Tips for Beginners on Painting Autumn Leaves in Watercolor

Painting Fall leaves in watercolors is one of my favorite subjects of all time to paint!

I have two time-lapse videos demonstrating different watercolor techniques you can use to create colorful Fall leaves. The 1st video focuses primarily on using a wet on wet technique, and the 2nd video demonstrates how to splatter paint to created both color and texture.

Wet on Wet Watercolor Technique

In this 1st video, watch how I continually fill the leaf with red paint using water to control where the paint spreads. This methods is good for building depth of color especially when the color is very transparent! It’s also fun to drop different colors next to each other and just watch them slowly bleed together.

One of the hardest lessons to learn in watercolors is to know when to hold back from using your paintbrush to let the water do it’s thing.

The best way to figure this wet on wet techniques out is to just give it a try!

Tips for painting Wet on Wet:

  • The more water you add, the faster the paint will bleed. The less water, the slower the bleed.
  • If you want to take away water, clean + dry your brush, then use it like a vacuum to suck up the water.
  • If you don’t want two colors to mix drop clean water in the area to push the colors away from one another.


Painting the color red can be especially tricky. To learn more about how to paint with the color red check out my post: Tips and Tricks on Painting the Color Red while Painting a Cardinal.

Splatter Technique

In the 2nd video, I painted a yellow leaf that has all sorts of textured, colorful spots on it, and the best way I know how to create spots is to splatter paint!

This is a super fun technique, and very messy!


Tips for splattering paint:

  • To create a uniform splatter effect without having blobs of paint ruining the painting I find using a small stencil brush best to use. I have even cut the bristles of a stencil brush shorter to get the desired splatter I’m looking for.
  • It’s helpful to cover up the areas of the paper you want to prevent from getting splattered. I like to cut out an exact outline to allow for maximum splatter on the leaf while also protecting the white of the paper.
  • It’s also important to change the direction of the splatter. I suggest either moving your body around the painting or move the painting itself and splatter the intended area from all sides.

The best part about paint leaves are all their imperfections! No two leaves are alike. Sometime a mistake can turn into a happy accident, which is why leaves make such a great subject matter for beginners to paint!

Give it a try, and don’t forget to have fun in the process:)

FYI: I would love to see what you create!

Share what you learn in the comment section below and/or send me a photo of your work to:


Want an easy to follow step-by-step system for painting realistically with watercolors?

Give my 3 day free course a try and see if you like my teaching methods.


2 thoughts on “Tips for Beginners on Painting Autumn Leaves in Watercolor

  1. You have just given your old (yes,old) Art Teacher a lesson in water colors that was fascinating! I’m even tempted to get out a brush and my little tin of paints!!!

    1. Kathy, it’s fantastic to hear from you! It means the world to me to hear you visited my website! Thank you:) I hope you do whip out the brushes and create! It always feel so good to do so. Send me a pic of what you make!

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