Handpainted Rose Cookie: A Tutorial

Handpainted Rose Cookie



There is something about painting on a cookie that I can’t resist. People say it's a great stress release and outlet for self-expression and creativity.

For me, painting is not only a very accessible and enjoyable activity, but also a beautiful way to get into a calmer and more focused state of awareness. Time doesn't exist when I start to paint my cookies, although sometimes my puppy Bruno acts like a clock when lunchtime is coming. 

So, could you imagine what I thought when Julia invited me to write a tutorial about this fun and relaxing technique?!

Yes! I said a huge YES!

So here I am - a bundle of nerves about my very first cookie tutorial on Cookie Connection, but so excited about the idea that you can read me!

This is the first step-by-step tutorial in a series that I will be doing about handpainting cookies. Today, I will describe how to color and shade realistic-looking roses. 

What you'll need:
  • Cookie flooded with white royal icing
  • A rose illustration (For this cookie, I modified an illustration originally by Carolyn Shores Wright, found here on the Internet. Her flowers, birds, and nature scenes are just adorable. )
  • Parchment paper
  • Non-toxic pencil (I used a pencil for kids. Staedtler is a good choice.)
  • Assorted gel colors and dusting powders (see image below)
  • Paint brushes and palette
  • Vodka, alcohol rejuvenator spirit (such as this brand), or alcohol-based extract

 picture rose
















Colors:
I used four shades of burgundy for the rose, and another four of green for the leaves. Color formulas and brands are indicated below.

Colouring and shading flowers- Handpainted Rose Cookie [Color palette)

















a. 1 part AmeriColor Burgundy + 3 parts Sugarflair White Dust 
b. 1 part AmeriColor Burgundy + 2 parts Sugarflair White Dust
c. 1 part AmeriColor Burgundy + 1 part Sugarflair White Dust
d. AmeriColor Burgundy
e. Wilton Moss Green
f. 1 part Wilton Moss Green + 1 part Sugarflair White Dust
g. 1 part Sugarflair Eucalyptus + 1 part Sugarflair White Dust
h. Rainbow Dust Citrus Green

Before you start, there are a few things I've learned about painting on royal icing that you should consider:

1. The royal icing on your cookie should be dried rock-hard. Too much moisture on your brushes can quickly dissolve the icing, so please use a not-too-thin icing that hardens fully.

2. I prefer mixing colors with vodka rather than water. Colors dry with a matte finish, but the high alcohol content in vodka (or alcohol-based substitutes) makes it evaporate quickly.

3. I also prefer matte dusting powders and gel colors. Mix them with vodka, making sure colors have a paste-like consistency. Not too dry, not too wet.

vodka


















4.
Please, only use quality brushes. You don’t need to spend too much, but if you buy inferior ones, they quickly lose their shape and you can be disappointed with their results. And what makes a high quality brush? 

  • Lacquered or enameled hardwood handles (to prevent deterioration)
  • Soft-bristled tuft (the actual brush)
  • Seamless and gold-plated brass ferrule (the part of the brush that connects the handle to the tuft)
  • Maintains its shape after each use

Sable hair brushes (i.e., red sable aka Kolinsky "sable") make the best choice for cookie painting and, if you properly care for them, will maintain their shape and texture for years. If price is an issue, some high quality synthetics (nylon or polyester) can also do a great job.

My brushes are Rembrandt: 100% red sable with a resilient tuft and short, black-lacquered handle.

Round brushes (#0 in the image below) are preferred: they are versatile insofar as they are quite well-suited to detail work (i.e., small accents and delicate lines), but also good for broader strokes. My favorite ones are the spotter brushes (#4/0, #5/0, and #10/0 in the image below), which are small round brushes with shorter bristles for extra control.

Colouring and shading flowers- Handpainted Rose Cookie [Paint brushes-sizes and shapes)
















OK. I’m ready! And you?  

Let’s start!

Steps 1 and 2: Begin by tracing the illustration on a cookie flooded with white icing (image 1). Again, the icing should be completely dry. Use a Kopykake, the Camera Lucida app, or . . . a simple (and inexpensive ) little piece of parchment paper where the rose was previously traced (image 2). 

For the paper transfer technique, first print the reverse image (using a photo editor program like Paint, Photoshop, or PicMonkey, a very intuitive online editor) and trace it with pencil on parchment paper. Then place the pencil-side down on the cookie, and trace over the image again to transfer the pencil marks to the cookie. Be sure to use a non-toxic pencil, as noted above.

Colouring and shading flowers- Handpainted Rose Cookie [Step 1-2)
















Steps 3 and 4: Once you have traced the rose on the cookie, put the colors on the palette and mix them with a few drops of vodka (just for painting, okay? ). Remember: too much vodka on the brush can create a crater in the underlying icing, and you don’t want to start over on a new cookie, right? Make sure to dab off any excess alcohol on a paper towel.

Now, you can start to base-coat the rose with the lightest color (image 3, color a). You don’t need to be concerned with coloring the entire rose or shading yet. You can even leave a few areas white; you’ll do enough blending later!

Colouring and shading flowers- Handpainted Rose Cookie [Step 3-4)


















Leaves
: Base-coat them using a mid-tone green (image 4, color g). If you wish, you can leave some white spaces as highlights. (Please, keep in mind that I‘ve just painted a single leaf of the bouquet as an example.)

Steps 5 and 6: It’s important for you to learn to "read" the illustration with your eyes before painting your cookie, because it will give you an idea of where the mid-tone and darker colors and shading should go. Once you've identified those areas, color them appropriately, i.e., with a mid-tone burgundy (image 5, color b) or with a deeper tone of the same color (image 6, color c).

Colouring and shading flowers- Handpainted Rose Cookie [Step 5-6)


















Leaves
: Add depth on the lower half of the leaves and on leaves that are toward the back of the rose using a deep green (image 5, color f). Add some points of light with the lightest color (h) and then go back with the mid-tone color (g), blending the three colors together.

Steps 7 and 8: This is the “crucial” moment when your rose becomes more life-like by adding final touches, such as blending, texture, and lighting effects (as we started to do with the leaves in Step 6). So go back with the first color (a), the lightest one, and blend the colors (ab, and c) together with small, circular motions in order to create a fade effect. Add some points of light on the petals too (image 7).

Then, using the darkest tone of burgundy (color d), color the areas that are toward the back or bottom of the rose, the deepest recesses of the rose, and the parts where petals cast shadows on other petals (image 7, color d). Finally, blend and fade again with the mid-tone color (b), and then add delicate borders with a fine brush (I’ve used #10/0) and the deepest tone of your palette (color d).

Colouring and shading flowers- Handpainted Rose Cookie [Step 7-8)


















Leaves
: Now, with the darkest green (e), keep on adding depth where some leaves (or petals) cast shadows on leaves below them and then blend/fade the dark green tone with the mid-tone green (g) (image 7). Finally, add delicate borders and veins with the fine brush and the deepest tone of your palette (image 8, color e).

Complete your project with a brush embroidery frame (image 8) or another border of your choice.

final

Of course, the coloring, blending, and shading techniques that you have learned today can be applied to other flowers like sunflowers, iris, poppies, or carnations. So get creative!

Quick photo recap:

Steps 1 through 8 - All in One Spot!

I hope you found this tutorial useful!

Now, excuse me, but I'm hearing Bruno barking.  

Cookie and photo credits: Aixa Zunino

Aixa Zunino is the soul of Dolce Sentire, a virtual corner of sweetness and creativity dedicated to cookie decorating. On her site, this garden engineer, self-taught decorator, and lover of flowers and animals lets her imagination fly, sharing everything she has learned since discovering the world of cookies in early 2012. She combines this activity with courses around Spain (her current home) where she teaches all the secrets to getting dreamy cookies. Meet her on Facebook or her website, and email her your cookie decorating questions or concerns at dolcesentiredolci@gmail.com.

Photo credit:  Aixa Zunino

Note: This article expresses the views of the author, and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To read more Cookie Connection tutorials, click here.

 

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Awesome tutorial, especially as I decided to improve my painting skills just a few days ago

But I was wondering about the consistency you mention, pastelike. I find that if I don't make the gel colors absolutely fluid, e.g. like water, they never completely dry but remain tacky forever. Which means that I cannot wrap them... Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

Hello Aixa, Thank you so much for showing us your method of painting - I have some new Zealand natives that I am looking to paint over the next couple of days, and I read with interest your use of the dusts and vodka. I will certainly be trying these methods. Your information is greatly appreciated. Kat.

Originally Posted by Fabiana:

Aixa qué buen tutorial como siempre !! Haces fácil lo difícil con tan buenas explicaciones y fotos !! Un gran abrazo !!

Mil gracias linda! que feliz me hace saber que te gustó! un beso enorme! <3

Originally Posted by Cindy Gonzales:

Really great tutorial...easy to understand and you broke this down so well that I can't wait to try this new technique on my cookie designs. Thank you again, Cindy

Thanks Cindy! ))) I'm looking forward to see your painted cookies!

Originally Posted by Laegwen:

Awesome tutorial, especially as I decided to improve my painting skills just a few days ago

But I was wondering about the consistency you mention, pastelike. I find that if I don't make the gel colors absolutely fluid, e.g. like water, they never completely dry but remain tacky forever. Which means that I cannot wrap them... Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

Thanks Laegwen! ))
Yes, gel or paste colors usually remain soooo tacky, especially white but keep in mind that we can't make them very fluid, because moisture "hurts" the royal icing layer. That's why I usually mix them with a little amount of white powder before adding vodka. Just to get this pastelike consistency

 

Originally Posted by Kat Rutledge - Ibicci:

Hello Aixa, Thank you so much for showing us your method of painting - I have some new Zealand natives that I am looking to paint over the next couple of days, and I read with interest your use of the dusts and vodka. I will certainly be trying these methods. Your information is greatly appreciated. Kat.

Thank you very much Kat I'm glad this tutorial like you! <3

I'm looking foward to see your NZnatives! I'm sure they will be so pretty! ))

Originally Posted by Sweet Day by Guada (Guadalupe Garmilla):
Felicidades AiXa estupendo tutorial, haces que parezca tan sencillo que no puede uno resistirse a intentarlo, gracias por siempre  compartir tus conocimientos y experiencias, eres genial ��

Gracias Guadalupe! que emoción verte también por aquí!inténtalo si! y me muestras tus creaciones, ya lo estoy deseando! un beso enorme! <3

Originally Posted by Patricia Blanco Budia:

Maravilloso, Aixa!! Como siempre!!! Te ha quedado fantástico!! Muchas felicidades, guapa!! Besotes

Hola Patri! tu también por aquí! que bien! gracias! me alegro de que te haya gustado! soy feliz! besos! <3

Originally Posted by Dolce Sentire:
Originally Posted by Laegwen:

Awesome tutorial, especially as I decided to improve my painting skills just a few days ago

But I was wondering about the consistency you mention, pastelike. I find that if I don't make the gel colors absolutely fluid, e.g. like water, they never completely dry but remain tacky forever. Which means that I cannot wrap them... Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

Thanks Laegwen! ))
Yes, gel or paste colors usually remain soooo tacky, especially white but keep in mind that we can't make them very fluid, because moisture "hurts" the royal icing layer. That's why I usually mix them with a little amount of white powder before adding vodka. Just to get this pastelike consistency

 

Thanks for your reply! Now, that sounds like a useful tip, can't wait to try it. I guess any kind of powder will do the trick, right? As I have powder colors galore, or does it need to be white?

Aixa!  Welcome and so happy you accepted Julia's invite.  Thanks to Julia for inviting you too. 

I've used pencil to trace or draw on a cookie.  But didn't think I could do that if I were giving away cookies to eat/enjoy.  I've tried using food writers but the color oozes out and the design is ruined.   When using a lighter touch then I can't see the design.  lol

I guess I have the gist of painting but I don't seem to be able to pull it off.  I usually practice on parchment paper and it looks good but on a cookie it is butttttt uglyyyyy.  lol

I hate my brushes and thought to purchase others.  Thanks for Your tip/s on what to buy/use.  I've become aware that I tend to go for a short hair brush but don't like the length of the handles on any of my brushes.   I'll have to look (again) to see if there are any shorter length brushes.  Some of the hairs on my brushes are splayed out/separated.  I think each were over $5.00 (US currency).  Perhaps I didn't buy the right type or they were overly priced/marked-up.

I don't have any Sugarflair products.  Do you only use Sugarflair?

Did you buy your brushes from  art supplies or from a nail salon or a hardware store? 

I've tried a free-hand brush embroidery rose that I saw on Nadia Bakery (youtube)...  Mine didn't look as good as hers but I somewhat achieved the design.  Perhaps I had too small a cookie, or I just couldn't achieve it.  lol  I posted a pic of it on here though.  lol

 

As like you, I was excited to see that you are a contributor!

Ditto to all comments.  

Love your tutorial. 

 

 

Originally Posted by Laegwen:
Originally Posted by Dolce Sentire:
Originally Posted by Laegwen:

Awesome tutorial, especially as I decided to improve my painting skills just a few days ago

But I was wondering about the consistency you mention, pastelike. I find that if I don't make the gel colors absolutely fluid, e.g. like water, they never completely dry but remain tacky forever. Which means that I cannot wrap them... Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

Thanks Laegwen! ))
Yes, gel or paste colors usually remain soooo tacky, especially white but keep in mind that we can't make them very fluid, because moisture "hurts" the royal icing layer. That's why I usually mix them with a little amount of white powder before adding vodka. Just to get this pastelike consistency

 

Thanks for your reply! Now, that sounds like a useful tip, can't wait to try it. I guess any kind of powder will do the trick, right? As I have powder colors galore, or does it need to be white?

You're welcome! ) Yes, sure! you can use any kind of powder...white or a similar tone

Originally Posted by Adriana Lora:

AiXa como siempre... Fabulosa!! Te sigo en Dolce Sentiré y aprendo de ti mucho. Soy tu fan!! 

Adriana! preciosa! gracias por pasarte por aqui, me emociona verte! muchas gracias!!!! un besote! <3

Originally Posted by Debbie_G:

I just found this tutorial, it is a beautiful rose, but I was wondering, can I paint like this on Frankenfrosting instead of Royal Icing.

 

Thanks

Hi Debbie! Thanks! I don't know what Frankenfrosting exactly, can you explain it to me? Whatever, if it dries rock-hard I think it could be a good option to paint, why not?

Originally Posted by Dolce Sentire:
Originally Posted by Debbie_G:

I just found this tutorial, it is a beautiful rose, but I was wondering, can I paint like this on Frankenfrosting instead of Royal Icing.

 

Thanks

Hi Debbie! Thanks! I don't know what Frankenfrosting exactly, can you explain it to me? Whatever, if it dries rock-hard I think it could be a good option to paint, why not?

I believe she's referring to a mixture of royal icing and glaze (aka confectioners' icing), though I'm not sure in what proportions.

Dolce Sentire posted:
Originally Posted by Debbie_G:

I just found this tutorial, it is a beautiful rose, but I was wondering, can I paint like this on Frankenfrosting instead of Royal Icing.

 

Thanks

Hi Debbie! Thanks! I don't know what Frankenfrosting exactly, can you explain it to me? Whatever, if it dries rock-hard I think it could be a good option to paint, why not?

http://www.sweethopecookies.co...t-cookie-icing-ever/  

This is a link that explains Frankenfrosting, my guys love it.  It is softer and easier to eat.  It also tastes much better.

 

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