Painting Flowers With Colored Pencils
Simple Flower Drawings
These flower paintings - we call colored pencil drawings 'paintings' because, well, they look like paintings - are straightforward and absorbing to do. You don't need any special drawing skills because the outline is traced. All you have to do is some clever coloring.
I made one a couple of weeks ago and thought it might be good enough to give to my mother for her birthday. In fact, I enjoyed the process so much, I had to do another. You can see the results at the bottom of the page - they look pretty in their frames. I chose inexpensive wood frames, but you could get frames even cheaper by shopping for pictures at thrift stores and removing the originals from the frames.
Now my sister has said she'd like two for Christmas and I have seen some glossy black frames that would go really well in her modern home.
Here is the step-by-step process to creating these pretty flower paintings with colored pencils.
Note: All images and text are copyright, but please feel free to share on Facebook and Pinterest.
Find Your Flower
The first thing you need to do is locate a suitable flower. Daisies, sunflowers and gerberas all make good subjects and are not too complicated. Have a look on photo sharing sites like Pinterest and Flickr. I can't share my source photo here because it is not copyright-free. However, my drawing is sufficiently different from that photo to make it unrecognizable.
Once you have decided on an image, take your printer paper and hold it over the screen. You will see the image shine through quite clearly. Using a soft core pencil, lightly trace around the outline of the flower. If you can draw, then you can skip this stage. You may need to tape the paper to the edge of the screen to prevent movement.
When you are happy, place the traced drawing, face-down on a suitable working surface. Use your soft pencil or graphite stick to work over the whole drawing.
Turn the paper over and position on your sketchbook or paper. Again, you may need to tape the printer paper to the support to prevent it moving. Trace over your drawing, applying enough pressure to transfer the graphite, but not so much that you leave an indentation on the support.
Remove the printer paper and you should have a working outline of the flower on your sketchbook/paper.
Click on the thumbnail photos to the right to see each step.
Supplies for Colored Pencil Paintings
Supplies for this kind of art are pretty minimal. The biggest investment will be the colored pencils themselves. If you intend doing lots of colored pencil drawings, then it makes sense to buy the best, and the largest set you can afford. I use Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils because they are rich in pigment and blend really well, which is essential when drawing flowers.
The second consideration is the support, the paper. I prefer watercolor - my sketch pad is actually a Fabriano Classico Fat Pad A5 9" x 7". I find the ever-so-slightly textured surface is perfect for these drawings.
Then you will need:
- A soft pencil and eraser.
- A graphite stick is helpful, but not essential.
- Your computer will also be useful too.
- One sheet of printer paper.
- Colorless blender.
- White gel pen.
Map Out the Colors
Before I do anything else, I erase as much of the graphite lines as I can, while leaving enough visible that I can just see them. Then I apply color all over the drawing. Using the appropriate colors I hold the pencil at an acute angle, so that it is almost on its side. This prevents me inadvertently drawing hard lines. All I am doing is marking out the stripes on the petals and giving the background an initial layer of warm yellow.
The two colors used are Light Magenta and Canary Yellow.
As you can see, this is purely for guidance. This first layer will be assimilated and covered up in the final drawing. I am careful to leave some areas on the petals white - refer to your photo.
Shading the Petals
Color on the petals is built up lightly, layer after layer. I use an assortment of pinks and purples. These are all the colors (don't forget these are Faber-Castell colors - yours may be different).
- Light Magenta
- Dark Magenta
- Manganese Violet
- Light violet
- Dark Violet
Later on I also use dark blue and dark red to add shadows:
- Indanthrene Blue
- Wine Red/Burgandy
Click on the thumbnails to see how the petal evolves.
I started off with the layer of Canary Yellow and went on to add more color. Not all over, but in patches. My initial intention was to have a yellowish background but I didn't like it, so I took my favorite Blue-Green and work all over the background, making the color more intense near the flower.
Colors used on the background are:
- Canary Yellow
- Light Ochre
- Indanthrene Blue
- Brown Ochre
- Wine Red
- Blue Green
The Flower Center
Once the petals are about done (there's always more to do before it's completed), it's time to work on the center. I had already marked out the yellow stamens and blue florets so just made little yellow star shapes and curled blue florets.
I worked around these with a light brown-purplish pencil, and then built up layers of alternate red and blue:
- Mortuum Violet
- Delft Blue
- Wine Red
At the same time I darkened the insides of the petals to make it look as though where they grow out of the flower head is deeper than the slightly poufy center. My aim was to get a glowing black - hence why I hardly ever use actual black as it can deaden the painting.
Again, click the thumbnails to see how it went.
Completing the Flower Painting
I leave the painting for a while and then look at it with a critical eye. I darken up some areas and use an eraser to lighten others. When I am happy I work all over the picture with a colorless blender. This has the effect of pushing the pigment right into the paper and softening any harsh lines.
Finally, I add some sparkling highlights with my white gel pen.
© 2012 Bev G