watercolor butterfly tutorial

3 Easy Watercolor Butterfly Tutorials for Beginners

In this tutorial, you will learn how to paint different kinds of watercolor butterfly. We are going to start with 2 super easy watercolor butterflies for beginners. Then, we’ll do a little bit more complicated galaxy butterfly  but still very simple if you just started watercolor painting. Thanks, Charu and TutoDraw, for those step-by-step guides!


2 Super Easy Watercolor Butterflies

Watercolor Supplies Used in the Two First Butterflies:

  • Watercolor Paper
  • Watercolor Palette Prima 
  • Basic Round Brushes size 4 or 6
  • 1 Jar of Clean Water
  • 1 Piece of Tissue Paper
  • 1 Pencil and Eraser to Sketch 

This tutorial was created by artists who have handpicked supplies just for you.
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Step 1: Sketch the butterflies

Let’s start by sketching two basic butterflies.

Watercolor Butterfly: Sketch

Step 2: Add colors to the wings

Next, we’ll start adding colors by filling in the wings with light blue color. The first layer is the light wash.

Then start adding a little darker blue at random places. Make sure when you’re dropping this second layer of dark blue color that the paper is still wet, otherwise, it will not blend smoothly and you’ll have some harsh edges.

Watercolor Butterfly: Step 2: Add colors to the wings

Now take a light wash purple color and lay down here and there at random places. Then, take the darker shade of purple and add a darker border. Blend it well until you are happy with it.

Watercolor Butterfly: Step 2: Add colors to the wings 2

Step 3: Paint the head and body and add some details

Mix an even darker purple blend by adding a hint of black to it and trace the head and antennas. Then, add the rest of the body.

Watercolor Butterfly: Step 3: Paint the head and body and add some details

The last step is to add some thin lines of blue color and it’s done!

Watercolor Butterfly add thin blue lines

Step 4: Add colors to the wings

For the second butterfly, I chose some brighter shades like orange and red. For the first layer, I use a very light wash of orange color and fill it up on the wings.

Then add some brighter shades like orange and red here and there.

Watercolor Butterfly Tutorial: Step 4: Add colors to the wings

Repeat the same on the left side of the wings.

Watercolor Butterfly Tutorial: Step 4: Add colors to the wings 2

Step 5: Paint the head and body and add some Details

When the paper is dry, add some fine lines on the edges and any other details you feel necessary. Then, paint the antennas and the body.

Watercolor Butterfly Tutorial: Step 5: Paint the head and body and add some Details

That’s it, you now know how to make beautiful watercolor butterflies super easily!

watercolor butterfly tutorial

Easy Watercolor Galaxy Butterfly Tutorial

Watercolor Supplies Used for this Galaxy Butterfly:

  • 12-color palette by Winsor & Newton
  • Watercolor Brush Pen by Rougier&Plé
  • Rubber Cement by Rougier&Plé
  • Paper Stack by Hahnemühle Harmony

Step 1: Draw the sketch of the butterfly

I start by making a butterfly silhouette with a few strokes of the pencil.

Watercolor Butterfly sketch

Step 2: Draw stars with rubber cement

I use some rubber cement to protect the border of my butterfly and dot the inside of the butterfly that will form the stars of my galaxy. I also add some little cross here and there.

Watercolor Galaxy Butterfly Tutorial, Step 2: Draw stars with rubber cement

Step 3: Color the butterfly with galaxy colors

Once it’s dry, we’ll paint our butterfly. A galaxy-like space is often composed of blue, pinkish-red, and a little turquoise green. It is by mixing these colors that we obtain beautiful shades.

Watercolor Galaxy Butterfly Tutorial, Step 3: Color the butterfly with galaxy colors

Step 4: Cover it with black & adsorb it

Then, use black to darken the whole thing. After that, I use an absorption technique that allows me to lighten the center by removing darker pigment. 

You can use a watercolor brush pen that allows me to absorb the paint still wet in its pigment. But, it’s possible to just use a paper towel to blot the area to be lightened.

Watercolor Galaxy Butterfly Tutorial, Step 4: Cover it with black & adsorb it

Step 5: Remove the rubber cement

Once dry, I remove the rubber cement. Afterword, you’ll need to clean the paint residue with clean water.

Watercolor Galaxy Butterfly Tutorial, Step 5: Remove the rubber cement

Step 6: Add a dripping effect

Finally, add a little fade effect. We leave the tip of the brush wet and we’ll smooth the edges of the butterfly. Pull down and leave a streak to create a movement effect.

Watercolor Galaxy Butterfly Tutorial, Step 6: Add a dripping effect

And that’s it! You have your watercolor galaxy butterfly. 

If you would like to share your watercolor art in the comment section below, we would love to see it! And if you have any questions, feel free to ask and we’ll try to answer them before your paint dries 🙂

This tutorial was created by artists who have handpicked supplies just for you.
Click below to shop with a 30% discount.

About the Author: Watercolor Classes

Hello, and welcome to our site. We've been passionate about watercolor for years and have learned a lot along the way. We hope our tutorials and tips will help you out on your watercolor journey. Let's make art together!

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