How to paint a Red Poppy in 5 simple steps, using Aquamarkers

How to create a painting of a Red Poppy using Aquamarkers in 5 simple steps. This blog describes my working process and how I use the Aquamarkers; water-based ink markers. I share the hints, tips and techniques that help me to paint this flower. This is my first blog-post for Letraset and I hope you like it and find it useful.  Please feel free to email me if you have any thoughts or suggestions for future blogs.


The markers I used to create the leaves: Fern Green, Mahogany & Sunburst Yellow.

And the Poppy: Raspberry & Peacock Blue for the red petals and stamen.

I used a 4 round and 8 round synthetic brush on the marker ink.


photo 2 (2)photo 1 (2)1.DRAWING IT OUT:

After drawing out the composition on thick watercolour paper, I  painted from background to foreground.  This helped to ‘fill-in’ the less important elements of the picture quickly and show the overall shape of the flower clearly.

I usually work from top-to-bottom so I don’t smudge but as you can see on this one, i started at the bottom first, (what are rules if not to be broken? ;) )

I draw the Aquamarker right onto the paper and use a synthetic brush, (stiffer and with more ‘spring’ than a posh brush!) to mix the marker colour right there on the paper.  Aquamarkers react well with the water, creating a watercolour effect after the water and ink have dried.  I’m using Fern Green, Mahogany and little bits of Sunburst Yellow here.


poppy penspoppy pens and water2. WATER:

Here you see the marker colour on the left, put on loosely. It looks untidy but I know i’m going to mix it with lots of water so its okay.

Worried about the Aquamarker ‘streaking’? Try thicker paper, more water on the brush or blending 2 colours on top of each other.  These techniques seem to work well, or… you can let it streak and see how it looks!




I can see the shape of the poppy really clearly now.  I can also see if the background leaves look okay:

  • Do they look balanced?
  • Do I need to lighten/darken any areas?
  • Have I used too much shadow or too much yellow?

photo 3



The Red Petals were done with Raspberry and some Sunburst Yellow Aquamarker to create a slightly orange effect in places.  The small shadows were a bit of Peacock Blue, not black,(even though some of the dark areas on a poppy look black).

The light areas are ‘backruns‘ – clean water dropped onto wet painted areas before they dry.  It floods outward producing a light, ‘bloom’ effect to soften broad areas of colour.  It is risky and something I do with the Aquamarkers a lot more than I do with regular watercolour.  Without it, the petals could have looked too flat.

WATCH the YouTube video showing this part of the painting:



photo 1 photo 2


These 2 pictures show the ‘black’ petals which were Peacock Blue drawn over Raspberry Aquamarker.  When you add those two colours and blend them with water, you get a dark purple that resembles a black tone.

The delicate middle stalks, (the stamen?) were done with little dabs of Peacock Blue and Raspberry, worked quickly with a thin 4 Round synthetic brush.  Not too fussy, just light and quick.

The final bit, the central seed pod, was painted with Raspberry, Sunburst Yellow & Peacock Blue.  Each segment was done separately with the red and yellow put on and then mixed with the blue to show the shadowy ridges between each section.

WATCH my YouTube video showing you how I painted these:


Red Poppy colour photo scan

The finished piece!  You can watch some videos of me completing the painting on YouTube.

Watch more VIDEOS at ‘Official Letraset’ YouTube Channel and my YouTube channel, gee massam art.
Find me on:  FACEBOOK    –    YOUTUBE     –     TWITTER     –     REDBUBBLE
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me :D

About gee massam

Gee is a full-time carer who draws, paints and illustrates. He has used markers extensively since 2012 and has gotten into using Aquamarkers in the last 2 years. As a long-time watercolour painter, he is still working out all the effects that you can achieve with them.

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3 Responses to How to paint a Red Poppy in 5 simple steps, using Aquamarkers

  1. Monica March 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    This is just beautiful! Thank you for sharing all your tips. I just wish I could colour/paint as well as you do.

    • Gee355 March 24, 2013 at 8:20 am #

      Thanks for checking it out! I hope I give enough detail in the description to let you know how I painted it, I don’t want to bore the reader but I don’t want it to be too brief :D
      And your last point… Practice, practice, practice!! And draw what YOU like to draw!

  2. Anna Martin April 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    Was totally amazed with the video, very inspiring and your technique is astonishing. Came across the site by accident (looking for poppies) you are an unbelievably talented person.

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