Tutorial: How to paint a watercolour sunflower

Sunflowers are one of the most iconic flowers in the world. Their big bold centres and ring of yellow petals are iconic and they shout summer! I love painting these fun flowers and it’s a great project for beginners in watercolour too.

tutorial how to paint a sunflower in watercolor

What you will need


  • Sap Green
  • Mars Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Lemon Yellow Deep
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Cadmium Orange

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

Paint a sunflower step by step

  1. Paint a ring in a brown colour. Use the tip of your brush to tap the paper and create dots in brown. Then mix up a black colour and add a darker layer of dots over the top to fill any gaps.
  2. While the centre is still wet, clean your brush and pick up some Lemon Yellow colour. Touch the tip of the brush to the centre and pull out to create petals.
  3. The petals should be oval shaped. Use multiple strokes to create a wider shape and a jagged edge. Vary the colours by adding other yellow and orange tones, or change the value by adding water for a paler tone.
  4. Use a green to create a thick stem, and pull out rough leaves. Pull it into a point and aim downwards.
  5. Once the petals are dry, go back over with a fine brush and an orange tone to create lines for texture.

Watercolour sunflower video tutorial

Want a real-time tutorial on painting a sunflower.

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