But First, Coffee Watercolor Painting

by Winsor & Newton |

Item # 392232323P218
Beginner Under 1 Hour


  • Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors Sketchers' Pocket Box Colors:
    • Cadmium Red Pale Hue
    • Intense Blue
    • Yellow Ochre
    • Burnt Umber
    • Chinese White
  • Winsor & Newton Cotman #4 Round Brush
  • Winsor & Newton Cotman #2 Round Brush
  • 9"x 12" Cold Press Watercolor Paper (trim sheet to have one 8"x 10" piece)
  • Ceramic or Plastic Watercolor Palette Well (5 wells needed)
  • Glass of Water
  • Paper Towel


To find the downloadable patterns click on the "GET PATTERNS" tab above.

  1. Cover your work surface with a disposable covering and fill a glass or cup with water.
  2. Cut one sheet of 9in x 12in watercolor paper to create one 8x10 sheet of paper.
  3. Transfer or Freehand Draw Outline: Use a Lightbox or well-lit window and a graphite pencil to transfer the provided outline, or freehand draw the outline by using the provided outline as a guide.
  4. To mix the five colors used in this project, start by placing the #4 brush into the glass filled with water. Stir it around in the water to help the bristles evenly absorb the water. Then, use the brush as if it were a spoon and place two "scoops" into five wells on the artist's palette. Mix the following five colors into those wells until you have an equal paint to water ratio:
  5. Light Brown: Equal Parts Yellow Ochre and Burnt Umber.
  6. Dark Brown: Burnt Umber only.
  7. Light Gray: 1 part Intense Blue, 1 part Cadmium Red Pale Hue, and 6 parts Chinese White.
  8. Dark Gray: 1 part Intense Blue, 1 part Cadmium Red Pale Hue, and 3 parts Chinese White.
  9. Black: Equal parts Intense Blue and Cadmium Red Pale Hue.
  10. Apply Paint to Coffee: Use the #4 brush in this step and all steps unless otherwise stated. Begin by applying Light Brown to only the brown-colored portion of the coffee. Do not yet apply paint to the foam design.
  11. While the paint from step 5 is still wet, apply Dark Brown to portions of the coffee. Apply this color to the inside edge of the coffee mug in a thin line and to the outside edges of the foam design. This should be done using a wet-on-wet technique which allows the Light Brown from step 5 and the Dark Brown from this step to blend and merge into each other organically. However, if any paint from step 5 has dried before applying the Dark Brown over top in this step, the hard lines or edges that are created from painting wet over dry can be softened by cleaning the brush, blotting it a few times on a paper towel, and then running the brush over wherever hard lines or edges are located. Doing this will also add a bit more texture to the coffee.
  12. Apply Paint to the Coffee's Foam Design: Apply Light Brown to only a small portion of the foam design. Paint on thin, ribbon-like lines that follow the curve of each element within the foam design. Be careful not to add too many of these lines to help prevent the foam from looking brown instead of white. The goal is to create a bit of depth and to make it appear as though little ribbons of coffee are peaking through the foam. These ribbon-like lines can be softened by cleaning the brush, blotting it a few times on a paper towel, and then running the brush gently over the lines.
  13. Apply Light Gray to Coffee Mug and Saucer: Apply Light Gray to the outside edge of the coffee mug. Help this color transition onto the remaining white portion of the mug's rim by cleaning the brush, blotting it a few times on a paper towel, and then running the brush gently over the edge.
  14. To the handle of the coffee mug, apply Light Gray to the left side where it touches the rim and to the top edge of the handle.
  15. Now apply broad strokes of Light Gray to the saucer. Do not apply this color everywhere but to about 50% of the saucer. The hard lines and edges that will be smoothed out in a later step.
  16. Apply Dark Gray to Coffee Mug and Saucer: Apply Dark Gray to the left side edging of the coffee rim. Apply it also to the left of the handle where it meets the rim and along the very upper edge and right curve of the handle.
  17. Now, apply Dark Gray to portions of the outside edge of the saucer. If the saucer were a analog clock, apply this color from 4:00-5:00, 6:00-7:00, and 8:00 to 10:00.
  18. Then, apply Dark Grey just under the coffee mug, just under the handle, and just above the coffee mug.
  19. Merge Colors on Saucer: Clean the brush and wipe it a couple times on the rim of the water glass. Run the brush over the saucer with the water to soften both gray colors, to create some texture, and to help them transition into each other. Repeat this process as often as necessary. More adjustments can be made by adding more of either color.
  20. Paint on Lettering: Use the #2 round brush in this step. Carefully paint the lettering with Black. Instead of trying to paint on the letters with a brush as if it were being done with a pencil or marker, it will help to paint only a section or portion of each letter at a time. Turn the artwork as often as necessary to have a good angle and to help with control and precision.

More Project Ideas