Tips for Making Trees with Watercolor

Artist Gay Kraeger has loaded her Watercolor Journaling Tutorials with all sorts of great tips for painting. Here are some of her tips from the Week 2 video lesson for making beautiful trees using a “tree machine” (a sponge).

SEE THE VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE (Trees start at 16:07)

  • Mix a light leaf colored puddle of watercolor. You could include shades of green, or reds, oranges and yellows for fall trees.
  • Dip your sponge in the puddle, then stamp it onto watercolor paper in a tree shape. Allow some spaces to paint in the tree branches and trunk. Also think about the type of tree you want to create – tall and skinny, wide and round, bending, etc. The sponge will take care of the leaf detail for you.
  • Mix a darker leaf color and stamp some shadows on the under parts of your leaf clumps.
  • With brown or tree trunk-colored watercolor, paint in branches between leaf clumps and the trunk.
  • Add some darker shadows to the branches and trunk while the paint is still wet.
  • When the everything has dried, paint a light, leaf colored watercolor wash over the leaf areas. While that wash is still wet, add a bit of darker color under parts of the leaf areas. This is usually where the shadows are.

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