Watercolor Sunflowers: Painting Sunflowers in 3 styles | Irina Trzaskos | Skillshare

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Watercolor Sunflowers: Painting Sunflowers in 3 styles

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.

      Mixing Colors


    • 4.

      Warm Up


    • 5.

      Painterly Sunflowers in a Painterly Style


    • 6.

      Painting Sunflowers with Ink and Watercolor


    • 7.

      Paintinga Sunflower in Realistic Style


    • 8.

      Last thoughts


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About This Class

Sunflowers are a timeless trend, and they will make a beautiful addition to your portfolio, or to your wall art collection.

I love sunflowers and creating this class was such a joy for me. I hope you will like it, too.

In this class I will explain step by step how to draw and paint sunflowers in 3 different styles: 

-in a loose painterly style  

-using fine liner and watercolor

- in traditional realistic looking style. 

Also, we will do an easy warm up to get used to the shapes of the petals and will mix colors for our beautiful illustration.

This class is geared toward all sunflowers and watercolor lovers. 

Meet Your Teacher

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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 assistant illustrator. Welcome to my studio to explore the magic of watercolor. In today's class, we will be painting sunflowers. We'll explore three different styles. Painted style, illustrated style with phyla and watercolor, and traditional holistic style. This result may have three artworks and I want you to apply them to the projects section on class. Some thoughts at a time, this trend, and they'll make a great addition to art collection. I hope my classes will help you grow a beautiful, successful and fresh part. In next data, I'll show you of the supply we'll be using in this class, let's get started. 2. Supplies: In today's class, we'll be using the following supplies, watercolor paint, watercolor paper. I'll be using Canson cold press, but you can use any brand who you like. Pencil, eraser, paper towel, a watercolor palette to mix the colors, water, of course. We'll need a bigger watercolor brush, a natural, a square brush or a synthetic brush, whichever you prefer. This is number six and number 12. Also, I need smaller brushes. This is number four [inaudible] and number two [inaudible] , these brushes for details. You can also use some synthetic brushes if you prefer them. Also, we need a flat synthetic brush, not to big. I'll be using my color circle. Also for illustrative style, artwork will be using a fine liner. Just make sure it's waterproof. I'll be using Sharpie Fineliner. Also I'll be using a white gouache and a white pen. The list of supplies you can find in the project section of the class. 3. Mixing Colors: Let's explore different color palettes we can use to paint our sunflowers and different elements around them. We'll start with obvious petals, which I'll be cadmium. If we want it to be a summery light look, we'll keep it bright yellow and we can add a drop of green yellow tint to make it even fresher, just a little bit. Also, we can add a little bit of golden orange to our summery petals. If we would like our samples to look more autumn, we'll start again with cadmium yellow. But we'll add a little more golden orange than the previous time and some green, instead of yellow green. This result, we have this master diff, but even warm shade of yellow. You can mix your colors on either a paper or you can mix them on palette. It's totally up to you. Another option would be to make our petals totally orange and a little bit of burgundy and the little bit of purple at the bottom. This is more unusual but maybe rich and very fawn looking color pad for our petals. We have golden-orange, burgundy, and purple. Also, because purple is a complimentary color for the yellow, we can try to mix yellow with some burgundy and purple right on the petal. It'll make it look more natural. We start with cadmium yellow again, and then a little bit of burgundy. If you don't have this color in your carpet, you can mix some cadmium red with purple. This is another option to create a darker polish looking sunflower petals; cadmium yellow, burgundy, purple, and the little bit of orange. For the needle of our flowers we'll be using sepia and again, cadmium yellow. Sometimes we'll be using a little bit of black. For our leaves, we'll be using mostly green and we'll add to it some golden orange and cadmium yellow. For our final artwork we'll be adding more details to our composition and [inaudible] we'll be using burgundy mixed with cadmium orange. They're using golden orange mixed with purple and you don't want orange. I'll also be using some turquoise mixed with some cadmium orange a little bit. As a result, it will be this teal color. You've got to find all the colors or the name of a colors in a project section of a class, as usually. Also be using some red oak, it's beautiful to add to a watercolor and probably some sepia. If you want to make a vase I would use, of course, my favorite delft blue color which is ultramarine with a little bit of purple. But it's only if we decide to make a vase for your final artwork. This is beautiful rich blue, when we mix some ultramarine with some purple. These are the colors we'll be using today. In the next video, we'll make some petals for a warm up and for a quick study of the shape of our flowers and petals. 4. Warm Up: Before we start painting in a painterly style, I suggest to do a quick warm-up to get our hands used to the shapes of petals and flowers in general, so I'll be using a sharper pen. You can use a pencil at the beginning. Petals of the sunflowers are just pointy. It's nothing complicated. Sometimes they have this double point. To warm up, just try to make some petals with a pencil or a sharp pen. This is enough. Then I'll take a brush and I'll do the same thing using paint. I'm using golden orange. You can use any color for warm up, if you want. I'm trying to do the same thing, just some loose petals and I'm trying them not to look too similar to each other. The goal for warm up is just to wake up the muscles in your hands and to be more competent with the shape. You can make them smaller or bigger. Next, what we have to do is using a bigger brush. We'll try to enter the petals, just letting the brush do the work for us, so what we'll do, we'll press a brush on paper and we'll try to make a petal shape. We're pressing it first on paper and then letting it go. We have instant petals because we let the brush do the work for us. This warm up will be really useful for painterly style. What you want to do is as loose as possible. Next, let's try to do it in circle. Let's stretch them a little longer. Sometimes sunflowers are looking up so we can see only a half of sunflowers, so let's try to do that shape. This is just a warm up, so don't worry if it doesn't come out perfectly. Mine don't. Also, let's try to make a lethal sunflower bud. It's again just pressing a brush on paper. Then I'll add a little bit of green so you can understand the shape I did there. This is our flower bud, and this is a half of it. These leaves are also really easy to paint, just pressing a brush. Also, we need to do some exercises for the middle of the flower, so we'll take some sebium and we'll try to go from the middle and do just some loops with a smaller brush. Again, this is just warm up. Our final artwork will be way, more beautiful. But we need to do these exercises to feel more confident, especially if you didn't paint in a few days, it's like dancers and athletes or so. What we did here, I just started with a small flower and then I was just painting the loops around it and also to let my hands get used to these shapes. The more you do these exercises the better but in this class, It's time to get to the next video, where we'll be painting sunflowers in a painterly style. 5. Painterly Sunflowers in a Painterly Style: Let's paint some sunflowers in a loose painterly style. We won't be drawing a lot but I would like to draw a general shape of [inaudible] drawing. It's like an oval. We'll know where it's situated on paper. Then I'm taking a big brush. This is number 12. I'll dilute some caramel yellow in the water, our first sunflower will be somewhere here. We'll be doing some petals just the way we were doing during warm up. This sunflower will be open. Depending on the size of the brush, you can make the flowers as big or as little as you want. I'm diluting my yellow with have a lot of water. At this point don't worry about the middle. We can make it bigger as we go. This is our first flower. It's not ready yet, so you have to add a bit of orange. Mix it with some yellow, and I'll add a few more petals of different color. Just here and there very loose. While it's still wet, we'll take a bit of purple, and we'll add at the ends of our petals, closer to the middle. We'll take our paper towel, and we'll dry the brush, and it will lead this purple into yellow petals, and again. Next, I'll take some sepia, and we'll dilute it with water, and now add it in the middle of our flower, like this. While this flower dries, we can start the next one. Again, don't worry about the middle at this point. A little bit of yellow with orange. Loose and fun. To this one I would like to add some burgundy. We'll add more detail on the next layer. This one I would like to fill with yellow in the middle first. Let's mix some purple with a little bit of sepia, and add some dots into this still wet yellow. Let it dry. I would like to add some leaves next to our flowers. I'm mixing some green with yellow, and the same way I did the petals, added a couple of leaves here. We can add a bit of orange to our green so it will look warmer. These are the kind of leaves which are the closest to the flower. Let's paint a few more flowers. Next flower, I would like to have more mustardy shades, so I'm mixing cadmium yellow, with a bit of orange, and a drop of green. This one will be right here. I want the middle to be a bit covered with petals like it's looking up. The same color I would like right here. This one will be looking down. I am leaving a bit of white space where we'll paint the middle and general, we're painting the next draw of our petals. In the painterly style, they're not perfect. It's beautiful. Let's put some yellow dots in the middle first, and then a bit of purple with sepia. Be careful too, while our petals are wet. We'll add more dark colors when it dries. Purple Luciana, and let's paint this middle. Little strokes like this. I'm leaving a bit of white space in between, and we'll fill it with some yellow later. We can add a little flower here or even a flower bud. Let's mix first some green with orange, for this olive green color. I'll start with the bottom leaves. Take some cadmium yellow with a little bit of orange and a drop of green. Bend this little closed sunflower. I think it needs a little bit more orange with yellow. While our flowers are drying, before we add more dark details, we can paint a little basket under our flowers. I will sign painterly style, so I will take red och-re and mix it with a little bit of purple, then I'll add some strokes leaving white space in between. Then we'll mix some serpia with purple again. I'll add darker strokes over and feel more like they are strokes. Again, add few more darker strokes, there is our little basket. Now, when our petals are a little bit drier, we can add few more darker strokes. Mixing some burgundy with yellow. Between the petals will add darker strokes and as well as at the bottom of the petals. Which will bring it more dimension and more depth. Though I have this beautiful eras-tick color, and we need a little more burgundy. In paintelry you style can improvise, for example, chad leaf, an autumn leaf here. I'm going to just paint it with my brush. Try not to overdo it. With a smaller brush, fill this white space with some green mixed with some ultramarine. I do not mind leaving white spaces in my paintings. I think they bring some air, especially in a loose painterly style. But I don't want it to be too much wide. Also, I'd like to add some shadows to these bud here, and maybe another leaf here. The last touches will be the darkest details, some more dark parts on our leafs with serpia. Also, feel free to add more details such as branches, there is leaves and some branch here, a tiny branch right here. Put some burgundy berries on it, add a drop of orange in my burgundy to make it warmer. A little a bit more color in my basket, here and here, more strokes and we have leaves. I did the little sign where you can write something with white pen and painterly style sunflowers are ready. 6. Painting Sunflowers with Ink and Watercolor: Now let's paint some sunflowers using fineliner and watercolor. Before I start drawing with fineliner I will like to make a quick sketch, so I will have three sunflowers in my drawing, and I'm just drawing the circles where I would like my sunflowers to be. First one will be here, it's half circle because it will be looking in that direction. Next you can keep drawing with pencil first and then go with fineliner, but I prefer going right away with fineliner. We'll start with our main flower, we going for the middle first and then we'll go with smaller petals. Here we can be creative and turn the petals any directions we feel like. After we draw our first layer, we can draw the second layer. The second layer of petals are bigger than the first one. This sunflower is looking directly at us and other two will be looking at different directions. Try to make your petals not to look too similar to each other, and then I can add few more petals here and there, not between each of them, on the previous petals, we would just randomly. Most important, just be creative. This sunflower I would like to look in that direction. Again, we're starting with a half of the middle and then let's add some petals here. Some are smaller and some are bigger, and another layer. The petals which are closest to the middle are the smallest one. I'd say there will be a little leaf here and another leaf here. Let's draw our next sunflower, a third one. This time, I'm starting from the bottom leaves and in this circle with dots in the middle. This is a really fun sketching style, looks so contemporary and fresh. I think this is enough. Then I'd like to add another, a leaf here. Sunflowers have very big leaves and only next to other flowers itself it becomes smaller and changes shape. Also, I would like it to be in a bicycle basket, I am going to draw a clique wire basket here. If you don't like one line, you can just draw another one next to it and it will look great, and also I'd like to show a little bit of wheel from the bicycle here. Just a quick impression that this is a bicycle and another leaf here. Now we can start adding color. In this style we are not adding too much color, we'll just add hints of color here and there. We are starting with the middle of a flower and it'll be again sent down. In this style, I like leaving water font, so it will look so airy. With random strokes, we are adding good color on the middle of our flowers. While it's still wet, let's add a little bit of purple in it. Purple is a complimentary color to yellow so both colors will look brighter and nicer. Now, let's mix some yellow with a little bit of orange and a tiny bit of purple, and start adding color to our petals. In this color you can add as much color or as little as you like. Even if you decide to leave some areas totally white it will be beautiful. A little bit on this flower. On purpose I don't cover all the petals at once because I'd like to add different shades of orange and yellow and yellow-green so I'm covering just a part of the petals. If sometimes you're coloring outside the lines, it's totally fine, it's beautiful. When we are adding more purple in our yellow, it becomes deeper and darker. Now let's mix more golden-orange and our yellow, and add a little bit of green. You see, we got a different shade. Also I would like to add some bright orange petals so I'm mixing some orange with burgundy and I'm adding some more bright petals in my sunflowers. Also at the bottom of our previous petals. Now to my orange, I'll mix some green and I'll start coloring the leaves. Next to the flowers I'm adding some darker green, and again, if you'd like to leave some leaves white, it's totally fine. I may leave some of this a little bit white because it's such a big leaf. Let's add some more yellow in our green. I also would like to add some greens in our basket. Just a little bit. Also some ultramarine blue. Ultramarine blue with greens here and there between the flowers. With black, let's color our wheel and the handle. Also I would like to add some black in the basket. We'll mix some turquoise with a little bit of orange and we'll color this part of the bicycle, and this part. When our flowers are dry, let's add some darker accents to our drawing, some more black to the middle of the flowers. We'll mix some green with ultramarine and I'll add some darker accents between the flowers. A little bit here. Now I can add more details to our composition. Some branches, some leaves, whatever you feel like. The last touches we'll add with a white pen, just some white dots on our flowers and then our leaves. These are our sunflowers in fine-liner and watercolor. 7. Paintinga Sunflower in Realistic Style: Now let's paint the sunflower in the realistic looking style. The same way as in previous classes, we'll start with the pencil drawing. I'm drawing a circle for our sunflower, and then I decide where the middle of it will be and I'm drawing another circle inside. You really need a very light sketch. I may make the lines a little thicker, but you have to try to do it little light. After I have my circles [inaudible] , I'll start drawing the petals. I'm not drawing the middle inside, I'm just leaving it a circle and then we'll paint it with paint and bring the texture, and the shadows in different colors all with paint. We don't need to draw it in pencil. I'm starting with the small petals at the middle of a flower, and here you can turn them anywhere you like. Some of them are looking inside and some are outside, and then I'll draw bigger petals. Once again, some of them are looking inside and some are embedded. Then we'll draw some petals in between, not too many, just here and there. I think this is enough. I would like my sunflower to be in a teacup, and this an inspiration. I took this teacup from our cupboard, and I like very much white and blue design. That's why I've picked this teacup. I'll draw it here, because sunflowers are big flowers, the teacup will look really small. We can't see the entire teacup because of the flower, but we can see some of it. Then here we'll have a handle. Then I made in more details to my composition. Let's say we'll have an autumn leaf here and the bigger one here, and get them branching berries, and fill more autumn elements you like. A couple of more berries here, and another branch here. The design on the cup will be painting [inaudible]. Let's start painting with paint. Maybe just a line here, or a composition, and everything else we can paint [inaudible] paint. Now I have to erase the lines which are for our construction and we can start painting. I erased all extra pencil lines and now we can start painting in color. Because my painting is not too big, I'll be using number four [inaudible] and number two [inaudible]. Also we'll be using our synthetic foiled brush. Later, I'll show you how. I will be using glazing techniques just like we did with previous flowers in other classes, and if you remember, for glazing techniques, it's important to leave a painting dry between every layer. First layer is very transparent and we'll dilute our watercolor with a lot of water. I am mixing some cadmium yellow with a little bit of golden orange. It's mostly yellow and with a lot of water. I start painting my sunflower, the entire flower. While I'm painting, I'll add more orange or more yellow, so the wash will look more interesting, and sometimes I will add a drop of green too. In the glazing techniques we are not adding any shades on first layer, it's, I don't know, just very transparent and flat, and the shadows and more hues will be adding in next layers. We add a little bit of green to our yellow. Let's pretend the light is coming from this way, so this part will be a little cooler as color. Again, to make our wash more interesting, we can add a drop of golden orange and our yellow green. The middle flower also we'll color away from a watery yellow. I'm trying to avoid the petals. Then with a small brush, we'll take some green yellow, and some light green. We'll add some drops while the yellow is still wet. We now take some purple and again, while the yellow is still wet, we'll add some dots here and there. We have to let the middle dry and water color do it's magic. Meanwhile will be covering other elements in our painting. I'll make some more, and we're going to deal with cadmium orange on this little branch, very diluted again. I'll mix more orange into burgundy for this leaf, and some golden orange with burgundy for these leaves and branch. This leaf I would like to be purple, and I want some burgundy in it. To balance this so bright beautiful color, I'll make this. There is also purple with burgundy and there is another side. Also I'd like to do orange and I'll take golden orange with just a drop of purple. Beautiful autumn colors. Next, let's add some lines to our tea cup. We are not painting the design right now. We'll just mix some purple with a little bit of yellow and some ultramarine blue. Then we'll get this warm gray, then add some shadow here just a little bit and more on this side because we decided that the light is coming from that direction. I'm deleting the edge of our wash with water, so it will be a smooth gradient. Also add some shadow on the handle and on every petals. Of course we always can add more lighter if we want to. Now I have to let it dry and change the water. After our first layer is totally dry, we can start adding shadows on our painting. We'll start with middle of the sunflower. We'll mix some sepia with a little bit of purple. We'll decide where is the middle of the flower, so this small brush will make a little flower, and then we'll start making loops around it. Again, they don't have to be perfect because nature is always full of perfect imperfections. So some loops will be bigger and some will be smaller. After we covered a part of a middle, we'll start making a little strokes around it. Don't forget to leave some space in between them so we can still see the beautiful middle we painted it green and yellow. Of course, we [inaudible] the petals which are coming inside and we're darkening next to them. This is enough for now and over the same sepia color, I'll make these branches. There are various. Next thing I'll yellow and mix some unbroken deal of orange. This darker shade will start adding shades on the bottom of every petal, also the jungle lines to show the texture, not on all of them but most of them. So the aging darker parts on the bottom of the petal and when the petals touch other and again they can derive a quantity of burgundy, orange and yellow. This style always requires patience and time, but the results are usually stunning. You can add as many layers as you want until it really look very realistic, if that's what you want. Just make sure to let your painting dry in between the layers. I know I'm repeating this a lot, but it's really important. Sunflower has more depth now. It consists separate petals. They have texture. Next, let's add some more layers to this leaf. I would like to make it really dark next to this orange leaf. I'll mix some purple with burgundy and orange. Then I'm adding another layer, but I'm still leaving the first layer here and there so it will look more interesting. Again, burgundy, purple, and cadmium orange. I think I'd like this end to do more pointy. Also, I'd like to darken a little bit the leaves of this branch and this one. Our flower is dry, the sunflower, so we can add even darker details on our petals. Just try not to overdo it. I'm taking orange with burgundy and adding some more depth and texture especially closer to the middle of the flower. Also, I'd like to add some texture to this seedpod. Just some lines and maybe this. Now I have to let it dry again. I'll probably wash my palette and I will add the last details. Now let's add final details to our painting. I think we still need to add some darker parts in this area of the flower. Just a little bit. Then I mix in some purple with burgundy and I'd like to add a leaf here to this leaf. At this point, we need to add looking what is missing in composition or maybe a little darker on this branch and a little bit more texture. Few purple dots on our middle of the flower and a couple of leaves on this branch maybe. Also, of course, I'd like to add the design on my tea cup. I'm taking [inaudible] blue with some purple, and with this small brush, I would be adding some design on the cup. If you don't feel confident with your brush or you don't want it to look too artistic, you can draw the design first with a pencil. I like one that looks artistic, so I'll try to do it by hand. That's not exactly how our cup looks, but it's pretty close. Also, a line here and a little bit on the handle. In this lesson, I'd like to show some textures so I'll be using a synthetic clone brush. I'll dip it in water, and when I'll dry it in a paper towel, add the texture to this leaf, and maybe few lines on this leaf. You can see how the brush is erasing the layers of paint we've put on the leaf before. It's a fun and easy way to add some texture to the leaves or petals. The very last touches, I'd like to add a couple of petals here and maybe a bumblebee. Of course, I need some shadow under the petals and few dots on our seedpod. This is our realistic looking sunflower composition. 8. Last thoughts: Thank you for watching my classes. I hope you had the chance to paint with me. If you liked this class, please leave a review and upload your project to the projects section of the class. I can't wait to see your beautiful sunflowers. See you in my next class.