If I had to pick an absolutely gorgeous flower that seems impossible to draw, the poppy takes the cake. I can’t tell you how many times I have struggled to draw this flower — but after years of trying, I’ve finally got the hang of it! In this tutorial I’ve broken down all of the poppy’s characteristics, and my goal is to make drawing it seem much more approachable. Are you ready to jump in to How to Draw Flowers: Part 2? 🙂
For this project, I used:
- Handmade paper
- Black Muji pen (size 0.38mm)
- Small, flat watercolor brush (I use 1/8”)
- Size 0 watercolor brush
- Gold sumi ink (or any gold watercolor)
1. Draw the First Bloom
For the first flower, you’re going to draw the primary petal structure first. Begin with the petals in the front.
Now add a layer of petals behind that front layer that you’ve just drawn. This poppy bloom faces upwards, so that’s what we are attempting to recreate by adding a second layer of petals.
Next, add some lines and dots to the middle of the poppy. These represent stamens!
To add more reality and depth to the petals, draw in “crests” (folds) where the petals curl just slightly.
Then, add fine lines to the petals to create that delicate crepe quality that poppies have!
Finish off the first bloom by stippling and adding contrast to areas of the leaves where shadows naturally gather. (You might remember from the How to Draw Flowers: Part I tutorial that “stippling” means to add shading in the form of dots!)
2. Draw an Open Bloom
The approach to create an open-faced bloom is a little different than the last bloom we created. These petals will appear a bit more organic and less defined than the bloom you just made until you draw in the center! To draw an open bloom, begin by mimicking the shape that I’ve created in the photo below.
Next draw in the center — and be patient! Unlike drawing lines and stippling circles, this center is a bit more challenging than the last we drew. To create it, draw grains of “rice” to create a complete circle.
Now add in lines and the anthers (the pollen collecting element of the flower, which appears as a circle).
Of course, we can’t forget about the stippling, shadowing, and line work on these petals!
3. Adding the Buds
Similar to the buds in the How to Draw Flowers: Part I tutorial, start by drawing a bit of a teardrop shape. Try to mimic the illustration that’s pictured below!
You’ll finish up this step by drawing in two more buds and additional subtle detailing!
4. The Stems
This part is likely the easiest of the whole tutorial! The lines that comprise the stems don’t need to look symmetrical or perfect whatsoever. In fact, they look more delicate if they’re wobbly and awkward! Just remember to be light-handed when touching the pen to paper here.
Poppies have “furry” stems, so be sure to add little lines and stippling for the desired effect.
5. Drawing the Leaves
There are many ways to draw in these leaves! Try starting with a coral-like structure.
This may sound strange, but to better visualize what you should be creating, imagine you are drawing a frog’s foot!
And you’ve done it!
6. Art Water: the Unlikely Superhero!
Here at TPK, we define “art water” as the water you use to clean off your watercolor brush (or calligraphy nib)! Art water is ah-mazing. It’s the perfect accidental refreshment, nib or brush cleaner, and your new favorite watercolor method. To add more contrast and fill some negative space within and around the poppies, dip your flat (1/8”) watercolor brush into your cup of art water, then pull the ink from your black pen outward.
Pulling the black ink around the flowers also gives the impression of a shadow behind the illustration, so be generous with the flat brush and that water!
7. Gold, Gold, Gold!
Just like in last week’s tutorial, we’re going to gussy up this illustration a bit. Using your gold sumi or metallic watercolor (mixed to the consistency of cream), take the size 0 watercolor brush and add some detailing to highlight parts of the poppy!
For a subtle, finishing touch, use the gold watercolor and your black pen to gently and sparsely stipple around the flower.
This subtle, finishing touch makes the white space surrounding the illustration feel more purposeful. It’s the little details that come together to create a masterpiece!
Well, that’s all folks!
And just like that, you’ve drawn some jaw-dropping poppies! (Will I say this about every flower tutorial? Yes, probably so!)
My hope is that these tutorials help you to feel less intimidated by illustrating beautiful botanicals. So let’s hear it—what do you want to learn to draw? Let me know in the comments below!
‘Til next week,