Video : Taj Mahal quick sketch watercolor demo. :)

First of all, thank you so much for your comments on the previous articles. I really love that this blog can be a place for sharing, with interesting creative exchanges!
Thanks for being a part of it, reacting and sharing your point of view, your experience!


Today, I would like to share with you a video I made when doing some India sketches as a prep for my future watercolor workshop there. (Hiiiiii, so excited!!!! 😆)
That’s a 15 mn loose watercolor sketch of the Taj Mahal. 😊 The video is 5 mn long, though, as I speeded up some parts. 😉



I hope it will be interesting for you to watch! 😊
I admit that it’s interesting for me, too, because it’s a chance to take a step back and to consider how I work with another perspective.

I would say that we could note :
– How I start painting the sky to create the negative shape of the Taj Mahal, which is a white building.
– How I use a lot of water and melted colors to get some great granulations in the sky and some smooth running melting shapes for the trees.
– How there is a gradation of color and value (light to dark), for my color choices, to paint the monument.
Indeed, I start using a light bright yellow to sketch the building structure and some big shadows. I use, next, a reddish brown color, especially for the holes, to give depth to the sketch. Then, I finish with a darker color (dark brown) for some last thin details and some small shadows. We really see the building gaining volume and depth as I sketch, don’t you think?! ☺️


When doing it, I was worrying that it could be too loose but, at last, I rather like it this way. What do you think? Do you like such a loose style?!
Wouldn’t you find fascinating to be able to paint a monument like the Taj Mahal within 15 mn?! 😝

Enjoy painting!! 😀

33 thoughts on “Video : Taj Mahal quick sketch watercolor demo. :)

    • Whooo, thank you so much, Cindy!! I am happy you liked the video!!
      I feel really proud that you think that I could offer an online class!
      As a result, you made me think about it… 😉

      It could be a great project… Thanks for the suggestion! ☺️

  1. interesting to watch you and the music is a lovely light touch..I actually practiced some of your spaltters..and took out my date stamp..thank you for sharing everything.I am happy I found you..I watched you so intently with the stamp..:)
    Merci pour tout.I love such a loose style..wish it was mine:)

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments on Instagram, my blog and Marc’s blog, Monique… ☺️
      I am glad my work inspire you!

      I am so happy that you made some splatters and took our your date stamp! Creative vibes are so good!!!!
      I hope we will be able to see that soon on Ig, or on your blog.

      I saw that you have a really great one, too. You are a great photographer!
      I like the feeling on your blog with great food, flowers, calligraphy… For sure, one or two brushes (or palette or whatever) and a few splatters would be a great addition to the mix!!

    • Thank you so much for your encouragements, Tina! 😀
      Whoo, I have to think about this online class idea… 😉

  2. So lovely. Did you paint the negative shape of the TM directly or did you use masking liquid?

    • Hi Yolanda,
      Thank you!!!

      I didn’t use any masking fluid. I just tried to imagine the shape of the dome in my head and to paint the sky around it to make the negative shape of the Taj Mahal appear. That’s fun to do!!

    • Thank you, Elaine. Your comment make me really happy! ☺️
      Hehe, so, welcome, as a new fan!!!

  3. I,loved watching this! Can I ask what brushes you were using? The first looked like a squirrel brush, but I didn’t recognize the long pointy one. Thanks, Marina

    • Hi Marina, thank for your kind comment!

      Yes, the firt brush is a pure squirrel one.

      The thinner weird one is called a reservoir brush. It has a point made of sable hair and a “belly” made of squirrel hair, which is the “reservoir”. The sable hair gives you a great point and the squirrel part a great capacity to hold water. I bought it here, at Jackson’s. ☺️

      Have a good day!

  4. Very creative video, and I enjoyed the music as it went with the tempo of your brush. Your choice of colors are vibrant, and the technique used to create the sky was brilliant! Way to go, and good luck teaching the workshop in Agra.

    • Thank you so much, Karla, for all your compliments.
      It made me smile that you noticed some synchronization of the video with the music. Well spotted!

      I was thinking it could be interesting to make a video about painting skies wet in wet like I do. ☺️
      It’s fun and it’s so quick!! And always a surprise.

  5. Hi Anne-Laure. WOW!!! You are so very good at watercolor sketching! I know you said you’ve been doing this for just two years which makes it even all the more impressive. See you in Manchester!

    • Thanks Cathy!! I am very happy you liked it! 😀
      I have probably been painting for two and a half years, now, but I admit that I am happy and surprised about how I managed to learn painting in such a short time. Even if there are some days when I am pissed off with my sketches, of course!!

      I have to send a big thank you, for that, to the sketchers having an interesting blog where they show and explain their technique, to the great youtube demos authors, to the authors of the book that inspired and helped me, for sure.

      However, probably, the main thing to learn is practicing, practicing again, trying many things, thinking about it and trying again!!
      I uploaded 1800 pics on Instagram during these two and a half years (whoooo) so guess how many sketch does that means!!!
      Of course, I sometimes share a close-up view or a “in location” pic of my sketch but there are also some sketches I don’t have time to share…
      So that’s an average of 2 sketches a day during this time!! (even if there are many days when I don’t sketch. The days when I sketch, I SKETCH !!! )
      Thank you for making me think about it Cathy, it’s interesting! ☺️

      It will be a real pleasure to meet you in Manchester.
      Do you know other sketchers going there? On internet or in real life?

      • Hi Anne-Laure. So there is no getting around it-PRACTICE is the key. I’m going to take a look at your Instagram pictures for inspiration. I went to Singapore last year and met some sketchers in real life and I think some of them will be going to Manchester and I know of some online people who will be there, like you and a bunch of people who I follow on Flickr and Instagram I think will be there, too. It’s exciting and I can’t wait! I will be in France the week before to attend the SketchItOnParis workshop. I need to get busy practicing!!!

        • Yes, it’s so exciting! I can’t even imagine the amount of people I follow that I will probably meet! 😀

          Great, for the workshop in Paris! I can’t go but I am sure it will be great.
          I especially love Marion Rivolier work. I will attend her workshop in Manchester.

  6. Beautiful! Count me in for the on-line class. Like some of the others who commented here, I’m also wondering what brushes you used. Did you do this in a journal and if so, which one? what’s the paper? love the granulation.

    • Hi Mary,
      Thank you so much for commenting on my blog. 😀

      The big brush I used in the video is a pure squirrel one. The brand is Dalbe but I am not sure you can find it out of France… There are squirrel mops from other brands but maybe more expensive, I am not sure…
      The thinner weird one 😉 is called a reservoir brush. It has a point made of sable hair and a “belly” made of squirrel hair, which is the “reservoir”. The sable hair gives you a great point and the squirrel part a great capacity to hold water. I bought it here, at Jackson’s. ☺️

      I painted the Taj Mahal sketch in the same sketchbook that those I use, for now, for my everyday sketches. This is not watercolor paper and it slightly buckles but I like the vibrant colors and the watery effects on it.
      They are the Daler Rowney graduate sketchbooks, the soft covers ones, those they call “matt cover” on the website, in A5 and A4 size. However, I am rather pissed off because I went to my art store yesterday and I figured out that they changed the paper!! On the website, the old information says 160 gsm and the 160 gsm paper was just great, in my opinion, even for watercolor… But, by now, this is not a label sticked on it, the information is print on the cover with white ink and it says “140 gsm” so less good quality… I haven’t tried the new ones yet but I fear that they will buckle too much… 🙁
      By the way, I buy the soft cover ones because they are light enough to allow me to paint standing without getting my arms too tired. 😉

      I think I have always read that using a paper with texture helps the paint to granulate…
      It’s probably true but working on this paper made me figured out that you can get great granulation effects, even on a rather smooth paper (it probably depends on which paper).
      If you use a pigment with a strong granulating personality like the French Ultramarine I used on the Taj Mahal sketch and a lot of water (and dropping pigment or/and water wet in wet on the wash), you will get some granulation.
      Another thing that helps (I am not sure I was able to do that for the Taj Mahal sketch because I was filming the video) is tilting the sketchbook a bit to help the water and pigments running. When I paint standing, it’s easy to slant the sketchbook. When I work on a table, I usually keep my soft cover sketchbook on my folding board (I showed it here, in the comments) with a small pouch underneath (under the top of the board) so that the sketchbook is slightly slanted.
      Sorry, I hope it’s clear enough, with my English… 😉

      • Thank you so much Anne-Laure for your very informative and helpful response. I appreciate that you put in the time and energy to write it – an act of true generosity to all of us here. I wish you a wonderful trip to India. Thanks for the encouragement but it’s not a possibility for me at this time………Mary

  7. That French Ultramarine on the sky is just amazing. Video really shows how unique this colour is.
    Thank you for sharing.
    I agree with Cindy and Tina, you should consider online classes 🙂
    Have a lovely day!

    • Thank yooooou, Aga.
      I really love these special colors with granulating effects… Do you know Goethite, Transparent Red Oxyde, and Green Apatite Genuine, from Daniel Smith?! For sure, if you like granulation, you would love them, too.

      I definitely have to consider an online class! ☺️
      However, it’s not for now and I am happy, to make real life class like the one in India two.
      It’s so nice to meet people, to sketch together, to learn from each other, to discover other places…

  8. c’est superbe, j’aime la rapidité avec laquelle vous créez votre image..votre histoire…. C’est comme cela que j’aime travailler et votre technique est admirable, impressionnante!!!! Merci
    j’aimerais vous demander quels sont les pinceaux que vous avez utilisés? Le deuxième en particulier….la pointe était si fine???

    Encore merci,

    • Merci beaucoup Danièle !! 😀

      Je trouve cela fascinant également de voir apparaître un tel croquis en si peu de temps…
      L’autre jour, une dame qui me regardait peindre les passants n’en revenait pas non plus, d’ailleurs !! 😉 Elle disait : “Il y a 5 mn, il n’y avait que la page blanche et maintenant….” ! ☺️;)

      Le premier pinceau est un pinceau en petit gris pur (écureuil), de la marque Dalbe.
      Le second est assez particulier, en effet. C’est un pinceau réservoir constitué d’une pointe fine en martre (pour la précision) et d’un “ventre réservoir” en poil d’écureuil (pour la capacité à retenir l’eau). Je l’ai commandé en Angleterre, ici. 🙂

  9. That is absolutly beautifull. capturing the shapes and colors with your personal note. very inspring)

    • Hi Cheryl,
      Thanks for your interest about my work and workshops.
      I didn’t schedule anything for 2018 for now but I will keep you posted!


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