Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to paint. Learn how to paint one yourself with the simple and easy to follow tutorial below.
Want to learn an easy way to draw and paint a sunflower?
In today’s step-by-step tutorial, I’m going to take you through the EXACT steps to first draw and then paint one of the easiest flowers to paint with acrylics – Sunflowers!
If you’re just starting out with acrylics paints be sure to take a look at my Ultimate Guide on Acrylic Paints. It will take your through most things you need when starting out.
These easy to draw sunflowers are first drawn on by tracing them onto your canvas or wood with pencil (FREE printable stencil below). That way you can fully enjoy painting them in and experiment with different paint strokes – without worrying about the shape and proportion of the sunflower.
It’s can even be a fun project to add to your art journal or bullet journal.
You can also paint sunflowers on other things too like this painted Hydro Flask water bottle with sunflowers.
You’ll also learn a nifty trick on how to create a gorgeous bumpy/textured sunflower center- with your acrylic paint! It’s fun AND relaxing- it totally got me into a zen mode!
If you want to learn how to paint MORE easy flowers with acrylic paints, check out how to paint lavender flowers, and how to paint a cherry blossom tree tutorials! They’re easy, fun and geared towards beginners who are learning.
Get your creative caps on and let your inner artist bloom…
Paint a Sunflower YouTube Tutorial
Click on the image below to watch the full-length how to paint a sunflower YouTube tutorial
How to Paint a Sunflower
Learn an easy way how to draw and then paint a sunflower on canvas.
- FREE printable sunflower stencil
- Cadmium Yellow (Deep)
- Burnt Umber
- Cadmium Red
- Mars Black
- Titanium White
- 9x12 Canvas
- Tombow Brush Pen
- Cobalt Blue
- 1/4 flat brush
- water and container
- Watch the full length how to paint a sunflower YouTube tutorial
- With your sunflower printable stencil (at the end of this post), trace / draw your sunflower petals onto your canvas using this drawing transfer method
- Mix a little titanium white with some cadmium yellow. Using your flat brush, paint the yellow mixture onto each drawn petal of the sunflower. Use the flat edge of the brush to paint the petal edges- to give them a clean and defined look. Let the paint dry
- Take a some burnt umber (brown) and paint the center of the sunflower
- Mix a bit of the cadmium yellow with a tiny amount of burnt umber (brown). Use this color to shade the base of your petals. Use it from the base to about half way up the petal- not the entire petal. Paint brush technique: Pick up the paint on your straight brush and paint short strokes from the base to the half way point of each petal. Let the paint dry.
- Mix a tiny amount of cadmium red with the cadmium yellow/brown mixture from the step above. This will make a nice warm orange-ish hue.Use this color to paint some strokes in each petal. Let this orange paint fully dry.
- Now take pure cadmium yellow and lightly paint over each ENTIRE petal. This will really bring the warm sunny yellow sunflower color to the flower.Try to let some of the orange to show through, by using your brush to "streak" on the yellow.
- Now time for some highlighting, to bring this sunflower to life! Take some titanium white and add some "white" streaks in the middle of each petal.
- Now onto the center of the sunflower. It takes some time- but is pretty fun and relaxing to do! To start out with. Flip your brush around and dip the top of your brush handle into your paint. Dot the black on in a small circle int he center of the sunflower
- Using the same technique as above, adding a thin ring of yellow around the black
- Using the same technique and another thin ring of brown
- Same technique, add a ring of black around the remaining sunflower center
- Now you can paint the background in any color you would like (read below for some tips on some complementary colors that go well with yellow). If you would like to use the same colors I chose: Mix some cadmium red, cobalt blue and titanium white( keep adding the white slowly until you get a color you like), to get a subtle lavender color. To get a "streaky" look, try not to completely mix the red, blue and white, and let some of each color remain in the mixture. Use long up and down strokes to add the paint onto the canvas, using your straight brush around the petals of the sunflower.Let the paint dry.
- Optional: If you want to add on add inspirational quote, go for it! I included the "Shine Bright" one which you can transfer on, using the transfer method we used earlier. You can use a sharpie, brush pen or even some black paint with a detail brush to write your favourite saying. And you're done!
Use a brush pen to easily add an inspirational quote to your painting.
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Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Cobalt Blue Hue
Tombow 56621 Dual Brush Pen, N15 - Black, 1-Pack. Blendable, Brush and Fine Tip Marker
Canson Foundation Disposable Palette Pad, Coated Paper, Fold Over, 9 x 12 Inch, 40 Sheets
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Mars Black
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-oz tube, Titanium White
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Cadmium Red Medium Hue
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Burnt Umber
PHOENIX Pre Stretched Canvas for Painting - 9x12 Inch / 8 Pack - 5/8 Inch Profile of Super Value Pack for Oil & Acrylic Paint
Creative Inspirations Dura-HandleArtist Paint Brushes Long Solid Resin Handle Resists Chips & Cracks - Flat [Set of 3]
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue
Easy Sunflower Painting Tips
- Don’t try to make sunflowers perfect- they’re petals are asymmetrical naturally so just go with the flow and have fun with them!
- Yellow acrylic paint can be translucent (I.e. see through), add some white into it to make it more opaque (less see through).
- paint your sunflower on canvas, wooden board, watercolor paper or even a rock!
- Let each layer of paint dry completely before the next. It gives your painting a more “layered” look, which will add to its beauty.
- Choose a colored background that will complement the yellow sunflower: Green, Light Purple, Black, Gray, light blue and navy blue are some great choices to complement the warm yellow.
Here’s some additional pictures of this bright and easy sunflower painting.
FREE PRINTABLE SUNFLOWER STENCIL
As promised here’s the FREE sunflower stencil that you can use to draw /trace the basic sunflower shape. To learn how to transfer the drawing to canvas check out this post.
How to print: Right click on image, save as jpg to your computer and print out.
Hope you enjoyed this step by step painting tutorial on these super simple flowers to paint -Sunflowers!
Enjoy and don’t forget to shine bright-like your beautiful sunflower!
P.s.For more beginner painting tutorials checkout my learn to paint series
If you liked this tutorial, please PIN IT!
Tuesday 18th of May 2021
Thank you so very much! I am trying to make stuff for my wedding! Your instructions and clear and easy to understand for me/ beginner!!! Love and lIght!
Monday 21st of June 2021
That is awesome to hear Jen, so happy you're painting this for your wedding! And thank you for your kind words :)
All the best, Jasmine
Sunday 12th of April 2020
Thank you for this. I’m definitely a beginner and this helped a lot. Sunflowers are my favorite. I gave my finished project to my dad who sang you are my sunshine to me when I was little.
Sunday 12th of April 2020
You are most welcome Pam, super glad you enjoyed it!! That is such a lovely idea to gift it to your dad - thank you so much for sharing!
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