Simply Watercolor: Stationery Cards | Paula Whitmer | Skillshare

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Simply Watercolor: Stationery Cards

teacher avatar Paula Whitmer, WaterColors and Puppies

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.

      Water Color Cards Intro


    • 2.

      Water Color Cards Prep Materials


    • 3.

      Purple Flower Practice Piece


    • 4.

      Purple Flower Final Card


    • 5.

      Rosemary Sprig Practice Piece


    • 6.

      Rosemary Sprig Final Card


    • 7.

      Rose Practice Piece


    • 8.

      Rose Final Card


    • 9.

      Special Ending


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About This Class

In this class, we will be painting 3 simple stationary cards. Each card will have a different botanical themed picture. Don't worry if you have never tried watercolor before, or if you have never attempted florals. The paintings are simple and this tutorial will walk you through, step by step.

Meet Your Teacher

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Paula Whitmer

WaterColors and Puppies


Hi! I'm Paula and I like animals, being in the outdoors and being creative! 

About 2 years ago I was in an accident that caused me to lose my left ring finger. During my recovery I picked up watercolor painting to help pass the time. I love creating simple and delicate works of art for my family and friends! I have an adorable dog who I treat like my child and a pretty cute husband who I feed sometimes.  

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Level: Beginner

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1. Water Color Cards Intro: Hi, my name is Paula and this is Cedar. I am a self-taught watercolor artist. I really enjoy Florals, simple still lives, and I've been dabbling in some animals lately. This is my first skill share video and today we are going to be doing some watercolor stationery. These make great gifts. They also are beautiful greeting cards, or thank you cards for your friends and family. Let's get started. 2. Water Color Cards Prep Materials: The materials you're going to need for this project are watercolor paper to practice your paintings on, watercolor cards, a pencil, watercolors, a palette, watercolor brushes, clean water, some paper towels, and a reference picture. This is my watercolor paper that I'm going to use for my practice paintings. I like the Canson brand mostly because it's cheaper at the craft store. This is a 140 pound weight paper. The cards that I'm using I got off Amazon, they are made by Strathmore. They are also on a 140 pound weight watercolor paper. These cards are five by six and seven-eight inches, but they make other sizes as well. They come with their own envelopes, but the envelopes are not made out of watercolor paper, so don't try to paint on them with your watercolors because it will end badly. These are my paints. They are made by Pentel, and I love the variety of colors they have. I've been super pleased with how they paint. This is my palette. I really like it and usually is pretty messy-looking because I like when my colors mix and blend together, so this is pretty much how it looks all the time. The brushes that I use are made by Master's Touch. They are one of the more reasonably priced brands out there. The two sizes I'll be using today are 16 and eight, and they are both round brushes. 3. Purple Flower Practice Piece: Our first card is going to be a lavender like flower with a mixture of purples, blues, and pinks. The first thing we're going to do is prep our palette and create the colors we're going to use for this piece. When mixing your colors, it's important not to use too much water because it will wash out your colors and they won't be as vibrant as you probably want them to be. On the other side of that concept, if you don't use enough water, your paint will be too thick and it won't give you that beautiful watercolor texture on your paper. You want to use enough water to create a thin, watery mixture that still has a vibrant hue to it. Keep in mind the paints on my palette are dry, so I will need a bit more water than I would if I was using the paints straight out of the tube.The first color we're going to use is a magenta pink type color. It's called red purple on the Pentile palette, it's number 41, and again, I want to make that thin, watery texture, but it's still dark enough that I'm be able to paint with it. The next color I'm going to do is called purple. It is number 13, and I'm going to create that same thickness over here on the side of my little well. I'm going to take some of that purple and I'm going to come over to the side in a minute and make a darker color purple, right there. Now to darken it, all I'm going to do is add the same color purple and add a tiny bit of black. The black is number 28 and in the Pentile palette, and I just want to use a tiny bit of it to darken that purple up so I have a darer hue. Now I'm going to make some blue over here on the side and it looks like I don't have enough dried on the side of my palette, so I'm going to put a little bit more wet. It is called Prussian blue and it is number 24. This is my favorite blue to use on everything, and because I'm putting it straight out of the tube, I actually don't need to add any more water to it. I'll be able to just use it as is later on. Now, with the greens in the center, I have a base green that I use for everything that I just continually mix in the middle of my palette. It's a mixture of a dark green, light green, yellow, brown, and a little bit of black. It's different every time and I just make it up as I go. I want my green to be bit more [inaudible] , so I'm going to add yellow. I always add a lot more yellow than I think I'm going to use. I'm just going to mix that in until I like how it looks and as you can see I tested on my paper towel till I like it. I'm going to add a bit more yellow, and then I'm going to leave it alone, and I want a lighter color of this green and a darker color of the same green. To make it darker, I'm going to add a mixture of black and brown. Again, it's just a random mixture, mostly brown with a little black, and I'm going to add it to the side here. That's going to give me complementary colors of this green. A nice darker shade and a lighter shade with the same base. I'll let them mix, it will be totally fine if they mix and blend together, it will make it look like more natural, and we go to paint our picture. Now we're going to do our practice picture. First thing we're going to do is you want to trace your card onto your big watercolor paper, so that you have some idea of how big it's going to be. Now, because this is a practice, I'm not going to go into detail on the techniques. Mostly this is so you guys can use your colors, see how they're going to paint. You can see how the colors look, see if they're dark enough, or they're too light. If you need more water, less water. You also want to do a practice, so that you can block out how big or small your flower needs to be.This allows you to see the dimensions and without having to sketch it. I'm not big into sketching, and so this is a way for me to see what is going to look like, and get rid of all of my mistakes before I do my final. 4. Purple Flower Final Card: Now we're going to do the final of our lavender flower card. You're going to get your watercolor paper and make sure that's facing the right direction. We're going to get our smaller brush, get it wet and we're going to start with our stem. Make sure that you have your reference picture available to look at as well as your practice picture to look at nearby as well. When we start with our stem, we're going to use that beautiful green, brown, yellow color that I like so much. In real life, stems and leaves are not always the solid green color on the entire way up. So feel free to use darker and lighter shades. Stems are also not straight. Don't worry about trying to draw a straight line because half the time you'll just obsess about it and it will not look good. Stems are not straight in real life, so I will often on purpose draw them in a curvy pattern like you see me doing here. I also like to have little dark points along the sides to look natural imperfections in the stem. Now, we're going to move on to our leaves. When you do leaves, you want to get a good amount of color on your brush. I'm going to press down and then slowly release as you pull away from the center of your leaf. Now, leaves are always different colors too. Here I've added a little bit more yellow to my green so that I can get a slightly different color for my leaves to have variation. Leaves are always darker closest to the stems, so right there I'm adding just a little bit of extra color to create the effect of it being attached to the stem there. Now, we start with our petals, we're going to use magenta color and we're going to use the same technique that we use for the leaves. We're going to press down and slowly release as you pull away. With the petals, we can be a lot more liberal with our colors. We're okay with them mixing, we're okay with them not being as perfectly leaf-shaped because they're petals. You want to make sure you're using lots of different colors. Just like the leaves and the stem. Flowers are not all the same color sometimes, so we want to use lots of different shades of the purples and the pinks that we mixed earlier. The flowers are also darker near the center of the stem, so I'm going to be using a lot more vibrant colors closer to my stem and as I get further out, I'll be using lighter colors. Now with this dark black purple that we mixed, I'm going to use that sparingly. In right there, I had a bit too much, so I dabbed it off on my brush. I don't want to use too much of this one because it is so dark, but I do want to use it to add depth to my petals. I'm going to paint a couple of these dark ones here in the center, and I had too much there, so I just took my brush in and dabbed back in into my painting and use that instead of going back into my palette. Adding little accent petals like I'm doing there, provides a more realistic look to your flower and they're really easy to do. You just add a tiny little dot or line next to a bigger petal and it makes it look like it's got a little one growing underneath it. Now again, I'm going to be alternating my colors between my darks and my lights and keeping it a lot more vibrant near the stem. Something I like to do with this blue is, we're going to dilute it a little bit in my water before I use it. I don't want it to be as dark and vibrant as it is just straight out of the tube. So I'm going to put a little on my brush, dab it in my water, don't swirl around my brush and just get the excess water often then just paint with that. It allows me to have this nice pale color without diluting a whole section of it in my palette. I'll do that throughout the painting with my pinks and purples, not just the blue. Again, I want to create that darker effect near the stem with lighter petals coming out. Now, flowers like this are often cone-shaped, so you don't want to leave it flat like I've got it there at the top. I'm going to go back a little bit later with some darker colors to create the effect of a unopened bloom at the top that is going to make it look cone-shaped. Right now I'm just adding the little accent petals we talked about that are really easy. Don't try to overthink I'm just to add little bits here and there. Then I'm going back and darkening right along where the stem line would be. I really like it when my colors bleed together. I'm going to go back with that stem color and add it into the stem line very sparingly. This will bleed into your purples and pink. So if you don't like that look, do not do this. I prefer it and something I enjoy, but if you don't like that, you don't have to do it. Now we're going to go back in with our dark purples and add a little bit of a point to the tip of the flower. We want a pretty vibrant dark shade, I'm not going to dilute it in the water. I'm going to just draw a couple little small flowers coming out at the top. Again, we want to create the effect that there's the tip of this flower that hasn't opened up yet. It's an unopened bloom. So it's more vibrant and the rest of it it's darker and it's smaller. The petals haven't quite opened up yet. You don't want to just use that purple color, so we're going to go in with a little bit of the magenta and add some of those accent pieces. Then finish up any finishing touches that you want to put on your petals. I always say, "less is best". When you get to a point where it looks good and you're happy, be done. Don't overthink it. There you have it. A beautiful lavender card. 5. Rosemary Sprig Practice Piece: Now, we're going to do a Rosemary Sprague for our next card. It's very simple and very easy to do and gives a nice clean looking card. So we're going to mix our pallet up. We're going to use that same green from our last flour. I didn't talk much about my green, so I'll go into more detail this time. The color greens that I like to use are called deep green. It's Number 22 on the Pen Tool Palette, and yellow green, it's Number 17. Those are the two main greens that I play with the law. Then I add in that Prussian blue and blacks and yellows a lot too. The yellow I like to use is called Yellow. It's Number 12 on the Pen Tool Palette. As you can see here, I'm adding that blue to my green mixture to try to create a more teal, dusty color. Now here, I added way too much yellow and so messed up. All I did was grab some blue and look at that, changed right back to the green that almost blends in perfectly amount or one. I still want a bit of a lighter color green are darker color green light before. I'm going to try and go back with just a little bit more yellow. Keep it light and happy and not is yellow is before. Now, over here I'm mixing my stick color and it's mostly brown and black. The brown I'm using is Van Dyke brown and it's Number 9. Again mostly brown, little bit of black and then a little bit of yellow at the end to create a realistic stick color. Now, we're going to do our practice. Rosemary Spraque again, this is the practice and so I'm not going to go into detail on the technique. Please watch the next video to get all the details on how to actually do this painting and then go ahead and do your practice painting after that, before attempting your final. The practice paintings are really just to help you block out your shape, see if the colors are correct, tests your skill in making those leaves. You can also attempt to work on your shading techniques. Try to get a lighter color green and darker color green. Play with letting the colors bleed together, see what you like. See what you don't like. This is your time to make mistakes and practice. 6. Rosemary Sprig Final Card: Now we're going to do our rosemary sprig. We're going to start with that brown black color that we made up earlier, and we're going to make a really big, gentle S-shape. Rosemary grows in a curved formation that we don't want to create too much of a curve on it. Just enough to give it some movement. Right now we're going to start on our leaves. We're going to start with that darker-green color that we made up, and we're going to create the leaves a little bit different than we talked about earlier. Instead of the press-down technique, we're going to just use the tip of the brush to create uniformly-shaped leaves. Now, that does not mean that all leaves are uniformly-shaped. You will see me every now and again pressing down just a little bit more so that I can get some oddly-shaped leaves in there, because that's how nature is. Not everything looks exactly the same all the time. I'm going to be switching off between my dark-green and my light-green. Rosemary leaves are different colors on either side, the top is a darker color than the bottom. By alternating colors, you're giving the effect that some leaves are turned up and some leaves are turned down. Don't try to focus too much on creating a pattern or counting how many leaves are dark and how many leaves are light. You want it to be simple and natural. Don't try to make it look too much like you've created a pattern. I'm going to go through and just mostly do my larger leaves first. As I get closer to the top of the rosemary, your leaves are going to be a bit shorter. We don't want them to be quite as long as the ones at the bottom. By the time you go back in to do the smaller leaves, your longer leaves should almost be dry. This will allow you to create a layering effect. The smaller leaves will almost look like they're growing on top of the bigger leaves. This gives you really nice depth and a beautiful layered look. Remember that leaves are darker, closer to the stem, and that plants are always darker closer to the tip or the new growth. I'm going to make it a little bit darker up towards the top of the sprig, and I'm also going to make it darker with those little leaves growing out from the base of the stem, because those are our new growth. Those are baby leaves that aren't as big and old yet. Make sure that you're using the dark green for those little ones. You'll also see me go back and sometimes I'll just dark in just the base of one leaf or just the edge of another one, just to create more depth, and that layered effect. Feel free to go back in and lengthen leaves if you like, they need to be longer, or add them in later. That's not going to look bad if everything dries, and you add in a long leaf on top of shorter leaves. It'll look natural and it'll look just fine. Again, I'm adding those smaller leaves to create that layered effect we talked about. Just going through, and looking, and seeing where I need a couple more new leaves. Most of those new leaves are going to be at the tip of my rosemary, because that's just how rosemary grows. Once it looks good, you can be done, and don't worry about it too much more. The last thing we're going to do is we're going to make our stem a little bit thicker. Just so it looks like we picked this rosemary off of the bush. I'm going to take my brown, and then I'm going to go back in and add it. Now I want to create the base little bigger and right there, my leaf was still wet. So all my brown went on that leaf, I don't want that. A really great way to fix that is to just dry your brush off, and then take a dry brush, and soak up all that wet paint. Just like that, mistake is gone, and there you go. 7. Rose Practice Piece: We're going to get our palette set up for our rose card and the rose is super simple. It's only a couple of colors. It's this magenta color mostly, and we're also going to be using yellow. So, let me get that one nice and wet. It was pretty dry. So, I had to add a lot of water to that one. Our green color, I'm going to make a new green for this one. I'm going to use a lot of lime green to brighten up these flowers, but then I'm going to doll it back down to make it a more olive color. So we're going to use that Prussian blue. I told you it's just my favorite blue. I use it for everything to make that more of a teal color. Then, I'm going to add quite a bit of black and brown to this green to make it that olive color. There we go. So now we're going to do our practice of our rose. Now, again, this is the practice piece. So, this is to work on your spacing, work on your colors, play around with any techniques, but in order to know how to paint this practice one, watch the next video where I talk in depth about how to get all of these techniques and little things down. In this next one, we'll talk a lot about how to work on bleeding colors together, and how much water do you use, and that kind of thing. We'll also talk about leaves a little bit more since this one focuses a lot more on leaves than the other two ones that we did. Now, roses are super easy, but they do require practice. So, this is one that I would probably do a couple practice ones of, just so you can get the hang of it. But, roses are pretty simple once you have done it couple times. They are really easy. They are super forgiving. So, if you mess up or add too much of one color or not enough of another, it looks okay in the end. 8. Rose Final Card: We're going to do a rose card. Now, the rose uses this magenta color to start. To start our roses, we want to use a nice dark color and we're going to create two C's facing each other. They're open wide mouth C's and we're going do one above the other, like a yin-yang symbol. Now, from here we're just going to keep creating more C's branching out from those C's. They can touch each other, they can have little appendages sticking off of them, it's totally up to you. I'm not going to actually get any more paint on my brush at this point, I'm just going to keep using what's on there because I want the color to get lighter as I get farther out. You're just going to make a circle around your original two little C's, and just continue to make bigger appendages. They can touch each other and they'll just continue to form that rose shape as you keep going. Now, I'm going to do the yellow. Yellow is super bright, so I'll only use a little bit and I'm going to dilute it with my brush so it's super watery. Now, this first section, I'm going to paint half on the pink and half on the white. This is going to give us that beautiful ombre effect. The colors are going to bleed together and you want to make sure you have enough water on your brush to allow this to happen. Now, as you keep going outwards, you want the yellow to be more pure so I'm going to clean my brush off and I'm going to get a more pure yellow, and again, dilute it. Please dilute your yellow, it's much brighter than you think. Then I'm just going to keep making more petals off of my lighter ombred yellow petals. I can see it's a lot brighter and that's after I diluted it, so always be aware of that. In your practice ones, play around with how much yellow you need on your brush in order to get the correct shade that you want. Now, once you have the yellow to your satisfaction, we're going to go back in and blend our inner petals. I just have water on my brush right here and we're going to go in and make everything of uniform color, so that it gives the effect of a more even fade. Now, I do want the center to still be darker, so I'm going to go back, get a little bit more paint on my brush, just darken that center up a little bit. That's the end of the rose. Now we're going to move on to the leaves. Now for these leaves, I'm simply going to draw the shape of the leaf I want and then color it in. Now, after you've done that, a lot of your paint is going to be up at the tip of your leaf and you don't want that, that doesn't look natural. Make sure you push the color down to the base of the leaf where it would naturally be darker. I really like having lots of different shades of leaves. This is a blue one and all I did here was I had the green left on my brush and I used a little bit of that Prussian blue on the side to give it a bit of a more blue color. That leaf right next to it is just whatever was left on my brush after that. So it gives these really beautiful faded blues and greens and they all complement each other because I'm using that same green as a base for all of them. I'm just simply adding more blue or less blue to get the different shades of leaves. Now, as you're painting these leaves, we want to asymmetrically balance them. If I do two big leaves on one side, I'm going do a big leaf, a median leaf, and a small leaf on the other. I want them to be equally spaced out, but I don't want them to look identical on either side. I'm not going to do the exact same thing on both sides, but I want to make sure I'm equally putting the same amount of matter or using up space on each side. As I'm going along, some leaves will be smaller and some leaves will be bigger, and I'll just add them in wherever I feel like, they'll look good. Again, make sure you're pushing that color back down to the base of your leaf. If you've too much water that you used on one of your leaves, you can do that dry brush technique that we talked about in my last video, where you just simply dry your brush off and then you can dip it in to your leaf that you painted with too much water, and it'll soak up that excess color and water. Another benefit to pushing your color down to the base of your leaf, is you get that ombre effect and it'll match your rose with that ombre effect on your rose too. Sometimes I go back and darken a leaf so I feel like that one needed to be a bit darker than it was and so I just painted over it and that's something that you can very easily do it if you paint a leaf and you're like, "That one doesn't seem to fit in as much as the other ones do," You can go back and paint right over it. Make sure you're adding lots of different sizes of leaves. Try not to do all the same sizes or even three at the same sizes, a couple of different sizes of small leaves, a couple different sizes of medium leaves and a couple different sizes of big leaves. This will give it a really natural effect. It also makes your piece look more complicated and sophisticated. It looks fancier. As you're going along, again remember to make sure to push your paints down to the base of your leaf. I'll like to add at least one or two small leaves for every big leaf that I do. Just make sure you're balancing it well. If I have a lot on the right, right now, and so I'm probably going to need to go back up here on the left and add just a few more, just to balance it out a little bit. Remember, don't overdo it. Once you get to a point where it looks good, be done. Less is best. You don't always need to put in a million leaves. There you go. 9. Special Ending : Hey, guys. Thanks for watching my video. I hope you all learned something and had fun. I would love to see any artwork and painting that you guys do. Remember, these make great gifts for your friends and family. Stay tuned for my next video. Thanks guys, bye.