Intro to Gouache: Painting Flowers for Beginners - Skillshare
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Intro to Gouache: Painting Flowers for Beginners

Intro to Gouache: Painting Flowers for Beginners

Romica Jones

Romica Jones

draws - Illustration / Meditation


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Perfect for: Beginners

Tools needed:

  • Water in a cup or jar
  • Gouache colours (you can also use watercolours)
  • Mixing palette or a piece of clean plastic to mix colours
  • Oil pastels in white (optional: only if you want the centre of your flowers to be white)
  • Soft brushes
  • HB pencil
  • Tissue paper
  • Sketchbook/watercolour paper preferably over 100 g/m²
  • Newspaper or any cover to protect your workspace


What this tutorial covers:

This tutorial is aimed at beginners of gouache or watercolour and will focus on painting flowers with an easy blob technique. You don’t need any previous experience as I will guide you through the painting process to create a beautiful design with flowers. You can use these flowers for any creative project, I turned mine into unique letter paper.


Ready? Great, let’s get started!


  1. Prepare your workspace

    Lay out newspaper or any cover needed to ensure that your workplace is protected before we start.

  2. Get to know your medium

    Play a bit with your colours and have fun! Use different amounts of water and see what happens. Gouache by nature is very opaque, vibrant and can be watered down to your liking. The more water you use, the lighter your colours will turn out.
    Watercolours have to be layered to create a higher opacity. Enjoy this process, it will help you to understand your medium and what shades you can create.

    The following image is a more technical study of my colours.

    The next image shows further explorations and fun with my colours.

  3. Finding ideas and quick sketching

    If you are a bit more advanced in drawing - make a quick sketch on a separate piece of paper. If you need a reference, use your own flowers at home or photographs you have taken (or have the right to use). In this case I just made a quick sketch of where I want my flowers to be placed. Composition is not essential for this tutorial and will be covered in my class if you are interested in creating postcards, letter paper, invites etc.

    For the absolute beginner: you don’t need to do this step very precisely or at all. With our blob technique you’ll learn how to paint flowers in no time. If you don’t feel comfortable yet, skip this point, head over to step 4 and just copy my painting step by step. Your confidence will grow with each painting :)

    Here I used just a few circles to decide where I want my flowers to be. The amount of detail really depends on you and what you’re comfortable with.

  4. Creating shapes with water blobs

    Optional: Before painting, I used my white oil pastel to create a small star-like shape for the centre of my flower. Oil pastels reject water so this space will remain white.

    Let’s paint! Take your brush and with a decent amount of water (no paint) create blobs of water, that resemble flower petals. Use enough water so you can clearly see the blobs.

  5. Add your first layer of colour

    With the colour of your choice (light colours first) start to gently dab it on the blob, starting at the centre of your flower and slowly working outwards, while staying within the shape of the water blob. You’ll notice that the colour slowly spreads within the water’s borders.

    If you are unhappy with the shape, you can still change it in this process by expanding the wet area of the blob with your brush.

    The following image shows you the first layer of my first flower design.

    You can add more flowers with the same process (starting again from step 4) like I did here with a purple flower. Keep in mind that connecting two wet surfaces (e.g. two blobs) will unite them into ONE shape - the colours will merge. If you want to prevent your colours from mixing, wait until the first flower is dry, then add the second one.

    I repeated the same process for a sunflower. However, I wanted the centre to be in colour, so in this case I didn’t use my oil pastel and immediately laid the water base (blob) and continued with colouring it.

  6. Add details with darker colours

    When you first layer is slightly dry, start to add more detail with darker colours. Here I used a darker orange to create small dots for the seeds of the sunflower. The drier the paper, the clearer the shapes will be. If you want a more faded out look, leave the paper a bit more wet. Experiment on an extra sheet of paper if you are not sure, what works best for your piece.

    Next I started to paint the first layer for the leaves.

  7. Add more detail

    If you work on several pieces at the same time, most likely some parts will be dry and you can continue to add more detail with darker shades. Here I started with some dark blue and hardly any water on the edge of the flower petals. Then I took a brush with a lot of water, and started to lead the paint towards the centre.

    For the yellow flower, I repeated the same process as with the sunflower and added dots of darker orange. As you can see, the paper was quite wet and the paint started to spread/bleed. If this is too much, and you want to make corrections, just take tissue paper and gently dab away some colour

    Here you can see that I added more leaves (beware of combining wet surfaces - they merge)

  8. Defining details with pencil

    To give your flowers a nice finish, take a soft pencil (HB or softer) and draw little dots or follow the shape of your flowers as detailed or loose as you like. Please make sure that your paper is DRY. If you start while the paper is still wet, the pencil might rip the paper or won’t leave any mark. Repeat this process for all your flowers.

  9. The finished flowers (as part of my letter paper)


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I look forward to your beautiful creations.
If you feel confident with this technique, try to create other shapes or whatever your heart desires.

Do you want to learn more?

If you want to go a step further and create your own letter paper or learn more about techniques have a look at my class  Your first Steps with Gouache: How to Create your own Letter Paper, where you can learn more about:

  • composition,
  • mixing your own colours,
  • framing and
  • creating your letter paper.

Have fun!

Romica :)

Romica Jones

draws - Illustration / Meditation

Romica Spiegl-Jones is a passionate creative business owner, illustrator, and designer based in Manchester. She loves to create things that stay in people's minds, hearts and homes. She believes that design can help to make this world a better place and that there's beauty in the small things.

Romica Jones

draws - Illustration / Meditation

Romica Spiegl-Jones is a passionate creative business owner, illustrator, and designer based in Manchester. She loves to create things that stay in people's minds, hearts and homes. She believes that design can help to make this world a better place and that there's beauty in the small things.

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