Easy Watercolor Pumpkin Tutorial for Painting or Card

Pumpkins are fun to paint and even beginners can create a realistic and beautiful pumpkin quick and easy. Learn the secrets to the best pumpkin compositions for a great painting every time.

Downloads for Easy Pumpkin

Suggested Colors for Easy Watercolor Pumpkin

Transparent orange colors are the easiest to work with, but any paints will do.

If your orange turns to mud when you try to make it darker (opaque colors do this), paint the shadows and shading first (see video) and just put a wash of orange over top when finished.

  • Yellow or Gold – any colors will work
  • Orange – Transparent Pyrrole Orange is worth adding to your palette – easy to mix for great blends
  • Blue – Dark blues for a possible background or to mix with orange – Phthalo Blue, Ultramarine or Indanthrone Blue (another good dark color you may want to add)
  • Browns – use a tube brown like Burnt Sienna or mix Transparent Orange plus Dark blue or purple
  • Purple – Dioxazine Purple
  • Greens – use a tube green or mix your own with blue + yellow or gold

Step by Step Watercolor Pumpkin for Beginners

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

Step 2 – First wash of color on pumpkin – yellow or gold.

Mix a wash of yellow or gold and paint the pumpkin. You can leave a highlight if desired.

Step 3 – Build up color on your pumpkin, wet on wet.

Mix a wash of orange and paint on top of most of the yellow, leaving some at the top where the sun is hitting.

Then mix a thicker wash of orange and add more color. Last, mix a darker orange by adding brown, black or purple to your orange for a darker color and add darker lines and a shadow at the very bottom.

In the painting below I could have added even more orange to my pumpkin!

Step 4 – Paint the background.

Background – Paint the top background with any color, but pick a value that is lighter or darker than your pumpkin. Gold or dark blue are both great choices.

Reference photo of pumpkin/jack o lantern by Deb Watson

Foreground – Paint the foreground with dark green or autumn colors like rich browns, blacks or oranges.


Take a lot of photos of your favorite jack-o-lanterns and make cards for your friends.

Artists live out loud - Emile Zola