If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you know how much I love watercolors. I especially love that you can paint something beautiful in just a few minutes, and you don’t need a ton of space to work. Also cleaning watercolor brushes is super easy! So when this month’s Michael’s Makers Challenge was to make something based on one of our favorite trends, I knew I wanted to share how to paint a watercolor pineapple (which actually covers two trends: watercolors and pineapples).
For this tutorial, I used my palette that mostly consists of Winsor & Newton watercolor tubes. You can find a great selection of these tubes at Michael’s, but they are more complicated to set up and they are a lot more expensive. If you’re a beginner (check out this post I wrote about watercolor supplies) I would recommend starting with a watercolor pan set. It’s so easy to use and take with you. The Artist’s Loft watercolor set is only about $5 (with your Michael’s coupon) and actually has a great color selection. If you want to spend a little bit more for higher quality paints, I would recommend a Winsor & Newton Cotman set.
The colors I used in my watercolor pineapple:
- Lemon Yellow
- Winsor Yellow
- Yellow Ochre
- Winsor Orange
- Bamboo Green
- Permanent Sap Green
What you need:
1. Watercolor paints
2. Watercolor brushes (I used this quill brush and I absolutely LOVE it!) For these pineapples, you need a larger round brush (size 6 or 8) and a smaller detail brush.
3. A few jars of water
4. Watercolor paper (I use 140 lb cold press paper)
5. Paper towels
6. Washi tape
Before I start on the detailed watercolor pineapple tutorial, I wanted to take a minute to talk about the difference between blending and layering. If you’re new to watercolors, I would HIGHLY recommend this creativebug class by Yao Cheng. I’ve taken the classes myself and Yao has a lot of fun exercises to practice basic watercolor techniques like these.
Blending: When you add a new color of paint while your first color is still wet, the colors will blend together. If you’re using a lot of water and paint, they will blend and run together in unexpected ways. If you’re using less water/paint you will have a little more control over how the colors will blend together.
Layering: When you wait for your painting to completely dry before painting on top, this is called layering. If you want to add crisp clear lines and paint on top of something you’ve already painted, it’s important to let your painting completely dry first.
How to paint a watercolor pineapple:
- Prepare your paper and work area. I like to tape my paper down with washi tape so that it stays still while I paint. I also like to use washi tape (or another kind of removable painter’s tape) to mark off areas where I will be painting. You can also lightly sketch with a pencil.
- Start painting your pineapple leaves. I quickly mixed together two shades of green paint (bamboo green and permanent sap green) so that there would be a little variation in the leaves. I also made sure to use a lot of water. It’s easy to use too much paint (because it’s so pretty and colorful) but your painting will have more dimension if you use more water.
- A quill brush is really perfect for making leaves because it’s already in the shape of a leaf. Go ahead and paint all of your leaves, and then go back and add a dab of thicker watercolor paint at the base of the leaves.
- Move on to the pineapple itself before the leaves have had time to dry. Use a very watery yellow paint to create your pineapple shape. At first, don’t connect it to the leaves.
- When you’re happy with the shape of the pineapple, connect it to the leaves. Yellow paint will shoot up into the green leaves, and some green paint will probably wander down into the pineapple.
- Connect the pineapple in a second place. You can even push the paint a little bit if it isn’t spreading as much as you’d like. I like to leave a little bit of empty space in between the pineapple and leaves. It creates an interesting look and it keeps the paint from running together too much. (And if the paint is running together too much, you can use a dry Q-tip to remove a little paint)
- Go back in and add a dab or darker yellow paint to one side of the pineapple while it’s still wet. I mixed a little orange into my yellow paint.
- Let your pineapple completely dry. This is really important!
- Now go back and add some texture to your watercolor pineapple with a detail brush. I used a size 1 round brush and yellow ochre paint mixed with a tiny bit of orange. If you use a more watery mixture of paint (like I did) the texture will be subtle. If you use a thicker mix of paint, the lines will be a lot stronger and more obvious. I made three separate texture patterns on these pineapples. I think a little variation is really beautiful.
And that’s it! Have fun painting your watercolor pineapples!
I had so much fun creating this trendy project for this month’s Michael’s Makers challenge. From tie-dyeing to lettering to tassels, pom poms and even unicorns, Michael’s has everything you need for the latest and hottest DIY trends! And be sure to hop over to the Glue String to check out the other trendy projects shared this month.