Drawing Simple Flowers

'There are always flowers for those who want to see them.' - Henri Matisse


Flowers are central to this course and their observation and drawing plays an extremely important part.

Looking at simple flowers and the shapes of petals is the focus of today’s project. In preparation for this module’s main project we will be drawing from life. The task is observing and drawing basic flower shapes paying attention to the line work.

This is a sketchbook drawing project. Use paper that is a suitable for a water-based medium. You will need some drawing materials, High Flow black paint and a dip pen - in addition to making observational drawings you will be using a dip pen to develop this skill for line drawing and mark making.

The Process

Find at least two or three simple flowers with a round centre and petals attached in an open arrangement. Daisies, Anemones, Clematis, Campanula, Zinnias, Gerberas, Single Dahlias, Blossoms and meadow flowers fall in this category. Use what you can find: simple is good, five petal flowers are ideal, do not over complicate it.

Make some fast line drawings using a tool that you are comfortable with to start off: a fine liner or pencil is suitable. The purpose is to draw simple line drawings based on what you observe, they need not be perfect artworks. Draw just what you see, pay attention to the shapes of the petals, stamens etc. Just use black line work in the drawings, no colour.

Next move on to drawing with a dip pen. It might be easier to try this out on a separate piece of paper to get used to the nib if you are new to it. If it's a new nib it might be a bit sharp to start with. Drawing lines and swirls on a test sheet will smooth it down somewhat.

I dilute the black High Flow with 30% to 50% water to create a liquid that is still very black, but easier to draw with. Use a few drops in a small container such as the lid of a glue stick, remembering to clean it thoroughly afterwards!

You will be using the dip pen for line work on some of the main art projects in the course, so it is good to practice this drawing technique. Pressure applied to the pen whilst drawing will create a thicker line: it is a tactile and expressive drawing tool.

See videos for an overview of flowers and a demonstration of flower drawings. You can also take a look at this Pinterest board for additional inspiration.

© 2020 Esté MacLeod

© 2020 Explore Colour