Learn the basics with this step-by-step guide, says Home Editor Emily Dawe

How to paint with watercolour

Paint this pretty floral design with watercolour



    •  Cold press watercolour paper


    • Watercolour paints in Opera Rose, Cadmium Red, Sennelier Yellow Light, Cinereous Blue and  Hooker’s Green Light


    • Medium and fine paintbrushes


    • Sharp pencil


    • Tracing paper


    • Jar of water


    • Kitchen towel


    • Plate for mixing


    • Masking or washi tape



Woman’s Weekly Editor, Diane Kenwood, learns how to paint using watercolour with Home Editor Emily.

    • 1. Print the motif and enlarge to the size you prefer, then trace on to a piece of watercolour paper, using tape to hold the tracing paper in place. The design might be quite faint, so go over the lines with a sharp pencil.
Watercolour template for how to paint watercolour

Trace this floral motif onto your watercolour paper

2. Squeeze some pink and red paint on to your mixing plate. With a medium brush, add some red to the pink, mixing in some water. Sweep over the edges of one of the petals.

3. Wash most of the paint off the brush and, with a very wet brush, pick up the pink on the petal and move it over to the other petals.

Paint flower petals with watercolour

With a very wet brush, move the pink watercolour across the petals

4. Add a little yellow and blue to the plate. Add a small amount of blue to the red to get a darker shade. Using quite a bit of water, sweep some colour on to the rose hips.

5. Clean the brush then pick up some yellow with a very wet brush and dab it on to the rose hips – the red and the yellow will run into each other to create a lovely blend.

6. Use kitchen towel to carefully blot the excess water. It will pick up some colour, too, and leave an interesting texture to the rose hips.

Painting flowers in watercolour

Using kitchen towel to carefully blot excess water

7. Replace the water and clean the brush. Squeeze a bit of green and yellow on to the plate. Apply some water to one of the leaves – don’t be afraid to put a lot on the paper.

8. With a wet brush, mix some green into the yellow. Then press the brush on to the wet leaf – the paint will spread following the path of the water. Wash the brush, pick up a bit of watery yellow and add highlights to the leaf. Repeat on the other leaf.

Learn to paint watercolour flowers

With wet brush, mix some green into the yellow for the leaves

9. Using a fine brush, pick up the green and draw a line in the rose-hip stems. Add water to move the green around and fill the stems.

10. Mix up a dark green then, using a fine brush, draw in the line of the leaf stem. Add some green to some of the leaves. Use water to move the colour around and add some yellow for highlights.

11. Use the dark green and the fine paintbrush to paint the steam of the top flower. Clean off the brush, then dot yellow at the end of each stem.

12. Once everything is completely dry, it’s time to add the details. Squeeze out a little of the blue on to the plate and use the fine paintbrush to mix in a bit of water. Use a flicking motion to paint the fine lines from the centre of the rose – you can practise on a piece of paper first.

13. Finally, use the blue to do the tips of the rose hips and the veins on the leaves.