Watercolor Flower Tutorial: Create Stunning Floral Art

In this watercolor flower tutorial, you will learn how to create stunning floral art. I will walk you through each step, including the materials used and video so you can paint along with me. This is a great beginner tutorial for those who are new to watercolors. Let’s get started!

How to paint watercolor flowers; step-by-step guide

I found an image scrolling through Pixabay.com. One of my favorite place to find images for watercolor painting.

The flowers are a mix of carnations varieties (I think) in a glass vase. They’ll be perfect for this watercolor flower tutorial. If you need the template, or would like to see image of finished art you’ll find it down below. The template will allow you t easily transfer the design to paper. This way you can paint along with me.

watercolor flower tutorial

Gather the right watercolor materials

Here are the exact materials used in case you have any questions moving forward.

Paints used in this demo: I prefer and highly recommend Holbein paints. After 20+ years they still deliver amazing quality and never disappoint!

  • Cadmium red light
  • Alizarin crimson
  • Cerulean blue
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Yellow ochre
  • Cadmium yellow lemon
  • Neutral tint
  • Burnt sienna

Brushes; For brushes I’m leaning heavy on Princeton Neptune dagger and Princeton Neptune #8 quill. I discussed my preferred watercolor brushes in this article. The dagger is one of my favorites. The results from the brush is simply amazing, but also can be a little unpredictable.

Paper used is Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb cold press. measures 15″ x 11″ should be ideal.

That’s a wrap for materials, onward to the step-by-step breakdown for this lovely watercolor flower tutorial.

add drawing template

Step #1

Use a #2 pencil to add a light, contour drawing. If you are detailed oriented you may want to add a more detailed drawing, while those that enjoy painting loosely should keep the drawing minimalistic.

tone paper with yellow ochre

Step #2

Now, it’s time to add background he using wet-in-wet wash. Cover the entire watercolor paper with water using a large brush. Once the water is absorbed, start adding a background hue.

Yellow ochre with plenty of water is mixed for the initial wash. A good tip is to mix up more than you need. You don’t want to get halfway through the wash only to realize you don’t have enough paint.

Paint red flowers

Step #3

Timing is critical here. When working with wet-in-wet washes you need to work quickly. The longer the paint sits on the paper, the more it will spread.

At the same time you don’t want the paper to be too wet. We will be adding hues for the flowers and if it’s done too soon they will lose their shapes.

The paper needs to be semi-wet. If there’s a noticeable sheen then wait i=until the shine is mostly gone.

For the flowers we will use a tea mixture of Alizarin crimson. It’s important to drop the color into the wash but avoid disrupting the under-wash too much. Basically, but the stroke down and stop. The more you fuss with it the duller your flowers will be.

Paint green leaves and stems

Step #4

Mix green with cerulean blue and lemon yellow. Similar to the flowers be sure the consistency is like tea. More water, less pigment. At this stage the paper should be almost dry. So, the brushstrokes should hold their shape a little more.

Add a few strokes where leaves and stems will be but be sure not to disturb the red flowers. Try to indicate a few leave shapes along the outer edges. This will give the painting a lovely finish.

add second layer to red flowers

Step #5

Allow the previous washes to dry all the way before continuing. Once it’s ready use thicker paint and add second layer of red to flowers. At this stage think about where the darker hues could be placed so they suggest light and shadow.

add darker greens

Step #6

Time to mix up a darker green and define leaves and a few stems. Be sure to not paint over all of the [previous wash. Allow some of those hues to remain as part of the finished painting.

Watercolor Flower Tutorial

Step #7

Paint the vase using cool and warm grays. Allow some of the background hue to show. This will give the vase a transparent look. If you fill the entire shape with color it will look like a solid colored vase, and not glass.

Paint the white flowers

Step #8

Paint the white flowers using gouache, or Chinese white paint. Be sure the hue isn’t pure white. Add a cool gray to the paint. We will come back later on and add a pure white layer to it.

Watercolor Flower Tutorial

Step #9

Use a thicker green that’s richer in pigment than the previous green wash. These are the darkest values for the leaves and stem. Use some negative space painting to shape a few details. This gives the painting a more sophisticated finish.

Add more flower details

Step #10

Add flower details using white gouache. This will tie-in the white flowers perfectly! Then use pure white gouache out of the tube over the first gray-white layer. This will ‘pop’ the white flowers.

Use darker reds for other flower details, too. Avoid too much information as this will clutter the finish.

Watercolor Flower Tutorial; add finishing touches

Step #11

Add some deep greens and a touch of thick, undiluted red to give the flowers accents. At this stage the flowers should look three-dimensional and be ready for a frame.


Did you enjoy this watercolor flower tutorial? If so, be sure to check out my other tutorials here on the blog. I have a wide range of painting tutorials for all levels from beginner to advance. Until next time!