Fall Birch Tree Q Tip Painting Technique for BEGINNERS EASY Acrylic Painting

Fall Birch Tree Q Tip Painting Technique for BEGINNERS EASY Acrylic Painting

Hi! I'm Cinnamon Cooney, your Art Sherpa, and today I’m so excited to show you how you can paint this awesome fall tree, right here.

This is a fall birch tree blowing in the wind.

I'm gonna show you how to create blended acrylic backgrounds.

I'm gonna show you how you can make better tree branches, even if you are brand new to painting and improve your grass technique.

We’re not gonna take a lot of your time.

It’s gonna be a lot of fun.

So get your paint, get your brushes come back and meet me at the easel right now.

We’re gonna paint this! So the first step in creating this fabulous fall tree, is painting in a solid teal background.

It's pretty easy to do, it gets your familiar with the colour mixing your gonna have Let me show you how your gonna do that! So I have my blue, and my green, and my white paint, and I’m gonna take my large # 10 bright brush and I’m gonna mix equal parts of my blue and my green together with a smidge, a small amount of white.

I do that by working the edge of the brush and being super careful I'm gonna brush this colour back and forth across the canvas.

Covering all of the white canvas with this paint! It doesn’t have to be perfect.

It doesn’t all have to be uniform colour, it just needs to be our basic aqua! And then I’m gonna let it dry completely! This is going to get me set up for the foundation of what I’m gonna be doing on my blended back ground.

Now listen, before we do our blended background, there's a couple techniques and methods that I just have to show you so you can be successful.

You absolutely can do soft blending with acrylics! But, the trick is understanding how to do wet into wet, using your brush to feather edges together.

So let me demo this technique with you.


So I’ve got my green and my blue and I’m mixing them together to make my background colour.

I’m adding a little bit of white.

And I’m gonna show you how I work very quickly putting out the colour.

I’m gonna get a little white and I’m gonna blend.

See I’m dusting back and forth, my brush pressure is very light.

My paint is wet! Im gonna wipe off my brush, this is my bright, it has a nice feathered edge.

I’m gonna get all the paint out of it! We’re gonna zoom in and really look at this right now.

And i’m gonna very softly, just like a butterfly wing, dust over the top of my painting, blending those wet edges together, where the two colours are still not dry They can be still blended, just very lightly, wet into wet, blushing over them Now I’m gonna make one of the purples that were gonna use in the painting, which is, my magenta and my purple.

And you can see I'm dusting back and forth, the teal, the aqua, is still wet.

and where those two colour fields come together, they blend better.

But I’m gonna take the extra step of using my towel, drying the paint out of my brush, and can you see how I’m coming and I’m feathering? Think of a feather! Think of a soft dusting effect, right! I’m putting those seams together by going gently over the top feathering back and forth You can see I’m using just the edge, the edge of my bristles.

Back and forth, wiping my brush out often.

If this is challenging for me I might need to have another clean dry brush Now the other thing that might happen to you, when your painting this painting, is that your paint does dry before your able to blend wet into wet! So let me show what happens when you accidentally get dry paint.

Oh no! My paint is dried! How do I fix it? Well, how I fix it is I go back and I mix my aqua colour again.

using my blue, using my green, and my white I'm gonna make them again! I’m gonna come over the top, and you’re gonna see that blends into the colour behind it.

And I get softly feathering over the top.

Then I’m gonna come in, take my purple and magenta and white, and come in on the edge, and you can see that I can go right back and create that soft edge, blending the colours back into themselves, and the new wet colours into each other.

Now, if that doesn’t work with my brush, I came back with a dry brush.

You see, that was a clean dry brush and I am feathering over the top of that So if you’re finding its not enough to wipe the towel, use a dry brush.

Now lets paint in, the beginning layer, the smokey fun background of this painting, that makes it so gorgeous.

Let's get this stormy day painted in! So let me show you how we paint in the second layer of the background.

We’re gonna use all those blending techniques that I just showed you.

We’re going to create a nice aqua top, and then a beautiful smokey purple that blends up into it.

So let's do that together right now! You can see that I have my green, my blue, my white, my purple, and my magenta out.

Im gonna start by taking my #10 bright, I’m going to dip it in water, drag off the extra water, and mix together equal amounts of my blue and green, to start doing to darker, upper part of the canvas.

So I’m in the upper right, moving over towards the left, very quickly, brushing this aqua over my underpainting.

See me mixing it again, reloading my brush and brushing that out.

So, you can totally tell why it was super helpful to have an underpainting right now, cause its gonna give it, that nice finished look.

I'm just adding a little bit of white to my brush Not a lot, just a scotch.

I wanna lighten up this next section, and I’m blending that along.

I’m trying to work quickly enough, so that the darker aqua, and the new lighter mixed with white is bendable.

See how I’m blending them right on the edge of the brush, I'm blending those together, I’m wiping off the extra paint, And I’m getting that soft effect.

It's just about kind of about putting a little hustle in your bustle, and having some fun while your mixing this.

Now, I’m gonna add one more lighter layer See, I’m adding a little more white into it, and coming along the bottom.

And I’m just lightening that up, so there is a nice seam for the next section.

I've grabbed a new brush, and I'm ready to go! So let’s add the purple part to our atmospheric sky! I'm getting my brush wet and I’m gonna take my dark purple and my magenta, and I’m gonna mix them together.

A little more magenta than purple.

And before the aqua is dry, I’m gonna brush it over into the right side.

Im gonna take it up into the still wet aqua sky above it, and I’m gonna be blending it.

Now, Im gonna take a dry brush, wipe off any extra pigment, and I’m gonna feather those two seams together and it's gonna create a very soft atmospheric effect, that you’re really gonna like! That's how I’m gonna get that.

As I’m going, I’m noticing that things are starting to dry out over to the left.

And thats where fixing a dry spot comes in.

I'm gonna mix a little more of the aqua and I’m gonna put it above where I know I’m adding my dark purple.

So see I’m adding that back, so its gonna give me a nice soft blend I'm gonna rinse off my brush, come back and get some of my blue, add it into my purple, thats gonna make a cooler purple.

I'm putting that on the lower left side, I am feathering that up into the now newly wet sky above it.

So see how I’m taking that up and since those are both wet, I’m gonna be able to come through, as I brush that in and start to blend it.

This is soft pressure on the edge of my brush.

Blending these two seams together, you can see me just feathering them together.

Im just feathering them in, and thats gonna give me that nice, smokey effect that I’m looking for.

That cloudy, foggy effect! Now, I’ve just added a little white into my purple.

I haven’t rinsed my brush, and you can see that I’m brushing between the aqua and the purple with this light purple mixture.

I am feathering I am going quickly before the paint dries.

I’m making sure I’m getting soft edges, and I’m softening those edges, by again, dusting over the top very gently with my brush, blending those two wet edges together.

And you can see this starts to give me this really gorgeous effect! So now I’m gonna show you how to draw in the scene, Using chalk.

This is regular chalk, that you get for chalk board, or kids chalk.

But of course, on my website I have a traceable and you’re welcome to use that.

Its free! It's available to you.

And either method of blocking in the tree is perfectly acceptable.

But let me show you how I laid in my tree, with just my kids chalk.

To make things easier, I’ve sharpened my chalk, with a, just regular sharpener, so it has a point.

And I’m drawing a curved circle in the upper left, and then in the lower left I’m bringing down my mountain.

See, thats a couple inches and then it winds down.

This center line, is the centre of my tree, its the longest point of the branches blowing out.

And this is going to be the swirl of leaves.

I'm gonna draw a little swirl.

Now, I didn’t really like how it was going, so I’m erasing it! You can see how easy it is to erase chalk, over a dry canvas.

Its super easy, like there is my finger erasing it.

So I’m gonna come back and as I'm changing my mind I just go back with my slightly damp brush I erase it and I draw it in as it pleases me.

And thats something that I want you to do, just do it as it pleases you! So i'm gonna continue drawing these flowing branches out.

They are all gonna be a little shorter than the longest main branch.

They’re gonna veer off from each other and I’m just creating a shape that's super pleasing to me that I’m gonna be able to follow in a minute with my q-tips.

I'm gonna use the curve of my main branch to make my trunk, which comes down and joins the hill below it and that's gonna give me all the information that I need to draw my tree.

I'm gonna show you some of my Sherpa methodology for q-tip painting.

At this point I’ve done so many q-tip paintings that I kind of have my own way of doing it, and here are some things that I want you to do.

Be sure and bunch together bunches of 4, 3, 2 and single q-tips, before you begin the project! Because if you get a bunch of little hairs on your q-tips, you’re gonna wanna be able to switch those out.

And we're gonna start out; I’m gonna tell you the exact amount of q-tips in each bunch let me show you how I paint this in.

So I have my warm red, my yellow, and my dark magenta, and I put those out.

I’m gonna get a bunch of 4 q-tips, 3 q-tips, 2 q-tips and 1 q-tips.

I'm gonna pick up my 4 q-tips, and I’m gonna dip into my warm red and my magenta together.

Right so I’m gonna coat those up nicely, where I’m happy and I’m gonna start dabbing those in.

I'm gonna come back and I’m going to imagine that the sunlight is over my tree, and I’m gonna make my shadows first! As you see, I’m kind of turning the q-tips in my hand, helping myself make an irregular pattern, so these can start to feel like little leaves, blowing in the wind.

I’m gonna come to the underside of the line that I put in, and that's gonna be the shadow of each branch.

And I’m gonna make sure that I have a deep shadow, in the heart of the tree.

That's where most of the leaves would be, right.

So I want that to have the most coverage and the deepest darkest colour.

Now there's really no wrong way to do this, and everybody’s tree is going to be maybe a slightly different colour of fall.

But, this is really about just going back and making sure that you’re using this as your darkest value, it''s why I have two reds! Now I’m gonna get a bunch of 3 q-tips together, and I’m actually gonna put in the lightest part of my tree.

Which is a smidge of the warm red, and a lot of the yellow.

I'm gonna come at the end and you can see like, i'm super delicate with those 3 q-tips, and I’m making a very tapered little whispy edge here with them as I’m dabbing them down.

Have a lot of fun with this, and remember you can go back and do layers, if you’re not getting great coverage with your yellow.

So I’m just dabbing in.

Every once and a while, a little more of the red and then a little less Trying to create the feeling of dappled sunlight on my tree.

So here I am on the edge again, blowing those little whispy bits out.

You can see that I’m coming along the tops of those branches that I drew out.

That's where the sunlight would be hitting, and allowing the dark value that I first put in, to be the shadow.

I'll come back, you can see with more saturated bits of yellow, and sometimes it blended into a little bit more orange.

Now, as I’m going along you can see I’m coming along, you can see I'm coming along, making sure the back side of my tree is a little bit lit.

And now I’ve starting to make a darker orange.

So this time my mixture is a little more orange than yellow, and you can see I’m creating this mid tone.

So now the main body of the tree has this sort of rich red, and yellow in it.

And I really like that because I feel like it starts to give the tree shape, but I'm continuing, remembering where the tops of my tree are.

Now if like, and you can see I just got new q-tips, if your q-tips are getting hairy, change out those tips, right! And so I’m leaving a lot of the dark value, remember if you overdo any colour, you can just go back with the colour that you erased! It works perfectly fine and you can keep changing shapes.

You can see that I come out a little bit and make some different little wiggly bits.

Now I’m gonna take my 2 q-tips and do my swirl.

the thing to remember about your swirl is, try not to make an even pattern.

Hit one side of the q-tip harder or be lighter.

Make some that are more yellow some that are more orange.

Don’t worry about that chalk because as soon as this paint is dry, I can take a wet brush and erase it! For everybody that is new at painting, tree branches and tree trunks and all of that is super frustrating.

So I wanted to demo.

Here's how you can be more successful at doing your tree branches and get them more fiddly and more willowy! How hard we press down with our brush, how much energy we put through our arm, into the canvas, creates the thickness of our line.

I'm gonna press down with my brush really hard, See how thick that line is? That isn’t very elegant and that's not gonna feel like a fiddly brush, And you can see the bend! See that bend there on my finger? That's too much pressure! You want to be just on the tip of the brush.

So when you’re making branches you’re gonna want to use the lightest possible pressure, and as your stroke finishes you’re gonna wanna lighten it, so that the line gets ever thinner! When you’re adding more branches you wanna make sure that they're thinner than the branches that they're attached to.

So at the beginning of my stroke there is more pressure, and as my stroke finishes there is less pressure.

And this is gonna help me get fiddlier, more delicate bits of branches, and that is how that's done! So, now that you know how to get a finer line with the tip of your brush, by lightening up your pressure, let me show you how I paint in the trunk and all the branches, and get that super birchy look! My colours for the rest of the painting are going to be my black, my warm red, my brown, my yellow ochre, and my white.

I'm dipping my brush in my black and I’m gonna start using my chalk line to help guide in my tree trunk.

The important thing I’m going to remember, is that my tree trunk needs to be thicker at its thickest point as it meets the ground.

And ever thinner as it comes up and joins the tree So I’m gonna be very slowly adding to that trunk.

It's so much easier to add paint and so much harder to take it away! So be sure that you are just a little but timid as you're thickening your trunk and remember that it's gotta be thinner as it goes up into the tree.

Now I'm gonna use my wonderful blowing tree branches to guide my next lines.

I’m gonna be using a very soft pressure, and I’m gonna remember that it's gotta be the thinnest at the furthest reaches of the tree.

You can see me bending out little willowy lines like I showed you in the demo, taking a nice curved line down each branch.

Each of these q-tip blown out branches, is going to have a little bit of my dark branch on the inside that it's hanging on, right? I'm winding out lines like they're rivers, I'm working the tip of my brush and I’m using the same principle, It's easier to thicken a line than to thin it! So you can always go back and thicken a branch, it's hard to make one thinner and they should all be thinner than the one that they are attached to! You can always put whispy little bits, and remember, there's not like, a wrong tree, or a wrong way to paint a tree, this is about your tree.

So, I’m gonna also come down and I’m gonna paint in the hill that my tree is growing out of, with black.

This is going to give me a deep value that I can paint on top of.

So for this next part I’m gonna show you how to use dry brushing to create a birch effect.

A dry brushing effect means that, I’m not going to add any water to my brush its just gonna have paint on it.

To help me I’m also gonna use a scruffy, rough, natural bristle brush, and that's gonna really help me nail down this effect.

Let me show you how you can do it.

So now I have my paint colours.

Im gonna get one of my scruffier brushes.

This is a natural bristle brush.

A # 4 bright, in fact.

You can find that information in the description below.

And I'm gonna load it with a light grey.

This brush is not wet at all, its all dry.

You can see me tapping off on my pallet, to get off any extra paint, and I’m positioning my canvas to make this brush stroke easy.

I'm going to very carefully and so lightly, so lightly, just barely over the top of my canvas touch it with this bristle brush.

Which is going to give me this scratchy, dry brush effect.

And that effect when it's all done, Is I stroke from each side of the trunk, very carefully, In the centre.


And I’m only gonna do the thickest part of my trunks.

I'm not gonna do every branch.

I'm just gonna to do the ones that are thick enough to have this effect on it.

So you can see I’m coming down this little side branch and I’m just very carefully in the centre creating this effect.

So you don’t even have to paint the entire branch to get this.

For that thin part I’m just tapping the edge of my brush to create the little highlight, right.

So the brush is dry, it's a little scratchy, the paint is heavy bodied on it.

This wouldn’t work as well with craft paint, right? This is definitely something that works better with a heavy body paint.

But, if you did have craft paint, I would take the extra step of wiping my brush off on a towel.

Now I’ve added a little white onto my brush.

And I’m gonna add just a brighter highlight down the centre of my main trunk.

And that's gonna help pop and feel even bircher! Now, finally, were gonna add some grass.

But I wanna show you how you can get even better grass than you might be getting already, and start to get some of those gestural blowing blades of grass going.

So let me show you some techniques to improve your grass today.

So I have this same brush that I used for the tree, and I’m gonna show you what most people do.

They press a little too hard! Can you see the bend on the tip of my brush? And it creates almost like a, hedge or a mowed effect.

I wanna back up and lighten my stroke and I wanna curve it a little bit too.

So at the beginning of my stroke, you can see I press a little bit and as I finish it I flick it.

I flick it a little bit! Also notice that some of the blades I'm curving to the left and some of the blades I’m curving to the right.

And, I’m just working the tip, tiny tiny tip of my brush, and that is how I get a grassier grass.

Just a little flick curving to the right, curving to the left, and then coming and bringing it down.

So you can do the brush stroke up, you can do the brush stroke down.

But it's really about creating this like, rhythm and implied flow, so you can get that grass effect.

Alright! Let's take those techniques we just learned and start applying them to the last part of our painting, which is our grassy fall hill.

This is gonna be dry grass.

It's gonna be in those fall colours, and were gonna use those lines we just learned how to do, to make it seem like the wind is blowing through our grass.

Are you ready? So I’m gonna take my round brush I’m gonna dip it in the water.

I'm going to not actually drag off too much of the extra water, because I’m gonna mix together my brown and my black, ok.

So this is gonna improve the flow of my paint a little bit, because it's heavy body so I need to thin it just a titch, to get that nice brush stroke I just demoed to you.

And I’m gonna start doing the flick! The first of the flicks I’m going to vary the length of my strokes, some of them are going to be to the right, some of them are going to be to the left.

I'm gonna definitely press the hardest at the beginning of my stoke, and lighten as I come out.

Some of them I’m gonna grow way out.

So just imagine that your grass is growing at different heights, all through your hill right? Because things don’t grow at the same rate! I'm gonna fill in this little hole that I’ve left here.

I left that hole so I can be very, very gestural with my grass.

Now I’m gonna continue to paint down my hill with this deep, deep dark brown grass.

This is my dried out rich grass, where the dark green has started to turn to brown, and it's gonna create kind of an anchor for all my highlights, to make this feel really delicate.

Its really easy to do, but it's a nice touch! Now I’m gonna sit there and take my brown, same thing thinning a little bit with water, and I’m going to add it to my yellow ochre.

This is going to be my next mid tone of grass, right.

So one of the things I do is I like to roll off and get all of the paint to the tip of my brush, and I’m just coming along the tops of my grass making a different layer.

These strokes may not all go the same direction as the dark strokes.

I'm not trying to paint on top of them, I’m trying to paint another layer, another space of grass on this flat picture plane.

So this is another space, so I’m kind of following the wind But I’m not following every blade if that makes sense.

And you can see me I’m just taking this all the way down the edge of the canvas.

Now I’m gonna rinse out my brush and I’m gonna come and I’m gonna create my bright orange highlight.

I think this is what give the grass pop, personally.

And I’m mixing my ochre and my orange together, but there's about the be a boo-boo pretty soon! So here I am I’m mixing it, oh, there it is, theres the boo-boo.

So sometimes that will happen when you get excitedly mixing! I'm gonna rinse out my brush, get all the black out of it, because I don’t want any of that colour.

And I just took my yellow ochre to my red and I’m mixing it up again.

Now i’m gonna come along just the tops again, of my grass, creating this sort of red, rustic fall highlight.

Look at that go! I’m not trying to paint directly over every brush stroke I’ve already made, I'm trying to pay attention to the brush strokes that I’ve already made.

And I add just a little bit, I don’t paint the whole thing solid red.

So now that I’m painting is finished, I’m gonna sign it and the thing that I want to say to you about signatures is that they are part of your painting, right.

So just consider that.

You know, it doesn’t really matter like, how flourishy your signature is, or how big it is.

But is has to fit into the painting.

So in this particular case, I’m gonna grab a little of my warm red and I’m going to use it to sign my name, in the corner where my leaves are blowing.

So let me show you how I do that! Now that we’ve come to the end of our time together, it's time to sign our painting.

That's the finishing part of a painting.

And the one last thought i'd like to leave you with is think about your signature as part of the composition of your art.

So however you do it, realize that when you’re looking at it, you’re going to be looking at your signature too, not just the leaves.

I'm using red so that I will enjoy looking at my signature at the end of this.

Listen, I had a great time with you today and I hope you’re super proud of the painting you were able to create.

I can’t wait to see it on social media.

Definitely share your art with me.

Be sure to be very forgiving and kind to yourself when you’re being creative.

Be good to yourself, be good to each other! And I wanna see you at the easel really soon, Buh-bye! [Ending credits].

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