Tutorial: How to paint hibiscus flowers in watercolour

Hibiscus flowers are beautiful tropical blooms with their rich red petals and long stamen loaded with pollen. They’re really great for practising loose watercolour florals because of their distinctive shape.

I’m using yellow gouache for the pollen so it’s visible on the red background, but you can use gel pen, Posca pens or any other opaque yellow paint. Let’s get started!

tutorial how to paint hibiscus flowers in watercolor

Supplies you will need

  • Watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paints
  • Round brush (ideally plus a small one with a fine point)
  • Water jars
  • Paper towels
  • Yellow gouache or Posca pens

Colours to try

  • Scarlet Lake
  • Winsor Red Deep
  • Hookers Green
  • Yellow gouache

All the watercolour paints I use are from Winsor and Newton’s Professional range, but you don’t need these exact shades. I’m using reds for the flower.

Painting watercolour hibiscus flowers – step by step

  1. Mix your red paints together and load up your brush. Drag it along its side, back and forth, to create a light heart shape, Leave some areas blank as white space, to create a highlight, and aim for loose points in the middle and rough edges around the outside.
  2. Load up with a darker red mix and run your brush along the outside edge, creating a wiggly line and allowing it to bleed out. And darker red to the inside tips too and let diffuse.
  3. Continue the process around the flower to build five petals, allowing them to connect. Make them slightly different tones and add touches of red in places so they don’t all look the same.
  4. For a neat trick, leave a little white space aruond the edge between the petal and the frill. Allow everything to dry.
  5. Pull out a central stamen with a curve in a deep red. Add a few red dots around the end.
  6. Using your gouache or other yellow and add some small dots across the end of the stamen for pollen.
  7. Finish with leaves in a bright green that highlight the red tones, leaving a small gap in the middle for a vein.

Now you can paint hibiscus flowers in watercolour! Why not add them to your next bouquet or create a tropical pattern by filling a whole page with hibiscus blooms.

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