Hey there, this is Françoise, welcome back
to my channel ! So today I’m going to show you how to paint christmas watercolor puppies
in snow ! This is a step by step watercolor tutorial
and the drawing I made is also available in the description for you to download if you
need it, so you can follow along real easily. The first thing I did here was to transfer
onto transfer paper a drawing I created with the help of a few puppies reference pictures.
If you want to print my template, you can transfer it the same way, from transfer paper
to watercolor paper. I’m using Arches cold pressed watercolor paper.
It has a bit of a texture and it’s a 100% cotton paper that’s really good for wet on
wet work and layers, which are exactly the techniques I’m using here today. I’ll link
all the supplies I’m using in the description if you want to have a look !
What I’m making here are watercolor christmas bookmarks on a 6 by 8 inches sheet, this is
why I’m using masking tape to get clean edges and a nice separation between the three of
them. If you prefer, you can customize the size also and make a watercolor christmas
card ! Now that’s done I’m going to use some masking
fluid to mask off the dogs and snow. I’m doing this because I want to paint the sky wet on
wet then make splatters for snow over the top. And if I don’t mask the dogs, some of
the sky may alter my drawing and that’s a problem here since the watercolor huskies
are going to be lighter in color than the sky. If you don’t have masking fluid, you
can try and start your sky while outlining the dogs real carefully, but since there’s
a lot of detail to contour, you may risk some harsh lines on your sky is the paper dries
before you get a chance to do so. And finally, besides helping us with completing
the sky real fast and easily, masking everything off with the masking fluid is also going to
allow us to make splatters without worrying about the dogs and snow.
I like to use the same old brush for masking fluid and splatters, but after I’m done with
the masking fluid I make sure to clean it right away otherwise my brush may get ruined.
Masking fluid is great because if you make a mistake like I did there, you can remove
it or add more as you wish. This brand comes off pretty easily and does not leave any marks
unlike some others I have tried, but I’ve noticed it tends to erase my pencil lines !
Step number three is to wet your paper generously with a big brush, to work faster, and then
apply a few different colors to create a cool background.
What I’m doing here, now my paper seems wet enough but not dripping or full of puddles,
is to include some of my Sennelier turquoise watercolor shade and some Winsor and Newton
Payne’s gray. It doesn’t really matter which brand or brands you’re using, what counts
the most is to pick a fairly light or average color and a much darker one. Here I’m considering
the white of the paper to be my lighter color, turquoise is going to be my average color,
and Payne’s gray is going to be my darker color. The three of them are going to create
contrast. For that, first I apply a runny wash of turquoise,
then Payne’s gray and I’m careful to preserve some white areas. If you feel you have used
too much color you can lift some up with a clean and barely damp brush. The brush will
soak up the excess and you will get back to white.
I just finished my first layer, and to speed everything up I like to use a hair drier or
a heat gun to dry things off. Now I can wet my paper again and work on a
second layer. This second layer is interesting because now I already have a base, I can add
more and make my colors more saturated to add interest. I could also if I wanted too
fix any areas I’m finding too light with a saturated wash of the color of my choice.
and I mean that at this stage, you can transform your background into something completely
different, and that’s why layers are great. Notice how I applied darker shades around
the dogs. I want them to pop out of the background since they’re going to be much lighter in
color. Now I added some saturated versions of my
turquoise and Payne’s gray, it’s time for the next step !
The next step is not quite splatters yet, I started doing them because I forgot, but
first I want to take care of the antlers so my splatters don’t show through them !
For the antlers I need to trace again since I can’t see my pencil marks anymore. And I’m
using Van Dyke Brown and Gold ochre from Winsor and Newton. I’m starting the outline with
gold ochre since it’s lighter, and then I’m adding brown. The two colors don’t show as
different that much on such a small scale, but they help create nicer antlers overall
since it’s always good to use not just one solid color but at least two or more to make
things look deeper and more realistic. I try to make my brown a bit more saturated at the
base of the antlers and I’m also using a small Da Vinci round brush. Try to find a small
brush like this one that will allow you to work on details, since it’s much more difficult
to be precise and make fine lines with a bigger brush !
The fifth step here is to have fun with some splatters now. And I like to use some white
gouache to create snow flakes even though there are other ways to do it ! I find it
the prettiest and fastest and all I do is mix some water to my gouache, use a firm brush
and rub my finger on it to create splatters. Less water will make small splatters, a bit
more water will add white drops to your background. You can also rub the brush harder to create
lots of big snowflakes but be careful not to use a very runny mix or you may get huge
drops. If so get a paper tissue and soak them up quickly then try to clean the marks with
a clean damp brush. When the splatters are dry, you can remove
your masking fluid. And I use a cloth for this because it’s so much faster and also
easier with it. You can see the dogs shape now has been preserved really well.
Now I want to make my snow, and I drew some lines there to help identify the darker spots,
just so I can create the illusion of shape. I’m using some of my turquoise, Payne’s gray
and also indigo, which is pretty close to Payne’s gray just more of a very dark blue.
I’m trying to keep to similar or the same shades throughout the painting otherwise I’d
end up with a bunch of colors since I already have the dogs, the antlers and Christmas ornaments
to take care of, and the whole thing may look strange with too many colors.
So where my snow should be darker, underneath the dog’s paws and in every hollow area, I’m
going to use darker colors and really accent these with a saturated wash that I’m careful
to always fade into the whiter part of my snow. And you can tell by the way I’m not
leaving any white parts. I could have but I’m having a hard time with negative space
so I chose instead to use a highly diluted version of my colors for the lighter areas,
and I get that by adding a lot of water to fade the color into the paper smoothly.
Again here I used my Heat gun because I find it so convenient I just can’t wait anymore
for things to dry on their own, plus there’s always a chance to smear wet paint everywhere
or have another area bleed into the one you just painted, so that’s just an extra precaution
I like to take ! With this next step we’re going to paint the
christmas hat and the bow that I added to my watercolor dogs !
For the white part of the hat, again I’m keeping to the previous colors and I’m using a bit
of diluted Payne’s gray to create shape and shadow there. I want to make this area of
the hat look like it’s curvy and rounded towards the center so this area will be the lightest.
The bottom and top will be darker to suggest these are farther away from light.
For the red shade, for the hat and the bow, I’m using Winsor and Newton pans again here,
a dark red called Cadmium red,and a Scarlet Lake red that’s lighter.
I start with the darker red and I use a really saturated mix of it to get the shadows right
away. Once this is done I proceed like I did for the white parts in my painting, I fade
that darker area a bit by adding water to my brush and then I pull the color to the
rest of the hat and the more I reach the top, the more water I add just so my hat has several
shades of red. And wether it is for the hat or bow, when
I create shadow and pull color on one side, I wait a bit for things to dry before working
nearby areas otherwhise it would all bleed into each other and it would be hard to tell
where the shadow actually is. This is why I’m painting different areas in the ribbon
and then when it dries I go back and finish painting.
I decided in the end to add a second layer here to improve contrast because I thought
it looked a little bland after the first layer. Now all we need to do are the dogs. And here
I’m going to proceed like I did for my Halloween witch, and if you’d like to check that painting
out I’ll link it up here and in the description. First I’m redefining the shape of the dogs
with my pencil since that got erased with the masking fluid I have used. Then I’m applying
what I’d call my base layer, my lighter one, the one that will serve as my highlights later
on. For this one I want to include several colors, again because one solid color doesn’t
look as good. I decided to use Payne’s gray again, which is a way to remain close to the
color theme I have so far, and I use that for the lighter parts of the dog. I’m also
using those two colors I have used for the antlers, Gold ochre and Van Dyke Brown, for
the darkest parts. I’m blocking the light and dark areas with
these shades, first, wet on dry, and then after it’s dry I can start layering some more
of the same shades and little by little, each layer I’m going to add is going to help carve
the face and shape of those puppies and they will look more dimensional.
I’m careful to darken areas like the eyes and nose really good.
What I’m doing is the middle ground between loose and really realistic. I tried loose,
leaving a lot of negative space, I mean by that leaving a lot of the paper white, but
I just didn’t like it this way, and I also tried very detailed, but here it doesn’t work
for me at least because the dogs are so tiny and it’s really hard to get detail and make
it look good at the same time. I also think that for a follow along tutorial, it’s easier
to stay loose or use this technique for a more realistic look rather than going too
detailed. Anyways, the very last step here, and I’ve
got to give credit to another youtuber for this since her video up here inspired me to
take this route, is to cover those bookmarks with a varnish for watercolor paintings and
sprinkle some glitter on top of it while it’s still wet, if you think you’d like the look !
I must say I find it pretty awesome for DIY watercolor Christmas gifts ! Let me know
what you think in the comments below ! We’re done with these cute watercolor puppies
in snow so if you liked this video, let me know in the comments below, give it a thumbs
up and share it with your friends. Also, don’t forget to subscribe and hit the notification
bell to learn more watercolor techniques and get more watercolor christmas cards and gifts
ideas, so see you in the next video!