How To Paint A Leaf In Watercolor The Easy Way

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A painted leaf in watercolor is one of the most effective means to spice up a design. It can be painted quickly, is relatively independent of the purpose of the design and is simply beautiful. In this tutorial you will learn how to to paint a leaf in watercolor that is perfect for an invitation or greeting card. You can also use leaves like this one for Instagram backgrounds or modern graphics.

Materials to paint a leaf in watercolor

  • Several green hues to create a color family
  • Watercolor brush
  • Watercolor paper
  • Pencil
  • Leaf as template

Instructions: How to paint a leaf

1. Draw the sketch of the leaf

If you want to paint a leaf, you can put a real leaf on the painting surface and draw the outlines with a pencil. You can also choose a particularly beautiful example online, print it out, cut it out and then trace it with a pencil.

You can also draw the outlines of the leaf freehand.

How to paint a leaf

2. Paint the first green layer of paint on the leaf

A hue from the green earthy color family is well suited as a base layer. However, you can also use a stronger green, which is mixed with a relatively large amount of water.

The first layer should be the weakest, so you can increase the intensity step by step.

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Paint both halves of the leaf with the same color. I like to leave a few spots on the leaf to indicate the light reflection. Remember that your painting does not have to be perfectly realistic to look good.

3. Increase the contrasts

One layer is not enough to obtain expressive, rich contrasts. Now use a darker shade to enhance the edges of the leaf.

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Drag the darker color into the still wet areas to create a gradient. It is best to use your template as a guide to find out where to place the darker areas.

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4. Bring in the variety of colors

Painting with watercolor is about layering several shades of color to create depth. Take a close look at your original to find out which shades are still hidden in your sheet.

Yellowish green and orange tones in particular may be suitable if you want to paint a leaf that changes with the seasons.

In my case it was a green with a very slight yellow tinge that was still hidden in the original.

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5. Allow to dry and enjoy

Now all you have to do is let the leaf dry. This will reveal the edges of the many layers, which is really breathtakingly beautiful, even if it does not correspond to the naturalistic image with the finest possible contours.

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