How Your Oil Paintings Can Flower - How to Draw Flowers

Flowers have always been one of the most common subject choices for a painting. Their natural beauty is something that captivates many people, which makes them a good choice for an artwork.

How many pictures of flowers have you seen hanging in someone’s home or office? Probably thousands in a lifetime.

Flowers come in an almost infinite amount of shapes and colors, but most still have many related characteristics and can be drawn with a series of similar shapes. It’s best to start with something simple like a daisy or a sunflower before moving on to something more complex like a rose.

If you want to start using flowers in your oil paintings, you must first learn how to draw them. You may be eager to put paint to canvas, but making an underpainting of a drawn flower will help you a lot. After all, one of the traits common among the old painting masters was that they were all skillful at drawing.

First, obtain a real flower and set it in a glass or vase nearby. Make sure the natural lighting is good in the room, so you can easily see all the details and changes in value. Before you pick up a pencil, carefully observe the flower for a few minutes.

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Note the shape of the petals, and how each one is just slightly different from its neighbor. Notice the length of the stem and the shape of the leaves. Observe how it changes in tone depending on where the light is hitting it.

Now, envision basic shapes over each part of the flower. Instead of seeing complicated nooks and crannies, imagine each petal as an oval, circle or triangle. Use whatever shape is most similar.

Overlay these shapes on the parts of the flower in your mind. Note proportions as well. What’s the diameter of the center of the flower compared to the length of the petals? You can use the thumb and pencil technique to determine this.

Next, draw the outline of the shapes you see on your paper or canvas. Your flower should be a very rough sketch and not include any details yet. You are just trying to get the general shape and proportions of the flower correct before you begin adding specifics. Draw lightly, as you’ll be erasing all of these marks in the next step.

With the outline complete, you can pencil in a more accurate depiction of the flower over the rough shapes, erasing your initial markings as you go along. Keep looking back at the flower while you draw and concentrate on one small part at a time. Now you should have a line drawing of your flower—one that looks like a page from a coloring book.

Last, you need to add the details. Shade in the parts of the flower that are darker and add any wrinkles or lines on the leaves and petals. Remember that this doesn’t need to be 100% accurate because it’s just an underpainting that you will paint over with oils. But this underpainting will give you a great foundation which will make using the paintbrush afterwards ten times easier than starting from scratch.

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