A Beginner’s Guide to Painting Trees in Watercolor

Trees grace our world with their beauty in every season, whether it’s the lush greens of summer or the stark silhouettes of winter. They’re a constant presence in our everyday lives, blending seamlessly into the tapestry of nature. 

Whether you’re just starting out on your artistic journey or seeking to hone your skills, painting trees in watercolor can be an incredibly fulfilling experience. In this guide, we’ll take you through some simple yet effective steps and techniques to help you breathe life into your paper canvas. It’s all about grasping the essence of their basic shapes and colors, learning to simplify and capture their beauty.

Today, we’re thrilled to present you with five in-depth tutorials that will leave you feeling like a seasoned artist, ready to paint the world with your newfound skills. Let’s dive in and unlock the secrets of painting trees in watercolor!


A Beginner's Guide to Painting Trees in Watercolor 1

Materials You'll Need:

  • Watercolor paper: Choose a sturdy paper suitable for watercolor painting, preferably with a weight of 140 lb or higher to prevent warping.
  • Watercolor paints: Opt for a basic set of watercolor paints with a variety of colors, including greens, browns, and blues.
  • Brushes: Have a selection of round brushes in different sizes to achieve varying brushstrokes and details.
  • Palette: A palette for mixing your watercolor paints.
  • Water container: A jar or cup for clean water.
  • Paper towels: For blotting excess water and paint from your brushes.

5 Tutorials on How to Paint Trees in Watercolor

1. The best way to paint a tree

Step 1: Sketching the Tree


Begin by lightly sketching the basic shape of your tree onto the watercolor paper using a pencil. Keep your lines simple and fluid, outlining the trunk and main branches. Remember that trees come in various shapes and sizes, so feel free to experiment with different forms.

Step 2: Mixing Your Colors

Before you start painting, take some time to mix your colors on the palette. For the trunk and branches, mix browns and grays using a combination of burnt sienna, raw umber, and ultramarine blue. For the foliage, mix various shades of green using combinations of sap green, hooker’s green, and yellow ochre.

Step 3: Applying the Base Wash

Using a large round brush, wet the area around the tree with clean water, covering the entire tree shape. Then, apply a light wash of color to the wet surface, starting with the trunk and branches. Allow the colors to blend and flow naturally, adding more pigment as needed to create depth and dimension.


Step 4: Adding Details and Texture

Once the base wash has dried, use a smaller round brush to add details to the tree, such as bark texture and individual leaves. Work from the trunk outward, painting the branches with darker shades of brown and gray. For the foliage, use quick, flicking motions to create the impression of leaves, varying the pressure on your brush to achieve different leaf sizes and shapes.


Step 5: Enhancing Depth and Contrast


To enhance the depth and contrast of your painting, add darker shades of color to the shadows and crevices of the tree. This will help to define its form and make it appear more three-dimensional. Experiment with layering transparent washes of color to build up richness and complexity in your painting.

Step 6: Finishing Touches


Once you’re satisfied with your tree, step back and assess your painting as a whole. Add any final touches or details as needed, and consider incorporating other elements such as background scenery or additional trees to complete the composition.

2. In depth tutorial about simplicity

Here, the tutorial shows us how to paint trees in a painterly style, at a distance and close up. It shows how to make the work feel professional with the correct way of simplification of shapes and colors. 

3. 5 techniques of painting trees

It is a great in depth tutorial of how to paint different tyoes of trees using different types of techniques. From wet on wet, to wet on dry, and many more in order to create the alike textures of a trees. 

4. Tips and tricks painting tress

This tutorial zooms in on the techniques of painting a few different trees individually. It does a great job breaking down how to paint everything using the correct shapes, styles and colors. 

5. Ten trees in watercolor

The best way to learn is to watch someone else paint. This is  tutorial that you can paint with the artist as the best way to learn is to copy what is getting done by the creative that you look up to. 

Final Tips and Tricks:

  • Practice painting trees from observation, paying attention to their unique shapes, textures, and colors.
  • Experiment with different brushstrokes and techniques to achieve a variety of effects, such as dry brushing for texture or wet-on-wet for soft blending.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Watercolor painting is all about embracing spontaneity and letting go of perfectionism.
  • Take breaks and step back from your painting periodically to gain fresh perspective and avoid overworking it.

With practice and patience, you’ll soon develop your own style and technique for painting trees in watercolor. So grab your brushes and let your imagination take root as you explore the beauty of nature on paper. Happy painting!