We were excited to be joined by our good friend and incredible design educator Peggy Dean, founder of The Pigeon Letters. Peggy is a self-taught artist with incredible skills and is living proof that with enough passion you really can do anything.

During this session, Peggy taught us how to create realistic watercolor plants in Procreate and we learned tips and tricks to help us take our skills to the next level.

Set the Canvas

Use the screen size canvas and pick the Aqua Real Brushes Set. Pick the All Rounder Brush and choose a subtle duo color tone. Choose the Sketching and Detailed Pencil to sketch.

Draw the Pots

Pick the Graph ID Color and pick a color between black and grey, making it look like a pencil line through watercolor. Choose a separate layer to turn it off if needed later. Draw a rectangular shape for the pot. Draw it wobbly to get an unfinished look. Edit shape and go to rectangular. Create multiple pots like that.

Draw the Plants

With the same pencil, draw the stems and leaves. Draw flowers. Avoid making them look too skinny. Make them look organic by doodling small leaves.

Add minimal details such as lines within the leaves. Enhance this later while adding color. Use an eraser to correct any details.

Add a base for referencing. With details, remember taxonomy. Draw a Snake Plant in the next pot. See the image below for reference.

Draw an Aloe Vera Plant in the next pot. Draw falling leaves from left to the right. Avoid making them uniform to give it an organic look.

Embrace the imperfections. Draw a Philodendron Plant. You could also draw a Monstera. Then draw leaves.

Lastly, draw a Snow White Cactus. Draw a ball on top of the pot and add thorns.

Add Color

Add another layer. Put this layer underneath the sketch layer to see where the lines are placed. Pick the All Rounder Brush from the brush set. Add watercolor effects. Pick a green color for the leaves. Let the pencil sketch layer remain and paint inside the leaves.

Outline the pencil line to get a good effect. To add an overlapping color, color the leaf. Then lift the pencil and add color again to get an overlapping color effect.

The blend looks like an actual overlap. You can also buff that out by adding water and blending it. Use the Smudge Tool to blend it, making it look seamless.

Next, pick an offset green color. Color the snake plant leaves and leave a tiny white space in between to make it look seamless. Add imperfection to give it a realistic look.

Similarly, add another green color to the next plant. Leave white gaps in between for a seamless look. Make any imperfections.

Pick a brown color and with an All Rounder Brush, paint the pots. Add a subtle duo color to add a watercolor effect on the pot. Create a new layer on top and apply a mask so that the effect doesn't go outside the pot. Add imperfections by leaving white spaces in between.

Add a hotspot to create subtle differences. Add more texture on the same layer to enhance the watercolor of the pot. Use three fingers, swipe down on the canvas, then cut and paste.

Create a clipping mask. Add it on a separate layer and name it Terracota.

On a dark background, the problem with it is that since it's watercolor and there's transparency, so as soon as you make it dark, it will have a see-through effect. So use a Mono-line Pen and draw everything in white and fill it so that it has a white solid background. It will automatically pop on the dark background. You can also erase it in different places.

Create a new layer and add a clipping mask. On the clipping mask for green, paint and smudge with a darker green. Around the edges create a drop shadow. This creates a really natural and organic style. Push down for more texture, towards the edge.

Add Accents 

Go above the clipping mask and add tiny accents. Use the All Rounder Brush to paint and the Bloom Accents for adding accents to the composition.

If you have an overlap that you want to get rid of use the Wet Accent Brush and Blender or Wet Blending Brush for a light wash of watercolor and a subtle duo color. Use splatters to splatter the paint everywhere.

Create a Light Source

Intentionally leave a white space right and fill them with overlaps. Add a drop shadow and create a light source. Bring it sideways and back up to create the light source.

A light source will form from one direction. Add a directional shadow instead of just an overhead drop shadow.

Add Stamps

Add the stamps like a wash or as a clipping mask. Use the stamps as details and not just as, backgrounds. Make them look embedded.

Get Rid of the Sketch Layer

Go over the leaves and get rid of some of the sketch layers. Remove the white space sketch layer to get a seamless effect. Use the Bloom Accent Brush for this.

Add a little brown color for detail at the edges of the leaves, with the Bloom Accent Brush. Add similar detail to the pots also to give it an extra edge. This makes it look more realistic.

Add dramatic shadows by increasing and decreasing the transparency. Utilize the Opacity Slider and adjust as required. Instead of changing the brush settings or the transparency, use the slider to make edits to the composition.

Make Adjustments

On the Terracotta layer, go to adjustments, hue, saturation and brightness layer. Change the brightness by bringing it down and boosting the saturation. Then change the weight and change the hue. This will make it darker, but more orangy.

Use the All-Rounder Brush for outlining and filling initially. Then use the blending technique.

Add similar brown edges to the leaves making them look natural and give them an organic structure.

Congratulations, you have successfully painted realistic watercolor plants in Procreate, using simple techniques and methods.