Secrets of the Perfect Watercolor Washes | Olga Bonitas | Skillshare

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Secrets of the Perfect Watercolor Washes

teacher avatar Olga Bonitas, Watercolor girl

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.

      Saturated tone and hanging drop


    • 4.

      Single color wash


    • 5.

      Gradient wash


    • 6.

      Multicolor washes


    • 7.

      Large size wash


    • 8.

      Wash a simple object. 3 ways


    • 9.

      Wash a complex shape


    • 10.

      Object on background


    • 11.

      Class Project. Example 1. All we need is…


    • 12.

      Class Project. Example 2. Dream big…


    • 13.

      Class Project. Class Project. Example 3. Sweet home


    • 14.



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About This Class

This class is about how to create the perfect watercolor washes (monochrome, gradient, multicolor, different shapes...) without defects, like professionals.

To do this, firstly we will learn how to make the rich tone tone of the paint, and then I will show the step-by-step technique of creating of perfect washes. This is an absolutely understandable process, any skill level will able manage with it

We will create:

  • a one-color wash, which is often used to painting objects and backgrounds,
  • a gradient wash (for example, for drawing the sky), a figured wash of complicated objects,
  • a multicolor wash.

As a Class Project, I suggest you to have fun, turn on your imagination and create some bright and simple illustrations, applying the new skills. In these illustrations, the main thing is a beautiful, homogeneous background, because it is exactly what my course is about.

Mastered this skills will allow to bring illustrations to a qualitatively higher level. I'm sure about it!

Meet Your Teacher

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Olga Bonitas

Watercolor girl

Top Teacher

Hello, my name is Olga.
I'm a professional illustrator working both traditional and digital media. But my passion is watercolor.

I like to experiment and come up with something new (for example, mix watercolor, collage and embroidery ...), to make small animations and film my creative processes.

For the past few years, my passion has been sketching. This is an absolutely exciting and mind-changing topic for me. The world of a creative person changes once and for all when he begins to draw from life in a artbooks. I have created several classes that help you to start your very first sketchbook and keep draw regulary.

I share my creativity and workflow on my instagram @olga_bonitas.

See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro: Hello. My name is Olga Benitos. I'm a big fan of watercolors. Today, I want to talk about how to make the perfect washes. Often in the illustrations, I see something like this. This is my daughter's drawing. Look. There is a heterogeneous background here. We can see brushstrokes, of course it's okay for a six years old child. But we want to draw like professionals, am I right? There are simple and understandable ways to make the backgrounds more homogeneous. I'll show you all the secrets of the process. Step-by-step from simple to complex we will learn to fill the desired area with a beautiful tone. Single color wash, gradient, and multi-colored. I will show different ways to get a good result. As a course project, I will suggest you to have fun, done on your imagination and create some bright and simple illustrations implying your new skills. The main themes of this illustration is a beautiful homogeneous background because it is exactly what is my course is about. I'm absolutely sure that if you find the time to practice well, then the skill will bring you illustrations to a new, more higher level. So press enroll and let's start. 2. Stuff: What do we need for this course? First of all, we need watercolor paper, a lot of paper. Buy one that you can use in large quantities, not expensive. Of course, we need the watercolors and half pens or tubes. Tubes are preferable, later I'll explain why. Brushes, a few piece. The best are squirrel brushes and middle size, and the large size. The palette is plastic or ceramic, which you like best. It doesn't matter. Water, paper tape, and paper napkins. That's all. 3. Saturated tone and hanging drop: This is a drawing of my six years old daughter. You see that the ground is heterogeneous, brushstrokes are visible. Today, we will learn to make the background beautiful, like here, and without defects. If you use paints in the half pans, I recommend to moisten them with a spray before you start. I will simply add pure water by brush. In this case, the water colors will be brighter and more pleasant to work with. The first thing we need to do is to learn how to mix a lot of paint of the needed tone. First, I'll show you how to work with watercolor in half pans, and then, in tubes. I take the paint from the half pan using a well-moistened brush. Then, with these movements, I put the paint in the palette. After that, again, put water in the brush. To do this, simply dip brush into the water, but don't shake. Take the paint once more. Do this again and again until you get a good paddle of paint in which you can bathe the brush. My video in the real time show you can estimate how much time it takes for this process. First time, maybe even long. To work with paint in tubes is a little bit easier. Extrude a little paint on the palette. Add water, quite a lot of water, and mix the pigment and water carefully. Note that you need to mix really well until smooth, so there are no piece of paint in the solution. Try the color on a paper. If you need a pale tone, then you should add more water. If you want a more intensive tone, then vice-versa, you should add more paint. My tone suits me. Now, let's learn to take a lot of paint into the brush. Thoroughly bathe the brush in the paddle of paint and draw a line through the sheet. The paint should be sufficient for the entire length and a drop of paint should hang down. This is a very important point. The hang and drop. If such a creation is wrong, there is no drop, don't do this. Exercise until you feel how much paint you need to really make a drop. Try to role the drop on the strip. If you can, then you did everything great. Congrats. 4. Single color wash: Now, let's try to make a beautiful finger color wash. To do this, we bathe the brush well in the puddle of paint, and draw a line paying attention to the hanging drop. Then draw another line below, touching the upper one a little so that the drop flows down. Take a paint in the brush and draw another line. Look how the drop goes down, and there is a hanging drop again. If you use a quite thick brush like me, then you don't need to bathe the brush in the paint often. But if the brush is of medium-size, then do this after each line. Repeat the strips to the bottom of the sheet. When the wash is finally finished, we need to remove the hanging drop. To do this, I take a medium size brush, moisten it, squeeze it and remove the drop. It's important to use a squeezed brush, not a dry one. Because a dry fluffy brush absorbs water poorly. If the drop isn't removed, the ugly stain will be after drying in this place. 5. Gradient wash: A gradient. Wash from saturated tone to water. Before you start, you need to make sure that we have enough paint on the table and refill the water because the water is important point. The beginning of the process is the same with the one color wash from the previous video. This kind of wash is very often used, for example, in landscapes. Then, I dip the brush into the water key frame, but don't shake. Our goal is to fill the brush with water, but don't wash away the pigment that it contains. The water will dilute the pigment and we will get a tone lighter than the original one. I do a couple of drips and then again dip the brush in water. The tone becomes lighter again, and so on. Make the tone lighter and lighter. When the tone is very light I completely wash my brush and smoothly bring the wash to the bottom like this. 6. Multicolor washes: Now, let's talk about multicolor washes. Make a puddle of your favorite color. I have a yellow. Glad there is a ready-to-use blue. Let's start with yellow. The beginning is usual, make a couple of strips. The drop is hanging. It's important to remember it. Then carefully wash off all the yellow pigment form the brush and take the blue paint. Look, the yellow beautifully flows into the blue. Next, you need to wash the brush again because there isn't pure blue in the brush, but a mixture of blue and yellow. Wash the brush and take the blue again and transition becomes more noticeable. Wash the brush again and take the pure blue. At this step if the blue is already pure, it means the transition is complete. I only need to finish the wash. Then don't forget to remove excessive water. There is another way to make the transition from one color to other, not directly but through the water. Look, I start as usual. Then I wash off all the pigment but don't take a new color. Draw a line. Again wash off the pigment. The tone of yellow is now very light, just almost water. Now, I take the blue and continue the process as usual. You can compare two rays and two washes. Now you know the basic tricks, so take your favorite colors and do train. Try to make, for example, a striped wash. You will see the sun color flow better at the rows. Not all washes are successful. Watercolors are unpredictable sometimes. It's absolutely okay. Remember that you need to change the water frequently. Clean water is extremely important for good result. Here, I really like to watch how one color flows to another. It looks fantastic. There was too much pigment in my yellow. Each paint has its own character. Paints always flow in different ways. If you try two exactly the same washes, they will be a little different, so experiment and don't be afraid to make a mistake. 7. Large size wash: In this lesson, I'll show you how to make a large size wash. The technique of the process is absolutely the same as for small size. You just need a large squirrel brush and a good puddle of paint. For this bush, I took a good cotton paper and fixed it with a paper tape. Thanks for this. I am not worried about edges. I hold the tablet in such a way that the paint runs down. Start with a dark tone. Here I have a medium-size brush, so it's not enough for the entire length of the strip. So I had to add band that is much better. Paint is more than enough. I stir then to do a gradient. I will show part of the pigment and make a strip. Wash again and again, I have to wash the brush well. Now I'm using it on the water. Then I want to add a little yellow fill and I need a little fill. Here is [inaudible] good and there is good beautiful frame. 8. Wash a simple object. 3 ways: Often, we need to make a wash not only in the ground, but also an object. Now with the example of a circle, I'll show you several ways to do it. To begin with, let me try to do it in the way my daughter does it. I mean the way when we take the paint directly from the cuvette not from the prepared solution and there isn't enough water in the brush. I show how not to do. Now, it looks very well, let it dry and look lighter. Now make wash the way showing in the previous lesson. I have a puddle of the blue color, I take paint from it and not from a half pen. Remember first drip. The task is complicated only by the need to save the shape of the edges. To do this, firstly prepare the edges, create contour of the edges and then make a line, but only one strip down. There is a great temptation to make the whole contour at once, but you shouldn't do this. Why? Because the contour will have time to dry. Paint will not flow into the main tone and will be noticeable in the end. As usual, there is the hanging drop. It's important you remember. Then don't forget to remove excess water. If the circle dried out and now you can compare results. The difference became clearly visible, but this is not the only way. Now I will show two more. Way number two. Take a thick brush and carefully moisten paper inside the circle with clean water. The surface should be well moistened, but there shouldn't be puddles. Look at the sheet from an angle to check it. Then draw on wet [inaudible]. I take the paint from the micro-solution, not directly from the half pen. Pre-wetting helps brush strokes to flow into our [inaudible] smoothly. If the paper is deformed, there'll be puddles of water and they need to be removed in the same way as we do it at the end of the wash using this grease brush. Let this circle to dry and let's look method number three. It is very similar to number two, but we don't read the paper beforehand. But use the prepared paint solution as usual. It's not mixing very simple, but it requires more skill than previous two. We need to walk very quickly because the edges of the color stain should not have time to dry. You see, the drop hangs, but I don't work with strips, I do it in an arbitrary way. This is a mix of first and second ways. The secret is to work quickly and with plenty of water. While the watercolor is wet it flows beautifully. As soon as it begins to dry up, at the border of dry and wet are formed ugly stains. I will return a little because the puddles have formed here. They need to be removed and here, of course, too. All the circles have dried up and we can compare them. This is heterogeneous and brushstrokes are visible. These three are the same regardless of the method of washing. Try different ways to feel which one you like best. 9. Wash a complex shape: Simple shape like a circle. Now, let's wash a more complicated form. Let's prepare several colors. Take the ones you like. I have green, yellow, pink, and purple. Draw a few quite large stars on the sheet. We already known that there are at least three ways to make a wash. Let's start with the first one. The edges over the cars stains are on the same level. The drop is hanging from [inaudible] Now, I add a pink. It's not necessary to start with multi-color gradient wash. Of course, you can start with a single color. As usual, I remove excess water. I will paint the next star with net number three. Is good that the change of colors cannot be consistently from top to bottom. But in the way we want. Each time I check the edge of the power stain it should be wet. Then you'll go up because the solution is very dense. It has a lot of pigment. One more star let it be struck. 10. Object on background: Now, let's consider the case when we need to draw an object on a colored background. I'll show you how to do this in two ways. You should start from a lighter place, in my case it's the stamp. If I go drawing the dark object on a light background, I would start with the background. This is the method on dry paper. Strip to strip, we have the hanging drop. Now, it's a bit more complicated, it's necessary to work from two sides of the stamp at the same time. Anyway, there is a hanging drop. In such places, you can take a smaller brush. I hang a drop along each of the color spot to be wet for a long time. We have time to draw details. The second way is on wet paper. I moisten the paper with clean water, carefully wetting the the stamp. It remain dry. The whole ground is wet, I take the paint from the color bottle and now, I can be [inaudible] it because on a dry place it will not flow. I don't worry about your stamp. I draw near this stamp using Cosmo brush and remove the excess water where it is. The pictures are the same, you just need to choose which way you like more. We've finished studying cautious. The lesson is about a brand and farm class project, I can't wait to start it. 11. Class Project. Example 1. All we need is…: As a class project, I suggest you do have fun, turn on your imagination and create some bright, and simple illustrations, your blank here then use skills. In these illustrations, the main thing is the beautiful homogeneous background of course. I will show three examples. You can create [inaudible] like me or come up with your own version. For the first example, I create a beautiful rainbow background, and I want to put the phrase, 'All we need is love' on it. I have come up with the interesting map for this board or watch the video. In my opinion, the process is absolutely understandable without any comments, but if something requires an explanation, ask me in the comments, I will give an answer. Be sure of this. 12. Class Project. Example 2. Dream big…: The second example is with the short phrase, dream big. In this case, I will draw a big round around the letters, leaving them white. It's more complicated than sticking letters, all about it is very good practice. Take your favorite colors for the background and enjoy watching how they flow into each other. 13. Class Project. Class Project. Example 3. Sweet home: The last example of the class project, write the phrase "sweet home." But let's not get every letter separately and a little cunning, just to watch. 14. Final: Well friends, what I want to say at the end, we did a very great job. I hope you are not too tired and have enjoyed the process. Share your class project. Show how much paper you used in the training courses. Ask questions. I am open to communications and ready to give you the best. If you liked the class please give me a thumbs up and leave a comment. See you.