Watercolor for Beginners


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Watercolor Leaf {A how to craft project}

This is one of my favorite Fall projects! Give it a try and share your results, either in the comments below or on Instagram – tag me: @eileenmckenna. For convenient printable instructions – visit my Etsy shop. Supplies:
  • Heavyweight watercolor paper – I used Fluid Easy Block
  • Watercolor paints (3 colors – light, medium, dark. I used yellow, orange (or red), and brown.)
  • Water
  • Paintbrushes (1 thick, 1 thin)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Leaf or photo of a leaf (for shape and inspiration)
Steps:
  1. Trace or draw leaf onto the watercolor paper
  2. Cut out the leaf shape leaf1
  3. Erase remaining pencil lines.
  4. Wet one side of the leaf shape using a paintbrush and water.
  5. Using a brush wet with yellow paint, paint the entire leaf yellow (or a light color of your choice). leaf2 leaf3
  6. With a brush, wet with orange paint, paint the edges of your leaf. The orange will bleed into the yellow ‚Äď this is a good thing! leaf5
  7. Use a thinner (and not as wet) brush and paint thin brown lines onto the leaf. (Copy the veins from your real leaf or photo.) If your leaf is still wet, the lines will bleed which creates a cool texture to the leaf. leaf6
  8. Allow the leaf to dry, then add more thin brown lines. (The dryer the paper, the less the paint will bleed.) lastleaf
When I first showed my kids my painted leaf, they thought it was a real leaf! Have fun! Can’t wait to see what you make. ūüôā Ready to get started in watercolor? Check out my new guide¬†‚ÄúBeginner Watercolor Exploration”¬†
  • Learn the fundamentals.
  • Practice with exercises & projects.
  • Discover a love of watercolor!
Start your watercolor journey today! Learn more here.
Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide pdf download | how to guide beginner watercolor
Would you like to: Be creative on a regular basis and experience the joy that creativity brings? Explore mediums and subjects, in search of your thing? Learn about my new book Creative Exploration: A Six Week Process for Introducing Regular Creativity into your Life by clicking here. Creative Exploration book - Easy Watercolor Leaf Tutuorial | fall crafts | #fallcrafts This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog! Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter¬†“My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more about the newsletter here.


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Goodbye Summer…Hello Fall!

beachwalk
I’d love to squeeze in one more beach day, but other than that I’m ready for the hot and humid weather to end. I’m looking forward to those crisp Fall days, with blue skies and beautiful foliage all around.¬†I’m excited about new seasonal things to inspire me – leaves, acorns, pumpkins. I’ve already started doodling and collecting them. Maybe it’s too soon, but it’s nice to have new “material” to work from! Are you ready for Fall?
acornsketches


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Looking forward to a new season.

leavesonwood
One of the things I’ve learned about myself since starting my creative resolution is that I’m inspired by the seasons. I’m already seeing signs of what’s to come and I’m looking forward to it! Paintings (and sketches) of shells and the ocean will soon be replaced by leaves and trees and other Fall things! I can’t wait for the leaves to change…and the weather to cool down. ūüôā

Here are some of my favorites projects from last Fall:

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Some of my favorite Fall projects…

fallmantle
Happy Thanksgiving! My Fall mantle has become a mini gallery of some of my favorite Fall projects: sunflowers, Fall leaf, watercolor and ink leaves and the “give Thanks” Thanksgiving sign. I think tomorrow I need to start on some Winter/Christmas projects!

Enjoy your day with family and friends!
Eileen


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Crows

crows
I came across these crows in the Target parking lot. With the bright blue sky, the orange trees, and the crows flying around, it was beautiful, so I snapped a few pictures. Ironic that it was in a parking lot! My husband said a flock of crows is actually called a “murder.”

My Steps:
I started by drawing, in ink, a few of the crows. I added the sky and the shape of the trees in watercolor.
crows1 crows2

When that dried, I added a few more crows.
crows3

I realized the sky wasn’t blue enough, so I added a richer layer of blue. I also added more oranges and browns in more¬†definitive leaf shapes.
crows4 crows4b

I drew the outlines of the leaves in ink. I added more orange and brown to give the trees more depth. I tried to cover up and soften the line that the second layer of blue sky had created between the sky and the trees.
crows5


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I’m thankful I finished this project!

givethanksfinal
I finally got around to finishing this. I started it back in the summer, when¬†I painted the background for two signs. One sign became my “beach lover” sign, which¬†I finished over a month ago. For this sign, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, what words to paint on it – Fall harvest? With Thanksgiving getting closer and closer, I decided on “give thanks.”

Two years ago Thanksgiving took on a whole new meaning. My siblings, parents, cousins and my aunt were all affected by Superstorm Sandy. They all had major renovations to tackle and some of them couldn’t even live in their homes. Living 20 minutes away, our home was unaffected. So Thanksgiving 2012 was here at our house. We hosted around 40 people. I wasn’t stressed at all. I knew everyone would be happy, just being¬†together in a warm, dry place. There was no need to sweat the small stuff. Although they suffered damage to their homes, everyone was safe and that was definitely reason to give thanks.

Technique:
I used the same technique for the lettering as last time. Using the side of the pencil, I quickly colored on the back of my printout. Then, I flipped the printout over and taped it to my sign. With firm pressure, I traced the letters on the printout, using a Nintendo DS stylus pen. I peeled the printout off and, using the light pencil marks and indentation as a guide, I painted the letters. After the letters were dry I added a little white for effect.

thanks1thanks1b    thanks2a thanks2thankspaintthanksalmost


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Autumn Tree

newfalltree
I told you I was into trees! Trees and leaves! For this piece I started painting, very wet, with watercolor. After the painting dried (a little) I went back and added more color and some leaf shapes. When that was completely dry, I started drawing, in ink, the shapes of the leaves and the lines of the bark. Then, I added more color.

I love the style of this. It is so fun to doodle in ink. You kind of go into a trance where you are half paying attention. Sometimes it takes a little bit, but eventually I find my groove. I find it helpful to add the ink while I’m watching TV!

There were a couple of parts of this piece that were bugging me, so I did a little retouching in Photoshop. I don’t normally do this. I’m a Graphic Designer and spend a lot of time using Photoshop. I prefer to keep my art “handmade,” but I loved this piece and had to fix those nagging issues.

My steps:
I need to start clamping down my paper to a board or taping it. My paper buckles and the paint puddles.

falltree1

Here’s where I added more color and the hint of leaf shapes:
falltree2a

Before computer retouching. I’ve added details in ink and more color:
falltree3

See more trees, trees and leaves!


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Spooky Tree

spookytree
I am inspired by trees lately. It makes sense since it’s¬†Fall. For this piece I¬†started out painting with watercolor. It was just the idea of a tree. Then I added the ink. My tree looked a little too squat, so I made the branches longer. Then, I went back in and added more color and the splatters. I like working square. I think it adds something.

tree1tree1a tree2