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Paint 4 Easy Cacti Using Watercolor

Paint 4 Easy Cacti Using Watercolor

Hi!  I’m Jamie.  An illustrator who likes to paint with watercolor and ink.  And if you’re here, you and I already share one thing in common --- a love for plants.  I hope this will be a creative time where we can have fun painting these 4 easy watercolor cacti. 

Some recommended materials

Now, let’s paint!


The Bunny Cactus

Step 1

Start with a pencil drawing to outline shapes.  Now paint the main body by using an oval shape that’s slightly wider at the top with your lightest green.  Drop in a darker green at the bottom. Leave some white space.

Step 2

Next while it’s still wet, add “ears” using the same shape but a little smaller on the left and right side. Drop in a different green where the “ear” meets the body.  

Step 3

On the right “ear”, add two more ovals and drop in some darker greens and a little blue on your cactus.  These darker parts will help create depth by giving the impression of shadowed areas. 

Step 4

Onto the pot! Using a brown, paint the lip of the pot and then right underneath and slightly inward, paint the rest of the pot.  Leave some white space for a highlight.



Step 5

Add some dirt with a darker brown.  Allow colors to blend together. 

Step 6

For the shadow, grab a grey color (or mix blue with brown) and draw an irregular shape that kind of mirrors the cactus body. 

Step 7

Add some details using size 2 brush by adding little lines to represent needles.  

Step 8

For finishing details, you can decorate your pot with the white gel pen.  Then, add some splatter. All done! Now let’s repeat those steps but with a different shape.




Trio Cacti

These guys are fun and easy breezy because again we’re focusing on one shape -- a stretched out oval. 

Step 1

First, paint the middle guy. Outline the shape with your lightest green then fill it in. Leave a sliver of white space and add a touch of darker green to the bottom.

Step 2

Paint another elongated oval shape to the right using a blue color but make him a little shorter.  Varying the size will make it visually more appealing. Don’t forget to leave some white space. Paint another oval shape to the left but make him EVEN shorter.  Use a blue-ish green then add a hint of light green to the top.    

Step 3

Paint in a pot shape using a brown and leave an opening for the dirt. Add a touch of red while still wet...this adds color variation!

Step 4

Almost finished.  Add in some dirt and don’t worry if the colors looks awesome when it dries!  A few more details. At the right corner of your pot where it’s still slightly wet, drag out a bit of the color to create a shadow shape, you can add a hint of blue on the tip if you’d like.  Add some needles, making sure area is nearly dry. Finish off with some splatter! 





Good old standby..let’s paint the ever popular saguaro. 

Step 1

First, paint the shape with your lightest blue, leaving some of the white of the paper to shine through.  You can add back a less diluted blue on the edges while it’s wet to create a crisp border.  

Step 2

While it’s still wet, draw in the arms making sure to vary the amount of blue you have on your brush and adding some green.  This will help create depth and shading, giving a sense of volume.  

Step 3

And just like we’ve been doing, draw in the pot with your brown and add dirt.

Step 4

Finish with your shadow shape, some needles, and splatter!



Snow Cactus

By now you’re an expert, I’m confident of that, so this last one will be a cinch. 

Step 1

Visualize (or you can pencil it in if you’d like as I did) a circular shape. Start on the left and paint a crescent shape.  Leave a gap and paint in another section. Then another gap and paint in the third section. Then one more gap and a final crescent shape facing the opposite way.  Try to follow the curve of the circle.  

Step 2

While it’s still wet, paint the flower using 4 small brush strokes that all radiate from a center point on top of the cactus.

Step 3

Can you guess what’s next?  Yup. The pot and dirt. Grab any shade of brown you like and paint in the pot shape.  For this one, I like to paint it so it looks like she’s tucked in snuggly into her pot.  Add a bit of shadow and some needles (v shapes and simple lines) along the edges and middle sections.  Add splatter and done!  


You can arrange your quartet however you like.  Add a fun background or just line them up. Make it your own and enjoy your new cacti buddies!  Hope this was helpful. See you next time!


x jamie 

IG: @inksnthings

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