Learn to paint a butterfly resting on a sunflower in this step by step tutorial.
This butterfly on a flower is a simple and easy painting for all skill levels, and one you can customize with any paint color combinations too. I chose a sunflower and blue butterfly combo, but also made a second one with a different color combination (see below).
How to Paint/Draw a Butterfly
Painting a butterfly can be a bit challenging to draw or paint because of the symmetrical nature of a butterflies wings.
The easiest way (I found at-least) is to draw or sketch the butterfly first, then fill in the sketch with paint after. In this painting I used the stencil below to transfer the drawing on canvas (which many artists commonly do).
For this painting, I used a butterfly stencil (free download below) to trace the initial butterfly shape, using the transfer drawing on canvas method. Then it was easy-peasy to paint in the design.
But if you don’t have access to a printer or to carbon transfer paper, you can also free-hand your butterfly using this how to draw a butterfly method which is easy even for beginners. Also this how to paint a monarch butterfly is another easy tutorial for beginners.
If you’d rather paint the butterfly directly without a sketch you can also do that.
How to Paint a Butterfly Sitting On a Flower
- 10x10 square canvas
- Titanium White
- Mars Black
- Burnt Umber
- Cadmium yellow medium hue
- Ultramarine blue (optional)
- jar of clean water
- paint palette
- rag or paper towel
- Mix 3 parts white to 1 part black to make a grey color. Use you 3/4" flat brush to paint the background grey using horizontal back and forth strokes. Wait for background to dry.
- Use a small circular object trace a circle in the middle of your canvas using a pencil/chalk/sharpie.
- Use your smaller flat brush and paint in large flower petals around your sunflower centre using cadmium yellow (or your color of choice). Wait to dry.
- Mix a darker yellow by mixing 1 part burnt umber (any brown) with 3 parts cad yellow. Essentially you want this paint mix to be darker than the yellow in the step before. Using the smaller flat brush, add some streaks of this darker yellow in your sunflower. Wait to dry
- Now mix a lighter highlight yellow by adding 1 part yellow to 2 parts titanium white. Using the small flat brush add some streaks of lighter yellow on the sunflower.
- Now using your small detail brush and burnt umber, paint in the middle of the sunflower by adding small "tick" marks around the circle's perimeter, then repeat in rows until the entire middle portion is complete.
- Using the butterfly printable and carbon paper and a pencil trace the butterfly onto the flower.
- Using the smaller flat brush and teal colored paint, paint in the middle pattern on the butterflies wings.
- Now using black paint and your detailing brush paint the border around the teal pattern
- Fill in the body with the black paint and you can choose here if you want to add more color variation in the blue by mixing different shades/tints of blue (add black to darken, white to lighten)
- Add small white polka-dots around the perimeter of the wings of the butterfly. using white paint and your detailing brush.
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Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Ultramarine Blue
Liquitex - 1045172 Professional Heavy Body Acrylic Paint, 2-oz Tube, Cobalt Teal
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-oz tube, Mars Black
PHOENIX White Blank Cotton Stretched Canvas Artist Painting - 10x10 Inch / 8 Pack - 5/8 Inch Profile Triple Primed for Oil & Acrylic Paints
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-Oz Tube, Titanium White
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue
How To Draw a Butterfly FREE Stencil
Below is the free download of the butterfly stencil you can use to transfer the design onto canvas. You can click on the picture below and save it to your computer to print out.
Butterfly on a Sunflower Finished Painting
Below are some additional pictures of the butterfly on a sunflower. I also painted a second painting to show you that you can customize this painting to whatever colors you choose for both the flower design and the butterflies. I chose a purple flower and pink butterfly for my second painting (see below). The sky is the limit with this painting.