Learning how to draw can be tedious sometimes—you need to practice a lot, rarely seeing any progress. In this tutorial I'll try to make learning more fun for you. I will show you how to use three pencils to plan, sketch, shade, and finish three beautiful flowers: a daisy, and orchid, and a lily of the valley. This can be a great exercise, and you'll actually end up with a fully rendered drawing when you finish!
Before you start, read the introduction of How to Draw Trees to learn which tools you need for this tutorial.
1. How to Draw a Daisy
We'll start with the simplest type of flower: a daisy. This little, humble flower is easy to draw, but we'll make it more challenging by using an interesting perspective. If you need a reference, you can check out photos on Envato Market, for example:
Draw a short stem with a distorted cross on top. Draw very lightly, making the strokes almost invisible. The photo below is heavily darkened to help you see the lines, but you should barely see yours! Use this technique until I tell you to stop.
Use the cross to draw an ellipse distorted by perspective. This will be the central part of the flower called the "disk".
Draw a bigger ellipse around, with its center slightly above the cross.
Draw another ellipse; place it even higher. This will help us establish the perspective of the petals.
Now, draw radial lines coming from the center. First make them straight...
... and then they can be gently curved.
Treat these lines as the middle axes of the petals—you can press slightly harder now. Make the "vertical" ones quite wide...
... and the "horizontal" ones narrower.
Add gentle arcs on top of every petal to finish them following the previous style. Vertical—wide:
Add shorter petals under and above the others to fill the gaps and make it more natural.
Draw the outline of the stem. First do it very lightly, and then adjust it with slightly darker strokes.
Let's work on the disk now. It has a special pattern, so let's create it with a trick. First draw spiral rays coming from the center—do it very lightly.
Then cross them with rays coming in the opposite direction.
Stress the pattern by pressing harder.
Subtly shade the disk—it can be concave or convex.
Take a softer brush and accentuate the shading.
Let's go back to the petals now. Fill them with gentle rays following their perspective. Use a hard pencil.
Use the same pencil to slightly shade the petals. Keep in mind they're white, so try to leave as much whiteness as possible.
Give the tips of the petals a gently serrated edge.
Take a softer pencil and make the shading more visible. Accentuate the edges of the petals with it as well.
Take a hard brush and shade the stem. It's supposed to be darker than the petals, so don't leave any whiteness.
Take a softer brush and increase the darkness of shading on the stem.
Use the softest pencil to finish shading the stem. The darkness part of it will be our point of reference for the overall contrast.
Use a soft brush to adjust the contrast of the disk to what we've just established. Don't make it too dark—it's bright, after all.
Use the same pencil to adjust the contrast of the petals.
Use the softest pencil to add a pinch of black in the darkest crevices. This will increase the overall contrast of the picture and will make the petals brighter.
2. How to Draw an Orchid
Orchids are a large family of very beautiful flowers taking many interesting shapes. I will show you just one species, but feel free to modify my lessons to create something on your own. Here are a few handy references from Envato Market:
Again, let's start with the hard pencil. Draw the stem very, very lightly.
Add little circles where you want the flowers to be.
Our flowers will look like birds. First, draw their "heads" with "eyes" and "beaks".
Add the wings and tail. These lines should establish the perspective of each flower.
Add three more lines between the previous ones.
This is the central part of the orchid flower. You can imagine it as the curled feet of a bird.
Give those feet... horns (yeah, we can't use that bird metaphor anymore).
Add two curved "arms" to the tail part.
Draw little butterflies using the "horns" as a support for the upper pair of wings...
... and the "tail arms" as a support for the lower pair.
Connect the butterfly with the bird head with a long curved "neck".
You can now draw the big petals behind the butterfly.
The flowers are fully sketched now, so draw the buds now—the farther, the smaller.
Draw the rest of the stem.
Time for shading! Use a hard pencil first to set the values. Make the stem and the butterfly part darker. This shade difference between them and the bright petals is what we need to follow until the end of the shading.
Draw subtle rays on the big petals.
Give the big petals clear middle lines.
Create a spray effect all around those middle lines. These part is going to be darker than the rest of the petals.
Take a softer brush and make the stem and dark butterflies darker.
Take the softest brush and make those dark parts even darker, but don't use black yet.
Fleck the central part of the flower.
Let's finish establishing the contrast: press your softest pencil hard to achieve black in some places.
We need to adjust the contrast of the rest of the picture. Go back to the medium soft pencil and darken the pattern on the big petals.
Take a hard pencil and darken the petals subtly, leaving a thick, white outline at the edges.
Take the softest pencil once again and use it to add a touch of black to the flowers. Not too much, though!
I decided to increase the contrast of the flowers by making the butterfly parts even darker.
3. How to Draw a Lily of the Valley
Lily of the valley has a unique name and shape—its flowers form a row of tiny bells growing from a single stem. This construction makes it quite easy to draw, but feel free to check some references if you need help:
- A bouquet of lilies of the valley
- Lily of the valley, close-up
- Lily of the valley with clean background
Draw the stem first using the hard pencil, and then add gentle arcs all over it. They must follow gravity.
Attach a little "cup" to each branching stem.
Create guide lines for the petals...
... and then use them to complete the shape.
Add some width to the stem and attach little "leaves" for every branching stem.
Add a leaf or two to make the composition more interesting.
Darken the steam and leaves using the hard pencil.
Take a softer pencil and subtly shade the same parts.
Use the same pencil, but this time press harder to achieve a darker shade.
Take the softest pencil and add very dark accents here and there to adjust the contrast.
Go back to the hard pencil to give a basic shading to the flowers.
Take a softer pencil and darken the lower part of the flowers a little. The more white you leave, the whiter the flowers will seem in the end.
Press harder to add darker accents. Make sure your pencil is sharp before doing this, or you'll darken the white flowers too much!
Beautiful! You Did It!
You have drawn a daisy, an orchid, and a lily of the valley, but you've also done much more than that—you have learned the basics of sketching and shading that you can use now in other projects. The same tricks will work for drawing anything you can imagine: vehicles, buildings, animals, fantastic creatures...
If you want to see more tutorials like this, please let me know—I'll be glad to hear your suggestions!