Spring Flowers in Watercolor (step-by-step lessons) | Neesha @PaperWand Studio | Skillshare

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Spring Flowers in Watercolor (step-by-step lessons)

teacher avatar Neesha @PaperWand Studio, Watercolor | Illustration Studio

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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.

      Intro spring florals


    • 2.

      Supplies + Reference Images


    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.

      Pussy Willows


    • 6.



    • 7.



    • 8.



    • 9.



    • 10.



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About This Class

Happy Spring!!  This class combines two of my favorite things: Florals & Watercolors.
I've chosen 8 of my top spring flowers to paint in a step-by-step tutorial. Grab your paint supplies and paint along! 

Also included for reference is a Pinterest Board: https://pin.it/s4kcttruo5z6c6
Feel free keep this on hand as you paint.


I'll show you tips and tricks for each flower and how to paint them in a loose watercolor style. You can use these techniques to create even more florals for your creative projects. 


OVERVIEW of the Lessons: 

• Lesson 1: Allium
• Lesson 2: Foxglove
• Lesson 3: Pussy Willows
• Lesson 4: Ranunculus
• Lesson 5: Anemones
• Lesson 6: Magnolia
• Lesson 7: Hyacinth
• Lesson 8:  Lilac

** BONUS TUTORIALS: on my YouTube Channel

• Cherry Blossoms: https://youtu.be/10zho2uNs40
• Tulips: https://youtu.be/STdBFvCV3NA

• Lavender: https://youtu.be/pX6zsp4ES14

• Roses: https://youtu.be/TF7EowDrXjU


Music: https://www.bensound.com

Meet Your Teacher

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Neesha @PaperWand Studio

Watercolor | Illustration Studio


Like catching fireflies at summer's dusk, PaperWand creations are a way of making time stand still—if only briefly—to celebrate whimsy and wonder. They invite you to reconnect with your imagination and relish the big magic in little moments.

Our workshops and classes are inspired by the most timeless of emotions: a little bit of nostalgia, an endless well of delight. We hope they inspire you to play, laugh, and make believe a little more each day.


I'm Neesha. I'm an illustrator + designer with an online home at PaperWand.com.

Following 15 years in the graphic design industry, I've explored many creative paths. Ranging from being an art teacher, a kids' book illustrator, and nursery muralist. I love t... See full profile

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1. Intro spring florals: Welcome to spring plurals, step-by-step watercolor tutorials. I'm Amnesia, an artist, illustrator and designer with lots of botanical and nature-inspired classes on skill share. In this class, I will take you through some of my favorite spring floral to paint. This is a loose watercolors style of painting. I'll cover some techniques like what on wet glazing, how to get different transparency levels and pushing things into the foreground or background. There are eight floral's total, and each one can be completed in about five to 10 minutes. So grab your supplies and let's get started. 2. Supplies + Reference Images: So for this class, I have a Pinterest board specifically for the Spring floral. In here, I have all of the reference images that I used for each of the floral that we'll be painting for each lesson. There are eight floral total, and you can find them all here.There are a few extra that are not covered in this class and that is because those tutorials are on my YouTube channel. I will go ahead and leave a link for these bonus videos in the description. Feel free to have a look and try those as well. All right. So let's talk of supplies. We're going to go over some paper and brushes and paints. This Canson brand is a really good one. If you're starting out. It is a student Grade 1. There are different brands to that I also use besides Canson. This is the legion paper. It's cold press as well and I like this sometimes, but my absolute favorite is the arches brand. I have this in cold press and in hot press. The hot press has a smooth surface, so there's no texture. I use it sometimes and then the one I use the most, however, is a cold pressed, Arches paper. It's my favorite, it's professional quality and if you're looking for something that will give you the best results, go with the highest quality paper for your budget. In general, if I'm practicing a lot and not doing a final piece, I'll use one of the student grade papers like the Canson. When I'm ready for my final piece, then I will move my painting onto the arches. Okay, so for this class, I have two sizes of paint brushes, these are round brushes in a large and a medium. So you can do a medium-size which is about a six or an eight. I really like this black of element one. It comes to a nice point at the end and you can get some really fine details with that end. Then the large brush is somewhere between 12-14 or 16, Just depends how big you like to paint. All right. So you can get watercolors in a set like this. They come in a dried out tray form. These are student grade. I do prefer the higher-quality watercolors that come into pan set or liquid form. These will give you much better results. They're also easier to customize. You can get individual colors and get a customized palette. The other brand that I really like is the Dr. Ph Martin's, these are radiant concentrated watercolors and they're liquid. So you give them a shake and then you can add it to your palette. They're very concentrated, so only a drop or two is really necessary. They last a really long time and they're beautiful. They give you a really wonderful results. If you don't already have watercolors, as with everything in supplies, I say get the highest quality for your budget. I will link everything down below that I'm using and let's get started. 3. Allium: We'll start by painting Allium and this is a really fun one. We're going to start with a round brush and some purpley lavender paint and start putting in some of the petals. These have about six petals, breach flower, and they grow in clusters, they look almost like a giant lollipop. You can always refer to the Pinterest board if you want a reference image, I've got one linked. Take a look at that if you want to keep an image in front of you. I'm starting out really light because you can always build up your colors and watercolor. It's so much easier to go from light to dark and that way you can keep adding your layers. If you put down too much of a dark color, it's harder to take it away once it dries. I'll also be painting this in real-time, I'm not going to fast forward any other video that way you can follow along step-by-step. The first layer is in and I'm going to be adding a little bit darker paint with that purple along the bottom of the circle. That way it will give you that illusion of shadow on the underneath part and then keeping the top really light where the light is hitting it. You can see some other petals are still wet and so there's a natural wet on wet bleed happening. This is a loose watercolor style, I actually like that effect. If you want to keep it separate, I would wait for that first layer to fully dry and then put in your darker shadows. I'm going to put in that stem, it's just a straight long skinny piece. It looks literally like a lollipop. I've let that dry a little bit and I'm adding in a little darker yellow-green into the centers of these flowers and these ones are pretty dry, they're not going to bleed. Otherwise, I would get that purple and green mixing up and getting really muddy, make sure this layer is fully dry when you do this part. I went in and in the bottom half where the shadows are so it's darker and more saturated and then rinsing your brush, you can coat some of the more translucent green centers towards the top where it's a lighter area and where the light is hitting it. You'll have more of a translucent effect up there. Then using that same green adding a darker shadow along the stem and then I may rinse my brush and then soften up that edge. Just with the clean rinse brush, you can pull your brush down the side and it'll soften that edge and blend it and then I'm also going to pull in that green stem through some of those leaves up to the center and then using some more dark purple paint, pulling in some of those little details. If you look at the reference images, you can see that there are some little pieces coming out from the center of the flower, I'm just adding a few of those for texture. I added some blue into my purple so that I can have a little bit stronger saturation and then rinsing my brush, putting some more translucent pieces towards the middle and top. Now you can go as far as you like. I would recommend if you're not sure, just take some breaks, take a step back, let it dry and then if you think it needs more, keep going. But that is it for the final touch. If you post your work, remember to tag me either on Instagram or Facebook so I don't miss it. You can also post your work directly into the Skillshare tab where the projects are. I'll see you in the next one. 4. Foxglove: This video is about painting foxglove. Let's start with a light green paint is a little bit yellow green, and I have a round brush that I'm using. I'll start by putting in that center stem, and the top of it has a lighter green shade, and it will change as you move down. I'm adding a little bit more yellow towards the edges here while it's still wet, and then those two colors are going to naturally blend together. Remember that if you need a photo reference, you can refer to the Pinterest board that I have linked. Rinsing your brush using a little lavender, pinkish color, we can start putting in more of the floral part, and they're a little bit wider and more open, so start with some circles and then the back will attach to the center stem. One tip, I want to point out it's a lot easier to get a more gestural mark when you hold your brush higher, so I'm not holding very close to the brush part, I'm holding up higher on the handle, and that is going to make it easier for you to get a loose style. You can also pull that lavender color up into some of that yellow green part, and it'll mix up together if it's still wet. Then rinsing your brush, going back with some of that green and putting in the stem. Then with my brush rinsed, I'm using almost just clear water to pull out some of those green pieces along the edges. Then putting in some leaves towards the bottom of the stem. These are really light you can always go in and add your layers darker on top, but I usually like to start very light and then build up my layers. I'm switching to a smaller brush now and a darker lavender color, almost plum, and I'm putting in the speckles, which is part of the details. Then give your brush a rinse. I'm going back over with just a clean brush and touching some of those saturated dots and spots and pulling out some more translucent ones, so you get a nice contrast between the light and dark of the details. Then I rinse my brush and with some more of that green going in and adding similar shadows, and building up that layer. Also pulling that shadow down into the stem and leaves at the bottom. Then you can get your brush a rinse and then use the end of your brush to blend out some of these harder edges, if you want a soft edge. If you work quickly and the paint is still wet, this will be easy to do, once it's dry it's harder to blend hard edges. Then just final few touches on that shadow, and then we're done. Remember if you post your work over on Instagram or Facebook, please tag me, that way I won't miss it. You can also post your work directly into those Skillshare tab where the projects are. I'll see you in the next one. 5. Pussy Willows: This tutorial is painting pussy willows. I love these for the texture they can add into your compositions. I've mixed up a brownish color for the stem. Using the end of my brush, I'll put in these little branch pieces and just do a few of them. Let them be rough and leave some white space in between them. Then with a rinsed brush, adding in some green to the very tops of these, and while they're wet, they'll still blend in to some other branch pieces. That's okay, I like that wet-on-wet blending technique. Then with a slightly peach color, so it's a very light pinkish orange color, I'm going in to put in the tops of each of these little pieces. They're dome-shaped, a little bit ovally, but they narrow at the very top. You can refer to the image that I have in the Pinterest board, if that helps. In this part, I'm trying to put in pretty quickly because I want the base of the color, where that's green on the base, to blend in with that peach middle tone, and once the middle tone is in, we can go in and add some shadows and details. I'm switching to a smaller brush. With a bluish purple color, it's pretty translucent still, so there's more water to pigment ratio, I'm pulling out some of the texture lines. These are kind of fuzzy, and they're little bit spiky along the edges. Using the end of the brush, just flick out some straight little lines to give that texture. Again, I'm trying to get to each of these while it's still damp. The paint, once it dries, it will be a lot harder to get that blended, spiky texture, so I'm gonna go as fast as I can to make sure this is done while all these pieces are still somewhat wet. Then another round of the shadows, I'm using a darker purple along the base where these attach to the branch. The paint has started to dry a little bit. I would say it's damp, not totally dry. But you can see in some areas the lines are gonna be clearer and crisper, that's where it has dried, and then where they get fuzzy and blended, it still wet on the paper. I'm using a really light touch, and holding up higher towards the end of my brush to give a little bit of a lighter pressure, and just using the very end to make those light strokes. Then one final shadow layer, I'm just adding it underneath these on the base and some of the branches, and then we'll be done. Remember, if you post your work over on Instagram or Facebook, please tag me, that way I won't miss it. You can also post your work directly into the SkillShare tab where the projects are. I'll see you in the next one. 6. Ranunculus: This tutorial is painting ranunculus. I'm starting with a light pink paint and putting in some c strokes. Just some curves, and I'm leaving the middle open and with white space for right now and putting in just the outsides for each of these flowers. These flowers are pretty dense. There's a lot of petals and they're very full. I'm using just the end of the brush to make some thin strokes for each of these petals as I build the outside. When you're building your colors and your composition, you can look at the Pinterest images that I have linked. They're ranging from pinks and yellows to peaches, so I'm sticking to that for my color palette. I'm also letting some of those outside petals touch each other, so there's a natural blending of colors. To make a flower look like it's on its side, I'm pushing down on my brush so there's a wider stroke right there, and then continuing with the thin strokes towards the center. Then, rinsing your brush, you can get some green. I'm putting in a couple of little buds here at the top with some thin stems. Then a few more buds on the side, and then the bottom stems underneath. Then adding in some leaves, I'm starting off really light and then I'll add to it. Now I'm adding a little purple into my green to tone that brightness down a little bit, and then putting it on the back stem so it looks like it's going into the background a little bit more. Also use that darker green to put some shadows into the leaves. Now that those centers have dried a little bit where the flower is, I'm adding a little light green. This is in the reference image as well. You can see a tiny little bit of green in the middle. If there are any areas of the flower that need to be darkened up like this, you can add another layer. I'm going in with some more color and building up some of the shadow areas. One thing to keep in mind is that green area should be dry, otherwise your colors will make center muddy. While you're building in your second and third layers, just try to keep some of the white space in between the petals, so you see a separation between them and that will also keep it from looking like just one big giant flat circle. Also keep a paper towel on hand. You can always use it like an eraser and just dab up any extra color or water. Remember, if you post your work over on Instagram or Facebook, please tag me that way I won't miss it. You can also post your work directly into the Skillshare tab where the projects are. I'll see you in the next one. 7. Anemones: This tutorial is painting anemones. Starting with a light purply lavender color and I have a large round brush, I'll start putting in the petals. Again, refer to the Pinterest board if you want a photo reference. Because these petals are really light, almost white, I'm going to be picking up some of that extra color by dabbing my brush on a paper towel and then using it like a sponge and picking up any extra paint and color. That will give you that translucent and delicate look. Starting with a little circle and then putting in a second flower on the right side here. So that color from that circle is bleeding into the bigger petals, which are mostly water, which is still very translucent. You can also drop in some extra color into the center while it's wet or damp and that will also bleed out and expand as it dries. Then I'm mixing up some green with a little touch of blue in there and putting in the stems. Also I'm putting in a tiny smaller flower with a little bit of a side view over on the bottom right. With a smaller brush, I'm now putting in another color. This is a lavender pinkish color. Because that first flower has dried, this is going to be more of a glazing technique, so I'm layering over another translucent layer on top and building up the color that way. Glazing really just means to layer on top. So you can do any color and you can shift your flower or object that you're painting into a cooler palette or a warmer palette depending on what colors you glaze on top. It's a fun technique. Putting in the center of the flowers, this is a darker purple. There's more paint to water ratio. For that smaller third flower, I'm putting a little angle in that center area for the bottom so that it shows that it's a side view. Then around each of these centers, just using the end of the brush to make little lines to show how these little pieces that are sticking out. Then you can just a little dots that go on the end of each of these lines. Then these lines and dots on that smaller flower will only be along the top half since it's a side view. Now that the first layer has dried, we can go in with second layer, which will build up the shadows and add some more definition onto these petals. Then you can rinse your brush and then soften out any of the edges that you would like. When you're building in your shadows, just keep in mind your light source. If your light is coming from the right, then your shadows should be on the left and vice versa. I like to drop in the shadow lines first and then give my brush a rinse and then blend out some of those edges so that some are soft and then some have a clear line, so there's a mixture. It's these little details that will pull the final piece together, and they might be really subtle, but they make a big difference. Remember, if you post your work over on Instagram or Facebook, please tag me. That way, I won't miss it. You can also post your work directly into the Skillshare tab where the projects are. I'll see you in the next one. 8. Magnolia: This tutorial is painting magnolia. Starting with A, round brush and some pink paint, it's pretty light, I'll start by putting in the petals and I'm keeping it pretty gestural and loose for now. We will build our layers and go light to dark. I have a few reference images on the Pinterest board, so take a look if you want to have one in front of you. While this is still a little wet and damp, I'm adding in some more saturation towards the bottom, this is where the flower will connect to the branch. Then with a clean rinse brush, you can actually just use the India brush and pull straight up and get some nice lines and shadows just by pulling in some of that color into the lighter areas. Rinse your brush and then this is going to be the branch piece that's connected. It's a little bit of a like grayish purple color and I'm starting light and then I'll build up that saturation. I'm also going to put in two little buds that the lighter a greenish color, and then pull that into the branch so it blends a little bit more. Then back with that pink, I'm going to add a little bit to the tops of these buds and then using that pickup technique with my paper towel, I'm going to pick up any extra water in colors, so it still stays a little bit lighter in translucent. All right. So adding a little brown into this purple, I'm going to add in some shadows along the branch. Using a little bit of green, I'm going to put in a little leaf on each of these little parts of the branch, just tiny ones to show the new growth. I'm going in with a smaller brush and adding in some more of that pink paint along the bottoms just to add some of that shadow underneath some of these petals and you can add in as much detail as you like if you want to keep it really loose and gestural, that's up to you. I'm going to just put in a few and then blend out some of the edges to make them a little softer. One thing to keep in mind when you are defining out your petals is that the darker it is, the more the foreground your objects will go in and a lighter and more translucent it is, the more it'll go into the background. I will purposely leave the back petals pretty light and translucent and add the details to the front part of the flower. Then with some of that darker purple, I'll put in some shadow lines into the stem and part of the branches and under the buds where they connect to, to the branch. Same with the leaves, I'm putting in a darker green first thing with the shadows and details. Then go back and add in some color and saturation wherever you think it needs to be added, and that's the final touch. Remember, if you post your work over on Instagram or Facebook, please tag me that way, I won't miss it. You can also post your work directly into the Skillshare tab where the projects are, I'll see you in the next one. 9. Hyacinth: This tutorial is painting hyacinth. I'll start with a blue and a purple mix of color. Then you can start by putting in some of the florals. This grows in a cluster on a large stem. They have six petals to each flower. As you're putting these in, try to keep some white space in the centers. A few of them I'll put in and they look like stars and then around them we'll put in some of these smaller pieces that are peeking out from behind. As you're putting each of these flowers, just keep in mind that you can vary up your blues and your purples so that you get a nice variation. If the edges touch, they'll have a nice natural bleed of color and blend together on their own. To show the side petals, if you have some along the edges, you can just put in maybe two or three to show that they are turned. Also keeping in mind to vary up the saturation so some of these will have more color and some will be more water so they're more translucent. When building out a structure like this, it's easy for everything to just start blending together, so as you layer in all your little petals and pieces, just remember to keep some white space in between and then when things dry, you can do some layering on top. Then rinsing your brush and getting some green will put in the leaves in the stem. You can refer to the pinterest image. These are pretty long and wide and they fan out slightly. Then with these stems and leaves, the lighter they are, they'll go more into the background. I'll keep those one's translucent and then darken up the ones that are in the foreground. Now that the top has dried a little bit, I'm going to go in and add some of the edge ones of the petals that are peeking out from behind to the using some really translucent blues and purples and making that top part a little bit fuller. I'm switching to a smaller brush and using a really saturated color of that blue and purple dropping in the centers. Where you left a little white space, this will really show up pretty well. Then that's the final detail and we're done. Remember, if you post your work over on Instagram or Facebook, please tag me that way I won't miss it. You can also post your work directly into the Skillshare tab where the projects are. I'll see you in the next one. 10. Lilac: This tutorial is about painting lilacs. So I'm starting with a light purple, with a touch of pink in there, and I'll start with the first flower, I'll put in the four petals. Above it, some little buds that are just starting to grow. I'll put a few images into the Pinterest board that you can refer to. Then rinsing the brush, we'll start with the green and putting a little stem connecting each of these little pieces, then giving my brush a rinse, and I'll go back to putting in the flowers. This time, I'm pushing that purple to more of a true purple versus that more of a pink color. When you're putting in the flowers, it's okay if they're touching on the edges, some of that pinky-purple and then that purple-purple will start to blend together when the pieces are wet. Then, these ones, the little buds in florals are more bluish. So these are all colors that are analogous, which means they're similar on the color wheel, they're next to each other, and they make a nice visual harmony. Then back to putting in some stems and adding those little pieces in between in the white spaces. Then putting in the leaves, these are little bit wider, and then, you can also refer to the images in the Pinterest board. I'll add a little yellow-green as well. At this point, I am trying not to touch the purple flowers, I really don't want the green and purple to mix up. If any areas get too much paint or water, you can do that pickup technique and just keep your paper towel on hand to wipe off any extra water. Now that the centers have dried, I'll go in with the final touch of a little yellow right in the middle. Remember, if you post your work over on Instagram or Facebook, please tag me. That way, I won't miss it. You can also post your work directly into the Skillshare tab where the projects are. That's it for all eight Spring Florals. Thank you for joining this class. I hope you had so much fun and I hope to see you in another one of my classes.