In Japanese, the word for “cherry blossom” is Sakura.
The Sakura tree is an integral part of Japanese culture. It appears in ancient and modern works of art, and thousands of cherry trees grow on the island.
Every year, in March, April, and May, cherry trees start to bloom, attracting thousands of visitors who come to Japan each year to see this wonderful flowering process.
If you want to take the beauty of nature home with you, you should try a cherry blossom painting. All you need is a pencil to draw the blossoms, an eraser, and a color medium of your choice. We have chosen to paint with watercolors because the soft colors perfectly match the delicacy of the cherry blossoms.
Instructions on how to paint a cherry blossom tree
First, you draw a cherry blossom branch. It is helpful to find a photographic reference, which you copy very faintly with a pencil. On flickr.com, you will discover numerous close-ups showing the details of the flowers. Just enter Sakura in the search field, and you’ll find lots of photos.
One particularly beautiful example is from the Flickr user “benjamine scalvenzi”, even though we painted our motif from imagination, i.e., without a specific reference.
In this step, make sure that you draw the lines with a hard or medium-hard pencil (HB) and little pressure to erase them later without leaving any traces.
Next, you can start painting the cherry blossoms. The branch will be added later when the shapes of the flowers are already on paper. That way, you avoid the tree branch’s dark colors to bleed into the much more delicate shades of the flowers.
The nice thing about watercolors is their color variety, depending on how much water you mix it with. For the petals, we have prepared only a reddish-brown and a medium yellow tone. With different additions of water, we can indicate light and dark areas of the individual flowers. This creates organic shades that flow smoothly into each other.
Step 3 in your cherry blossom painting
Once the color of the cherry’s petals has dried, you can tackle the branch. A medium shade of brown is used to connect the separate blossoms and tie the composition together.
Now add the stamens inside the flowers in a stronger red or brown tone. The pollen sacs at the end of the stamens can be indicated with simple dots.
When the paint is dry, you can erase the preliminary drawing in this step. A kneaded eraser is perfect for this, as it does not rub off the paper as aggressively as a solid eraser.