How to paint a realistic tulip in watercolour

One of my FAVOURITE things about nature is the way it makes complex forms appear incredibly simple. 

Tulips are a prime example. With their uncomplicated petal structure and upright growth habit, they’re the picture of simplicity.

But it can actually be quite a challenge to paint a realistic tulip, especially when you enlarge it.

Because when you study them really closely, you start to notice that they’re hiding a world of complexity.

There are subtle colour changes and quite drastic tonal shifts. The satin-like petals have a gentle sheen and stripy visual texture. Together, these components work in harmony to create the illusion of simplicity.

In this mini-class, I show you how to bring all of those complex elements together to paint a realistic tulip that looks detailed, yet simple.

If you’ve felt inspired by this video and would like to paint your own realistic tulip, I’d love to hear how you get on, so please let me know in the comments below. 

And if you’d like to try a more complex tulip, you can find a free mini class for that here.

Please do leave a comment if you’ve enjoyed watching. Reading your comments inspires me so much.

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  1. Houria on June 8, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    A wonderful

  2. Josefina Morales on June 8, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks I learned about transition zones and more.

  3. carol ward on June 8, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    Thank you Anna, I have so enjoyed your videos over the years and find them very meditative as your voice is calming. Hoping you and your new family are well. Regards from Newport, Rhode Island.

  4. Liudmila on June 8, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Thank you Anna. Beautiful job.

  5. Louise on June 8, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    Beautful image – and wonderful sense of humour!!

  6. Glee on June 8, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    Sitting here in Australia on a wet day, with a broken upper arm, I was feeling quiet, ‘bla’. switched on the computer to see your sweet smiling face Anna, I have decided to paint, all day! Pear or Tulip?

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  7. Beth Carroll on June 9, 2021 at 1:04 am

    As always – inspiring, beautiful, and a joy to watch.
    Thank you .

  8. Michelle H Wainer on June 9, 2021 at 3:39 am

    Beautiful! You make it look so easy, but a little overwhelming to me separating out the tones. Someday I hope to take some of your classes. I did your pear tutorial and that came out really well. Flowers are difficult I think, but I do want to paint them. Thank you for this little video of a big tulip.

  9. Cintia on June 9, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Hi, I’m from Brazil. I love your watercolors and intend to take your course. Thank you for sharing such amazing works!

  10. Judy Moyer on June 11, 2021 at 1:33 am

    Great tulip

  11. DJ Miller on June 16, 2021 at 1:48 am

    Thank you for another informative video. I just forwarded it to a friend who asked me who I have learned from. I am self teaching through online videos from many artists. I find your explanations of the process thorough and easy to understand. My art has improved since watching your videos. Thank you.

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