If you want to learn digital painting, it’s best to start with simple subjects. They can’t be too simple, though, because it should still be fun. Flowers are a great choice for beginners, because they have nice, vivid colors and patterns. I’ve created a set of tutorials (this being the second), and along the way 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.
Start with Sketching
In this tutorial, I will show you how to color and shade one of the most beautiful flowers of all, the orchid.
Sketch the orchid in a general way—the stem, the branchings, and the flowers.
Sketch the buds at the end.
Draw reversed Y’s inside the big flowers. This will be the basic plan of the back petals.
Cross each flower with another pair of arms, slightly longer than the previous ones. This is the plan for the front petals.
Cross the tips of the arms of Y’s with short lines.
Draw the basic shape of the front petals through them.
The front petals are separate. Draw a little “bridge” between them.
Finish the shape of the front petals with these simple guide lines:
Draw the shape of the back petals now.
Outline the stem.
Time for the most complicated part of the orchid flower. Draw a curve starting in the middle and bending outwards. Try to imagine it in 3D.
Cross this curve with a line.
End each curve with a branching.
Draw the pistil in the back.
Outline the front part and the pistil.
Sketch the position of the side petals.
Outline the “stem” of this little flower.
The side petals can be sketched like leaves:
How to Draw an Orchid Step by Step: Line Work
Outline the buds.
Outline the details of the little flowers.
Outline the front petals.
Outline the back petals, too.
Outline the stem.
Outline the flowers in the background as well.
You can outline the whole orchid to make it easier to color.
How to Draw an Orchid Step by Step: Coloring
Create a new layer under the line art.
Use the Lasso (L) to select a group of petals that don’t overlap each other.
Use the Flood Fill to fill the selection with a color. It doesn’t need to be the final color.
Repeat steps 1-3 until you have all the elements colored on separate layers.
Hold Shift and click the layers to select them all (except the line art).
Open the Layer menu and select Group Layers.
Open the menu again and click Duplicate this time.
Lock Transparency for all the layers in the copied group.
Paint/fill all the layers in this copied group with white, then change the layer mode to Multiply to make the white transparent again.
Duplicate the group again. We’re going to use them both for shading.
Come back to the first, original group. Lock Transparency for all the layers, then color them as you wish using various brushes.
Come back to the first of the copied groups. Use 50% gray to draw shadows on the stem. You can draw them with the Inking Pen, and then blend them with your favorite blending brush.
Draw a shadow between the front and back petals to make them look separate. The brighter the flowers, the brighter gray you should use. For me it was 75% gray.
Go to the second copied group and change the mode of its layers to Overlay.
Paint/fill all the layers with 50% gray. This shade is transparent in the Overlay mode.
If you paint with a bright shade in the Overlay mode, it will make the colors below brighter. You can use it to make the petals shimmer!