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  1. Design & Illustration
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How to Draw Spring Flowers With Colored Pencils

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, I’ll show you the process of creating a nature-inspired artwork that depicts a peony and cherry blossoms, popular symbols of spring and flourishing.

To draw this beautiful floral composition, we will use colored pencils. They are a powerful artistic tool, and the great news is that pencils are very simple to use. 

What You Will Need

  • Two sheets of paper
  • A graphite pencil (I recommend an HB type)
  • A sharpener 

And pencils of different colors:

  • Chocolate brown
  • Medium grey
  • Raspberry red
  • Rosy
  • Lilac
  • Rich blue
  • Emerald green
  • Light green
  • Yellow
  • Creamy (or light beige)
  • White

My colored pencils are aquarelle, but this feature doesn’t really matter. We’ll work without washing the strokes. 

Colored pencils a graphite pencil and a sharpener

1. How to Make a Pencil Sketch of the Flowers

Step 1

I outline the composition in a general way. With a pencil, I sketch an oval shape for the peony and smaller round shapes for the cherry flowers.

Sketching a rought oval shape and small circles

Step 2

I outline the core of the peony and fill it with small circles to mark the texture.

Adding the core of the peony

Step 3

I draw the first central petals of the peony. I also outline them with a blue pencil; I will be applying a new color to each new group of petals so you can easily differentiate them.

The option of adding any colors to your sketch is entirely up to you.

Drawing the first petals of the peony

Step 4

I draw a couple of new petals in front of the existing ones and outline them with a red pencil.

Adding the front petals

Step 5

I draw an overlapping petal and a group of several rear petals. I mark them with the green color. 

Adding a new group of petals

Step 6

I add several foreground petals and outline them with yellow.

Drawing the foreground petals

Step 7

I imagine that the petals arrange themselves around the core of the flower, and add another layer. Then I mark the new group with a lilac pencil.

Adding a new layer of petals

Step 8

One more layer of petals, and this time I outline them with red.

Drawing more petals

Step 9

The peony is almost complete. I add several more petals that hide underneath and outline them with a blue pencil.

Completing the peony sketch

Step 10

It’s time to mark the central parts of the cherry blossoms. I draw small circles with a pencil.

It is not necessary to put these circles exactly into the geometrical centers of the flowers. The blossoms are facing in slightly different directions; moreover, they are organic objects that can’t look equal.

Marking the central parts of the cherry flowers

Step 11

Each cherry flower has five petals, and I add them with pencil lines. It is also a great trick to diversify our floral composition with a small cherry bud.

Adding the petals

Step 12

I add new details, such as a twig line, a couple of leaves, and new flowers.

Refining the details adding more leaves

Step 13

I draw a peony leaf in the foreground. I also add stamens of the cherry blossoms; they look like small circles.

Our pencil sketch is complete. You can leave it as it is now or mark shady areas, as I did for the central part of the peony, separating the petals with shadows.

Drawing the stamens of the cherry blossoms

2. How to Apply Pencil Strokes

Step 1

Colored pencils can help you achieve amazing results. There are several principles to remember, and one of them is the importance of creating layers of color. An overlap of tints and shades creates a much more interesting, impressive result than just one color.

The first way you can apply your tool is by making lines with soft rubbing strokes, holding your pencil at an angle. The lines can be directional...

An example of shading with a colored pencils direcional lines

… or rounded. This kind of stroke is perfect for smooth textures and a base color layer.

An example of shading soft circular texture

Step 2

Another excellent method is hatching. It is very similar to drawing with an ordinary pencil or pen; the point of your colored pencil should be sharp.

Hatching works best for adding details and drawing refined objects or textures.

Hatching with a colored pencil

3. How to Draw Flowers With Colored Pencils

Step 1

I make a clean copy of my pencil sketch, transferring only general contours with very light lines.

For this step, I recommend using a grey pencil from your colored pencils set, and not a graphite pencil. Lines made with a graphite pencil can mix with the color and make it seem dirty.

The lines that you see in the image below are barely visible in real life. I intensified them while editing the scan so you could see them distinctly. 

Transferring the contours to a clean copy

Step 2

I use a pencil of the creamy color to cover the peony shape with soft rubbing strokes.

Applying the creamy color to the peony as a base

Step 3

With the lilac pencil, I add color to the central parts of the cherry flowers. I draw the hatches from the core to the petals.

Adding the lilac color to the cherry blossoms

Step 4

I apply the light green color to the leaves and the twig.

Marking the green objects in the drawing

Step 5

I create an additional layer of the yellow color on the peony, accenting the upper parts of the petals.

Adding the yellow color to the peony

Step 6

I add the rosy color, aiming at the dark places of the flower. It helps me in separating the petals one from another.

The point is about applying a body of color, not just a single line. 

Applying the rose color to the core of the peony

Step 7

I continue increasing the contrast with the rosy color.

The bending parts of the petals are spotlit, so I avoid making them too bright. 

Continuing with the rosy color

Step 8

I complete the process of applying strokes with the rosy pencil.

To create a unified look for the artwork, I also add several hatches to the cherry flowers. 

Completing with the rosy strokes

Step 9

It is time to increase the contrast even more. I add the raspberry red color to the peony, accentuating the shadows between the petals.

Increasing contrast

Step 10

I apply hatches with the emerald green pencil to add details.

Accenting greenery with the darker shade

Step 11

I use the grey pencil to mark the contours of the cherry flowers. It’s important not to overdo the drawing; the cherry blossoms should stay light.

Outlining the contours of the cherry blossoms

Step 12

It is time for blending with the white pencil. I apply it on top of the grey strokes and shade them. The result is a smoother color transition.

This method is also known as burnishing, and I highly recommend using it in your drawings.  

The result of burnishing technique

Step 13

I make my artwork feel more natural by adding thin hatches made with the brown pencil to the shadows. I also create a drop shadow under the peony. 

Adding brown strokes and creating a drop shadow

Step 14

I apply an additional layer of the creamy color to the peony. It looks more warm-colored now.

Adding a new layer of the creamy color

Step 15

I add some yellow strokes to the core of the peony and to the drop shadow.

Adding more yellow

Step 16

To make my artwork more interesting, I vary the range of colors with an inclusion of blue strokes.

I add thin hatches to the petals of the flowers and to the drop shadow. 

Drawing with the bright blue pencil

Step 17

With the medium grey, I intensify the drop shadow.

It is also great to add thin hatches to the petals to balance this bright artwork.

Accenting the drop shadow

Step 18

I evaluate my drawing. It looks nice enough, but I feel that adding several strokes of the blue color to the upper parts of the peony’s petals is a great final touch.

Applying more blue hatches

Your Artwork Is Complete

Congratulations, we’ve created a beautiful spring artwork! I hope you became inspired by the flowers and enjoyed the process of drawing with colored pencils.

I wish you much success with this wonderful technique and your creative projects!

The result of the work

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