Watercolor Hot Air Balloons | Tim Borkert | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Using A Mask And Painting Clouds Indirectly


    • 4.

      "Lifting" Clouds And A More Complex Balloon


    • 5.

      Painting Storm Clouds And Layering Paint


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About This Class

learn to paint hot air balloons against a beautiful, cloudy sky!


Welcome to my class on painting hot air balloons! In this class you will learn how to use masks to paint a variety of hot air balloons. You will also learn how to make a cloudy sky using three techniques, indirect painting, lifting, and a special technique using a pray bottle.  

Really, hot air balloons are just the example I chose to use. The real lesson lies in the easy masking technique you will learn. Once you learn it you will be able to paint just about any object over a soft background.

You will learn several useful skills that will help your paintings get better and better!

Meet Your Teacher

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Tim Borkert

Artist, Game Developer, Educator



Hi! I'm Tim Borkert. 

I am an artist, programmer and educator. I use my art to pursue many endeavors, from fine art paintings, to video game development. 

Most of my art work comes from commissions. I love it when someone brings me an old picture of a homestead or view from their honeymoon that they want memorialized as a painting. It is truly humbling and an honor to be a part of their life in that way. My paintings are in collections all over the world.

I am a solo game developer and have created and released several games on various platforms. I have many years of experience teaching programing to both true beginners and advanced students.


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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: all right. My name's Tim Borger. I'm a professional painter that specializes in landscape paintings. In this lesson, I'm gonna teach you how to paint hot air balloons against a beautiful sky. Really hot air balloons air. Just the example we're using. The key to this lesson are the masks. After you learn this easy technique, you mail the easily paint objects against the soft background. You also learn freeways to make beautiful skies and clouds and water color. Thank you for joining. Let's get started. 2. Supplies: the materials you need are pretty simple for this project. You, of course, need some watercolor paper. I like the b paper company, water, color paper. It comes in six by 9 100% cotton. This is really good paper. You can find this at most craft stores or art supply stores. If you can't find it, Arches works very well also. And you can find this anywhere. You're, of course, gonna need some watercolor paints. I have my own palette that I set up here, but you can use a, uh, pre made palette or you can even use craft grade watercolors. It really doesn't matter. You could use Crayola if you wanted to. He needs a masking tape. You can use blue painter's tape for the green Painters tape or regular old masking tape. The blue probably works better than this, but this is what I use beats and brushes. You'll want a fine point brush. I use a line of Russian. I really recommend these. This is a Windsor Newton Cotman, but there's lots of them that work well. You'll want a court wrench, flat brush. I used the silver black velvet. I really like them but again, just about anything. You used a super cheap one. That's fine, and you want a larger brush. This is an oval, and they could be hard to find. A large flat brush work just as well. I need water, of course. A pin with waterproof ink. I really like the fabric. Castel Pitt artist pins. It's black, 1 99 extra small. It has a really nice fine point. Really like them, But you could also use. There's anything that's waterproof. You could use a micron or co pick. There's lots that you can choose from. You're gonna need a pair of good scissors. A knife. This is optional but highly recommended. You don't have to use a pocket knife. I use blocking knife. You can use a box knife. You can use a kitchen knife just about anything and a spray bottle for one of our paintings . Make sure that your spray bottle does nice, larger drops when you spray it. Not a fine mist. You want large drops to come out of here. So that's it. It's Ah, it's pretty simple. Supply list 3. Using A Mask And Painting Clouds Indirectly: welcome to the first session in the first session, we're going to learn how to create the mask for our hot air balloon, and then we're going to learn how to paint the clouds in the background. It's very simple technique, and after that we're going to paint in our hot air balloon itself, and that's gonna finish out our painting. We start out by taping our paper down to our table or board or whatever we choose to use. This is an important step. If we want to have those nice, clean borders, it's, ah, pretty easy to do things E. The only important part is around the edge. Need to make sure that you press down very hard so that the paint doesn't flow up underneath the tape. The second step is to create the mask for the hot air balloon, and this is the most important piece of the painting. Really, this is the kind of the trick that we get. I start by sketching a hot air balloon looking shape onto my roll of tape, and then I take some scissors and I carefully cut this out. Now you don't need to worry too much about the shape being perfect. This is a watercolor painting, after all, when they're supposed to look loose. He just wanted to look kind of hot air balloon ish. What this does is going to create a mask, and we're gonna paint over this tape in a minute. And what that's gonna keep underneath this Maskell nice and white so that we can ah, pain are vivid hot air balloon colors onto it. It's almost impossible. Teoh paint nice, vivid colors in watercolor over top of a background. Just choose where you want your hot air believing to go press down hard because we don't want any paint to go underneath this mask. If it goes underneath this mask, then in a ruin the painting for our sky, we're going to do a wet on wet technique. And to do that, we need to wet our paper completely. Use a large brush, dip it in some water and ah, go over your entire painting. You want a nice clean sheen off water on your paper. You don't want any puddles and you don't want any dry spots either. Those things will cause you problems. You may have to get down close to your paper and look at it from an angle. You want a nice even sheen over your paper. Sometimes you have to wait a few minutes for it to dry a little bit, so it's just perfect. And this is one of those things that you need to practice, and it may take a couple times for you to get, but once you do it is pretty obvious, and it gets pretty easy. Another important factor that determines the success of this is your quality of paper. You wanna have 100% cotton paper and that will help you tremendously. Now what we're gonna do is we're going to mix up some of our paint. I'm gonna make some, uh, ultra marine blue. And since Apia really any color blue and any color brown will work, we're gonna make kind of a gray color here. Then we're gonna make another puddle that's just of the ultra Marine blue again. You can use any any color blue that you like. That's up to you. I like the ultra Marine. I think look makes for a nice guy and start out. We're going to take our brush and we're going to use the flat of the brush. We're not gonna paint in a traditional way. We're going to kind of lay our brush flat against the paper, and we're gonna scrub it against it and we're going to Ah, leave. White space is for the clouds. You're gonna see. Just leave some areas for the clouds now, because your papers wet, it's gonna bleed to make a very soft edge around your clouds, which is what clouds often look like. This goes really fast and you have to work quickly. You don't want your paper to dry. Generally the clouds, a pie in your paper gonna be larger than the ones down below. Not always. You can do whatever you like really. But, ah, it creates a little sense of a distance. If the clouds at the bottom part of your paper are smaller, they were going deep into the gray, and we're gonna drop this into the bottom of our clouds. You look up in the sky and there is often clouds. The base of them are dark, so we're just gonna drop this in again. We're not really painting. We're just kind of dropping it down. We're letting the paper do a lot of the work here, letting it spread. Clean off your brush and just gently wipe this dark area up and into the cloud. You wanna spread it down, but you spread it up into the cloud, gives it a nice, soft radiant That's really looks really nice. Once it's dried now, you might have to apply the dark a couple times. Watercolor always dries lighter. It looks when it's wet. I'm just gonna drop in a little bit more darks in a few places and work that up also. Now we're going to let this dry completely before we do anything else. I cannot overstate how important it is to let the strike completely if the paper is even the slightest bit wet. When we removed the mask for our hot air balloon, it will tear the paper. It is important that dries completely. I would let it dry an hour or more. I'm gonna take a knife. I just have a pocket knife here. You can use any type of blade, and this makes taking the mask off a lot more easy. If you just rip it off, you can tear underneath. So this just cells Make Pick it up. I'm going to use my waterproof pin, and I'm gonna sketch around the outside of my hot air balloon making ah border. You don't necessarily have to do this. You can experiment doing it. We're not doing it. I really like the pen and ink outline. Look, but if you don't, that's fine. Just go carefully again. It doesn't have to be perfect. It's okay if it looks sketchy. This is a, uh, watercolor painting. People don't expect it to be nice and tight. We want to be somewhat loose. I'm looking at a reference photo here. And reference photo is just a picture of a hot air balloon that I found online. And I'm gonna use it to kind of figure out where the lines should go for the the high air balloon. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just get close Now. I'm gonna take a liner brush with some red paint. I think what I have here is permanent, Rose. It's the color, but you can use whatever color you like very carefully. Go through and start coloring the hot air balloon. The brush I'm using is a liner brush. I really like that you can get really holds a lot of paint, and you get lots of nice details, really fine lines with them that you can't get in with other brushes. The flexible tip is really forgiving. You can be jittery and not have. Ah, very, um, steady hand, and it'll still allow you to get the fine details and the nice lines before you switch over to your second color. It is critically important that you allow your first color to dry completely or you'll get bleeding. What happens with water colors is what the watercolor is going to move or bleed into whatever other color is wet. That's how you get the really soft areas. And that's how we used our background. It's a really neat technique, but if you're looking for hard lines, you have to wait for it to dry completely. Or it will cause you lots of problems. Something's going in with yellow to make the yellow stripe again. You can go slowly as you want. You can build up the color to. You can add several layers. If you don't think it's bright enough, just go over it again after a dries. I'm gonna go through with my pen and I'm going to create a little basket. This is very sketchy. This is extremely tiny. We're looking at about the size of a millimeter, so you don't have to get very detailed. It all here. This adds a nice little finishing touch to it. Now, pulling off your paper for your, uh, border is just like your mask for the hot air balloon. Do it slowly so you don't tell the paper. Sign it. There you have it. You have your first painting. It's beautiful. In our next session, we're going to create clouds in a different sort of way, and we're gonna add a couple more hot air balloons, so stay tuned for that. 4. "Lifting" Clouds And A More Complex Balloon: Okay, We're gonna go through, and we're gonna learn a new way to make the clouds in the background. And then we're gonna go through in practice, making some different types of hot air balloons. First thing we going to do like before is we're going to wet the paper. Sure. It's nice and smooth, right? I go through, and this time we're just going to use ultra Marine. Ultimately in blue. We won't be fairly dark, you know, create a smooth transition, Slightly lighter at the top, slightly darker at the top, slightly lighter at the bottom. That's good. And we're gonna let this completely dry. But for our next step, right, Maybe you can notice that when this dried, it got a lot lighter and I still wanted to be darker blue. So we're going to go through do this again. What a nice darks guy. Sometimes it takes a couple times. It's important that we have a dark sky for this technique. Can we get slightly lighter as we get down to the base down And, uh, but and even more to the top here. Okay, well, let that dry. Okay. Now it's all dry. And for the moment we're gonna put away the paint we're gonna do is we're going to do what's called a lifting technique, and how it works is we're going to wet areas of our sky and we're gonna take the paper town wearing a dab it, and it's gonna lift off. The color is gonna make a very soft, cloudlike look. It works really well and it's super easy. So you take brush, get wet, and we're just gonna work in, have a cloud, that area. It's gonna be a very soft kind of settle. This is what you need a lot of pigment, so it creates a good contrast. It's looking nice already. This technique does take a little bit more time, but fortunately, you don't have to work too quickly. You can go slow at it. That's nice. Okay, very good. Let's let that dry completely. Then we're gonna take the mask software balloons, and we're going to do some different types of balloons. Okay, what's make some hot air balloons now? You'll notice on this one. I had a little bleeding or anything. I'm ask. It's not going to be big deal at all. I'll go over it with my pin. And then we might even make part of that balloon blue. Who knows? So there's lots of ways toe fix minor things like this. Now, if it had bled throughout here, different story, you probably need to start over. But right now, this is fine. I'm going to use my reference photo again that I have on my phone, and we're gonna make a couple different types here. I think this one we're gonna make kind of like in a spiral. So what do the outline like I did before and just like before, I'm gonna make the contours, but this time, a little bit more detail. Nice thing about higher blends. Is that have you ever gone and see them? And I've been to New Mexico during the hot Air Balloon Festival. Each one is different, by the way. If you ever chanced to go to that festival in New Mexico and it's really cool, Okay, this was gonna be a little bit more complex. We're gonna get our paints out, okay? We're gonna do all sorts of different colors on this one. So I'm going to get my liner brush and let's zoom in on this one a little bit more. I think what we'll do is we'll do the three primary colors yellow, red and blue. But we're going to do a different shade of blue, kind of a greenish blue. I'm gonna have a light source coming from this direction, so I gotta get slightly lighter tones on this side of the balloon, slightly darker tones on that one. And the only way of doing that is by using less paint. So essentially start on this side, and as my brush runs out of paint, I move to the left. Well, let that dry. If we didn't let it dry, our colors would bleed. When I put red here, which I'm going to do, the blue would bleed into the red with blue bleeding to the group in blue. And there's times when that's good and techniques is. That's what you're looking for. But this is not one of those times, so you gotta be patient. And that's my hardest thing for me is to be patient, - I think have a good idea of how to make balloons. It's fairly simple after you see how to do it, so I don't think I need to show you each and every type. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna skip ahead and I'm gonna make the rest of these balloons and I'll, uh, show you at the end, and that might give you some ideas on how to do it. Here's our finished product. It's all dried and done and even signed, and it's ready to go next. We're going to do a ah dramatic stormy sky in the background with a, uh, loan balloon kind of drifting towards the storm is gonna be really cool, so stay tuned. 5. Painting Storm Clouds And Layering Paint: for a last painting. We're gonna make a stormy sky. This technique is a little bit more difficult than the ones we've done so far. Your chances of messing up are a little bit higher, and it will probably take you. A couple tries to get this perfect, but that's okay. That's part of the process. It's a fun way to do it, and it makes a really cool, dramatic background. Now, I have already take down the paper and put the mask on. So that's all done. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take a water bottle. What about sprays out some pretty large drops of water and I'm gonna spritz my paper? You wanna have about 75% of your paper to be wet with water droplets and the other parts of your paper to be completely dry and how it's gonna work? Watercolor only flows into the areas that are wet so the dry areas will stop the water colors from flowing to it. So those will be white sections. And, um, it's going to create a kind of a braked up cloud Look a mixing together a very dark ah color. It's ultra be blue and sepia, and I'm just dropping this into the wet areas of my painting. This really is isn't as much painting as you're just letting the water do the work. Now I'm not dropping it into the dry areas. I'm dropping into the wet areas and you may need Teoh. You will need to use your brush to move it around a little bit. I really don't want, uh, some sections to be totally white and want them to be completely dark. So I'm going over those. It's really fun to just watch the paint work itself. You can see it. This is all in real time. How it's just spreading in in a creating its own pattern. No. One thing you really need to watch out for our pools that will form if you use too much water from your spray bottle, or if there's too much water on your brush, pools will collect, and those will create some bad spots that just don't look good. I'm going through and I'm adding a little bit more water, had some dry areas. You can see where I added the water, it spread it out Really cool effect. I'm going to add this more blue. You want to add several different shades to this, It will give it some depth and some interest. You can add all sorts of colors. I'm going with a ah, blue grey brown. Do you have a kind of a dusty, stormy color? You see, I'm going in with more brown. Your watercolors will always dry lighter. Then they are when they're wet. Do you have to keep that in mind? You can't go back over this again. You only get one shot here, so add as much pigment as you think you need. Notice how I've got some sections that are completely white. I don't want a lot of them. I just want to look alike. You can see the sky peeking through the storm just a little bit like it's a forming or breaking up a storm. Continue working things in and adding color you're painting will progress and change. You can actually work pretty slowly here because there's a lot of water on this paper. It's not gonna dry out super fast. When you feel like you're finished, you need to make sure that this layer is dried completely bone dry, not even a little bit wet. Any other thing will mess up your painting. Okay, Now I'm finished with this layer, I'm letting it dry. It's now dried completely. Actually Let it dry overnight And I'm gonna go through in those little white areas I'm gonna mix up some cerulean blue It could be any light blue that you want and this is a very light color. In fact, you may not be able to even see it on the camera. I'm gonna go through with my liner brush and I'm going to all those little white areas. I'm gonna touch up with some very light blue. This is going to make it more skylight. This this is an important little effect. I guess you don't have to do it. But, man, it makes a big difference. You don't have to be super careful. This is such a light blue. You can go over the background and no one will notice. Takes a little bit of time, but it is definitely worth the effort. Once you've painted all the light blue in, it's gonna be time to remove the mask from our hot air balloon. And just like before, we're gonna do this extremely carefully. Using a blade. You don't want any tearing. Just be careful. Go slowly. It will be okay. If the pain is too dry, it won't be a problem at all. It's a little wet. You might have some issues. Now we're gonna go through when we're going. Teoh, paint this hot air balloon just like we have our other ones. I'm gonna make this one a lot simpler than the ones we've done in the past. It's just gonna be a straight up red balloon, and that's gonna help with the contrast against this dark sky. I am doing one thing slightly different in this balloon. Then I have with the other ones, I'm going to paint the entire thing red. And then I'm gonna, uh, let that dry and I'm gonna go over a couple more times and had several more layers of Fred on top of it. And all this is gonna news. Gonna make the balloon a little bit more vibrant. We've mentioned several times that water colors always dry lighter than they look when they're wet. And this is a really easy way to get more dark and vibrant colors. But doing it gradually, make sure it's you. Don't overdo it. Also, it allows you to add some shady notice that I'm going over the right side of the balloon more than the left, and that's making it look like there's a little bit of sunlight coming from that area or flight from that area gives it a little bit more depth. That makes a little bit more realistic now that we're really not striving for realism here . And that's gonna finish up this painting. Boy, it looks great. Now, some other things that can happen if you have too much water. This is what it's gonna look like. You see, in this top of this painting that I did, there was a puddle here. They can see how it had kind of a bloom going on with the watercolors made a hard edge. It just does not look good at all. Also, on this one off to the side, there is a pool dried and made this hard edge. It just ruins the painting, so be careful with your puddles or things like this will happen. Well, I hope you enjoyed learning about these paintings and how to make hot air balloons in watercolor. I encourage you to make some of your own and post them so I can see them. I'd love to see your work. Also, I'd love to see what other ideas you have. Using this masking technique. I've made kites. I've made laundry online's against the storm. I've done all sorts of really cool things using this masking technique. And I'd love to see some of your ideas and see some your paintings that you come with. So I hope to see you posting stuff and, uh, thank you very much for watching.