Watercolor Cherry Blossoms for Beginners | Joly Poa | Skillshare

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Watercolor Cherry Blossoms for Beginners

teacher avatar Joly Poa, Watercolor Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Cherry Blossom and Bud

    • 4. Class Project Part 1

    • 5. Class Project Part 2

    • 6. Final Thoughts

    • 7. Bonus Video: Floral Wreath Demo

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About This Class

Cherry blossoms are popular in Japan. When I visited Japan, I wasn't able to see these pretty pink flowers because I was a few weeks ahead of the blooming season. 

So why not bring these flowers into our homes through watercolor painting? It would be great to hang a beautiful cherry blossom painting on the wall. :)

This class is suitable for beginners and for anybody who wants to learn a loose type of painting florals.

Join me in today's class as we paint simple and easy cherry blossoms. I will guide you with the materials that you need. We only need four colors for this class. We will also talk about the brush strokes for painting a single cherry blossom flower. We will apply the wet in wet and dry brush technique, two lessons that are also applicable on other types of floral. 

At the end of the class, you will be equipped with skills that you can use to paint a cherry blossom branch on your own.

Happy Painting!


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Joly Poa

Watercolor Artist



Hi everyone! 

My name is Joly and I am a watercolorist based in the Philippines. I discovered painting with watercolor back in 2013. I started out as newbie and learned to paint better through making mistakes and learning from other amazing artists. I just love how we can express ourselves through painting, creating wonderful watercolor florals using our artistic interpretation. It makes each painting really unique! 

My instagram account (@jolypoa)  serves as my art journal where I post my progress in the form of timelapse videos, real-time videos and photos of my paintings. My goal was also to be able to share what I have learned in watercolor. I hope to be able to do the same here on Skillshare! :)

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1. Intro: I recently went to Japan and was really sad that I missed the cherry blossom season. But then I thought, why not bring the cherry blossoms to us through watercolor painting. So join me today as we learn how to paint simple watercolor cherry blossoms. Hi everyone. My name is [inaudible] and welcome my Skillshare class. I'm a watercolor artists based in the Philippines and I love painting flowers. I have an Instagram account that serves as my digital art journal. That's where I post all my paintings, my progress videos, time-lapse videos, and anything else that I want to share about this wonderful medium. This class is suitable for beginners and for anybody who loves cherry blossoms. In this class, you are going to learn about the materials that you need and then we will proceed to painting simple brush strokes that will help you in painting the base of a cherry blossom flower. After learning how to paint individual cherry blossom flowers and buds, we are going to proceed to painting a cherry blossom branch just like this. You will also learn about the wet in wet technique and the dry brush technique, which are both useful for painting other florals as well. Painting cherry blossoms is really fun and in this class you'll be able to learn simple tips and tricks on how you can add character to your painting. At the end of the class, you'll be able to accomplish a painting just like this, a cherry blossom branch. This is a step-by-step class that's easy to follow so get your brush and let's get started. 2. Materials: All right, let's start with the materials. For the paper, I am using the Fabriano Artistico Cold Pressed Watercolor paper. This is 100 percent cotton. I just bought a large sheet of watercolor paper and I cut it into smaller pieces for our practice. For the brush, I am using the silver brush black velvet, round in size six. For the mixing palette, I am using a ceramic palette, but you can use any palette that you like. We also need a jar of clean water, and also some paper towel that you will use to adapt the excess water from our brush. For the pen, I am using the Shinhan PWC, it comes in tubes and edge pointed into half pants, so that it's easier for me to use. Now let's check out the colors that you will use for this class. First up, of course, is my favorite color permanent rose, which we will use for our cherry blossoms. Next is a bolder color called Crimson Lake. The third color is permanent yellow light which we will give a pop of color on cherry blossoms. Lastly, we're going to use burnt umber for the branches of cherry blossoms. That's it, well, I hope you are ready to paint. 3. Cherry Blossom and Bud: In this lesson, we're going to learn how to paint your cherry blossom flower and some buds. Right here, I have prepared the main mixture of permanent rose with a lot of water. I diluted it with a lot of water so that I can get that nice dainty pink color. I just swatch it for you, so, you can see what it looks like. Let's put one dot in the middle and just slowly press our brush and just pull it away from me. Let's just fix our petal. Now I'm moving the brush towards me. Then let's paint the petal on the right. If you feel like the brush is a little dry, you can just dip your brush again in our paint. As you may have noticed, the edges of the petals right there, it looks a little jagged, because I feel like it makes it look more organic, it looks more natural. Our plan is to make five petals. I'm using the tip of my brush to make some of the edges, a bit more pointy. Now we are on the last petal. As you can see, the base of the cherry blossom flower that we're painting is still wet until now. I am going to grab a more pigmented permanent rose, and you're just going to mix it on the palate, and we'll drop it in the center of the flower. As you can see, I'm putting everything towards the center and I'm just letting that very pigmented permanent rose flow. We can also try to fix it and just spread it a little bit more. While waiting for this cherry blossom flower to dry, we are going to proceed to painting the buds. For the buds you need to paint an oval shape. As you may have noticed, the bud is also a bit wet because I'm going to add this stem right now, and I'm going to grab the crimson mate. When I add that stem, I want it to blend with the bud that we painted, so that it looks seamless. With the crimson mate in the brush, I'm going to paint smaller buds. We want to paint the different stages of this flower and it will look really, really pretty later when we paint a branch. Okay. So now the cherry blossom flower is dry. I'm going to paint some details in the center using the crimson mate color. After grabbing some paint, I'm going to try to create thin strokes. To paint thin strokes, we just need to tip of our brush to lightly touch the paper. You can also tilt your brush in a 90 degree angle so that it's easier for you to paint thin strokes. Let's now grab some yellow paint, and now you're going to put some dots over there. You can put it in random positions, it doesn't have to be in a certain pattern. To make it look more interesting, I'm going to mix my yellow and my permanent rose to create an orangey color, and now we are going to add those dots. By doing this, we just create more depth to the flower. We're done. Congratulations on your first cherry blossom flower. [MUSIC] 4. Class Project Part 1: After learning how to paint single cherry blossom flowers and buds, we will now proceed to painting a cherry blossom branch. We have here my artificial cherry blossoms. But if you don't have one, you can always just look for a photo online. I am just laying it flat onto paper to see how it will look like if I paint it diagonally. First up let's prepare our paint. I have here permanent rose diluted in a lot of water to get that nice dainty pink color. To start our painting, I need to decide first where I will put the main cherry blossoms. You will put two dots on the paper that will serve as my reference for painting the main cherry blossom flowers. Now this is just a guide and I might eventually change the position of the flowers. But for now at least we know where it should be. We have now zoomed in a bit so that you can see what I'm painting more clearly. Let's start painting the first petal. As you may have noticed, my brush was loaded with a lot of paint. I do that because I want the petals to be quite wet. When the petals are wet, it's also easier to move it around. It's easier to adjust the shape of the petal without creating any hard edges. When you're painting these types of petals, it doesn't have to be perfect. I am currently using the black velvet, size six. I guess it's the perfect size for painting small flowers like cherry blossoms. Now we are down to the last petal of this cherry blossom flower. I'm just making sure that the edges of the petal is pointy. We are almost done and now I am just fixing some of the petals. While the base of our cherry blossom flower is still wet, I'm going to drop in a more pigmented permanent rose. This is also known as the wet and wet technique, where in the paper is wet and your brush is also wet. This technique will give you really soft blended colors. We need to paint one more main flower for this project. You're probably wondering why we only need just two main flowers. Well, the other flowers will be considered our filler cherry blossoms. We need just two main cherry blossom flowers with more details and the others will be just fillers and I will show you that later. It's now time to drop in our more concentrated permanent rose in the center. I have just zoomed in so that you can see it clearly. Just let it blend together. Now let's try to add the branches. I just need my burnt umber. I'm going to swatch it for you guys so you can see the color. To create the branch, we are just going to paint quick strokes. I only press about one-third or one-half of the brush against the paper. I also paint some broken lines, which means that I just paint about an inch of stroke and then I stop. I'd slightly change the direction of my brush and I also change the pressure that I put on my brush against the paper, because I want to create those expressive strokes. They happen when you change or when you vary the pressure of the strokes. As you can see, I am not painting one big chunk of branch. I am trying to paint it piece by piece and slowly adding more details and just varying the pressure, so that it looks more natural and it looks more expressive, and it also looks more interesting. Here I'm adding more concentrated burnt umber. This means that the color has less water to create that intense color. I am just slowly dropping it in the wet branch that we just painted. It just creates that interesting texture and the edges are not really hard because the base branch is still wet. This is also still wet and wet. We can also paint some thin lines that will look like thin and broken branches. Can just try to add it randomly so that it looks also more natural. I'm going to show you the artificial flower again and if you notice, those small stems are a bit reddish. I am going to grab my crimson lake and we are going to paint some thin stems and that is where some of our buds will go. Again, you can vary the strokes, it doesn't have to be a straight line. Now I want to add some filler cherry blossoms. I want some cherry blossoms that's peeking behind this main flower. We are just going to paint three petals. We are painting just three petals because the other two petals are going to be hidden behind this main cherry blossom flower. Let's add another cherry blossom that is peeking from behind. I am painting also just three petals. I just grabbed a more pigmented permanent rose and we are just going to drop it in the center of the cherry blossoms that's hiding from behind. Now I want to add a flower that looks like it's facing at the back. I just painted three petals as well and now we are going to grab some crimson lake and we are going to drop it at the base of the flower. Now, let's move on to the next part of this last project. 5. Class Project Part 2: Welcome to the second part of this class project. We're going to add another flower that is facing at the back of this branch. I'm just going to paint three petals, and then I'm going to grab some Crimson Lake, and I'm going to paint at the base of the flower, and I will just let it blend. That looks good. Now, I'm going to add some buds in different parts of the branch. I'm just going to scatter them all over the branch. As you may have noticed, the buds are not, I'm blending in with the stem because the stems are already dry. What we can do is we can grab some Crimson Lake, and we can dab some color on the base of the bud and just slowly connect it to the stem, so that it still looks seamless. Now that my brush has some Crimson Lake color, we are going to paint some smaller buds and just scatter them again all over their branch. We are also using the buds as a filler for this branch. Just be spontaneous when you're adding those small parts and don't overthink. Here at the top, I am going to paint some small flowers that are just about to bloom. For these small flowers, I'm just going to paint loosely, some small flowers will have three petals, some will have just two, and after that, we are going to add Crimson Lake again, at the base of the flower and just connect it to a stem. I am filling in the top with a few more small buds just to close that gap. Let's add a few more fillers. Right now, I'm painting again three petals. I'm going to show you a technique that is optional. What we are doing is we are layering some translucent petals. I just mix my permanent gloss with more water than usual, it just gives me that nice transparency. Right now, you can still see the colors and the petals underneath the second layer that I painted. To make this batch look fuller, I'm just going to add some filler petals. Don't be afraid to overlap on the other buds. If you want some of the petals to be more defined, you can just go back and paint some of the outlines of the petals. Just make sure that the color of your brush is really diluted so that it doesn't come off as too strong. Now that the painting is already dry, we are going to add more details at the center. I have here my Crimson Lake, and I'm just adding those thin lines. The thinner the lines, the better. I'm also trying to make some curved strokes. Onto the second cherry blossom flower. We also need to add some details on the flowers that are peeking from behind the main cherry blossom flower. Let's do one of the easiest steps here. We are going to add those yellow dots now. Just place it randomly. After this, we are going to mix our yellow with some permanent gloss to create that orange color, and now I want to add those orange dots, together with those yellow dots to create more depth to the flower. Let's add a few more details. This is a flower that's facing at the back and there is a small gap in between the two petals. I feel like it would look better if we put some yellow dots and some thin stems in the middle. With a moist brush, I'm going to get a thick amount of burnt umber, and then I'm going to dab it on the paper towel just to absorb that extra moisture, because I want to create that nice dry brush technique. Let me just zoom it in so that you can see it better. I am adding this dry brush technique because I want to add more texture to this branch. This is such a fun technique to use. If you are wondering if you still need to add more fillers or more buds, you just need to get your painting far away from you, and look at it from a different perspective. Because sometimes when you look at your painting for too long, you just loose sight of the gaps that you need to fill in. What's great about this small class project is that the only need two main cherry blossom flowers, and the others are actually just fillers, just petals that we painted to make it look fuller. I think we are done. Congratulations on reaching the end of the class project, and now let's move on to the next video. 6. Final Thoughts: Congratulations for finishing this class. I hope that you enjoyed painting cherry blossoms. If you are able to accomplish your class project or if you have a work in progress shot, please do upload it in the project gallery section, I would love to see your work. As always, you can also tag me on Instagram and use this hashtag, so I can see your work. Just a tip. It's easier to paint florals if you have reference photos or if you have artificial flowers just like this. So try to look for photos online, and take note that cherry blossoms have different variety. Some can have five petals only like what we painted today, and some can have up to 20 to 40 petals. Some can also have a paler pink color or some can have a darker pink color. Some can even be white. So I think that you can just experiment and just go with the color that you like the most. This ends our class. Thank you so much again for watching and see you in my next class. 7. Bonus Video: Floral Wreath Demo: This is a bonus video where you're going to paint a floral wreath. The video will be any time lapse mode, since you already know how to paint the flower step by step. First up, I have a square paper and I just drew a circle using pencil. This step is useful because this will determine the shape of our wreath. You can definitely try to experiment and paint different shapes, you can paint a heart, or an oval shape, if you want to paint a square shaped wreath , that's also good. What I'm doing now, is I'm painting my main cherry blossoms. I will be doing it in clusters, and I am painting them in pairs. Later on after painting the main cherry blossoms, I can just put in some fillers to meet the floral wreath fuller. So we are going to paint the main cherry blossoms in three places in the wreath. Just like so. As you can see after painting the first layer of the cherry blossoms, I am now painting more pigmented part in the center, and I'm also doing that per pair. The reason for doing that is because, I want the base of the cherry blossoms to be red before I add the center. If I tried to paint all the base of the six cherry blossoms here, before I add the second layer, then the first layer would have been dried up by then. So my tip is to start by pairs. I just grabbed some burnt umber and I'm now going to connect all the main cherry blossoms. I am painting some branches and as you can see right now, I am painting it in very quick strokes to make it look more expressive. You can also vary the colors of the branches. You can make some a little bit more pigmented, some are a bit lighter, because that will make your wreath look more interesting. Right now, I am painting some feathers, and I am painting three petals per flower. This will look like cherry blossoms that are just about to bloom. After painting the feathers, I now grab some crimson lake, and I just added some stem to connect it to the branches. With crimson lake again, we are going to add some buds. This will continue to fill in our wreath making it look folder. You can just place it randomly and wreath. Of course don't forget to add those stems to connect it to the wreath. You can also add smaller buds. If you feel like something is still lacking in the wreath, you can just add few more feathers. Just add a few more three petal flowers. You can also paint over the branches that we painted a while ago. Now with a more pigmented burnt umber, I am adding more details. I am also going to add a few more branches that are sticking out and it will make your wreath look very expressive, and as you can see in some parts, I actually did some dry brush techniques. It is now time to add the center of our cherry blossoms. I just grab some crimson lake again, and now we are painting those thin details in the center. I'm going to add some yellow dots and later on you're going to add some orange dots, and you will let those two mix so that it'll look more interesting. We're actually almost done. I am just going to add some more finishing touches and we are going to layer of some of the three petal flowers that we did earlier. So as you can see, I just painted in between some of the petals to give it a fuller look. So let's add a few more buds. I am really excited to finish this wreath. As you can see, everything is coming along really, really well. Oops, we made a small [inaudible] right there, so, I'm just trying to [inaudible] it with clean water, and I will just try to blot that liter. Just continue to add fillers where you feel like it's just lacking, and always try to put the painting far from you so that you can see a trauma different perspective. In that way you can also check if the wreath is quick enough or if you need to add more. I'm just adding a few more branches sticking out. We are done. Thank you so much for watching. I hope that you enjoyed this short bonus video, and I look forward to seeing your creations.