Easy Holly Branch for Quick Christmas Card in Watercolor

Master an ESSENTIAL WATERCOLOR TECHNIQUE in under 30 minutes while you have fun painting a lovely Christmas Card with a holly branch. This easy tutorial is always enjoyable, whether you’re a beginner or advanced painter.

Downloads for Easy Holly Branch Watercolor Card

Suggested Paint Colors for Quick Watercolor Christmas Card

  • Red – an orangy red (Pyrrole, Cadmium, Winsor Red) but most reds are fine
  • Green – most holly leaves are a blue green, mix your own with blues + yellow or gold, or use a tube green.
  • Reddish brown stem – mix your red + green or use brown + red
  • Black – mix red + green or use a tube black

Easy Step by Step Holly Branch Christmas Card

Holly Branch Card tutorial reference photo

Step 1 – Draw or trace your outline onto your watercolor paper using graphite paper.

(Reference photo from Pixabay.)

Step 2 – Paint the holly leaves with variety of values of green, leaving a center line unpainted in three of the leaves.

For best results, let the water do the work of spreading and blending, with as few brushstrokes as possible.

Wet on Wet – Start with the top mass of three leaves. Wet the mass with clean water. Load your brush with green and touch it to the edges of the wet leaves. Just let the color bleed in.

Holly branch Christmas card tutorial - painting the leaves green with variety.

Wet on Dry – Paint part of the leaf green. Rinse your brush and paint another part with clean water. Let the color do whatever. You can touch in dark paint or lift up paint with a damp brush.

Making the bottom leaf stand out – you can add a tiny bit of yellow to the bottom leaf to make it stand out.

Curved over leaf – mix some green with a little red to darken. Paint the curved over part of the leaf darker green.

Step 3 – Paint the red berries with variety for a glowing Christmas card.

Red berries on holly branch Christmas card watercolor tutorial.

Colors – Get out a small puddle of red and mix a small puddle of dark red (red + green).

Paint the berries with red, dark red and water for variety.

Paint the middle berries the darkest.

Don’t forget the last berry at the top!

Step 4 – Paint the stem for the holly branch.

Mix reddish brown with mostly red + a little green.

Paint the stem with a thin, graceful line.

Step 5 – Finishing touches for watercolor Christmas card

Adding shading to a watercolor holly branch leaf

Shading beside the center leaf line – rewet half of the leaf from the center line out with clean water.

Then touch dark green (green + a little red or black) along the line and let the color bleed out. Do this on each leaf with a center line.

Berries – Paint the end of the berry with black, something like the finished painting. Use tube black or mix red + dark green for black. The black bit can be at the bottom, middle or side, depending on how the berry is turned.

Spatter? I spattered my card with light red and then yellow, to add a bit of movement and life.

Watercolor Holly Branch Christmas card painting by Deb Watson

It takes a lifetime to paint like a child - Picasso