Learn my watercolor leaf painting techniques. These simple leaves are easy to paint for beginners and look great in floral paintings or wreaths.
If you like painting leaves, you might also be interested in learning to paint roses or lavender sprigs.
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How to Paint Watercolor Leaves
Leaves are a great addition to bouquets and wreaths. They make great fillers for empty spaces. Leaves can also be beautiful on their own.
- Watercolor Paint (You can read about my palette here)
- Watercolor Brush
- Watercolor Paper
I used a variety of greens and blues to paint these leaves, but you can use whatever colors you want.
As usual, let each layer of paint dry before adding another layer (unless that's the look that you're going for.)
You might be interested in this post on how to paint a watercolor Valentine card.
For this leaf, you can start by painting the stem or the leaf. If you paint the stem, there might be a faint line in the middle. Use the tip of the brush to get the pointed tip.
Then fill in the leaf shape.
Use your brush to draw this shape, filling it in as you go.
Long and Thin
Use the tip of your brush to make the tip and just drag the brush along. This works best with a watercolor brush that holds a ton of paint.
This leaf reminds me of eucalyptus or silver dollars.
Paint a circle. Let it dry and add a stem.
This leaf reminds me of a rose leaf.
Paint a pointed tip leaf with a wide body.
Then use the tip of the brush to add little marks along the edges.
Open in the Middle
This is a fun look to pair with loose florals.
Use the tip of the brush to draw the outline of the brush. Make the lines thicker if needed, but leave an open space.
This is a bit more cartoon-y. I like this look with gouache a lot.
Draw a blobby shape with rounded edges. Fill in the center.
The branches can be straight or curved.
Pine Tree Branch
This is one of my favorite branches to paint. Perfect for Christmas cards!
Paint a curved line in brown paint.
Use light green paint to add small lines for the pine needles. Make some of the lines go the wrong way.
Add another layer of lines with a darker green paint.
Paint a thin line for the center stem, then paint lines coming off of it. Add the round leaves.
Rounded Tip Leaves
Paint a center stem with branches coming off of it. Add rounded tip leaves.
Paint a center stem with branched coming off of it.
Add rounded tipped leaves to the ends of each branch. Then add leaves along the branch until it is full.
Add more fun to your leaves with details. Be sure to let the first layer of paint dry completely before adding the next layer.
Vein in Middle
Use a smaller brush to add a line in the center of the leaf.
Veins can be adding by painting diagonal lines from the center stem. They can be spaced close together or far apart. The veins can be straight or curved.
(Center leaf in photo)
Vertical stripes can be added instead of veins.
Use a thin paintbrush to paint the outline of the leaf.
Color Dropped into Wet Paint
While the first layer of paint is wet, drop in another paint color. For best results, use colors that are adjacent on the color wheel. (Read more about color theory.)
Glazing on Half of Leaf
Paint half of a leaf with another coat of paint. This is called glazing and adds depth and shadow to paintings.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like my post on painting simple watercolor flowers.
What is your favorite leaf to paint?
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- Best Paper for Watercolor
- How to Paint a Sunset with Watercolors
- Best Waterproof Pens for Watercolor
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