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The ultimate guide on how to draw flowers using the Flower Method

I’ve been using a method I came up with that allows me to draw any flower that I want. Even when I have never drawn that particular flower before. I want to share that method with you today.

The trick to draw flowers is to follow the Flower Method. First, you establish the size. Then, you draw the flower’s center point. After that, depending on the flower, you mark the beginning and end of the petals. Lastly, you add details and shading.

This method is great because it’s also very useful for flowers that are in perspective. Let me elaborate!

1. Draw a bounding box

In this step, you need to make clear to yourself how big the flower is and where it’ll be located on your paper. We do this by drawing a bounding box. A bounding box is a visual reference to the size, shape, and placement of the flower.

The purpose of this step is:

  • Establish the size of your flower
  • Establish the placement of the flower on your paper
  • Make it clear to you where each flower head sits
    • For example, chrysanthemums and orchids have clusters of flowers. You can draw one big shape to get the overall size, and you can draw smaller shapes that represent the individual flowers.

Here are the bounding boxes of the following flowers:

how to draw flowers

As you can see, you can combine multiple shapes into one. As long as it’s clear to you where each major shape sits relative to each other.

There’s no good or wrong way when it comes to drawing bounding boxes. As long as it’s all clear to you.

2. Draw the center of the flower

Next, we draw the center of the flower. This step is important because it helps us visualize the flower’s perspective. A center that’s tilted lets us know that the flower is titled. After all, the center is where the petals originate from.

You draw the center by drawing a circle (in perspective). To get some additional clarity you can draw centerlines on top of the center as pictured in the image below (bottom sketch).

how to draw flowers

The center lines give a sense of 3D which may help you see things more clearly.

Even when the flower is titled in a way you are unable to see the center, you should still draw it. You draw it because then it is far more comprehensible to understand the flower’s form.

Another thing to consider in this step is symmetry. Some flowers, like orchids, are incredibly symmetrical. For this, you can add an additional line right down the center so that you know to mirror in the next step.

3. Draw guidelines for the petals

Now we draw guidelines for the petals of the flower. Depending on the flower, start by drawing a circle that represents where the tips of the petals end. Now with ”easier” flowers, like daisies, your bounding box covers most likely the tips of the petals. In that case, you don’t have to draw an extra guideline to represent the tips.

Next, you represent the petals by simply drawing a line starting from the center. These petal guidelines are usually slightly curved as most petals aren’t completely straight. The length and curvature of these lines also help with visualizing perspective.

how to draw a flower

You can divide your petal lines in a way you would cut a pizza: half it, then half those halves, and then halve those halves again. But you can also just free-hand some lines.

The image below uses it’s original bounding box as the circle that represents the tips of the petals.

how to draw flowers

With flowers like a tulip, for example, I do draw the end-of-petals guideline:

how to draw an orchid

Drawing the petal guidelines of complicated flowers

For more complicated flowers like roses or peonies, you use this step to draw guidelines for layers and not petals. So instead of drawing a line for each individual petal, you draw sections. In each section, a row of petals appears.

Here’s an example of section guidelines for a rose:

how to draw a rose

Each section represents a layer. The bottom layer represents the outermost layer of the rose. The section above represents the layer of petals that sit within the former section of layers and so on. It’ll make sense in the next step.

4. Draw petals

Now we draw the petals. The guidelines we drew earlier we are now going to use as centre lines for our patels. Draw the general shape of each petal having the center line in mind. You don’t have to worry about fine details just yet.

how to draw flowers

After drawing the main petals, you fill in any gaps. Try to not make them too perfect. Flowers that look too perfect tend to look less realistic.

how to draw a daisy

Drawing petals for complicated flowers

Here’s how to draw the petals for a layered flower like a rose: For the outermost layers, in this case the bottom section, you draw the petals. The section above shows less of the petals as it’s mostly covered by petals that sit in the section below.

how to draw a rose

Get how the sections make sense now? Because a rose seems so complicated I have a separate tutorial for it which you can find here: How to draw a rose for beginners.

Something else that helps when drawing many layered petals is to draw some occlusion shadow. This is a shadow where objects (in this case petals) touch each other. This way the form makes more sense.

5. Line variation and details

In this step, you already have a basic flower. So lastly, you’re going to focus on details. Start defining:

  • The petals
    • Some daisies have pointy ones, others have blunt ones. Some petals may taper, some have imperfections etc.
  • The center
    • Shade the center to get a 3D look and feel
  • Add more basic shadows and style choices
    • Lines like I did in the picture below (if that’s the style you’re going for).
how to draw flowers

After this, you’re pretty much done. Except for when you are going for a realistic flower. Then, proceed to step 6.

6. Render your flower by shading it

So this step is optional because it depends on your art style. But in some cases, you want to realistically render your flower. This can be done minimalistic or hyper-realistic.

Rendering or shading should have an article on its own, but what you want to have are at least 3 different values:

  • Highlights
  • Midtones
  • Shadows

If you work digitally you should also use some texture. If you use analog mediums the paper will automatically give you some texture.

how to draw flowers
An example of a digital sunflower in the making

And that’s how you draw any flower.

The flower method

What is the flower method?

The flower method is a step-by-step method that teaches you how to draw any flower from any perspective. This method is beginner friendly and excellent for people who don’t know how to draw well. What makes The flower method great is that the steps can be applied to any flower: from daisies to roses and orchids.

The method seems very long and intense but once you do it you realize that you can draw flowers in a matter of seconds. That’s right!

Here’s a summary of how to use the flower method:

  1. Establish the size of the flower
    • You do this by drawing a bounding box
  2. Draw the center of the flower
    • For this you draw a circle (in perspective)
  3. Create guidelines for the petals
    • Draw a guideline that represents the tips of the petals
    • Draw a guideline that represents the center of each petal
  4. Draw the petals
    • Roughly draw the main petals
    • After drawing the main ones fill in the excess space
  5. Add line variation and basic details
    • Define your lines and add basic shadows
  6. Render your flower*
    • Fully render your flower by shading (and color)

*This step is optional depending on your style. If you’re only sketching flowers you can skip this step. If you’re painting or coloring a flower, you should take this step.

how to draw a daisy

Using reference pictures to draw flowers

The key is to always use a reference picture. Trust me, even seasoned artists do it. In fact, in the (concept) art and design industry it’s frowned upon when you don’t do extensive research.

And with extensive research, you need reference pictures.

Once you’ve drawn a flower a bunch of times, and you have drawn it from all angles and perspectives, you can easily draw them from your mind. Nothing wrong with that.

You van find reference pictures by:

  • Taking your own pictures
    • Whenever I receive a bouquet of flowers I take pictures
    • Take photos on walks
  • By browsing free stock photo images
    • Pexels offers free-to-use flower images

I’ll now show some examples of the flower method using different kinds of flowers!

How to draw a violet

Here’s how to draw a violet using the flower method:

how to draw flowers
  1. Draw the bounding box
  2. Draw the center
  3. Draw the guidelines for the petals
    • The bounding box functions as the guideline for the tip of the petals in this case
  4. Draw the basic petals
  5. Define the petals and add some basic details
  6. Render it
    • In this case, I only rendered it very lightly

How to draw a rose

So I advice you to draw a few daises or violets before venturing to roses. They are probably the hardest ones to do.

Here’s how to draw a rose using the flower method:

how to draw flowers

First of all, excuse the rough looking flower. I drew it in under a minute.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Draw the bounding box
  2. In this case, the center was the most important thing. I drew the center of the rose that we can actually see, so not near the stem.
    • When the center is not exactly aligned with the stem the rose may look slightly withered. If you want to avoid this, draw a line straight through the center as I teach in my how to draw roses for beginners article.
  3. Here I draw the sections for each layer
  4. Now I draw the petals. I used a reference picture.
  5. I defined the lines by adding more line variation to the petals. I also tweaked a few of them. I added basic occlusion shadow so my eyes don’t get overwhelmed with all of the lines.
  6. I quickly shade the rose. Take this as far as you want. As you can see, mine looks pretty rough but it does the job.

Always always use a reference picture when drawing complicated flowers. Especially roses. And, take your time with this one.

How to draw a daisy

Dasies and violets, are for me, the easiest flowers to draw. Here’s how I drew a daisy using the flower method:

how to draw flowers
  1. Bounding box
  2. Draw the center
  3. I drew guidelines for a few of the petals
  4. I draw the actual petals
  5. I filled in any gaps
  6. I add detail by refining the edge and I added some basic details.

How to draw a sunflower

Drawing a sunflower is actually the exact same process as drawing a daisy. But… bigger.

Here’s how I drew a sunflower using the flower method:

how to draw flowers
  1. Bounding box
    • In this case, I included the leaves and used a line for the stem
  2. Draw the center
    • The center of a sunflower is huge so I drew it big
  3. I drew guidelines for a few of the petals
    • I very evenly divided my guidelines
  4. I draw the actual petals
    • As you can see I varied the length of the petals to add realism. Also, there are two layers: a bottom and a top layer of petals.
  5. I added minor detail by adding lines and I started adding detail to the center.
  6. I started rendering the flower by adding shadows, mid-tones, and highlights.

How to draw an orchid

So an orchid is a strange flower to draw. But luckily we can apply a trick we haven’t used before: symmetry.

Here’s how to draw an orchid:

  1. Draw a bounding box
  2. Draw the center
    • In this case, I went for the part that sticks out. I’m not sure if that’s the actual center of the flower but it made the most sense for drawing.
  3. The flower is symmetrical so my lines should mirror. Except for the middle petal since the guideline sits exactly on the dividing axis.
  4. Draw the petals as symmetrically as possible. Since I drew this digitally I could simply turn on symmetry.
    • If the shape of the petal is hard, just imagine it as a solid shape. Don’t look at all the details. I colored the shapes to visualize how I see the petals.
  5. I added basic details and shadows
  6. I added even more details like veins, a stem, and more shadows.
    • I didn’t fully render the flower but I think it looks okay like this

That wasn’t that hard, was it?

I’ll keep updating this list. If there’s a particular flower you’d like me to do, leave a comment in the comment section down below and I’m happy to add it to my list.

Feel free to sign up for my art letter and receive tutorials like this each month.

Have fun drawing flowers!

♡ Laura

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