Tutorial Tuesday: 10-Minute Watercolor Autumn Leaves

Tutorial Tuesday: 10-Minute Watercolor Autumn Leaves

Welcome to another delightful edition of Tutorial Tuesday! As September unfolds, we can already spot the subtle transformation of leaves in some areas, painting our world with the warm and vibrant hues of autumn. We can't wait until they reach their peak in just a few short weeks! In today's tutorial, we'll capture the beauty of these fall leaves through a quick and accessible watercolor painting. So, let's gather your materials and embark on a 10-minute journey to bring the colors of fall to life!

Materials You'll Need:

  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolors (black, orange, yellow, green, red)
  • Fine-tipped brush
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Small cup of water
  • Optional: brushes of different sizes


Step 1: Branching Out Begin by activating your black watercolor palette with a gentle spray. Be cautious not to oversaturate it; we want to maintain the rich black color. Now, create tree branches on the watercolor paper in your preferred style. I like to start with thicker branches that taper towards the edges, mimicking the natural elegance of real trees. Since we're focusing on a close-up section of the tree, feel free to let some branches extend beyond the paper's borders. Rinse your brush in your water cup.

Step 2: Let It Dry Allow your newly painted branches to dry, which should take only a couple of minutes. If you're in a hurry, speed up the process by using a hairdryer or gently waving the paper to and fro, much like you would with a Polaroid picture.

Step 3: Misty Background Gently mist your watercolor paper using the spray bottle on the mist setting. Take care not to oversaturate any particular area. You can spray more as you continue painting, as needed.

Step 4: Radiant Orange Activate your orange palette by giving it a spritz of water. Now, apply the orange paint all around the branches. The previous misting will cause the orange to spread beautifully. Aim to cover a substantial portion of the space with this orange base while leaving room for other colors and white background gaps. Rinse your brush in your water cup.

Step 5: Sunny Yellow Activate your yellow palette with a spritz of water. Paint yellow in the blank spaces between the orange. These areas should be almost completely filled with a blend of orange and yellow. Rinse your brush in your water cup.

Step 6: A Hint of Green Spray your green palette to activate it. Add green paint in just a few spots around the painting. These spots can be in blank areas or layered over some of the previous colors. The resulting blends, sometimes resembling greenish-brown, are perfectly fine. After all, real leaves come in a variety of shades, including browns. Rinse your brush in your water cup.

Step 7: Fiery Red Accents Activate your red palette by spraying it. Add red paint in a few spots to serve as accents. The amount of red you use is entirely up to you. This addition can create fiery colors when mixed with oranges and yellows or soft, muted browns when mixed with greens.

Feel free to touch up any areas and add more colors if needed. Otherwise, you're finished!

Helpful Hints and Tips:

    • Any watercolors you have on hand will work just fine; there's no need for fancy materials.
    • Ensure the black paint is entirely dry before you start painting the leaves to avoid smudging.
    • As you paint, feel free to spray the paper again if necessary, but ensure it's a fine mist to avoid over-soaking.
    • Clean your brush in the water cup as needed to prevent colors from blending on the brush.
    • If you wish to create new shades, you can use the top of your paint tray as a mixing palette.
    • After you finish, wipe the top of the tray clean and close it; your paint palettes will dry and be ready for your next creative endeavor!

Simple or fancy, any colors will do!

In just 10 minutes, you've crafted a stunning watercolor painting that captures the essence of peak autumn leaves. This project is suitable for artists of all ages and offers a delightful way to celebrate the changing seasons. As you gaze upon your masterpiece, you'll be reminded of the beauty of fall, even if it's just around the corner. So, proudly display your artwork and continue exploring the world of watercolors!

Check out our Facebook Reels to see the 40 second sped-up video of the whole process, start to finish! https://www.facebook.com/shopartsome
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