This tutorial is the third and final installment of the Woodland Watercolor Wreath series; in it, you’ll learn how to make a versatile, whimsical watercolor wreath that features twiggy vines, flowers, leaves, and feathers! While you can follow the tutorial to the letter if you want to, you should also feel free to modify the instructions in order to switch up the appearance of your own wreaths. You can change colors, shapes, and elements to craft a piece that reflects your own unique aesthetic!
In this tutorial, I’ll be painting my wreath on a place card; however, you should feel free to paint your wreath on any paper good! To start, use a small-ish brush (size 00 or so; the brush’s size is engraved in the handle) and brown watercolor paint to draw a wavy oval shape. Make sure to leave an opening in the lower left corner of the shape; you’ll be painting flowers there later! Paint a couple of additional lines that weave through the wavy oval, as shown below:
Paint several twigs (short, curved lines) coming off of the oval and wavy lines.
Next, paint a flower in the bottom left. To do that, you’ll select a color that appeals to you (I have chosen a blue tone called “Vivianite”), and paint five petals as shown below.
Use your paintbrush to dab additional dots of color around those central five petals.
Finish up by dabbing color around the petals until the flower looks like a peony.
Add several other blue peonies to random places around the wreath. All of the peonies (well, except for that first one you painted) should be connected to twigs.
Next, use a nice, earthy green tone to paint leaves around the wreath. You can put the leaves anywhere; they don’t need to be connected to a protruding twig!
Now, use a reddish tone to paint in some berries, which are really just small circles. The berries should hover around twigs.
Use the same reddish tone you used on the berries to paint a rose in the bottom left corner. There are step-by-step instructions on how to make a rose like this in Amazing Envelopes for a Latté, but basically you’ll start by painting a few curved shapes in the center …
… And you’ll continue to paint curved shapes until the flower is nice and full!
Once you’re finished with the rose, use a yellow tone of watercolor paint to create a few simple flowers around the wreath. The yellow flowers — with the exception, perhaps, of one in the lower left corner — should all be connected to twigs
You will finish up your watercolor wreath by painting a feather! Start by making a slightly curved line using a gray-ish hue of watercolor.
Next, add a series of short lines to the left side of the curved line you just drew. The short lines should taper in as they near the top of the feather.
To complete your feather, paint tapered lines on the right side as well.
Add a couple more feathers throughout the watercolor wreath for good measure!
Though this blog post highlights using the watercolor wreath described above on a place card, this is a versatile wreath that will look great anywhere! For example, you could make a wedding invitation that features this watercolor wreath as a border. All you need to do is digitize the wreath and design the invitation; you can learn how to do that in the recently-released Digitizing Artwork and Calligraphy eCourse. Naturally, there’s also a place for a wreath like this on mail art!
The wreath on this envelope isn’t identical to the one on the place card, but the concept is exactly the same: twigs, flowers, leaves, and berries. The wreath frames the recipient’s Sans Serif name beautifully, and it is complemented by an address written in watercolor Janet Style calligraphy featuring the two predominant colors of the wreath (brown and blue).
I absolutely love the watercolor wreath concepts in Part I and Part II of this series, but this last wreath is probably my favorite because you can easily change its shape, its colors, and its elements. The wreath would happily accommodate black-eyed Susan flowers, maple leaves, blueberries … whatever you like, you can throw it in there!
Thanks so much for reading the Watercolor Wreath series, and don’t forget to enter the international giveaway for artist-grade watercolors in Part I! The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM MDT (Denver, CO, timezone) this coming Monday, so you’ve still got time. 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend, and that you give this tutorial a try!