Watercolor Skillbuilder: Daring Doodles | Jessica Sanders | Skillshare

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Watercolor Skillbuilder: Daring Doodles

teacher avatar Jessica Sanders, Artist | Designer

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.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      14 Skills We Are Building Through Doodling


    • 4.

      Ink Doodle Examples


    • 5.

      Ink to Watercolor Doodle Patterns


    • 6.

      Painting Doodles - Linear Composition


    • 7.

      Painting Doodles - Circular Composition


    • 8.

      Bonus: Painting Doodles - Color Swatch


    • 9.

      Thank You!


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About This Class

Hi, I’m Jessica Sanders, a self-taught mixed media artist who loves exploring art and sharing it with you!

In this beginner watercolor class, I will show you a fantastic way to improve your watercolor skills with daring doodling!

First, I will highlight the skills you can improve and build by doing simple doodle pattern painting.  

Then, We will take a look at some ink doodles, and I'll walk you through the process of translating ink doodles into fantastic watercolor patterns.  I have provided a reference copy of my chart, and you can create your own chart of ink and watercolor patterns.  

Next, I will paint some examples for you.

Then it’s project time!  Paint some daring doodles with your favorite watercolors!

Let go and enjoy the process.



Main Skill:  Translating ink doodles into watercolor patterns

14 Supplementary skills:

Water control

Brush control

Mark making


Negative shape painting

Flat wash

Gradient wash

Variegated wash

Wet in wet

Wet on dry

Color theory

value/density of color

Edges - hard and soft


Watercolor paper:  140 lb / 300gsm

Watercolor brushes:  10 round, 01 round,

Optional brushes:  Mop, flat, fan brush

Watercolor paints

Paper towel



Inspiration photos:  your own or Pinterest

Other great watercolor teachers on Skillshare:

Chris V

Jen Dixon

Ana Victoria Calderon

Meet Your Teacher

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Jessica Sanders

Artist | Designer


Jessica Sanders

Artist, Instructor, Designer

Illustrated Journal: Fill a Sketchbook with Butterfly Inspired Art


Hello lovely, lovely creative friend!

My new class is up and going!  I hope you will join me as we go on a journey together, filling a journal with lovely butterfly inspired art.  I just added a new page spread, Explore Texture, which is covered in 15 bite size lessons (13-27).  

I can hardly wait to see your project!!

Happy Painting,



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Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome!: Hello. Welcome to my skill share class. I'm Jessica Sanders Color. Make radio art dot com In this beginner watercolor class, I will show you a fantastic way to improve your water cooler skills with daring doodling. First we'll talk about skills You can improve and build by doing a simple doodle, and then we'll go on to take a look at eat doodles and how you can transfer those or sort of translate into water color. Then I'll do some sample dual water coloring for you, kind of like ISS. And next it's your project. Simple class fun to do. I think you'll enjoy, so I hope you'll come join me. 2. Supplies: let's chat about supplies. I try to keep it as simple as possible. Whenever I'm doing these classes, you can use any kind of water colors I have. Ah, Koy Watercolor said I have Jane Davenport watercolor sets, and I do. I do use some metallics and this one this one happens to be the get inside tam be starring color something show you that box looks like this if you were to buy it. But any kind of watercolor paints that you have over that you want to add to your collection will work. For this. You will need a paper tower tissue. You're going to need some watercolor brushes. The's air synthetic. I have a number 10 round and a number zero around in these air Princeton Select. They're not super expensive. They're nice, feel they hold plenty of water and they'll do what you need to do for this class. Or alternatively, you could have a water rush. This will let you get maybe a little bit more control of how much water you're putting on the paper if you're struggling with that a little bit. So this is great for this doodling prod type of project and then you're going to need paper . Of course, you'll see me using my mole skin sketchbook in this class, and this is a small skin with watercolor paper in it as 100 £4130 watercolor paper in this sketchbook. But you don't have to have a sketchbook. You can just use any watercolor paper you have. Um, I do suggest that it is £140 or 300 GS in so that it's heavyweight and it doesn't buckle. It can be in a pad like this can be loose. It can be spiral bound. However you choose totally up to you. And I believe you know you might want a pin toe. Add some ink to your doodles or anything like that. You may want to have some alternative brushes. I have a mop brush. I have an oval mom. If you want to make different brush shapes, you may want a fan brush, but these air just optional really, to do the exercises and the project for this class, really, you only need a large round and a small round, so okay, let's get started 3. 14 Skills We Are Building Through Doodling: This is a doodle that I created in my most in sketchbook previous to making this class. And I want to share with you a little bit about the kinds of skills you can work on building just by doing a simple duel pattern making illustration. So I'm just going to point out a few things in this particular pattern painting toe to show you what I'm talking about. So first thing that you're automatically going to work on when you're creating any watercolor painting, really, But but especially in this kind is water control and brush control. So you're making lines your paying intention to how much water you have on your brush, How much is on the paper? So those air skills, this sort of innate toe water color that you build over time, is learning how your paints act and how they react with water. How much water you have in you. So those are two skills that you do in any watercolor painting, really? But in this, it gives you a really focused way of working for that. So another skill that you will build by doing these watercolor pattern drawings or pattern paintings, our brush marks. So these air basically brush marks type doodles, and you will learn more about how to use your brush, which brushes. Do what in that sort of thing. See all of these brush marks, and you can even do expressive brush marks if you chose to doodle that way, you will learn also Mawr about negative shapes. So here's an example of negative shape that I put in this particular doodle I do. I did not pay this shape I painted around the ship. Of course, I did this a separate time that I painted around these shapes to create shapes so you will learn about negative shape painting. Also, in this particular section, you will learn about blazing or layering your colors and also about your value from light to dark. You see this has 123 1234 layers of the same color, and I just I'll show you how to apply this in a separate video. But it's layered. It's not all done in one fell swoop, so it's good practice for layering or glazing, so you can learn how the colors look over one another. You could I could have done different colors here, just playing around learning. You will also learn about letting go of perfection, which is an important skill for any creativity, obviously, but in water color in particular, because this is a medium that's not as controllable as some others and what you lay down on the page matters. So you can't necessarily just go back over it with a different color and expect a different result. Like if it were acrylics, you could just cover over it and keep going. But in watercolor, everything is transparent. And so you're going to learn a lot about just a patient you are, maybe, or learning to let go of that perfectionism and wanting everything to be just perfect, because in real life, things aren't really perfect and learn about different kinds of washes by creating this, so maybe a flat wash. This is a pretty flat wash circle, all even color, but you can see some of these air not as flat and single color as the rest. They have lighter areas. These were not these. This is more of a Grady ated wash, so I have this lighter and the work toward darker in these in this other page. I have a very gated wash where I had the yellow and blue and let them mixed together in the wash. You can learn wet on Dr, which is what most of this is done. But you could also do wet in wet, which in which the variegated wash is kind of a wet on wet technique. So you're all building so many different skills. Just by doing this one project or activity, it's going to make a huge difference for you. You can work also on color theory. You can work on color flow. So what? Colors look good together? What colors don't want colors pop out of the page. You could look again at the value. There's a huge benefit to doing this kind of painting. It may not be what you would normally call art, but it's a great, great exercise for building your skills in watercolor 4. Ink Doodle Examples: I've been doing and drawing with ink, creating patterns, doings, entangles in doodles and things like that since about four years ago. So I have books full of pattern drawings. They're not all great and perfect. And everything's some patterns that I've created myself, like from the tree in my neighborhood and some that I pulled from movies and different things. And then they're just sort of standard patterns, all all around us s. I want to share with you a few of my favorites, Um, and that we're gonna look at sort of translating these into watercolor in the next lesson. So this is one of my favorite doodle drawings that I have done. I really love the death that's in this piece. But I also love the patterns. So this is one of my favorite patterns. It it feels like it has organic, an organic shape, but it still has a grid to it. Here's another one. I'm going to show you this one in water color, we put you new page. I really enjoy making circles, ovals, spirals and lines. As you can see, we're going to cover all these in water color at this another. This one sort of turned into a windy day. You can see you and hot air balloons, but lots of swirls, the kites, lots of fun. They're really, really like that one. And I really enjoy the depth of this one. And again, it has a lot of patterns that are very simple to do but have a big impact. And so that's what we want to do with our water color patterns. So let's see how these kinds of patterns translate from ink into water color. 5. Ink to Watercolor Doodle Patterns: so want to create a resource for you to take her Inc doodles or drawings or patterns into a watercolor version. So serve creative this chart and going to work through some designs I'm going to start with simple and work through to may be small, complex and just show you how they look sometimes with their big round brush, sometimes with our small room brush. And I may also amuse my flat brush for some of these because it will lend itself well to that. So let's get started with that. Just using a regular pen for this. You can use the kind of pin that you like if you want to create your own chart. But I'm going to make this a downloadable PdF for you as a resource and a reference you'll be ableto have this just sort of at your side when you're doing your watercolor pattern designing. So let's just start with simple Um, a simple list shape that I like to make is a circle. Now remember, we're not going for perfection here, so I'm just gonna do some circles with ink. Then I'll take my water color and I say Choose the colors that you love. This is about learning, playing and exploring. So let's keep it that way. And if I want to do something similar to this, I'm going to paint a solid circle and I can make adjustments to the shape as I go. And if I have too much water too little, I can remove that. It just really depends on the look you want to get, Um, so there's my circle. You can let your circles touch or not. That's completely up to you. And there are a lot of ways to make patterns from circles. There are overlapping circles, circles around the edges, all kinds of ways. So this is just one example of how the circles might look, and the same is going to be true for all of these designs. So next, let's to simple wavy line. I love wavy lines. They may not all match and go in the same, and this time I'm going to use both of these brushes. I'll do them in different colors. There's a nice purple, and I can make these lines thick or thin so I might make it all the way. Or I may just press my brush down harder and make it more wide. And then maybe spread out that Pigpen a little bit just because I want to. But if you wanted a really thin line, then you would need your small round brush. And again the pressure matters. Don't go too slow. If you go too slow, you will lose your you're smoothness of your line and see my I got sort of a dry brush effect. They're perfectly fine. Like I said, these are Chelsea are fun. If you want to really in line, just keep the pressure really light in your brush wet. So there's some examples just for, well, just wavy lines. You could do straight lines, wavy lines. Could you zigzags anything like that? So let's speed up this video now. I think you're getting the idea of what we're doing. I'm just using simple shapes, lines and different kinds of patterns and translating them into our color. So here you can see that I'm using triangles and overlapping triangles, and I'm letting the color mix and mingle in some cases and some cases keeping it completely discreet and not touching each other. One thing you can do to help control. How much water you have is to use a water brush, typically a water brush. Bristles. Just don't hold as much water as a watercolor brush, whether it's synthetic or natural hair brush. So it's a great tool to sort of have in your arsenal when you just know you want less butter. So the shape we're doing now can be made with just a simple brush mark. It's a teardrop shape. You can use it sort of as rain drops, or you can even putting in patterns and make floral shapes with it. So that's a lot of fun to do. This is a variation of a circle more of an oval, but I ended up actually kind of with egg shakes, and I was pretty happy with that, and so I left it there. But of course, you can make your ovals more oval like if you like. One of my favorite shapes to make is this rounded corner rectangle, which sort of I put in a brick pattern. It's a lot of fun to do for some reason for me, I like the rounded nous of it, and I also like that. It's a rectangle so it's fine. I decided that I would make a mini variegated wash, so I dropped some blue and some yellow into the shape. Just just try it out and see how it return it. And this sort of doughnut shape is also another one of my favorite shapes. Maybe they're all my favorite shapes, I don't know, but I really like making sort of this offset circle sort of a walkie kind of circle with the hole in the middle. It's just a lot of fun to do, but of course you could do the outlines. You could do a solid center there, so many variations. You just really can use your imagination. This is a variation of the rectangle that we did about, except it's very small shape. So it's a great way to use your small brush to use brush marks, and you can create a lot of different patterns just by the way you place your shapes. So for the rest of this section, I'm going to continue taking some ink doodles and drawings and translating them and transferring them into water color. Just remember that you can have ah lot of different kinds of patterns from the same kind of shape just by varying your lying your brush pressure, you're, um, angle that you use your brush your colors by deciding whether you're going to do an outline version of it, or you're going to do a solid filled inversion or anything like that. - So now that you've seen me do all of these different patterns and variations, I would love to see you do the same so you can copy my doodles and practice my patterns just the way I have them. Feel free to do that or create your own. So head over to the project section and download and print who were free chart and printed on watercolor or mixed media paper. And give this a try. I cannot wait to see what you do. I am so excited. 6. Painting Doodles - Linear Composition: for this project. Example. I chose to go with the more linear shaped doodle, some just starting with some lines, and I'm going to work my way from there. I'm doing all kinds of skill, practicing between Mark making softening lines, working on washes, creating flat washes, Grady in washes, layers all kinds of skills while I'm working on this and I'm just having a great time. So remember, the point of the doodling is to just embrace the process, embrace imperfection, toe, let go and have fun. And those skills will just naturally get worked into what you're doing and you will improve , improve, improve over time as you keep doing all of these kinds of projects and practices and who knows where you'll end up, but it's going to be great. 7. Painting Doodles - Circular Composition: So now that I've shown you all those different kinds of patterns and how you can transform them and how it helps all of your skills, forget all of that. It's all sunk. It's all thinking in right, but we want to just not think about all those things. We want this to be a fun exercise for just getting into the flow of art. That's what makes it a doodle. So doodling is sort of that where we don't think too much, you know, we tend to think of it is when we're drawing when there were on the telephone or something like that, no mind sort of concept of. I'm not really thinking and analyzing what I'm doing. I'm just doing it just playing, and I'm letting that creative side of my mind do what it wants to dio. So that's what we want to do when we start our doodle. And so where shall we start? You can choose any kind of layout you like. I will start. I didn't always like to start with circles, I guess because I just love circles. So I'm going to kind of start with this circle and work my way out from there. One add more color that water. And so now I'm probably not going to talk through this process. I'm just going toe work intuitively as I go, and I'm going to work out from this circle. So I'm just going to start here and I'm going to pick up a different color. That's a similar color. And make some circles there. I want these to be touching. Makes a little smaller circles. I kind of like that. That has, like, an open middle. So you don't have to put all of your patterns all in one position or one shape or anything like that. Just go with the flow and do what feels fun and makes you happy going to speed this video up and you just play and keep on working out from this doodle here 8. Bonus: Painting Doodles - Color Swatch: a great way to use your water color. Doodling for exploring your paints is to college. Swatch your paints while you're doodling so you can use. You can move from color to color, doing different doodle designs and learn what colors you have in your palate and learn how they look and act with water. And so that's what I need you for. The stool is just watch my watercolors, and I'm just going to move from the top down and making a variety of shapes. Whatever happens to make me happy at that moment, that's looking really pretty now. Of course, if you wanted to swatch your your paints the normal way, you could do that. Also, this is just a fun, fun technique and gives you a little bit more playful of the colors watching activity. So I'm making just so you can see touching circles. They're overlapping a little bit. It's perfectly okay with me, not at a little bit more water, just to see how this paint looks when it's has more water and less pigment and just water. Not only mice watching my color, but I'm finding out it's transparencies as well, so that's pretty fun. Now I'm gonna move to my next color, which is start with a nice thick mixture. Since I'm thinking of colors watching, I want to have that nice, thick watercolor. And then I can always do as I do with this and add more. Now I want to change shape. So let me just do. He's sort of brushstrokes and marks. I will pick up a little more paint, and I'm just now doing what makes me happy as I'm doodling with watercolor. This is not about creating the most fabulous fantastic design. It's really about enjoying the process. So that's what I'm doing. I'm adding a little bit more water, Andi, just seeing how this color flutes. So I think that's fun, fun shape. I like Mark making. So now I have even another color gradation, and I have two of my color switched, and I'm just going to keep on working, so I'll speed up this part of the video. Don't think that you need it to go slow here, and I'll speed this up so that you can get the full benefit of watching it and not spinning too much of your precious time. Because Thomas everyone is limited on time. That's pretty. That's a pretty blue. So have a little confession to make. I almost didn't share this video with you because I wasn't super happy with the end result . But I decided I needed to practice what I preach, so to speak, because I'm always saying perfection is not the goal. The process is more important. I'm always saying these things. And of course, we all want our work toe look beautiful in the end. But sometimes it just doesn't turn out the way you want it to and way we just seem to accept that. And so I wanted to show this with you, even though it wasn't exactly the way we wanted it to be. It was still very functional, um, and fun to do. And so I actually watched every color in this watercolor palette that I have. And, um, it's I'm going to go back and label them and that sort of thing. But so I've included this as a little bonus video, so you can see how it worked out. - Okay , 9. Thank You!: So now that we've watched all the videos, don't forget to pick up your sketchbook or your watercolor paper your paint and brushes and do some doodling and have fun with it. Just let go. Enjoy the process. You will be amazed at how much you are learning as you go, and it's just fun practice. But you'll be learning the washes and you'll be alerting how to control your brush. How to control your water, how your pigments work. Color theory value so many skills, so I can't wait to see what you do. Thank you so much for watching my class and thank you for showing with me and I'll see you in the discussion below.