Monotone Watercolor Florals | Sandra Mejia | Skillshare

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

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

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Supplies and Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Painting the Artwork


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Finishing Touches


    • 7.

      My Thoughts while Creating the Pattern


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About This Class

In this class I will show you how to create different values using just the black watercolor.  I´ll show you my process of painting monotone watercolor florals and I´ll share my thoughts while I´m using the painting we created to make a pattern for textile or surface design. I will not teach the technical aspect of creating patterns, if you want to learn how I do that please watch my other classes:

Transform Watercolor Illustrations into Intricate Patterns

Remove Backgrounds from Watercolor Illustrations


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Meet Your Teacher

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Sandra Mejia

Illustrator + Pattern Designer

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Hello! I'm a Freelance Illustrator and Pattern Designer. I was born in Medellin, Colombia (puedes escribirme en Espanol!). I create detailed, stylized, playful illustrations, patterns and characters from my studio in Ottawa, Canada.

I have very big eyes and I love animals. Most of my inspiration comes from nature and animals.

My art has been licensed by companies around the world for use in: Fabrics, Stationery, Kids, Editorial, Greeting Cards, Fashion, Puzzles, Gift and Home Decor.

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hello, I'm Sandra Bowers. I'm an illustrator and surface pattern designer. In this class, I will show you how I create my monotone water colors. This is a technique I love because it only uses one watercolor, the black one, and you can create great effects with it. There will be two steps to the class project. First, you can create a painting that is done in monotones and it can be florals or it can be anything that you want. Then I will share with you my thought process when creating a pattern with it. I will not be teaching the technical side of creating that pattern because I already have a class on Skillshare on it. But you can see what I'm thinking when I'm creating my patterns, especially for textiles. Get out your black water colors and join me. 2. Supplies and Class Project: For this class you will need watercolor brushes, black watercolor, a nib pen, black or gray ink, paper towels, a palette, some water, and watercolor paper. For the class project, we are going to make a print of anything you want. I have chosen flowers, but you can choose whatever you like to paint best. If you want to do the second phase of the project, we're going to create a pattern that you can later use to create products or markups. I hope you share your project in the project gallery so we can all see it. 3. Techniques: The basic idea of this class is to learn how to create different values using just a black watercolor. You can also use your favorite color, but it's better if you understand the basics first, using the black. Here, I'm creating different values in a controlled way, by painting wet and dry and layering my paint. The first layer, you zone with a lot of water and you also attach a black paint. The first layer is dry, so I'm going to start here, and paint the second layer, by adding a bead more color to the water. Every time I'm going to create a new layer, I add a bit more black to my water and I dry my brush so it's not too loaded with paint. I keep doing that to create darker values every time. If your water bottle dries up, you can add more water, but then you have to add much more black paint so that you have a darker value than the one you painted before. I will paint these area here. Depending on your brand of water colors, when you have too many layers, it starts to leak, so make sure your bottle it so that it gets darker. Finally, a much darker layer. You can create as many layers as you want to create a transition from light to dark. With practice, you'll know exactly how much paint you need to add to create a certain shade, when you're creating your final painting. I will show you how it works in a roundish shape like the leaf. I will create a very light base with not too much water, and once it's dry, I will add a bit of paint to my water to create a darker layer, but I will not cover the whole layer. I'll just add it to the areas that I want the darkest. I've done the edges by cleaning my brush and adding a bit of water, that way I can go in and soften the edges. You can blend the edges as much as you want, depending if you want the softer or a more graphic look. Some brands of water colors blend easier than others. Some are very permanent when they dry, especially the liquid ones so it's not so easy to soften the edges. You can also create defined shadows in some areas, and then you can move those around by going over them with your brush. Use a smaller brush when you want to add details. Here, I'm going to show you the other technique, wet on wet, this gives you more unpredictable results but creates great effects. You basically do the same thing as in the previous technique, but you don't let each layer dry. Here you start pulling the pigments to the area that you want to make darker. I'll show you how it works in a leaf shape. I'm just moving the water around and making the dark spot on this side and in the bottom. This is another technique, it creates more dramatic graphic results. It consists of loading your brush with a very dark load and letting the water in the brush and the paint, create the light and dark areas as it dries. I'll add some stems with my small brush. Here I'll paint two leaves to show you two different effects, using the nip pen. Make sure that when you add ink, you only load it past these holes, so it's not too cool. I'm using co in all gray ink. I love it so much, but you can use an ink that you have at hand. This is what happens if you paint on the wet one. I love how unpredictable it is. Here you'll see the difference of painting on a dry surface. If you paint leaves, you can use a clean wet brush to scrape parts of your paint, and create very nice effects. You can also create extra strokes, if you paint with a drier brush. You can use a paper towel to remove wet paint and create this textures. Now that we understand that basic techniques, let's start our painting. 4. Painting the Artwork: For your model, you can use a real life flower or a picture you took or a picture you own the rights to or you can do it from your head. I created the basic outlines from a flower in my garden, but I'm going to make up the shadows. If you need help understanding where the darkest values go, you can manipulate your picture in a picture editor like Photoshop, so it's black and white or you can even take the picture in black and white mode on your phone. You can also just have fun with it and make it up. It all depends on the result you want and how realistic you want it to be. I have my pencil sketch on my paper and I'm going to start with a very light wash. I bring the dark puddles of water to the base of the petal. I can also remove some paint with a brush loaded only when water if I want to create lighter areas. I'll start finding these areas that don't touch. If I know an area we'll be much darker, I'll skip the light layer and I start with a darker layer. Now back to the main petal. I'm going to start adding some shapes here in the base where the petals meet. I'll start painting the shadow of this hole. If I make it too dark, I dry my brush and blend it. I will also start adding these lines here to create the veins. You can go step-by-step from light to dark or you can start adding darker areas where you see fit and then go back to lighter colors. Use a smaller brush for smaller details. Be patient. The paint always dries lighter so you always have to add more layers. But it's better to progressively build it up than to add a super dark layer at first and ruin it. If you're using this controlled method, make sure to keep your brush dry so you're not creating water puddles and uncontrolled effects. Here I went back to lighter shades because I feel that the gradation has to be softer. I'll add some veins in this area and start to paint the stem. Now I'm adding very fine lines to make the veins more obvious. I'm making this flower up, so I'm thinking where this shadow would go and I'm exaggerating them a bit so I can create a more interesting painting. I'll paint this part in the same way making the inside darker and I'll create a shading in a more graphic style by adding tiny veins in the top and the bottom. The outer petals in the same way. Once I painted that the outer petals, I noticed that I need to create some more shadows on my main petal. So let's add some light gray with a big brush to make some areas standout. I really want to have the base of the petal much darker. So I'm adding a very dark value and I'm layering on the wet so that it creates a bit of texture. I'll add some details to the edge of the petals. Now I'll use the wet on wet technique to create these. So I lay down a medium gray base, and I will start adding drops of darker paint on certain areas and letting them cool. I'll add some more with this smaller brush. You can make this as dramatic as you want. Here I'm using almost pure black paint to create some leaves. I just let the water color pour out naturally to create the gradations. Now I'll drop these super dark dots in the seed pods while they are wet, so they expand naturally. 5. Timelapse: I'll paint the rest using the same techniques. After this video, you'll see how I applied the finishing touches and the details with the nib pen. Then, you'll see how I make this into a pattern. 6. Finishing Touches: I'm using a piece of a paper towel to remove some ink from the same spot. I'll create this leaves here to make the painting more balanced. I'm adding a light base. Now, I'm going to use the ink to add some details. I let them dry so I can control the ink, but you can also use the ink while it's wet. I will also add tiny details on the petals with the ink. That's it. In the next video, you can follow my thought process when making these into a pattern. 7. My Thoughts while Creating the Pattern: Here I have opened Adobe Photoshop software and I click on "File", "New", and this is the screen that appears. I'm going to make it 12 by 12 inches. I usually create my repeat patterns for fabrics at 24 by 24 inches or 12 by 12 inches. Make sure it's CMYK color at 300 pixels per inch. Click "Create". The first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to save this: File, Save As. Click "Save", and here we have our new document. I have scanned my document. I'll show you how it looks. I scanned it that top 100 ppi, I didn't change the settings. It's 48-bit color, and now we're going to place it. In Photoshop to go File, Place Embedded, and select your scan and click "Place". I'm just going to make it a bit bigger. Now click "Enter". Now I can see the colors are not so good, it's kind of dull. We're going to fix that. Here because you placed it, it's become a smart objects so it's not directly editable. Since we don't need that to be as smart object, I'm going to right click on the name and Rasterize Layer. Now it's directly editable. I'm going to hit Command L or go to image adjustments levels, and here, I can play with these sliders. If I move this one to the right, it makes a darks darker, and if I move this one to the left, it makes whites whiter. I want to start playing until I get the result I want. What's the result I want? I want the background to be erased. I don't want this gray background. I want it to be wider, but I don't want it to lose all these detail like it happen here. I'm going to be very subtle. I think that's okay, so I hit "Okay". At this point, I want to make these grayscale because I scanned adding colors, so I go to Image Mode, Grayscale. It asks if you want to flatten, you only have those two layers. It doesn't matter, don't flatten. There it is, it's grayscale. Now we can see we still have a bit of a grayish area here that I want to get rid of, and maybe make these darks a bit the crisper. So I like to go to Image Adjustments, brightness contrast, or Command N, and play with these a bit. You see this is what we don't want to happen. Just a little bit of white there and the contrast will make it very gray. It's not very big changes, but I think it's better if they're just little changes and they don't affect the water colored too much. I don't want this to be a bit darker, so I'm going to go to Image Adjustments Levels and play with this a bit more. I like it like that. It's all thing of preference also. So I hit "Okay". At this point, there are two options. If I'm going to use these on a white background, there's no point in erasing all the backgrounds perfectly if I know I'm not going to change the background color. At that point, I will just grab the Lasso tool here for a press L, and just go around because they have to be perfect. Hit Command I or select "Inverse", and press "Delete", so we erase everything that's outside of our selection. Then in hit Command E or select "Reselect", and now we have it. You can see here that there's still white outside because our scan was bigger. I'm just going to go here to the Crop Tool and see that it's in the borders so I just hit "Enter". It will get rid of everything that's overlapping the canvas. If I wanted to change the background color, I'll show you if I wanted it to be black, for example. I'd have to go in and cut the icons perfectly. If you don't know how to do that, I have a class here on Skillshare that you can watch. But right now we want a white background. So I'm going to make it white again. I'm going to rename this layer and I'm going to start building my pattern with it. Here, I'm not going to explain exactly how I create the pattern because that's a class in itself. I also have a class that especially teaches you how to do it. But I will show you my process and explain what I'm thinking, and how I'm thinking of making it work. These is are very personal process and you should find whatever you think works, whatever you feel works. Try to experiment with different things like big objects, with little objects on this side or very packed patterns. Patterns that have more white space. Try it all so you can find what you really like and make it your own. Before we start, you need to decide how you're going to use these pattern. If I was going to make these for a quilting company, I would try that the elements are not all facing the same side. For example, all the elements are not in a vertical way. Because then if you're going to be quilting with it, it's going to have a right side and you're going to have a lot of waste. You can only use it one side. But since I'm thinking of making these for address, or a skirt, or yoga leggings, I can make it in one direction and it'll look okay. If this wasn't going to be for fabric, for example, but you are going to use it for another book, then I want to make the flower stars stover or facing other sides because you don't want to have your notebook and then have one flower that's facing these side or one that spacing these side. I think it's prettier if they all face the same side, but that's a matter of preference also. If you don't know what you're going to do with your pattern, maybe make it toast all over that you can use it on whatever side. What I'm going to do first is right click on the name and convert to smart object. That is super useful for companies and for yourself because if you need to modify something, and you have repeated these 10 times, you don't have to go in each one and fix the same thing. Like for example here, if I need up to change the center of the flower, I will just double-click on one so I'm going to erase it. I click "Save", I close these, and it has changed in all my icons. You see here and here and here. That way it saves a lot of dark, so I'm going to undo that. Now, I can also make it smaller, and if I make it bigger again to the same size it were, it hasn't lost any quality. That's pretty good. I'm going to resize it, make it smaller, and I'm going to start placing it. I always like to be able to meet all first. What I'd like to do with these is set to multiply, so this doesn't happen. This is set to multiply. Then you don't have white borders anymore. You can try inverting things. Goggles on width Command J or Edit, Transform, Flip horizontal and vertical. I think I want to create a half drop. Here, I'm just playing around seeing what works, flipping it to one side and the other, seeing how these two will merge. I think it's pretty how they merge there. But this is overlapping and I don't like it. You don't erase the part the icon, you just add a little mask here and on it you paint with black or erase parts of it. You grab your brush or B, you zoom in, and I'm going to erase everything that overlaps. I'm not affecting those marked object because I'm doing it on the mass, that is super useful. I like how these two overlap, but not this one. I'm going to erase these one. When you select this Move tool, make sure you have auto select layer here so you can just drag and move your layers around. What I have to do now is to try to make this flip in here the same way. So I'm going to try that. I need to know the size of my canvas so I can start doing the math. These needs to be higher up, because there its not connecting. I know the icons needs to be bigger, so I'll just erase that one. This is all trial and error. Make these bigger and maybe see that this one, this part has to touch this part so it should be overflowing both of them. Again I'll repeat this part, and that seems great. See, they're almost at the same place. Now I need to add a mask to these one, to raise the part that overlaps here. Make sure you're in the mask, you have black selected, you press by your brush, and erase the part that is overlapping. Now we have our first rule that we repeat, and I'm going to figure out how I am going to repeat on this side. That would be too boring because it will be obviously repeated. I can drag it down until it fits. See how it fits nicely. Maybe yours doesn't, but it doesn't matter. I'll show you how to fill in those spaces that don't fit. I'm going to make it like these. If I was creating these one, I will obviously put it like this because it fits so perfectly. But I'm going to place it as if it didn't feet so you can learn how to fix those spaces that do not fit property. When I flip these horizontally, that remember it's added, transform, sleep horizontal. Say you had these holes there. First thing I'm going to do is I'm going to repeat this one. I'll check and see that it's not overlapping. No, it's perfect. Now I have the top borders solved. Now I have to solve the side borders. I'm just going to slide it over until it's all overlapping. Here I can see that if I repeat these to these side, it will be like that. It have a free space here, and I don't want that. If I move these here, you can see these is caught up here, calculate like these is cut off here up to the different seed. Up here in the ruler you see that's like 8.75. I'm just going to erase these. I'm going to Image Canvas Size 8.75. Click here, so it cuts this part off. Now I think that will fit perfectly. If you think the individual icons like every flower painted separately, it's a bit easier because then you don't have to do these calculations, and you don't have to be trimming the artwork. You can follow what I taught in the other class. If you have whole pieces of art like these study you what to create a pattern of, it's a beat harder and you have to calculate these. It's all trial and error. I've done it 1,000 times so now I am almost always perfectly accurate, but you'll get the hang of it. What you have to have in mind is that whatever is overlapping here starts again here, same in the top and on the bottom. These little leaves are overlapping here and they continue here. That's what we have to do here. Since I caught the art board, it's not 3,600 pixels wide anymore, so I have to go and see which size it is now. Image size, and now it's 2625 when I have to write that down. Just hit Okay. Now that these are selected, I will heed the command key, and now back to my x. Again I'm not explaining how to create a repeat pattern hearing this class. If you want to understand how I'm creating these part of the process, how I am adding these and moving things around so they repeat perfectly. Please check out my other class. Now I'm going to show you how to feel these spaces. What I do is, I see the spaces that I want to feel. I want to fill these area and maybe these area here. I look at my original painting and see what items I can cut out and repeat here. I'm going to click here to select this icon. I'm going to grab my lasso tool here, and I think I want these part here. I'm going to hit Command J or Layer, New, Layer Via Copy, and then you'll see here that we have that little piece in a new layer. I'm going to rename it, right-click on the name, convert to smart object, and now I can move it around. I see that it's not perfect here so I'm going to to add a layer mask. Now I'm going to resize it, rotate it and place it until I'm happy with it. Command D, you just start playing around seeing where it's going to fit. Place it there. I zoom in. Make sure it's silver lapping correctly. I don't like that it's getting into the flower so I'm going to go back to the mask. Click on the mask, select your brush and start painting over the area you don't want. Finally, these little area, you could just drag these one again here and resize it. See that I erase this part so I'll go into my mask, make sure you click on the mask and instead of using black, we're going to click here to use the white, select the brush and bring it back. Now I brought it back too much so I'll change here again to black and erase that part that overlaps on my leave. What we have to do now is repeat this in every place that this flower is repeated. I'm going to select them both drag them over here. Make sure that fits correctly so I know here I only have to bring the purple I want my fabric to have some very graphic elements and that's why I use these very black areas. Now we're going to fill this space. This space is not the same with this one because remember we inverted it so this is actually these flower not these one. I think I like these guys here so I'm going to select that crop, my Lasso tool. I got a piece with command J, so now we have a new layer. Now I'm going to start moving around with command P to see where it can get feats. That actually, fits really nice, but I don't want it overlapping here. I'll write a mask. I'll start painting with black I'll zoom in and they raise a part that is overlapping the flower. I think I need a bit more here so I'm going to go up these other ones. I'll use the last one with go. Now start playing with it. It doesn't even overlap that's perfect. Now I know I have to repeat these still layers on these other flower here. This flower facing that way is only repeated once here. I select them both and grok them up by heating out while I'm and shift so if I hold shift and going up in a straight line so now I'd like to make it super small and look at it and see if I have any gaps or instead I think don't fit. Actually don't like these white spaces here so I'm going to zoom back in and figure out what I can fill those with. I don't want to make it too crowded either. I think just one of these things might be great for it so I'm going to click here, grab my lasso tool click these two guys out. Command J. Right, click on it, Come back to Smart Object, I'm going to click vertically and make it smaller. Again I have to look for every flower or every gap and just drag it there. I think that works I'm going to save again and I'm going to check my pattern. I go up to the first layer, I go to edit, define pattern. Now I'm going to go to layer, new fill layer pattern and here's our latest pattern that we created. The scales always starts at a 100, I'm going to make it 10. If I make it super small, I can see the floss easier and I can start zooming in. I see that it's a very linear pattern which you can see the lines, but I think it plays nicely. Now I'm going to try it at 25. I think these holes here needs to be filled. Again, it's a personal preference. I like my patterns to be very bad. But this could work for you perfectly as it is. Dry it up 15, make sure the icons are not cutting up weird heat, and hide that layer. I'm going to try these ones so I just click on it hold, Alt, Drag it, so I'm copying it down with command, and I'm going to start moving it around and see if it works. I'm going to try that again here so I add the mask choose B for the brush. Raise the overlapping area and copy that one here. Remember, I'm holding alt while I drag it down so it's copied. I repeated these one plies here, so I don't want to repeat it again, so it's super obvious so I'm going to grab something else. See now this is a tricky area because it's right on the repeat so it's going to overlap. Drag it out by holding shift so I know it's in the same place. I'm going to hold Alt and duplicate that layer and we'll drag that one down 600 pixels. It's repeated down here. Finally, the last area that I want to fill up is this one. Repeat that here. Go to edit, define pattern hit okay. I'm going to go to my pattern layer, double-click there. Click here to select the latest pattern. Now that looks so much better. I'm very happy with how it looks so I'm done with my pattern. I hope that you enjoyed this class and that you will join me on my other scale check classes. Bye.