How To Paint Roses – Easy Beginner Technique
Learn how to paint roses with acrylics, in 4 easy steps – perfect for beginners. After this tutorial is done you’ll know how to recreate a gorgeous cabbage rose in any color you wish.
You can use this one-stroke technique to paint roses in your own project like on rocks, on glass, on wood etc. Or practice your new found skills in the vintage rose bouquet painting tutorial at the end of this post.
If you don’t have time to read the whole tutorial now, you can save /pin it it for later. And if you’re craving more easy flower painting tutorials, check out my how to paint lavender with q-tips tutorial (it’s a popular one)
Let’s get started with our roses…
How To Paint a Rose Step-by Step
In this section you’ll learn the 4 step process to painting easy, simple 3D roses. You can paint these roses as a part of a bouquet or on their own- either ways they’ll looks absolutely gorgeous!
I love using this method because you’ll get beautiful roses each and every time without hitch.
The first thing you’ll need is your paint color.
Choose Your Acrylic Paint Color
Choosing your acrylic paint color is the fun part!
Roses come in a variety of colors from red, yellow, pink, purple, blue and beyond. You can’t pick a wrong color – just use one that calls out to you. In terms of acrylic paint, you can use any soft/heavy bodied acrylic paint or craft paint works too. Just make sure it’s opaque acrylic paint- not transparent.
Next you’ll learn how to make your shadows and highlights out of any color you choose (which is your main color).
Roses in 4 Acrylic Paint Colors
- Main color = paint out of the tube
- Shadow color = main color mixed with a tiny bit Burnt Umber (or any dark brown)
- Highlight color = main color mixed with Titanium White (or any white)
- Extra highlight color = titanium white
In the end you should have 4 piles of acrylic paint on your palette and ready to use: shadow, main color, highlight color, extra highlight color.
Step 1- First Rose Layer (one-stroke)
Using a small round brush (I used a size 6), take some of your main paint color and use small curved strokes to fill in your rose shape. I find the shape of the stroke look like commas or mini boomerangs. The strokes should look like they are slightly overlapping each other too- just like in a real rose (see below). And notice the outer petals look angular -like triangles.
The comma strokes don’t have to be perfect either since we will be layering the paints in the next steps. Trust yourself and know your rose will look amazing in the end.
For more inspiration of rose shapes/petals take a look at these real rose pictures on unsplash. I find looking at a reference photo helps when painting the roses in.
Step 2- Adding Shadows To Your Rose
Clean off your brush and pick up some of the shadow color on your brush. Use the same comma stroke and paint in your rose petal shadows. Try to fill in the white space around and in between your strokes from step 1.
Step 3 – Add Your Rose Petals Highlights
Clean off your brush and pick up some of the highlight color on your brush.
Starting at the midway point of your rose, paint some more comma strokes (petals) all the way to the outer petals. These strokes will be slightly larger since they are the outer petals. Also, the reason we don’t add the highlighted petals in the middle of our rose is so the rose will look more 3D and create depth.
And don’t worry if your highlight comma strokes overlap the layers below- they’re suppose too! It doesn’t matter which ones you cover either. Just make sure that some of the main color and shadow color is still showing through in some places. We want some of the shadow and main color to peep through.
If you end up covering too much- no fret! I’ll show you how to fix that in the YouTube tutorial.
Step 4 – Add Extra Highlights
Clean off your brush and pick up some titanium white. Add a thin line of pure white to just the edges (not the whole petal) of few of the outer petals. You don’t need to add them to all the outer petals just a few will do.
How To Paint A Bouquet Of Roses
If you want to practice your roses, I’ve got an easy vintage rose bouquet step by step tutorial for you below. It’s complete with rose leaves, foliage, stems and a pretty pink bow. It makes a great valentine’s and mother’s day painting gift – in lieu of a real bouquet.
Another fun idea is to paint your roses in a wreath, just like this pretty rose wreath tutorial by Tracie from Step-By-Step painting.
Let’s get to the tutorial…
Full Video YouTube Tutorial
The following is the full video tutorial if you prefer to learn through videos. Below the video is the step by step tutorial with pictures and written steps.
- Cadmium Yellow Medium
- Medium Magenta
- Prism Violet
- Titanium White
- Burnt Umber
- Hookers Green
- Size 6 round brush
- Any small flat brush
- 9X12 canvas
- Take a Pencil and do a rough sketch of where your rose flowers will go and how big you want them to be. Simple circles will do.
- Starting with the yellow rose add your 4 piles of paint on your palette: main color (cadmium yellow), shadow color (cadmium yellow mixed with tiny bit burnt umber), highlight color (cadmium yellow mixed with white) and pure white
- Using your round brush paint in your comma strokes with the cadmium yellow paint.
- Using the same clean round brush and the dark shadow color, paint comma strokes in the white spaces between the yellow strokes (from the previous step).
- Using the same clean brush and the highlight yellow color, paint in some overlapping comma strokes starting from the middle of the rose all the way to the outer edges.
- Using the same clean brush and the pure white, paint in some fine lines along the edges of a few outer petals.
- Follow the steps 3-6 with the second yellow flower.
- Follow steps 2-6 with the top magenta rose.
- Follow steps 3-6 with the bottom magenta rose .
- Follow steps 2-6 with the last large lavender / purple rose.
- Add some hookers green paint on your palette and create a shade and highlight from it (using burnt umber and white, respectively). Taking a small flat brush (don't moisten in water), pick up some of the hookers green and create your flower stems. Use the flat chiseled end of the brush and use downward strokes. You can use the lightest green to add in some highlights on your stems if you want too (using the same downward stroke).
- Using the 3 green tones of green you created in the last step paint in some foliage and rose leaves.
- Take some magenta pink and white and paint in your pink bow on your rose bouquet
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ZEM Brush Student Golden Synthetic Rounds Brushes Set Sizes 2,4,6,8,10
PHOENIX White Blank Cotton Stretched Canvas Artist Painting - 9x12 Inch / 8 Pack - 5/8 Inch Profile Triple Primed for Oil & Acrylic Paints
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Hooker’s Green Hue Permanent, 4 Fl
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Prism Violet
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue
Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint 4oz. (Medium Magenta)
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-Oz Tube, Titanium White
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Burnt Umber