10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

This is a partnered post.

Painting trees is mostly concerned with the arrangement of numerous lines and markings explored using various brushes. It’s a terrific way to change the mood and transfer those watercolor paintings to paper for use as a seasonal decoration or as a present for someone special this holiday season.

Watercolor tree painting is a terrific method to express yourself creatively. Painting is a fantastic means of healing and being creative since it is also a sort of meditation and allows your brain to focus.

Painting watercolor trees and leaves might appear difficult due to the amount of detail required to make them look genuine. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started.

Paint Trees and Leaves With Watercolor – Step by Step


10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

As a newbie, you will only require some basic materials. You must prepare the following items before beginning to paint a watercolor tree.
To begin, you need decent paper. Watercolor paper is superior to regular paper because it does not buckle as a result of the number of colors and water on its surface. Any watercolor paper will do and may be purchased at your local art store. Make sure the gram of the paper is greater than 300GSM.

You’ll be using a set of watercolor brushes, but you may experiment with different brushes to get different results. You can select the one with which you are most comfortable working. There are some ideal brands for painting large, thick tree trunks. They are also ideal for bringing out the highlights in the trunk.

Finally, we’ll be employing a set of pan watercolors. It is entirely up to you if you’re in the world and what is accessible to you. Clean water is also required for color thinning and washed during your painting session.


10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

To prepare, place yourself where there is a suitable table to sit your paper on, as well as a generally calm spot. Alternatively, you might use earbuds to listen to a podcast or music while learning how to paint trees in watercolor.

You should remember that your watercolor tree does not have to look exactly like the reference photo. It’s not the same as painting flowers, birds, or animals. Trees are ethereal shapes that invite experimentation.

Assume you are new to this sort of painting media or technique. It is preferable to create basic designs. You might practice with a few pine trees to become acquainted with the concept. As you become more familiar with the process, you will be able to combine all of your ideas.

Sketch the outline

10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

Before you begin painting, it’s a good idea to draw a quick sketch of the tree. You will become acquainted with the basic forms that comprise the tree in this manner. You should probably try drawing this on sketching paper first. Then you may let loose on your beloved watercolor paper. You’ll get a sense of how much pigment and water to use in this manner.

On your watercolor paper or cloth, try to preserve faint outlines or drawings. This will also protect your painting’s support from smudges caused by drop heights or other sketching tools.

You should create a rough cloud-like form with a stem protruding from the bottom. Try to keep the drawing light and faint because no one wants the markings to push through our paint once we’ve applied it.

Paint light tones

10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

When you understand how light falls on an object, shading becomes predictable and constant since you know where your source of light is coming from.

Begin to put dispersed blobs inside the lines of your sketch while your lights are green. Concentrate on one side of the tree and gently switch your gaze to the other.

As we paint the tree, we want to leave minor gaps in between to give it a hollow appearance. As we paint the tree, we want to gradually deepen our green as we travel from the light to the darker side of the leaf.

Paint mid-tones

10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

After the initial coat of paint has dried, we can begin to deepen our green by adding a bit more brown or black to the present blend of green. As we work, we keep applying little amounts of darker color.

When deepening your green, it’s a good idea to add browns since they provide a more organic and natural color palette. We’d want to begin placing darker markings on the tree’s shadow side.

We want to let this mid-tone dry completely after we’ve finished applying it. As it dries fully, it should have a wonderful gradient that defines the natural blend of the tree’s bright and dark sides.

We may now gently darken our green and begin to apply deeper tones to the extreme ends of the darkened side of the tree. Every time we want to make our tree a little darker in the shadowy sections, we start by darkening our green mix a little more with either brown or black.

Paint leaves

10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

The easiest technique to get that volume of leaves is to add a longer layer of painted strokes or curving radiating from the center. The easiest technique to create a realistic tree with watercolors is to allow a few intervals between each part or layer.

Painting leaves is simple and enjoyable. It’s all about placing dots of paint into the tree leaves to give the tree a more rough and bush-like appearance. For the lightest leaves, we create a light yellowy-green hue by combining yellow, brown, and green.

When you’ve finished most of the leaves and the background, mask the leaves on the tree trunks so you can concentrate on coloring the trunks without having to paint around them.

Apply tree trunk

10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

Once you’re happy with the size of your pine tree, add some expansions and work on the tree trunk. This is determined by how thick you want your tree trunk to be.

If you look closely at tree trunks, you’ll notice that they are nearly never this hue. Warm or cool neutrals are frequently more true to life than those cocoa earth tones you’ve always gravitated for.

We begin by creating a light brown mixture. If you don’t have light brown, mix white into your present brown. We use a lot of water to dilute the brown you have. To begin, we might use our light brown to paint the lightest areas of the tree.

Paint thin branches

10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

Single branches do not taper in general. Trunks and branches have a fairly regular thickness along their length until they approach a branching point and divide into thinner branches of uniform thickness, and so on.

Paint shadows

10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

The shadows will fall on the darkest side of the tree. If your tree’s darkest area is on the left, the shadows must fall on the ground on the left side of the object. It will appear much better if the shadow is washed out or not very dark.

Shadows lean toward the colder side of the color wheel, such as blues and purples, as well as cool neutrals. Remember that the tree’s leaves and branches create shadows on it as well.

Final details

10 Steps To Paint Leaves and Trees With Watercolor

When the tree and shadows have dried fully, we can begin to add details with a thinner brush. A tiny field of view behind the tree might be one of these characteristics. Just to show how the tree stands on a horizontal line.


Painting trees is an excellent skill to learn if you want to paint landscapes. We hope that this article on painting trees and leaves with watercolor will help you improve your painting abilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *