My Favourite Skillshare Teachers – Part Two: Ana Victoria Calderon

Dream Pony - 72 dpiLast month I reviewed Nina Rycroft’s amazing Skillshare courses. This month I am thrilled to share how much I enjoyed Ana Victoria Calderon’s Skillshare courses. This blog is briefer, so for those of you, who are frantically busy during the Christmas/New Year’s break, this blog will be a quicker read for you than my blogs are normally.

Despite painting with watercolours for several years, I was not at all happy with how my work was looking. I read several books, but my work continued to be unsatisfactory. I found Ana on Skillshare, and loved how bright and clear her watercolour paintings were, so I thought maybe some of her skill could rub off on me…and it did!

  1. Modern Watercolor Techniques: Beginner’s Level

I figured, since I had paid a Skillshare subscription, I might as well start with her beginner watercolour course, ‘Modern Watercolor Techniques: Beginner’s Level’. This course forced me to go back to the basics, and I learnt some use tricks.

In this course, Ana explains transparency, graduation, the need for improving fine motor skill precision for tiny lines and marks, and creating texture using bleach, ink and salt.

There is no harm in advanced watercolours working through this course. It is a good reminder of basic skills, and also reveals the areas that can always be improved.

Some examples of the work done for the course:

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  1. Watercolor Mixing, Finding Your Color Identity

I loved this course. Prior to this course, colour theory was theory only to me. This course taught me how to implement colour theory. In the course Ana covered:

  1. Primary, secondary and tertiary colours.
  2. The Traditional (red, yellow, blue) and Modern (magenta, yellow, cyan) colour wheels. I was delighted Ana covered this, because my colour theory books did not, and I was fed-up with producing colours that were not vibrant. A word of warning: it is not true that you can mix ANY colour from a basic palette! I found this out the hard way. You can mix a lot of colours, but not all. Developing an understanding of the Traditional vs. Modern colour wheels takes a lot of frustration out of colour mixing.
  3. Warm and cool colours
  4. Complementary colours
  5. Analogous colours
  6. Working with lighter colours
  7. Colour temperature
  8. Monochromatic colour
  9. Intuitive colour mixing
  10. Creating a personal colour palette.

Some examples of the work done for the course:

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I became a convert to employing colour theory in my illustrations, as result of doing this colour theory course. In fact, I started experimenting and reading up on even more advanced colour theory. I find the subject fascinating and feel that many people are as confused as I was, and colour theory really needs to be taught while giving the students the opportunity to implement what they have learnt. Ana’s course provides this breeding ground for growth and experimentation.

  1. Watercolour Textures

I was itching to do this course. It was so worthwhile!

Ana also introduced other illustrators, who I now enjoy following on Instagram, and I learnt how to tackle lots of detail in a controlled environment.

I cannot recommend Ana’s courses enough. I cannot wait to do more of her courses in the future.

Some examples of the work done for the course:

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The primary rule I have taken away with me is: Thoroughly dry layers before painting the next. I am a very impatient person, so this rule is always a challenge for me, but onward and upward!

Ana has just released her first book:

Creative Watercolour - A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Ana reiterates, in this book, that she paints in a more illustrative style, which makes this book, and her Skillshare courses invaluable for watercolour illustrators. I loved the book, even though it covered a lot of her course material on Skillshare. It is really cool having, at my finger-tips, an excellent resource to refer to, and more importantly, a constant tool for inspiration.

If you are not on Skillshare, you could try reading Betty Edward’s ‘Color’ and Danielle Donaldson’s ‘The Art of Creative Watercolor’. I have found both these books very inspiring and helpful.

My watercolour style is very different to Ana, but I learnt so much from these courses.

I am very much looking forward to next month’s blog. I will be reviewing my new Mijello Mission Gold Pure Pigment watercolours. I am super excited about this blog and about these watercolours. So, if you are interested in expanding your watercolour palette, or you are thinking of buying your first set of watercolours, WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!!!!

Another big announcement: I will be starting to blog every fortnight! Yip! A while ago, a writing friend suggested that I review children’s books, discussing the cognitive aspects of them for parents and teachers. I will do my best to keep on top of the blogs and bring them out on the 12th (children’s book blog) and 24th (illustration blog) of each month. That is one of my New Year’s resolutions. The other is going sugar free! I eat little sugar anyhow, but I do want to cut it out completely.

Until next time…