Wonder Warm-Ups: 4 Painting & Drawing Exercises to Calm the Mind and Ready the Hand | Kelly Johnson | Skillshare

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Wonder Warm-Ups: 4 Painting & Drawing Exercises to Calm the Mind and Ready the Hand

teacher avatar Kelly Johnson, Connecting humans and nature, creatively!

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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.

      Wonder Warm-Ups: Intro


    • 2.

      Wonder Warm-Ups: Stipling & Cross Hatch Drawing


    • 3.

      Wonder Warm-Ups: Blind Contour Drawing


    • 4.

      Wonder Warm-Ups Painting Big Swoops


    • 5.

      Wonder Warms-Up Painting Favorite Shapes


    • 6.

      Warm ups closing


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About This Class

These 4 quick warm up exercises will get you all ready to make art & let creativity flow - or if you just have a few minutes, they can be your art practice for the day! Do them in the morning, to settle in when you first sit down to work on a project, play at your lunch break, doodle during your public transport commute, or relax before bed! These warm-ups will help you to relax and allow creativity to work it's magic on you!

In exercise 1, we tune in with some stipling and cross hatching,

In exercise 2, we play with blind contour drawing and get a good chuckle,

In exercise 3, we swoop and swirl with our whole arm using watercolor paint, and

In exercise 4, we explore our favorite shapes in repetition.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kelly Johnson

Connecting humans and nature, creatively!


I'm your guide into nature inspired drawing and painting, Kelly Johnson!

If you drop by my world on an average day you might find me gardening, making art, snowboarding, surfing, vegan baking, traveling, or helping humans build deep relationships with nature through art and organic gardening!

I have a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, an MA in environmental studies from Goddard College, an AMS 6-9 teaching credential & 10 years in the classroom, + 20 years experience teaching art & 11 years teaching nature-study to children and adults in a wide variety of settings.

I've painted everything from huge murals in Mexico to tiny paintings in Virginia to tropical plants in Florida to veggies in Europe and I love how art builds community and connections in e... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Wonder Warm-Ups: Intro: way, way. Welcome to the world of wings, grams and wonder. I'm Kelly Johnson, your Creative Nature Connection guide. And I'm so happy you're here today in my class Wonder warmups, painting and drawing exercises to get you warmed up, Get you going and help relieve any tension or stress Get you all settled in and ready to make art. So all you need is some paper, any kind of could be mixed media paper, watercolor, paper, drawing paper, Bristol board, whatever you like. Pens or pencils and any kind of paint you like. I'll be using pencil pigment, micron pen and water color paint, but feel free to use whatever materials you like. So gather your materials, get ready to get warmed up, and I'll see in the next video. 2. Wonder Warm-Ups: Stipling & Cross Hatch Drawing: Hello. Welcome to warm up Wonder Video One. All you need in this is a pen or a pencil and some paper. So first exercise is cross hatching and stippling, which is basically polka dots and tick tack toe boards. This is a great way to get your hand warmed up, your fingers warmed up. It's also a great way to practice shading. So first we're gonna make a circle, and then we're going to make a rectangle, and we'll shade and stippled and crosshatch in both of those. This is a great one. If you're going to do a lot of writing as well as drawing. So then also, when you get comfortable at creating your fades and we'll talk about that in the video when you're watching me draw once you get comfortable with using cross hatching and stippling to fade, you can add that to your drawings and paintings as well. Okay, ready to staple. Ready to cross match tic tac toes and polka dots you've got. This is no big deal, right? All right, let's go. When you start cross hatching and stippling, you first want to determine where your light sources you can draw a little sunshine in the top of your pager where we're direction you want to be lit. You see here I'm starting from the top left and then just draw circle doesn't have to be perfect, Andre something if you want to. And then take your pen or pencil and basically just make polka dots. That's all you have to do for stabling its poking us. Um, I'm looking at my circle. So if the light sources to the above and to the left, there's gonna be more shadow polka dots on the bottom right of my shape. I'm just working my way around. This will add dimension and depth also, and this is quick. We're not doing an official drawing. We're just warming up her hand here, warming up, er I settling into concentration. Just see, I'm moving quickly, using the small muscles in my hand just to make dots. And the dots are more dense down towards the bottom. Right? And they're smaller, lighter and more loosely spaced out. The more towards the light source. I go also altering the pressure. Um, I'm applying with my pencil. You can have a little shadow too, if you want. Now we've got like a little rock. So next we're going to do a rectangle, So making just a rectangle again doesn't need to be perfect. Sort of like a fade strip. See, that's gonna be the dark side this nighttime, right? So starting over at night time again, Stippling making dots poke. It ups very dense together at this end and just working your way towards the sunlight. And as you work towards the light source, the pressure becomes lighter with your writing utensil, Pen, pencil, whatever doesn't matter. And the marks become less dense. You may even go backwards at times like, Oh, that's not a very smooth fade. You see working back and then working towards the light. See a nice little fade, hands getting nice and warmed up Stippling. You can do this with paint. Acrylic paint using a Q tip. It's pretty fun. Now let's talk about cross hatching tick tack toe awards. Basically all it ISS now. They might not be perfectly formed. Some may only have one, Um, hatch, Uh, that could be disintegrating tick tack toe boards, but again, looking where you're light sources and that the cross hatching is more dense towards the shadow side of your circle objects circles a little more wonky than the 1st 1 but that's a great does matters. It's just a warm up is just a warm up, overlapping hatches, sometimes more towards the light source. It might just be a line more of a slash than hatch, working your way around the round sides of the circle and then again, rectangle hatching towards the dark side. It's hatching in a more dense way and then hatching your way across towards the light, allowing your marks to get more loose. Remember, just warming up that hand. Keep in a loose, making a nice little fade strip of fade there, and that is called hatching or cross hatching. You could even do little plus signs if you didn't want to do tick tack toe boards any nice , fine anything you like. Now you go get your paper and pencil and practice stippling and cross hatching yourself. Fun right there Really fun warmups that really lose? There's nothing intimidating about tick tack toe boards and polka dots, stippling and cross hatching, and they're actually really great drawing skills. Keep your pencil and paper out, turn to the next clean page and I'll see you in the next video for some contour drawing 3. Wonder Warm-Ups: Blind Contour Drawing: Okay, Now we're going to be making blind Contour drawings. This is where you're going to look at an object. I'll show you the picture in a minute of what I'll be drawing a sense of variant plant and your pencil goes to paper your eyes Stay on the object you'll be drawing and you draw without looking at your paper. You can Onley look at the contours of the the object in my case of the plant. So I'm looking at all the edges where they connect how the shapes and parts and pieces connect to each other. But I can't lift up my pencil. So if I'm over here and need to get back here after go through and I can't look at my paper and I'm in a time myself for one minute. Now if that feels a little too nervous where you start with just a contour drawing where you jets do the out line out outer edge of your object and then go on to the blind contour . But I encourage you to do the try the blind contour first and maybe do blind contour contour back to blind contour again. But try it and it's really good for a laugh. This is a fun thing to do with friends or with kids because you get some really funny like drawings. It really funny, like Oh my God should be Do people the noses over here. The quick Picasso's so blind contour eyes on the object pencil on the paper. Don't look at what you're drawing and set a timer for one minute, so don't want to spend too long on. These is a quick warmups to get your eyes seeing hand eye brain connection. All right, Ready? Let's go last night. Way with that way. So you've seen my plant. You see, I started around the bottom, worked up the ridges, worked my way around, got some of the curve folds in the leaves, traveled around the perimeter of the plant. Got the foreshortened belief in the front. Seaside leaves splaying out, back down to the bottom of the pot where I started. Um, you can see I worked around the outside of work quickly. I did it totally blind, didn't lift my pencil up or look at my page and just had fun with it. You see, it looks nothing like the photo I mean, a little bit, but I just got loose and got my I thinking about the shapes of the plant. That was fun, right? Did you get a good laugh? Family not look anything like the object. But you calmed your mind. You connected your eye, mind and hand, and you're getting a good warm up. So blind contours are great warm up to break you out of any rigidness or I don't feel like doing this today and get a good laugh and bring the fun and the spontaneity and the joy to your creativity and art making practice. Now meet you in the next video and we'll warm up with pain. 4. Wonder Warm-Ups Painting Big Swoops: Welcome to Wonder Warmup Video three. So your hands feeling warm, your arm's feeling loose, neck and shoulders. Roll those shoulders up, back and down, brain starting to calm down a little bit, releasing the cares and worries of the day, allowing space for creativity to flow and your mind too quiet and inspiration to creep in and see Ben and concentration and focus and all the wonderful benefits that come from these things. So now in this video will be doing a watercolor warm up, so you need a piece of watercolor paper, mixed media paper. Whatever kind of paper you like that can hold paint and water. You may be using acrylic paint or old paint. That's totally fine. To make sure you just have the proper supplies that you need. I'll be using watercolor in the video and then have your brushes your water paper towel. In this video, we're going to be doing swirls and fades with dry brush, but we're going to be using our whole arm. A lot of times we get stuck in using these tiny, tiny muscles by motor muscles in our hand when really we can be using our whole arm to paint with our whole sweeping movement. This is a lot easier if you're painting on an easel, but when you're watercolor, we contento hunch over our flat paper, not wanting the water to drip. We don't have it in at an angle or more vertical. So we contend, a hunch so breathing in exhaling, releasing stress in the shoulders, opening up the shoulders, allowing space and let's get down to some dry brush swirls, swoops and squiggles. All right, load up your brush and let's get started. Now. Normally, we might go in with some small hand movements like this, but start to get that arm involved. Swoop it around, stretch it out, see how my wrist isn't moving. Her hands isn't moving. I'm moving from my shoulder. My elbow. With these marks, big broad marks will be fun to do on a giant paper with a big fat rush to of lots of water . Make a swirl, make it the normal way you do it. Get the opposite way. You do it. Make a streak. Make it the normal right. If you're right handed, right toe left, try left to right, moving in different directions. Loop the loops and going backward. Loop the loops all around your page and see how I'm, um, not not making the marks from the muscles in my fingers and hand and making the marks from the muscles in my arm moving horizontal vertical all around the page, Just whatever feels natural things can blend together. You know, squiggles. Squiggles do take a little bit more with hand, but you can do them with your arm also, so notice the difference. The first squiggles came from my hand. Second squiggles came from my arm. Can added color. If you wanna get a little wet on wet in there and let your swoops and squiggle sort blend together, these can also make these warmups can make pretty fun backgrounds, or you can, you know, cut shapes out of it and use it for collage later. It's not a total. It's not waste of paper and paint. Just try it with water and watch how your previous marks blend. Let's move across your page. Big marks, loop marks, forwards backwards. Normal directions, opposite directions. Just have fun with this paint warm up. OK, now you try. All right, now that we're feeling swirly and swoopy and arms and shoulders. Nice and loose turned to a clean page. Or get yourself a clean page. Keep your paints out and I'll see you in the fourth and final warm up video of Wonder warmups. 5. Wonder Warms-Up Painting Favorite Shapes: all right. We are really warm now. So now we're gonna take it. Ah, step more representational. If you would like or realistic or stylistic, however you want to call it. And for this warm up, I want you to paint a repetition of your for favorite shapes. So this could be a pattern. I'm just going to say, for example, here, Flower Leaf Star Flower leaf star. It could be a pattern like that. It could just be a freeform page off two or three of your favorite shapes that you like to paint. You can paint them in or they can stay outline drawings. You can do a little bit of both. You can add details on the interior like polka dots inside the star veins inside the leaf, for example, those air just optional. These air your favorite shapes to paint, and that's going to get you going, and maybe their shapes that you will be painting in whatever your main project is. Or maybe this just things you love to paint. I love to paint leaf shapes, so I'll be doing leaves, Um, but just any sort of somewhat stylized or not representational form I choose forms from nature. But it's up to you, which forms air your favorite. So get your paints ready and let's go load up beer, brush with paint and started with your favorite shape. That swoopy leaf shape is one of my absolute favorite shapes to paint so fun. Sometimes the center vein is attached, sometimes not overlapping. However you like to do your shape. I'm gonna go with less of a pattern and more of a free form page here, just covering my page in leaves overlapping. And we'll see what happens. Trying different shapes of leaves using different marks. Different style marks to make different leaves. It's working my way around the page, not thinking too much about a composition because we're not making a composition. We're just doing a warm up, so just filling in spaces wherever I want. Change colors. When they overlap, watch how they bleed into each other. I'm going to make a difference style, a belief. This is banana leaf. It's how it's more, um, rectangular, unless swoopy banana tree grows. I am in Florida, after all, filling it in with just some very watered down paint. Make it pop out from the background leaves a little bit, but again, I'm not making a picture here. When I'm doing this, I'm not considering these things. I was just just having fun, staying loose and getting my mind into the mode of working on objects and composition. Working my way around the banana tree was filling in. Bananas generally aren't blue, but again, I'm not worried about it. This one's blue, and you don't worry about it, either. Whatever color strikes your eye that you want to put on there doesn't have to be realistic for your shape. Your shape doesn't have to be realistic. This is just sort of how this one decided to come out of the brush, go back to making some of the swoopy leaves really just getting warmed up with the paint. And again, this could make a really cool You. You never know what sort of magic moments will happen when you're just doing a warm oper or working sort of free forum like this, and you can always, you know, cut out a section, turn it into a gift tag or fold it in half and add some lettering over top and make it a birthday card, adds details green, the pains and the banana leaves here. You know there's a lot of options for these things, which you can do with them later or do it in a sketchbook and just have a warmup sketchbook and and just have it be a warms and go back over. Once it dries, do warm ups in a different color over top of it, Or do go back in with your pen and pencil. Add stippling and cross hatching into the shading and pen outlines and define it more. It's just lots of options. Or do nothing. Move onto the next day and just take it is warm up and just have fun with it. Don't take it too seriously. Don't put any sort of when you're working on warm up, since important to not put any sort of and goal onto it at the moment because it sort of takes away the free nous of the warm up exercise. Because this is suggesting exercise, there's no judgment. There is no, um, expectation. It's literally just moving paint around with the brush. People take art so seriously, but don't take it seriously. It's just moving pain around with a brush and water. So have fun with it. And now you start. Choose your shapes and let's go. Okay. Welcome back. How did your shapes go? How did your forms go? Take a look at him. Are there any bet? Wow, that we've came out really cool. I've never done it like that before. Let me go to this next page and do a few more of those. Or let me in corporate rate something I did on this page into some other art that I'm doing today or next week or down the road. So this painting your favorite shapes again and again is a great way to experiment with them. Maybe you stylized them more. Maybe you become more representational. Maybe something really cool I don't even know happens. And you never expected. That's the beauty of freeing yourself for a warm up, not putting any pressure. It doesn't have to be anything. It doesn't have toe do anything except for just allow you to be free. Be loose. Let wonder flow and have some fun with it. I hope you enjoyed thes exercises and warm ups. There's something you can do anytime. Day, any day of the week. before painting, just as an activity in and of themselves before drawing with by yourself with Children with friends. Like I said, indoors outdoors. Is there totally flexible and fun exercises to calm the mind and get the body? I hand mind relationship ready for making art. So thank yourself for taking time to do some warm ups today. Maybe schedule on your calendar. The the next time you're going to do these warmups, take them, make them your own and enjoy. And thank you so much for being here and joining me in the world of wings, worms and wonder for Wonder Woman. 6. Warm ups closing: there. Welcome back. I hope you have fun doing the four warm up exercises. And remember thes air. Great. They help settle the mind. Help get you prepared not only in your muscles and body, but in calming your mind and sort of bringing you down to a level where creativity and concentration can flow. So these exercises you can do at your drawing table, you could do out in the world. If you're bringing your sketchbook around into the beautiful nature surrounding you anywhere you like, you can do them on their own, or you can do them as a warm up. You can do them with friends, or you can do them alone, take them and grow them and make them your own. Make them perfect for getting you ready for your creative art practice. So check out my other videos if you enjoyed this one. I also have a Web site with lots more. Resource is on creative nature connections, wings, worms and wonder dot com. Be sure to check that out, and I look forward to seeing what you make. So be sure to like this video. Save it and share your project below and ask me any questions in the comments you like. Thanks. Bye