Painting with Gouache: Introduction to Color Theory | Ann Shen | Skillshare

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Painting with Gouache: Introduction to Color Theory

teacher avatar Ann Shen, Illustrator & Author

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.

      Class Orientation


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Color Terminology


    • 5.

      The Color Wheel


    • 6.

      Monochrome and Values


    • 7.

      Complementary and Analogous


    • 8.

      Split Complementary


    • 9.

      Creating Harmonious Color Palettes


    • 10.

      Wrap Party!


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About This Class

Do you struggle with picking a color palette that just works for your paintings? 

Do you feel like you’re good with color, but have a hard time making it look good in your art?

This is the class for you! I’ll be giving you an introduction to color theory to help you crack the code on how to pick colors for your paintings that will make them soar! We’ll also go over the basics of painting with gouache so that with practice, you can master the medium.

We’ll use sketchbook exercises to learn different color theory for painting with the opaque watercolor medium, like:

  • Learning how to talk about color: hue, value, saturation, temperature
  • Painting a color wheel
  • Making the whole rainbow with just three colors
  • Creating palettes that sing
  • Painting analogous, complementary, and split complementary color schemes
  • How to use color to help images pop off backgrounds
    And so much more pro tips are packed in between these lessons!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ann Shen

Illustrator & Author

Top Teacher

Hi there! I'm Ann Shen and I'm an illustrator, author, and hand-letterer based in Los Angeles. I have a degree in Writing from UCSD and a BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design. I've worked in the art and design industry for over ten years, taking the leap to work full time for myself in 2014. My artwork has been on everything from doll packaging, digital stickers, book covers, editorial illustrations, calendars, theme parks and more for companies like Disney, Facebook, and HarperCollins.


I've written and illustrated three books: Bad Girls Throughout History, Legendary Ladies, and Nevertheless, She Wore It, all published by Chronicle Books. My work's been featured on Forbes, HelloGiggles, The Cut, and so much more.See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Do you struggle with picking a color palette for your paints? Do you feel like you're good with color but it just doesn't seem to show up in your artwork? Then this is the class for you. I'll be giving you an introduction to color theory that will help you crack the code on picking the perfect colors for your paintings. Color is all about relationships and the sooner you understand and see those relationships, the better your artwork is going to become. Hi, I'm Ann Shen and I'm an illustrator and author based in Los Angeles. I worked in the industry for over 10 years with clients like Disney, Facebook, and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. I've also written and illustrated three books published by Chronicle Books titled Bad Girls Throughout History, Legendary Ladies, and Nevertheless, She Wore It. In this class, I'm going to be teaching all about color theory. I love talking about color and artwork because it's one of the most powerful tools we have as artists. Colors evoke emotion, can direct the viewer's eye and can convey powerful messages through the visual medium. We'll be using gouache, my favorite paint, for the projects in this class. I'll go over the basics of how to use it so that with practice, you can master the meaning. Of course, you're always welcome to use whatever medium you have on hand. There will be three main sections in this class. The first one is going to be an overview where I will go over common color terminology that is used to describe how we talk about color. Two, the color wheel. We'll do a color wheel that'll go over hue and value and teach you how to make a harmonious color palette with just four colors. The third section will be butterfly studies. We'll experiment with creating our own versions, testing out how monochromatic, complementary, analogous, and split complementary colors work. My hope with this class is that you'll come away with the tools to become the master of your own color domain. Now, let's get started. 2. Class Orientation: [MUSIC] The project for today's class is to paint a color wheel and then do a series of butterfly exercises that will explore monochromatic, complementary, analogous, and split complementary color schemes. I'll be teaching you how to paint in gouache, which is an opaque watercolor media. I'll be going over the basics so that through this series of butterfly exercises, you'll start to master the medium. In the next video, I'll go over all the materials we'll need. We'll be doing exercises in a sketchbook that will help you practice these techniques and each exercise will build on the last. You'll have the option to design your own butterfly and I'll go over how to do that, or you can download the template that I provided in the Projects and Resources section of this class. There is also a 14 day color sketchbook challenge that you can take on after the class is over. The prompts can also be found in the projects and resources section of the class. If you decide to join the challenge, please upload your work to the Student Project section of this class or on Instagram using hashtag Art with [inaudible]. Ready to get comfortable with color? Let's dive in. 3. Materials: [MUSIC] In this video, I'm going to be going over all you need to know to get started with gouache. First, let's talk about paint. There are a lot of options for gouache these days so let me walk you through them. Traditional gouache is an opaque, water-based medium which dries matte and can be reactivated with water. It's usually a mix of synthetic or natural pigments, water, and some gum Arabic. It's use dates back to the 15th century but it came into mass popularity in the mid-twentieth century because of its matte and quick drying qualities making it easy to reproduce or scan. My favorite brands of professional grade gouache are Winsor and Newton and Holbein which is what I use in all of my paintings. Today there's also an alternative called acrylic gouache which is a mixture of gouache and acrylic paint. It has the body of acrylic paint which makes it plastic and a little bit easier to work with. However, you cannot re-wet it with water. It's still dries matte like gouache but has more of a plastic quality than traditional gouache does. My favorite brands for acrylic gouache are Holbein or Turner. A budget friendly alternative is Jelly Gouache sets which are starter sets that have about 24 colors in them that you can get for pretty cheap. However, just be aware that they don't have as high pigment quality or light fastness, meaning how long the color lasts as professional grade gouache. But they are great for practice and a great option for this class. They last about 6-12 months and you'll have to add water or glycerin to keep them activated. But other than that they're pretty fun option. Now, back to traditional gouache which I'll be using for this class. But again, feel free to use any of the other options or whatever you have on hand. A few tips on understanding the colors you're choosing. For Winsor and Newton gouache for example, they grade their paints from AA to C in terms of light fastness. Again, light fastness means how permanent that color is when you paint with it. AA means it's very permanent and the pigment will not change color or fade with time or with light. You generally want to pick colors from A or above if you want to have paintings that last. Now, for the colors in this class, you can work with whatever you have on hand or if you feel like treating yourself to some new paints, you'll want to buy colors and the yellow, red, and blue hue family which we'll talk about in the next class. Make sure you have a permanent white and an ivory black. For a full overview of the colors I keep in my kit, checkout my Oh My Gouache painting portraits with gouache class. For brushes, you'll just need a few watercolor brushes. They don't have to be very expensive. I usually buy them in bulk when they're on sale. You'll just need a minimum of flat brush, two round brushes about size 4, and a round brush about size 0 or one of those nail art brushes I like to get from the beauty supply store. Your brush is to last a long time as long as you take care of them and don't leave them sitting in the water jar. You'll also need a round pallet. You'll see why later in this class. It's even better if it has wells. Next, paper. Personally I like to paint on hot press watercolor paper because it's smooth, making it easier to scan. You can also paint on cold press watercolor paper which has more texture if you like that for your artwork. It's all a matter of preference. For the sake of this class we'll be using a watercolor sketch book. Additional supplies you'll need for this class are a color race or a mechanical colored pencil, a ruler, a spray bottle filled with water, a cup for water, and an eraser. Don't forget your paper towels. For cleanup I like to use a brush cleaner like the masters, just run your brushes in a cold water, Side your brush up with the cleanser, and rinse until the water runs clear. Now let's learn some color terminology in the next lesson. 4. Color Terminology: [MUSIC] In this class, we're going to go over a few terms used frequently when we talk about colors so we're all on the same page. First up is hue. Hue refers to the color and it's sometimes can be used interchangeably. But most often is also referring to the color family that it belongs to. For example, rose, magenta, and burgundy are all part of the red hue family. Next is value. Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. Then there is saturation. Saturation refers to the intensity of the color. A highly saturated paintings means that all the colors are turned up to a 100 percent of their saturation. A muted one means that the paintings can have the same colors, but maybe softer and more pastel. Muting saturation can be as simple as adding more black or more white to the original color or it can be a little more complex by adding the complimentary color, which we'll explore more in the lessons later. One of the greatest strengths and challenges is mastering saturation balance. Your value and saturation choices set the mood of your piece, and finally, there's temperature. Temperature refers to the coolness or warmth of a color. For example, a lime green is warmer than an emerald green because it has more yellow tones and warm tones in its hue. Temperature technically refers to the way that the light reflects it. But for our purposes, it's going to refer to whether it's more on the warm or cool side of the spectrum. Now that you learn the technical terms, let's break out our brushes and get to painting. 5. The Color Wheel: [MUSIC] Fill up your water containers, roll out your sketchbooks and pull out your pencils. It's time to start on our color wheel. In this lesson, we're going to paint a color wheel using colors from the red, blue, and yellow hue family. It will include primary, secondary, and tertiary colors so we can learn how they work in relationship to each other. In this process, we'll also learn how colors exist in relationship to each other. Step 1, we're going to pull out our sketch book, and open it to a blank page. Then we're going to take our palate. Now you know why we needed a round one, we're going to trace our palette for our color wheel. Put it in the center of the page best you can, and just trace it with your pencil. Second, we're going to measure the diameter of the circle. It's about 6.5-ish or a little over. I'm going to do three and a quarter to get the center dot. Then what we're going to do is draw six lines through that center. I like to do it crosswise each time so that you get equal pie slices. That's two lines making four pie slices. I need to make four more lines. I'm just eyeballing this, trying to make it as even as possible. It's not really a big deal, that it's precise but you get the idea. Then one more line. You can see, pretty much you get the idea. My triangles aren't all perfect in size, but that'll work for our purposes. Just to note, you might also want to note this on your color wheel just for your own practice. You're going to have a primary hue and then count 1,2,3. Then your next primary hue is on the fourth one, and then 1,2,3,4 blue. This way it helps you stay organized when we get into the painting of it. I'm also going to just put in the secondary colors. Red and yellow are going to make orange in the middle one. Then red and blue, in the middle is going to be violet, and then blue and yellow in the middle is going to be green. This just helps me keep things on track as we're working. A sketchbook is all about keeping little notes to yourself. For this color wheel, I'm going to choose Opera Pink for my red hue, yellow ocher for my yellow hue, and a turquoise blue for my blue hue. You know what a traditional color wheel looks like. You'll see how different colors in the same hue family will create interesting and different types of color palettes. Squeeze out about a pearl size. You'll squeeze out about a large pearl size of each paint. Sometimes you'll want to massage the tube because the binders and the pigment might have separated, which is what's happening over here. No problem. It's not a big deal. It's just that sometimes more water will come out than pigment. Then some are drier like this yellow ocher. That just means we're going to have to add more water when we're mixing with it. What we're going to do is add some water on our brush. Then one of the secrets with gouache is getting the paint to the consistency of heavy cream before you're painting with it. That'll give you the most flat and opaque lay-down on the paper. I'm going to do that and then paint in my slice of bread with this Opera Pink, one of my favorite colors. It's just so pigmented and saturated. Now I'm going to paint in my two other primaries. Again with that yellow. I'm adding water because it came out very thick from the tube, which means it's a little dried out. I'm getting into that heavy cream consistency, just by adding water. You can tape off each triangle with artist's tape. It's like low-tech tape that won't tear up the paper. But since it's a sketchbook exercise, I like to use it as an opportunity to practice the steadiness of my hand. Make sure your brush is totally cleaned between each color so that it doesn't mix in with the color before. Now, this blue has a pretty watery consistency already. I'm going to add just a touch of water, but not as much as I did with the yellow ocher. Make sure you just paint over any part of paint that feels raised to get it smooth when it's one. [NOISE] Again, I'm going to get my brush totally clean. Then when you're mixing secondary colors, you want them to visually be 50/50 of each primary color. I say visually because some pigments are stronger than others, and Opera Pink, for example, is a more transparent color. However, red is a really strong hue compared to yellow. Just watch that when you're mixing with it, it's not going to be 50/50 of the paint, you're just visually trying to get to 50/50. Even though that pink is so saturated with the yellow ocher, which is a more of a dusty yellow, we get this more desaturated, almost a terracotta orange. You want to make sure you mix a lot of the secondary, so that when you're doing the tertiary, you could just take some of that and then add in more of that primary color. Visually, you want it to be 75 percent of the red, and 25 percent of the yellow. You are getting this red orange, that's more of a coral with these hues. I'm going to take that secondary, more yellow ocher, [NOISE] to a make more yellow version of that orange. But it's still more orange than the yellow ocher. Now you've seen we mix the colors for all three levels, let's do it for the rest of the color wheel. [MUSIC] There you have it. A color wheel using untraditional shades of red, yellow, and blue. You can see with this color palette you have more of like a retro, 70s vibe going on with these colors. You can see how colors can really shift the emotions and mood of a piece. Now that we've done this, let's move on to painting our first butterfly. Meet me in the next class. 6. Monochrome and Values: In this class, we're going to paint a butterfly using a monochromatic color scheme. Monochromatic means using just one color, but with the addition of white and black paint, you'll see how we can get a whole range of values that can make the colors really pop. Step 1, we're going to draw a butterfly. Pro tip, all professional artists use reference. Most pull a lot of reference or shoot their own. For practice only, it's okay to use reference that you found on Google or Pinterest, but if you're planning on sharing or selling the image, then you're going to have to use reference that you either shot yourself or something that you paid for. You can also use a royalty-free website like Unsplash to find reference images you can draw from without paying a fee. Or you can also use the template I provided in the projects and resources section of the class. I'm going to use some images I pulled from Unsplash to draw my own unique butterfly. Now you'll want to make the usual trademarks of a butterfly, which is two pairs of wings that match. I'm going to make the wings extend out more. Don't worry about the sketchy mess. We're just going to paint over that and make sure they have an antenna. Then I want to add some areas where I can paint in darker and paint in some details. That's a good start. Now that you've got your butterfly drawn, let's move on to painting. I'm going to choose my hue and now remember, even though we painted a color wheel with three primary colors, you're always welcome to use colors straight from the tube. For the sake of that, I'm actually going to use a spectrum violet straight from the tube to show you how to play with value. I start out with squeezing out quite a bit of that violet because I'm going to be using it a lot. I just want to have it ready to go. Now when you're painting with an opaque medium, light gouache or acrylics, you want to paint large areas to small areas and back to front. Because it's opaque, things lay on top of each other easily unlike with watercolor, where you would go from front to back or from the lightest to the darkest. I'm going to take some of that spectrum violet and I'm going to squeeze out a bunch of permanent white. You can see this violet is really pigmented, so I'm going to mix them and then when you're mixing colors, it's easier to mix dark pigments into the light pigment because the white will be eaten up really fast by the violet. If you keep adding just a little bit of white to the violet, it will take forever. I like this value, this much lighter value of that spectrum violet and I'm going to start painting in just the largest part of the wing, which is the main part. I'm going to leave all the details. Then I'll paint a different color, just white of the paper right now. Because gouache lays best on just the bare paper, so where I can, I'm going to try and leave the largest area as possible, still does that bare paper so it's easier to paint on later. I want the inner wings to all be this light violet. I actually want to create a little bit of a gradient so that the wings look like they're receding into the body. When colors have a darker value and less saturation, they actually look like they're going backwards or going back in the paint. I'm adding a touch of that violet I mixed with the white. Now the trick with gradients is that you want to have two brushes, each loaded with a two different colors on the gradient that you want to blend. I'm going to take the darker color and start blending it in on the inside where it's going to touch the body because I want it to look like the wings are going down to touch the body. Also, the other tip with gradients is that you want to be working wet on wet so that you're going back and forth with two brushes to create a smooth transition. I'm actually going to pull out this color a little bit more. But I noticed that it's getting lighter because it's mixing, so I'm going back in here to add in the darker value. Again, blending it out with my lighter brush. I'm also using this darker value. Let me make it a little darker a little bit. Also using this darker value to create a shadow where the top wing is or the bottom wing. Again, I'm going to blend it in with my second brush loaded with my lighter color. Now this gradient still has little marks on it, like little brushstrokes, and I like that for this butterfly, but you could also just completely blend it smooth and that would be a good challenge if you want to try that. But since it's a butterfly, I want it to have a little bit of the segments the wings seem to have. Then you're going to do the same on the other side, paint in that lighter color. You can also see here how this color is already drying darker than when it's wet, so you can see what I mean about mixing enough color so you don't have to try and match it again because the wet looks so much lighter, which makes it really difficult to try and match. Not impossible, but difficult. Now that we have the mass of the wings painted in, let's paint in the body. I'm just going to use an ivory black with a touch of the violet in it. Because this violet is already really dark hue and you can always swatch it in your sketch book too. Look at how dark that violet is. It's already a really rich, really dark value. What I'm going to do is actually take a little of the violet that I had with some white already and mix it with the black. That's also another pro tip to unify a palette. Sometimes what you want is just a hue or tone temperature that unites the whole thing. In this case, we're using a hue. Even though that purple totally disappears in this black, I'll bring it back as a highlight. Another important note is that you're going to want to wait until areas of your painting, if you are painting over it, to be dry, overlapping over it because you don't want to pick up that paint underneath. Remember, the unique thing about gouache is that it can be reactivated by water too. If you're repainting over something, some area that's already been painted over, you want to make sure you're really careful and don't go over the area multiple times, which will pick up the color underneath. You'll just want to lay it down flat. Put the little antenna in. I'm going to go back up to that purple. Add it as a highlight. A little body. Since the value of this purple is so dark, I'm just going to use the purple straight from the tube to do the outside of these wings. If I wanted it to be darker, but it was a lighter hue like that, opera pink. I may add more of a dark red to it, or some more. Now remember with your painting, you can always turn your Canvas around to help best suite your hand. It would've been really hard to paint over that wet paint area since I'm right-handed so I just turned my sketch book upside down. You can always turn your Canvas around. Now I left some white area and then I'm painting over this area so you can see that you can do it both ways but it's going to be a little more hard the way that I'm doing it here if you are painting on top of other paint. You'll see that it's going to be a little harder to paint over such dark paint but that's why the magical gouache also comes in. Another trick is that it's easier to paint pulling down or towards you to get a smooth line than it is pushing away. Add a little more landing till here for the bottom or the top way. Now I'm going to let that dry for a second or pro tip, if you happen to have a blow dryer on here and you could just blast it real quick. Now I'm going to go back and add in details of that purple, whether they're shades of purple to make it really pop. I'm going to take the violet here, I'm going to add some more white to it. I want it a little darker than my base. I'm going to add a little more spectrum violet and it's always a good idea to mix up a lot of paint. This hue while the value is a little lighter than the violet, it's still a pretty much medium value and you can tell when you squint your eyes and just see the lightness and darkness of each color. Again, it's a relationship to each other. I'm going to go in with his darker, light violet to paint on some details. You'll see as we work on this, the monochromatic palettes don't have to be boring. In fact, they can be really sophisticated or a dramatic way to use one color. I'm just having fun and making it up as they go along too. This is beyond what I had sketched. But again, these are all sketchbook exercises for you to experiment around with your paintings. I'm adding a little shadow with a shade too and I want to blend it in with this lighter shade I had. That was the darker shade, darker than the base coat. Then since it's a butterfly, I'm going to mirror image the painting, the pattern the best I can. I'm going to flip that Canvas again to make it easier for myself to paint. Now I'm going to go back and refine some edges on that body. This is all the detail where you do at the end to really refine your painting. You'll see that ivory black tends to dry a little grayer and a little lighter. The one that's wet. I'm going to clean up some more edges. I'm also going to mix in to their value shade that's a little lighter than this, but a little darker than this. I'm going to start by taking this one over here. It makes it a little more white. Then I'm going to swatch it next to this one. Swatch it here. I swatch this one so that I can tell that it's darker, next to it. The best is to let it dry and then you'll know. Well, I'm going to take this in-between color and I'm going to use that to create some of those. I can see when I painted on there that it's not going to be light enough or dark enough. I'm just going to add a little more purple. I'm just going to mix more of that color but make it a little darker. You create those little facets that you see in a better flyway. Again since it's a butterfly, I'm just trying to mirror image. See what happened there, the black was still wet, which is why I warn you about drying each section before painting on top of it. I'll do this one. We go back to the original parts to clean it up a bit. In fact, I think I'm actually going to unify it even more. I didn't touch more of the pure violet straight out of the tube, the dark violet in a little bit more detail within the details. It's all about balancing what is inside each painting and you don't want everything to be equal and even because that would make a really boring composition for your eye. Even when something is symmetrical as a butterfly, you still see butterflies have a balance of values and colors. For them, it's biomimicry, perhaps for protection. But for our artistic sake, it creates really beautiful patterns. Even though a lot of them are only one color or two if you count black. I'm going to wait for that to dry a little bit more to lay the color down because it's picking up the color underneath. There you have it. We have a beautiful monochromatic butterfly. Let's move on to complementary colors in our next lesson. 7. Complementary and Analogous: In this lesson, we're going to learn about complimentary colors and how they bring out the best in each other. Putting complimentary colors next to each other makes each one brighter, and when you mix them together, it neutralizes them without doling their saturation. Complimentary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, for example, red and green, blue and orange, and violet and yellow. When using complimentary pairs, remember that every temperature and value is also available to you. In this lesson, we're going to paint another butterfly and monochrome, but this time on a complimentary color background so you can see how the butterfly pops so much more. This is a tool you can use in your paintings when you want to make your subject pop out more. Step 1 is to sketch your butterfly, this can be the same butterfly from your last sketch, the template in the class, or a whole new butterfly. For me, I sketched out something that was inspired by the monarch butterfly because the complimentary color pair I'm going to use is orange and blue. For my blue, I'm going with an ultramarine this time. I'm going with a deep sapphiry blue. I'm just going to use it straight out of the tube and I'm adding water with my big flat brush, this is a size 12 flat brush and I like it for this size for sketchbooks just because you have edge control still, but you also get nice brushstrokes out of it, nice flat coverage. Now when you're painting something, just an opaque flat color, you want to work fast and wet-on-wet, so everything smooths over quickly and together. Remember, gouache adheres to blank paper the best, so I'm leaving the large areas of the butterfly largely untouched, I'm just painting basically an outline around it. Again with opaque paint mediums like gouache, acrylic, you go from back to front, so I'm painting in the background first. Now see see I didn't have enough paint, so I'm going to squeeze that way more. Feel free to mix the color here too, if you want, you don't have to use the blue straight out of the tube. Again, I'm smoothing out those ridges that the paint sometimes makes when too much of it pulls together. Now, that paint feels too fixed, so I'm adding more water to get that heavy cream consistency. Again, if you have a little drop of paint somewhere you don't want it, you just use a clean brush, lift it up, basically what you're trying to do is get rid of that texture so that the paint can still lay flat on the paper. Going back over the areas that are a little bit pooling with my paint. Just a little bit more. Now I'm going to pull my orange, so again, you could just use colors straight from the tube, you don't have to mix your own. So I'm going to use this orange lake light, but what I am going to do is add some brilliant yellow to it to get some variations of that monochrome. So adding yellow to it makes that orange get it a little lighter too actually, in value because yellow is lighter in value rather than adding white, we still get some more saturation and color. So with the orange, I'm actually going to maybe add a touch of red to it, so I can get a little bit of a gradient going from the top of the wing to the bottom of the wing. Just because monarchs tend to have that pattern, so I'm going to mix up enough that orange for the top wing, see how that orange is really popping on this dark blue background already, even more so than if it was just by itself. Then I'm going to mix some of this yellow, orange, I'm going to get more of that yellow in there because like I said, lighter colors tend to be overwhelmed by the darker hues, so you want to really add the orange to the yellow to get more control over how fast it becomes a lighter color. So what I'm going to do here is actually, I want to bring some of that red, orange down into the bottom wing, and I'm doing that gradient method again where the brush is loaded with both colors and I'm just going back and forth until they really blend together pretty seamlessly. That looks pretty good, so I'm going to move on to the next, bottom wing. So we have the base of the wings painted in. Now for the details of this butterfly, like the outer wings, they tend to have a stark black contrast, so I'm using the ivory black and I'm going to paint in the body first. Now for this piece, you want to make sure it's completely dry before we add in the details, because now there's no more bare paper. This is important because when we paint on top of gouache, it is reactivated by color. When it's dried, you have a little bit more time with the wet gouache laying on top. I'm going to add in some of the details or the veining, or the facets inside the butterfly wings. I'm actually going to take a cooler red here, mix it with our orange to get a little bit of a darker orange. Again, not adding black, so I don't lose the hue. Then I start to vein in the details. Actually going to do these details in black because I realize that monarch butterflies have black faceted details. But you could also do the same hue like I was doing before if you wanted to get a different effect. Now, to get some highlight details on the body, I'm actually going to go in with more orange. Just straight out of the tube, on the body of that monarch butterfly. Then I'm actually going to take that blue. Use white. Just a touch of it to it, to do the top of its body. Actually I'm going to take the ultramarine. Make a lighter one, but not as light as I had before. Just add some detail again to the body. Taking that black, moving it back over the wings just because I feel like I'm seeing some edges. I'm going to add a touch of orange to frame the head a bit. That's just to start pulling color into the body, which would be somewhat reflective. Now, I'm going to take pure white to add some patterning to the monarch, but I'm going to take some creative liberties with it. Now see how laying the white on top of a drag black, the white really pops because it's not picking up any of the black underneath because I'm only just hitting it with one stroke. If I continued to go over that stroke, the black would start to pick up and the white would start to turn grayish. This is monarch butterfly inspired and not exactly a replica. I'm going to go back in and add more details to the edges of the butterfly to sharpen it up. Voila, you have painted a butterfly with a complimentary background to see how much that butterfly really pops off the page. For practice, you can also reverse these colors and do a blue butterfly on an orange background just to see how they play with each other and give you a different effect. You can see these examples of other butterflies I painted too. The contrast between painting it in an analogous meaning a color close to the subjects color or opinion in a complementary scheme here. Neither is right or wrong, it's just a tool to achieve what you'd like in your paintings. For example, for an optional Step B, you can also add leaves to the background of this painting and a color analogous to that blue, so that you can add more detail without distracting from the subject. I'm going to take some of this turquoise blue. For simplicity, I'm just using colors straight out of the tube, but feel free to mix your own colors. I'm going to add some leaves into the background. But even though they're bright, or this turquoise blue as a bright color, it's adding texture in detail without distracting from the main subject, which is the butterfly. This is how you can apply it to your more complex paintings that you're going to want to do that in future. Also notice how, even though this is a turquoise blue, when I'm painting it on a cooler background, a cooler blue, like an ultramarine, it starts to look really green or more yellow toned, which I think is color theory in action. Isn't that cool? Now in this next lesson, we're going to start experimenting with an even broader scope of colors with a split complementary color scheme. Join me in the next video for our last color exercise. 8. Split Complementary: In this lesson, we're going to go over adding more colors into the mix because most paintings have multi-colors in them. I wanted to give you some guidance on how to pick those colors, and a split complementary color scheme is a great place to start. What is the split complementary color scheme? It's a color scheme that uses colors that are opposite on the color wheel, but the main color will be say a red, and then the opposite will be the two on either side of its complementary color. For example, a yellow-green and a blue-green. I'll be using these colors for my next butterfly sketchbook exercise, but feel free to pick your own split complementary color set. Let's get started. Step 1 is to sketch your butterfly. You know by now, you can either create one on your own, use a reference, or use the template that's provided in this class. Step 2 is you're going to mix the color that's going to be the biggest mass in the painting. For this, it'll be the background. I'm going to do a lighter blue-green that's a little desaturated so that you can see the things that are further back are lighter and more desaturated. Step 2, you're going to squeeze out those paints. I'm going to take some of this green. Then I'm going to add this turquoise blue to it, to blue it up without adding just pure blue. Let me take a lot of this white over here and some of that green already on my brush. I'll start mixing up this minty color. I want a lot because it is going to be the background, and it's the largest area in my painting. Now you'll see it's very bright right now still. What I'm going to do is actually add a touch of the complementary color, which is a red to desaturate it. See how it dulls it down without the way that adding black will make it more gray instead of just desaturated. I'm going to add a touch more. It's really neutralizing that green, but in a very still pleasing way. I feel I'm going to need more, so I'm just going to add some more white into it. I'm going to actually use the opposite side to swatch it. Actually, I want that to be even lighter, so I'm going to add more white to it. We want to paint the whole background. Now that the background is painted in, I'm going to wait for it to dry a bit. Then I'm going to paint in the pink wings. While that's still drying, I'm going to mix some more pink. I'm going to add white over here. I'm going to make a lighter hue of the red that we also call pink. I start by adding red to the white because red is a really strong hue. It will just gobble up that white, if you're adding white to the red. Now the nice thing about having swatches here is that you can swatch the color next to it and see if you like that color next to it. I'm pretty happy with it. I think I'm going to add more white because I know I need more paint. It's a little bit paler, but I'm good with that. Now I'm going to start painting in the pink wings. Again, this is a totally made-up butterfly, not based on anything. I'm just having fun with it, and I encourage you to do the same with the butterflies in your sketchbook. I'm going to pick a little bit of a darker paint to blend in. Again, those wing details to create more depth in the painting. There's blue on this brush. There's blue on that brush. I'm just going to mix a new little well of pink because the blue tinted the pink a little bit. Again, I'm going to swatch it here to make sure it matches. It's pretty good. You can see with this color, it's drying actually a little bit more red than it looks when it's wet. That's just part of getting to know your colors. Each paint color behaves a little bit differently because of the pigment that's being used. Now that we mostly have the body of the butterfly in or the wings in, I'm going to mix the color for the body which I'm actually going to use red and green because they're complimentary colors to make a dark brown. I'm doing this instead of black to make a dark color that feels like black in the context of this painting. It's the darkest value in this painting. But have it feel harmonious because it's still part using the same two color hues. Like I said, part of creating color harmony sometimes is making sure you're using something that's the same family, either a hue, or temperature, or maybe even value. There you go. Sometimes I don't really like to use black and a whole lot of paintings because every black, it really just goes to the most extreme. Whereas when you're mixing a dark value like this, even though it's very extreme in its color, in the context of this whole painting, it still has color and you can see that it's more of a dark green brown instead of just straight black. It just gives it a little bit more life to have color in it. Now for the outside, I'm going to take the red, but I'm actually going to take a touch of a green to dilute it down and desaturate it a bit, so I'm not having this super bold red. I'm going to swatch it next to this one to see if I like it. I really do, actually. I'm going to make more of it, so I make sure I have enough. I'm going to do the dark edges of the butterfly wings and this darker, desaturated red that I desaturated with its opposite complementary color. But because it's the same base hue of that flame red, it's still really playing well with this pink that I mixed. You see how the colors are already coming together in a really lovely way. Even though they're colors, I wouldn't necessarily have thought of using a dark, muddy olive green and a dark terracotta red. Always going back in. This is why you want to make sure you have enough paint too. You're always going to go back in and refine those little spots. Now I'm actually going to go in and do some more dark pinks to pull out those details. Too desaturated. I'm going to start over. I'm going to take this pink. Just a touch of this blue-green. Probably a little more red. There we go. Now I'm going to go back in and actually add more yellow to the green to get more of a lime green. You can see when I desaturated the green with the red for the body, we're already getting a lime green there or more of a yellow-green than a blue-green. We're going to take this lime green, and add some touches to the butterfly wings. That's still going to this color palette. You wouldn't think a lime green would go with a terracotta and a pistachio green. But I'm really digging this. I hope you are too. Also going to take this lime green to touch the body. Give it a highlight, and give it a little detail. Also, we're going to go in with some white because why not? I'm going to add some detail to its outer wings. You can get as detailed or as simple as you would like with your butterfly. That's the fun part of these sketchbook exercises. They're just a little exercise and helping you discover what you like to do with your paintings. I like to balance my mix of simple shapes with more areas of detail because I think it just makes a nice balance. But sometimes it calls for a lot of detail. It's all in the mood that you want your piece to have. Of course, with butterflies, I'm trying to do some cheerful, happy pieces. Sometimes for these sketchbook drawings, I also like to indicate the colors I was using and the date, just so I know. Just so I have some good notes on my color explorations. There you have it. You're well on your way with the tools in hand to create your next masterpiece. I have a little bonus for you in the next video, with secret ways that the Internet can help you pick out a color palette. Join me there. 9. Creating Harmonious Color Palettes: [MUSIC] Now that you've learned how to use the color wheel and all different types of colors schemes to help choose your palettes, let's get deeper. Colors can really set the mood of a piece and you just have to decide what story you're telling with your artwork first. A [inaudible] romantic scene would have more desaturated pastel and light valued colors. An exciting scene may have full-color saturation with dark blacks to punctuate the high contrast. Explore the story and find the color palette that will support it. Along with the tools that you've learned in this class, I wanted to share two of my favorite websites to go color hunting on is a website that features color palettes that you can browse by trending. One of my favorite ways are randomly generating a beautiful palette just for you. Use this to help with your color practice. Generate a color palette and do a sketchbook butterfly painting. The next website is colorhunt. co. It's a website that also features color palettes that you can sort by popularity or by vibes. The next time you're creating a new artwork, consider using one of these websites to help you narrow down that palette faster. Meet me in the next video for more information about the 14-day sketchbook challenge that will follow this class and to wrap up everything we've learned. 10. Wrap Party!: [MUSIC] You've made it, congratulations. You've completed introductory to color theory. We've covered a lot in this class, so it's a big deal. In this class, you've learned how to discuss and see color in terms of hue, value, saturation, and temperature. How to create a full color spectrum using just three colors. Different types of color palettes and schemes including monochromatic, analogous, complimentary, and split complementary, and most importantly, how to use color to tell your story. I hope that through the lessons and exercises in this class, you'll learn more about how to handle color and now create better artwork as a result of it. Please share artwork in the Projects and resources section of this class. I'd love to see it and be able to give you feedback and comments on it. I can also help you troubleshoot if you need. Additionally, there is a 14 day challenge that you can take on after this class. You'll continue playing with color and butterflies by following a prompt list that's available for download in the Projects and resources section. I'll be doing it along with you for the first one in this class and would love to see how you're doing. Please share your challenge paintings, also under the Student project section of this class, and also on Instagram using hashtag art with Ann Danger. Thank you so much for joining me for this class, I make these for you and I would love to hear feedback on more classes you'd like to see in the future. See you next time and until then, keep painting. [MUSIC]