Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly Watercolor Tutorial

It’s time for Part 2 of our butterfly series! The first watercolor tutorial featured a monarch butterfly, and I had so much fun with it (and you all seemed to enjoy it), so it just made sense to create a mini-series! This second watercolor butterfly painting tutorial (that’s a mouthful!), features a beautiful yellow swallowtail butterfly. I love the scallop edges—both implied and actual—of the wings and the intricate pattern.

In this tutorial, I’m also going to show you one of my favorite blending techniques for creating a soft gradient in watercolor. As an artist with a colored pencil background, I am obsessed with a smooth transition of color and really don’t like the harsh lines or more “blocked” style of blending or building color that many watercolor artists prefer. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it—in fact, I think it’s beautiful! But it’s not my personal style or aesthetic, so I developed this technique that gets the effect of a smooth blend.

So without further-a-do, here’s the full watercolor tutorial!



“Standard” Brushes:
Watercolor Brushes (I mostly used Round 6):
This kit offers a great variety:


Hematite (warm black):
Chinese White:
Deep Scarlet:
Alizarin Crimson:
Cadmium Red (deep):
Lemon Yellow Hue:
Sap Green:


Watercolor Paper:
Large Palette:
Drawing Pencil: (HB)

Monarch Butterfly Tutorial


*Some of the links above are affiliate, but they do not cost you any extra money to use them and are products that I really do use and love!