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Learn to draw realistic mushrooms, starting with a pencil drawing. All details, such as shading, texture and highlights are drawn with colored pencils after painting a watercolor base.

Drawing simple shapes is a great way to get your drawing skills rolling. The cheerful-looking, red Fly Agaric mushroom is easy to draw, with its circular “hat” and simple stem. I have selected a nice photo with a small group of mushrooms to use as reference, so that we can consider composition too. In this video tutorial, I show you how to draw mushrooms in a realistic way while still using your imagination and creativity.

In the video, we go through the following steps: 

  1. Drawing the outline of the mushrooms with a soft pencil. No need for shading whatsoever. 
  2. Mixing the colors we use when painting a watercolor base, taking cues from swatches picked up from the photograph
  3. Painting the watercolor base, both mushrooms and the ground
  4. Let it dry (use a hairdryer so you don’t have to wait)
  5. With a good selection of colored pencils, drawing all the details such as shading, texture, variations in colors and highlights.
  6. Painting the white spots with white gouache. We use it sparingly on stems to enhance the trunk shape. Gouache is like watercolor, only the pigment is much denser so that the paint is opaque, not transparent like watercolor.
 

 

If you want to skip drawing the outline and rather go straight to step 2, you can download a PDF with the drawing for free, and then trace it. 

How to trace

  1. Draw with soft B or 2B pencil on tracing paper. 
  2. Turn the tracing paper over. 
  3. Draw with a hard pencil to transfer the drawing to watercolor paper. 

Simple as that. When you download the PDF you will see why it is so simple. The drawing is flipped horizontally/mirrored, so that when you flip the tracing paper it’s the right way down.

The PDF also includes color swatches for watercolor and colored pencils, and the original reference photo.

Download free resources for mushroom tutorial  

I don’t use regular, textured watercolor paper, because the texture makes it difficult to draw with colored pencils. Instead, I use smooth, hot pressed watercolor paper that works beautifully with colored pencils, as I draw on top of the crisp, dry paint.

These are the tools I use, available in any artists’ supply store:

  1. Daler Rowney or Winsor & Newton watercolors.
  2. Permanent White Holbein Artists’ Gouache
  3. Various colored pencils by Faber Castell and Derwent  Most stores sell single pencils, so you can select your own range of colors. 
  4. White pencil by Stabilo. A cheaper version is available from Rembrandt
  5. Paper: Arches hot pressed, smooth 100% cotton white watercolor paper
  6. Medium size brush for the mushrooms, thick brush for the ground. You can buy single brushes or in sets. I use a variety of brushes, what's important is that it's good quality and the tip stays pointed after use. 
  7. Sponge
  8. Watercolor tape
  9. A smooth piece of wood or custom wood to mount the paper.


When you paint with watercolor, you need to tape the paper onto a plate of wood with watercolor tape. This is because the paper buckles from the water, and the tape holds it down flat when it dries. Watch this video to learn how to mount your paper.

And remember; I’m always happy to see what you are creating- drop me a line and a photo of your work!
To attach a file, use the email on my YouTube channel. You can email me without attcahment on my contact page here

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Best wishes to your creative joy!
 

How to draw realistic mushrooms 1 by Cecilie Okada How to draw realistic mushrooms 2 by Cecilie Okada How to draw realistic mushrooms 3 by Cecilie Okada How to draw realistic mushrooms 4 by Cecilie Okada