4 Best Flower Drawing Tips | Take Your Motifs From Meh to AMAZING

drawing how-tos Dec 01, 2022
Drawing Flowers From Life

Flowers. Fully understanding these botanical wonders is a non-negotiable for any great fabric designer. From ditsy daisies on intimates to intricate orchids for swimwear or big bold poppies on apparel - each species has its place in our design library.


Images of plants and flowers are so readily available that we tend to rely on them a lot. But, while using a picture of a flower as a reference is a time-saver, drawing from nature provides us with so much more information about the subject. 

So, it's time to head outdoors! Here's Kat's top four tips for flower gazing in RL.

Words by: Katrina. The Print School Instructor

1. Draw Instinctually

One of the greatest things about working ‘en plein air,’ is the opportunity to capture the essence of the flower or the gesture of the leaves without getting too caught up in the detail.

We tend to work more quickly as time is limited and, without the comfort and familiarity of the studio, our habits are immediately broken. It gives you permission to free up your style and your approach to the work.

Make the most of having a three-dimensional reference and try to capture the same flower from a few different angles.


2. Grow Your Reference Library 

Take photos of different species of plants to add to your personal reference library. Take detail shots as well as wider shots. Really look at each plant. For instance, we were inspired by the pink underside of this tropical plant and the graphic nature of the leaves. 

3. Find Perfect Partners

Notice what species are planted side-by-side. No matter what kind of flower or plant, if they thrive in the same habitat they would likely be found in nature this way. It makes them perfect partners for a print, which tends to look more ‘believable’ when it's botanic motifs are somewhat related.

Despite these all being tropical leaves though, the three have very different shapes, which gives a print design for fabric more interest.

4. See Beyond The Flower

When sketching, always look more at the flower than the page. This will help stop you from “assuming” a part of the flower has a particular shape. In fact, try not to see it as a flower at all, if you can. Half close your eyes to make it an abstraction and just draw the shapes that are there.


Backpack Checklist:

Grab these things before saying, 'See ya!' to the studio:

  • Camera or phone to take reference photos. You can use your photos for drawing reference or you can put them directly into your photographic-style prints.

  • Sketchbook with a hardback cover This will give you something more solid to lean on than your lap.

  • A wide-brimmed hat, sunnies, and sunscreen. Obviously. We’re Australian.

  • Only your fave pens, markers or paints. A large collection might be too much to lug around with you, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of walking to get to your painting spot.

  • Rug or little fold-up stool. This gives you more options for painting locations. Not all the best flowers are perfectly situated by a little patch of grass! You may have to sketch on a paved path or perch on a patch of dirt.

 And until your big painting day out...

If you see a flower or interesting leaf around the block or in your garden, take a snap and use it in your designs. Be constantly on the look out for that next fabulous motif idea.


You might also like..

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.