Watercolor Magnolias: Botanical Illustration for Beginners | Irina Trzaskos | Skillshare

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Watercolor Magnolias: Botanical Illustration for Beginners

teacher avatar Irina Trzaskos, Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

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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.



    • 4.

      Sketching Magnolias


    • 5.

      Painting the first Layer


    • 6.

      Painting the second Layer


    • 7.

      Adding a Background


    • 8.

      Adding Finishing Touches


    • 9.

      Last Thoughts


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About This Class

In this class, I explain step by step how to paint realistic looking magnolia blossoms. If you always wanted to paint realistic flowers and didn't know where to start this class is for you. This class is an introduction to botanical illustration with easy instructions and techniques, it is suitable for beginners. I hope you love magnolias as much as I do and will enjoy painting this stunning flowers with me.

Looking forward to seeing your beautiful magnolias! x Irina.

P.S. If you are new to watercolors and would like to better understand this beautiful medium, check my watercolor basics classes:

"Essential Watercolor Techniques for beginners" & "The Basics of Color Mixing in Watercolor"

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Irina Trzaskos

Watercolor Artist & Illustrator

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. My name is Irina Trzaskos. I'm an artist and illustrator. Welcome to my studio to explore the magic of watercolor. This class is an introduction to botanical illustration and we'll be painting Magnolia blossoms. Beautiful botanical illustration is always sentimental, not only as a wall art, but also a stationary and patterns design. I'll show you the simple ways of creating beautiful botanical illustrations. If you are new here, welcome to my channel and thank you for stopping by. I have a myriad of classes which will help you grow your beautiful and successful portfolio. In the next video, I'll show you the supplies we'll be using in this class. Let's get started. 2. Supplies: In today's class, we will be using following supplies. Watercolor paint we'll need only few colors and I will show in next videos which ones. Watercolor paper, you can use cold press or hot press, which other paper you are used to. Also need two jars of clean water, paper towel, paint palette. We will need a paint palette with bigger well, if you don't have one, you can use just a teacup or a big plate, it's totally fine. Botanical illustration, drawing of the object is very important. We'll be doing some sketches. For it will use just regular office paper. Also need an eraser, pencil for sketching, any kind you prefer. We'll need a medium watercolor brush. This is called a sable number four, a small watercolor brush. This is called sable number two, possible need and being good watercolor brushes for bigger washes and background, if you decide to make it. Just make sure your brushes have the lamb sharp tip. Also for some details will need sharp color pencils. I picked two shades of purple and white, but if you don't have them it's okay. If you have brown or dark green, it can work too. Also for some fixing some mistakes or highlights. We may need a white goulash or the white ink. If you decide to have background like I do, also need a board and the tape to tape your paper on. These are all the supplies will be using today. In the next video we will be mixing colors. 3. Colors: In today's class, I will be using a detailed limited color palette, but we'll be using different colors. By mixing them together, we can get more colors if we'll need to. First color we'll be using is cadmium yellow. We'll be using it for the middle of a flower and also if we'll need some green, we can mix it out of cadmium yellow. Another color will be using, is cold shade of red. I'll be using magenta. You can use carmen red magenta or alizarin crimson. Any shades of cold red would work. Another color we'll be using is ultramarine blue. We will be using it mostly to neutralize our yellow to form some greens and to darken our red. The last color we'll be using is sepia. It's a natural color of a brown. We'll be using for branches, also to darken the yellow if we'll need to. This brown usually works with so many colors. To form our green if we'll need to, we'll be mixing the yellow with ultramarine blue, and we'll get this mutant, neutral green. We won't have a lot of green in these paintings, so I'm not too worried that it's not in green. We can add more blue if we want to or more yellow. Depends on what we want as a result. It's [inaudible] neutral shade of green. Not so creative, but it will work in a painting. I'm such a dark and the red we have. We'll be mixing it also with ultramarine. This is we are getting this beautiful purple. At the same time mixing ultramarine with sepia, will give us a beautiful color, shade of brown, almost black. We may use it in on branches too. These are all the colors we'll be using today. Is cadmium yellow, magenta, or alizarin crimson, or carmen red, ultramarine blue, and sepia brown. That's it. In the next video, we'll start making sketches of art magnolia flower. 4. Sketching Magnolias: In botanical illustration, the drawing of the object is very important. So it's good to take your time and study the flower or vegetable or whatever your botanical illustration is going to be. So my advice is just to go and Google or Pinterest and just introduce close-up of the flower you're looking for. For this class I created an inspiration board which will be listed in the description of the class as well as in the project of the class. Well, you can see different types of magnolias close-ups. Different details of magnolias, middle of the flower and half open magnolias, branches and buds and so on. But if you are going to draw a different flower then I'd suggest the similar approach. Just look at a lot of pictures of the flower you are going to draw and then draw your own unique flower just using them. The features you will capture during the study. So I would like to draw today an open magnolia flower where we can see the middle of the flower, a half-open magnolia flower, which is like a cup, like a traditional looking magnolia. Also maybe you will encode a painting of birds somewhere. So when we're drawing open flower, say you [inaudible] with the, have a general shape of the circle in which we can inscribed all the petals. So first what we are doing will draw a circle and then we'll determine where the middle of the flower is. So let's say here, and a magnolia, it has the general shape of a cup. Will be adding more details while we studying close-ups of the middle. After you draw the circle and the middle of the flower, you can start drawing petal by petal. So this is just to study, so I'm not worried a lot about the composition and the paper. This is just regular office paper. So here we'll have one petal. Again, this is just the starting, so don't worry, if it's not perfect add more lines if you need and after I drawn one petal, I'm starting to draw the one right next to it. Independence of outlooks next to this petal and here is another one. It's a pretty easy for our action here. All this turning of the petals will bring it more alive and it will make it more interesting. Try not to make it too curly, but still a bit of turning over petals. So as you see it's a pretty simple flower and some petals are bigger. It's important to understand the anatomy of a flower itself and then you can make up your own magnolias. But agent petals or turning them in different ways. Of course, [inaudible] to have a real flower next to you. At the same time, for a beginner, it could be confusing because you don't know from which angle you're supposed to draw it. So after, we have the entire flower we can fix some of the turns, so it could be more elegant. I'm not erasing anything at this stage and this is just a sketch so I'm not erasing anything at all. Then let's look at the close-up of the middle of the flower. So there are this [inaudible] bore them and then they're like little circles. Middle [inaudible] bigger. Some of magnolias on your [inaudible] research on my Pinterest board, they have different middle I think, a thing like this. Also you can start with the shape of a [inaudible] and then just a thing like this kind of middle and some are like totally round just like [inaudible] like sticking out like these. So still middles this one has this middle. It's just pretty. So this is our open magnolia. I'm pretty happy with it and next let's try to paint the half-open flowers. So here we use the circle to inscribe our petals [inaudible] so they [inaudible] like disproportional. They can come out like here and here but general shapes stays and looks like a flower because we made the circle first. For half-open flower will make like a cone. Here's the base of the flower. So I'll start from here. Here usually it has like the remnant of the bud and sometimes is totally different and I want to put it or not. Here it will we attached to the branch. We'll make a study on the branches too. After we have a main shape, will start again with one petal. I usually start to the right, a biggest one and once I'm happy with that. I'll paint other ones. I'll draw other ones around it. I see [inaudible] is coming out of the cone. But still I have a shape to follow. So like this. Then like this one to I'm not sure about this one, maybe I'll fix it. Actually it's pretty good. Maybe one more here. [inaudible] coming totally out. [inaudible] decided when I'll be in drawing with final drawing.I want one to come out like this. This is more interesting so let's draw this. Buds are so easy to draw. It's just like almond shape, like this. It could have a smaller one attached to it. The branches are also so easy they're like just turning branching one from another and sometimes at the that top, more tiny [inaudible]. So you can go just straight line any direction you want and then change the direction and then go straight line again. What else do I want to do? This branch is too thick, so I'll change it. So what else I want to do during the study is to decide on my composition. So let's say it will be a horizontal drawing. Add a little [inaudible]. Let's put an open flower here. So pretty much it will be the same composition, I'll just move this flower lower and this one [inaudible] in this corner, [inaudible] little smaller in here. Maybe I'll have a bud somewhere here and branches. A very easy composition. You can make it vertical too and just make one branch and have open flower here and half-open somewhere here. Or you can use the rule of buds again and put this open here and move half-open a little bit in here and take the buds somewhere here. This could be another composition or you can make a branch longer too. So anyway you like, will be pretty, I'm sure. Next we're going to transfer our sketch onto watercolor paper and start painting. 5. Painting the first Layer: Here is my final drawing, as you see it's not much different from the sketch. I used the same flower here, and for this one, I just made this one smaller and for the thorns, I just turn them in different way and edited the branch. What we'll do next, we'll take our clean water and our big water color palette and we'll pour some water in the well. I'll take my magenta and a drop of yellow, and some more magenta. So magenta mix has to be really watery. What we'll do next, we'll color all our petals, all this really watery magenta. If you have other kind of red, carmine red or a descent crimson, it will also work fine. So I did it carefully, this a very watery tone. I'll color all our petals. Again, my drawing is very fake. Your lines or your pencil lines have to be really barely visible. But I make them always thicker so you can understand on which part of the drawing I'm working. So this is very simple. But then concentration is actually simple. Once you get it, you can work slow. You can spend days on it just taking your time layer by layer. Let's add a little more hue to this one. Maybe a little bit tiny bit different. So I'm covering all the petals, I'll avoid the middle very carefully. Use your favorite brush. There is no rush. If you can't work fast just take a petal, that petal. Dip your brush in the solution of magenta and the water constantly, so it will keep flowing. Here I have a petal, [inaudible] of water. Put the brush on the paper towel and then I'm taking the excess of water off. Then go on to another petal. Paint only inside the lines. So this is our lightest tone of petals. Now don't come back until it's totally dry. Meanwhile, we can mix yellow with a lot of water and we'll add a little of ultramarine blue to it more. This mix will add color. Need a little bit more pigments. Now I'll color this little leaf. This leftover from them bond. The same make solid motor yellow and watery again. We'll call it it is leads all overflow or just make sure all your AS round out are dry. So it on bleeds into the titles. The same tank like this, but it into a mode of blue. Now I have to leave it to totally dry weather not being sound clip branches for now we'll paint them later. 6. Painting the second Layer: When our first layer is totally dry, we can start adding and more color and shadows to our petals. This is the fun part where you can really take your time and enjoy the process. Make sure you have your medium watercolor brush and a small watercolor brush next to you, also a paper towel and two jars of water, especially if you'll be using more than one color. Where do I start? I'll take some magenta. The consistency will be thicker than before. You can see it here. It has more pigment and less water. I'll start right from the middle of this petal, because that's how the color is on them. Like the way flowers, it's right in the middle of the petal. Then we'll take some water, I'll dry powder the brush a little bit, and we'll soften the edge of the color, and more water and soften the edge again until it turns in a blends in a previous layer. I'll dry my brush, like this. We can still shape it just a little bit. Second, we'll do it to this petal. You can take a smaller brush if you need to. Again, soften the edge. At this stage, we are adding more color to our petals. The middle of this petal is somewhere here, just a little bit. This one will be like that. Next, we'll add shadows. Where the petal is bending, right next to bending will be the darkest part because the petal is shading inside. Again, we're softening the edge. Here I have another bending. We'll practice it more on this flower. Of course, under this. Now let's look at the shadows and take more magenta. Where one petal is touching another, we'll have a shadow, right here. Then right here and behind this petal. You can see how our flower is getting some shape. Also have a shadow here; you'll probably make it darker later. However, now we are working only with midtones. A shadow behind this petal. It's already beautiful and we're not even done. Then a little bit of shadow on this petal bending. Again we're softening the edges. Some shadow here and soft edge again. A little bit of color right next to the leaves. But for now, this is enough. We'll add more later if we need to. Now let's do the same to this flower. Closer to the middle of flower, the flowers are usually darker. Well, some are lighter, but not magnolias. We start here, and again, we'll soften the edge with some water, and still not so much water, so I'm still drying the brush. Then letting this color a little bit to repeat, at the shape of the petal. The same here. Here where the petal is ending, we can have a harder paint, or contrast. I'm softening until it blends into previous layer. It's okay to have a hard edge here. It's even better, where we have a bending so it'll be clear. I'll move it to the other side where it's softening. Make sure you are avoiding these bendings, and color them with the same tone because in this way, you'll lose them. If you need to use a smaller brush, you sure should. Some more color here. This one is only under petals, so I'll do it later. Let's skip to this one. Adding more color to every petal, we'll do the same thing like we did here, we'll see where the petals intersect, and where we need to add some shadows. I'll use a smaller brush for that. Let's start here. You can see the bending, and it's behind this petal, and even behind this petal, so I'll have double shadow. For softening, I'll still use the medium water color brush to make it easier. Use less pigment if you want your flowers to be lighter than mine. You know how much I like vibrant, colorful paintings. A shadow here here. This petal is totally hidden, and totally [inaudible] Take your time and just enjoy the process. I'm going to do little bit of shadow here too. We have a shadow from this petal on this one. Also shadow here where the bending is. Very nice. Fill more shadow from this petal and also I'm going to shadow on the bottom of the bending to show the shape. The same way here. It's so fun to paint and see how the flower is coming to live with every stroke, isn't it? Color more here. Try to paint inside of the lines. Also shadow here on the bottom with more watering. Watercolor here, the same way here so it could be a litter bit darker. Also here. You see I'm not touching this edge, making it in the middle. It's still pretty light, but it has a [inaudible] volume that I need, and here. Also I've missed one shadow right here on this petal. I didn't wait until this one dried so I wait it a little bit until I fix it later. We're losing this petal in the background, so add to it little a bit of color. Especially if I'm not going to add background we need to. This is good for now and we'll make some cadmium yellow, add some [inaudible] blue. More to yellow than blue. I'll give it some green and we can add the lines at the bottom of the middle of the flower, just some greenish lines and also in-between the circles. The circles will stay light and space in-between the circles be this greenish-yellow. You don't have to be perfect, but still has to be as precise as you can to it. I'll get to the top. We'll add a little bit of orange into it. Next what we have to do we'll add a shadow here on the board, on the bottom and on top a little bit, and on this one. I usually don't have two jars of water, so it's hard for me to get used but I have to wash and brush and learn, and then take water from another one. Add some shadow here just a little bit. That's it for now we have to let it dry. 7. Adding a Background: After the second layer is totally dry, I decided to add some background to my painting. Traditionally botanical illustration is without the crowd. You can leave it, white it if you want to. But I wanted to add a little bit of color, not charge. I'm just a tiny bit of appearance of some more flowers in the back. You can do the same. Honestly this is not what I would usually do and it's totally out of my comfort zone, so let's hope it won't turn into a disaster. What I'm doing, I take a spot of water avoiding the flower. Which I'll do next. I'll take some ultramarine blue and I'll just add it to the water still remember the role from the essential water guard techniques that the water color will always follow the water. Because we didn't cover the flower in the water it won't go on the flowers. And because the branches are going to be dark. I'm not worried about covering them of some background. Of course I have my papers still next to me just because it can get so watery. And it's important to stretch your paper, when you do this because it wouldn't go undeterred, unwanted shapes. I don't want a lot of background just a tiny bit. And here I'm going to link it to, I'd like to blend. Here is it a silhouette of a branch by mixing ultimatum blue we have some sepia on applying it on the wet surface and all the background I'm going to do. Will let it totally to dry and then we can finish our illustration. 8. Adding Finishing Touches: After our background is totally dry, we can start adding finishing touches to our illustration. It'll need our smallest brush, our medium brush, and also some colored pencils which have to be really sharp. We'll start with the branches, also you need your paper towel next to you, because it's really detailed work, so we have to really need. For a range of soil mix some with a drop of both orange and blue. We'll get this brown, grayish color and first we'll take a bit of water. Under the small brush we'll color and branches. On this darker part I want it to be more brown, like warmer shade, some blue here. This part of the branch, you can add more branches if you want. On that add more blue or more brown to your wash while you go, it will make it more interesting. I feel like it needs to be thicker here. This is better. Next what we'll do, we'll mix some yellow with ultramarine blue. [inaudible] Needs consistency. We have more pigment and less water. We'll add some darker lines here. We did in five lines, add a little bit in between the circles again. Just a little bit of yellow. When the paint is thicker you can control it better and make more precise moves. Try not to darken it too much. Now I'm making this like scales. Following the shapes of the circles. On the same mix of a yellow and blue, I'll add some shadows on the greens. Then softening the edge again, like we did in the previous videos when we were adding shadows. Water blue will be in the shaded part and more yellow in the lighter part. Let's take a watery yellow and we'll add a little bit in here and here. I'll soften the edge again. It blends unto other colors. A little bit more yellow here. If you made it yellow right from the beginning, then you don't have to add more yellow now. Next, let's mix some ultramarine blue with magenta, or the red you had. With the tiny brush we'll be adding a shadow lines, where we have shadows. This is the color. On the same color I will be adding more shadows here. Really, really fine lines again. Right next to the middle of a flower. This one needs to be softened a little bit. These petals are a little bit lost, so I'm darkening them. They are blending with background and I want them to be more visible. With magenta, mixed with some blue, and add more details to the middle of a flower. Some lines here, in between the stamens. Some random small stamens and around the circles. I need to soften this shadow a little bit. Add a little bit more magenta, in here. I have a mix of ultramarine blue with a little bit of magenta here. Add it to a safe there, and of that color, I'll add more shadows to the branches and at the same time I'll be edging this lines, to bring some texture in our illustration. The branches will be darker at the lower part, in the horizontal until lenient and darker. This is enough. Next let's add some texture. With really watery magenta. Agnorum petals don't have a lot of texture, so the paint has to be really watery, barely visible. We'll be adding just a few lines on the petals. If you've watched my poppy's flower class, there we are adding a lot of texture. Here it won't be as much. Pill ideally light pink lines. I need more water, just following the shape of our petal. They're a little bit wavy, not perfectly parallel. If I still added the main color then we added the shadows, and after that, we are adding the texture. Try not to over do it. I love adding the textures, so it's hard to stop sometimes. Some lines can be thicker and some can be thinner. We really don't have to add them to all the petals. Add some texture to, buds. Add this little fluff on them so trying to some lines , [inaudible] my paper. I need a little bit of brown on this part of the bud, which was a leftover. some more texture in here. If you feel that you overdid the texture somewhere just take more watering or wash and after it's totally dry, just add another light wash on it, and it will make it smoother, not this textured. Then the last touch is with some colored pencil. Make sure it's some sharp. Just have few more lines, few more shadows fix some imperfections. This bottom needs a little more purple. Add some finishing touches and this will, a tiny, lines on the buds. Colored pencil are wonderful tool in botanical illustration just to add a bit dark polished, finished look, to the illustration. Makes some shapes more precise, easier to read. You really barely can notice it but it really adds that polished realistic look to the illustration. Let us use some white ink. I don't have little more in my pallet anymore. I think I have darkened too much in the middle of the flower and we have what I think to bring it a little bit to life. In every circle, I may join the watery white dot. Here I may join some little lines that they can fluff. At the bottom I will add some lines too. This is the really small brush. I'll say if you have some mistakes, you can fix them with white. Here I feel like I need a little bit of texture. That one I add some white dots of question. You know how much I like white dots. Add white lines on the bud, and on the branch. That's it. Here is our beautiful magnolia botanical, easy illustration. 9. Last Thoughts: Thank you for watching my classes. I hope you've had a chance to paint with me. If you like this class, please leave a review and upload a project to our project section of the class. I can't wait to see your beautiful magnolias. See you in my next class.