Practice Painting Watercolor Leaves


Watercolor painting has a bit of magic in it. The magic lies in how the pigments and water mix on the page and create beautiful blends - very similar to what we see in nature.


One great way to understand watercolor painting is with creating autumn leaves. The natural changing color in fall leaves can easily be recreated with paint and is a fun exercise to develop your watercolor skills.

Be sure to scroll to the end and download the Watercolor Practice Sheet & Getting Started with Watercolor guide with details on my favorite brushes, paints and papers..

Gather Your Supplies

Sketch or trace 4 leaf outlines on watercolor paper.

Start Painting Watercolor Leaves

Leaf 1- Lay down a very wet yellow wash (lots of water and a bit of paint) on dry paper

Leaf 2 - Repeat above & add 4 dots of green around the edges

Leaf 3 - Repeat above & randomly add 3 dots of red and 2 dots of light brown 

Leaf 4 - Repeat above. Let dry. Add details to the painting with pen or brown paint.

watercolor leaves


Work quickly enough that you keep the yellow base wet when adding colors. This allows the colors to flow naturally.

Let the water do the work when you dot the paint on the leaf. It is more natural looking. It will slowly change by the time it dries.

Remove excess water if surface is TOO wet with a tip of the paper towel.

Remove mistakes by adding clean water to specific area and blot with towel until it’s removed. Scrub if necessary.

Trace without tracing paper - Flip over image & cover the back of page with your pencil’s graphite. Then flip back over and trace the outline of the image.


You just practiced wet on wet, wet on dry techniques!

Ready for more? Try controlling the pigment by using only water and filling in a shape. Then add the paint.


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