Painting Nature with Watercolor & Gouache: Create Mixed Media Art | Rosalie Haizlett | Skillshare

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Painting Nature with Watercolor & Gouache: Create Mixed Media Art

teacher avatar Rosalie Haizlett, Nature Illustrator | Top Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome To My Class!


    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Your Materials


    • 4.

      Gouache Vs. Watercolor


    • 5.

      Demonstration: Tropical Leaf


    • 6.

      Creating Your Composition


    • 7.

      The Pencil Sketch


    • 8.

      Starting With Watercolor


    • 9.

      Incorporating Gouache


    • 10.

      Adding the Background


    • 11.

      Refining Your Painting


    • 12.

      BONUS: Black Paper Demonstration


    • 13.

      Final Thoughts!


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About This Class

Expand your painting skillset by combining watercolor and gouache to create colorful mixed-media nature illustrations!

Watercolor is an amazing medium, with its luminous and organic qualities. But when you combine it with the bold, opaque characteristics of gouache paint, the opportunities for creativity are endless! 

Join professional nature illustrator, author, and Skillshare Top Teacher Rosalie Haizlett for a comprehensive guide to combining these two mediums together. 

In this class, you'll learn how to: 

  • Understand the differences and similarities between the two mediums
  • Create a strong composition using three different methods
  • Integrate watercolor and gouache to maximize each mediums' strengths
  • Choose a background color and style that enhances your painting

If you'd like to follow along with Rosalie's work and teaching, you can check out her website or follow her on Instagram.


This class is perfect for you if you have some background in watercolor or gouache but want to learn how they can be combined to produce new and unique results. If you are totally new to watercolor, check out another of Rosalie's Skillshare classes, Watercolor in the Woods, which covers watercolor foundations. 

Rosalie's other classes on Skillshare include: 

Meet Your Teacher

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Rosalie Haizlett

Nature Illustrator | Top Teacher


Hello! I'm Rosalie. I'm an artist, author and illustrator who specializes in creating captivating hand-rendered visuals that celebrate the natural world. I'm also a Skillshare Top Teacher, with 5 classes that help you connect to nature AND your creativity in a deeper way.

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1. Welcome To My Class!: [MUSIC] Hi, I'm Rosalie Haizlett and I'm a nature illustrator and artist. I've been really fortunate to get to work with clients like the Smithsonian and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Most recently, I illustrated and wrote my first book, which is called Watercolor in Nature. For this class, I'll be guiding you through how to create a complete nature illustration using watercolor and gouache together. I'll guide you through the materials that you'll need, differences and similarities between watercolor and gouache, some pro tips that I've picked up along the way. Then I'll take you through the entire process of pairing together a plant and animal in one cohesive composition to create a nature illustration. Watercolor was my first true love but in the past year I realized that I was stuck in a rut. I was a little nervous to experiment with other mediums because I knew the results that I could get with watercolor. But then I started to see some really interesting gouache paintings from other artists and I was inspired to go to the art store and pick out a set of gouache paints. I remember when I got out those paints and started playing with them for the first time, I had butterflies in my stomach because I just really had no idea how it was going to go. I decided to start combining watercolor and gouache to ease into that transition. It turns out that they pair together really well. I was able to take the [inaudible] kind of watery look of watercolor that makes it beautiful with the really bold, punchy, flat gouache colors. Together it creates something that's really unique. I'm here at this really beautiful relaxing lake in rural Pennsylvania and I'm actually going to be going out and taking my own reference photos based on what I see here. You're welcome to use the photos that I provide, or you can find your own reference photos to use. If you're someone who has experimented a bit with watercolor and you want to break out of that a little bit, add a new medium to your artistic toolbox, then this class is perfect for you. I'd love to have you in my class. Let's get started. 2. Class Project: Your class project today is to create a complete nature illustration that will combine one plant and one animal into one composition using watercolor and gouache. Under the Resources tab, I'll be sharing my plant and animal photos so you're welcome to use those or if you have your own photos of a plant and an animal, you can use those as well. If you're just getting started with gouache or watercolor, it might be helpful to follow along with my reference photos so you can see exactly what I'm doing and replicate those steps. If you're totally new to watercolor, this might not be the best class to jump straight into. I'd recommend taking my other Skillshare class, which is called watercolor in the woods and beginner's guide to painting the natural world. In that class, I go over all my watercolor materials, my process and I think if you take that one first, this class will make a lot more sense. Once you've finished your nature illustration, make sure to take a quick photo of your completed work and upload it to the project gallery page so that we can all see and comment on your work. 3. Your Materials: [MUSIC] Let's quickly go over the over the materials that you'll need for this class. Don't worry about remembering all of this information because I've created a handy-dandy little PDF that has all of this info and that's available with this class because we will be focusing on gouache and watercolor. You need a watercolor set. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. I'd say somewhere around the $20 plus range is probably perfect for our needs. I'm using a travel palette that I filled with a combination of schmekey and Daniel Smith watercolors. I also love Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolors. Those are great for beginners and intermediate levels. [MUSIC] You'll just need a few different colors of gouache. I recommend getting a primary color set because then you can mix all colors with just a few tubes of primary colors. This is way cheaper than getting a huge mega set that has 24 different colors. Because gouache can get pretty expensive. I like to stick with a primary color set. It's also really helpful because it forces you to learn how to mix colors as well, which takes a lot of time. But it's a really awesome skill to have if you want to be a painter. One super important thing about gouache, when you're getting your gouache paints together. There's something called acrylic gouache and then there's artists gouache or designer gouache, and they are totally different. While they might look the same, acrylic wash is not water soluble. If you put that paint down there, you cannot blend it around on the page. Once it's dry, you can't rehydrate the paint on your palette and use it again. Once it's dry, it's dry just like acrylic paint. You can't actually blend it very well with watercolor paints. You'll also need some watercolor or mixed media paper. I'd recommend watercolor paper because it's a little bit thicker than mixed media paper. There are lots of different thicknesses of watercolor paper that you can use. For a long time, I was using 140 pounds watercolor paper. I thought that was the cream of the crop. It was working pretty well for me, but I did notice that sometimes when I added a lot of water to make a loose background, it would start to wrinkle and bend. In the last year, I discovered this amazing thing called 300 pound paper, and it's almost double the thickness of the previous watercolor paper that I mentioned. It holds so much water, so it won't bend. It's definitely more expensive. I reserve the thinner paper for all of my practice paintings, and then if I want to make a really awesome piece, I will get out the really more expensive but also really great quality, 300 pound paper. You'll also want some scrap paper around because we'll be working through some of the compositional issues in our sketchbooks or on sketch paper before going to that nice watercolor paper. Another incredible invention that I only recently discovered was colored watercolor paper. It's incredible because you can add gouache to it. There's something amazing that happens where the gouache just really pops when you have that toned or colored watercolor paper as your background. We won't be using it for the main project in this class, but I'll be doing a bonus lesson where I show you what gouache on that colored watercolor paper it looks like. I think you're going to be pretty excited about the results. For a pencil, you'll just need a regular sketching pencil. I would say it's helpful to look for a pencil that has a little bit of a harder lead because if it has softer lead, it tends to leave more graphite on the paper and then that makes a bigger mess that you'll have to erase later. For watercolor brushes, it's helpful to have 2-5 brushes in a variety of sizes. My go to's are a two round, eight round, ten round, and a one-inch flat mixed media brush. You could use brushes that are for watercolor or acrylic. Both will work for watercolor and gouache. I do know that some artists prefer using acrylic brushes for gouache because they are stiffer brushes and they feel with gouache, you can really move that paint around on the page better if you have a stiffer brush. While watercolor brushes tend to be softer and have longer bristles to hold more water but it's really just up to you. I'd recommend trying a couple out and seeing what you like. Other miscellaneous materials that you need include an eraser, any kind is fine, a jar of water and a paper towel for blotting up any mistakes that you make and also getting rid of excess water that's on your brush if you need to do that. If you're working with a thinner watercolor paper, then sometimes it's helpful to use an artist tape to tape down the edges to your table so that it doesn't bend or warp as much as your painting. Now that you know what you need for this class, I want to go over the differences between watercolor and gouache. [MUSIC] 4. Gouache Vs. Watercolor: Maybe you're totally new to gouache and you're wondering how it's similar and different from watercolor. Some of the similarities include the fact that you can dilute both watercolor and gouache using water, and you can use water to clean your brushes. You don't need any special solvent or anything like that. Another similarity is that they're made up of primarily the same ingredients. There's a pigment, there's a binder, but with gouache there's just an extra chalky ingredient that makes it more opaque. With watercolor, there is only one way to make your color lighter and that is to increase the amount of water in your combination and decrease the amount of paint. I'm going to give you an example of a complete gradient from light to dark or dark to light with just watercolor. Here I'm just adding more water to my brush a little bit at a time, and then dragging that pigment out to the right to make a nice smooth transition. That's how you make something lighter with watercolor. Now with gouache, you have two different options. You can either work with your paint as though it's watercolor and make your colors lighter by just thinning out the paint or you can add white in. I'm going to show you how you can make a color lighter using both of the two methods. When you're comparing the two you can see how this one is much more luminous and this one is a bit thicker and bolder. Then when you compare the watercolor version in, you can see how it's slightly different colors so it's not going to look too similar but I think watercolor just tends to blend really nicely, fade and blend, and I don't think I can get the same exact results with gouache. With watercolor, say you put a background color in, and then you're like, "Shoot, this is not the look that I was going for." You can play with it a little bit, but you're stuck with it. With gouache you can mix up a new color and paint over the whole background and there's no problem at all with making a huge jump like that. The only thing you need to remember is try not to use too much water because you will start to reactivate the layers that have dried underneath. It might take a couple of layers of the gouache, but it is possible. Some of the differences include the fact that with watercolor you typically work from light to dark, so you put on your light layers first and then you slowly work into those darker layers. You also have to make sure not to put any paint where the highlight areas are, you let the white of the paper shine through with watercolor. While with gouache, you can work from light to dark, or you can work from dark to light. You could put in a big dark layer and then you could add white paint to create little highlight areas. If you've ever been frustrated with watercolor because you have a hard time preserving those white highlight areas, then maybe gouache is a good medium for you. Another difference between watercolor and gouache is that with watercolor, if you want to create a really vibrant painting, you're probably going to have to go through and layer tons of glazes of color on top of each other and so it might take a lot longer to build up that vibrancy. While with gouache, if you mix up a really bright color and you put down one layer, it can immediately be bright and bold. So it's great if you have limited time, but you still want to create a really bright colorful painting. Now I'm putting in the same color of watercolor and gouache and just one layer and you'll notice when I first put the watercolor down it looks really bright and it almost looks like it matches the intensity of the gouache. But over time, the watercolor definitely dries quite a bit lighter while the gouache stays really bold. Hopefully now you have a slightly better understanding of how gouache and watercolor are similar and how they're different. 5. Demonstration: Tropical Leaf: To help us visualize the differences between watercolor and gouache, I'm going to paint the same tropical leaf. It's a really cool leaf that I saw at a botanical garden. I'm going to paint the leaf for the first time using only watercolor. I'm going to try to showcase all of the luminous, transparent qualities of watercolor. Then over here, I'm going to paint the same leaf using only gouache. Then for the final demo, I'm going to be combining watercolor and gouache to show how both mediums can complement one another. To start the watercolor leaf, the first thing that I want to do, because I'm using only watercolor, notice all of the places that I should leave paper white in my painting and I'm going to just sketch those out so that I know not to paint in those areas. Here's the completed watercolor leaf. I worked from light layers to dark layers. Even though I tried really hard to reserve the whites of the spots, there were a couple that as I was painting, I just got sloppy and I painted inside of, which will happen, but it did lose the whiteness of those spots and I can't really get that back with just watercolor. Now I'm going to move on to my gouache leaf. My lip isn't big enough. Here we have a gouache leaf and a watercolor leaf. I now want to think about how to combine both of these mediums together. I want to look at what I really like about each one. For the watercolor leaf, I really like the green is not quite so flat as in the gouache one, and I think that was achieved because of all of the different shades of green that I used, also the fact that watercolor is just way less opaque. If you hold the leaf up to the Sun, the Sun will go through the leaf. I think the watercolor greens capture that luminosity better than the flat green of gouache, I think. Starting with green watercolor for the background of the combined leaf that I'm going to do next and then pairing it with the reds and pinks of the gouache will make for a nice painting. Decision I have to make when I'm combining watercolor and gouache is how I want to handle the whites. I think I prefer actually the whites that we created using gouache because I feel like it matches the whites in the reference photo more. They look chalky, so I'm going to do white with gouache. 6. Creating Your Composition: Now it's time to plan out our painting. Grab your scrap paper or sketchbook, and let's start planning out our composition. Today I'm going to combine this snail with some blackberries that I saw at the lake. I'm going to use the blackberries to create a complete composition around the snail to really fill out my page. As we work through the sketching phase, just remember that you can keep things really loose and you can use your eraser and you can start over on a new sheet of scrap paper if you need to. Feel free to just really use this phase to play with a couple of different compositional ideas and work through any issues that might arise. Now, instead of after you've put the paint on the page. This little sketching phase is also nice because it helps you to get to know your subject before you start on the painting. It has these awesome antenna with the eyes at the end. I don't know if you all knew that, but snails have their eyes at the ends of the antenna, which I think is so cool. I have my main snail shape. Then I use something that I call the ribbon trick. I try to see how I can best fill up the space around my subject. Early on when I started painting, I did a lot of paintings that were just the subject in the middle with a white background. That was a really good way for me to start to build up my skills because I could really just focus on just the subject. But then I started to feel like my paintings were pretty boring. I now try to always add in something extra. I found that botanicals are perfect for that because there are often long stems and you can manipulate them to wind and bend around your subject to overlap and play with your subject. Here's just a quick example of two ways that I use botanicals for the same type of piece and the one isn't complete, it's just the sketch because I sketch this one out and I used my ribbon trick to frame my turtle. This is actually a painted turtle that we found at the lake. You can see how I frame my subject. I also created energy in my composition by having some of these sprigs going in different directions. In the end, with this piece, I decided to go with something that was a little bit more bold because I wanted it to be a little spunkier. I used a white water lily, which was also around there to mimic the curve of the turtle's shell. It's not totally realistic looking. But I like the impact that it has because it's such a big cool shape like a starburst shape. If you don't want to use the botanicals framing it around, you could always put in a halo effect. I often like to do that. I think it's a really easy way to add or enhance a focal point in your painting. That could be like a sun or it could just be like another fun pop of color, like making it a holy snail. Another fun composition might be to have some leaves or something coming out of one side and then mirroring that in the opposite corner. This creates nice balance easily. Remember, you don't always have to make things look exactly like they do. You can add in your own jazzed-up version of things if you'd like. Just have fun with it and see what you come up with. [MUSIC] 7. The Pencil Sketch: [MUSIC] Now it's time to start on the pencil sketch. When you're working from a reference photo, I really like to have some photo that I can increase in size, like on a tablet or computer or even on your phone. You can see all the details or I like to print out my reference photo to be about the same size as I want it to be on my page. That way you're not trying to work from a little tiny image and figure out how to adjust the proportions as you scale up, because that can be confusing. Now I'm going to take a couple of simple measurements of my subject using what I call the pencil trick, even though today I'm using a paintbrush. All I'm going to do is take my paintbrush and I'm going to lay it down as close as I can get, lining up the bottom of my subject with the bottom of my brush, and it's almost the complete length of the paintbrush. Then I'm going to bring it over here and just center it on my page. Put a little notch at the top and a notch at the bottom. That's the height of your subject roughly. Then I'm going to measure the width. Then this is my whole area within which I will paint my snail friend. I can take a few other measurements to that can help me to have an understanding of the length and width of things, like the head, for example, how high, how tall is this head section? The width of the shell. Here's where my shell will go. [MUSIC] Now I'm going to go in with my eraser and erase any marks that I don't need. I'm going look at the blackberry reference photos and figure out how I want to incorporate them into this piece. Here's an example of how sometimes I use an iPad or a tablet to mock up my illustration before I create it. I will take a photo using my iPad and then I'll bring this into my Procreate app, and that gives me the freedom to really play with my options here. [MUSIC] Each of these berries is just made up of lots of small circles. [MUSIC] Then the leaves have the serrated edge. I just took a step back which is always really good to do when you have your sketch down and you're almost going to start painting because it's harder to get rid of things after you've put paint down. I noticed that I feel like there are too many thorns. It doesn't look very realistic because there aren't actually that many. I think I just got carried away with them because I was having fun drawing them. I'm going to erase a few of those. I'm almost there with the sketch. I'm just going to add in a couple of final details so that I don't forget to paint anything once I start with that process. I'm going to do the lines, I have been really looking forward to doing these lines because they are very cool looking. They are 1,2,3,4 main lines on the outer swirl. [MUSIC] If you're getting confused at this point, do not worry. When we start with the painting, it'll become a little bit clear how these swirls should go. We're just basically getting the basics swirls down. [MUSIC] 8. Starting With Watercolor: [MUSIC] All right. Let's get out all of our painting materials and get started with the painting process. Before we start putting down the paint, it's nice to look at the subject and think what qualities of gouache or watercolor would really lend itself to certain parts of the subject. I'm noticing right away that the head and foot of the snail are very see-through, and I think watercolor would be perfect for this section of the body, and probably the antenna too, because these little eyeballs they're clear. For the shell, it has this milky, creamy, chalky look to the white of the shell. So I think that would be perfect for white gouache. With the berries, they could be a blend of the watercolor and gouache, I'll probably use the bright red of the gouache to get the most red berries. I'm going to do just a little layer of light brown. I'm also noticing that the foot gets to be a really light brown, so I'm going to add more water to make it nice and light, and translucent. Well, I have my brown. Now, I'm going to continue on and start painting in the stripes of the shell. I'm doing this in watercolor for now. One of the reasons that I really like watercolor and gouache together is that watercolor because it's all more muted, it helps you to practice restraints. You're not just throwing in really bold thick colors everywhere, but by starting out with a few layers of watercolor, you're starting out soft, there's that nice play between the softness and the bold. If you don't have a steady hand and your swirls are getting really crazy-looking, don't worry, because we're going to go over the space in-between these swirls with the white gouache, and so you'll be able to remedy any wild stripes that you make. I'm going to erase any pencil marks that are visible from this little area. [NOISE] I'm just going to take my smallest brush, and I'm going to use that same brown that I was just using, which is just a sepia brown. I'm going to add a little light outline to this area, and picking up my brush every few strokes to make a dotted line so that it's not too bold of an outline. Once I get it all blocked in and outlined, then I go back and add more layers and more details. But right now I want to just get all my first watercolor layers down. As I looked at my reference photos for the blackberries, I noticed that some of the stems and branches are light green and some are a little older looking, they're reddish-brown. So I'm going to just make a couple of them, reddish-brown. I'm going to try to add a balance, so I'll probably have some brown here and some brown down here to balance it out. Then I'll make these ones green and green [MUSIC]. I think I'm going to lighten up the pencil marks on these leaves. All I need is to be able to see that as a guide, but I don't want it to show up in my painting. Using sap green, I'm going to just fill in the leaves, keeping this layer nice and light because we'll add darker layers after this. In order to make them look more natural, I'm going to mix in a little bit of my yellow ocher with the sap green. Now I'm going to mix up some red. Mixing up my nice cool red and I'm still using watercolor, I haven't used any gouache yet because I'm trying to have that nice subtlety of watercolor right now. All of my berries that are red, I'm going to just add a layer to them. When you're using red or any intense color, you really want to practice balance. If you use red on one side to make one of these berries over here red, you definitely need to have that on the other side too. Now I'm going to add in the blackberries, so I'm mixing up a combination, dark blue and dark brown. You could also do this with gouache if you'd like. We'll add the highlights later on with gouache so you don't have to worry about those right now. Then there are those really light unripe berries. Now I'm going to paint the thorns in with a brownish-green color. I'm going to wait for that part to dry. But now I think it's time to start with gouache on the shell. [MUSIC] 9. Incorporating Gouache: [MUSIC] Now that we've built up a few of those watercolor layers, let's begin to incorporate Gouache to create those pops of really bold color. This is where we'll start to really mesh and meld watercolor and gouache together and see what comes of it. I'm starting with white first because I think this is probably the most area that we're going to cover with gouache. It's not a pure white, there's a hint of yellow in it. I also think there's a little bit more warmth. I'm going to add a tiny hint of red, and that's too much, that's pink so I'm going to add some yellow to cancel it out, make it a little more orangey. I'm just going to fill in all of these white areas on the shell. Now, this section is dry and I'm just going to erase all my pencil marks to clean it up. Now, I'm going to return to watercolor for a little bit to start adding in the textures of the body and head. I'm going to get more sepia brown on my brush and watercolor. Again, I'm using watercolor here because it helps add to the translucent nature of this part of the snail. I'm noticing that the texture of the head and foot is really just a lot of little blobs that are lighter, and then there's a darker brown around them. I'm going to go in and not really think too much about it, not trying to make it exact, but I'm just going to fill up this whole part of the body with all these little circles. In fact, it's better if they are very irregular because that's how they look in the texture that I'm seeing. Next, I'm going to add brown to the antenna. The middle of the antenna is a little bit lighter. I'm just going to leave that area, the color that we had below, and that will make it look rounded because it's darker on the left-hand side and the right-hand side and lighter in the middle. That's my top secret for making anything like a stem or a tree trunk, that's rounded, look three-dimensional. Now I'm going to use this brown and I'm going to fill in the spaces between these little dots that we just made. Now, I'm going to mix up yellow ocher with gouache. I'm using yellow and red because yellow ocher is warm. I'm going to bring it into my white to mute it down. This is going to be for the yellow that is on the snail's shell. I think I want to add a tad of blue. A lot of this is just, it comes with time. Color mixing is something that you really have to just practice a lot and eventually it'll become way more intuitive. I'm going to add a little bit of that to this yellow area. I'm going to really water it down. I'm just going to be using a primary red to add the really bright red color to my red blackberries. One of the differences between watercolor and gouache is that with gouache when you use black, you can get really deep, bold, rich color. When you use black watercolor paints, it's often a little bit faded and not super striking. I don't even use black watercolor paint because I feel like you get a much better dark color by combining dark blue and dark brown together because it's just more rich and vibrant. If you're combining a couple of different things, they're not actually in the same scene and so you're not really sure where the light should be coming from to make it have nice shadows, you can just reliably add the darker areas to the bottom of the subject. The bottom of these stems would be in the shadow, the bottom of the shell would be in shadow, bottom of the foot would be in shadow, bottom of the antenna would be in shadow. Also, while I have the blackout, I'm going to very cautiously add some little touches of it to this part of this now. I don't want to overpower the watercolor, but I do want to enhance a few of the shadow areas. Cute little eyeballs, love those. Now I want to add all of the dense lines that I see working their way around the swirl. This will immediately make your snail look more realistic and also it'll make it look rounded because we're going to follow the form of this curved shell. Now I'm going to revisit the watercolor layers of the branches that we've already put down and I'm going to make them look crowded by adding a shadow to the left and to the right side of each one. To simplify things, I just decided to use the same cool red and brown combination and outline everything. The reason that I'm using watercolor for this and not gouache is because I want these outlines to be pretty subtle, I don't want them to be too bold. [NOISE] There is a common misconception going around that painting should always be really relaxing and therapeutic and meditative. However, I'm here to tell you today that often I feel a little bit stressed when I paint because I want the outcome to be so good and that's very normal. Anytime I teach workshops, a lot of people get stressed out, so definitely, it takes lots of breaks. Step away from your painting for a little bit. It's fine to start it one day and come back the next day or the next week, give yourself time and know that you're trying to come up with a really good result. It's normal to have those moments of frustration. [MUSIC] 10. Adding the Background: [MUSIC] At this point in my painting, I need to decide if I want to add a background or not. One way that I like to try to decide what I want to do is to take a picture with my iPad and then use the Procreate app to add in a background digitally and see what I think of that color scheme. I can play with a few different colors. I'm going to try out a muted blue, purple color because it's nice and soft and will go to the background, it won't call too much attention to itself because I really want these nice subtle reds to pop out and I want the snail to be the main center. I want a color that's cool and will sit to the background. Obviously, if you do not have access to a tablet, you can totally achieve good results too. Remember that with gouache, you can put down a color, paint a whole background. If you don't like it, you can always paint over it. So you still have that flexibility. This is just a little bit of a time-saver. Actually going to mix up a lot of this because I have to fill up the whole background. This background shade is a mix of my red, my blue, a little tiny bit of black and white. When I put it on the page, it might look a little bit different, so I'm going to be ready to change it if I need to. I'm going to put in my gouache background now and then I'll go back and do the final details on the plants. This order doesn't really matter. I'm just excited to put in the background because I really like this color that I'm going to use. You can determine your own order for some of these things. As you're adding your background, you might decide that you want to do gouache or watercolor. Gouache is just going to give you a really flat background that can be a nice contrast to some of the delicateness that we achieved in the botanicals. If you want to go with watercolor, it'll just be looser. It'll be more watery and flowy. That would also look great. [MUSIC] 11. Refining Your Painting: [MUSIC] Now I'm revisiting these branches with the combination of cool red and brown and I'm just increasing the shadow areas. I'm adding a little bit of paint to the tips of every thorn to make them stand out. I'm also adding some of this reddish-brown to the veins of the leaves. I want to make the shell look a little bit more three-dimensional. I'm going to take my watercolor, mix up a really light cool color, probably brown and blue. Then to the sides of my shell, I'm going to just add really lightly. I do not want to disrupt these layers that have dried underneath. I'm going to add really lightly this layer. You got to be really careful with this because I just reactivated some of this black swash stripe underneath and it made it a little bit darker than I wanted. If that happens, you can always dab up some of that with a paper towel. I want some of the red of these berries to be incorporated into the snail so that the red is carried throughout the whole piece. Using watercolor or gouache, it doesn't really matter for this. Actually going to do some little strokes to match, following the form of those other lines, all the way around, to add some texture. All these slight imperfections are really nice to try to get. To make it look a little more realistic. I'm going to add some yellow to the botanicals in a few places because a lot of the leaves are yellowy, definitely a little bit past their prime. All these little loose final touches help to make it just a little bit more nuanced, a little bit more colorful, look a little more natural. Now I'm adding some green in because I think I overdid it with the yellow. Now all of my plants look dead, so I'm going to try to liven them up again with some of my bright lemon yellow and my sap green. We're so close to being done. I just wanted to let you know that you don't need to go in and add all of the details that I'm adding. I didn't do this painting ahead of time because I really wanted to work through the process with you and show you a peek behind the curtain and all of the problem-solving that goes into making a painting. It's not so easy as making a plan and going for it, but you're constantly changing things along the way. A big part of the final result is the mistakes that you make and figuring out how to creatively correct them. Every time you create a painting with this process or another process, you start to notice patterns in what it takes to make something look good and look successful. So you know for future reference, this didn't work out so well, next time I know that and I won't try that again. It's really just doing it enough that you learn those formulas. For example, I did this painting last week and one thing that I noticed that helped it to come together was to incorporate some of this background color, this deep blue, into the turtle and the water and the lily, and that tied it all together. As I'm working on this one, I was just thinking it's not quite there yet. What's wrong with it, stuck, and then I remembered last week that worked, so I'll try that again. I think I'm going to try to mix up that same color that I used for the background and incorporate it more into the snail, maybe some little flecks of it in the leaves. Now I'm going to be adding little white highlights to showcase the grooves in the shell. Here I'm just lightening up several different areas where I wanted to add a little bit of the white paper highlight back in. This trick also works if you make a mess like I did, I have gouache all over my hands and I keep stamping it on my painting. Just fill it up with clean water [MUSIC] and dab it straight up. It's done. Well, it's done for now. Well, clearly, I could keep going on it, but I think that we're to a good place where I like it. This was a very complex painting. There were a lot of moving parts and combining the two mediums means that there's a lot of decisions to be made and a lot to think about. But if you made it this far, I'm very proud of you because like I said, this is a complex full composition, so good work. [MUSIC] 12. BONUS: Black Paper Demonstration: [MUSIC] Now it's time for the super juicy bonus lesson that I'm sure you've all been waiting for. I'm going to be using gouache paint on a colored background. I'm going to be using black watercolor paper, but you can also use tan or gray there, all sorts of different colored watercolor paper. It really can take your painting from something that looks traditional to something that looks super funky and cool. I decided to paint a moth on the black watercolor paper because moths are typically found at night and I just think that it captures their spirit as they're lurking in the shadows. [MUSIC] With black watercolor paper, the pencil shows up really well and doesn't always erase super well on the paper depending on the black watercolor paper. Sometimes it picks up little pieces of the paper when you erase. You have to be careful not to do too many pencil marks because they might be difficult to erase them. [MUSIC] If I were doing this painting on white watercolor paper, I think it would take a little bit more effort to make the painting look really interesting because the background is just boring, but it's funny how with a black background it immediately makes your subject look like very bold and royal almost. It's just a shortcut to creating a painting that has a lot of impact but beware of this combination is addictive so if you try it once, you're probably going to make a million of these because they're really fun and it doesn't take that long to create a really cool piece. [MUSIC] 13. Final Thoughts!: Thanks so much for joining me on this journey into gouache. I hope that you feel a little bit more confident in your gouache skills and that you're inspired to play with new styles and new mediums. Remember that in the beginning of experimenting with a new medium, it's very probable that you'll create a lot of paintings that you don't really like. But that just means that you're growing and that's a great thing. If you struggled with the reference photos that you used for this class, I'd encourage you to try a different reference photo because that might be what's tripping you up. Maybe it's not so much that you couldn't get the grasp of gouache, but maybe you just need to try a different reference photo that's a little bit easier to depict. Or maybe it's not the reference photo and you just need to experiment some more and put in some time in creating multiple paintings with this watercolor and gouache technique, or just with gouache to become more and more familiar because it does take time. As you're going on this creative growth journey, I'm also here with you growing as well and I would love to see the work that you created as a result of this class. Don't forget to upload a picture of it to the project gallery. I'll be uploading my finished project as well and sharing a lot of the in-process photos. Make sure to share that with me and with your classmates via the gallery. If you're on Instagram and you want to tag me in a project that you've uploaded, feel free to do so, I'd love to see your progress even beyond this course if you continue to paint with gouache and watercolor, I'd love to see your future work. Who knows you might inspire someone else to branch out and try new medium as a result of you being brave.