Happy Color Snack Sunday, friends!
Even though I’ve lived in Texas for about 7 years, I still get knocked off my feet with the Texan summer heat. So naturally, all this desert-like heat is making me think of all things cacti and succulents. I also find cactus plants inspiring and almost like a symbol of grit and determination to keep growing in arid areas with little to no water.
These feelings are the fuel for my upcoming series of summer cacti sketches that I’m kicking off today. The watercolor cactus paintings series will include tutorials on how to sketch 3 different types of cacti, all using the watercolor brusho powders. The final sketch in the series will bring all of those watercolor cactus skills together into a fun composition. So stay tuned for that!
In this first part of our watercolor cactus paintings series, we’ll be sketching a saguaro cactus, which is one of my favorites.
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Watercolor Cactus Painting Series – Saguaro Cactus With Brusho Powders – Quick Instructional Video
- brusho powder watercolors
- colors used in this tutorial: yellow, ultra marine, emerald green
- Bristol paper
- Water brush
- Pencil for a quick outline sketch
- Paper towel/towel
- Reference photo of a saguaro cactus
- Your creativity
- brusho powder watercolors
Let’s get to sketchin’!
How to Paint a Watercolor Saguaro Cactus Using Brusho Powders
A quick note about brusho – if you’re not familiar with these powders they are pretty much magical and I hope you get some to play with because they are so much fun. They are essentially watercolor paints ground up into a powder that you can create different effects with. I often like to play with brusho to relax or unwind because they are so freeing and unpredictable.
Step 1. Sketch the trunk of the saguaro cactus.
Begin your saguaro cactus sketch by drawing a tall trunk of the cactus. This will resemble a thick elongated shape with curved ends. By the way, I am doing these brusho paintings on bristol paper because I like how resilient and smooth it is. And it’s perfect for these sketches. But your standard watercolor paper will work as well.
Step 2. Sketch the branches of the saguaro cactus.
Next, sketch out the wobbly branches of the cactus. You can even add a few more branches that stem out from the ones you already sketched. These are also elongated shapes that stem out from the main cactus trunk sketch. You can then erase the pencil lines so it forms one unified shape.
Step 3. Start adding water
With your waterbrush pen, start adding water inside your sketch. Add a few drops (2-3) and then spread that out inside of your saguaro cactus shape.
Note: you want to make sure you have plenty of water on your sketch because that will facilitate the brusho crystals to travel around easily.
Step 4. Start adding brusho watercolor crystals
Start by shaking some of the brusho onto your shape. You can play around with the proportions to your liking. In this sketch, I am using more yellow and less of the green and blue because it will allow for a brighter saguaro cactus. Otherwise, the stronger and more darker pigments like green and blue can overpower the lighter colors like your yellows or oranges.
Step 5. Sketch lines inside your saguaro cactus
After you’ve added enough brusho, go in with a tiny waterbrush (I am using the smallest size from my Mozart waterbrush set) and draw out the lines that follow the shape of your cactus. This will create a more interesting and less flat sketch by giving it some texture.
Bonus Video: How to Lift off Watercolor – Technique for Creating Texture