Quick Watercolour Lightning Tutorial

It’s been pretty much forever since I’ve last done a watercolour tutorial. Aside from the wrist injury that has kept me from making art, everything else comes in second while I’m writing.

Still, I keep getting requests for stuff, and I feel guilty for not blogging about art for so long.

The request for a lightning tutorial comes from way back when I posted this artwork on Instagram.


So, let’s get to it.

For this tutorial, I used my trusty Farber Castell Watercolour pencils in black, white, dark grey and light grey.

It doesn’t really matter which shades of grey you choose, they’re just to transition from pitch black to softer greys. You could also leave out the grey altogether and just focus more on blending when you paint with water.

Additionally, I used white acrylic paint and watercolour paper.

First, you’ll need to stretch your paper. Basically, you need to stick down the paper to a smooth surface that won’t be damaged by water. This will just keep the paper from warping too much while wet, and will also allow you to maintain crisp, paint-free edges around your artwork.

I begin by plotting out where I want the colours to be. I gently colour parches of black, dark grey, and light grey.

Next, I blend the colours together with a damp brush, working in circular motions. This will be the base of our dark clouds. If you blend too much, don’t worry! You can pick up some of the pigment by dabbing a tissue to the paper.

Once the paper is dry, I darken the edges of the ‘clouds’ by taking pigment directly from the tip of the pencil with the damp paintbrush. I repeat this step a few times for optimal opacity.

Once that’s all dry, I pick up pigment from the tip of my white pencil, and lightly mark the lightning on the page.

This step doesn’t have to be perfect. What we’re marking now will become the outer glow of the lightning.

Then, with a super fine paintbrush and white acrylic paint, I plot out the lightning. The key here is to go for jagged, squiggly lines.

I repeated the last two steps three times to get the opacity and glowy effect of lightning.

This is the final product. 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial!

Have a fabulous weekend.



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