Monday, May 14, 2012

FLOWERS: 10 Sketchbook Exercises to Try

Who can resist drawing and painting flowers, especially this time of year?  Try a few, or all, of these in your sketchbook.  Draw and paint from life, outside or inside, or use photos as reference.  I've included examples from my own sketchbooks . . .

1)  Draw your Mother's Day flowers (or the flowers you gave to your mom, or the flowers on your deck or in your garden).  Do a contour drawing with a pen, then color some of the blooms and leaves with watercolor pencils or colored pencils.

2)  Go out to your garden (or someone else's garden), with your sketchbook and a pencil, a few colored pencils and watercolor pencils.  Draw and color some flowers.

3)  Using just your watercolors, a brush, and your imagination, paint the "feeling" of a springtime garden and a summer garden.  Don't draw first -- just wet the paper, and then drop in some colors that suggest the gardens.

4)  Take a hike, or walk around a garden with your sketchbook, a black pen, and a small watercolor kit.  Draw contour lines, of the flowers and some of the environment, paint some color, and then write a sentence or two, about where you are, and then date it.

5)  Do a charcoal drawing of a potted plant/flower, and add some shading.

6)  Do a contour drawing with a brown or black pen, of flowers in a vase.

7)  Using a black pen and colored markers, draw some flowers with long stems, and then add some imaginary bugs and butterflies.  Color it brightly.

8)  Play with composition ideas, by drawing some "thumbnails" in pencil.  These are just very small sketches to get ideas for future paintings.  Add notes on your page -- color and size ideas. 

9)  Do a pencil drawing of a flowering plant.  Then, add a pattern for a border along the bottom.  This could be developed into a painting later.  (That was my initial idea for this Christmas Cactus, but it always reminded me of a giant spider, so this never became a painting.)

10)  Start drawing the shapes of a complicated flower, like a single rose, from the middle, working your way out.  Use a pencil or charcoal, fill in the shapes, and leave a tiny space between each shape.  The center shape will be tiny, and they should get progressively larger as you work your way out from the middle.

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