Painting 12 Drummers Drumming in Watercolor

twelve drummers drumming in watercolor

This is it!

The last day in the Christmas watercolor painting challenge!

If you made it this far give yourself a well deserved pat on the back!

Thank you for following this challenge. I trust these paintings provided you with a bit of creative fun and relaxation during the holidays as well as a brief overview of some of the techniques used in watercolor. 

If you’ve arrived at this page and don’t know what I’m talking about, this is actually the final painting of a series of easy lessons, based on the “12 days of Christmas” carol. To find out more you can read about the beginning of this painting challenge on this page.

Step by step painting of 12 Drummers Drumming

Once again you’ll find a copy of the worksheet for this project below. Download and print out the sketch outline before getting started.

Try this painting for yourself ! Click the button below to download the worksheet for this painting.

The list of paints used in this lesson were as follows:

To receive daily email reminders for this painting challenge (starting with day #1), you can sign up below:

And you’ll find a special category for all these tutorials which you can view here. This will provide an overview of the whole challenge.

twelve drummers drumming 4 step painting process

Step 1

Trace the outline onto a sheet of watercolor paper with a light pencil outline (HB hardness usually does the trick).

Step 2

Begin by painting the mid section of the drums with a band of yellow. (I used hansa yellow deep). I just used a uniform wash of color, but I left an occasional white highlight to add some interest.

At the same time you can paint the drum sticks in yellow.

Fill in the big “TWELVE” word with gray paint.

Step 3

When the paint has completely dried, paint the hoops at the top and bottom of each drum. I used phthalo blue for this part.

Because the yellow and blue shapes are touching, you want the first yellow paint marks to be dry. Otherwise the blue pigments will diffuse into the first yellow wash. The two colors would mix on the paper and you wouldn’t get a sharply defined line between the two colors.

Step 4

In the final stage I used a green mixture to add some details such as a zig-zag of “tension ropes” on the sides. I also added a few cast shadows in green. The green color helps set up a more pleasant analogous color harmony (remember, these are colors that are near to each other on a color wheel).

Paint the text at the bottom and add a few shadow lines to the big “TWELVE” word.

That’s all for now!

I hope you had a wonderful time with your loved ones over Christmas and that these daily painting practices helped encourage your creativity 🙂

May your new year be full of exciting painting and drawing projects! 

Have fun!

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  1. I finished all twelve, Anthony, and enjoyed doing these immensely. Each had learning value and I can see improvement in my work I’ve the course of the twelve days. I love your teaching style. Thank you for challenging us and sharing these this year (2023) also. Happy New Year 2024! I’m going to keep painting, I promise. I bought a light box and some Rosemary & Co. brushes – yay for more inspiration! – Cheryl

  2. Anthony, I took this exercise to a different level. Thank you for being my favorite online watercolor teacher. My mistakes are completely my own and somewhat funny. Happy Christmas. [I tried to paste a jpg of my painting here-no luck. I made a Christmas tree from your 12-days.]

  3. Hello Anthony,
    I have enjoyed this challenge so much! I love your teaching style. You just lead me right through, but leaving room for my own creativity. I can see how I improved throughout these simple lessons. Thank you!

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