How to Create Watercolor Roses

Monday, January 25, 2016

Learn how to create simple, abstract watercolor rose, in this tutorial | The Illustrai
Here's a little tutorial I put together on how to create watercolor roses. Of course, everyone has their own artistic style and there are tons of different ways to create a rose, but this is just how I would create an abstract rose without using a reference photo. 


*NOTE: Along with the materials I have linked to the specific products that I used in this tutorial. These are affiliate links, meaning that I will receive a small commission if you purchase using the links. However, you will not be charged anything extra by purchasing through these links.
Learn how to create simple, abstract watercolor roses in this tutorial | The Illustrai


  1. I always start with painting two little commas that almost interlock. Think of this almost like the yin and yang symbol.
  2. From there, I add more strokes of paint in the areas with open spaces. Basically, you want to add your new petals where the gap is between the two previous strokes. 
  3. Try to create some longer and some shorter strokes to give more interest to the flower. Its important to look at the marks you've made and judge where to end your new stroke of paint. For example, I wouldn't want my stroke to end in the same place as the previous two strokes because then you would be left with a gap right above the previous gap! As you can see in the picture above, on number 6 I added a stroke to elongate a previous stroke. Looking at what I had, I knew I wasn't happy with how big of a gap would be there so I decided to make that stroke end near the middle of another. 
  4. In addition to creating different lengths of strokes, try to create different shapes too. Most of my strokes look like elbow noodles, but some end in thin points and others are more fat looking petals. Also, looking at number 6 as an example again, I ended up with a new looking shape to make the rose look more believable. 
  5. Continue adding petals to fill in the spaces until you are happy with the size and shape of your rose. 
NOTE: Though this particular rose in the image above doesn't show this, it can also look good to make the beginning strokes (these will end up being the middle of your rose) smaller and thinner, while steadily making the petals larger as you move outwards. By using this method, along with keeping your petals tighter together, this will create a slightly more realistic rose than this looser version.

Hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial on creating watercolor roses. Let me know in a comment below, what other art tutorials would you like to see? And if you try out this tutorial, I would love to see the watercolor roses that you create! Tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #theillustrai so I can see your handiwork :)

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  1. This was such a fun and useful guide! Would be great for card making!!