the end. It's not a round brush, and it is helping me create these petals, and I'm totally exploiting the shape of the brush itself to create these florals. Now with this kind of painting, we're going to have to wait a lot for layers to dry, because we're not dropping in more colors while things are still wet. Sometimes I'll add like I will with these green leaves, I'll add some blue and let it do its thing. But the fun part, the great part, really happens towards the end when I come in with some smaller brushes. You're seeing that again, I'm using the shape of the brush to do these florals. There's no wrong way to do this style. This is all about your style. I'm just showing you the way that I approach these illustrative florals. I looked for shapes and things that I like from illustrators work for the second stage, where I'm using a liner brush and a small round brush. This is where the roses are really coming to life. I'm using a lot of the same principles as those vintage roses, doing a lot of swirls and things that show the shape of the petals going around. This one got a little wet so I'm going to spread out that water and let that one dry. It's a very simple style. Again, you will have your own way of doing these kinds of flowers. You can see with the leaves, I went in with the liner brush, and I did, basically, outline silhouettes over a Painterly Approach to making those leaves. Just for fun, I'm adding lines and dashes and dots just because I can, and it makes it feel more alive and more vibrant. We'll learn more creative approaches to painting your illustrative flowers when we dive into doing a bouquet in the next session. 11. Illustrative: Painting a Bouquet: One thing that I like to advise is to lead with your strengths. I like making this type of flower shape. Its very straight on, flat on, it's not anything terribly special, just a lot of diamond shapes put together. But just as a warm up, I like to lead off with my strengths and start with something that I feel comfortable with, and that will leave me to feel more free to be creative with more approaches. I'm adding layers, a completely different color to another maybe layer of these petals. I'm not using a reference, but I'm really just focusing on the shape what the colors are doing to each other. That my brush is working well, that I'm using that brush shape to my advantage and trying my best to not overthink it. I've sufficiently warmed up, it's time to get bold and I draw my long line of vine leaves. Again, this is something that I feel pretty comfortable with. I'm continuing with these shapes, but now I'm trying it a little differently. This is definitely going to be a challenge to paint around and I know that. I think I need to give myself challenges sometimes and there are going to be some challenges as we lay out a bouquet. I think it can be pretty intimidating because there's so much overlap in a flower, let alone in a floral arrangement. But you have to start out with the ones that you want to be prominent at the front. With this technique you basically treat it as a jigsaw puzzle. I have all these white gaps that I'm creating from not having something painted there and I'm going to have to work around that. That's really why I like using these round brushes because I have a point that I can play with at the tip, and yet I have some flexibility to make some large shapes. A customary color scheme for me is this sage green, a turquoise, and opera pink. I am going with a signature move here and I honestly, I don't know where this is leading, but I know what I listen to is what this piece needs. I know that it needs some contrasts. I'll use the flower that has a strong bud, or I know that I need to break away from doing these same diamond leaf shapes. I'll try a different leaf shape. I notice that, now that I've made this flower down here, it's a little light, I need to bring in some light somewhere else. I'm constantly thinking of unity and when I look at other artists' work, I'm reminded that we all need to worry less about the things that we can't do and focus on what we're good at and keep working at that. I'm throwing in some succulents, they're very hard to distinguish at this point. The green on the lower left, the purple at the top right and now this muted turquoise that I have at the bottom here. I'm really just creating very watery outlines, I'm working light to dark as you traditionally would do with watercolor and then you'll get to see a second layer of darker on light as I work on this purple succulent. Again, I'm not doing outlines, I'm looking at shadows. At this point I am using a reference because succulents are so confusing, the way that they fold into each other and they're standing straight up in the middle, and then they are laying flat down. Those petals are laying flat down on the outsides. I've put in that second layer and then I move on to something else. I received questions on Instagram about just regular painting pitfalls with florals. One of them was working on something too much or being too wet, that's why you see me working throughout the piece. While things dry, I'll work on a different flower somewhere else and sometimes I'll have three pieces on my table that I'm rotating out. I remember my high school art teacher suggested that we do this and I thought it was ridiculous and I didn't take her advice and now here I am giving it. Now I'm bringing that third dark, that third layer into this succulents starting to take shape, it's still pretty watery. I thought I'd try very simple flower a bud look with the circles and then I use my liner brush that is very unpredictable, but provides these really nice thin lines as almost like they're sticking out of this vine. One more thing I'm going to do is I'm going to outline a lot of these amorphous shapes that I'm calling flowers and that is the most important part. Really when you have a smaller brush, as you work from a big brush to a small brush, light to dark, it's about those last details that become more and more important. I'm coming in now with a large brush, and the reason why I'm doing that is because I need to fill in the background of this bouquet and I really want to loosen up. I'm constantly changing things up as far as providing that variety. If I'm going to imitate a larger petal, a larger leaf, I'm going to use a larger brush, even though it is very difficult. If you feel more comfortable with a small brush, you're welcome to use that in these little nukes that need some background color. This is the key part as far as bringing it together into being a cohesive bouquet. To imagine some large leaves, some good backgrounds and to unify things with a certain color. At this point I was feeling like this piece was just drowning in different directions. I brought in this green that has some blue trying to tie in two colors that I already have in my palette and put those in the background and hopefully ground this wildflower bouquet. Finally, I want to show you how I'm finishing that violet succulent up at the top. I'm using that turquoise blue again that I'm using to unify this piece and it's unexpected but succulents tend to be several colors anyway. I'm outlining it so that it stands out a little bit and yet I'm also not wanting to outline all the shapes so that it's still suggestive and leads much to the imagination. We're going to switch gears now into a different painting. I wanted to show you how I add different details and shapes into florals to make them not so stuffy, not so predictable. Again, I'm using this liner brush and I was inspired by these beads that I have, there in the bead section but anyway, they seem to be pendants of some sort for necklaces. I love that teardrop design and they like to bring in angular lines. I have so many round organic shapes going on in my flowers that it's really fun to bring in these lines, this is something that I'm doing fairly recently to juxtapose the florals. I hope you're gaining ideas as to different ways that you can bring doodle elements really to the top of your paintings in that last layer to make it uniquely yours. Something that we illustrators talk a lot about is style and wanting to create your own style and fearing that you look to mainstream but yet we need to follow trends. Doing these paintings, adding these details are the type of things that make an artist recognized in their own right. You'll see me adding a couple of more details here to the leaves, and I'll show you what these look like when they were all done. 12. Wrap Up: I hope you've enjoyed this class. I certainly enjoy jumping into watercolor florals with you. Just a couple things before I let you go, I want you to post your project. I know that it can be intimidating for a lot of people. I think one follower on Instagram, she's an Insta friend. She often says that posting her artwork is like walking down the street naked, and that's how she feels about it. But it gets easier and we want to see your progress. So show us your little exercise sketches and your bouquet. If you have one, your floral arrangement. I love to give feedback if you've taken any of my classes, you know that I comment every single time, and I want to hear from you. I think that one of the strengths of skill share is how people interact with each other, and there is a professional culture to it. I think that social media, online teaching, all the things that we do through the interwebs is not worth a whole lot unless we interact with each other, so do that. I hope that I've clarified some things for you. If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask, post a discussion. I wish you the best. I would love to hear which style you enjoy doing the most, which style you hope to do, and which one you find the most difficult. Until later, let me know whatever classes you might be interested in taking from me. I have my own ideas, but I love to hear from you guys. Best of you, bye. 13. BONUS: Common Hang-ups: About troubleshooting. It's inevitable that your pieces will not be perfect. That is okay, and a good thing. Start with sketching, get yourself familiar, and you'll feel more confident to paint. I often do that when I feel intimidated. The other thing I do is I'll do very light washes. I'll do a very light pencil sketch sometimes just to get the idea and these washes help me to just cement in, "Okay. I'm going to do this," and it gives me confidence to move forward. Sometimes I don't even sketch, I will just ruin the canvas because I want to take away that intimidation. Then I get tighter and tighter, and each layer holds less pressure to it because it's building on the last. When the shape of the flower is something that you don't love, I would suggest bringing up other ones around it to make a bouquet. Don't put it at the center, but maybe a few smaller ones over here and some larger pieces over there, and it all just drop back into the background. It'll still be a part of your piece, it won't be wasted work. But that way, you will have an opportunity to keep going. If you find that you are putting way too much water into your shapes, take a dry brush and blot it out. It'll just suck it out, it won't do a ton. You might feel like it's still wet. Then dry that off, clean off your brush, put that away, get another brush to sop it up. You can also do that with a towel or a napkin. You have maybe not been using the tip of the brush but rather the body of the brush too much or vice versa. It's really important to practice this. Sometimes when you paint this way so that it's thicker and this way when it's thinner, and do some exercises where you're making lines and dabs and you're getting a feel for how different those shapes are with that same brush. If that doesn't work, use another brush. Drop everything, and start using another brush, and you'll see that your hand starts to do things differently, and then come back to the brush that you were using before, and you'll have more flexibility with it. Color schemes can be tricky, but since we're dealing with flowers, they have such beautiful colors already. If you're using that illustrative style where you're trying to imagine flowers, use some real flowers for your color schemes. If everything else fails, use complementary colors like these, reds and greens. I'm going to take you back to that succulent sketch that I did. The way that I approach shading is I first blocked in some of those colors, some of the very light whites to mid-range of contrast. I'm going with those colors and just laying those end like a jigsaw puzzle. Then I came in with second layer and went into the folds and painted into those. Notice that a lot of times, we tend to think that if there's a triangular petal here, then the shadows should be all around it. It's not, it's only hitting on certain parts. Pay close attention to the subject matter that you're using. At the very end, I added more color so that it didn't look like just a really well rendered, flat, succulent. I wanted to bring back those bright colors.