Marvellous Mushroom Illustration


For this project I used:

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Download the Outline

Download The Line Art For This Project

Click the button below to download the outline for this project for free. All you need to do is print it out, transfer the outline to your watercolour paper using carbon paper, pencil transfer or by using a light source like a light box. See my video on how to do this if you’re stuck!

Downloads are for personal use only. Please do not sell any work based on this artwork and please credit me if you post work online that you’ve made from following this tutorial or using this line work.

Reference Photos

If you’d like to make your own mushroom illustration, here are some reference photos, taken by Lou, that you can use to inspire your own work.

Downloads are for personal use only. Please do not re-post these photos or use them for any other purpose than creating your own art projects.

Video Tutorial on Youtube!

Step - By - Step Instructions

Pencil outline of mushroom painting

Draw or Trace your Pencil Outline

Find the outline here and follow this video tutorial to transfer your line drawing onto watercolour paper.

Add masking Fluid 'spots'

Use a cheap or old paintbrush to apply masking fluid to the areas you want to remain white. In this case, it’s the spots on these fly agaric mushrooms.

If you don’t have masking fluid, you can paint around the spots, this is perfectly possible but the masking fluid makes it easier!

painted mushroom stalks

Begin to paint the Mushroom Stalks

Make a watery beige puddle of paint. I used buff titanium, a creamy beige colour, mixed with lots of water. A brown watercolour would work too if you add lots of water or mix it with white.

Paint the stems and undersides of your mushrooms with this mix. 

Add in a little sepia (or other dark brown) under to the left of the stem and under the mushroom’s cap, where it would be in shadow.

painting the mushroom caps

paint the Mushroom Caps

We’re going to paint the caps of the mushrooms in two layers to get a rich deep colour.

For this first layer, paint the whole of the mushroom cap in quinacridone gold. Then drop in permanent rose at the top and along the bottom of the cap, allow the colours to blend.

deepen shadows on mushroom stem

Add More Shadow on the Mushroom Stalks

Add a line of shadow in sepia down the left hand side of both stalks. Paint a dark line around the bottom of the skirt (the bit that sticks out halfway down the stalk!) I mixed some quinacridone gold into my sepia for this.

Use a fine paintbrush to paint the gills under the mushroom cap in sepia.

Add a few lines and marks to the stalks to show texture.

deepen colour of the mushroom caps

Deepen the Colour of the Mushroom Caps

Add another layer of quinacridone gold to the whole of the mushroom caps and drop in more permanent rose at the top and the bottom to deepen the colour. Add some drops of sepia at the very top and along the rim of the cap and allow all the colours to blend.

paint leaves

Paint Dried Autumn Leaves

Make a puddle of quinacridone gold and sepia mix, and add in a little permanent rose to some of it. Paint all the dried leaves in variations of these colours. You can drop a little more pigment in at the edges while the paint is wet to get a little variation.

add detail to leaves

Paint Detail onto your leaves

When the first layer on the leaves is dry, you can go in and add details. Use your small brush to draw in veins and stems. Add some areas of darker colour to the leaves and use water to blend it out. 

paint fern leaves

Paint Fern Leaves

Mix a couple of puddles of green paint, mixing your gold with blue. I used ultramarine and winsor blue to get a range of tones.

Paint the fern leaves with these greens, dipping your brush into the different puddles and allowing the paint to mix on the page.

paint fern details

Paint Fern Details

Use your small brush to add veins and lines to the fern leaves.

paint moss

Fill the Gaps with Moss

Mix ultramarine blue and sepia to create a deep green and use it to paint tiny mossy leaves in any gaps.

remove the masking fluid

Remove the Masking Fluid

When you’re sure all your paint is dry, use clean fingers to rub away the masking fluid to reveal perfectly white spots.

Final touches

Finishing Touches

Those little white spots on Fly Agaric mushrooms are slightly raised and bumpy, so a tiny bit of watery sepia added to the bottom of each one will give it a more 3D look.

Survey your painting and add any finishing touches you think it needs – any areas that could do with refining or the colour deepening.

When all is dry, you can use an eraser to remove any visible pencil marks.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations of this project!

if you post your work on instagram, tag me @louracheldavis and I’ll see them, and share them in my stories!