Drawing: Flowers with William F. Powell: Learn to draw step by step

Drawing: Flowers with William F. Powell: Learn to draw step by step

by William F. Powell

Paperback(Revised ed.)

Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


With Drawing: Flowers, learn to create detailed, realistic flowers in graphite pencil from basic shapes.
It’s no wonder we’re naturally attracted to flowers. Their fascinating and varied forms, colors, and textures provide a never-ending source of artistic inspiration. This book shows the step-by-step process of rendering various types of flowers—from their basic shapes to their completed forms. It begins with tools and materials needed to get started, as well as the shading techniques that bring flower drawings to life.

Among the flowers you'll learn to draw:
  • Tulips
  • Regal Lily
  • Daffodil
  • Carnation
  • Poppy
  • Pansy
  • Hibiscus
  • Fuchsia
  • Peony
  • Foxglove
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Bearded Iris
  • And more!

In this large-format, 40-page reference guide, William F. Powell teaches you how to render a variety of beautiful flowers in graphite pencil, with tips on choosing materials, building with basic shapes, and shading to develop form and realism. With a wealth of detailed step-by-step projects to both re-create and admire, Drawing: Flowers shows artists how to develop a flower drawing to its fullest.
The How to Draw & Paint series offers an easy-to-follow guide that introduces artists to basic tools and materials and includes simple step-by-step lessons for a variety of projects suitable for the aspiring artist. Drawing: Flowers allows artists to develop their drawing skills, demonstrating how to start with basic shapes and use pencil and shading techniques to create varied textures, values, and details for a realistic, completed drawing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633227774
Publisher: Foster, Walter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/07/2019
Series: How to Draw & Paint Series
Edition description: Revised ed.
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 268,033
Product dimensions: 10.37(w) x 13.87(h) x 0.12(d)

About the Author

William F. Powell was an internationally recognized artist and one of America’s foremost colorists. A native of Huntington, West Virginia, Bill studied at the Art Student’s Career School in New York; Harrow Technical College in Harrow, England; and the Louvre Free School of Art in Paris, France. He was professionally involved in fine art, commercial art, and technical illustrations for more than 45 years. His experience as an art instructor included oil, watercolor, acrylic, colored pencil, and pastel—with subjects ranging from landscapes to portraits and wildlife. He also authored a number of art instruction books, including several popular Walter Foster titles. As a renowned master of color, Bill conducted numerous “Color Mixing and Theory” workshops in various cities throughout the U.S. His expertise in color theory also led him to author and illustrate several articles and an educational series of 11 articles entitled “Color in Perspective” for a national art magazine. Additionally, he performed as an art consultant for national space programs and for several artist’s paint manufacturers. Bill’s work also included the creation of background sets for films, model making, animated cartoons, and animated films for computer mockup programs. He produced instructional painting, color mixing, and drawing art videos.

Read an Excerpt



Drawing is just like writing your name. You use lines to make shapes. In the art of drawing, you carry it a bit further, using shading techniques to create the illusion of three-dimensional form. Only a few basic tools are needed in the art of drawing. The tools necessary to create the drawings in this book are all shown here.


Pencils are labeled based on their lead texture. Hard leads (H) are light in value and great for fine, detailed work, but they are more difficult to erase. Soft leads (B) are darker and wonderful for blending and shading, but they smudge easily. Medium leads, such as HB and F, are somewhere in the middle. Select a range of pencils between HB and 6B for variety. You can purchase wood-encased pencils or mechanical pencils with lead refills.

Wooden Pencil The most common type of pencil is wood-encased graphite. These thin rods — most often round or hexagonal when cut crosswise — are inexpensive, easy to control and sharpen, and readily available to artists.

Flat Carpenter's Pencil Some artists prefer using a flat carpenter's pencil, which has a rectangular body and lead. The thick lead allows you to easily customize its shape to create both thick and thin lines.

Mechanical Pencil Mechanical pencils are plastic or metal barrels that hold individual leads. Some artists prefer the consistent feel of mechanical pencils to that of wooden pencils; the weight and length do not change over time, unlike wooden pencils that wear down with use.

Woodless Graphite Pencil These tools are shaped like wooden pencils but are made up entirely of graphite lead. The large cone of graphite allows artists to use either the broad side for shading large areas or the tip for finer strokes and details.

Graphite Stick Available in a full range of hardnesses, these long, rectangular bars of graphite are great tools for sketching (using the end) and blocking in large areas of tone (using the broad side).


Paper has a tooth, or texture, that holds graphite. Papers with more tooth have a rougher texture and hold more graphite, which allows you to create darker values. Smoother paper has less tooth and holds less graphite, but it allows you to create much finer detail. Plan ahead when beginning a new piece, and select paper that lends itself to the textures in your drawing subject.

Blending Tools

There are several tools you can use to blend graphite for a smooth look. The most popular blenders are blending stumps, tortillons, and chamois cloths. Never use your finger to blend — it can leave oils on your paper, which will show after applying graphite.

Stumps Stumps are tightly rolled paper with points on both ends. They come in various sizes and are used to blend large and small areas of graphite, depending on the size of the stump. You can also use stumps dipped in graphite shavings for drawing or shading.

Tortillons Tortillons are rolled more loosely than a stump. They are hollow and have one pointed end. Tortillons also come in various sizes and can be used to blend smaller areas of graphite.

Facial Tissue Wrap tissue around your finger or roll it into a point to blend when drawing very smooth surfaces. Make sure you use plain facial tissue, without added moisturizer.

Chamois Chamois are great for blending areas into a soft tone. These cloths can be used for large areas or folded into a point for smaller areas. When the chamois becomes embedded with graphite, simply throw it into the washer or wash by hand. Keep one with graphite on it to create large areas of light shading. To create darker areas of shading, add graphite shavings to the chamois.


Erasers serve two purposes: to eliminate unwanted graphite and to "draw" within existing graphite. There are many different types of erasers available.

Kneaded This versatile eraser can be molded into a fine point, a knife-edge, or a larger flat or rounded surface. It removes graphite gently from the paper but not as well as vinyl or plastic erasers.

Block Eraser A plastic block eraser is fairly soft, removes graphite well, and is very easy on your paper. Use it primarily for erasing large areas, but it also works quite well for doing a final cleanup of a finished drawing.

Stick Eraser Also called "pencil erasers," these handy tools hold a cylindrical eraser inside. You can use them to erase areas where a larger eraser will not work. Using a utility razor blade, you can trim the tip at an angle or cut a fine point to create thin white lines in graphite. It's like drawing with your eraser!


Shading enables you to transform mere lines and shapes in your drawing into three-dimensional objects. As you read through this book, note how the words shape and form are used. Shape refers to the actual outline of an object, while form refers to its three-dimensional appearance.

Gradating with Pressure A gradation is a transition of tone from dark to light. To create a simple gradation using one pencil, begin with heavier pressure and gradually lighten it as you stroke back and forth. Avoid pressing hard enough to score or completely flatten the tooth of the paper.

Gradating with Hardness Because different pencil hardnesses yield different values, you can create a gradation by using a series of pencils. Begin with soft, dark leads and switch to harder, grayer tones as you move away from the starting point.

Stippling Apply small dots of graphite for a speckled texture. To prevent this technique from appearing too mechanical, subtly vary the dot sizes and distances from each other.

Scumbling This organic shading method involves scribbling loosely to build up general tone. Keep your pressure light and consistent as you move the pencil in random directions.

Burnishing It is difficult to achieve a very dark tone with just one graphite pencil, even when using a soft lead. To achieve a dark, flat tone, apply a heavy layer of soft lead followed by a layer of harder lead. The hard lead will push the softer graphite into the tooth of the paper, spreading it evenly. Shown at left is 4H over 4B lead.

This diagram illustrates the various shapes of the flower parts, which you should study closely before drawing. With effective shading, you can bring out their individual forms.


Chamois Using a chamois is a great way to apply graphite to a large area. Wrap it around your finger and dip it in saved graphite shavings to create a dark tone, or use what may be already on the chamois to apply a lighter tone.

Stump Stumps are great not only for blending but also for applying graphite. Use an old stump to apply saved graphite shavings to both large and small areas. You can achieve a range of values depending on the amount of graphite on the stump.

Indenting To preserve fine white lines in a drawing, some artists indent (or incise) the paper before applying tone. Use a stylus to "draw" your white lines; then stroke your pencil over the area and blend. The indentations will remain free of tone.

"Drawing" with an Eraser Use the corner of a block eraser or the end of a stick eraser to "draw" within areas of tone, resulting in light strokes. You can use this technique to recover lights and highlights after blending.

Hatching Hatching is considered one of the simplest forms of shading. Simply apply a series of parallel lines to represent darker tones and shadows. The closer together you place the lines, the darker the shading will appear.

Crosshatching To crosshatch, place layers of parallel lines over each other at varying angles. This results in a "mesh" of tone that gives shaded areas a textured, intricate feel. For an added sense of depth, make the lines follow the curves of your object's surface.

As you shade, follow the angle of the object's surface, and blend to allow the texture to emerge.


Even the most complicated flowers can be developed from simple shapes. Select a flower you wish to draw and study it closely, looking for its overall shape. Sketch the outline of this shape, and begin to look for the other shapes within the flower. Block in the smaller shapes that make up details, such as petals or leaves. Once you've completed this, smooth out your lines and begin the shading process.

Sketch the basic shape.

Block in smaller shapes.

Add details.

Clean up the lines.

Create form by shading.

With an HB pencil, sketch the cup-like shape of the flower first; then place the petals and stem, as shown above. Begin developing the form with shading.

This three-quarter view may seem more difficult to draw, but you can still bring out its basic shapes if you study it carefully. Begin each petal with short lines drawn at the proper angles.

Circles enable you to draw round flowers. Set the size with a large circle, and place a smaller one inside. Using them as a guide, shade details.

Drawing flowers with many overlapping petals is more involved, but once the basic shapes are sketched in, the details can easily be drawn.


There are several classes of tulips with differently shaped flowers. The one below, known as a parrot tulip, has less of a cup than the tulip to the right and is more complex to draw. Use the layout steps shown here, before drawing the details.

For the tulip above, begin step A using straight lines from point to point to capture the major shape of the flower. Add petal angles in step B. Draw in actual petal shapes in step C, and complete the drawing with simple shading.

This next tulip begins with three simple lines in step A, which set its basic direction. Step B demonstrates how to add lines to build the general flower shape. Step C adds more to the shape and begins to show the graceful pose of the flower. Step D shows more detail and leads to shading, which gives the flower its form.

Just a few shading strokes here enhance the effect of overlapping petals.


The magnolia grandiflora is a large, white, fragrant flower. To make the flower blossom stand out, keep the shading of its petals to a minimum, and shade the leaves underneath darker.

Draw a six-sided shape first. Then use the corners of the shape to position the larger petals, and add detail and shading.

The thin, unshaded area comes forward, creating the vein of the leaf.


There are different varieties of dogwood. Below are an East Asian type called a kousa dogwood and an American flowering dogwood. Both of their flowers vary from pure white to delicate pink.

Tiny, uniform circles

Short lines over squiggly ones

American Flowering Dogwood


Lilies are very fragrant, and the plants can grow up to eight feet tall. Use the steps below to develop the flower, which you can attach to the main stem when drawing the entire plant, as shown at the bottom of the opposite page.

The lily bud in step A above starts out completely closed. Step B illustrates the two angles you should shade to give the bud form. It also shows how to transform the bud so it appears slightly opened. Add these types of buds to your lily plant, paying attention to how they attach to the stems.

Shading lines like these illustrate a technique called "crosshatching" and give the petals form.


The flower shown here is a trumpet daffodil, of which there are large- and small-cupped varieties. The horn-like opening of this flower enhances its charm. Follow the steps closely in this exercise and you will end up with a perfect drawing.

Begin step A by drawing the horn shape. In step B, develop the outer petals. Then add triangle points to the circles in step C. Add details to the petals in step D. Use a flat sketching pencil to build the background and shade the leaves.

Long, smooth lines help develop this slightly grooved texture.


Carnation varieties range from deep red and bicolored to white. They are showy and easy to grow in most gardens. They are also fun and challenging to draw because of their many overlaying petals. Shade them solid, variegated, or with a light or dark edge at the end of each petal.

Step A places the basic shapes seen within the flower. From here, begin drawing the actual curved petal shapes. Once they are in place, shade the flower, as in step B.

A dark background allows the flower to pop off the page.

In step A above, develop the overall shape of the side view, including the stem and sepal.

Begin drawing the intricate flower details in step B, keeping them light and simple.


The crinkled petals of a carnation can be achieved by drawing irregular edges and shading unevenly in random areas.


These velvety orange, red, and yellow flowers are found on bushy plants that can grow up to two feet high. Several types range from dwarf to tall. Some varieties are even bicolored with darker tips.

Follow the steps closely, laying down the four large petals inside your block-in shape with straight lines. Start smoothing out the lines into the petal edges and filling in details; then lightly shade. Sometimes simple renderings like this present your subject best.

Draw your preliminary lines lightly so they are easy to erase later.


There are single- and double-flowered begonias. The double-flowered variety is a bit more difficult to draw. Don't rush this flower, because it's easy to lose your place. Study each step before drawing the flower yourself.

Finish shading the rest of the flower.



The beautiful California poppy grows in a variety of colors from deep orange to pale yellow. The blossoms have a silky texture, and the flower spreads about two inches wide.

Use the diagram below to draw the whole plant, and follow the steps for the individual flower.


Pansies grow in many color combinations. Sometimes these combinations resemble faces, almost as though they have expressions.

Shade lightly with a sharp pencil point in uniform strokes.


Use the steps to overlap the petals so each one slightly covers another near the edges. Notice how the dark shading near the center gives the illusion of the flower having two colors, as well as three-dimensional form.


The dendrobium is an orchid variety native to tropical climates. They have slender stems up to two feet long. Flowers grow 21/2 to 31/2 inches across. Colors range from blends of mauve, containing deeper-colored veins, to maroon and pale purple.

Shade the background using the side of a flat sketching pencil, continuously changing stroke directions.

Dendrobium phalaenopsis

Side View

Accentuate the softness of the flowers by shading the stems more densely than the petals.


For simplicity, keep the shading on these flowers to a minimum. You can also enhance the artistic quality of your drawing by adding a background in select areas.

Draw the stems and leaves lightly to serve as background (see right), and sketch lines forming points to help place the petals.

Darker shading in the center creates depth, making the flower seem as if it's coming toward you.


There are many primrose varieties with a wide range of colors. This exercise demonstrates how to draw a number of flowers and buds together. Take your time when placing them.

The unopened primrose buds begin with small, egg-like shapes.

Draw a main stem first, and add smaller ones branching outward. Keep them in clusters, curving out in different directions from the same area.

These steps show three shading stages of leaves. In step A at the far right, lightly outline the leaf shape. Begin shading in step B, sketching where the leaf veins will be, then shading around those areas. When you reach step C, clean up the details, and add a few darker areas along some of the veins.


Excerpted from "Drawing Flowers"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc..
Excerpted by permission of The Quarto Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Tools & Materials, 2,
Primrose, 22,
Shading Techniques, 4,
Hibiscus, 23,
Basic Flower Shapes, 6,
Fuchsia, 24,
Tulips, 8,
Peony, 25,
Magnolia, 10,
Foxglove, 26,
Dogwood, 11,
Columbine, 27,
Regal Lily, 12,
Hybrid Tea Rose, 28,
Daffodil, 14,
Floribunda Rose, 29,
Carnation, 15,
Thistle, 30,
English Wallflower, 16,
Bleeding Heart, 31,
Begonia, 17,
Gladiolus, 32,
Poppy, 18,
Chrysanthemums, 33,
Pansy, 19,
Asters, 36,
Dendrobium, 20,
Bearded Iris, 38,

Customer Reviews