How to Paint a Rider in the Forest: a Watercolor Tutorial

Updated on February 28, 2018
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Niina is an artist, illustrator, and art teacher who loves the world of watercolors.

What You'll Need

In this watercolor tutorial, I will explain and show how I painted a rider in the night.

  • A4/ 8"x11" watercolor paper, Seawhite & Brighton (300 gsm)
  • Windsor & Newton watercolors
  • A few jars of water
  • Watercolor paintbrushes, sizes 3, 6, and 8

1. Sketch the Drawing

First, I made a loose pencil sketch on the watercolor paper and mounted it on my painting board. Tape the edges to keep the paper taut. You'll remove it after the painting is finished and dry.

2. Wet-On-Wet Technique

I started with a wet-on-wet technique. Brush the entire canvas with water. Then, divide the painting into two parts and paint the top area light blue and the lower part a darker blue. My rider is riding away from the forest, and so to create this effect of depth, I cleaned my brush in the water and created a little path for the rider.

3. Paint Trees

Trees that are further away from the viewer are smaller and painted a light blue color. Trees that are closer are bigger and painted with a darker blue to create depth.

What colors am I using?

Viridian green, black, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, and crimson red are my colors of choice for this project.

4. Create the Leaves

For the leaves, I'm using viridian green and ultramarine blue. I paint them just by pressing my paintbrush on the paper.

After leaves are dry, I'll paint bigger trees with black and blue paint.

When the larger trees are dry, paint bigger leaves on them to keep a consistent impression of depth. Add details and little branches to the trees.

Painting Tip!

When you paint with watercolors, it is good idea to have two or more jars of water, each reserved for different colors. This way, your colors stay clean, bright, and fresh.

5. Add Misty Effects

Paint the last layer of leaves with viridian red to create more mysterious atmosphere.

Last but not least, take white charcoal and draw some lines around the rider. I´ll spread the charcoal with my fingers to create the effect of a misty forest.

6. You're Finished!

Your painting is now done. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and get inspired to paint landscapes with watercolors!

Watch how to paint the forest scene below!


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