Longhorn beetle Tutorial

by | Tutorials | 2 comments

Longhorn beetle Tutorial

by | Tutorials | 2 comments

In this free tutorial we are going to paint a beetle. The longhorn beetle. They come in many colors and sizes, so be sure to pick the ones you like to use, or pick the ones I chose.

This Longhorn beetle tutorial is with photo explanation.


  • Watercolor paper
  • Round brush size 2 or thinner (0 – 000)
  • SAKURA Pigma Micron fineliner size 003
  • SAKURA Gelly-Roll 10 (Gel pen) or white gouache
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Watercolor
  • Water
  • Clean cloth to clean your brush

If you use another fineliner, at least make sure it is waterproof. Instead of the white gel pen, you can also use white gouache.

The paints I used to create this longhorn beetle tutorial:

  • Ivory Black from Winsor & Newton
  • G409 (Burnt umber) from Van Gogh
  • G633 (Permanent Yellow Green) from Van Gogh
  • G662 (Permanent Green) from Van Gogh
  • G506 (Ultramarine Dark) from Van Gogh
  • G570 (Phthalo blue) from Van Gogh
  • G254 (Perm. lemon yellow) from Van Gogh

Paper I used:

For this tutorial, I used a cheap watercolor paper. I knew beforehand that I wouldn’t be using that much water.

About the Longhorn beetle

he scientific name of the species is Cerambycidae and this name comes from Greek mythology: after a quarrel with nymphs, the shepherd Cerambus was changed into a large beetle with horns.

With more than 35,000 described species, the longhorn beetle family can be called large! Most species are characterized by extremely long antennae, which are often as long as or longer than the beetle’s body.

Below is the tutorial explained step by step. Have fun!

Tips before you start

  • Every time you use a new coat of paint, clean your brush with clean water. Pat it dry, and then pick up your paint with your brush.
  • Rather work with a few more layers than too few. You can use wet-on-wet technique which allows the paint to easily run into each other, or wet-on-dry. Then you let the layer dry completely before painting the new layer.
  • Always work from light to dark.
  • There is no right or wrong! Have fun and if something goes a little differently than you wanted: embrace it with love! Everything is a learning process.

Step 1: Create your outline with pencil

See how you want the beetle to look and draw it with pencil first. You can either draw the example below, or use the outline I made for you.

Stap 1 - Maak je outline met potlood

Here you will find the outline of this longhorn beetle tutorial. You can print this for your own use.

Step 2: Trace your outline with fineliner

Trace the lines you want to keep. Erase mistakes or lines that turn out to be unnecessary later on.

Stap 2 - teken je outline over met fineliner 1
Stap 2 - teken je outline over met fineliner 2

Step 3: Apply details and erase pencil lines

If necessary, you can add some details afterwards. This is not a must, but it can help you with orientation for applying the highlights and lowlights with watercolor.

Stap 3 - details aanbrengen en potlood weggummen

Step 4: The fun part!

Now the fun work can begin. Grab the paint because we are going to start with the first layer. As you’ve read, we work from light to dark with watercolor. The first layer will be yellow. Use in ratio 2/3 water to paint.

Stap 4: De eerste laag geel

Je kunt links wat meer geel doen, en het rechts uit laten lopen in donkergroen. Je wacht niet tot de lagen droog zijn, gebruik nat-op-nat techniek.

Stap 4 - De eerste laag groen1

Next, at the edges, mix in some brown. If the brown is not dark enough, mix a very small amount of black as well. After that you can apply some light green.

Stap 4 - De tweede laag bruin en zwart 1
Stap 4 - De derde laag lichtgroen 1

Now it’s time to work on the rest of the body. For this, use blue and black. The first layer of blue you do very lightly. 2/3 water to paint. After that you can take some more paint and less water to create shadows. Finally you can use black for the eyes, and dot (don’t smudge!) your some blue paint on some places to create some more differences.

Stap 4 - Blauwe laag 1
Stap 4 - Blauwe laag 2
Stap 4 - Blauwe laag 3 met zwart

Now you can make the highlights more yellow. When it comes into contact with blue it runs out into green. This is not a bad thing!

Stap 4 - Maak highlights geel

The next step is optional. Now you can use white gouache to dot some more highlights (don’t smudge!) It doesn’t matter if your paint isn’t completely dry yet. If you use a white gel pen instead of white gouache, do wait until the paint is completely dry.

Stap 4 - details met witte gouache

Step 5: Apply details with fineliner

With your fineliner you can now add details. Experiment with dots and dashes. On the legs you can draw hairs if you want.

Stap 5 - details met fineliner 1
Stap 5 details met fineliner 2
Stap 5 details met fineliner 3

Step 6: Do it all over again!

Yes! You’re done!

Make this beetle as many times as you want with different colors and patterns!

Longhorn beetle tutorial


I’m really curious to see how your longhorn beetle turned out! Will you show it to me?

Instagram: @gee.adriaansz
Facebook: @gee.adriaansz (my account) or @geeariaansz.nl (my page)

Hashtags: #studiogee #studiogeetutorials #geeadriaansztutorials


  1. Monique

    mooie kever..! Wat een duidelijke uitleg zo in stapjes…👍🏻

    • Gee

      Leuk Monique! Dank je voor je reactie 🙂


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