Last summer, our TPK’s Ana Corral wrote a series of tutorials over how to illustrate different flowers. Today, I’m following in her footsteps by showing you how to make a simple lily drawing! I adore this project because all you need is a gel pen and some metallic watercolor to make it. It’s the perfect example of how less can be more.
1. Gather Your Supplies
First, you’ll need to gather your supplies. As I mentioned, you don’t need much! Pictured below is exactly what I used:
- 5″ x 7″ piece of paper (I’m using handmade paper from Indian Cotton Paper Co.)
- Non-waterproof gel pen
- Arabic Gold watercolor
- Small paintbrush (size 0 or so)
2. Use a Pen to Make Your Lily Drawing
First, use your pen to draw a diagonal line that’s about 1/2″ (13 mm) long. Then, draw five wavy filaments and a stigma. If you aren’t familiar with that terminology, no worries: just draw what I did!
Next, turn the diagonal line that you just drew into a downward-facing triangle/petal. Then, draw three more petals behind the filaments and the stigma.
Finish up this part of the flower by drawing five more petals behind the first four.
Next, draw a thin stem underneath the flower. The stem should have a little, slightly curled leaf coming off of it.
Draw another stem behind the little leaf. That stem should end with a long leaf that extends to the right.
Extend the stem upward, and end the stem with a closed flower.
Now, draw two large leaves. One should extend to the left, and one should extend to the right.
Finish the leaves by drawing one last leaf behind the other leaves. This leaf should be fairly vertical.
Are you totally intimidated by this part of the tutorial? Don’t be! You can download a traceable outline here. Just use a light box or a bright window to trace the outline on to your 5″x7″ piece of paper, then move on to the next step!
3. Add Dimension
At this point, you can use your pen and a light, quick touch to draw a dark stripe down each flower petal.
Then, draw a thick, dark line down the middle of the leaf on the left. Fill in the rest of the leaf with sparse, thin lines.
Repeat this technique with the other leaves. Then, add some dimension to your closed flower by reinforcing some of the contouring strokes.
Finish up this step by drawing some faint and sparse pen lines on each petal.
4. Add Water
Now, moisten your small paintbrush with water. Go over all of your leaves with the water, and have fun with the way that the water activates the ink!
Once you finish the leaves, your lily drawing will look something like this:
Now, use just a bit of water and a light touch to activate some of the ink on the petals. Don’t fill in the petals in their entirety; otherwise, the flower will be too dark.
5. Add Gold Watercolor
Now, moisten your gold watercolor. Wait a minute for the water to meld with the pigment, then use your paintbrush to apply gold to the tips of the petals and the middle of the flower.
Next, add gold to the tips of the leaves and the top and bottom of the closed flower.
At this point, you can use your paintbrush to draw slightly displaced gold outlines on top of the petals and the leaves.
6. Put on the Finishing Touches
Now, use your paintbrush and water to pull some ink around the outside of the flower and the leaves. This effect won’t be super dramatic; instead, it should look subtle, like the example below.
Finish up by drawing around the gold outlines that you made in the previous step. Then, add a few random, tiny dots around the outside of the flower. I love this little detail because it adds some life to the piece!
Once you’re finished, if you wish, you can initial the piece. After all, you worked hard and deserve the credit!
At this point, it’s up to you what you do with your illustration. Illustrations like this one look amazing in a floating frame! They also look gorgeous on the front of a card. As far as my lily drawing is concerned, it’s going to be on display on my shelf until I give it to my mom as a gift at the end of the month!
I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial! It’s a fun weekend activity that will sharpen your illustration skills and cater to your creativity. Remember, if you’re intimidated by step 2, you can always download and trace this outline. There’s no shame in tracing!
Have a great weekend, and thanks very much for reading!