Night scene with a tree silhouette tutorial|beginners

In this post is a step by step tutorial explaining how to paint a tree silhouette with a starry night in the background. Although this tutorial is suitable for beginners looking to practice, anyone interested in painting this scene can follow along.

Supplies needed

For this watercolor tutorial you will need the following:

  • Watercolors
    • Prussian blue or Indigo
    • black (for the tree silhouette)
    • white- you can use gouache if you have some, but I didn’t
    • violet- optional
  • Paint brushes (the sizes can vary depending on the size of your paper)
    • Flat brush (size)
    • Round brush
      • size 8
      • size 4
  • Watercolor paper- I used 300gsm/140lb Cold press
  • 2 jars of water
  • Napkin/tissue

Also Masking tape- I recommend sticking it on some fabric so that it does not tear the paper.

Step by step painting process

Step 1

 In order to begin, you’ll need to paint the background. You may begin by pre-wetting the paper with clear water using the flat brush. Next add prussian blue to the paper, remember to add more to the sides and leave the center fairly light. Allow the layer to dampen.

Step 2

 In order to create that night time atmosphere add prussian blue while the page is still damp. As shown in the image below, I have made the top right and left sides darker than the center, where the moon will go. If you chose to use purple, you can add streaks on different areas.

Step 3

 Next I used the round brush size 8 to dab another layer of prussian blue mixed with a small amount of black. Remember to leave the center light.

Step 4:

 In order to create more texture, use the flat brush and dab more of prussian blue on the top and sides of the paper. Do this step while the paint is slightly damp.

Step 5:

 Allow the painting to dry for this next step. Using the size 4 round brush its time to add the moon, simply paint the outline of a circle with white paint and fill it. Allow it to dry then add another layer of white watercolor paint. You can add two to three big stars like in the image below. Using the tip of the brush paint a dot then add four lines to create a star (use image bellow as reference).

Step 6: In order to add more texture to the moon, I added light gray to the moon as shown in the video bellow. The key technique is to dab with the paintbrush.

Step 7:

We are almost done!! Simply wet the paint brush and collect white watercolor paint. Next hold the brush around 7-10 inches above the painting and tap the brush. This will cause the paint to splat onto the painting in the form of droplets.

Note: Remember, too much water will cause large droplets to drop on your painting so make sure to test it on another surface first. If the droplets are too big reduce the water in your brush by dabbing on a napkin.

Final step!!- 

In this final step you are going to add the silhouette of a tree. I used the size 4 brush and began by painting the trunk of the tree then continued to paint the smaller branches. Painting the tree silhouette may not be as easy as it seems, I for one struggled as a beginner, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Just remember to keep practicing and to use reference images. In this case you can pause the video bellow.

End of tutorial

You have come to the end of this tutorial!! If you found this tutorial challenging or difficult, remember not to be hard on yourself. Watercolor is not a straightforward or easy medium to work with it requires lots of practice. So congratulate yourself for coming to the end and keep practicing!

Nevertheless, if you enjoyed this tutorial or have any questions please be sure to leave a comment bellow! Also leave a comment sharing what challenges you faced.

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