Drawing simple shapes is a great way to get your drawing skills rolling. The circular “hat” and simple stem make the cheerful-looking, red mushrooms easy to draw. In this video tutorial, I show you how to draw realistic mushrooms with colored pencils.
A bright red toadstool mushroom in your path is a sign of good luck in parts of northern Europe. Siberian shamans would ingest it to enter trance, and it’s even connected to Santa Claus. Ancient Vikings used it to become fearless in their ferocious raids.
I have selected a nice photo with a small group of Fly Agaric mushrooms as a reference. Since there are three of them, we will consider composition too. First, we outline the mushrooms with a regular pencil. After painting a watercolor base, it is easy to make a realistic drawing with colored pencils.
Using imagination and creativity is important also when you make realistic artwork. Contrary to what you might expect, your imagination can be greatly enhanced by this practice.
In the video, we go through the following steps:
- Outlining the mushrooms with a soft pencil. No need for shading whatsoever.
- Mixing the colors we use to paint the watercolor base. We take cues from swatches picked up from the photograph
- Painting the watercolor base, both mushrooms, and the ground
- Letting it dry (use a hairdryer so you don’t have to wait)
- Drawing all the details with colored pencils. This includes shading, texture, variations in colors, and highlights.
- Painting the white spots with white gouache. 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.
IIn this video tutorial, I show you how to draw the mushrooms. What to consider in the composition? How to mix the colors? After painting the watercolor base, we draw realistic mushrooms with colored pencils.
Do you want to skip drawing the shapes and rather go straight to painting the watercolor base? You can download a PDF with the drawing for free, and then trace it
How to transfer line art
- Draw with a soft B or 2B pencil on tracing paper.
- Turn the tracing paper over.
- Draw with a hard pencil to transfer the drawing to watercolor paper.
Simple as that. When you download the free PDF you will see why it is so simple. The drawing is flipped horizontally/mirrored. Why? It’s so that when you flip your tracing over, it’s the right way down. Check my article with an easy step-by-step tutorial: How to trace onto watercolor paper.
Toolbox for watercolor with colored pencils
I don’t use regular, textured watercolor paper. It’s difficult to draw with colored pencils on a rough surface. Instead, smooth, hot-pressed watercolor paper works beautifully with colored pencils.
These are the tools I use in the tutorial. My Guide to Art Supplies has links to each of these art materials.
- White Gouache
- Various colored pencils
- White polychrome pencil
- Hot pressed, smooth 100% cotton watercolor paper
- Medium size brush for the mushrooms, thick brush for the ground.
- Watercolor Sponge
- Watercolor tape
- 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. The tape holds the paper down flat when it dries. Here, I show you how to mount watercolor paper in a step-by-step tutorial.
And remember, I would love to see what you are creating. You can join our One Tree Art Club Facebook group when you sign up for my newsletter and post your work there.
Best wishes to your creative joy!