< Watercolor Portrait of a Girl Join

How to paint a girl in watercolor step by step.

Brushes and Colors

View info on brushes
Watercolor paint : Red, Blue, Yellow, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna
Paper: Arches Cold Press 140 lb.

In this free watercolor portrait demonstration, I will show you how to paint a child in watercolor using my method.


I started with a pencil drawing. This is an important part of the process and should be given the time it needs to get both correct proportions and a lovely composition.

Start the First Wash

I used the calligraphy brush to start the light, slightly pink wash from the top of the forehead. I added more red to the chin area. By changing colors for different parts of the face and neck, I created a soft, blended base of color. After waiting a few minutes to let the paper dry, I started painting the garment. Since her top is white, I used light pink and light brown for shading.

How to paint a girl in watercolor step by step.

Painting the Hair

Once the paint on the face was mostly dry, I started from the top again with burnt sienna, and then introduced some burnt umber for the hair on the forehead, still using my calligraphy brush.

After, I cleaned and dried the brush, then lifted off some color from the hair on the forehead. This painting technique creates a softer and more natural look than leaving these areas white in the first place. Next, I added a thin layer of glaze on the face and the hair on both sides, to form greater depth and dimension. 


How to paint a girl in watercolor step by step.


The background is also an important part of the painting. It should work with the rest of the painting to carry the personality of the subject throughout.

With the one-inch flat brush, I applied clean water to the background area, then started a yellow wash at the top of the paper, changing to blue, then to burnt umber for the lower part. While the paper was still wet, I mixed burnt sienna and blue, and blended that into the area behind the head. 

How to paint a girl in watercolor step by step.

Add Dark Colors

At this point, I like to add darker-value colors to further define the forms. I started with the hair, moved to the eyes, the corners of the mouth, then the eyebrow areas. I mixed red and burnt umber for the areas around the mouth and nose. For the outer side of the face, I applied a little blue, as these areas reflect cool colors from the surroundings. This was also a good time to add a darker color to her garment.

And finally, your watercolor portrait of a girl is finished.