Use Pigment to make abstract watercolour effects | Joe McMenamin | Skillshare

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Use Pigment to make abstract watercolour effects

teacher avatar Joe McMenamin, Artist - Illustrator - Teacher

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.

      Part 1 - Materials and Tools


    • 3.

      Part 2 - Experiments with dye


    • 4.

      Part 3 - Starting the project


    • 5.

      Part 4 - Using dye to make the sky


    • 6.

      Part 5 - Painting the silhouette


    • 7.

      Part 6 - How I use dye in my own art


    • 8.



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About This Class

Powdered dye is a really fun art material to use! If you haven't used it before, or you want to create some beautiful abstract effects with dye, then check out this course.

We will do some fun experimenting with dye to see what it can do, then create a piece of art using your new found techniques. In this course you will see me create a city street silhouette with a dynamic, interesting sky. What will you use for the silhouette in your project? Will it be a forest scene? or a famous landmark skyline? The options are endless.

I will also show you how I use dye in some of my own art prints. My customers love the pop of colour that I create with this technique and I would love to hear what you think of my work.

Meet Your Teacher

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Joe McMenamin

Artist - Illustrator - Teacher


I am an artist, a teacher, a dad and creativity is something I apply to all of those things. For 14 years I was known as Mr Mac the art teacher, getting teenagers amped up about making and learning from them as much as they learnt from me.

Then in 2017 I did something I had dreamt of in those ‘what if?’ moments we all have. I stepped away from being a secondary school teacher and I put on my artist hat full time. I have pursued my love of organic, flowing patterns, diving into painting, drawing, making a beautiful mess with dyes and printmaking.

In my Feilding studio I follow a few different creative pathways. I might pick up an ink pen and let my mark making lead me to some intricate doodling. Native birds take flight – my pen imagines their song and nau... See full profile

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1. Introduction: here. I'm Jeremy. In this course how to use die to create beautiful abstract defeats. I'm gonna show you how to create this piece about We're gonna do some experimentation with the powdered dye in water and learn what happens when you add the two things to give up. What happens when you bleed Keller's and try different brush? Take makes you talk about the materials and equipment that you're gonna need to create this beautiful. We're gonna be using some beautiful blues and purples and dark blues to create a really interesting sky. Thinks we're gonna be using a silhouette off the street with some power lines and trees and a roof to create this piece of I mean, it means I'm going to show you how I used this technique in a lot of my own personal out and how that's helped me to create a really interesting, beautiful prince that also sell. I've had a little fun using powder die over the years and hurt it. After taking this course, you will be able to use it to create your own in strict backgrounds as well. Thanks for watching 2. Part 1 - Materials and Tools: all right. Now, the tools we're gonna be using for this course are pencil. And we're gonna be using a couple of different size brushes, Watercolor brushes on. We're gonna be using another brush a little bit later for the thicker paint. The acrylic paint we're gonna be We need a water jar, and I like to use an eye dropper as well. That's really handy. For I'm just adding water onto the picture. We're gonna be using a tea strainer like this one to end the diet of the picture. And then we're gonna be using, um, how powdered dies. Now Heather dies. I basically just wanna some people die. Um, it is in a powder form, and you would see it normally in schools or with people wanting Teoh dilute it with water to create diet. But we're gonna be using in its pure form today. So I'm gonna be using for this course blue violence and ultra, which is like a dark blue. All right, so now we hear that talks. Let's get started on our practicing the techniques 3. Part 2 - Experiments with dye: Now, there are a few different ways that we can use powdered dye. And I'm just going to show you a couple of different experiments. That would be good if you want to just have a little play with it and just kind of see what the what techniques are that you can use. So if we just start basically with that water and we start with there one of the watercolor brushes and we just lay somewhat straight down on the paper like this now with the diet is really powerful. So you don't actually need very much. I'll tell you what I mean here. So if we just get a little a tiny bit of talent, I like that and we got a smaller brush here. If we just grab a little bit of this die and just moving over into here like this, you'll see that it just starts to, um believed out. Even just a tiny little bit of it starts to bleed out into the area that we wait. So one of the ways we can do is we can actually diluted here into a kind of a watercolor, and then we can use that to draw or paint with now, obviously, where it's which with the papers, wit the di, Esso, the die is gonna bleed And where it's dry over here Then it's gonna be shopper and, um and, you know, stick to its line, stick to its shape. So go ahead and have a little pregnant with that, just adding some water to the paper and putting the dia beside us. Now, another way that we should use it is we can lay down a base of die like this, so just getting a little bit of die over it, and then we can use a tea strainer to protect someone here. Now, I just use up the end of a pencil here in just tip like that. Now you can control how much you want to end by just keeping on taping slowly, and you can see that you can just experiment with lightly covering an area with die. Once we've got the died down there, we can keep working with it so we can continue to, you know, moving around. We can draw on top of it. We can add more to it. Um, it is going to stay in the paper though, so we won't be able to completely remove it. But you can see here that we can just I'm spread it around, go over top and when it dries, it will leave a lot of these tiny points and lines that that come up in the in the die. Now, another way that we can use to die is to wason area like this. I just use a sickle for this example get it nice and wins and then come back to a little stick over here. So I get a nice strong dilution and then just carefully throw around the uterus. And what happens you can see is that the died bleeds into the middle and creates kind of a three dimensional. If it you can do this in the same way, when you if you just weaken the area like this and you put a drop in the middle so you can see that you can get some really interesting abstract feats with the dye and these kind of little areas air in here really, really cope. Now what I use the eye drop before is so that you can add water onto an area So instead of using the brush, you just eyedropper drop some in there and then you can start working with the water that's there, doing whatever you like. Well, if you're working into an area, say, um you want to you've ended some water here so dire in here, but you find that you just don't quite have enough to get the perfect do you want. Then you can just drop in a little bit more water and nearest well. Now, the agency would just use blue in this example. But we can start to mix some of the colors together, which is what we're gonna be doing when we when we do a produce. So if we just kind of blend some of these together to make a large area, then what we can do is grab the violence, which is people that blue and some of the sun, and then you can see the defeat that we can get. So if if I lift this now, then these little dots and everything would stay there, and that's that. Just move a little bit with the with the flow off the recent of water. Okay, so we can we can control it a little bit if we pick up a book, put up a paper and just move it around like this. And what that will do is just soften, soften these little tiny spots over here. And obviously, we've got a really nice big blob here. We can kind of activate that by dropping a little bit of water on top, like, sir, And we can even, um, drag this out and, you know, start to hear that too. How the parts of the picture we want, sir, not always looks different. And I think it looks better when it's dry and so you can see some of the areas here. So just just around the circle here, some of these theories of Blois starting to dry out and you can see that you get those beautiful kind of abstract, uh, textures and abstracts, um, patterns happening in there. So the best thing to do is to kind of do some experimenting, and they just let it sit, and it might take a few hours for it to dry. But if you've got it on a pinch, when we just leave it and come back and see what it looks like. Okay, so practice, What a hell. A page is nearly dry, but you can see that, um, got some really interesting Petain's in shapes that are forming around here, you can see the way that the colors blend together as well. So the purple violet here in the blue have come come up really nicely. And where it's DACA is were the kind of more intense Inc was originally put. You can see some of these like theories. Here is just what we just brushed out the blue ink to get the kind of smooth part here. So just, um, I just encourage you to experiment as much as you need to to try and get some of the effects might better use some of these really interesting each fix on dure in your own project. 4. Part 3 - Starting the project: Okay, So the first thing we want to do with their project is decide what kind of scene we want to paint here. Um, Now, you could do a landscape or forest seen or, um, anything. Really? I'm gonna dio a kind of city scene, and I'm interested in power poles and power lines at the moment, so I'm just gonna just sketch it out. Really likely with eso. I was gonna have a mostly sky standing up with a bit of it. I'm reflecting here. Some kind of tree bush. I'm saying I'm gonna hairs capo coming up here now. These were gonna be painted and still await, so we don't need to worry too much about the details here. We're just looking for nice shop. I was lines. Yeah, fellas running that way. It's in pills right away. And then carry that on with sort of trees and things. It's gonna add a little which isn't here. Okay, So pretty simple. Seen. Really. Um, but it's going really effective when we, um, do the colors and the impact. The subtle wit, Black bean. One of the things that I think about when I draw a scene like this is the composition and concerts that just means that lay out how it's laid out in the frame. And so one of the things that I find works really well is to think about. The rule of thirds rule of thirds is when you divide each side into three. Um, roughly. This is only the third, so in the middle would be sent it, and this is slightly off center. So in the third, and as well, is that the horizon line with that? Where about the kind of trees in the house is a roughly the third rule of thirds with the vertical as well? So I just I find it just creates a pleasing composition. You could do something that's right, bang in the centre that would work as well that make it more symmetrical, more scented. But just yet. Think about the composition when you're during your image 5. Part 4 - Using dye to make the sky: Okay. Now gonna start off with, um, some dying. I'm just gonna just lay down a bit of die over here. So that's in blue, Some violets. And we got a bit of folk trip. Yeah, Okay. And just to start off, I'm gonna be using the larger brush. And I knew just start off with my eyedropper Just laying down some clean water to do you think. And it's a little bit of blue just lifting way in my water container from the practice. That's okay. Now, I'm just gonna die right of the top of my, um, off my papel because hopefully we'll be able to still see it through through the die. Um, but more. Yeah. And then way. Don't want to have to work around Weak around the image, the whole fine. It's not good. Trying to stay just within the frame is the di the callable spread right through to the edge of the water. All right, now I'm wanting us to be quite a quite a dark sort of blue and purple sky, so I'm gonna start off with just my lighter light it lightest color, which is the blue? Um, actually, no, it's the violence. So I'm just gonna start up with a little bit of like about it, and I'm going Teoh, let's go at this and just add some water to decide, but so that I can make a I didn't lose it in books. Okay, I'm going to stop. Yeah, this working above the tree line. I'm not too worried if it goes down into the Syria very much. We're a little bit because when I paint the black in over the top, it's gonna come cover that created Sylvie. So now I'm just gonna sort of blamed this color Enter, but who? The water. So you could say if you if you wanted to create, like, a son seats of perfect you could actually use, um, you know, some oranges and yellows and reads and that sort of problem, um is your doing that? Okay. Okay. All right, Mix. I'm gonna stop going up so much blue. It's quite a quite an intense cover this blue. What a bright blue. But we'll darknet up about when we put the ultra in there. All right, Okay. And it's bringing the auction. Just make this a little bit stronger. You understand? right at the top, sir. I'm just gonna lift this a little bit. Just that have believed down. See the cold bleeding of fix that you get from that. - That's what was adding water. And we can actually blotted out. So there's quite a lot of water up in here, so I'm just going to use a tissue, use a paper towel or, um, an intro. Tell anything like that and just press it on that, you know, we just absorb into it a bit. Here we go. But then here would just It's lifting a little bit clear. Okay, Now I'm going to start using the, um, the T straight and now and what I want to do now, I think it's just you just have to end in some more of the pickle. More of the violence. Eso come over here, take a little bit into here and my pizza here. I think I'll keep the violence in the kind of lower area like, sir. Now, as you can see, a look because it's to ride of it. The die isn't really believed into the rest of the color. So what we can do? We can just simply grab it brush and just sort of guard's top of it a little bit too blamed it. If we want to keep those dots, then we should just leave it like that, but quite keen to just playing the men of it more. All right. Just ended in another layer of kind of people at the bottom, which I'm just gonna kind of leaned this way about. Now, you don't need to be worried about the die going off the edge of the line because as long as you're using watercolor paper, then it will stay just in that area where it's wheat and they see you left it right up and then it will drop down. But if you hold on a meeting like this scene, that's fire. Okay, just get some more. The Blur. It's something that's beautiful, intense blues in there. And then I think the next step is just to get a really nice Dodge, um, kind of line of ultra. That dark blue hit me at the top. It's gonna just leaned really well down into that and see these ears here where it's starting toe blade down. That's looking really nice there. Yeah, it's like, OK? No, I'm just gonna blot out some of the these people e areas that here because, actually, I wanted to be quiet life at the bottom, and then that'll silhouette really nicely. I'm sorry. Little contrast really nicely with the civil wheat off the off, the trees in the house and the different parts here. And I'm really happy with had Docket is and have kind of brooding. That looks talk. It's all right. The last thing when a dude it's just is just a few 20 little much just a few little bits of track just to give it some DACA fine wines when details. All right. And I think that it is looking great. We're gonna let that dry, and then when it's Dr Will come back in pain over with the silhouettes 6. Part 5 - Painting the silhouette: All right, So now that the die is dry, you can see the beautiful different of fix that air coming through. We've got the lovely dark area at the top in the in. Some lighter people's here, and you can see some of these thes darker, ultra colored um, spots really interesting here as well. So now we're up Teoh State, or we're gonna paint the Silla wheat. So we're just gonna using some black acrylic paint if it's gonna Yeah, and we're gonna be using just a, um, small, sensitive brush. Just the squaring brush, though, that I could get some good details. Um, around the side. And what I'm trying to do here is just given us shop line. So that creates a nice contrast. And we want Teoh just over Let the die a little bit so that we have that nice in a shop shot you, general. And because we were just made up the petting really stop but started the the landscape Stop waken Just adept it a zoo We need to hear now. This point you can decide whether you want to um trying to show you some of the maybe use the brush strokes from the black paint show some of the texture and the subtle wit. So that's just about using the directions of the line. Really? So you can see here on the roof of the of the house, I've just done some little sideways angled brush strokes mean for the trees and things. I'm just using some kind of rounded, more bushy sort of patterns in the other. Alternative is just to try and get it nice and smooth. All right, it's looking good. Now I'm just going to swap over to a smaller brush here, and I'm gonna add a little bit of water, too. My black hate. Just this funny little bit and what it does. Is it just that lets me have more detail, more detail with my brush strokes. I'm just going to just painting the how lines Now. Now, if I wanted it to be even finer, I could have used a black kingpin for the Para lights, which would have meat. There was just a bit sharper but finer, but I still think that looks really good. Um, the nests of the wit there and then when it dries, that black paint will just flatten out. Quite. Look, eso you probably won't see most of the brush church in there. All right, we done. 7. Part 6 - How I use dye in my own art: all right. So I just wanted to show you how I use this diet technique on do some of my own at works. I do these silhouettes off birds, a lot of New Zealand native boots on, and I a a little touch of die. I'm just for the color in the boot. So in this one, it's a read robin, and you can see I've just added some read and just a tiny little bit of violet here. So I've only wait to this area. And I just used the, um, the tea strainer just to tap a little bit of diet in there with this, um, more book print. I've done the same thing very similar to the sky that I've just shown you. And you can see that these were here is here with the areas that are quite smooth. And then the pieces in between are where the edge off the water has dried. So that's quite ineffective kind of technique with the circle there. Um, this is a kakapo, which is a New Zealand out of food. And for this one, I've just used dark green and light green, leafy green, and you can see where have ended in the They die here. So it's actually bleed out from the point where it's thicker. In the last print to show you is this one which is a fantail or P Walker Walker on motive. And for this one, I just used OCA with a little bit of brown just to give it that sort of Dhaka Dhaka tent down the bottom. Um so yeah, uh, hope you enjoy seeing how I use this technique in my own art. Thanks. 8. Conclusion: I've had a little fun using how to die of years. And I hope that after taking this course, you will be able to use it to create your own strict background as well. If you'd like to see some more off the I create using, check it out. A website. Jeremy, Thanks for watching.