By General Crafts Contributor Michelle
Here are some very basic, but pretty, watercolor flowers broken down step-by-step for your painting enjoyment. Use them to paint your own greeting cards, or embellish a favorite quote to frame.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- Watercolor paper, or as in this tutorial, a word or quote printed on basic white cardstock.
- Watercolor paints. For this kind of painting, I prefer a set of watercolor cakes like the Loew Cornell Simply Art Watercolor Cakes.
- Loew Cornell Simply Art Watercolor Brush Set.
- A jar or cup of water.
- Paper towels.
For this tutorial I chose to show how easy it is to embellish a word, or quote printed from your computer to make a fun framed piece of artwork to hang in your home. I printed the word “Hello” onto a letter-sized piece of cardstock, and then cut it down to be an 8″x10″ piece for framing. I decided to paint a wreath of flowers around my word, so I began by painting the small black centers of my flowers using a small, round #3 brush. When deciding on the number of flowers to add, I like to stick to odd numbers. I find it more pleasing to the eye to have my design be asymmetrical in composition, rather than totally symmetrical and balanced with “one rose on this side, one rose on that side, one blue flower here, one blue flower on the other side.” This is not the rule, just something I like to consider.
To learn the correct brush stroke technique to form the petals, we’re going to look at the same method used in forming a leaf. The technique is more easily seen in forming the more straight leaf, than in the curved petal. Step 1: Using your round #3 brush, gently press the tip onto the paper. Step 2: As you move the brush toward where you want the end of the leaf to be, begin to press down slightly to broaden the stroke. Step 3: As you continue the brushstroke, gently press the brush to further broaden the brushstroke as you come to the widest part of your leaf, and then begin to let up on the stroke again as you move toward the end of the leaf. Step 4: As you come to the end of the leaf, let up on the brush so you are once again only using the tip, and form the pointed tip as you remove the brush from the paper. To avoid frustration, I suggest practicing this brushstroke on a scrap of paper until you are comfortable with it, before jumping right into your project. It is not hard, it just takes a little practice to learn to control the pressure of the stroke. Try to make the whole stroke in one motion: tip, gentle pressure, more pressure, gentle pressure, tip. Practice making straight leaves first, and then apply this same stroke method to a curved petal shape.
Next, to form the petals, I used the same #3 brush to create overlapping “c” shapes around the black center. Begin by making your first “c” shape around half of the black center, and then, slightly overlapping the first “c,” make your next one. You want the petals to nest together like an unfurling flower. To create a flower that looks more like a rose, try removing the black center, and replace it with a small spiral of whatever color you’re using to paint the petals; a small spiral will look like the tightly coiled center of the blooming rose.
To make blue forget-me-nots, make 5 small dots of paint, being sure to leave a space in the middle for the yellow center. Let your blue dots dry completely before adding the yellow centers.
Daffodils are created by first painting a ruffled circle for the center. To make the daffodil pop, choose different shades of yellow for the center and the petals.
To create the first petal, begin by painting the edge of the petal that butts up next to the center. Paint up next to the ruffled circle, but leave a small white space between the petal you’re forming, and the ruffled center. After painting your petal edge, paint the petal itself, and make it pointed at the tip. Painting these petals are not about making a stroke, just forming a shape and filling it in. Make 4 more petals spaced around the center in the same way. To form daffodil buds, paint yellow teardrop shapes about the same length as the petals you’ve painted.
Daffodils have long, spear-like leaves. Use your green to add leaves around your daffodils. If you’ll notice, when I paint in this style, I like to leave white spaces between my objects, rather than have the colors butt right up next to each other. For instance, I don’t make the leaves come directly out from behind the daffodils, I leave a small white space between the flower and the leaf. And where the leaf goes behind the blue forget-me-not, I paint the leaf right up to the flower on both sides, but I don’t paint any green behind the flower. I like the look of this style, it’s more graphic than realistic, but you may choose to achieve a more natural look and not leave any white spaces between your areas of color. That’s the fun part about painting; you develop your own style!
Next, add leaves around your other flowers. I suggest choosing a different shade of leaf green for every variety of flower you paint; it makes your painting more interesting. Use the brush technique demonstrated above to add leaves here and there to help form your wreath.
These are just very basic flower tutorials to get your creative juices flowing. You can change the color, or size, add different centers to the flowers, or remove them altogether, and create a whole bouquet of different blooms. How fun would it be to print or paint a baby’s name, and then decorate it with a wreath of flowers to make a whimsical nursery print? How about making a “Home Sweet Home” sign to hang in your entryway, or embellishing your friend’s favorite quote as a gift? Get out those paints, get painting, and have fun!