Watercolour Forest Tutorial

In moments when my anxiety runs away with me, I often reach for my art supplies. There’s something super soothing about the way watercolours flow and blend together. No? Maybe it’s just me.

I also find that in these anxious moments, I paint forests. Don’t ask me why. I really have no specific answer for you, but I always feel better while creating bare branches or clusters of leafy trees, especially firs.

Anyway, this tutorial will show you how to create both leafless and leafy trees, and this is beginner-friendly too. Since I’m still learning how to use watercolour paints, we bought a cheap set for this experimenting phase. The dream is to own a set of quality Winsor & Newtons, but for now the no-name brand will suffice. You could also paint this using watercolour pencils, using a wet on wet technique. More on that here.

This time, I decided to work in a circular form and used three colours: viridian, prussian blue and Lamp black.

First, I painted water inside the circle and added viridian, focussing the most pigment towards the edges.


I waited until that was about 3/4 dry, then started adding light viridian trees with heavily watered down paint. I wanted these to look ghostly and far away.

The closer the tree is to the foreground, the less watered down the paint. I waited for the first layer to dry well, then added another layer of trees, again in viridian, but this time less watery.

Then, the next layer of trees, using the prussian blue.

You see, easy. 🙂 Next step, more trees using lamp black. The closer the tree is to the foreground, the thicker the trunk and branches will be.

Now, you could stop here, but for this tutorial I wanted to show you how to take the same picture from bare, spooky autumn to spring. So, for the next step I used watered down paints in all three shades and added tall grass around the bases of the trees, using small upward flicks of the paintbrush. I also made little dots around the tops of the blades of grass, just to make a more interesting visual.


Spring trees need leaves, right? I added these by dotting prussian blue around the branches of the blue trees. The green ones would be too far away to really make out anything, so I skipped those for this part. This dotting process is completely random, just have fun with it.


As you’ve guessed, next we add black to the trees in the foreground. I waited until the blue was mostly dry before I started with this step.


And that’s it – you’re done. 🙂 I told you it was super easy. You could get so many different effects by using different colours. Here are some examples of the forests I’ve painted.

Thank you for stopping by,



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