Watercolor Animal Portraits - Paint Through the Seasons | Amarilys Henderson | Skillshare

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Watercolor Animal Portraits - Paint Through the Seasons

teacher avatar Amarilys Henderson, Watercolor Illustrator, Design Thinker

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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.

      Watercolor Animal Portraits


    • 2.

      Supplies Used


    • 3.

      Trading Values for Color


    • 4.

      Removing the Background in a Reference


    • 5.

      Sketching Animals


    • 6.

      Key First Step


    • 7.

      Squirrel Painting


    • 8.

      Squirrel Wreath


    • 9.

      Horse Painting


    • 10.

      Horse to Unicorn & Daisies


    • 11.

      Llama Painting


    • 12.

      Llama Details


    • 13.

      Reindeer Painting


    • 14.

      Reindeer Holly


    • 15.

      Gouache Backgrounds


    • 16.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

The world of animals is diverse--almost as diverse as people. Learn how to paint them in vibrant watercolor! FOUR animals are painted from start to finish in this class. Each animal has its very own vibe, presented with a unique color scheme and foliage correlating with each of the seasons--winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Reindeer :: Winter :: Holiday Holly 

Llama :: Spring :: Tulips 

Horse :: Summer :: Daisies

Squirrel :: Autumn :: Fall Wreath

What you'll learn from this class:

  • A trick to painting freely over watercolor, even in layers.
  • How to substitute natural colors for any of your choosing accurately.
  • How to sketch a horse head easily.
  • Techniques to depict various kinds of fur, hair, and fluffy tails.
  • Discover the dry brush technique with gouache.
  • Four different color schemes that are seasonal and on-trend.
  • Watercolor techniques such as wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry.
  • Where to find royalty-free reference photos.
  • How to remove backgrounds and stamp out imperfections in Photoshop.

Amarilys Henderson is a watercolor illustrator who specializes in surface design. She enjoys bringing the dynamic vibrancy of watercolor to everyday products, from paper to porcelain. See more of her work on watercolordevo.com.

Meet Your Teacher

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Amarilys Henderson

Watercolor Illustrator, Design Thinker

Top Teacher

Hello! I'm Amarilys. I process on paper and I problem-solve with keystrokes.

As a commercial illustrator, I've had the pleasure of bringing the dynamic vibrance of colorful watercolor strokes to everyday products. My work is licensed for greeting and Christmas cards, art prints, drawing books, and home decor items. My design background influences much of my recent work, revolving around typography and florals.

While my professional work in illustration is driven by trend, my personal work springs from my faith. Follow along on Instagram


Learn a variety of fun and on-trend techniques to improve your work!

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Watercolor Animal Portraits: I'm Amarilys Henderson. I mainly work in watercolor as an illustrator and I focus on surface design. So when I'm requested to do animals, it's usually for wall art. There are different ways that you can approach how to paint animals. In this case, there are more portraits because we may be using them for children or novelty products. So they might be a little more fun or goofy or whimsical and you'll often see those on stationery products, on gift wrap, or in kids decor. We're going to create several animals so that you can not only pick up more tools for your toolbox, how to do different kinds of animals, but also so that you can compare and contrast whether you choose to paint them or not, you'll be able to see the nuances and differences, let's say, between the head of a horse or the head of llama, which are similar in structure but also very different. Since we're going to do four animals, being a horse, a llama, a squirrel, and a reindeer, we are also going to do them in four different seasons. So they'll each have their own little vibe. I'm going to provide you with a color scheme for each one of them that goes with that particular season. For winter we have the reindeer, for spring, we have the llama, summer, the horse, and fall, the squirrel. Along with those four different animals in four different styles, we're going to do four different florals or foliage to go along with that animal. This might not be as in depth as my modern watercolor floral class, which is very popular, but you'll get to see a variety of foliage in a different treatments because it'll be the background to help push the feeling, the vibe, the theme of each one of these animal. 2. Supplies Used: I am going to use a lot of art supplies in this class. You do not need to feel like you need to use them all. Obviously, this is a water color class, so it would be much more easier to apply these principles to just a watercolor palette, maybe a pencil and eraser and that could be it, that could be all of your art supplies. If you're working digitally, obviously, you can find your own workaround based on the ways that I'll describe each one of the supplies I'm using and why. First off, I'm going to start with the brushes. I'm using four brushes in this class and put them in order of smallest to largest. We have a size 4 liner, a size 6, and a size 10 round. I always make it a point to tell you to look for a point in your brush. I don't use very expensive brushes, but I do narrow it down to that. I want to see a nice point on them. Finally, we'll use this flat brush, which is a size 12. Any flat brush will do because we're actually going to use the end of the brush and not the body of it. We'll use a pencil and eraser for sketching and then for painting, I'm going to use Dr. Ph. Martin's concentrated saturated colors. I'm using a full gamut of colors because I want to show you four different color schemes so I'm using at least two, if not four within each one of those color schemes. Then sometimes I like to add a little white. I am using Copic white in this class. It's an opaque acrylic based white. You'll need something to dole it out onto your paint palette and then work from there. Then optionally in the background, I'm going to use wash paints. I'm using the Artesia brand. I found them to work very well and they're very reasonably priced and only four colors. It's just going to provide a flat color to offset the complicated bleeds that are going on within the subject that I'm painting. The star of the show is going to be surprisingly to me, at least ink. I'm using different colors of ink, you can just use India ink. You basically just want an ink that will not lift off the paper once it's wet. The paper that I like to use is Canson brand watercolor or 140 pound cold press paper. It is on the lower end of papers, so it should be very accessible. I've even found it at Walmart and it's under $10 for 30 sheets. Like I said, it's wildly available and it's also very versatile. I like the size 9 by 12, so that when I print out my eight by eight and a half by 11 letter size, print out the reference image, it is smaller than the 9 by 12 because if you're like me, I keep pushing and working towards the ends, at the edges and so if I have a reference, it's a little smaller, it gives me a little leeway to paint around in the border. 3. Trading Values for Color: I like to use some pretty wild colors when I'm painting animals. At least I can say I don't always like to use the colors that they really are. I have an aversion to brown, I think, but we're going to explore how different colors relate two different values. Because in order to replace a color with another color, you need to be able to understand where it falls on the value scale. If you don't know what a value scale is, you'll learn pretty quickly here because I'm going to create a value scale. I'm doing these circles in water because I'm using a wet-on-wet medium. But anyway, I'm going to put in a lot of black here. Less black here, even less here, and honestly, I'm just going to outline this one to a very light color. Now I'm going to create little circles of all the colors I'm going to use, so that I have a little paint sample of each. I cut up all the circle little samples we did of each color that we're using, and I have my gradient. I basically want you guys to match up your colors from dark to light according to these values. Those are my guesses. The way that I'm going to check to see if these values are right, is I'm going to take a picture and make it monochromatic, and I did a pretty good job. These are the same colors, but in gray scale, maybe this blue could go up here. Now I know for sure that these are accurate values. When I'm painting a unicorn or a reindeer or anything, I can change anything that is in his color value, this dark gray. I didn't have the blackest black here because it is simply black. But anything that is of this value, whether in nature is a dark brown or a dark violet or a bright red is going to work. I can replace it with any color that is within that same family. With each group, we can look at other colors that are completely different, but in the same value scale. I would love for you guys to do this activity and take a picture and post it in the project area. I want us to be able to see how there is such a wide gamut of colors within one single value. The better we understand colors and their values, the more freedom we're going to have to use all kinds of different colors and be able to use them accurately, so that they still make sense to us visually in communicating lights and darks. 4. Removing the Background in a Reference: Let's go find some images and edit them so that we can paint them. I'm using this site called pexels.com. I want to get a portrait. I want to get the head of the deer, and I'm looking for something that is easily silhouetted. I don't want a picture that has a really busy background. I'm going to select something that has a very plain background so that I can easily select it, delete it, and move on. This is the image that I used and it's available to you in the Resources under your Class Project section. Now, I'm going to take this picture and bring it into Photoshop. I'm going to open a new file that's the size of an American sheet of paper, eight and a half by 11. You can make it whatever size is a default printer paper for you, and I pasted my image in. My version of Photoshop is CS6, but these are steps that you can use in any Photoshop version. I'm going to get you started with the most basic way to isolate something, which means remove the background from something, so it's the only thing left in the picture, and that's by using the Magic Wand Tool. The key thing about using the Magic Wand is knowing the number of tolerance you want to allow for your selection. I'm going to select 50, middle of the road, and take it from there. With that, I was able to select all of the green trees and I'm basically just clicking on every part that I don't want to be in my picture. I just want that rein deer head. It's working pretty well. Whenever I make a mistake and select something I don't want, I hit Command or Control Z. But you can see that there's some parts that are selected that I didn't want selected, and some things that are close in color, because it's going to pick up anything that's similar in color. With my Free Lasso tool, I'm clicking down, pressing down as I draw along the line of the deer and deselecting by hitting Alt. As I do that, the parts that I didn't want included, the parts that I don't want to erase. For the parts that I do want to erase, I hit Shift while using the Lasso tool, so it includes it in the selection. Pretty soon I have just the reindeer, his antlers, and no background. I have some areas left over and that'll be an easy swoop of the Lasso. Then I'll come back with my Magic Wand to those areas within that I might have missed. A click on Delete on my keyboard and those parts are gone. This isn't going to be a picture that I want to use for anything else, it's just a reference photo. I'm not going to worry about the jagged edges. Now, I select my arrow tool. It's that first tool in your toolbox on the left-hand side. On my keyboard, I'll hit Command or Control T to free transform. I hold down the Shift key on my keyboard to make sure that my proportions are the same and I'm not stretching his head horizontally or vertically as I play with the corners, and place it in my page just as I would want it in my painting. My next step is to play with the levels. Go to Image Adjustment Levels and play with these sliders to make him very white and very dark. We want some stark contrast. All I want to focus on are the areas that require the most attention, which would be those darkest darks. I'll go back to adjustments to Hue and Saturation. I want to completely desaturate, take away all the color and make him a black and white image. Now, I lost the outlines of the antlers, so I'm going to double-click on my layer and hit Stroke. It'll basically provide an outline for that layer, and make it a little thinner so it's not so noticeable. I also see some spots that I didn't erase, and just with the eraser l'll dot those out. This guy is ready to go. I'm going to print him out and use him as my reference picture. I know exactly the outline of him and I know the parts that are most important. Now let's say you've done your best to isolate your animal, your subject matter, and you've got something in the way. Hitting the letter J, this is the Patch tool, I'll select the thing that I don't want and I'll just drag up to the area that I wanted to mimic. It's really pretty simple, it doesn't work perfectly, but it'll work for our purposes of having a reference picture that at least make some sense and we're not distracted by things that aren't a part of our painting. I'll keep doing this, and as I get to edges, it may look a little funny, so I'm going to avoid those edges. As I continue, I'll just keep working up, working inward, trying to imagine, okay, what might look like this area. I could pick from fur that's on the far-right, drag it to the far-left so that it's not so patterned and stumpy looking. But really right now, I just want to have this out of the way so that visually I can just focus on the animal. I do the image adjustments as before, desaturate, and stroke. Here we go. 5. Sketching Animals: All right, based on our reference photos which are provided in the your project class section, we're now going to use those photocopies we just completely exploited and contrasted to do our sketches. I don't like to spend a lot of time on sketching. For one, I find that my students get nit-picky and then it just makes them lose momentum or confidence for painting. Secondly, while they're getting picky, they're erasing a lot, and if you erase on watercolor paper, that will rub the fibers away so that when you apply the paint, it's like painting onto toilet paper, because it'll be somewhat shredded and it doesn't flow. Third, I don't like to spend a lot of time on sketching because if it does go well, we get so infatuated with our drawing. We either can't imagine painting on it or we can't imagine redrawing it in order to paint on it, when we have it on the right paper. To clear off the intimidation, I really just want to hone in on what matters the most. If you can get what matters the most right, the other things will fall into place. In this case, it is those darkest darks as we talked about, as we were adjusting our photograph. As we draw, we're going to focus on the largest shapes and the darkest darks. I'm going to start with the squirrel because he's a nice round body. He's crouched in together, he almost as the shape of, I don't know, a nut himself here with this head here. I'm really going to stay quick and loose. If you want to set a timer or put on some music, It's a great way to make yourself draw faster. Because that way you will only give yourself the limit of doing it within a certain amount of time. I'm doing this very quickly. But what I'm doing is just laying in just very simple shapes, making sure that my shapes are matching up. My proportions might not be right, but I'm going to just go with it, step back, check it, erase, and then keep going. Instead of measuring how distant one part is from another. I'm able to do it a little faster of war intuitively, because my reference picture is so simple. I am focusing on again, those darkest parts, what matters the most. His arm is little adjusting I am noticing that this is the darkest dark. What I find to be important is, the arching his back, and this inverted shape goes into the tail. Everything else I can play around with. I want to make sure that the arch of his back is right, the prof of this tail, and this little inverted shape. I'm going to erase what's left, or even better yet, I'm going to use a black marker just so you can see it clearly. You can erase, and If this is a sketch paper that you're just using for this purpose and you're not actually going to paint on it, you transfer your drawing to your watercolor paper. I've heard of people using even a windowsill and lining them up and using the window as a light box. Or start your drawing over because now that you know how to draw it, you feel confident that you'll be able to do it the second time around. When you create your drawing on your watercolor paper, really err on the side of drawing less. Remember that when you paint, you won't be able to erase those pencil lines that you've painted over and get that curve in there. Got two feet. I think I am ready to paint. I'm ready to at least take this drawing and grabbed my watercolor paper, and make sure that I have these black, black spots outlined. Because those are the parts I'm going to paint with ink. Then the other parts I'm not going to outline as well because the watercolor will not be forgiving. Once it pays on top of that pencil, I won't be able to erase it again, and I will wish I could have. I'm going to go ahead and draw the horse too. Horses their phase structure, obviously is very long, and very muscular, very structured, very rectangular, angular. But I am only going to draw those dark parts that stick out to me, and those are the eyes, and these big nostrils. Nostrils that are even bigger than the eyes themselves. Now it's interesting about a horse and I'm going to go ahead and trace on top of my picture is that there's almost like a diamond on the top of his head. Then from the top of the eyes down to the mouth is a shape that's like this. A little easier to see. We've got two little diamonds for the ears. It makes it really easy for us to be able to find how it is that this head structure is, just need to add those contours the outline on top of that. I put in my darkest darks. Then I'll go ahead and do that little triangle trick. Just make it very clear. I've got my ears. Now I'll be looking more at my photo outline the ears, will connect shaved. This part hangs over the I almost like an eyebrow without the hairs. You'll get better at this than creating the shapes of the contours. Once you have a good handle on these underlying shapes. I chose a photo that, that made it fairly simple to see the outline of the body without needing to stress out about it too much. The between the front legs, the back leg and this goes into his tummy. I can see some changes that need to be made, but for now that's a, good place to start, a good way to start drying horses. If you're drawing, let's say the profile of a horse, you might have seen that they have the same long snout but sideways. As long as you have this curvature right here that's almost like their jaw line, you'll be in good shape. It's all about when it comes to the outline of the horse, the face of this, or the shape of his face. It's all about this, the lowness. Then in the darks, 2, 4, 6, the ears, the eyes and nose, nostrils. 6. Key First Step: All right. I'm going to start off with a squirrel. Just looking at the printout I have of this photocopy picture. He's got a very dark eye, a little darkness in the nose, and these patches around where his leg curves around and definitely some depth here in the tail. I'm not going to do much in here, in the bushy tail, we'll do that with watercolor. But I just want to take a mental note before I go back to my sketch, which looks like this. It looks a little bit like a color by number, except a lot of areas are missing because I only wanted to mark those areas that I would work in ink on. I then start filling in those darkest darks with this sepia and black combination. Adding the black is overpowered by sepia color so we might have to bring that back a little later. If you've seen those obey posters where you have a stamped look to a face, that's what we're doing here. I am going to pour a little brown just so I stay true to my original design and go into some areas, but we're almost done here with just putting in some of the darkest places. Now we're going to move on to the horse. I'm going to use my violet for those darkest darks. If you remember with the squirrel, I use smaller strokes to give a feel for the fur of a squirrel to give a little bit of that texture. When you're using your brush, you always want to be translating a little bit of the texture that you're painting. Horse hair, at least the type on his body is going to be really short and almost not visible. So you'll see that my darkest darks are really going to be one, limited because this is a white horse. We're going to only go dark on the ears, the eyes, and the nose. I'm going to do my best to not include this bridal. But then in the body, there's not a whole lot of darkest dark. I'm not going to be working on translating this so much, it might work a little bit on here, and these are going to be very small, short, violet strokes. Just for the sake of outlining it and giving it a little shape, I am going to just throw in a few purple lines on the outside. Here I go. I'm noticing that this violet is really dark. So I'm going to water it down a little bit with my brush so that you can appreciate that it has some color in it. I'm going to have these little sketches. I'm going to work on the llama. The llama's fur is curly. So my brush strokes are going to be also a little curly. In order to show a taper with your brush, you push down to get the body of that line, and you push out to get the tip. So as you do a curly Q, it's going to feel like that where he pushed down and let up, and it takes some practice to make sure that you do that consistently. But it's going to give that llama that cute curl that he has in his hair. Another tricky thing about working on the darkest darks on llama is that he has this fur that hangs over his eyes, and you'll see that I'll try to keep that white by creating a shape around it and then filling that with darks. Same thing with the ears so that we get those little wisps that are coming into the ears little bits of fur. It's those little details that make the llama so cute and the unproportions of how the eyes are so wide apart and the mouth is just this little small pout. We definitely won't lose that because we drew it well, and we have a good reference. Finally, we're going to work on the reindeer in our blue. It's going to be a really pretty iridescent blue, but at times it's not going to be quite dark enough. I'm probably going to dip back into that black that's combined with brown for the spot of the eyes, and there's a dark area on its head. It's an interesting stripe going on around the mouth and inside the ear. These might not be that dark, but I'm going to just outline a little bit of this texture just so that when I start painting, I know what's going on up there in those antlers. With the fur, I'm going to use very short strokes, even shorter than I did with the squirrel. I'm going to be using the very tip of my brush to put in some of those dark blues here as a ripple, and show a little bit of that of course, short fur texture. 7. Squirrel Painting: Now is my favorite part now we start painting. Well actually let's get ready to paint. I'm going to paint the squirrel first, and the color scheme we have is very fall focused. Starting with our lightest color, I'm going to be using these Dr Ph Martin's concentrated watercolors. This is Indian yellow, so nice warm yellow that feels a little golden, like a sunset and burnt orange. It will start the transition in our color scheme towards brown. Kind of a nice segue here. Antelope brown, nice warm brown. Since we have a cool sepia brown going on already, and olive green. For my other paintings, I don't always use the same paints. I just wanted to give you a color scheme so you're ready to go. If you have colors that are similar to these, that will work, well. Just think fall, think red, orange, yellow, brown, and a touch of green as leaves change colors. Still with my photo reference out because now we're going to work on the second darkest dark. Remember that we're working backwards, what we usually want to color start from light to dark. I'm going to use the same brush just to keep it simple. This number six round. It's still good even after using it with ink several times. A way that I like to wash the inks out of my brush is not just to swish it in the water. I roll the brush against the glass or the edge of the cu. It's just a non harsh, more delicate way to get the paint out of those inner bristles of the brush. Starting with antelope brown, since I'm working in a wet medium. I'm going to work on wet on wet, meaning that I wet my brush take off the excess, but it's still very wet. I almost create a paint by number pattern where I'm going to lay down the water in the places that I want that color to go in. Since I'm looking at antelope brown, this is going to be my second darkest color, just starting with the face. I'm going to let my brush lose its water as it tapers out this way. Then I can get this whooshing action that happens when you drop your painting wet on wet. Even the paint strokes, the brushstrokes of putting down the paint, even in this wet on wet way where it's just really going to do this, anyway and just spread out. I still want to continue using short stroke to keep that texture of that fur. I might lose it as it dries. But sometimes it will show up in those drier areas. Now the fun thing about this paint is when it breaks down. Also, you get to see different colors come in. Even with one color, I see the breakdown of antelope brown turning into an olive green. I'm going to bring in a second color, the burnt orange for the second darks. At this point I'm just adding variety. Now that I have the darkest darks and I can feel a lot more looser in my painting. I can have more fun with different colors. Right here for his belly, it's a lighter color, kind of white fur, so I'm just going to use water. At times I might add in a little bit of the Indian yellow to keep that texture going. I like being able to work in kind of non-traditional colors for these animals. I feel like it gives the painting a little bit of an edge with interest. When you're working with darks and lights, that's the freedom that you get. You can use whatever colors you want as long as they go along with the value set that's before you. Little shadow here where the leg tucks in. Other than a little texture, small dabs, I'm going to leave some areas white. I'm completely ignoring the tail, because we're going to use a special treatment for that. Right now. I'm just looking at my squirrel, I got most of it filled in, reassessing like. Now that I've gone crazy with colors, let me zoom back in and make sure that this thing makes sense, and that he might need some darker darks reintroduced. Because once we start with the darks and we build into those medium colors, then all those values start to get a little harder to distinguish, then when we started off with a start dark and start white. I'm going to work on the bushy tail and show you that technique. When I come back with fresh eyes because it'll be still holding onto this tail, and look at the rest of his body and maybe bring in some darker brown. All right. My special techniques for doing the bushy tailed is by using a square brush. These brushes are surprisingly both Size 12. I'm finding that one is much wider than the other. This is a Richard Simmons brand and this is a Master's Touch brand. Do you think I want it to be wider? I'm going to go with a bigger one. The way I'm going to use it is not by painting up and down like this with the brush. I'm going to be using it vertically to create the texture of the tail. Starting with my lightest color, I'm just going to start dabbing with that texture in that direction, going in the direction of the fur. Once I'd get warmed up, I bring in the second darkest color, being sure to leave a little white. I'm noticing that there should be a little white left here and here. Kind of in the inside of the curl or the fold. But it gets much darker towards the bottom. Really don't need to overthink this part, and it's fun. The more concentrated with paint your brush is, the more distinguished your lines will be, more water you have on it, the more it'll blur. The trick to that tail is don't overdo it. It has a lot of fun, but we're going to leave it alone, it kind of has like this like fall confetti thing going on. I really like it. But I now have fresh eyes to look back on the body of the squirrel. I do think that it could use some darker darks just to show the elbow of the hand holding what I'm assuming is a nut or an acorn of some sort. In this part of painting, it'll feel more like what you might be used to with watercolor. Where we're using our brush to translate shape and doing lines. I'm now using more of a wet on dry technique, before it was wet on wet. I was painting on water and non painting on a dry sheet of paper. That I have more control to create the lines that I'm painting with my brush. I could go on and on, but we're going to leave it at this, because soon we going to bring in that fall foliage in the background. 8. Squirrel Wreath: With our first scroll, we're going to do leaves. I'm going to keep with the same color palette. We had used, Indian yellow, burnt orange, olive green, and antelope Brown, although we haven't used the olive green yet. I'm going to jump on that first. Believe it's this one. You flip these. Here we go. Really, I'm not going to create a very realistic setting for the squirrel. I'm going to create a design. Because when we are painting in a way that's to communicate a certain style or a certain feel, the best thing to do is to simplify, stylize and abstract. I find that a great way to warm up is painting these types of little leaves that are the shape of the brush that I'm using. Back to this six round watercolors, sable brush. Oftentimes when you buy these, you'll see that they are good for watercolor or acrylic paints. Don't be thrown off if it says that they are good for acrylic paints. In my class, watercolor reefs, we talk a little bit more about creating foliage and trying to determine the rhythm of things very quickly and loosely. I'll give you an outline which is basically, I'm going to create these green leaves. Considering they're all the same in a rhythm where I have a gap in between each one. They're going to help me define the shape of this reef. This is going to be basically the border to this painting. We learned that painting wet on wet means that I make the silver wet of the thing that I'm drawing with a wet brush, whether it be clean water or water with a little paint in it. Then as needed, I add paint. Rather than going in a circular way, this will still be a circle, but I'm going to have these guys meet in the center. My leaves are going to angle in this way. Now that I've got my green leaves, making the shape, it's really easy to follow now. Now with watercolor, I won't be able to paint on top of them unless it's going to be a dark color, because watercolor is somehow opaque. Whatever I paint on top will be seen through it unless the color that's going on top is dark. Now the color I'm going to use next is yellow. It will not be darker. Basically you can just choose another shape, species of leaf per color. This will split in the middle and then with a stem. For fun with a little bit of the burnt orange, I'm going to dab the middle of it, and let that dry. I don't want this to be too rhythmic. I'm going to put some going in one direction, some going in another direction. Maybe not even necessarily in this angle. Because now that I have the green leaves doing the structure for me, I don't need to worry as much about making it look perfectly like a wreath. Finally, so that I use some of this brown, I'm going to bring in some branches and some little berries maybe in yellow are burnt orange. We'll see how it goes. 9. Horse Painting: I'm putting down violet in ice Blue. I don't need very much paint because this is a white Horse, so we're going to leave a lot of the space white. But we're going to want those colors to transition from the stark darks to a medium violet, blue to white. So I'm going to use a bigger brush. When I want to be loose, I'll use a bigger brush. Oftentimes even bigger than I'm comfortable, but this is a size ten around, so it's only two steps up from the brush that I was using before I could totally use the last one. With the horse hair, since it's so short again, you don't really get a lot of that texture in it. So it's going to be very fun to work wet-on-wet and just let those Bob's fall where they may, because we've got the most important parts in. I'm going wet my brush again, since this is wet-on-wet, I am going to put water down on the parts that I want the paint to go down on. Feels a little bit like it's a secret painting and you can't see until I put the paint in. [inaudible] It's okay. When you've put in too much paint like I have, then I just wet my brush and pick it up and wash it out. I wanted to add in a little blue as kind of a cotton candy look. I'm noticing that I want more detail around the eye and I can't get that with this big brush. So I'm going to very delicately use this size four liner brush. I use it pretty often. It creates a nice kind of random line. Just to add a little definition and twink of an eye, put in a few lines there. Put some lines that are almost dots because they're so short portraying the hair on this guy. Tiny details to make me feel like, okay now it's done. 10. Horse to Unicorn & Daisies: Before we do flowers on our horse, I'm actually going to give you the option to convert your horse into a unicorn. I'm not going to use my pencil. I'm not going to draw it. If anything I'll draw it with my brush because all I need is a light silhouette of the horn here. Use very little of the ice blue, and let that dry, and then for hair, I'm going to go a little bit rainbow, not use every single color. But this is when the copic white is going to come in handy. Simply because at some points, I'm going to need to go over places that I've already painted, and with my semi opaque watercolors, I won't be able to at least convincingly. I'm going to put just a little bit in the middle of each one of these wells. I'm just using the paints that I already had out from my other animals. Rainbows are great to do with watercolor because watercolor naturally blends itself into the next color, and so if you space it just right, you can get a very natural looking rainbow. I mixed a little bit of my color with the copic white to create the hairs of the now unicorn. I'm going to alternate leaving space in between. Now, I'm going to use pink. Now that these are all in there, I'm going to smooth it out so that I'm blending this white mixture with the pink. I'm letting my brush go dry so it has a little bit of this texture to it. The horse has bangs, its cute, and I'm going to use a little bit of the blue with this white. You really don't have to use the white. It's just a nice additive, so that if there are times when you need to go over a paint or something you've already painted, you can do that, and now a touch of the purple, and I'm going to leave the mane, let it be. Now with a very dry brush, you can add more hair-like texture to his mane. The little girl Lisa Frank [inaudible] , so happy right now. The last thing I'm going to do to make our unicorn convincing is to put a little texture in his horn by mixing the light blue and the light purple, adding a little bit of a shadow just on one side. I'm not sure if this is even necessary, but I feel like unicorn horns have like a spiral thing going on. We're going to do daisies, very simple because they are radial forms. We've got a center, where do we want to put? We got to allow space for this action do maybe just a half over here, and then from there we just create the petals. I'm going to do these with ice blue to keep with our color schemes, and I'm going to go really light. I took a little blue and set it aside because I wanted to be sure to not go too dark, and this way I basically created another well for another color. I'm going to do some very messy daisy petals. Just loop them around, tall and skinny. Some will get lighter, some will get darker, and that's okay. Now, my daisies look like a little splotchy mess. They might look cute, but they don't quite look as a well-done as the horse until I give them a little more definition. I am taking that orange that I created with the sunrise pink and the yellow. I'm not going to outline the entire circle, the entire center of the daisy. Just going to add a hint of a line, and some dots. Wash my brush out, and now I will use that same blue, but this time in a pure form to create the shapes of the daisies. The daisy pedals. Again, I don't want to use and I want to outline every single line. But what I can do is I can lighten the blue for some lines and let it get darker and lighter as it goes in and out, and add some dark violet leaves. Just to add a little contrast. It doesn't have to make sense, just accept it. 11. Llama Painting: All right, onto our spring Llama. The colors that we'll use, are lemon yellow and wanted to use a yellow that's not warm, throwing in a little orange that's just very pale yellow, because these are spring, think Easter, think tulips, which will incorporate at the end. This is sunrise pink, and this is jungle green. Jungle green is not as green as it sounds. It's actually more of a green like this ink that we used, but in watercolor form so that we can create a bridge from the dark inks to the watercolor. I'm mimicking the darkest watercolor color to the ink color, so that we have a bit of a transition and it doesn't feel like a stamp look. I'm going to go back to my handy six round brush. I'm going to start with that green. I did use a bit of the ink in a watery way, similar to what I essentially want to do with this color. This jungle green. Keeping a curled feel to how I put down my water, because that is where the paint is going to follow. Since I'm working on water, working wet on wet, I want to keep my brush strokes separated so that when they bleed and dry, it won't just become all one color. Even though I want to put in more lines there, I'm going to leave it at that because as you can see as it starts to bleed, it creates a little bit of hair for me. Something that I think it's almost essential when painting a Llama is, being sure to show the edges of those curly hairs. Don't smooth that out too much and give them a fur haircut. As I did with the squirrel, I'm going to add a little variety of color with my second step up, a values which is this pink. The sunrise pink is always so warm and gentle. It's great for a spring feel. It doesn't have violet, it doesn't have yellow. It's just a true pink. I'm leaving going incorporated on the fun places that aren't his cheeks or his nose. When you think of fur laying on skin, remember that fur is staying on skin, so the folds of the fur are going to look horizontal. You see this a lot with the Llama. The way the fur falls is almost in rows, in lines. Here under the chin you really get that. Some of us can see the lines in our chin as the skin there folds. That's exactly what happens underneath the fur of the Llama. But it translates into these curly lines, these curly shadows. I'm going to need you to stop touching it. I do think we're done, the Llama for now. 12. Llama Details: Now to my llama with the three colors I had I believe lemon yellow, sunrise pink and jungle green which is this teal green. I'm going to do tulips, very springy. I'm going to have the tulips cropping up behind them instead of arching around them because I want to show just how tall he is. We're going to keep the tulips fairly simple. I'll start with the stems just so we know where these guys are going to be. I don't want this to be very wet because guess what happens when this green touches the yellow? Whatever I have, yellow is just going to turn into a lime green which would be fine for the stems but not so much for the tulips themselves. I think I'm going to keep them on this side, just in front of this. Use a little yellow. Whenever you want to mix colors and you're using this wet on wet paint, this wet medium, put a little bit in the middle. That's your mixing well. That's what it's there for. But this lime green, I am going to create some leaves very lightly gathering paint from the sides. Once my green brush touches at yellow well, it's going to turn green, so I am very careful about that. When you're buying paints, it's a good idea to buy extra white and extra yellow because those get intermingled, tarnished pretty easily and used up very fast. For tulips, I am going to use my larger brush so that I can really use the body of the brush to make the shape. I'm back to my size 10, very wet. What I'm going to do is do the shape of the left petal, the right petal and then those will overlap and it creates a diamond shape for one in the back. Tulips have more than three petals but it's a very simple way to stylize the flower and make it really recognizable. If I want to, I can always add another one here flipping out on the side. I'm only doing the side ones with the yellow because I want that color to be pale whereas the color in between or behind that petal is going to be a darker yellow i.e, I'm going to use a little bit of that peak. My mixing well, is lime green, so I'm going to bring a little yellow over here. Clean it on the side of the plate, little pink over here and I have an orange that is within this color scheme. The best way to keep your color scheme is by mixing the same colors you already have. Use the same color because it's essentially the yellow but darker on the bottom. I can give it a little weight. Given that petal is fun, looks ginormous. I'm going to make it smaller by adding more. [inaudible] that hurts. Anyway, I'm going to use this pink with my liner brush, it's the size 4 small. This is my last chance to make these flowers feel more real and so I'm adding just these little lines of texture. I have the orange I could use and I have the pink I could use. I could mix the jungle green and a little bit if I want a darker color. But I think this will be fine. I'm not looking to make very realistic flowers. These are illustrative flowers, basically stylized flowers and they really just give our llama a sense of place. Plus it's really fun to use minimal effort to create a little bit of impact. Feels like cheating. Don't feel like you need to outline everything all the way around. Leaving these little cracks makes it feel a little more organic, natural and our eyes naturally want to connect the lines, not to have everything drawn out for us perfectly. There is our llama, we will work on the background next. 13. Reindeer Painting: We're ready for our deer. I am going to use a slight blue, which is the closest I can get to a navy blue and watercolor. It's actually a color that I use a lot. A lot of times people ask me what are the colors that I should buy [inaudible] all four sets of Dr. Paige Martin's colors. I think slate blue is a definite choice. For me, the pink is also been sunrise. Pink has been very useful. Slate blue, scarlet. Always need a little red for a holiday feel. I'm going to bring back the antelope Brown that we used on the squirrel. I'll use the number 6 brush. How do you know a brush to use? Well, I'm going to use very small or short brushstrokes. I want a smaller brush. Again, I will start with the color that is closest to the ink color. Looking at my reference working what on when. An easy place to start is in the body of the deer because there's not a whole lot of shapes, your fluctuation. Sometimes you want to start with whatever is least intimidating for you and move on from there. When you're just trying to get up speed. I'm bringing my second dark, which is antelope Brown. It'll ground that blue feel that I have going on. One thing then I'll need to watch out for is when these colors get watery and combine the yellow of the brown and the blue of the slate blue turns a green. I'm not really going for a green deer, at least not this time. Again, working in stripes horizontally. Thinking about the folds of the skin. In the deer reference picture, I can even tell that there are some wrinkles going in here. I can tell that is the direction that I should be painting in. As I work on the back of the antlers my brushstrokes are getting longer and I drag my brush a lot so that the paint will taper off and it won't be a stark. I need to align, I'm trying to mostly do them in this brown just to differentiate it one more step from the body here of the deer. What I find with antlers and what's branches which are a lot like him is that while you're painting, drying them, it just seemed like really does this really look like that because it just feels like you're working on one appendage from one appendage and it doesn't feel like you're translating what you are painting as easily as let's say when you're doing an eye, you're well aware of what the parts of the eye are. But this is one of those things that you have to look at your reference quite a lot. Trust what you're doing and when you step away, you'll get the look, it'll all come together. Now that last part when I take a look at everything and use mostly, is full on paint to make sure that I've got all those dark darks shining through. I'm going to do something that I haven't done yet in this class. That's to bring in my pentell brush marker, it's basically black ink in a marker form. But it's paint that's inside or ink rather. This is something I do when I feel like I really just need that last touch of dark. It's just not come in through. It needs to be really punchy here in the eye, here in the nostril, and then this top area. I'll bring that in because I can't watercolor on top of the ink, which is something that we like. Because the water color has been repelling off the ink. But now I'm going to use this brush marker because it's just a convenient way to use black ink very quickly. Since it is ink, it'll go right on top of the other ink to make sure that we have these really dark sticking out the way they should. Just like I do with my brush, I want to use the same kind of strokes to create texture and not forget that what I'm painting is an animal. It's got its own characteristics to it. I'm not going to change the way that I work just because it's a different medium. That really help to make it pop. He really feels like he's smiling at me now. 14. Reindeer Holly: Now the foliage for our reindeer to keep him festive in a holiday spirit is going to be some mistletoe. In another piece, perhaps other pieces, I have used pine needles or a garland of some sort and this time it will be a little bit of mistletoe just hanging off of his antler here. We're going to start off with the ribbon. I want to be sure I get that right. Also, I haven't gotten to use my red yet. I want to get to that make sure that that classic red is showing. As we did with so many of the flowers, I'm basically just going to use my brush with a little bit of paint on it to outline the shape instead of using a pencil. Here rubbing up against the ink so it will not stick. Letting that ribbon kind of fly a little bit. Create a little movement. We'll let that dry and then I'll add some more lines to give it a little more dimension. But for now, I'm going to use the brown to create the stems of the mistletoe. It could be a dark green but since we're using brown and blue we need the brown. Before I do too much with that, and before I do leaves, I'm going to outline the circles of the buds so that I know I won't cover them up because they are the most important part. Being very careful to not touch other parts that have already been painted. Then sometimes I let them touch because I like to see how they bleed a little bit. Now to get the green leaves, I am going to use a little bit of the brown, a bit of the blue and I'm going to let that be that desaturated green. The leaves of the holly are actually similar to the petals of the daisy, which we do on a horse piece. Now I'm going to add a little more definition to that red using my mixing well again, with a little bit of the brown to create a darker red so that I can make the form of my bow. Now this one will be flicking out from wherever the thickest line should be in. That would be in the thick of the fold of the center. We will shadow where the ribbon comes out from the knot and add a little blue to that. Still staying in my color scheme, but now we have something that's almost black and a little violet for the definition of these leaves. This is now my darkest start within this element of the foliage in the background. That's all I'm going to do for that. 15. Gouache Backgrounds: Now, I've got these colors out of gouache. We're going to use them to paint the background color for all of these animals. I chose these colors, one for each one and what's wonderful about using gouache is that it's a flat color, meaning there is hardly any way where you can create a whole lot of gradients with gouache without it not looking great. So it's really easy to create a flat color, whereas with acrylic, you always have a sheen to it. It's a kinky texture. It's a great texture to use colored pencil on top of. But what's great about using gouache with watercolor is that these animals that we've painted, they have lot of dimension, a lot of bleeds,a lot of color is going on within them and so to have something that is going to be a flat color behind them with some edges of dry brush painting, which I'll show you. It will add a little more interest to the piece. I'm combining the pale green with white to create this light green that I guess is even paler than pale green. But I feel like it's a touch towards an apple or a mint. There's something about mixing a color with white gouache that makes it feel more trendy for the colors that are trending at the moment. So I'm going to go around each shape. I work from the outside in. So I pretty much work on the most stressful part first. What I was talking about the dry brush technique is that my brush right now is not very wet with paint or with water, and it creates this chalky texture. This look is very trendy at the moment and it also was trendy around the mid-century. So as your brush is dragging across some of these corners, don't feel the need to get it wet again. Exploit it until it doesn't work for you anymore and it's not serving you when the brush stops going in the direction you need it to and let those edges fray. You'll find that it adds a nice little dimension of handmade. All right. To put the background in on our horse, our unicorn now, I'll need to figure out what kind of shape I want this background to take on. If I want it to be an oval or a circle. I am feeling a circle, a moon shape. Just to make that easier on myself, I'm going to use a compass and feel out how big we want that to be before I put my pencil down on the paper. Keeping in mind that whatever I draw is going to be the outside. So what I'm going to paint is going to be slightly smaller than the circle, so then I can erase those lines easily. I'm going to use this metallic paint. It's part of the watercolor soda set. I'll put a link if you'd like to purchase this from KMS paints. She has a set where they're all named after sodas. This one is Coke. With holiday art, it always is a good idea to add a little metallic. It adds a little special touch. Since I felt this blue is maybe losing a bit of it's festive feel, I'm going to add some very stylized snowflakes with the metallic. 16. Final Thoughts: Look at the scope of work that we've created in this class. We've got four animals, four seasons, four vibes. I really hope that at the end of your piece, you're feeling, these elements all came together to portray or communicate this feeling, this vibe. You've got the holiday, the cozy feel of autumn, the magical feel of unicorn and the purple colors that come across there, and a more boho feel of the lama. Post your project, whether you've done four pieces or one, and do post that first little experiment we did with color values. Follow me on Instagram. I am @watercolordevo, watercolor in the American spelling, W-A-T-E-R-C-O-L-O-R-D-E-V-O. I'd really love to see what you create. I especially love to hear how something that seemed daunting, really came together to be not so scary if we just take it a step at a time and only focus on what matters the most and have fun with the rest.