This Step-by-Step Tutorial Shows You How to “Grow” Watercolor Flowers on Paper

Step 4: Continue to build color. 

How to Paint Flowers Easy

Photo & artwork: Sara Barnes / My Modern Met

Wait for your first layer of paint to dry. (Unless you are using the wet-on-wet approach; in that case, work on the flower before the pigment is set.) Using the wash technique, continue to build your color layer by layer. Allow them to dry in between. Each time you mix a new hue, add a little less water to it. This will make the pigment darker. Coupled with the layers of paint, you'll start to build three-dimensional volume to your painting.

As you work, refer to both your drawing and your source photo. Consider: where are the areas of darkness? What places are in highlight? Are there sections where you can use watercolor techniques to bring out the unique characteristics of the petals? Painting from life is centered around these sort of questions and answering them—so don't be afraid to ask.

 

Step 5: Add the finer details. 

Flower Painting Step by Step

Photo & artwork: Sara Barnes / My Modern Met

Be careful when painting that you don't overwork your piece—know when it's time to stop applying pigment to an area of your painting. Once you feel that you've got the overall highlights, mid-tones, and shading done, begin to add the fine details. This is where a liner brush (pictured) comes in handy. Use it to draw any small accent lines or coloration, but do so sparingly; a few errant marks can mar an otherwise great painting.

When you're done, assess your painting with more questions. Are there areas that need more definition? What about the background? Make those changes if need be.

Flower Painting Step by Step

Photo & artwork: Sara Barnes / My Modern Met

 

Step 6: Incorporate mixed media (optional).

How to Paint Watercolor Flowers Step by Step

Photo & artwork: Sara Barnes / My Modern Met

Although this is a painting tutorial, there's nothing wrong with mixing media. One option, for even finer lines, is to use a colored pen or marker and define additional areas of your painting. If you're going with this option, however, it's best to select a drawing utensil that is the same color as your flower. That way, it will appear as though you painted those thin lines and won't look out of place.

How to Paint Watercolor Flowers Step by Step

Photo & artwork: Sara Barnes / My Modern Met

 

Share your watercolor flower painting in our Art, Design, Photography, and Drawing Club on Facebook!

 

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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