SPECIAL FEATURE: “How to Paint Leaves in Watercolor” by Leyla Torres

World Watercolor Month - Watercolor by Leyla Torres - Doodlewash

In the month of July we are celebrating World Watercolor Month. I have the privilege to be a guess writer again for Doodlewash and share with you some watercolor tips that you might find helpful. One way to encourage our painting discipline is by participating in different creative challenges such as the monthly challenges presented by Doodlewash.

This year so far, I’m participating in a 100-day project and also, for World Watercolor Month I’ve been painting and giving away a watercolor flower all month long (via Instagram).

For the 100-day project, I’ve chosen to paint fruits and vegetables that can be eaten raw. These are lovely subjects to paint in watercolor, and are also beneficial to our health! Making a commitment to this project is a strong motivator to work every day, and incorporate more raw food into my daily diet. My project hashtag, is featured on Instagram as #100daysofrawfood. One of the subjects I painted for this challenge was collard greens.

My process of painting these leaves involved working with several layers, and applying colors from light to dark.

World Watercolor Month - Watercolor by Leyla Torres - Doodlewash

I used transparent watercolors, leaving the first wash as the lightest tone. I usually leave dry spots where the highlights will be, and in this case I didn’t use masking fluid.

For the collard greens I first applied a flat wash of very light yellow/green color on a wet surface. This layer captures the essential color of the object I’m painting.

I let it dry and apply successive layers of graded washes that add details and accentuate shading with areas of saturated colors. I let each layer dry before applying the next.

Here I share a video describing in detail the steps I followed to paint them.

Watercolor Painting Tips

  • Painting green leaves can be a challenge. Make sure to prepare several different greens to capture the subtleties of the subject.

    World Watercolor Month - Palette of Leyla Torres - Doodlewash

  • Work on more than one painting at a time, that way you’ll let a painting dry between layers without risking making unwanted water-blossoms.World Watercolor Month - Watercolors by Leyla Torres - Doodlewash

For more of my painting tips, inspiration and creative ideas, I invite you to visit and subscribe to my website at LeylaTorres.com.

Leyla Torres
Doodlewash Gallery

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists, Tutorials
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 years ago

    Layering and drying – the keys to watercolor technique. Thank you, Leyla.

    • Leyla Torres 5 years ago

      Your’e welcome Sharon. Thank you for your comment!

  2. memadtwo 5 years ago

    Excellent tips and great work. N.

  3. Shannon 5 years ago

    Ooo, nice! And ironic today I painted my first leaf! I used Winsor&Newton 💕

    • Leyla Torres 5 years ago

      Yay! Good coincidences mean that you are on the right path. I hope you share your leaves with us 🙂

  4. Linda B 5 years ago

    Your leaf instructions are excellent. Did find the placement of paints in the “wells” an interesting way to use the palette. Reverse from most ways shown but seems very practical. I will give that a try.

    • Leyla Torres 5 years ago

      Thank you, Linda. I’m glad you find the explanation helpful. About the order of color in the palette, I guess it is a bit of personal preference. Whatever works for each one of our personal needs 🙂

  5. June Hadaway 5 years ago

    I have produced many unwanted blossoms by not waiting. Goid advice.

    • Leyla Torres 5 years ago

      Thank you June. Building patience to wait is the trick. Working on more than one watercolor at a time is what helps me 🙂

  6. Phil Cooper 5 years ago

    Stunning work Layla, everything so fresh, nothing trying too hard, just lovely 🙂

  7. […] Charlie O’Shields, host supreme, and friend of mine has invited me again as a guest blogger. Click here to read my post. […]

  8. Elizabeth Metz 5 years ago

    Awesome tutorial!

    Also, I’m kind of in love with your sketchbook page full of themed doodles in that last photo. 🙂

  9. Jennifer McLean 5 years ago

    it was great to read about your art, thanks for sharing.

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