Autumn is my favorite season because it is just the right weather for me. But what really made me love autumn so much is the bursting of colors of the trees. The hues of brown, red, orange, yellow and green against the blue sky are such lovely sight to see.
Unfortunately this year, Autumn seems to skip from us. Or maybe winter is just too excited to give its glory. As of this time temperature drops to -1o Celsius (with the windchill) and it snowed already. I’m honestly not ready for this but I have to as they said it’s gonna be a harsh winter.
Just to have this Autumn feel, as I said in my IG, “In a world where Autumn doesn’t exist, all you need to do is paint“, I painted four leaves already. It’s kind of therapeutic (as this gloomy weather is taking toll of my life…. speaking of SAD). It is actually addicting and it is a subject that is easy to paint. Below I am sharing my way of painting autumn leaf. Don’t worry it is super easy to follow.
How to Paint Autumn Leaf Using Watercolor
Artists have a different approach in painting leaf, so I suggest checking them out and see what works well for you.
In this tutorial, I am mostly applying the wet-to-wet technique. Also, materials listed below were used because those were my tools-on-hand. You can actually use different tools and different shades of paints. With that our result may also vary.
- No. 12 Round Paint Brush
- Canson Coldpress Watercolor Paper
- Jane Davenport Apple (Substitute with any red color)
- Jane Davenport Blueberry (Substitute with any blue color)
- Jane Davenport Vitamin C (Substitute with any yellow-orange or orange color)
- Winsor and Newton Permanent Sap Green (Substitute with any green color)
- Winsor and Newton Permanent Bismuth Yellow (Substitute with any yellow color)
- Pencil and eraser
1. Using pencil lightly outline your drawing on your watercolor paper. Erase unnecessary lines. It is better to do this before painting since you cannot erase the pencil drawing once you put watercolor paint on it.
2. Apply water wash on the leaf area using your round brush. As you can see I added a tint of red on my watercolor already just to make sure that I applied water washes in all area of the leaf. (Mop brush is a good tool to do this as it holds more water.)
3. While it is still wet, I added another layer of the red paint. Add more layer if you want to increase the intensity of the red paint. I also concentrated the color on the edges. TIP: When you added another layer of paint, make sure that your paintbrush is not too wet because it will create a paddle.
4. Add a little bit of blue paint on the edge. Not all, but choose an area where you think is the darker part of the leaf. Don’t worry, the blue color mixed will red will create a hue of purple to maroonish color.
5. While your paint area is still wet, add some orange paint in the middle and or in some edge of the leaf.
6. Then add some yellow paint to lighten the part where you think the light is coming. You can also add a spot of yellow on the darker part. This will create a beautiful texture.
7. Dab some green paint, just do spot painting on the leaf. Don’t go overboard. The green spot will create a contrast to your red and yellow hues.
8. Let it dry completely.
9. Adding veins. You can use a darker red or pen to add the veins of the leaf. But I used a different technique called lifting. In doing this make sure that your brush is clean and wet, take away excess water by pressing the brush using a paper towel, also, if you are using round brush, press its tip to create a fine tip (you can use an angle brush to do this). With the tip of the brush draw some lines to create the veins. You’ll notice that the paint along the line is lifted leaving a lighter color of paint creating a beautiful color of the veins. (Check my IG video)
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You can also do an experiment of adding the color like adding green on the edge or brown. It’s definitely a sort of exploring and experimenting. I guess the best way is to get a reference a real leaf or a photo.