How to paint an autumn oak branch

 
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Just in case anybody who reads this would like to try their hand at watercolour I’ve done a quick ‘how to’ on this October inspired illustration. Please forgive the photos, they were taken at 2am in artificial light in a bout of insomnia.

Equipment & Materials

  • Paper: 300gsm Rough Texture

  • HB Pencil

  • Clean Water

  • Brush: No. 3

  • Watercolours: Sap Green, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Black

Please remember watercolours can be mixed to create different colours, please don’t go out and buy any of these colours especially.

 
1. Draw the basic shape of the branch you wish to illustrate. Feel free to copy this one

1. Draw the basic shape of the branch you wish to illustrate. Feel free to copy this one

2. Add little lumps and bumps and decide where to put your leaves and acorns.

2. Add little lumps and bumps and decide where to put your leaves and acorns.

3. Add off shoots and leaves. An oak leaf is long and jagged so a few wobbly lines in an overall rectangle shape should look something like this.

3. Add off shoots and leaves. An oak leaf is long and jagged so a few wobbly lines in an overall rectangle shape should look something like this.

4. Draw acorns and then add leaves behind. Remember to include the veins of the leaves.

4. Draw acorns and then add leaves behind. Remember to include the veins of the leaves.

5. Lightly wet one leaf taking care not to wet the pencil lines. (The pencil lines are going to be rubbed out at the end leaving white lines in the leaf and once they’re wet they don’t rub out very well.)

5. Lightly wet one leaf taking care not to wet the pencil lines. (The pencil lines are going to be rubbed out at the end leaving white lines in the leaf and once they’re wet they don’t rub out very well.)

6. Start to apply a light mix of green watercolour. My green was made by combing sap green with a very small amount of raw umber...

6. Start to apply a light mix of green watercolour. My green was made by combing sap green with a very small amount of raw umber...

7. Before you reach the end of the leaf switch the paint from a green mix to a brown. I’ve used raw umber on it’s own here.

7. Before you reach the end of the leaf switch the paint from a green mix to a brown. I’ve used raw umber on it’s own here.

8. Repeat this step for every leaf remembering to leave the pencil lines untouched. I left out the green on two leaves to make it more autumnal.

8. Repeat this step for every leaf remembering to leave the pencil lines untouched. I left out the green on two leaves to make it more autumnal.

9. For the acorns use a thicker mix of raw umber and paint in lines from the darker side. (Where the shadow would be.) gradually getting more watery as you work across to create light.

9. For the acorns use a thicker mix of raw umber and paint in lines from the darker side. (Where the shadow would be.) gradually getting more watery as you work across to create light.

10. Using a mix of black and burnt umber paint in the top of the acorns again from dark side gradually getting lighter.

10. Using a mix of black and burnt umber paint in the top of the acorns again from dark side gradually getting lighter.

11. I painted the darker sides and then washed my brush. I then just pulled the darker paint across to create a lighter area with a wet clean brush.

11. I painted the darker sides and then washed my brush. I then just pulled the darker paint across to create a lighter area with a wet clean brush.

12. Using a mix again of black and burnt umber but this time with more burnt umber, paint the middle of the branch and then spread the paint with a wet brush up and down the branch to create an uneven colour.

12. Using a mix again of black and burnt umber but this time with more burnt umber, paint the middle of the branch and then spread the paint with a wet brush up and down the branch to create an uneven colour.

12. Once the painting is completely dry, repeat steps 6 & 7 by going over all the leaves a second time. Add a darker mix of black and burnt umber to the underside of the branch and the acorns.

12. Once the painting is completely dry, repeat steps 6 & 7 by going over all the leaves a second time. Add a darker mix of black and burnt umber to the underside of the branch and the acorns.

13. Once dry rub out all the pencil lines and bobs your uncle! Autumn Leaves.

13. Once dry rub out all the pencil lines and bobs your uncle! Autumn Leaves.

Written with love

Old Mother Hubbard

 
Brooke