Painting a dreamcatcher with watercolors

Painting a dreamcatcher with watercolors

Today we’re going to be painting a dreamcatcher
in watercolors ! And I’m going to show you step by step, how
to paint the wooden wreath, the autumn leaves and the trees, to create this beautiful watercolor
dreamcatcher with just one watercolor technique! I’m also going to show you how I sketched
this piece so you can create more variations of this dreamcatcher, even if you don’t feel
comfortable with drawing. I was able to get this painting done in around
one hour, painting without rush nor stress, so if you’re in for some fun or for a relaxing
painting session, go ahead and join me for this watercolor dreamcatcher tutorial !
Hey, this is Francoise and if this is your first time here, welcome to my channel !
So let’s get started with the sketching part ! But first, you might want to grab your watercolor
paper, a pencil and an eraser. I’m using a cold pressed watercolor paper
by Arches because it’s my favorite thing to work with right now, but any hot pressed or
cold pressed watercolor paper will do just fine here. Mine has a bit of a grainy tooth
because it’s cold pressed, but since we’ll be working wet on dry throughout the whole
tutorial and not using loads of water, a smooth surface like hot pressed paper will work just
as well ! I have a 10 by 14 inches pad that I use for a lot of my projects, and here I
just split one page in half to paint this piece.
When it comes to drawing, as you can see from what I’m doing here, I created simple shapes
for the whole piece. A circle for the wreath, I just used a glass to trace it, and simple
shapes for the feathers, or fall leaves. I’ll call the latter fall leaves because that’s
what I wanted to create, but you can customize them to look more like feathers if you want !
To rock the sketching part, there are three things to pay attention to.
The first one is not to press too hard with your pencil, just so the lines don’t show
through the paint. The second one is to try and relax your grip
on the pencil when drawing the leaves, the goal here being to get nice smooth curves
to your pencil lines. Because the leaves will look less rigid and if you try it, you will
notice it’s much more fun to draw with a loose grip whenever that’s possible.
I did not draw the trees because they’re easier to make from scratch with the watercolor,
and I’ll show you how later. And I didn’t draw the flyaway leaves either because I decided
on them at the last minute ! The third element for a good sketch for this
painting is to fade those pencil lines you just made. I’m using a kneaded eraser here,
which is slightly sticky and will pick up the excess pigment from the graphite. I just
apply pressure with a piece of it and what’s great is you can mold the piece the way you
want to cover a large area or a tiny one or anything in between. And if you don’t have
this tool, you can also use your regular eraser to soften those lines. But I recommend the
kneaded eraser if you draw a lot though, it’s extremely helpful.
Now let’s get on to the painting part ! I’m using student grade watercolors from Sennelier
and a few artist grade pans from Winsor and Newton.
I also decided to work with a small brush and because natural hair fiber brushes help
with a looser watercolor style, since the hair is not as firm as the hair from synthetic
brushes, I picked a Raphael squirrel hair paintbrush. I actually tried both types for
this kind of painting and I really like the natural hair paintbrushes a lot more for this.
Whatever you have or prefer to work with, I recommend to try parts of the wreath on
a separate paper, just to get used to the grip you need to produce nice smooth and curvy
lines. But don’t worry because it doesn’t take long to practice this way, I do this
a lot and I can tell you it will really help get your skills and confidence together before
painting any piece. So I’m starting with the watercolor wreath
here since working from top to bottom and left to right is better. This way, the paint
has time to dry and it reduces chances of me smearing wet paint all over.
For this watercolor fall wreath, you’re going to need any brown paint, a dark shade is probably
best since it will bring contrast to the painting since the rest of the colors I used are lighter.
I’m using a Van Dyck Brown shade by Winsor and Newton. It’s really deep and opaque, I
just love it. There are five important steps to know about
to achieve this beautiful wreath : The first one is to get the most out of your
brown shade with a wash that’s pretty pigmented. There’s water in it as you can see here but
it’s not soaked in water and it has a bit of a creamy texture. I’d say it’s the middle
ground between too dry to paint with and too watery to get a fine stroke or good color
pigmentation. The second thing to watch for is to dip your
brush in this wash so that it soaks up a generous amount of paint. This is because we want our
strokes to look smooth, with even and clean edges. And a brush with not enough paint or
a wash that’s too dry won’t produce clean strokes. This is also why I dip my brush in
the creamy wash I made for each new stroke I paint. Even though I was careful doing that,
I still had trouble here and there and had to fix my lines to make them cleaner and this
is because at some point, my wash needed more water to work the way I just described so
this is fixable but it’s good to know about it.
The third step is to start each stroke on the circle to ensure the wreath does look
nice and round in the end. I start with the tip of my brush, and next I start applying
a bit more pressure as I go to enlarge the stroke. Then I finish with the tip again,
and as I do this,I get away from the circle to create a nice wooden twig. Then I add small
twig extensions here and there to make each one of those twigs unique and more natural
looking. The fourth step is to turn the page as you
go, I guarantee it will be much easier to follow along the circle line and produce natural
looking twigs this way. And the fifth step is to make sure each twig
is unique and the shape spontaneous so your wreath looks fun and unique rather than too
structured, which could make the painting look boring. And this is why again, I really
recommend you to try a few twigs on another piece of paper just to get the hang of how
to paint them loosely enough. Now let’s move on to the watercolor fall leaves.
I decided to use lots of fall colors here, like reds, oranges and yellows. It’s best
to get your washes ready now for these, because they’ll be useful until the end of the painting.
These are the six tips I can give you here to get nice watercolor leaves.
The first one is to prepare washes that aren’t too runny. This way, the colors have more
pigment and dry more vibrant than highly diluted colors and there’s a lot more control of the
paint. More control is actually also the reason why I’m working wet on dry here too, which
means I apply wet paint onto a dry surface. And this is my second tip for beautiful and
vibrant leaves. With the wet on dry technique, I have more control, I mix my own colors on
paper if I want to, I choose which shade goes where, when with the other popular watercolor
technique, wet on wet, colors spread out and mix up on their own. There’s less control.
And for me I found it was a problem on a small surfaces, like it is the case here. With wet
on wet and very little room to work color fusion to my advantage, i got less definition
and I ended up having to add more layers or rework each area of my leaves several times.
So wet on wet works for this as well, it’s just a little harder in my opinion since those
leaves are tiny. Now for the wet on dry, what I do here is
I pick up each of my colors one after the other and I let them sit by each other, blending
some parts together to create a gradient. My third tip when doing just that is to work
from light to dark, and you’ll notice I didn’t necessarily do this,because I realized I should
have while actually filming the video. This is because from light to dark, so let’s say,
yellows first, then oranges then reds, you won’t have to clean up your brush each time
you switch colors. Your yellows won’t easily stain the reds on your brush, but the reds
will affect yellows. It really is a time saver to go from light to dark here.
The fourth tip is to vary the spots you’re dropping your shades at, just so all the leaves
don’t look exactly the same, unless this is what you prefer to do. I chose to keep red
to a minimum in my leaves to make sure yellows and oranges were the dominant shades for a
typical fall look, but that’s just my personal preference. I love this dreamcatcher project
because there are endless ways to customize the painting, to any season or occasion !
The fifth tip for a great painting experience with those leaves is to paint leaves that
touch separetely, wait for the first one to dry completely before painting the next one.
This is because if you don’t, both will start bleeding into each other and there will be
no definition. The sixth and final tip for these is to let
everything dry, then start on the cords the leaves are attached to. To draw those cords,
I used the same brush, to a fine tip and I used Van dyck brown as well like for the watercolor
wreath. The huge difference with the wreath is that not only did I dip my brush in my
brown wash slightly this time, but I also dabbed it onto the cloth I use to soak up
excess paint or water from my paintbrushes. So this time, our brush needs to be fairly
dry. You will see by trying this that the excess water goes away and the line you trace
is much thinner. This is because again, less water means more control on what you’re doing
but also more detail. If you’re unsure about how your cords may turn out, again, try this
out on a separate sheet of paper. Make tests before dabbing your brush on your cloth or
paper towel and afterwards just to see how different your cords are.
Before we get to the trees, we need to make sure everything is completely dry. If not,
you may smear some paint from the cords with your wrist while working on the trees and
trust me it’s upsetting when that happens. I always dread this so to make sure my painting
was dry, I used a hair drier on low. Five tips for the trees.
First, get another brush ready. It doesn’t matter what type of brush it is or if it’s
a bigger brush as long as it’s not too big. It just needs to be very clean and wet. This
is because after drawing the first tree, we’re going to fade the bottom of it with clean
water and take advantage of doing this to wet the bottom part of this area of the wreath.
Second, we’re working here with the same exact colors we used for the leaves, only they don’t
need to be as saturated. These cover more surface so it will be fun creating contrast
by adding saturated touches here and there afterwards.
What’s best is to keep your saturated washes intact since we’ll use them. What you can
do to get a lighter wash for each of those directly from what’s already available is
to get some of the more saturated wash we made for the leaves onto your brush, then
dip the brush briefly into your water jar, this will get more water into the mix, then
gently squeeze the brush onto the side of the jar just to make sure it’s not soaked
because we only want to tone down the color, we don’t want too light or too watery of a
wash to work with. From there you will see the color you apply
on your paper is a bit less saturated than the original wash was. If you’re not familiar
with this technique, try it out, it’s very effective to fade colors directly from the
jar when you don’t want to ruin a whole wash with a bunch of extra water.
Third, let’s paint the trees. Start from left to right if you’re right handed, I used two
colors here but again this is entirely customizable. I start the tip of each tree with the tip
of my brush and make irregular lines as I go down. The more I go, the least I use the
tip of my brush and the more I press on it to cover more ground and get thicker lines.
I manage to have control of my lines because as I said before, I just added a bit of water
to my original washes, not loads. If you have a hard time getting thin lines in when you
start a tree, it’s probably that you have too much water in the brush. All you need
to do is squeeze your brush against your jar to get rid of the excess.
Fourth, it’s time to use the second brush. We don’t want our tree to start drying and
leave a nasty line as we’re cleaning out our small brush to fade the bottom, this is why
I found that having another brush nearby to do the job is a cool trick to beat how fast
watercolor can dry sometimes. I quickly fade the bottom of the tree by starting
far away from where the color I applied sits and I move upwards towards the tree. I decided
to cover the whole bottom of the wreath with water, even the small areas between twigs.
My second brush was wet enough that I knew I’d have time to paint all the trees without
the paper drying. Just be careful when wetting the areas by
the wreath not to get the twigs wet, otherwise, any color from the trees that spreads towards
them will stain them and worst case scenerio, ruin how clean they look. If you make sure
the wreath itself remains untouched, the paint will just stop wherever the water does. It
may not look easy but if you have enough water on that second brush, you will have time to
do this and still make the rest of the trees afterwards.
Fifth tip, after dropping that lighter wash of paint for the trees, I decided to add a
bit of color by reusing the saturated washes I had made for the leaves. If the paper is
still wet, then the paint should be spreading around, leaving no harsh lines.
If not, be careful not to add water to try and fix this or you may get blooms and that
will affect the look of your trees. If you don’t know what blooms are, check out the
video up here and in the description where I talk about water control.
After finishing the trees, I added some flyaway leaves here and there since I felt something
was missing. For those, I did the same as what I had done
with the others. Again it’s important to make sure not to smear
any wet paint, so it’s best to work from top to bottom and left to right if you are right
handed. That’s it for this dreamcatcher watercolor
painting, i hope you enjoyed it, so if you did, let me know in the comments below, give
this video a thumbs up and share it with your friends. And also, don’t forget to subscribe
and hit the notification bell to watch my upcoming watercolor paintings. See you next
time !

One Comment

  • Blayac Fine Art says:

    Thanks for joining me on this dreamcatcher tutorial! Any specific theme you would enjoy learning about in the future for dreamcatchers?

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