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How to Paint a Sunflower

Learn how to a paint a sunflower with a watercolor crayon resist. The combination of crayons and watercolor paint just can’t be beat.

Learn how to paint a sunflower with a watercolor crayon resist.
Sunflower Painting

There’s a reason why artists have been drawn to sunflowers for centuries. Their bright colors and generous size can’t help but inspire those who try to capture them in a work of art. And if they were good enough for Van Gogh to paint over and over again, then they’re good enough for students to practice drawing too.

This project takes advantage of a simple, straight-forward look at a large sunflower, is drawn with crayons and painted with watercolor. The crayon lines not only add a nice texture, they keep the paint colors from running together too.

For your best results, I can’t recommend highly enough working with real watercolor paper, and liquid watercolor paints. The bright, textured color that you see in my sample is purely thanks to that combination. I found my liquid paints at DickBlick.com, but any brand will do. You can use it straight from the bottle for a super bright look, or add a bit of water to tone them down. Either way, the colors stay nice and true and it’s easy to paint a background without constantly mixing the right amount of water with a tablet in a try.

One last tip — when making the initial drawing with a pencil, encourage students to draw extra, extra light. Yellow and orange crayons are a bit transparent, so dark gray pencil lines will show through if the lines are too heavy. This is the project to work on light sketching skills, which are always helpful, and can really make this sunflower painting shine (pun intended!).

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Preview of the Step by Step Tutorial

Learn how to paint a sunflower with a watercolor crayon resist.


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  • Watercolor Paper.
  • Real watercolor paper always makes the watercolor paint much more vibrant.
  • Pencil.
  • The Ticonderoga brand are the most reliable, make nice dark lines when you need them, and are the easiest to erase.
  • Eraser.
  • Large erasers you can hold in your hand do a much better job than just the pencil tip erasers, especially when erasing leftover pencil lines after tracing.

  • Crayola Crayons.
  • This classic brand always works well.
  • Rounded Watercolor Brush.
  • A good paint brush can make all the difference in the world. Who can paint small details with one of those big floppy brushes? This style with a sturdy rounded tip were my hands down favorite.
  • Liquid Watercolor Paint.
  • These paints are so easy to work with, leave such bright colors and last for a long, long time. Well worth the investment.
  • Non-Spill Paint Cup.
  • Train your students to leave the matching brush in each cup after they use it, and you have an easy system with very little cleanup.


Time needed: 45 minutes

How to Paint a Sunflower

  1. Draw a circle.

  2. Draw a circle around it.

  3. Add petals around the outer circle.

  4. Draw more petals in between.

  5. Draw a stem and leaves

  6. Add details inside leaves, flower.

  7. Trace the flower with yellow,
    brown and black crayons.

  8. Paint the flower with yellow,
    brown and green paint.

  9. Paint background with a
    contrasting color.

More Fun Flower Projects

How to Draw Sunflower
How to Draw a Daffodil
How to Draw a Poppy
How to Draw a Tulip

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