Skip to main content

Color Fundamentals

Lesson 17 of 22

Demo: Sketch Object onto Watercolor

Mary Jane Begin

Color Fundamentals

Mary Jane Begin

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

17. Demo: Sketch Object onto Watercolor

Lesson Info

Demo: Sketch Object onto Watercolor

I'm laying down white tape over my masking tape. It's called Artist's White Tape, and it's really useful because again you wanna see the edges of your picture, you don't want that to disappear. If it disappears you don't know what's your quantity of colors are, or where your composition is. And composition is queen. I could say king, but it's queen. It's really the most important thing is how are you composing this picture, how are you putting the shapes, the elements together. Now, I'm gonna pull that picture of our pepper from before, the black and white. 'Cause I kinda wanna follow a similar composition. So if we have that, I can guess at it. I think it's, I did the two-thirds rule. One, two, three... Yeah! Thank you. So I'll use that as my guide for composition, just so I make sure I'm in the right zone. I'll put the tape there so it's down, okay. So it goes about, mmm, kinda two-thirds up is where I land my shape, maybe it's a little higher, maybe up here. And then here. It doesn'...

t have to be exact, I'm just doing this for teaching purposes. I wanna make sure we're in the zone. I'm going to look at the pepper, as well as the one that I've drawn. Let's see, I think the shape lands somewhere around here. And again, I'm trying to keep the balance, space between object and an edge kinda similar to what I did before. And this is just an overall shape that I'm doing for the form of the pepper. I'm looking, again, I'm looking at the pepper that's sitting over there. And I'm also looking at pepper that I've already composed. Okay, so there's a big bump there. And the pencil again, this is just a linear guide. It's there to help me see the structural form before I start using the color to give us an idea of shape. I'm kinda identifying my, mmm, those crease-lines on the the pepper. Make sure it's... Have I made the pepper smaller? Ah, it's about right. The shape is... The seam in the center, this center section is pretty large. So I'm trying to make sure that I've established a similar ratio relationship. I'll make that a little bit bigger. Okay... Now, these lines will disappear once I start laying in color. But I really wanna make sure that I have a little bit of a guideline. And there's that beautiful little green, little stumpy thing that actually is already the right color, because the ground is green. Okay, so now, I'll establish that purple surface again.

Class Description

This class will give you an overview of color principles and demonstrate how to apply them. Instructor Mary Jane Begin is an award-winning illustrator and author of children’s picture books, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate and professor in the Illustration Department. 

In this class she covers: 
  • The elements of color, including value, temperature, saturation, hierarchy, complements, light, harmony, and contrast 
  • The use of color complements in image making 
  • The relationship of color to the medium and expression 

Through a series of demonstrations, you’ll learn how to work with color and ultimately make better color decisions. This class covers color theory foundations that applies to all image making, in design, art, illustration, photography, and beyond.


Anna Kotzè

I really liked the informal demonstrations and I also liked the way she set out her pallet with warm and cold colors. This was not only an informative class but inspiring. The casual and relaxed working style, encourage playfulness. Thank you for an awesome class.


I’ve had foundations in many of the color instruction that was presented here so the information was a very good revisit. I also think it was explained better in this presentation than in the other training I’ve had. I enjoyed listening to the lecture, thankfully they weren’t drawn out until you want to stop listening. The demonstration was best after we moved off the charcoal drawing (although that was interesting to watch) because using the paints really brought home to me the application some of the lessons learned. I wish that part would have been more robust so that all of the elements in the lecture could have been directly called out in the demonstration. The instructor was most effective when not trying to multitask too much. Overall, I recommend this course.

Robin B.

I had previously learned basic color theory, but this instructor took my knowledge beyond with layered instruction about value-contrast-complements-hierarchy, etc., and she does it in such a fun way with her own examples of work and great stories! I like her poise and confidence and think this series is a terrific value.