Watercolor Luna moth painting

A watercolor luna moth painting tutorial has been on my "to-paint list" for months now! Their perfect blue-green color, fluffy wings, and long flowing "tails" are too dreamy to keep in my head for long! In this watercolor tutorial video, I will show you how I achieved this colorful luna moth painting, share the magic behind my color mixing, and give you a few watercolor painting tips along the way. Big "thank you" to Viviva Colors for sending me these colorsheets to test out and for hosting me for this tutorial!

Catch all in action here:

Step 1: Apply masking fluid to protect the white areas

After you have drawn your luna moth onto your paper (or printed it off using the template), apply masking fluid to the textured edges of the moth's wings and body—this will give it a fluffy, textured look without having to paint too carefully!

Step 2: Adding the First layer of paint to the Luna Moth

Once the masking fluid is dried, you will want to mix the main green color for the bulk of the wings. To create the perfect dusty blue-green color, I mixed "Light Green" and "Ink Blue" from the Inktober Palette, which is similar to a sap green, Persian Blue, and Black mix from the original Viviva Colors palette. Once that color is mixed, you will apply a VERY LIGHT layer of the watercolor paint to the entire wing (working one wing at a time). Be careful not to add too much water or you will find the color difficult to control.

Step 3: Mixing some bright colors like a peacock blue

Now that the main body of the wing is colored in, it's time to add a little bit of fun by taking some unexpected colors and adding them to the mix! I took a little bit of "Peacock Blue" and gently tapped it in the corner of the wing, up towards the body of the luna moth. You want to do this while the watercolor paint is still damp so that the color will blend nicely! I repeated the same step with a little bit of "Happy Yellow" (similar to Gold Ochre or a Lemon Yellow) in the opposite corner, towards the edge of the wings.

Step 4: Making fluffy edges

To add a little more emphasis to the fluffy edge of the luna moth's wings, I decided to add a touch of "Treebark Brown" (similar to "Burnt Umber") mixed with "Happy Yellow" to the very edges. Be sure to do this very lightly so that it doesn't take away from the rest of the wing or make it look dirty. Repeat these steps on all 4 wings.

Step 5: Adding 3D effects to the luna moth body

For the body of the moth, you will gently wet the entire surface and tap the same "Treebark Brown" and "Happy Yellow" watercolor paint that we mixed to the very edges of the body. This will gently fade towards the center and give the moth a "rounded" look, making it appear more 3D. Slowly build up the color as you need to and add a little bit of the green that we used for the wings if you want!

For the antenna, I used a light wash of "Happy Yellow" and defined it with a tap or two of the "Treebark Brown". This paint is pigmented, so a small tip of the brush is enough to define the space.

STEP 6: Creating depth with a rich brown shade

To create the deep brown for the top "stripe" and the "eyes" of the luna moth wings, I mixed together "Treebark Brown" and "Ink Blue". This gives us the dark, rich brown color that we are after! Use that color to cover the top arch and place in the dark spots of the "eyes" on the wings. Go slowly and put the shapes of the eye details together like a puzzle.

STEP 7: Final pop of sparkling fire

To add the final "pop" to the wings, I decided to dip into "Fire" for the warmer accents found in the eyes on the wings. This beautiful shimmer color added an unexpected element and a lot of interest. For the darker areas, I used a few coats to build up the intensity.

STEP 8: Almost Done!

luna moth painting

To finish up this watercolor luna moth, you will need to grab a white eraser to remove the masking fluid, and picking up a damp brush, you will gently massage the areas that the masking fluid left empty. This will soften the overall appearance so that the edges are not so harsh but still give the "fluffy" effect that we are after.

Once that water dries, you can sit back and admire your beautiful watercolor luna moth! Great work and thank you for having me! Happy Painting :)

About the Artist:

Artist and Educator, Katrina Crouch

Katrina Crouch is an artist of feminine details, Educator for fine artists, Wife to fellow art teacher (and master chocolate chip cookie maker), and Mama to 3 boisterous boys. She is inspired by intricate details and feminine movement and tries to incorporate a feeling of graceful stretching and natural elegance into all of her artwork. As an educator, she is passionate about teaching the “why” behind the “how” so that you are empowered to implement what you have learned in your own work.

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