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How to Draw Flowers: The Noble and Sincere Tulip

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Flowers are a wonderful subject to draw—they have many fascinating forms and colors, yet they’re quite simple in construction. You can achieve great results with few steps, and learn methods that can be useful for drawing more complex things. In this set of tutorials (this being the first) I will show you how to draw three kinds of flowers: tulips, orchids, and daisies. I will also show you how to color and shade them in SketchBook.

First, We Sketch: Sketching the Tulip

In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a beautiful red tulip step by step, and how to color it and shade it as a simple digital painting in SketchBook. We’ll begin with some light sketching and before you know it we’ll end up with something like this:

how to draw a tulip

Step 1

Sketch the general shape of the tulip. It’s very important to start with the general form and end up with details — not the other way around.

 

Step 2

Sketch the big petal in the front. This one will be the least affected by perspective.

Step 3

Draw the “opening” of the tulip on top.

Step 4

Divide the petal in the front into halves. Petals, like leaves, are symmetrical.

Step 5

Draw a teardrop shape inside the petal.

Step 6

Add two “wings” to the sides. This will create the final shape of the petal.

Step 7

Create the other petals the same way, paying attention to the perspective:

Step 8

Outline the stem. It should be quite thick.

Step 9

The leaves will look the best if you draw them using perspective. You can do it this way:

Line Work: Settling on Your Tulip’s Lines

Step 1

Now that you have some sketching to give you a general shape and form, it’s time to draw the final outline. Draw the bottom of the petal and a thick vein in the center.

 

Step 2

Sketch some quick lines between the center and the “wings”. This will make them look separate, but not really.

Step 3

Outline the whole petal.

Step 4

Add more sketchy lines in the ‘wings”.

Step 5

Finish the other petals the same way.

Step 6

Outline the leaves and stem now.

Step 7

Sketch some veins along the leaves.

Step 8

You can give a strong outline to the whole flower to make the drawing more interesting.

Colors: Adding Color to Tulip Leaves and Foliage

Step 1

We’re going to use SketchBook to color the tulip. Create a new layer under the line art.

Hint: if your sketch has been drawn traditionally, change its mode from Normal to Multiply to make its white parts transparent.

Step 2

Use the Lasso (L) to carefully select one petal. The thicker the lines, the easier it is.

Step 3

Use the Flood Fill to fill the petal with a color you want it to have. Use a bright version of the color, as if it was strongly illuminated without any shadow.

Step 4

Repeat steps 1-3 until you have the whole flower colored separately, each part on its own layer.

Step 5

Hold Shift and click the first and last layer to select them all (except the line art).

Step 6

Open the Layer menu and select Group Layers.

Step 7

Select the group and open the menu again. This time click Duplicate.

Step 8

Lock Transparency for all the layers in the copied group.

Step 9

Fill or paint all the layers in this group white.

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Step 10

Select the layers and change their mode to Multiply. This will make white transparent.

Step 11

Duplicate the group again.

Step 12

We’re going to use these two groups for shading. First, let’s add subtle shading that is present regardless of the position of the light source. Use 50% gray and a hard brush, like the Inking Pen. Gently sketch the details made by shadow.

50% gray makes perfect shadows for medium dark colors. For other colors use respectively darker and lighter grays.

Step 13

Use a blending/smudging/blurring brush of your choice to smooth the texture. My favorite is Bristle Blender from the Textured Watercolors set.

Step 14

You can draw bright details as well. Just switch to white!

Step 15

Shade the whole tulip this way.

Step 16

We’re going to add more direct shadows now. Go to the last copied group and draw form-creating shadows—the ones created by being obscured from the light source. Use the same technique as before—hard sketch, then soft blending.

Your beautiful tulip is done!

About Monika

Monika Zagrobelna is a Polish artist with a specialty in drawing animals and conceiving of animals that haven’t yet been invented. You can check out more of her work and follow along with her latest tutorials on her Facebook Page and here on the blog.