Watercolor Painting Tutorial - Butterflies and Moths

Butterflies & Moths

This month we get to paint two butterflies and a moth! Follow along with the step-by-step tutorial below. You can also watch the provided video lesson. Your supply list is included in the previous lesson.

Important Note: At the end of the tutorial, you will find the PDF downloads of all the files you'll need to complete the project:

  • Watercolor final reference photo
  • Outline to use for tracing the image
  • Step-by-step Instructions PDF

If you are looking to color a picture instead, you can find a more detailed coloring page at the end of this month's materials.

If you get stuck or have any questions, be sure to join the private Facebook group to ask for help! Also, once you are done please SHARE your final projects with everyone in the private Facebook group for Nature's Art Club!

Step 1 - Gather Your Supplies

Gather your supplies and trace your butterflies / moth onto your watercolor paper. You can use a window or lightbox and trace it with a pencil or use graphite paper.


Step 2 - Make black paint

Let's start by making a batch of black paint. Mix your Intense Blue with Burnt Umber until you have a black color. Make a lot so you can use it throughout your painting process.  


Step 3 - Wait a Minute!

You may be tempted (like I was...oops!) to start painting in your black areas but wait! Let's block in the colors underneath the black areas first. You'll use a Round Brush Size 2 to do this.


Step 4 - Paint the Blue and Red Areas

Look at your reference picture. You can see a blue area and a red area on the bottom wings. Block those in. I used Alizarian Crimson (red) and Ultramarine Blue (lighter blue).


Step 5 - Paint the Yellow Areas

Now block in the yellow area. I used Cadmium Yellow.


Step 6 - Fill in the Black Areas

Now it's time to use your black! Fill in all of the black areas using your reference picture as a guide. If you aren't comfortable painting in the thin lines with your brush, use a waterproof pen. I saved the antennae and eyes for when I outline with my pen.


Step 7 - Clean Up Areas

Once you have finished filling in all of the black areas, go over any areas that may need a little more paint. 


Step 8 - Start the Blue Moth

Moving on to the Blue Moth! Use some of your black to fill in the body of your moth.


Step 9 - Paint the Moth's Wings

Fill in the wings with blue. I did a mixture of Intense Blue and Ultramarine Blue here.


Step 10 - Fill in the Black Areas

Now add black to the edges of your wings and inside close to the body. Fan the black color in or out to make it look more natural. 


Step 11 - Start the Cabbage Butterfly

Now it's time for the Cabbage Butterfly! Fill in all of the black areas using your black paint. 


Step 12 - Paint in the Yellow Areas

At the center of the butterfly add yellow (Cad Yellow) and then wash out your brush and fan out so the edges are almost white.


Step 13 - Add in the Green Areas

Now add just a touch of Sap Green to each center side and fan out towards the edges.


Step 14 - Outline the Butterfly

Last step is to outline everything! I just went over all of the lines I could see (antennae, eyes, lines on the wings etc.) Now enjoy and share it! :)



You finished the Butterflies & Moth Watercolor Painting! I would love to see your finished paintings. Please post them to the Private Facebook group to share with everyone.

Printables for Butterflies & Moths Watercolor Painting Tutorial

Below you will find the printable tutorial, watercolor outlines, and reference photo.