Learn how to paint an angel in watercolor. Artist Angela R. Sasser guides you through this watercolor demo on how to create an angel in six simple steps. Angelic Visions, Sasser’s first IMPACT book includes more than 20 step-by-step demonstrations on drawing and painting angelic scenes in luminous watercolor, pen+ink and colored pencil. Pre-order your copy from the North Light Shop today.
• Bonus Article: 3 Easy Steps You Can Take to Learn to Paint
Materials You’ll Need
Watercolor Pigments: Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red, Chinese White, Lemon Yellow, Cerulean Blue, Naples Yellow, Payne’s Gray, Rose Madder, Sap Green, Ultramarine Violet, Van Dyke Brown, Yellow Ochre
Other Supplies: nos. 3/0, 18/0, 2 and 4 rounds; table salt
1 Paint the Background
Lay a wash of Cerulean Blue into the background with nos. 2 and 4 rounds. While the wash is still damp, sprinkle table salt in key locations to create a sweeping starburst effect. Remember to wipe away the salt after it dries.
2 Begin Coloring the Figure
With a no. 2 round, add subtle hues to the skin, cheeks and lips with light washes of Rose Madder. Lay in touches of Cerulean Blue to the eyelids using the same brush. Apply light washes of Naples Yellow to the wings, and add Burnt Umber towards the tops to create the subtle shift in the feathers’ color. Then, add a blend of Cerulean Blue and Ultramarine Violet to the crevices of the white cloth and a touch of Lemon Yellow to the centers of the lilies.
3 Add Shadows
Still using a no. 2 round, lay in a wash of Ultramarine Violet to create shadows in the skin. Use Burnt Umber to detail the feathers in the wings and add shadows to the lily stems. Add deep shadows to the folds of the cloth in the white drapes and the sweeping lines of the hair using Payne’s Gray.
4 Apply the Midtones
With a no. 4 round, apply a diluted wash of Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Red mixed with a dab of Chinese White to the skin. If the purple shows through too much, wait for the layer to dry and apply successive layers of the Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Red mix until you reach the desired skin tone.
Using the same brush, add the midtones of the hair with Van Dyke Brown. Again, if the underpainting seems awkward, apply successive layers of the midtone color to smooth the blending. Pick out the details of the sheer shawl with Cerulean Blue, and add color to the lily stems, buds and stamens with Sap Green. Then using your no. 2 round, add a touch of shading to the lips with Burnt Umber.
5 Suggest Backlighting and Adjust Shadows
Using a no. 2 round and Light Cerulean Blue, indicate backlighting behind the figure, cloth, wings and flowers. Use the same brush loaded with Payne’s Gray to detail the lilies. Emphasize the deepest shadows in the hair and skin using Burnt Umber and a no. 3/0 round. The shadows tend to be most intense where the blue rim lighting overlaps with the shadows on the skin.
6 Outline the Main Elements and Add Finishing Touches
Make the lines of the image pop by using your no. 18/0 round to detail the main elements of the drawing. Use Payne’s Gray to outline the shawl, flowers and flowing white cloth. Pluck out the main shapes of the hair and feathers, outlining them with Burnt Umber. Continue outlining the lips with Burnt Umber to emphasize their full shape and subtle texture. Finally, finish the flowers by speckling the petals with a stippling of Burnt Umber. Add small dabs of Burnt Sienna to finish the stamens.