Color Fundamentals

Lesson 17/22 - Demo: Sketch Object onto Watercolor


Color Fundamentals


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.

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.


Excellent instruction! Most helpful to me in terms of establishing the focal point of an image through use of value, color harmony. Also helpful to understand transparency and opacity and how that relates to highlights and shadows. MJ is fun and likable.