How to Draw a Rose

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These are not just little tips and techniques, but a full course of learning how to see, think, and draw like an artist.

Knowing how to draw a rose means that you can draw one of the most beautiful flowers there are!  But there is not just one kind of rose - there are over 3000 species in the rose family, ranging from white, yellow and red to those that stand in shrubs, climb on walls or grow in pots as miniatures.  They can have as few as four or five petals or over a hundred. 

Also, I am thankful to say, they don't all have thorns.

However, garden roses today are loosely classed in one of three groups:  wild roses (the flat, four- or five-petaled variety shown left), are the first category.

Old garden roses is the second category.  Here we have the example of "Maiden's Blush", a rose dating from before 1400, although any rose dating before the introduction of the modern rose, La France, in 1867, is considered an old garden rose.

The last category and the one that concerns us as it will be our model, is the modern garden rose.  This is the flower that was the one most popular garden flower of the 20th century, and the floral industry has made it the standard on Valentine's Day and at weddings. 

The flowers are well-shaped, with large buds sitting high in the middle; generally you have one beautiful bloom at the end of each flowering stem of the plant.

How to Draw a Rose : Rosebuds

Rosebuds are easier to understand if you think of them in terms of spheres, cones and cylinders:  the stem is a column, with a smaller and a larger sphere next, topped with an upside down cone.

You need only reinforce the lines of the stem and the first sphere, to be able to draw in the sepals.

And now it is easy to draw in the tightly-closed petals, using the above photos to guide you.

Now you need only ink the lines, erase the pencil, and you can color with either color pencils, or water-soluble color pencils, or watercolor.

How to Draw a Rose: Full Bloom

Now for how to draw a rose in full bloom.  You begin by drawing a shape like a big kidney bean.  This form is actually very common in Nature, very organic, and quite different from the cones, cylinders, spheres and cubes I've talked about so far.  Notice it is not perfectly symmetrical, but rather a lovely, loose flowing line curving into that big kidney bean shape.

Now you are going to draw a little kimono on it, with one side of a garment folding over the other side around your kidney bean. These lines will be your guidelines for shaping the petals around the heart of the flower.

First the very heart.  Draw a loose, flowing circle coming to a point at the bottom, to enclose the central bud, using your guidelines to place it.

Draw the innermost petals with two or three angular "c" shapes that interlock without touching each other.

Now you draw the first petal like a little collar around the rose heart; remember to notch it a little.

Draw the two lines that define the sides of the central rosebud.  This is the bud sitting high in the middle of the flower that defines the shape of a modern garden rose.

Now you can draw the next "layer" of petal, taking care to let the central rosebud still stand up higher then the rest.  You will draw this next petal layer like another little collar going round, remembering to give it a couple of notches.

Time to draw in the next petal layer.

Continue to add rose petal layers like little collars, using your kidney bean shape as a guideline.  This is the part that gets fun, with the collars simply getting bigger and bigger.  Also, the further out you get, the more angular they become, so that they are almost blocky-looking with the outermost petals.  This is what will really make your rose look like a real one.

Rose leaves have serrated edges, so add a few while keeping those special edges in mind.

Now you can color the rose, which I did here with water-soluble color pencils. 

Now you know how to draw a rose, you may have to practice one or two to get the hang of it.  But once you have it, you will be surprised at how quickly and easily you can do them. In fact, you will perhaps find you can do a sort of quick shorthand series of interlocking "c" shapes to draw even a bunch of roses in no time at all.

Looking for pictures of roses to practice?  Try here - you will find more photos or roses and parts of roses than you could ever imagine.

Go from "How to Draw a Rose" to "How to Draw a Fuchsia"

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