watercolor flowers + quick tips


Recently I’ve been working on a TON of projects. A lot of it was digital art, and the other day I thought, “I haven’t done watercolor in a really long time!” So after watching a billion watercolor youtube videos, I pulled out my watercolor supplies and started painting! For this piece I freestyled it, which is not something I’m super comfortable with but I tried it and it worked out great!

I used to use watercolor pan sets, which was basically a bunch of blocks of colors that became watercolor when you add water to it. When I did an art competition this year, I decided to upgrade, and I am SO glad that I did. The colors in the pan set just weren’t easy to mix and I couldn’t tell how watered down it was whenever I added water to it. So I got a bunch of those tube watercolor paints with fancy names like burnt sienna and yellow ochre, and besides looking cool, they work super well.

After the many youtube videos I watched, I’d learned some new tips that helped me A LOT, since I hadn’t worked with watercolor for a while. At first I thought that watching all those videos would be boring, that I just wanted to wing it with what I already knew, but watercolor is honestly a hard medium to work with. You have to go fast and you have to follow a lot of rules so that your painting doesn’t get messed up. I have a drawer of messed up watercolors as proof.

Ok, now the actual flower painting part. I started by sketching with pencil where I wanted the mason jar- how wide, placing it in the center, all of that stuff. I didn’t add any of the details yet because I thought that I would just freestyle it with the pen later, but you can just sketch everything out right away.

Then I mixed the colors. Remember to mix A LOT of a color, more than you think you’ll need. This part is suuuuuper important because if you don’t have enough of the paint mixed, you’re gonna have some trouble. Watercolor dries pretty quickly, so you have to work fast or edges will show from when you ran out of paint. Also, it’s really hard mixing the exact same color again, so you could end up with two different colors that just don’t give you that complete look. One thing that my art teacher taught me a while ago was to only use two maaaybe three colors when mixing a new color. That way when you have to create new paint (like for big pieces that take more than a day), it’ll be easier to make the most accurate color again. After mixing each color, I tested it on a scrap piece of watercolor paper to make sure that it was the color I wanted, as you can see in the picture below. I don’t know why but I think it’s the coolest thing to keep the little paint swatches, seeing the color themes for each piece.

After that, I actually started painting. I’d searched up some techniques on how to paint flowers, and there are different techniques for each flower. You can paint anything from roses to lavender. I used a filbert (a rounded medium size brush: on the right in the photo above) for most of the flowers and a thinner, smaller brush for the more detailed sections and stems. For the flower pedals, I started in the middle, pushing down on my brush then releasing the pressure. I went around and around the center until it was a good size. To make your flowers look natural, be sure to leave gaps and even “stroky” marks.

Now to add some detail. For the big flowers, I added thin lines, stroking upward, and added dots to the end of them. I added a bunch of dots around the center of the medium sized flowers too. Oh, and of course the lavenders. I painted a thin, dark line for the stem, and then used the thin brush to add little dots all around the stem. Finally, I added some leaves, using the same stroke motion and pressure as the flower pedals, and added little dots of watered down gouache in random spots around the flowers.

Using some very watered down blue-ish paint, I added it around some areas of the jar, and used a deep blue as the “table” that the jar sits on top of.

So yeah! That was my quick flower watercolor piece! I mostly freestyled it, which is something I would never have thought of doing just a few weeks before. I think it turned out really nice! Watercolor is just a medium that is meant to be painted on the go and worked at on a quicker pace, so that everything looks more natural. I would definitely try out watercolor if you haven’t yet!

Also check out my Pinterest board for painting and more watercolor!


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