Watercolor Basics: Paint Your Own Patterned Note Cards | Juliet Meeks | Skillshare

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Watercolor Basics: Paint Your Own Patterned Note Cards

teacher avatar Juliet Meeks, Designer and Artist

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.

      Getting Started


    • 2.



    • 3.

      Basic Techniques


    • 4.

      Paint Your Cards


    • 5.

      Final Steps + Cleanup


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About This Class

Have you wanted to try watercolor painting, but weren’t sure where to start? Learn the very basics by painting colorful patterned note cards perfect for any occasion! This class is perfect for anyone brand new to watercolor. 

Designer and surface pattern artist Juliet Meeks shares her watercolor techniques in this quick and fun 20 minute class. You'll learn about the essential supplies needed to get you started, basic color mixing and blending techniques, and then dive into painting colorful patterns onto your cards.

Pattern is a playful and easy way to get introduced to watercolor, plus you will end up with colorful note cards ready to share with your friends and family as one of a kind pieces of art!

• Basic watercolor class perfect for beginners brand new to watercolor
• Practice your skills in this quick and fun 20 minute bite-sized lesson
• Learn about the supplies used in watercolor painting, and simple blending techniques
• Enjoy the relaxing, experimental process of watercolor painting!

Visit the Class Project page here
 for more guidelines on your project, and links to supplies mentioned in the video! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Juliet Meeks

Designer and Artist



Hi! I'm Juliet, an artist and designer based in New Orleans. 

You can usually find me painting with watercolor in my studio, designing products for my online shop, and collaborating with other brands. Or creating classes here on Skillshare!

I'm inspired by vintage books and textiles, and the organic shapes of nature. I gravitate towards painting flowers because of how much color exploration they offer, the ability to be loose and playful with them. 

I love teaching you how to paint with watercolor in a way that's approachable and suited to YOUR particular painting style. I want you to feel like you can be playful, expressive, and experiemental when you paint. 

For behind the scenes, find me over on Inst... See full profile

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1. Getting Started: Hey guys, my name is Juliet Meeks and I'm a graphic designer and artist based in New Orleans. For this class, I'm going to be sharing with you my techniques for combination of two of my favorite things, which are water color and pattern. Pattern is a great way to be introduced to watercolor because you can just have fun and experiment and just play with the medium rather than worrying too much about what the end result will be. Pattern design in and of itself is really experimental way to approach art as well. I love using pattern in my design work, whether I'm designing something for a client, designing a pattern to use on an actual product or just simply painting for fun. You don't need any previous experience in watercolor painting to do this class. We're going to be covering the basic techniques just to get you started and then dive right into painting our note cards and then you can share your note cards with family and friends or just hang them up for yourself as little original works of art. In the next video, I'll be covering all the basic supplies you'll need. Let's get started. 2. Supplies: Let's get started talking about the basic supplies you'll need. This is just a pad of cheaper watercolor paper by Strathmore. It's called Press and you'll just see that there's a difference between cold and hot press, the cold press has bumpier surface; i tend to choose it but it's really just up to your preference. You can try both and see which one you prefer. For our note cards; these are also by Strathmore, they come in a pack of 10. This is five by seven size. If you don't want to purchase the pack of watercolor cards; I got these online on Amazon, you can just simply fold a piece of your watercolor paper and use a bone folder to get a nice crease and just match any envelopes you might have. This is an example of one of the note cards. I pulled it out from the pack; It's not the best paper, but it's great for our purposes. It's just convenient already as a note card and it's not too expensive either. I think it's great to start out with. For the paint, I like the tubes of watercolor paint rather than the kind that come already in the palette. I just like to be able to mix my colors and have a lot more control and a lot of variety of colors come in the tubes. These are by Winsor and Newton. This is their cotton line, which is a little less expensive than their professional watercolor line. I find that the cotton line is really great. I tend to use it; I just don't break the bank by buying the most expensive watercolors. Definitely, just have a red, a yellow and a blue on hands for your primary colors to be able to mix a variety. I also like to have a bigger tube of the white on hands, because I tend to go through white a little bit more quickly and then I can mix it and create some lighter colors. This is just a cheap plastic palette. I usually have a few palettes going on at once. If you don't have one of these, you can just use a white paper plate and just make sure it's white so that the colors are easy to see on the background. Then just have two jars for water, this is the warmer color jar and the cooler color jar so that when I'm mixing my brush and rinsing it off, I don't mix the two and it gets really muddy quickly. Paper towel is very important to have also when you're; rinsing off your brushes, rinsing off excess water, excess paint. Then as far as brushes, there are so many available and I would just experiment within your budget. These are a variety of brushes that I have just to show you. I have some more but I actually tend to stick to one type of brush. I usually stick with the round number six for some reason. I like it; I like the size. It depends on what you experiment with and what you end up liking best but also try not to get stuck on one brush and just play with the different types because there's such a variety. This is a half-inch over wash. This is great for getting water on the paper and getting bigger strokes and just mixing and playing with. This is the round number eight. I tend to usually use rounds. I just like the shape of it. I don't use the larger sizes as much because I'm detail-oriented and like to use the smaller brushes. This brush that I mentioned before, is red sable. All brushes are either synthetic, a mix of synthetic and real hair or just full red sable hair. The hair brushes; 100 percent hair are a little bit more expensive. I actually find that the mix of synthetic and [inaudible] perfectly fine for me.This is number four round brush, it's a little bit smaller than the six. This is a number two round brush, just for getting really nice little details. That's fun. Then this is a flat shadder, you can really get an angle; you can see it's just very angled. I don't use that one as often but I just wanted to show you as a variety of brushes. That's it for the supplies and next we're going get started mixing some colors and trying out a couple of blending techniques. 3. Basic Techniques: Before we paint our new cards, let's get started playing with watercolor a little bit. I've already squeezed out some colors onto my palette just a little bit. First I'm going to show you just how the water affects the pigment. I'm just going to wet my brush, and I'm going to start with a warmer color, so I'm going to use the warmer jar. Let's just do this pretty permanent rose pink. Here is an opaque version of this pink. This is like with very little water, and I'm just going to dip my brush a little bit. Keep some of the pigment on the brush and do another little circle. Dip it again. I'm just going to show you how dark to light that you can get just using water. Just going to keep dipping my brush, and you can really stretch this pretty far. That's just a warmer color and I'll just show you a cool color for fun. This is a really beautiful turquoise. This is cool but turquoise, I love this color. I tend to use this color a lot. Here we are at the opaque, tip a little water. You can really create a soft effect the more water that you add. I'll rent off my brush really well. You can just practice with a couple of different colors to get used to it. Use my paper towel to get off any excess pigment. Now I'm going to try taking that pink and creating an umbra effect similar to this but in one section. Here's the most opaque level. I'm going to dip in water again and I'm just going to blend and let the water moved down. It's really fun to watch how the water moves, it's just a really beautiful process. It's definitely going to change. The look is going to change when it dries. But it's always interesting to see how it changes. I loved doing that, it's really relaxing. I'll do it again in the turquoise. Just keep rinsing and adding a little bit more water. The more water you use, the cheaper opaque but it will tend to buckle a little bit, and it's really not that big of a deal. The more heavyweight the paper is, usually, the less it will buckle. That's why the nicer paper is bound on the edges by wax so it keeps the paper down, and then you can use your bone folder to gently peel the paper up when you're done with it. But this is just the cheaper practice sheet, so they're just like loose sheets and only bound at the top. Now that we've tried doing the dark to light and making this umbra with one color, I'm going to show you mixing two warmer colors together to make another umbra. I'll start with the pink again, and then I'm going to dip into this orange, and just lightly touch the edge of where that pink was, maybe add a little bit more water so you can really see the color trip down. You can even go back where there's a lot of water and adding some color. We'll actually be using this technique on a larger scale to paint one of our new cards. It's just a really simple, beautiful watercolor wash that is great for beginners to start out with, and it's just fun and relaxing to do because you don't really have to worry about it looking perfect, and it's interesting to see how each one ends up drawing. Let's do another mix of two colors with the blue for good measure. I'll put a little bit of turquoise in there again. Now, another method that you can try, instead of adding onto the brush, you can actually take your flat wash and add a little bit of water onto the paper first, and the longer you let the water sit, the more it'll dry, which will mean that the pigment won't spread as quickly or as much. I usually like if I'm trying to paint something that's a little bit more defined, I'll let it dry a little bit. But just for the purposes of this and we're playing with it, I'll just paint on it right away. I use this really pretty cool bit. Just paint these dots so you can see how it spreads, and looks like dye. It's pretty fun to play with. I'm going to wet this top one a little bit more, since they're probably dried. Choose a more of a red. That one I just wet, so you can see how quickly it's spreading. It is less opaque because there's so much water. Just play around with these really basic techniques and mix all the colors that you like.You can create umbras with more than two colors. I like to stick with the umbras on the cool or the warm side. I just think it's a little bit more aesthetically pleasing, it can get a little bit muddy when you're mixing other colors, but if you use less water then they won't spread into each other as quickly, so you can experiment with that. Once you feel comfortable playing with these for a little while, we'll get started next on actually painting onto our cards. I just want to encourage you, when you're painting onto your cards, they don't have to be perfect. Watercolor is great because it's so hand-made looking, it's experimental. You don't have to worry too much about what the final result will be. It's just meant to be somewhat unpredictable. So just enjoy the process. 4. Paint Your Cards: Now that you've practiced a little, let's get started playing with paintings your own cards. I wanted to show you first actually where we're going to be going. Have these two different versions. This is just a bigger version of the Ombre that we did. It's really nice just every occasion card can even go back on it after it's dried and you can just paint little dots or to anything that you want to it. This one is just a little bit more involved and it's interlocking circles and this design I chose, I really like because you can really see how the colors are going to mix together and you can play with a variety of colors and I would just stick with doing either warm or cool rather than mixing the warm and cool because you don't want them to get to many. Let's get started with the Ombre design. Just going to grab a piece of computer paper, put it in between so I don't paint on the other side, it's not a huge deal. Well, since I didn't pick before let's do blue. I'm going to get some water, then I'm going to grab some of this Cobalt blue onto my brush. I'm going to paint a little bit more here, we're probably going to need it. This is my wash brush. Get some water and do the top layer, get some little more water, and now while it's wet, I'm going to work on it quickly and grab some other blues, I don't mind mixing multiple blues together I think it's fun. I think it makes interesting colors. I even mix them sometimes before I even get to the paper. Just keep adding water. May add a little bit more to the sides, make it a little more centered. Sometimes you can even pick up the paper, let it drip a little bit. Just see what happens when I add this green. I don't know it might not look good but it's a little bit of it so it's not too dark. When I use a lot of water, I splatter a little bit but I don't mind the effect at all. I actually really like the green. I'm not trying to make the edges perfect actually, I like them to be imperfect. I could even go back in and add a little bit more green and see what happens, I think that one's done. You could create a set of these in different colors, you could just do a variety of blues and just see all the type of combinations that you can get. I'm going to put that to the side and let it dry. I'll grab my computer paper again. Let's look at these interlocking circles this will I'll take a little bit longer but it's fun. I'm going to stick to the pinks again because I love using warmer colors, I love mixing pink and oranges, and corals. Coral is probably my favorite color right now. All right, I'm just going to start with this pink and actually before I get started, I'm going to put a little bit more pink because I know I like that color. I'm going to grab that and just make a circle. This is where you really want to have a variety of dark and light and multiple colors, I'm going to rinse off my brush again like we did in the previous exercise and I'll make a smaller circle and have a variety of sizes of circles too just to keep it interesting. Grab some of this orange and you can really see how they're blending together and it's really fun to watch. Now we're getting near the end, and I'd just like to work quickly so that the water really spreads the colors together. I'm loving how bright this looks. It will dry a little bit lighter and less vibrant but that's okay, that's just the natural effect. Great. Now we'll just let these two cards dry. You can keep playing with as many combinations as you like, as many patterns as you like, there's no right or wrong pattern and there's no right or wrong way to do it. Just have fun and create your own little collections. 5. Final Steps + Cleanup: I just wanted to show you guys a few other cards that I had painted just to give you some ideas. This is a loose floral, just mixed up a variety of colors and it's really fun and playful. Here's another circles design, just a row of circles similar to the interlocking circles. I mixed the colors and mixed lots of different blues to get a nice texture. This is a mix of different shapes to create a fun kind of different pattern. Stripes are always classic; can't really go wrong. Two water color washes. I don't really love how these came out. They got a little bit muddy, but just fun to experiment with colorful dashes-pattern. I think this one's pretty cute and I wanted to show you. I really like the way that this blue Ombre dried. It looks really nice. Don't forget to mail your cards off to family and friends so that they can have a little original piece of art from you or you can just hang them up on your wall. Just a quick word about clean up. Make sure you rinse your brushes off really well and if you're going to rinse them in the sink, rinse them facing downwards so you don't mess up the structure of the brush. Also, don't forget to close up your watercolor tubes tight so that they don't dry. I've forgotten before and I've had to cut the tubes open. So just a quick thing to remember. Your pallets; you can leave as is if the paint is going to dry, but you can use water to easily use the paint again. Don't forget to dump your water and have it ready for the next day. That's pretty much it. I would really love to see all the different patterns that you guys came up with. If you have any questions, definitely let me know. Please, share pictures of your cards in your project so that everybody can see. I hope you enjoyed the class.