Tutorial: How to paint a watercolour coneflower

Coneflowers or echinacea are beautiful, elegant flowers with a lovely gentle shape and thin petals. You can paint them in any colour but I love pink the most!


What you will need


  • Opera Rose
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Red
  • Burnt Umber
  • Sap Green

All the watercolour paint I use is the professional range from Winsor & Newton. Don’t worry if you don’t have these exact colours – just find the closest match in your palette.

Paint a coneflower – step by step

  1. Mix up the colours for the coneflower centre. Load a small brush with the orange and use the tip to create dots. Build the dots into a small ring.
  2. Load up with a darker red colour and create a line of dots underneath the ring, allowing them to touch for bleeds.
  3. Darken again with a brown and fill in the centre of the ring and a shadow underneath the red line. These steps create the illusion of a three-dimensional coneflower centre.
  4. Now paint the petals. Pick up a larger watercolour brush and load up with a light pink mix. Start at the bottom of the flower cone, touching the tip of your brush to the wet brown dots, and pull the petals down and away. Use long, thin strokes and create rounded edges at the bottom.
  5. Start with the centre petal and pull straight down. Then paint the petals either side, and work your way out. 
  6. Add darker pigment to the petals near the centre to create a deeper shadow effect.
  7. When you get to the edge petals, make the strokes thinner to make them seem like a side view.
  8. For the stem, create a curved stroke in a mix of brown and green. Make sure the line of the stem is aiming to connect with the flower centre.
  9. Add leaves in a green mix. Use thin lines out of the stem, then pull thin, curved lines and leave white space in the middle for highlights.
  10. Once the petals are dry, go back to the thin brush and create thin contour lines running down the petals.

Video tutorial – paint a coneflower in watercolour

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