How to paint watercolour pebbles

Esther Curtis shows how to replicate the natural shades of the sea shore with her watercolour project

Paint your own watercolour pebbles artwork designed by Esther Curtis

The subtle colours and gentle shapes of pebbles and shells offer endless inspiration for creating art. However, replicating the pale shades and sometimes complex patterns effectively can be tricky. Here, Esther Curtis shows you how to use watercolours with masking fluid for a natural effect.


You Will Need

  • Pencil
  • Watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paints
  • Masking fluid
  • An old brush
  • Brushes
  • Kitchen towel

Step 1

How to paint watercolour pebbles step 1

Choose a selection of pebbles and shells and sketch their rough outlines lightly in pencil.

Step 2

How to paint watercolour pebbles step 2

Use an old paintbrush, to paint masking fluid onto the parts of the pebbles that you want to remain white. You don’t need to be too precise here, as rough edges give a natural look.

Masking fluid can clog up your brush. To prevent this from happening, dip your brush in a small amount of washing-up liquid before dipping it into the masking fluid.

Step 3

How to paint watercolour pebbles step 3

Once the masking fluid is completely dry, use a paintbrush to wet the area within the pebble’s outline. Now choose a base colour and paint it in.

Pebbles are rarely uniformly grey or brown. If you look closely you’ll see blues, purples, greens and yellows. Use artistic licence to bring out the colours you like best!

Step 4

How to paint watercolour pebbles step 4

Now add layers of darker colour over your base colour. Then add texture to your pebbles with stripes, by stippling or with a dry brush.

Step 5

How to paint watercolour pebbles step 5

Decide where you want your light source to be and add pale shadows accordingly. Layer a darker colour near the edge of the pebble to really make them pop.

Step 6

How to paint watercolour pebbles step 6

It’s now time to peel to reveal your finished painting! Once the paint is completely dry, you can peel off the masking fluid. Use your fingers or a clean eraser to do this.


Learn to paint & draw

This project comes from Learn to Paint & Draw: Create Art for your Home, which is out now priced £12.99. Order your copy here.