Painting Watercolor Roses for Beginners

how to paint watercolor roses

The modern brush lettering paired with the vintage looking watercolor rose is making me super happy. I love the blushing yellow colors, but as much as I hate to admit it, it's really simple to paint. Yep, all those years in art school were not necessary for this project!!

To do it, you just need some simple instructions and the following supplies:

  1. Waterbrush
  2. Powdered Pigment (I used the red Pixie Paint from Cosmo Cricket)
  3. Yellow and Deep Red watercolor (the red needs to be dark, a deep scarlet)
  4. Watercolor paper (Of course, I'm using the blank watercolor tag from Cosmo Cricket... yes, I'm biased, and in love with these!)
  5. Resist Pen by Cosmo Cricket, I really don't know of any others that work, and I mean that sincerely, but you could try white crayon for a slightly different look.
  6. Pretty Ribbon if desired

OK, my friends, let's get started drawing a rose. Please don't judge the grainy image... I drew the lines for the rose so lightly that I had to really tweak the contrast on this image for them to show up at all. It went a bit weird, but hey, you got a free tutorial out of it!

Start with the center of your rose and draw a tiny little blob shape. Then draw little, ruffly, edged shapes working your way around the center and getting a little bigger with each round. Stop when the rose is the size you like. See, easy!

Start with the center of your rose and draw a tiny little blob shape. Then draw little, ruffly, edged shapes working your way around the center and getting a little bigger with each round. Stop when the rose is the size you like. See, easy!

Once your rose is drawn, use the Cosmo Cricket Resist Pen to draw a highlight along the inside edge of each petal. Let the resist dry before moving on... ask me how I know!

Next, you want to put down a wash of pink and yellow over the top of the entire rose. This will "highlight the highlights" so you know where they are and give you some tone throughout your flower.

It looks tricky with the color changing throughout, but it's not! Just put some of that red Pixie Paint into the handle of your waterbrush and fill it with water. Then, dip into yellow watercolor and start painting from the center out. Don't re-dip into that yellow until the color has turned pink. Repeat that process, working your way out, until the whole rose has a single coat of paint.

It looks tricky with the color changing throughout, but it's not! Just put some of that red Pixie Paint into the handle of your waterbrush and fill it with water. Then, dip into yellow watercolor and start painting from the center out. Don't re-dip into that yellow until the color has turned pink. Repeat that process, working your way out, until the whole rose has a single coat of paint.

Once your rose is colored, we're going to use that same, filled waterbrush to paint in some darks. These dark values will help give the rose a lot more dimension. (OK, maybe a little bit of that art school learning is being used... but just a little!)

As you see in the below photos, the darks are a very dark, red watercolor. I use the pink water in the waterbrush to pull the red out toward the resisted edge.  Do this on all the petals, even going over the yellow areas. In fact, I even went back and added some more dark red to the center to really deepen the color there.

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OK, if you're still with me, you should have a gorgeous looking rose! Tell me you do!!

Now that we've painted a flower we are really happy with, let's risk it all by adding some brush lettering. What do you think?? (I never think to do the lettering first, it's just my way of living on the edge!)

Below you'll find a video of myself lettering this tag. I was disappointed that I didn't have quite enough water in my brush to start... you'll see this as I come around the top curve of the letter "B". Stuff like this happens and you just have to go with the flow... or lack of flow as the case may be. 

Anyway, I also grabbed some stills of the brush (a waterbrush is my favorite for brush lettering) so you can hopefully see exactly what is happening as I work.
 

Notice the tip of my brush. The bristles are behind my hand. The brush is being "pulled" up keeping the bristles close together.

Notice the tip of my brush. The bristles are behind my hand. The brush is being "pulled" up keeping the bristles close together.

Again, look at the tip, it's behind my hand and I'm applying very little pressure so those bristles are really narrow.

Again, look at the tip, it's behind my hand and I'm applying very little pressure so those bristles are really narrow.

Here you can see how my brush was a bit dry. But, you can also see the tip is now being pressed down so that the bristles are wide.

Here you can see how my brush was a bit dry. But, you can also see the tip is now being pressed down so that the bristles are wide.

And here is another look of the brush widening as I apply more pressure on the downward stroke.

And here is another look of the brush widening as I apply more pressure on the downward stroke.

Here's that video I promised! It looks so easy here, right?!