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How to Draw Flowers – Theory Only

Learning how to draw flowers, to capture their transient beauty, is the goal of many artists. Perhaps we want to recapture the sense memories of smelling and admiring our favourites, together with the emotions we experienced at the time.

Or maybe we want to make that fleeting beauty immortal. Either way, there’s no doubt that flowers seduce the mind as well as the senses.

Some people are not just seduced by scent, colour and beauty, but also by a desire for knowledge – learning how to draw flowers becomes a way of understanding more about them.

Think about Leonardo Da Vinci, he constantly drew images of the natural world in order to understand it. Later in his career he drew what he found as he dissected human cadavers, desiring to know and comprehend what lay beneath the surface of the skin.

Photographs or life?

Though there’s no reason why you cannot draw from photographs I suggest you do try and work from life as often as possible because it is much easier to get proportions right when you have a real flower in front of you. Frequently too, details you want to draw – in the leaves for example – are blurred because, when the shot was taken, the photographer was understandably concentrating on the flower itself.

How to Draw Flowers   Theory Only

You can avoid some of these problems by only drawing from photographs you take yourself. Taking more than one shot is also a good idea, as is taking field notes.

What are field notes? Usually if I’m taking photos for home use I would also try and do a quick sketch or three and take some measurements: the diameter of the flower, the size of leaves and a description of the colours for example.

But of course, it all depends on what kind of drawing you want to make – how much detail you want to include and whether you’ll be using colour or not. Whatever your aim though, too much information is always less frustrating than not enough!

Drawing from life and drawing from photographs have a lot in common, but there are also some important differences, so it’s good to get practice in both areas.

Realism or stylised?

In this section of the site I’m looking at observational drawing and realism. Even if your goal is to work in a stylised way there’s no better foundation than learning how to draw flowers in a realistic way.