How to paint a tulip in watercolor

Written by chelsea hoffman | 13/05/2017
How to paint a tulip in watercolor
A vibrant tulip can inspire a beginner watercolour artist. (yellow tulip image by Maria Brzostowska from

Painting in watercolour serves as a relaxing arts-and-crafts hobby for beginners and experts alike. Painting floral scenes provides beginners with a way to learn the craft. Painting tulips in watercolour isn't very difficult, and with practice you can make your tulips look realistic, bold and attractive enough to showcase on your home's walls.

How to paint a tulip in watercolor
Look at pictures of tulips for inspiration. (pink tulip image by Jorge Moro from

Draw the outline of a tulip, lightly, with a watercolour pencil. This is how a beginner can enter the art of watercoloring flowers and other objects. The outline will not remain like one from a non-watercolour pencil. Instead, it will blend in with the colouring to provide accent and shading. Select a colour darker than the colour you wish to make your tulip. For example, if you want a yellow tulip, outline the drawing in orange, sepia or even brown watercolour pencil.

How to paint a tulip in watercolor
Watercolour pencils provide you with precision and ease of use. (colour pencils image by sumos from

Shade the needed areas of your tulip drawing with the associated coloured watercolour pencils. Colour the tips and creases of the foliage deep, hunter green and the shading and creases of the petals in a colour you choose. Leave the rest of the tulip uncolored.

Dip a medium-bristled paintbrush into a glass of clean water. Dab the paintbrush on a paper towel to rid it of excess moisture. Drag the paintbrush repeatedly across the watercolour hue you want for the tulip's petals.

Apply the brush in careful, light sweeping motions over the petals of the tulip. Avoid crossing the lines. You may have to repeatedly reapply the watercolour paint to the brush to deepen and fully colour the tulip. Do the same with the stem and foliage of the painting.

Dip a cotton swab in the water and then dab it on the paper towel to dry it slightly. Smear the cotton swab along the outlines, shading areas and creases throughout the watercolour painting of the tulip. This gives a smudged, romantic look to the painting while blending the colours attractively.

Things you need

  • Watercolour pencils
  • Watercolour paint set
  • Assorted paintbrushes
  • Cup of water
  • Watercolour board
  • Cotton swabs
  • Paper towels

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