Home » View by Media » Chalk pastel » How to Paint a Cactus

How to Paint a Cactus

Learn how to paint a cactus like this simple version, and then turn it into a lovely watercolor resist painting. Older students may have fun adding shadows.

simple cactus drawing



Time needed: 1 hour.

How to Draw a Cactus

  1. Draw the pot rim.

  2. Add angled sides below.

  3. Draw large, wobbly circle to the left.

  4. Add two medium circles to balance.

  5. Add two smaller circles for more balance.

  6. Draw flowers at the top.

  7. Trace with permanent black marker.

  8. Draw lots of needles with white crayon (shown in gray).

  9. Paint with watercolor. Add more paint for shadows.

To learn how to draw a cactus and have its lines stay in place while you color, try working with white glue on black paper, and chalk pastels.

draw a cactus

Each media will do what it does best, namely make black lines (when the glue dries, and soft shadows, when the colors are blended with your fingers.


*The above product link is a referral. If you click through and take action, I’ll be compensated a small amount, but at no additional cost to you.


  1. I used 9″ x 12″ black paper, but recommend something larger for 1st or 2nd grade students. I had to really be careful to keep my glue lines from touching each other, so a larger format would make it a lot easier.
  2. After drawing the cactus in pencil, trace all the lines with white glue. Important: Let dry flat or else the glue will run and make messy lines.
  3. When dry, use chalk pastel pencils to fill in the cactus. I decided that the light source was from the left, so I used a light green on all three left sides of the cactus, and a dark green on the right. I also had a medium green to fill in the middle, but you could just used two colors that meet in the middle.
  4. Fill in the sky, ground and rocks with single shades. To finish, a little white pencil made highlights on the cactus, and a little black made a ground shadow for it and some rocks. Spray with a sealer or hairspray when complete.

Leave a Reply