Painting Tropical Foliage in Watercolor | Irina Trzaskos | Skillshare

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Painting Tropical Foliage in Watercolor

teacher avatar Irina Trzaskos, Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Mixing colors


    • 4.

      Painting a Banana leaf


    • 5.

      Painting a Philodendron leaf


    • 6.

      Painting an Areca Palm leaf


    • 7.

      Panting a Fan Palm leaf


    • 8.

      Painting a Fishtail Palm leaf


    • 9.

      Last thoughts


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About This Class

This class is suitable for beginners.

Tropical foliage is a very trendy topic this year and it will make a great addition to your creative portfolio. Especially are popular tropical leaves on the dark background, that is why we will explore two different color schemes for our tropical foliage.

In this class I will explain step by step how to draw and paint 5 different tropical leaves:

- Banana Leaf

- Philodendron Leaf

- Areca Palm Leaf

- Fan Palm Leaf

- and Fishtail Palm Leaf

Also, we will mix two different color schemes for our tropical collections for a daylight and for a night scene tropical garden.

If you are new to the watercolor medium and would like to understand it better, I have 2 classes on watercolor basics:

Essential Watercolor Techniques for Beginners

The Basics of Color Mixing in Watercolor

The classes are concise and fun.

This class is geared toward designers, illustrators or nature sketchers who use watercolor or are attracted to watercolor media.

Meet Your Teacher

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Irina Trzaskos

Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

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Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hi everyone. My name is Irina Trzaskos. I'm an artist and illustrator. I invite you to my studio to explore the magical watercolor. In today's class, I will show you how to draw and paint different types of tropical leaves. Tropical foliage is a very trendy topic in design collections, and it will make a beautiful addition to your art practical. In the next video, I'll show you the supplies you'll be using in this class. 2. Supplies: In this class, we'll be using pretty much the same supplies we use in the most of my classes. It's watercolor paper, watercolor paint, brushes, I suggest that you use your favorite ones, a pencil, eraser, palette, water of course, paper towel, and also we'll need a color circle. In next video, we'll be mixing two different color schemes for our tropical leaves, one for a daylight and another one for a night tropical garden. 3. Mixing colors: Color is a very important part of any painting. Before I start the artwork, I usually create some color charts like these ones to decide which colors I would like to use in my artwork. Today, we'll create some shades of green for our daylight foliage. I'll mix some lemon yellow with some green for a wide part of the leaf. For the middle part, I will mix some green with orange. Mixing the green with other colors makes it a bit more natural. For dark green, I'll use green. [inaudible] blue. Let's see how our leaf will look. Continue with some lemon [inaudible]. Of course, it's better to mix the colors in a color palette. Leaf is getting darker on the bottom. [inaudible] blue. This is our daylight color scheme. Next, we'll choose some colors for a night tropical forest. For a night tropical forest, I decided to use some unusual colors such as pink. Obviously, the colors will be cooler because the moonlight is way cooler than sunlight. Let's go with pink and try to mix it with some aquamarine blue. It's a very beautiful combination. I use it in a lot of flowers and I think it can work for some unusual polish painting too. We can use some turquoise. [inaudible] turquoise, of course. Mix it with a little bit of yellow, then some blue and finish it with purple. It could be a nice color for some unusual leaves. Always try it in the leaf shape. Some blue, some turquoise, [inaudible] yellow, [inaudible] and some purple. This is our night tropical garden color scheme. All the colors I used will be listed in the project section of the class. 4. Painting a Banana leaf: In today's class, we'll be painting five different types of tropical leaves which differ by shape and structure of leaf. By the end of the class, you'll be able to create a full illustration of tropical forest if you want to. You can find that I have pictures of the leaves we'll be painting today from the project section of the class. We'll be starting with the banana leaf. It's a very basic shape, so it will be easier for our start. First, we have to draw a middle line of the leaf, the main streaks. It's like the leaf's spine, and then our banana leaf around it, we'll just draw a parallel line, now curve it on the top, and another parallel line. Technically, you get the banana leaf. We just need to add a little more curves in there in the leaf and let's see how we can start coloring. On my banana leaf, I want to use the daylights scheme we talked about before. It was some lemon yellow, green yellow from the light part and just diluting the tip in a lot of water and covering the entire surface of the leaf with this yellow, green color. Well [inaudible] we'll mix some green with orange and we'll edit correctly below of the leaf, and we'll have to dry our brush and just mix it in up here. Now we have just to let it dry. After our banana leaf is dry, the first layer, then we can add some textures to your mixing on the darkest top, green. We'll use green. We can mix it in here, and we'll add a drop of ultramarine blue in it. I'm going to use a smaller brush for our pattern. I think it may need a little more blue. We'll draw this middle line and then we'll add some pattern, such as lines just very thin parallel lines. For our pattern, we have to dilute our watercolor very well with water. It doesn't have to be thick. The same thing we got in this side. I'll [inaudible] patience to the next colors, and it is now our beautiful banana leaf. 5. Painting a Philodendron leaf: I hope you had a chance to paint with me a banana leaf. Now, on the same paper, I'm going to paint a philodendron leaf and also, we'll use this drawing to guide us through the painting. Philodendron or Monstera, as it's called leaf, it's shaped as a heart. So we're again drawing our middle line of the leaf, a little thicker. Then we'll draw a heart shape around it. It won't be so pointy but you can do pointy though. It's a big heart, and then we'll draw the streaks of the leaf, which are symmetrical. Then between the streaks, we have to draw this semicircle like this between every two streaks. We'll leave this one because it doesn't have another streak on this side. I'll have to erase these lines. Sometimes these curves are way deeper in the leaf and sometimes they would have a hole right in the leaf, right next to these curves. Now, when we have our philodendron leaf, we can start painting it. For this leaf, I also want to use some daylight color palette we picked. So we'll mix some green with orange to make it a little warmer than our banana leaf and we'll dilute it with water for the first layer. Always do the first layer of the painting with a lot of water, so it will be as transparent as possible. It needs a little bit of yellow [inaudible] We can mix other shades of green into our wash to make it more interesting. We're washes away far from perfect. But we'll add some pattern so we don't color all the mistakes. For parts which are still wet, we're going to add some other shades of blue or green if we want to. After the first layer, just let it dry. After the first layer of our leaf is totally dry, we can erase the excess of pencil and add some spots as a pattern on it. I want spots to be darker than the main leaf, so we'll mix again some green with [inaudible] blue, more blue than green and we'll dilute it with water again, just as we did for main layer. This is our philodendron or Monstera leaf. 6. Painting an Areca Palm leaf: Next, we'll be painting areca palm leaf. To draw areca palm leaf, we are doing the same guidance drawing as we did for banana leaf. Its middle line will be leaf, and then two parallel lines which are rounding on the top. After this, we can pick one of the brushes we like. If we'll pick a medium brush then the small leaves of areca palm leaf will be bigger, and the smaller brushes will make the leaves narrower. Here, we mixed our night tropical garden art. So we have turquoise, blue, and purple. We start from bottom which of the lightest shade of our colors of this turquoise and symmetrically, we start painting our small leaves. On the bottom of the leaf, I like to add some blue to mix in in our turquoise. After that, a drop of purple. Again, a little bit of blue, and purple. I did [inaudible] to make it mix. 7. Panting a Fan Palm leaf: The next leaf we'll be painting is the fan palm leaf. There are a few different ways to draw that gorgeous plant. Again, we'll start with the main streak of the leaf. Then, it can be just upper circle, a little bit prolonged on top. Or it could be this way. In this angle, and then, you add it on top. Or even from here going down, just like a fan shape. After we draw our guidelines, we can start painting right away with paint without drawing any other leaves. Again, different brushes will give different leaves. Some will be bigger and some will be more narrower. I'm taking the medium brush for this one, start with the lightest color, it makes the pink bright. Then from this point, we'll start all of the leaves. The same way we did with fan palm leaf, but we start all the leaves from one point. Then the inner layer is just some blue on the line. We'll have to let them dry. After you have basic paintings of the fan palm leaf on the drawing, remove the excess of guiding lines and you can leave them as they are, the leaves, or you can take a small brush and add some more leaves in between, also you can add some pattern. Let's take a look, fan palm leaves. 8. Painting a Fishtail Palm leaf: The last type of tropical leaf we'll be painting today is the fishtail palm leaf. It has an interesting name and a beautiful design, and I think it'll be a great addition to our tropical collection. To draw this type of leaf, we need to start to draw middle of the leaf line, and them streak of leaf. On top of it, we'll draw have this parts of the [inaudible] will be longer and this part smaller. Then we'll draw some triangles. In the middle of each big triangle, we'll draw a smaller triangle because we the leaves have a little bit of distance between this main streak and each leaf, make [inaudible] triangles. This is our guide drawing. We can find the entire drawing just on [inaudible] lines a little just like a fish tail. It's called a fishtail palm leaf. Be careful because this will you shave a little off the top, and the top leaf also. Next, we'll have to erase all extra ones on our leaf. After we find the cleaned down drawing from all of the guiding class, we can start painting our fishtail palm leaf. To paint it, I'll be using turquoise blue and darker blue, and I'll be painting one leaf at a time. You can even add a little bit of yellow on the top of the leaf. Then using the lightest color at the beginning of the leaf, I'm going to just create a dark [inaudible]. Turquoise seem to call for [inaudible] so I add a yellow probably at the beginning of the leaf. The same thing with the other leaf. When our fishtail palm leaf is dry, let's remove all our pencil lines, and I don't think we'll need to add any patterns because it's been interesting as it is, because we mixed so many colors. But if you think did it with just one color, you could always add some lines in the direction of the leaf. It will make it more interesting. Now you have your collection of tropical leaves, which will be a successful addition to your art portfolio. 9. Last thoughts: Thank you for watching my class. I hope it was useful and interesting. Please give a review and upload your project at project gallery of the class. I can't wait to see your artwork.