• How to Draw Flowers Part 2: Poppies

    Hello, my fellow creatives! It’s Ana with another tutorial! Last week, we covered how to draw geraniums in the How to Draw Flowers: Part I tutorial. For today’s tutorial, I will teach you step-by-step how to draw a highly requested flower … poppies!

    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:

    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.

    Your drawing will look a lot like a tulip at first!

    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.

    The second layer of petals adds dimension and perspective to the poppy.

    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!)

    You’ll notice that I hashed little lines on shaded areas like the curled ends of the petals.

    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.

    Don’t forget to add in the same tissue-style folds to the petals!

    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. 

    I’ve only drawn three rice-like shapes here, but I ended up drawing eight.

    Now add in lines and the anthers (the pollen collecting element of the flower, which appears as a circle).

    The anthers extend outward in the same sweeping motion and direction as the petals on this flower.

    Of course, we can’t forget about the stippling, shadowing, and line work on these petals!

    If you’re having a hard time discerning where to stipple, I usually add it in places further from the eye. Imagine looking into a flower; the inside of the petals closest to the center tend to be darker. Stipple these places!

    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!

    Per usual, employ heavier line weight to create shadow in areas where petals overlap. Again, add fine lines to the petals!

    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!

    For some of the leaves, I started with the vein structure, then I moved into creating the finger-like leaves.

    And you’ve done it! 

    Don’t skip adding some dimension to the leaves! Even they have some slight stippling and shading.

    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.

    Don’t be afraid to create some friction between your watercolor brush and the illustration! The bleeding ink adds more depth to the flower.
    Add art water to places like shadowed petals and heavily dotted (stippled) regions to amplify the shadow-effect.

    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!

    Ta-da! Check out that nice shading effect!

    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!

    I use the gold to detail the center of the blooms, enhance the petals, and contour the stems.
    Feel free to throw in some gold wherever you’d like to add a little pizzazz!

    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,

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