Would you like to learn how to draw your favorite flowers? In this how to draw a Tulip tutorial, I will explain all of the tips and techniques I use for my drawings.
How To Draw A Tulip – Drawing Tutorials
Drawing this tulip is a great way for you to practice and enhance your shading skills by learning how to draw realistic drawings with value changes.
You can continue adding value and details to this exercise or you can stop when you are happy with the outcome.
How much detail you add is all up to you. You can keep working at it to see how far you can take your drawings.
Tulips are a beautiful flower that comes in a variety of colors.
Their round shape and delicate petals will help you enhance your shading skills for smooth surfaces.
Below is a list of all the materials I use for my drawings. I purchase all of my drawing supplies online at Blick Art Materials.
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Smooth
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Velum
Related Post – Strathmore Smooth Bristol Paper Review
- General’s Factis Magic Black Eraser
- Tombow Mono Zero Refillable Eraser
- Prismacolor Kneaded Rubber Erasers
- Alvin Dry Cleaning Pad
How To Draw Beautiful Tulips
Lightly draw the contour (outline) of the tulip using a Tombow Mono HB Pencil on a 5″ x 7″ piece of Strathmore Series Bristol Board Smooth.
You can create the drawing larger or smaller if you wish. But if you draw the lily too small you will find it difficult to add subtle value changes and details to the drawing.
Drawing Tip: The proportions of the subject you are drawing have to be accurate if your goal is to draw a realistic drawing. Using the grid method to sketch out the subject will help you to keep the proportions accurate.
How To Use The Grid Method
For this exercise draw a 5in x 7in rectangle using one-inch blocks.
Tip: draw a 5 x 7 rectangle then draw seven 1 inch lines going down and five 1 inch lines going across. Measure inches on all sides of the rectangle to make sure that the lines are accurate.
Use a 2H pencil to lightly draw the lines with a ruler. It is important to draw the lines lightly because you will want to be able to erase all of the lines after you have stretched the tulip. If you press too hard with the pencil it will make it difficult to remove the lines.
Note: The lines in the drawing below are darker than what I normally sketch for my drawings.
I only drew the outline of the grid and tulip darker in this drawing tutorial so you can see it better.
Sketching the subject lightly will make it easier to erase the outline of the subject after you have added the shading.
Nothing in life has a line around it. If you are trying to create realistic drawings you want to create a form and separate planes with values, not outlines. Values are the different shades you will be drawing with your graphite pencil.
Copy the tulip below by using the grids to help you keep the proportions of the tulip correct.
You can eyeball the contour lines by sketching out what you see in each individual 1-inch box or you can be more accurate with the proportions by using an Accurasee Artist Proportional Divider.
Realistic Drawing Tip: It is important to get the proportions correct if you are interested in drawing realistic drawings. No matter how good you are at shading, the subject will look off if the proportions are not accurate.
Use the grid method and an Accurasee Artist Proportional Divider to help you draw correct proportions of the subjects you are drawing.
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Erase The Grid Lines
Erase the grid lines after you have sketched out your tulip.
Start by lightly tapping on the lines with a Prismacolor Kneaded Rubber Eraser. This will remove most of the graphite which will make it easier to erase the lines.
Next, lightly remove the lines with a General’s Factis Magic Black Eraser.
It is important to remove all of the lines, especially inside the tulip.
When you start to add graphite to the tulip any lines left on the paper from the grid will get darker making them more noticeable.
Do not press down too hard with the eraser or you will damage the paper making it impossible to add soft values.
Protect Your Drawing Surface
It is important to keep your drawing surface clean.
If your hand rests on the graphite your drawing surface will become smudged and oils from your hand will soil the drawing surface making it imposable to draw soft value changes.
Always keep a piece of paper between your hand and the drawing surface.
Tip – Lift the paper your hand is resting on before moving it. If you drag the paper over your drawing surface the shielding paper will remove some of the graphite and add the graphite to areas that you do not want it.
Adding Value To The Tulip
The next step is to shade the Tulip.
Shading the tulip will create its three-dimensional form.
Before you start to add value to your drawing stand back to think about what you are going to be drawing.
Study the finished drawing of this tulip to identify which direction the light is coming from and where the darkest values are on the tulip.
Is there a cast shadow?
A cast shadow is a shadow that casts from an object or figure. The cast shadow varies in value and is not a solid shape. The closer the cast shadow is from an object the darker it will be. The farther the cast shadow is from an object the lighter and less defined it will be.
Are there any parts of the petals that will cast a shadow on the petals below them?
Five Elements Of Shading
Understanding the 5 elements of shading will help you to create photorealistic drawings.
Full Light – This is the area on an object where the light source is hitting it at full strength.
Halftone – This is the area on an object that is the middle value. It is neither in direct light or shadows.
Core Shadow – This is the darkest tone of an area on the object where light is blocked from hitting the object. For example, it will be where the sphere curves away from the light but not at the very edge of the sphere.
Reflected light – This separates the darkness of the core shadow from the darkness of the cast shadow. It is a lighter value that outlines the edge of an object.
Cast Shadow – This will be the darkest value on your drawing. It is the opposite side of the light source and blocked by an object. For example, it will be where the sphere meets a surface on the opposite side of the light source. This is the area where light does not hit.
For more information on the 5 elements of shading visit Drawing Tips For Realistic Drawings – The Elements Of Shading.
Tip: The darkest part of an object is where the light does not hit.
Start With The Darkest Area Of The Tulip
Start by adding value with your 2H pencil to the darkest area of the Tulip.
Tip: Using a 2H pencil first will condition the paper and add graphite to the bottom of the tooth on your drawing paper. This will prevent the little white dots you will get if you start with a softer lead. When you cannot get any more value from your 2H pencil start applying graphite with your HB pencil. If the area is still not dark enough continue with your 2B pencil, 4B pencil, and 6B pencil.
Work from dark to light and follow the contour of the tulip.
Begin each line from the darkest area and draw towards the lighter areas reducing the pressure as you go and lightly lift the pencil off the paper to feather the line to white.
Note: Look at the stem below. Notice how the lefts side is darker than the right side. This creates the illusion that the stem is a cylinder shape and the light is coming from the right of the tulip.
Build Up Tone Gradually
Build up tone gradually on the other dark areas of the tulips stem and leaf.
Always work from dark to light and keep the lines going in the same direction of the growth of the stem and leaf.
You can see that the tulip in the image below is starting to take form just by adding some value to the dark areas and adding soft value changes to the lighter sections.
Tip: lightly remove some graphite from the outline of the tulip with your kneaded eraser. This will help you to blend in the lines so you will not see a dark outline of the stem. Remember nothing in life has a line around it. Erase any lines you do not want with your Tombow Mono Zero Refillable Eraser.
Be patient with you drawing and always add the values on slowly. It will take you longer to complete the drawing, but you will be happier when you are finished.
Let’s take a look at the different values on the stem so far.
You can already see how the leaf is curved in the middle and the stem has a rounded cylinder shape.
Notice how the value separates the stem from the leaf.
Continue adding graphite to the tulips stem and leaf working from dark to light. Always keep in the back of your mind where the light is coming from.
Tip: Add graphite gradually by using small strokes going in the same direction. It is easier to add value than it is to remove it.
Make sure that the lines you are drawing are connecting with each other. You do not want gaps in the drawing.
Start adding graphite with your 2H pencil. When you can’t get any more value from your 2H pencil start applying graphite with your HB pencil. If the area is still not dark enough continue with your 2B pencil.
After you have reached the darkest value you are looking for, smooth out the drawing with your 2H pencil by starting at the darkest section and work towards the lighter areas.
Tip: In real life, edges are created by the different values between planes and space. The different values need to be replicated for a more accurate representation of the subject you are drawing.
For example, take a look at where the stem connects with the leaf. The leaf has a lighter value than the left side of the stem because the light hitting the leaf is creating a lighter value. The different values are what separate the leaf and the stem.
Start adding value to the petals of the tulip.
Work from the darkest areas which will be the small petal sticking up in the middle of the flower.
Separate the petal from the let with a cast shadow on the right pedal.
I am going to make the value of the petals lighter than the stem and the leaf creating an illusion that the tulip is a light color like a yellow or light pink.
Continue adding graphite until you get the desired amount of value.
Lighten up areas by lightly tapping on the areas you wish to lighten with your Prismacolor Kneaded Rubber Eraser.
You might need to add some graphite with your 2H pencil to the areas you lightened with your kneaded eraser. Continue this until you have smooth and subtle value changes.
Accent highlights with your Tombow Mono Zero Refillable Eraser.
At this point, you can say your drawing is finished or you can make your drawing look more realistic by blending the values.
Smooth your lines by blending it with a tortillon, blending stump, q-tip, cotton swab or tissue (with no lotion)
Lightly rub from dark to light. You might have to add some more value to your darkest areas because some of the graphite will be lifted off your paper when you blend.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
Have fun drawing.
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