Watercolor Mixing Chart | Bonus: Fountain Pens & Setting up a Palette | Samantha Nielsen | Skillshare

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Watercolor Mixing Chart | Bonus: Fountain Pens & Setting up a Palette

teacher avatar Samantha Nielsen, Watercolor Artist | Urban Sketcher

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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 Mixing Chart | Bonus: Fountain Pens & Setting up a Palette


    • 2.

      Prepping your Palette


    • 3.

      Filling your Fountain Pen


    • 4.

      Color Mixing Chart


    • 5.

      Class Project


    • 6.



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About This Class

This class will help you get set up for success in watercolor and urban sketching. It will also work as a great supplement to my first class, Watercolor Basics. I created this class because these are skills I at one point wanted to learn, but could never find information in one place. Here is what you will be learning:

-How to set up a watercolor palette with tube paints

-How to fill your fountain pen with your choice of ink

-How to make a color mixing chart from the watercolors you have

As long as you have watercolor paint, watercolor paper, and paint brushes, you have everything you need to take this class (or at least to learn how to make a mixing chart). If you'd like to be able to complete everything in this class, you'll also need a fountain pen, ink, watercolor in a tube, and an empty paint palette. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Samantha Nielsen

Watercolor Artist | Urban Sketcher


Hi there! My name is Samantha Nielsen and I'm a watercolor artist and urban sketcher based in northern Minnesota. I majored in art education in college, and taught high school art for 2 years before I transitioned to pursuing my dream of being a full time artist! I have spent the past 5 years sketching the world around me and bringing my sketchbook with me everywhere I go. I am so excited to share my knowledge of watercolor and urban sketching with YOU through Skillshare.

I don't think there are enough words in the English language to express the joy I feel deep within my soul when I sit down in a coffee shop to sketch the scenes around me, or on a patch of grass outside a unique store front that needs to be painted. My sketchbook feels like it's another part of... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Watercolor Mixing Chart | Bonus: Fountain Pens & Setting up a Palette: Hi there. Welcome to my second Skillshare class. My name is Sam Nielsen, and I'm a watercolor artist and urban sketcher based in Northern Minnesota. This class will help you get set up for success in your watercolor and urban sketching endeavors. I created this class because these are skills I at one point wanted to learn but could never find information in one place. Think of it as the nitty-gritty details, things you'll eventually need to learn if you want to further your craft with watercolor and urban sketching. Today, I'm going to teach you how to fill a fountain pen with ink, how set up your watercolor palette, and how to make a color mixing chart. The supplies you'll need for this class are watercolor paper, watercolor paint that's in a tube, an empty paint palette for your watercolor paint, a fountain pen, and ink. If you don't have these supplies handy, you can still take this class and learn the best way to use them, or if you only want to learn how to make a color mixing chart, which is also in this class, the only supplies you will need are watercolor paper and your choice of any watercolor paint. Let's get started. 2. Prepping your Palette: The first thing I'm going to show you is how to prep your palette. All you'll need is a palette of your choice and a sponge with a side that is at least a little bit coarse. You'll see on the inside of a brand new palette how it's almost a little bit glossy. We want to take that shine off. What would happen if I try and mix paint on here is it's not going to blend together the way my used palette will. It'll actually kind of sit in it's own little bubble section and it just makes it very difficult to mix colors. I'm going to take the course side of my sponge and I'm just going to gently scrub that initial wax coating off. If I tilt it in the light, you might be able to see how it's starting to become more mapped or kind of buffered. I'm going to do that all over. Got a lot of that initial wax removed. I don't want to take it past this point. I don't want to be ruining my palette. I just don't want it to be super shiny anymore. When I tilt it in the light you can kind of see some of those corners I can take care of. Now a lot of that gloss is gone. Before I add paint, I want to make sure I take a damp paper towel and get all of that dust off of there. Once you have that first glossy layer removed, you're ready to start filling the wells of your palette. Now here's my palette that's already full of color, but I do have some colors that are running out so I can show you how I fill them. We're going to get nice and close. What I'm going to do is I'm going to start by filling the well from the back or the deepest end forward. I can put as much paint as I want in here. I don't have to be skimpy with the amount of paint I use because it's going to stay there until it's gone. I'm going to start in the back, just kind of sneaking my way around trying to fill in as much of that space as possible. I need to let this dry for at least a day, maybe about a day and a half. When you fill your whole palette, you want to leave it open on a table for 24 hours and then when the surface of the paint is no longer wet and you can touch it without getting paint on your thumb. You're going to gently press down on each of your colors. This is going to kind of set it in the well, so that it doesn't eventually pop off like this one's doing. We're going to fast forward a little bit. This is the point in the video where it's actually been 24 hours since I just put that paint in the palette. I'm going to show you how the top should look. You'll notice that it's not glossy anymore. When I touch the top of it, I'm not getting any paint on my thumb. It feels like there's just enough of a coating where I can apply some pressure and I'm not going to break through. That's all I'm going to do. It's still a little squishy underneath. I just press down like that and that's going to help it really set up in that well and be ready to use about a day for now. You might be noticing that my palette is a hot mess. I actually like working with the palette that has a little bit more color in it versus something that's pure white like this. I find that I can make my colors a little bit richer rather than just using the paints straight out of the tube. This is getting to the point where I might start to clean up some of it before I use it again, but I do like to have some color already down to mix with. 3. Filling your Fountain Pen: There are many different pens you can use for urban sketching, but I really like using a fountain pen and while the microns and settlers are great, I just find that being able to refill the ink, being able to be specific about what ink I want to use. Be able to have a variety of tips that never wear out as long as you use it right, or don't accidentally drop it is just really appealing. This one has a medium tip. You can get fine, extra finer, ultra fine as well. If you go and order a Lamy Safari, it will come with ink cartridges for you, but those cartridges are not going to be waterproof. They would smear with watercolor, so what I would recommend doing is when you order your Lamy Safari, I would also order what's called an ink converter, and that's this piece. I took the original ink cartridge out, I have the converter and I can fill this with any type of ink that I want. The type of ink I love getting is platinum brand and its carbon ink and this is waterproof, it will not smear. You need to give it about 15 seconds to dry before you apply water. But it's very fast drying and I haven't had any issues with it clogging. What I'm going to do right now is refill this ink. I'm just going to pop this out. Well, if you're just tuning in, you can go to my Buber's video to see what happened. I'm going spin it down, get rid of that little bubble. Now it's on the very bottom. The now what I'll do is I'll submerge it in ink. I'll twist it back the opposite direction it's going to pull up and the ink is going to fill. I am trying to do this with as little mess as possible. You can see it's completely full. Then I usually try and just gently wipe down the edges a tiny bit, just so I'm not shoving it into the pen and leaving it a complete mess. If you look closely, you can see on the video there's these little nubs on the edge in your pen. There's this wide area and there's the narrow, this is going to fit perfectly in there and it takes a little bit of force. I lined that up, push it in, now it's ready to use. Put this back on. Sometimes you have to scribble with it for a minute just to get the ink flowing again. Don't be concerned, if it doesn't start right away. It did pretty good. Sometimes you have to go around a little bit just to get it flowing a little bit more. Then you're set. 4. Color Mixing Chart: [Music] Time for my favorite part of this class has come. It's color mixing chart time. We are going to do something not even as complex as this, because I don't want to bore you, I don't want to make you sit and watch for hours while I paint a mixing chart. But I'm going to show you what you can do and what is possible with a small area, and everything that you're learning in this class can be applicable to a chart this big or a chart this big. The purpose of making a color mixing chart is just getting super familiar with your paints. This is especially helpful if you start using a different brand, or you add new colors to your preexisting palette. It lets you know that these few colors can actually have a wide range of capabilities, and it will really help you get used to your palate and make the most of every painting. So the first thing I'm going to do is figure out how many colors I'm going to use. Now, for this chart, I'm just going to pick four colors. For your chart, you can do it with all the paints you have. You could do it with just a few, you could do it with just your blues and greens. For the sake of time, we're going to start with four. So I am a little bit nit-picky. You don't have to use a ruler if you don't want to, but I'm going to make a chart four across, four up and down. You have 10 colors, your chart's going to be 10 across, 10 up and down. And I'm just kind of guessing right now how long I want that to be. I just like it to be big enough spaces that I can easily tell what the overall color will be. I have my four by four chart made. Again, if you have 10 colors your chart is going to be 10 by 10. I selected which colors I'm going to do for this demonstration just at random. Now, you'll notice I have one square of each up top, that's just to keep track of what my original color looks like. When you get brand new paints it might be hard to remember what's the difference between Undersea green and Sap Green. So having the original colors up top will be helpful and then what you're going to do is you're going to list all the colors that you'll be using across the top and across the bottom in the same order. On this chart you'll notice I have a Hansa yellow, then I have Mayan orange, then I have Pyrrole red. On this side going down same order; Hansa yellow, Mayan orange, Pyrrole red. You want the same order across and the same order up and down. For my four colors I chose Cobalt blue, Sap green, Pyrrole red, and this last one is an Ultramarine blue. I'm going to list those atop the cross and bottom. A little bit of real life instead of edited video I'm in the process of getting new colors and that's why I have this second pallet that's completely clean. So if you're doing this at home you're going to be mixing your colors in the same palette. I'm just going across from a different palette because I'm in a weird phase right now with getting new paints and starting a new palette. First things first, I just want to show you how a color mixing chart works. As I said before all of these are listed across the top and bottom in the same order. I'm going to pick a random color, this green right here. If I want to achieve this color and I want to figure out how to mix it I simply take the top yellow Ochre and the side Viridian and I mix them together. Now I'm not mixing 50-50 if I were to do that eventually I would just have the same chart on two different halves. For example, as I said yellow Ochre and Viridian make this color, then I could just come over to this Viridian and go down to yellow Ochre and it would be the exact same color. What I'm doing is I'm using a little bit more of the top color than the side. When I mix Mayan orange and Hansa yellow, I have a tiny bit more Maya orange than I do the Hansa yellow. When I mix Ultramarine blue and Burnt Sienna Light, I have a tiny bit more of the Ultramarine blue than I do the Burnt Sienna Light. I just picked using a little bit more of the top row because that's an easy way for me to remember it. Two months from now when I come and I look at this chart and I want to know how to mix this color, I know that I have more of the Payne's Blue Gray than I do the Cobalt blue and that's just my way to remember. The first square is just Cobalt teal I'm just doing that color as is, and I'm painting it as evenly as possible. I'm not using any watercolor techniques for my mixing chart I just want it to tell me about the color. What I like to do just so I don't have to wait as long is I beebop around. You could go square by square but then you have to wait for this one to dry, and it's going to bleed in and it's going to mess with your color. What I'm going to do is this next one down. So that's going to be Sap green because that's on the top, and Sap Green so just Sap Green. One thing I didn't even think to talk about as far as paper, if you watched my first video we talked about cold and hot press. You can really use either-or for some reason, I think I prefer hot press for a color chart just so it's a flat base color, and cold press tends to soak up a lot of the color right away, so I don't have to do as many layers if I'm using hot press paper. I'm just going to keep going with the ones that are the color as is. So the red and the red and the Ultramarine blue and Ultramarine blue. Now it gets really exciting we actually get to start mixing some of our colors. So I'm just going to go right across here, I'm going to make my Sap Green with my Cobalt teal. Can you guess which color I'm using more of? Sap Green, about 60 percent more Sap green. I usually take the color that I'm using a little bit more of and mix that or lay that on the palette first. Just because I can gradually add in more of this color. You want it to be enough that you can see a difference. So kind of a guess. Yeah, I'd say that looks more Sap Green. I don't know if you can hear that noise in the background but I think my dog is out of water. You've got Sap Green that is a beauty. Next we have the red and the Cobalt Teal, the red I have is relatively intense, so I know I don't need too much to still have more red than the teal. I picked these colors at random so who knows if they will actually turn out. At this point, I guess we can talk about how much water to use. You want enough water that you can mix it but not too much where it dilutes the color. For example, this one I may be use a little bit too much water I'm going to try and mix that one again. Next, Ultramarine blue and Cobalt Teal and I always kind of start by mixing on the edge. Moving on to my Sap green row. Now, this is Sap green and Cobalt teal. This is also Sap green and Cobalt teal, but it's going to have more of the teal than the green. Now, the Cobalt Teal is a really transparent watercolor so that's part of the reason I probably shouldn't have picked that color for this demonstration, but that's why these particular squares are looking pretty muted in comparison to the full color chart. Okay, I'm going to finish off the rest of these because I think you got the idea, and I'll show you what it looks like at the end. All right, my mixing chart is complete. Yes, it's hideous but you add in six more colors and this is the type of chart you get. So it really doesn't take much, I think it's also really freeing because you know that you can start off with just a few colors and you have a very wide range of possibilities, and you can slowly build up your collection as you develop your craft. 5. Class Project: Now that you know how to make your own color mixing chart, that's going to be your class project. Sort out which colors you'd like to use, maybe all of them, and make your own mixing chart that can help you on your future paintings. When you've completed your color mixing chart, post a photo below in the class projects. I'd love to see what kind of color palette you use. Thanks for taking my class if you've enjoyed it, it helps me out. If you can give me a thumbs up and I hope to see you here next time. 6. Bloopers: The way that you fill this up. That will be edited or added to the bloopers. Oh, gosh. Okay. This is going to be a hot second. Hi, there. My name is Sam Nielsen. Let's see if I'm actually in the frame this time. Shall we? Why is it so hard to talk in front of the video? Feel like I'm going to poop my pants. Oh, yeah. My name is Sam Nielsen and I'm an urban sketcher and watercolor artist based in Northern Minnesota. Today, I'm going to teach you how to fill your LAMY Safari. Just kidding. You don't need a LAMY Safari. People are going to think I'm getting paid to do this, and I'm sneaking in product advertisement. I'm not, you guys. It's hard not to say it. This is classified as a hot mess.