Watercolor Tutorial Lesson Seven: Roses

free watercolor tutorial, how to paint roses

free watercolor tutorial, how to paint roses

I'm so excited to share today's tutorial because roses are one of my all-time favorite flowers and are really fun to paint. Plus, next week I'm going to show you how to combine the last few tutorials to create a custom illustration for your hunny bunny for Valentine's Day. How fun is that??

paint pink roses for valentine's day, watercolor tutorial

paint pink roses for valentine's day, watercolor tutorial

To get started you'll need some sort of reference material. I get David Austin catalogs in the mail that I keep on hand for references, but you could simply pull up a rose on your phone or computer. I chose pink for Valentine's Day. :)

We'll be working in our watercolor moleskine sketchbooks again and using a large round brush size 16.

free watercolor tutorial, how to paint roses

free watercolor tutorial, how to paint roses

A few tips:

  • hold the brush lightly and toward the end of the handle with a loose wrist because you'll want less control over movement
  • use lots of water
  • fade the petals as you move away from the center by rinsing your brush out slightly with each layer
  • practice twisting the brush in your hand as you paint
  • keep the line work uneven and varied

Step 1: Start from the center and work your way out.

Load your brush with a saturated pink. I used a blend of Cotman Permanent Rose and Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Quinacridone Magenta. (For a full list of all my supplies, please read this Getting Started tutorial.)

In a circular motion working away from center, pull the brush around in a swirly motion, twisting the brush slightly, working slowly, and varying the pressure on the bristles to create a varied look. Go slow and practice this motion! Try to do it all without stopping or picking up your brush.

Since rose petals are more compact toward the center of the flower, the petals there will be smaller. So use the tip of your brush to create thinner lines.

You may want to drop a bit more color into the very center while the paint is still wet.

Step 2. Rinse the brush and work outward.

As you work your way outward, remember that the petals get lighter, so rinse the brush out slightly before moving on. 

Start at the bottom edge of the swirly center you just created and, with a wet brush, use the side of the bristles to make a flatter, larger petal. Repeat that motion as you add petals around the center of the flower.

step by step watercolor tutorial, free painting lessons, how to paint roses

step by step watercolor tutorial, free painting lessons, how to paint roses

Step 3: Rinse brush again and add a few thinner petals to the outer edge.

You should now have a center surrounded by 3-4 larger petals to one side (bottom left or right). Rinse your brush and pick up a medium shade of pink from your palette.

Add a few smaller petals to the sides and top of the center to make the rose look more full and in bloom. Blur your eyes and back away from the painting slightly to see where the rose might need more petals or be uneven. 

Step 4: Practice and paint lots of roses!

It takes lots of practice to know how many petals to add, how much color to load your brush with, and how to fade the petals from dark to light. So, work at a consistent pace and paint lots of flowers like I did! Don't be afraid to fill the entire page with roses.

Don't forget to come back next Thursday for another tutorial! We'll be combining our skills to create super cute customizable floral wreaths. How fun!