How to Draw Realistic Roses
Drawing Material Is Affordable
Drawing can be done at different levels, from the most amatory and recreational, to the most professional quality. Wherever you are in the range of skills and experience, drawing can be a fun and rewarding activity for children and adults alike.
The starting material required for drawing is affordable and easily available: paper, pencil, and a quality eraser. You can also use charcoal pencil, pen, markers, colored pencils, and more, but paper and pencil will get you started.
Flowers are among the most popular subjects in still life representations and roses can be considered the queens of flowers.
Many characteristics make roses unique-looking, especially their rich petals, with soft and velvety texture, the ever-present thorns, and the oval leaves.
Whether you draw them accurately and realistically or simplified and abstracts, you need to put in enough details to let the viewer understand what kind of flower it is.
How to Get Started Drawing
Find a reference photo that you’d like to work from or some real roses to draw. Avoid drawing representations of silk flowers; even if they look “close enough” to the real ones, it’s not the same.
Start by drawing the main angles and lines of your subject. Then sketch roughly the main shapes, paying attention to proportions and angles. Measure often in order to place the parts correctly, drawing very lightly at first and including all the shapes in between leaves, petals, etc.
Once you have the main rough shapes of your subjects sketched, start your drawing with many quick pencil strokes, working over each other to make smooth lines and curves.
Don’t be afraid to be messy, as long as you don’t press too hard with your pencil on the paper, you can always erase it later.
Importance of Drawing Negative Spaces
In art, any object or form represented can be defined as positive space. All the space surrounding an object is considered negative space, and it helps defining the object itself.
When drawing a rose, keep in mind that leaves come from the stem at different angles. While drawing, put extra care in trying to render the different angles, proportions, and shades of each leaf.
Always place negative shapes correctly in relations to petals, leaves, and stem. Look carefully at the shape of each area of negative space and place it accurately, keeping the proportions right.
To draw the stem, start on the dark side of the stem by drawing a line with short strokes. If the stem is in front of a leaf, tone the leaf darker behind the light area of the stem, there is no real need for the stem line on the light area of stem.
Negative and Positive Space
Drawing the Rose Flower
Once you have your directional lines and main shapes in, start drawing a small shape, then a larger shape; move on to next shape, relating each one to another and using fine veins as lines to find form. At all times check and double-check the edges of petals, relationships between the petals and directional strokes suggesting form.
Directional strokes help defining and describing forms. Draw curved lines on petals to follow the form, with more pressure applied to shadow areas.
Once you have your shapes, color the shades, starting from the darkest dark.
Keep comparing the lightest value on your drawing with the lightest spot on the object, and adjust the drawing as needed. Similarly, keep comparing the darkest areas as well.
Squint often and continuously look at your drawing and compare to the rose, assess each area of the drawing in relation the others, to achieve correct value variations. Always keep checking for accuracy. This is a great way to develop drawing and observation skills.
Grid Drawing Technique
If you are finding difficult to get the proportions right, you can use the grid technique. This works well when you are working from a reference photo.
First you draw a grid of squares or rectangles on your photo. If you don’t want to write on the photo, you can insert it in a plastic sleeve and draw the grid on the plastic.
Then draw a grid on your paper, keep it very light so it does not show after you’ll erase it.
The grid does not have to be the same size, but it needs to be proportioned. That means that if you have squares of 1” x 1” on your photo, you can draw a grid of, for example, 2.5” x 2.5” on your page. This will make your drawing 2.5 times bigger that the referent photo.
Then looking at each square, you visualize the positive and negative shapes, and reproduce them on the corresponding square in the paper. One square at the time, focus on reproducing it, keeping the proportions correct within that specific square.
Keep your strokes light. When you are done reproducing all squares, erase the grid and fix your drawing making it smoother, adding shades, and shape lines.
Sketch of a rose step by stepClick thumbnail to view full-size
By no means I consider myself a master artist, but what I know I enjoy sharing with others. I wrote this article hoping that it will help beginner artists in their drawing process, not because I believe I “know” how to draw.
I hope you found it useful and enjoyable. Happy drawing! : )
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Robie Benve