Watercolor Watermelon: 4 Steps to Painting a Slice of Summer

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Ahh, summer...full of late sunsets, flickering fireflies and backyard barbecues, where slices of watermelon are fresh and juicy. To freeze time, if only just a tiny little bit, create a watermelon painting. Whether you're a novice painter or a pro with a palette, this four-step process is actually no sweat, and nearly as sweet as the real thing.

Materials:

  • Drawing pencil
  • Watercolor paper; use good quality, thick paper—at least 140 lb. weight.
  • Watercolor paints: Quinacridone Red, Phthalo Green, Cadmium Yellow, Ivory Black
  • Paintbrush with a fine tip

Before you start your painting, remember this

It's important to work with wet paint for the majority of this tutorial, so work quickly and try not to let your paint dry between steps, except for the very last part.

You want the watermelon to look fresh. In order to do that, you need to only apply paint once in any given area. This is not the time for layering paint; going over areas that you have already done can muddy the painting, making it look over-worked and heavy. The key words here are easy and flowing.

Step 1: Draw your outline

Start by drawing a light, triangular outline of the watermelon slice with a pencil. Draw lighty so that the pencil lines don't show through your paint later on.

You can free-hand a triangle or use the corner of a piece of paper to get straight edges. Just be sure to make the bottom part curved to mimic the shape of a watermelon slice.

Step 2: Paint in the pink parts of the watermelon

Mix some Quinacridone Red with some water on your palette and spread it over the top section of the watermelon slice. You can leave white spaces here and there and vary the thickness and thinness of the paint. You want it to look a little splotchy, a little transparent, with some parts darker than others.

Keeping the paint wet as you work results in a smoother, fresher look whereas dried paint creates hard edges, which you'll want to avoid.

Leave a thick, blank space (about 1/2" or so) at the bottom for the watermelon rind. 

Step 3: Paint the watermelon rind with varying shades of green

Dip your brush up into some Phthalo Green and paint the bottom section of the rind. This part can be painted more evenly across.

Next, mix the Phthalo Green with some Cadmium Yellow to make a light, springy green. Paint this color right above the darker green while the paint is still wet, letting the two green hues mix slightly where they touch each other. Leave a little white space between the lighter yellow-green and the pink part of the watermelon.

Then, water down the yellow-green and add dab your brush in a few places in the remaining white section, letting the green mix with the pink. Also leave a little white space in this area.

Step 4:  Paint the watermelon seeds

While the pink paint is still wet, lightly dab a few spots with some black paint, giving the impression of seeds that are sitting underneath the surface. These splotches may appear grayish and diffuse. Let dry.

Go back in with more black paint and add a few more spots. Now that the pink layer is dry, these seeds will look darker and more defined, giving the impression that they are actually on the surface. This adds depth to the painting. If only you could take a bite...

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Watercolor Watermelon: 4 Steps to Painting a Slice of Summer