Watercoloring is an art form that many dabbled in as children but can easily be done as an adult. It’s not only used to create art but is a great way to unwind and relax. This craft may seem intimidating at first, but like most things, it just takes a little time and the proper instruction and you’ll end up with a piece of artwork you didn’t know you could create.
To help get you started, we have a tutorial to teach you how to paint watercolor flowers. Read through the tips and techniques and then try your hand at these beautiful floral designs. Try adding this simple painting to a place card or thank you note that accompanies a bouquet to make the sentiment that much more special!
Watercolor Techniques and Tips
Use a Variety of Brushes
To paint objects of different sizes and shapes you’ll need a variety of brushes. Each one is made for a different purpose, so the type you need will depend on what you’re trying to paint.
Common brush shapes:
Round – The most versatile brushes, used for both details and broader strokes.
Flat – Used for both washes (a technique that creates a transparent layer of color) and stronger linear strokes.
Detail – As the name suggests, these are smaller brushes used for smaller details.
Wash – These brushes are much wider and used for applying a lot of color to the page.
You’ll also want to test out different brands of watercolor brushes. Keep in mind that the cheaper the brush, the poorer the quality and you may be left with bristles or unwanted streaks in your painting.
Use Proper Watercolor Paper
Using watercolor paper is important, even when you are a beginner. Watercolor paper is thicker (or has more weight) which allows the water-based color to sink in rather than collect on top. It also has texture which helps with the absorption. Keep in mind that if you use another type of paper or a cheaper watercolor paper, the fibers will begin to pill if you try to layer colors or add too much water.
Experiment With the Amount of Water You Use
Watercoloring is all about the amount of water you mix in with the pigment. Before you start with your painting, test out adding different amounts of water to the color. See what a difference it makes in hue and spreadability.
Work from Light to Dark
In traditional watercolor painting, artists start with light colors and then work their way to dark. This means you’ll start with more water mixed in with your pigment and then reduce the amount of water as you go.
Practice the Thickness of your Stroke
Gaining control of the thickness of your brush strokes will make painting much more enjoyable. For a thicker stroke, you’ll want to press down harder. For a thinner detail, you’ll need to apply very little pressure. The brush size and amount of water you’re using will also impact how thick the strokes are.
How to Paint Watercolor Roses
Roses are one of the most beautiful flowers and are an easy starting point when it comes to painting watercolor flowers. They have a simple structure and you can play around with color and water consistency.
What You’ll Need:
Round paint brush (size 6)
Cup of water
Step 1: Mix water into your watercolor pigments.
The watercolors will have a thick consistency to start. You’ll have to add water to achieve the coloring you desire. The middle of your palette is the best place to mix your colors. Mix the red and white pigments to make a pink color. Then, in another section of your palette mix the same color but add more water so that it’s a lighter shade. To make a deep green color for the leaves, mix the traditional green with a little bit of black.
Step 2: Start by painting the center of the rose.
The center of the rose will have thinner strokes. To create this look, hold the paintbrush perpendicular to the paper or straight up and down. Use very light pressure and create “C” shapes. Begin by using your lightest pigment. You’ll be able to layer darker colors on later.
Step 3: Work your way out from the center, painting larger petals.
To paint the larger petals you’ll still want to create a “C” shape, but you’ll press down harder on the brush to create a thicker stroke. Layer two rows of these medium-thick petals.
Step 4: Finish with rows of thick petals.
For the thick petals, you’ll want to add even more pressure to your brush. Create a larger “C” shape by pressing down completely on your brush and holding it at more of a 45-degree angle to the table.
Step 5: Add in darker color accents.
The beauty of watercolor is that you can add in touches of darker colors and the hue will spread in the water. If any areas of your watercolor rose appear too light or you’d like to create more dimension, add a touch of the color on top of the painted petal and it will blend in naturally. Add in additional darker petals to fill in white spaces as well.
Step 6: Paint leaves.
Create petals by painting two parallel stokes using medium pressure. Add another layer or include shading by adding on another dark pigment.
Step 7: Let dry and use!
Watercolor flowers are a beautiful addition to any card or note. Add a personalized note to a custom watercolor flower card and pair it with a spring bouquet for a special gift that will be kept for years to come.
Other Watercolor Flowers to Try
Roses aren’t the only flowers that can be captured with watercolor. Try your hand at watercolor daisies, watercolor lavender and watercolor leaves. Play around with mixing colors, brushes and strokes. We’ve included some watercolor tips, but feel free to personalize the designs with your own style.
Pansies come in almost every color, from oranges and golds to purples and blues. One of their attributes is that they have a different color center and oftentimes it’s a darker hue. Practice mixing different amounts of water in with your pigments. Start by painting the petals (a lot of water) and then work your way to the center (a little water).
Purple is the most popular color of aster, symbolizing royalty, but this variety of flower can be painted with any color you choose. Start by detailing the light yellow center, then paint the petals coming out from it. Finish with a deep green stem and leaves.
Lavender is an easy flower to paint because it doesn’t require much mixing of the paint. Simply take your purple pigment and mix it with white for a light lavender tone. If you don’t have purple, mix red, blue and white together until you reach a soft purple color.
Watercolor Fan Palm
This type of tropical leaf is a fun addition to any themed party. Whether you’re hosting a summertime bash or a bachelorette party, painting palm leaves on the place cards or thank you gifts will add an extra special touch. Play around with layering different shades of green and brown for a natural palm look.
This eucalyptus-inspired greenery is easy to paint and is a good way to practice layering colors. Start by painting the leaves with a light green and then transition to a darker, more blue-green color.
For a complete tutorial on how to paint watercolor flowers, download our step-by-step guide. Share with friends and family so they can paint with you!