Watercolor Coffee Painting (A Complete Step by Step Tutorial)

I have heard that coffee stimulates creativity. Whether it’s true or not, I thought you’d like to join me in following this watercolor coffee mug tutorial.

I’m always looking for new subjects to paint. the circular coffee stain on my desk was the inspiration for this latest watercolor. I was drinking my coffee this morning and putting the cup down on a piece of paper. this left a circular mark every time I put the cup down.

Reading: Coffee cup watercolor painting

get messy…

and this watercolor painting will include some messy texture effects. I wanted to add some drops and smudges as a way to represent the fluid nature of the theme.

everyone needs a coffee break once in a while. so grab a cup and try this paint. (just don’t confuse your coffee with rinse water!)

watercolor coffee cup – colors, composition and style


Obviously, the color “brown” is the starting point for the color palette of this painting. this gives us beautiful warm browns and oranges. but instead of using a neutral gray color for the shading and shadows, I’ve gone with a blue-grey color instead.

I love this combination of tones. a mix of oranges and blues like this produces a complementary color scheme.


For the composition I chose an aerial view. I used a simple rule of thirds to locate the center of the coffee cup in the overall composition.

remember, where you leave space around your theme is almost as important as the theme itself.


My goal was a loose watercolor painting style for this painting. To achieve this, I used various techniques to add drops, splashes, and movement within the watercolors.

watercolor coffee cup step by step

I wasn’t sure I was off to a good start with this painting. but I kept going and things seemed to work better.

This is something we all deal with from time to time with a new paint job. I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted to paint, but the first brush strokes went wrong! the most important lesson here is “don’t give up too soon“. Persistence usually pays off, even if you find that his watercolors don’t look good in the early stages.

Next, I’ll try to describe what happens as I go through the painting. If you want to try this out for yourself, you can download the sketch template and transfer it to a sheet of watercolor paper (click here to download).

See also: Mặt nạ bã cafe đắp mặt: Cách làm đẹp bằng bã cà phê tại nhà

(oh…and yes…I’m having coffee as I write this!)

My approach was to work from the center of the painting outwards.

step 1:

start by defining the cup in the middle. to do this I used a watercolor technique known as wet on dry, but also a bit of blending to soften certain edges.

different colors were placed on top of each other after the underlying paint dried; in watercolors, this produces an effect known as glaze.

by painting wet on dry (using a wet brush on dry paper), you can see that the shapes have sharp, well-defined edges. this is true for most of the initial shape, with the exception of the upper lip where the color blends, fading from a darker to a lighter shade.

To produce this blending effect, start by applying a stroke of strong color, then dip the brush in water, wipe some of the excess moisture from the brush with a cloth or sponge, then apply a new stroke to the edge of the brush. First form.

repeat the process again, removing a little more paint from the tip of the brush, then drying the brush, before blending the shape some more.

Pulling the color outwards with the wet and diluted brush, a smooth gradient of color from dark to light is obtained.

step 2:

Now start adding some details to the saucer and spoon. paint a thin, dark border on the saucer. you can see that I am adding a light color to the saucer using a dry brush technique. To do this, use a slightly damp brush and drag the side of the bristles across the paper. this gives a broken, textured brush stroke thanks to the bumps in the paper.

step 3:

the rest of the spoon is painted with a wet-on-dry technique. when painting like this, feel free to pick up different colors with your brush. they will blend into the paper when you paint the wet shapes. this creates interesting color and value changes.

step 4:

I then deepened the shadow of the cup with a new bluish gray paint glaze. To add texture, I sprayed the still-wet wash of shadow with a splash of water from a spritzer bottle. clear water droplets push wet paint to one side, creating flecks of light tones.

step 5:

The next step is to add the final shadows. I painted with a wet-on-dry technique and added deeper-toned shadows to the edge of the saucer. To do this, simply load in the already wet wash of the shadow form.

step 6:

When the paint dries, add another glaze to the saucer shadows, then use a spray bottle again to add some texture with water droplets.

step 7:

See also: Top 6 Best Coconut Coffee K Cups and Grounds

At this stage, I thought the brown color needed to be deepened, so I added a deep brown (burnt amber) dark shape. the edges of this shape were blended using the technique described above.

step 8:

At this stage, the cup and saucer are finished. But the fun is not over yet! in the next stages we will work on the background and add some splashes and liquid stains. this adds some visual interest to the overall painting.

step 9:

To protect the finished glass from stains, I made a quick paper cutout to cover it. Don’t worry about making a precise mask or using liquid masking. the loose nature of the paint means it doesn’t matter if some of the paint falls back into the glass.

step 10:

To mimic ringed coffee stains, I took an old mug and dipped the bottom in some brown paint. use the cup as an ink stamp to print ring stains on paper.

step 11:

at the same time I added some drops of color. To do this, simply hold the brush vertically and squeeze the end of a soaked brush tip. this produces a nice round droplet (instead of moving the brush which produces directional splashes). the higher the brush is relative to the page, the more it will explode on the paper.

step 12:

remove the paper mask from the cup and add a few more drops and splashes, this time with a blue tint.

step 13:

As a final touch for the background, I used a wet-on-wet technique (wet brush on wet paper) to add some diffuse color. I started by brushing the bottom (not the shape of the glass) with clean water.

don’t worry if this causes other paint marks to bleed. simply use the brush to blend them out with linear strokes away from the cup.

step 14:

load your brush with lots of watercolor and use a loading technique to apply color to the edge of the saucer. the paint will start to diffuse into the wet paper.

step 15:

let the color escape from the glass by tilting the paper.

step 16:

Use a large brush and clean water to even out diffuse paint as needed. the result should be a range of soft, light-colored shapes against the background.

hello, ready! (or should it be “hey espresso”!)

Your coffee cup watercolor painting is now complete. pat yourself on the back and go brag to your friends! (At least show it to your mom, she’s always your biggest fan.)

have fun…

See also: Best Keurig Coffee Maker: Top 6 Models for 2022


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