Easy Watercolor Leaf Painting Techniques

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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.

pin image - watercolor wreath with leaves

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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.

painted watercolor wreath

Supplies Needed:

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.

Single Leaf

Pointed End

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.

leaf with pointy end

Then fill in the leaf shape.

green leaf

Rounded End

Use your brush to draw this shape, filling it in as you go.

rounded leaf

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.

long thin blue leaf

Round Leaf

This leaf reminds me of eucalyptus or silver dollars.

Paint a circle. Let it dry and add a stem.

watercolor leaves

Jagged Edges

This leaf reminds me of a rose leaf.

Paint a pointed tip leaf with a wide body.

painting a leaf

Then use the tip of the brush to add little marks along the edges.

adding jagged edge to leaf
jagged leaf

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.

leaf with open middle

Rounded Edges

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.

blobby leaf


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.

stem for pine branch

Use light green paint to add small lines for the pine needles. Make some of the lines go the wrong way.

first layer of pine needles

Add another layer of lines with a darker green paint.

finished pine needle branch

Round Leaves

Paint a thin line for the center stem, then paint lines coming off of it. Add the round leaves.

round leaf branch

Rounded Tip Leaves

Paint a center stem with branches coming off of it. Add rounded tip leaves.

branch with rounded tip leaves

Full Branch

Paint a center stem with branched coming off of it.

stem for branch

Add rounded tipped leaves to the ends of each branch. Then add leaves along the branch until it is full.

branch with lots of leaves


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.

leaf with vein in the middle


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.

veins in leaf


(Center leaf in photo)

Vertical stripes can be added instead of veins.

stripes on leaf


Use a thin paintbrush to paint the outline of the leaf.

painted 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.)

dropping yellow into wet green painting of leaf

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.

half of leaf painted darker color

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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pin image - watercolor leaf branch

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