My 'Level Up Your Watercolours - Master Layers' class is up on Skillshare. I'm really excited about this one because it is designed for beginners to help students master the fundamental skill of watercolouring: Layers!
It is the key skill to building depth, and adding detail and definition to your watercolour illustrations.
From my experience teaching classes in person, this is the concept that is foreign to many students. So I've created a class that builds, lesson by lesson, to help you master complex layering. For the final project we paint a sea turtle.
In the class I cover: transparency, glazing, order of layers, mixing washes, negative painting, and complex layering and loads more.
Check out the preview here:
My class is hosted by Skillshare. If you haven't heard of the platform before, it is an online learning community with thousands of classes available for free to subscribers. You can sign up below and get 2 months' free membership. A great way to watch classes for free and try before you commit to any payments.
Let me know what you think!
I am excited to announce the launch of my Spring workshop series! I have four new workshops running from my home studio in Melville, Western Australia. Take one class or all four and kick-start your watercolour journey.
These classes are aimed at beginners and dabblers. All materials are supplied and classes are limited to ten adults.
Learn how to paint gorgeous soft roses and arrange them in a bouquet or wreath with a range of leaves and filler flowers. We'll cover wet-in-wet painting and simple layering which you will be able to replicate at home on greeting cards and other projects.
This popular class is back! We pack so much into this class to equip you for your next adventure. The workshop covers travelling light with journalling materials, layout ideas to add interest, ways to incorporate text and images, and when and where to journal.
Mixing colours can be a real challenge and can make painting frustrating. In this hands on workshop we cover basic colour theory in a practical way and get you well on the way to mixing cohesive colour schemes and accurate colours. You'll be so inspired and colour-confident after completing this class!
Want to give the gift of handmade this Christmas? We'll cover some easy techniques you can use to paint a swag of Christmas cards. I'll teach you ink and wash, wet in wet, layering techniques and some clever ways to replicate your design to save time.
Excited? Check out dates and more here.
If you freak out about the idea of having no idea - I'm here to help you.
I don't ever find myself with a shortage of ideas. In fact, I'm so time-poor that it is the least of my worries!
First things first...
So the first thing you should do is get an 'ideas notebook'. Keep all your notes and ideas in one place so you can dip back into it - you never know when that terrible idea might evolve into something fantastic.
Now that you have a blank notebook you need to fill it with something! Here is a process I often use.
The Pick & Mix
First, I do a brainstorm/ free word association around the prompt.
For example: Flower.
I write down everything that springs to mind for 'flower'. Write it down, even if the link is tenuous.
flowers in her hair
garden in bloom
hot house flowers
flower arranging, repotting.... the list goes on and on. And it will be different for everyone.
Here's another one:
take your medicine
ocean rhymes with potion
Some of these might already be generating vivid mental images for you. Great! Draw some quick thumbnail sketches if you want.
But why, tho?
Next, I have a think about the kinds of illustrations I might want to create. What is the purpose of this illustration/painting/print/drawing? Maybe I need some more patterns in my portfolio, or something for a greeting card with lettering. I choose one of these.
Here's a quick list:
A collection of things
A how to - instructional illustration
Something seasonal, like Valentine's or Christmas
Make a Chunky Connection
The last step is to go back to my first list and see which of these talks to me and how many ideas I can 'chunk' together. Perhaps you decide to create a how-to infographic on 'how to prepare and arrange a bouquet of spring flowers'. Or maybe you create a greeting card with lettering and a lady with sunflowers in her hair. Or a repeat pattern with gardening elements inspired by repotting plants, like pots, seedlings, a trowel, and gloves. The combinations are endless!
You can see from my second list that a whole pile of these ended up in the final painting: an ocean potion in a cork stoppered bottle with moonlight and stars.
If there are any on-trend colours or trends (like crystals, flamingos, indoor plants) you can consider which of these might also fit your brief and your concept.
The birth of an idea
After I complete this brainstorm process, then I'll likely start a Pinterest board to group reference images, colour ideas, and research.
My last step is to start sketching thumbnails to develop and refine the composition of my illustration.
Not all of your ideas will be good ones and you'll probably have some good ones that you don't get to birth. But at least you won't be short of them! Keep all your planning and ideas in your notebook to refer to down the track. Sometimes a different state of mind spawns a whole new perspective.
Let me know if this process helps you! If you have another process you like to use, why not share it in the comments? Happy designing!
Hey there! It's been a while. You know how it is. Keeping all the balls in the air and trying to have a social media presence is just too much sometimes.
After having a month long break from social media, I spent the last week having a lovely time painting new illustrations for an instagram art challenge 'Mystic Sun Week'. A bunch of great artists were involved and it was a nice chance to work to a deadline on something totally different. Each day had a different prompt to spark an illustration and everyone tagged their posts with #mysticsunweek.
1. Increase in Engagement
The insta algorithm shows 'interesting' content to more viewers. Higher engagement = interesting. So the more people that are liking and commenting on your post, the more people will actually see your posts. After a long break from insta, my engagement was non-existent. So taking part in a challenge was a great way to boost this engagement. All the participants used the same hashtag, and then would follow that hashtag to explore all the new work being created. So an online challenge means an engaged, captive audience!
2. Build your Portfolio
This online challenge ticked a couple of boxes for me. I loved the theme, plus it enabled me to get back onto instagram AND create some new work for my portfolio. I'll also make prints of my favourites to stock my Etsy shop. You could even pop your new work on Society6, RedBubble or another print on demand site.
You could create unrelated illustrations, or choose a colour scheme or motif to carry through the whole week so that you have a cohesive collection at the end!
3. Beat the Procrastination
I've had the best of intentions with the 100 days project over the last couple of years, but I don't think it is actually feasible for me at the moment with 2 young kids, juggling work and a side hustle - it just doesn't even make it onto my list of to-dos most days.
However, an online challenge that lasts a week is achievable for anyone if you have a bit of lead time. We are all prone to procrastination but done is better than perfect! A week long challenge is a great kick in the pants to just bang out some work and not be too precious or torn about what you create. It is really liberating! Plus posting every day keeps you accountable - you have to meet that deadline.
4. Connect with a Creative Community
A challenge is such a fab opportunity to connect with other artists, receive feedback about your work AND discover other artists you love! If you are lucky you even generate work from someone new seeing what you create. I often had a couple of colour variations for one project and would ask my audience which they preferred. This gave me some really useful feedback and meant my whole audience could share their opinion and vote.
5. Yoga for your Brain - Stretch Yourself
Most people would argue that it is heaps easier to create artwork about what you are loving right now. But what about when a client wants something that just doesn't float your boat? If you can get excited about it, you are likely to produce much stronger work.
Online challenge prompts a usually fairly broad. For Mystic Sun Week they were: Flower, Goddess, Sun Bath, Flourish, Fruit, Animal, Festivities. It's a pretty open brief, but you still have to come up with an idea that fits. This is great practise for client work, or those commissions. It keeps you agile and make you work outside of your comfort zone.
Generating New Ideas...
âIf you freak out about the idea of having no idea - I'm here to help you.
In my next post, I'll share my process for generating loads of fresh ideas. Catch you then.
Join me and learn how to combine watercolour and gouache to illustrate an opulent bohemian bungalow!
You can watch it for free with this link.
Gouache is a versatile, water-based medium that has enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity. It has a lovely opaque, velvety quality and is perfect for augmenting your watercolour paintings.
I created this class because I used to find gouache kind of mysterious. I loved the look it produced, but what was it? And how do you use it? Plus, I had heaps of watercolours, so I didn’t want to go out and buy a whole new range of paints…
So I came up with 3 techniques that will give you the confidence to paint with gouache AND seamlessly combine gouache and watercolour in your artwork!
This class is for beginner painters through to experienced watercolourists who are new to gouache and want to expand their portfolio. You will add a range of techniques to your quiver and learn to plan your painting with confidence!
You’ll start to look at your paints in a whole new way!
I’ll teach you a range of techniques before we embark on our final project where we put it all together!
The lessons will cover:
Head over to Skillshare with my link and you can enjoy free access to my class plus thousands of others for two months.
WELCOME TO MERMAiD'S COiN
Surf Artist, Hannah Katarski is based in Fremantle, Western Australia. She creates ocean-inspired art that is bohemian, retro and fun.