Sketchbook Practice : Bring Watercolor to Life with Line Drawing | Ohn Mar Win | Skillshare

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Sketchbook Practice : Bring Watercolor to Life with Line Drawing

teacher avatar Ohn Mar Win, Illustrator Artist Educator

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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.

      Beginning with Fruit...


    • 4.

      ...Moving onto Vegetables


    • 5.

      Other Ideas - Quick Butterflies


    • 6.

      Other Ideas - Fast Floral


    • 7.

      Final thoughts


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About This Class

This is a really simple but effective technique that combines watercolor with the addition of thin black line. Starting with a basic wet on wet technique, further washes of colour will be applied. Then  finally adding the pen detail to compliment and add information for each icon, like the stem of a flower.

I hope it will appeal to anyone who likes to have fun with their watercolours, even beginners. You can achieve great results and it can be used for many subject matter, not just the icons shown in this class, so please feel free to explore further. For part of this class I do recommend looking at reference - either online or from life so that your sketches will really stand out.  I can't wait to see your versions of this technique.

As ever please use the hashtag #ohnmarskillshre if you are sharing your work on social media and I can like and comment.SaveSave

Meet Your Teacher

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Ohn Mar Win

Illustrator Artist Educator

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Hello I'm Ohn Mar a UK based artist, illustrator author with a long and varied 20 year career. 

I am a great advocate of sketchbooks having filled over 30+, which each serving as a record of my creative journey as a self-taught watercolourist for the last 7 years. They have helped capture my explorations in texture, line and tone as I extend my knowledge with this medium.  I also share process videos and sketchbook tours on my YouTube channel - please subscribe! 



Filling my sketchbooks remains a constant in my life,  and furthermore inspiring many folks to pick up a paintbrush. Oftentimes these sketch explorations provide the basis for classes here on Skil... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction : Hi. I'm Emma. I'm Illustrator and surface designer. I'm going to take you through another watercolor techniques class. In this one, I'm going to take you through a really simple and effective technique that will apply watercolor washes, and then use black line to pick out details, and also communicate better about the piece in front of you. We're going to be using the wet-on-wet technique, adding a few more washes of watercolor, then applying a black line. That is adding a stalk to vegetables, the stem of a flower, or even butterflies. I think we can achieve great results using this technique, and you can use whatever subject matter that you fancy. Please feel free to really explore your creativity. I think you can have so much fun. Hopefully, you practice these and because it's really simple and quick to learn. I look forward to seeing you in class. 2. Examples: In this video, I'm going to take you through some of the images from my own sketchbooks and the inspiration behind these. When you're looking for your inspiration, please look around you, in your own house, or your environment, or you can look on Pinterest. I also want to add that often I observe very carefully how things are attached. Perhaps, you need the tomato stalk to the actual tomato because then it will create a much more effective and convincing piece. I drew these berries from life. I had them in front of me, and so the stalks were very easy to fill in, and I looked very carefully. As you can see here, I added the jam jar lids in black pen and you can also see I used white pen to pick out some of the details. Here, I use black line to add the pips and also the stalks, and a bit of red pen for the skin and a few markings. I've added the stalk of each mushroom and give details in black line and also use some cutted line for details within the caps. Again, these blossoms were drawn from life. I used red pen to add the stem details which were very delicate. 3. Beginning with Fruit...: We're going to start off with a lemon. So I've actually mixed up two slightly different versions of yellow, more of a bright, almost going into lime-yellow and a deeper orange-yellow because I just want to add a little bit of depth. So I'm going to have this ready for when I start painting. I've got my small modern sketchbook here, and we're going to fill this page with fruit, starting with lemon. So I'm going to start off with the brighter version. Just felt very wet. I have reference in front of me. You can use just a Google search, but I'm using a technique wet on wet. I've just added a tiny bit of that yellow, and just to see the very basic bones of the shape of the lemon. To this we're going to add the rest of the paint while it's still quite wet. Don't add too much so that you can see the wall to solve glistening of the page, but we're going to add the lighter yellow on this side, and just add here as well, where it gets bumpy. I'm going to use the darker orange-yellow on this side just to create a feeling of a slight shadowing and add some depth and to contour that. Leave that bit, and now we're going to move on to maybe some cherries. Again, I'm going to do the same thing, mix up a light shade of ready pink. We're going to put the pen line here probably. So I'm going to leave some space there, and maybe put the cherries here. It was a bit too wet, but that's a bit better, and here I think. So I'm going to use a slightly light shade on this side, and I'm going to use a darker shade on the other side, again, to add feeling of shadow. I'm just going to damp it on that, and because it's wet on wet, it's going to spread. So make like that cherry a bit rounder, there we go. I'm going to leave that. Now, what else are we going to use? I think maybe a plum. I'm going to mix up with purple and place it. So the strokes of the change, we go, you have to leave some space there. I think I'll put the plum here. Maybe that's a bit too round, and it's got that big gain down in the middle. So I'm going actually leave that as it is, since we are dealing with a plum, and just mix up a darker shade. I'll show you what I'm going to do with that. Since this is a bit down the middle here of the plum, you can add the darker shade there to emphasize that part of the plum and also that part. Moving on, I think a orange. Now, the paint has dried, and you can see how the colors have blended into each other because of the wet-on-wet technique. I've just let it do its own thing. I haven't tried to control it, and this is the effect that it will create. Now, I'm going to use a very thin micron, a fine one. You can use whatever black pen that you have. Please, don't worry about the brand, and all we're going to do is add the stalk. You can use reference if you like. I'm going to add this part, and possibly a leaf on this side, I think, and same again with the cherries. So if you look at reference, the stalk comes from about here, and they join up, and just going to add the smallest hint of a leaf like so, and the same again with the plum. So the stalk communicates what this actually is. Two blobs like that doesn't look like very much, but once you've got the stalk, and just because it does look a bit strange like that, I'm just going to add that just to say that there's a dimple in that cherry. Now the orange, I think it's got a stalk like that, but then it has this. I wanted to put leaf, a vine leaf there. Tell you what I can do instead. I can add that. Now we have the strawberry, it's going over the strawberry. Just to emphasize a few more things, I'm going to add some dots to communicate that a lemon has a pitted skin. Not very much, I think that's all it means. I don't think the cherry needs anything. Maybe a few of these on the plum, and same again on the darker side of the orange, maybe like that. The strawberry, I think, could do with a few mentions of seeds, maybe like that. I think they look really effective. 4. ...Moving onto Vegetables: Now on this page, just for fun, I'm going to do some vegetables, I think and draw their stalks with black lines, say T style for the tomato using exact same method with a very light base and adding a light tone to one side and a dark tone to the other using the wet and wet technique. That is a tomato, what else am I going to do? Some beetroot I think. Where should I do that, about here. I think that could be a little bit rounder. That's better. The tail part let say extends a bit further down, mix up a slightly darker hue. Let's place it along this edge here. I guess I might do the carrot about here, I think. Do one side and slightly darker on the other side. Now a good one would be a mushroom. Let's mix up a beige color, so the tip of the carrot is going to go there so maybe I'll put the mushroom here. I'm going to do another one, a slightly different shape just here. We've got space here so let me think. Oh, I've just put my finger in the carrot. Never mind, if it ever goes into production I'll have to get Photoshop involved. Maybe a little pea about here. A pea in a pod. Or a bean actually, maybe a bean would be a bit easier. Here I think a pepper, a yellow pepper since we haven't got anything yellow on this page. Let's do the wet on wet here. I think now we're ready to use the hair dryer. Now, I'm ready to start putting the various stalks. The tomato here, the stalk looks like that and the rest of it is in a massive star shape and the beetroot, if it's got all the stalks, it starts off like that and the various stalks go out from the top like that and we're going to add some fronts. Not fronts but it's very spinach like. Now the carrot, I haven't left enough space, but never mind. I can go up in that space that we've got happening there. I'm just going to go back and add touches, just nuances of detail on the beetroot. It's got various little markings and I'm just going to indicate that the skin of the beetroot is not smooth. It's got pits and lines and I'm just going to add the little stalks to these green beans. These are only going to be your box standard supermarket closed mushrooms but please feel inspired to do tapes, doors or something. I'm just going to add the stalks there. I remember painting with my six-year-old and it was actually her idea to draw the stalks in this way, which I thought was amazing. I've got a page of fruit and veg where we're relying on dark shade, slightly lighter shades to share a bit of depth and contouring and adding black line to show the other elements making up the fruit and veg. Now, we're going to use this technique and move onto butterflies in the next video. 5. Other Ideas - Quick Butterflies: Now we're going to move on to the butterflies. I'm using a slightly darker base paint. Still quite watery, but I'm going to use my brush to create strikes like this. So you start off with the tip and push down and it creates these marks, which is the perfect shape for butterfly wings. Add one down here for the lower wing. That's still quite wet. For what I want to do that's still quite wet. I'm just going to move on to a different one and then wait for the paint to just quickly soak in to the page there. I am going to use different colors as well. I'm just demonstrating for now. I'm going to go back up to this one and add some blue detail. That's still spreading out. It's all I wanted to do. It's the only markings I'm going to put on that one. Maybe in the tips of this one. Now I'm going to add a coral butterfly just here. It's gone a bit skewish. The other wing come here. I'm just going to press a little bit harder to create a bigger wing like so. Moving up to another space up here. If you can position yourself so that you can make the tip of the brush calm down first. That just creates the lovely shape. There we go. I'm going to fill the rest of the page like this. So now that we've dried up hanged, I'm going to add the body of the butterfly. You can do it any way you want. I'm going to add the head, the thorax, and the abdomen in this one. We'll see how this one goes. I might change my mind with the others. I think for me, it's just a bit boring. I think I need something with just a little bit more abstract, maybe I think that might work out better for me. That looks much better with the butterflies. You see that I did leave a little bit of space in between the wings. Just to add the body, I'm going to go around all the butterflies doing this, I think. I'm keeping the pen mark quite scratchy. Because the wings of the butterfly aren't perfect. They're not anatomically correct. I think we can get away with doing the body's line that. Now we have a page of pretty little butterflies with just cute little bodies. That was so easy to put together, and I hope you'll be inspired to do your own version, maybe you can look at doing insects or moths. 6. Other Ideas - Fast Floral: Now, what we are going to attempt to do now is again, keeping it really simple is to draw a floral where the brush marks are going to sweep outwards like that, and we can add the stalk in head. I'm looking at my reference, and I am going to start off with a central petal. Again, just using the brush tip first and then fanning outwards like so. I'm just going to add a little bit more water to that, that's a bit too orange I've just realized. I'm going to just spread them down on the side. I'm keeping the brushwork light and being mindful of how I'm filling the space across the page, and looking for a beautiful nice pattern. I'm just going to quickly dry these off and add another layer. Now, we're going to add some more. If you look at the florals, there's petals inside. So I think what we're going to do is mix up just yellow and going in again, using the same brush strokes starting from that point and moving outwards. So you have this overlapping thing going on. I think it would be nice if I just have one more flat floral happening down here just to fill up that space a bit better. Dry again. Now, I'm going to observe how the stall and the petals join together, and I'm going to draw them in. I have got a very fine Micron here because I can see that the green parts, they overlap as well. So if you want to do a flower, maybe you can have your own reference. I'm just going to continue the stem all the way down to the bottom of the page, and it isn't straight, there's a few kinks in it, and there's a few petal beginnings of buds rather that are breaking up this line. I'm going to look at that one more time. So they're all overlapping. I'm just going to add the green path are behind, and it creates more of an overlapping five there. Although I'm adding a lot of this detail from the chrysanthemum that I've got in front of me, if you don't have reference, you can always go to Pinterest or a stoichiometry library and take inspiration from there. I'm filling it in quite a natural organic way, trying to fill up the negative space so that there's not too many gaps, and it creates a nice row of chrysanthemum like patterns across my sketchbook page. I'm always scanning to make sure there's not too much negative space. So you clearly have it. We've just use black line to add the stalks, and it creates a really lovely contrast between the delicate shades of the yellow and the very graphic quality of the stems. As I'm talking, I see this space and it needs to be filled, I'm just going to do that right now. Because I am always looking around and thinking, there is a bit too much negative space there. I'll just add something like that. Maybe a leaf here. There we go, and I hope you enjoy your version. 7. Final thoughts : Here we are. I really hope you have enjoyed using this technique to explore whatever excites you, and I can't wait to see what you produce. Here's just a few more examples of me using this technique. I've painted these colorful fishing [inaudible] and then added pen detail for the rope attachments that keep them pass into the weights. With these jellies or jello as you call them in America, I added a base for these, which are very pretty. I really want to see you explore different ways that you paint fruit or vegetables. Please you don't have to stick to the way that I paint butterflies. Explore different patterns, different colors. It's up to you. Very much so with florals as well. You know, I've only done chrysanthemum because I had one on my table at the time. That technique could be used for so many different florals. Please take it further and explore your creativity further. Don't stick to what you've just seen me do because I'm exploring things that interests me and there might be loads of other things that interest you. So please, I urge you to take this technique and to take it further. I really would love to say what happens next [inaudible].