Get your paints out and grab some chilled lemonade. Today’s post will feature a fabulous watercolor cactus painting that anyone can attempt. And there are no rules. The only thing to keep in mind is to have fun and that’s all that matters!

Watercolor cactus painting tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

It’s appalling that I’ve never done a tutorial on watercolor cactuses before. I live in the desert turned city of Doha and these things are everywhere. If you’re looking for something fun and relaxing to do this weekend, this probably is it. Enjoy!

New to watercolors? Check out my learn watercolor series by clicking the link below.


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Materials required for watercolor cactus painting :-

Watercolor cactus painting tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

While I know it’s probably convenient for some of you to draw with a pencil first, I strongly suggest “trying” without it. Like I mentioned in my last post, “Loose watercolor painting“, this will help achieve a lot of confidence. But, if you’re looking to create something that is strictly realistic, please draw your outlines first before dabbling in paint.

Start thinking of a composition for your watercolor cactus painting. I decided to focus on the bottom half of my paper(the size doesn’t matter) with just a little bit of elevation difference. I started with a small prickly pear and added the thorns while the base layer was still wet.

For this cactus painting, I’ve used a couple of different types of cactuses. Next I painted a “Saguaro”cactus. For some of them I waited for the under-layer to dry before painting the thorns. Add a flower or two if you’d like to have a pop of color.

Watercolor cactus painting tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

The next few steps are pretty much the same. All you need to do is paint a couple more cactuses randomly. Some of which are lighter since I assumed them to be at a distance. To tie everything together, you can also add a couple of generic leaves, succulents etc. The choice is yours! Such is the freedom in creative painting!

Watercolor cactus painting tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

Adding a pop of color with a little drop of gouache mixed with watercolor will help make some of the elements stand out. For example, yellow watercolor will be lost and not visible on top of the dark green cactus below. The gouache helps to make this cactus painting by giving it some dimension.

Now all you need to do is gauge the cactus painting from a distance for corrections in composition. After that, display it proudly at home! It deserves to be seen. 🙂

Watercolor cactus painting tutorial | Inkstruck Studio

What do you think?

Opinions! Opinions! I love hearing them. What is your favorite type of cactus? Mine is the pink prickly pear which had to feature here.And I love knowing if you decided to give this painting to go. You know the drill! Tag me with #makeinkstruck on Instagram so that I can have a peek.

Thanks for stopping by!Cheers.


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About zakkiya hamza @ inkstruck

Zakkiya is the creative blogger and founder of Inkstruck Studio. She’s a self taught artist who let go of her architecture profession to pursue her passion in art. Zakkiya likes to write detailed tutorials in watercolor, calligraphy, and hand lettering. She also teaches watercolor workshops occasionally in Doha where she’s based currently. Other passions include traveling, photography, and basketball.When she’s not working, you can find her cuddling and running around with her toddler boy.


  1. You are the best and given the horrible news in our country, you spread a bit of joy! Can’t wait to try cactus watercolor!????

  2. Lovely tutorial. I’m just beginning a class in gouache so the tip to use it on top of watercolors is definitely something I’ll try. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is a great tuitorial, I can’t wait to try. I love your beautiful painting. Thank you so much for sharing. I love the Prickly Pear too, and also the Saguaro. Have a great weekend.

  4. Hi there,
    I used goauche back in the 1970’s. It was used for illustrating.
    Thank you for your classes. Love the feathers. I painted them myself.
    Now the cactus. I have a prickly cactus in my yard and I live on the east coast of the US and it lives during the winter months too!

  5. Hi, what a fun watercolor. I know you used Arches paper, but I want the size you used. I only have 9×12….. your paper looked much larger.
    Thank you so much

  6. I love this!! Can you do this same technique on fabric? I want to create watercolor cacti table runners for my wedding reception.


    1. Hi Kristen. Congratulations on your wedding. I hope I’m not too late. I’ll have a go at it once I’m back from my vacation in September. Meanwhile, the way to go about it is to wet the cloth in water, dilute fabric paint with water and use the same process. I hope that helps. c

  7. i’ve been following you on Instagram and i really love your feed! and thank you for the tutorials.. much love! xoxo 🙂

  8. I noticed that you said cactuses for your plural of cactus. The plural of cactus is cacti just to let you know. Great tutorial though!

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