painting watercolor agates & geodes | mini beginner class | Erin Kate Archer | Skillshare

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painting watercolor agates & geodes | mini beginner class

teacher avatar Erin Kate Archer, art & illustration

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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.

      about geodes & agates


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.



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About This Class

learn to paint watercolor geodes & agate slices!

from the different shapes geodes & agates take, how to create the inner circle crystal sparkles, the best golds to outline them with, and more, this is a great introduction to the wet on wet technique, and watercolor in general. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Erin Kate Archer

art & illustration


erin kate archer is a new york-based artist & illustrator with an ethereal, magical style. her work aims to calm, comfort, and transport. from immersive fairytale landscapes and glowing high-key celestial pieces, to charming flora & fauna and children’s book illustrations – erin makes what was once a static image a tranquil visual journey. 


erin has illustrated children's picture books; was selected for the sing for hope NYC piano painting project; is a skillshare top teacher, and has created work for a number of consumer brands. 


follow along with her on instagram, check out her portfolio for some finished projects, and visit her etsy shop to purchase prints... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. intro: Learn to paint watercolor, geodes and agate slices. In this class, we'll learn with different shapes geodes and agates take take how to create the inner circle crystals sparkles, the best goals to align them with and more. This is a great introduction to the wet and wet technique and watercolor in general. Whether you're a beginner advanced, let's get going. 2. supplies: Let's talk supplies. It's basically just your basic watercolor supplies. I'm going to list my favorites for you. With the links and everything if you would like to use what I'm using. But really this is a great project for testing out new paints and new papers if you're really interested in that. The one thing is for watercolor paper, you do want to go cold press with as much texture as possible. This is Bee Paper Company, watercolor paper. It's a 100 percent cotton cold press, 140 pounds, which is really great because it's nice and thick and the paper is less likely to warp. I also have this handmade watercolor paper, which is really great for all that texture. The more texture you have and your paper, the more you're finished piece will have. That's what we're going for for these [inaudible]. For paint, I'm using the premium marketing watercolor of the classic set. I love these paints because they're really inexpensive, but they also give you a lot of granulation which maybe you're not looking for if you're doing, say, a smooth sky. But for this one on this type of project, they're perfect. They're really reasonably priced and really great for beginners. For brushes you just need. You could get by, by one brush, but I'm using two here. This is the silver brush limited on black velvet size 8 round brush. Then I'm not sure what gran this is, but just a tiny little brush that I'll use for the gold. Because I a want to use a throwaway brush because they can get really sticky. For the gold, I'm using this aqua bronze powder, which you mix into water. The shade is rich, pale gold and it's really beautiful. But if you're looking for something that's a little bit less than an investment, you can take a look at the fine tech pellets. Then also we have our secret ingredient, which is the salts. I love using the shakers or grinders, I guess because when you grind them out, they produce different sizes of the salt, which can give you better effects. But you can also just use rock salt. Or you can just use table salt. All of those different methods will give you a different texture. Experimenting is great here. 3. about geodes & agates: Let's talk a little bit about what aggregates geocodes actually are. Aggregates are actually just a really hard type of courts that are banded in appearance. A lot of times you'll see in aggregate slice or people talk about aggregates marbles and they just have that really interesting banded texture and we're going to be focusing on one that's have just one eye with banding around, but if you take a look through Google images, you'll see how many different types there are. Geocodes can look very similar to aggregates, If you're looking at it on a head on perspective. They stopped the banding, which is a result of impurities, but actually they are formed crystals forming and a small cavity of a rocks that can really be any shape. If you really want your paintings to look more like geocodes than like aggregates, you can just intensify the texture in the center, which is where all the crystals will happen and if you really want to drive that home, can create the rock behind it. 4. shapes: Both agates and geodes can come in a lot of different shapes, but I have distilled down the main ones. You can choose from this list if you are trying to keep it simple. You can also look at reference pictures, if you're lucky enough to have some real geodes and agates in your house, then you can always look at those, but in general, I see that they come in many shapes. First, we have a circle, just classic. You still want to keep a loose grip on your pen because you don't want it to be a perfect circle. That's really rare for that to happen. Then, we have an almond-type shape. It's skinnier at the top, like a pear or maybe an avocado shape. Then, also we have pickled shapes which are more curved C shapes, maybe a little skinnier. Within each of these, there are variations. Maybe there's more of a dip in the circle or maybe it leads to one side, the almonds. It's a cross between these two, but lots of different ways that you can play with this. No one says that you have to stick to these shapes, but if you want somewhere to start, these are pretty good. 5. painting: Now we can dive into actually creating the painting. One important thing to know is that you want to have all of your supplies ready. Make sure you have your salt on hand because it's really imperative that you do it when it's wet. Depending on when you place the salt, you can get a completely different effect. You don't want to place the salt when it's completely soaking. If you can move your paper around and you see the water moving around with it, then that's too early for salt, it won't do anything. It will basically just be a salty water bottle. It's good to have everything on hand. Then note about granulation on some watercolor brands like say the Daniel Smith, they have listed whether they are pigments are grand related or not. You can check that way, but you can also do swatches to see how grand related they are. If you want to see where they land on the granulation spectrum, excuse me, you can wet your paper add some colors on top and then gently rock the paper back and forth until the pigment settles and then you'll be able to see really well once it dries. Let's start. First I would just take water, but since I'm painting along with you guys, I'm going to add a tiny bit of pigment. Here I'm using the pale blue in the classics palette. I'm going to do a mix of the pickle shape and the avocado shape. Although I guess that becomes the avocado shape, doesn't it? I'm just going to fill this in using my bigger brush and being generous with the water. Make sure you're using the right side of your paper. Because usually the backside of cold pressed paper has a lot of texture and it's easy to actually use the wrong side. You won't get a good texture there. If you use like a hot press paper, your pigment will just float around and it won't settle into those nice slides. I'm being really generous with my water. Then I'm going to go in with a mix of the light and the dark blue and this is going to be my edge color. I'm going to focus on the edges here. If you take a look at pictures, you'll notice often that they have a darker band around the edge. Especially if you're looking at geodes, you can also create like a black outline for the shadows where the hard shiny stone pulls away from the rock. Now I'm going to just add a little bit of purple and you can do whatever colors you want and I definitely recommend taking a look at geodes and agates in copying the colors they have or using your own. Again, this is a great project since it's simple and quick to do those experiments to see which colors go together. If you're new to color theory, it can be really helpful to see how different paints go together. But you want to keep it all analogous then it's good to try that in here too. That's what I'm going to do today. I find those to be the most harmonious and you'll see in the ones that I showed you when we were talking about what geodes and agates actually are, I did some rainbow ones and those are fun too, but I find the ones that are all in one color family to be my favorites. I just started at the middle there. If you wanted this to be a geode, you could stop here and add your salt or even darken it up, add some black. But I am going to add some purple and a thin band around here. You can see it's starting to draw in a little bit. We're getting lots of [inaudible] here. At this point, you could add more texture if you wanted to add more blooms by just putting your brush and dropping some plain water into your geode. You can see how that is making the paint go away from it. If you get some extra spotters, you can just personally use clean water if you work quickly. I'm going to darken up my center a little bit more. There we go and then I'm going to add my salt. I'm focusing really on the center and then adding just a few guys on the outside. You can see I already have are starting to soak up our paint in the center here. Next is the hardest part. We have to wait before we start doing the gold. While we're waiting, I think we'll do another in a different shape. This time let's do more as a geode. I'm going to do same thing. I'm going to stick with the circle, just what you think of when you think of the classic geode and my brush is still a little dirty so you guys can see the water. Again, making sure I keep the geode a messy shape. I don't want it to be exactly a circle. Then I'm going to do, I think, let's do a pink one. I'm going to start with this red and mix it up with a little bit of the dark purple. This is going to be my dark color to go around the edge. You can see that with the wet paper and the wet brush and the wet pigment that it starts to fade in together. Oftentimes these pieces look silly and not so pretty until they actually dry. That's when they all come together because of pigment makes it look more natural once you let it do its thing. We've got that. Then I'm going to do a thin band of this bright pink. I've spent as it will go because this is still pretty well. The very center, I'm going to do that dark red, even darker with adding some black. If you want to go deeper into color theory, this would be a great project to mix your own plaques with, but we can cover that in a different class. Here I'm really darkening it up and keeping the shape really irregular, because if you look at how crystals form inside of these, they usually are not in perfect circles, usually all over the place. I'm keeping the general circle shape but not keeping too strict with them. You can see already how those blooms there are really making some nice textures. I see over here it's already dried so I'm not getting those nice blooms. I'm just going to take some water and blend it out. Perfect. We're going to take our salt, and this time I'm going to only put it in the very center. There we go. Now, the hardest part got to wait for these two completely dry. we'll come back to do our gold. 6. gilding: Now that these are completely dry we can take off the salt. You want to be sure that they are a 100 percent dry or else when you move this hub, you won't get any of the texture that we're trying to create. You can tell it's dry when you can't see any more sheen, or if you go to to pull him off and they're stuck to the paper. You can see already how it gotten these nice spots all over. Great texture. I'm happy with that. At this point, if you want to go ahead and detail more inside of the actual banding itself, you can do that. I'm just going to go in with the gold next. If you want to use a fine tech palette like this one here, they are really great, Pretty inexpensive as far as such high-quality pigments. Just make sure if you're going to use that, you wet the color, you're going to use a little bit before you're ready because it softens it up and gets you ready to go. I am going to use the bronze pill, rich pale gold pigment, which you just mix with a little bit of water. I've already dumped it in here and I'm just going to mix this up. It just takes a little bit of trial and error to how much water you need for it to be spreadable. Once you get it, it's so beautiful, and also mixing it up is half the fun. Again, I use a throwaway brush for this because I'm a little bit rough with it. I'm using it for mixing and everything. You can try it on some scrap paper, see how the consistency is going. I think mine is about good, I just need to mix in those last little bits of pigment. The great thing about this powder too, is that after you mix it up, you can just let it dry in the pan and you can reactivate it with water. Really nice because you don't waste anything. I'm just going to take my brush and load it up and go around in a circle. You can either go within the lines of the piece or on the outside. I'll do it both ways for you, so you can see what you like better. Personally, I like it better when it's within the lines of the painting, it seems to be a bit richer but you can decide. For this one, I'll go on the outside. I feel like going on the outside to is more of a geode than an agate. We're just following the lines I've already created. We'll just let this one dry. You do the same on the other piece. This one, I'm going to stay in the lines. You can see how it's a richer color over top of the paint rather than just the paper. 7. outro: That's the end of the class. I just wanted to show you a couple of others that I've done. It's a different color combinations, this ones very similar but on a handmade paper, so you can see how much the extra texture in the paper has lend itself to the extra texture in the actual geode itself. I've also done this one which I had some fun with cutting it out, and the gold around here is the fine tech pellet, so it's a little bit of a darker one. Really beautiful. But I can't wait to see what you make. If you could post your work in the class projects, I'd love to see them. If you post them on social media, be sure to tag me at ekatearcher, E-K-A-T-E-A-R-C-H-E-R, or hashtag ekatearcher skillshare. I'll be sure to check out your work. I can't wait to see them.