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Channel the Spirit of Van Gogh and Learn How to Draw a Sunflower


How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo: Stock Photos from Anna_Andre/Shutterstock

Who doesn’t love to draw flowers? Famous artists like Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, and Georgia O’Keeffe are known for their creative depictions of colorful plants. And of course, no painter is as well known for their sunflower art as Vincent van Gogh. His iconic series of sunflower paintings have captured the eyes and hearts of art-lovers from around the world, and inspired many artists to create their own interpretations of this quirky plant.

If capturing the unique beauty of this large flower seems tricky, don’t worry. Like any subject, the key is to take it step by step and at your own pace. We’ve put together a tutorial to help you follow in the Dutch master’s footsteps and draw your own illustration of a sunflower. Ready to give it a go? All you’ll need to get started is a pencil, eraser, pen, and some paper.  Now then—let’s draw a sunflower!

 

Learn How to Draw a Sunflower Step by Step

 

Step 1: Draw a circle

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

Start by drawing a large circle near the top of your paper—this will be the center of the sunflower.

 

Step 2: Sketch the petals

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

Next, we’re going to add the petals. Looking at a reference photo, lightly sketch diamond-like shapes around the circle. Feel free to make some of the petals bend or curl to give the sunflower a bit of character. If you want to make a fuller-looking sunflower, then layer more petals in the back until you’re satisfied. In this tutorial, the sunflower looks more or less even all the way around, but feel free to make it asymmetrical as well.

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

 

Step 3: Add the stem

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

Afterward, we’re going to add a thick stem that goes down almost to the end of the page.

 

Step 4: Add leaves

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

Next, add a few smaller stems that reach out on either side of the main stem. Then, draw a variety of small, medium, and large leaves at the end of these stems. Try curling some of the leaves to bring a sense of realism to the drawing.

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

 

Step 5: Draw concentric circles in the center

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

The center of a sunflower is full of depth. So, to help us map out how to sketch it, we’re going to draw two concentric circles. Try to draw these as even as you can, but don’t worry too much, as they’ll be fleshed out with texture soon.

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

 

 

Step 6: Sketch the seeds

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

Starting at the outer part of the flower’s center, begin drawing rows of small ovals. While the outer ring should be fairly spaced out, the second ring will be quite dense. Then, at the very center, just add a few ovals here and there, making sure to keep it mostly white.

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

 

Step 7: Add definition to the sunflower

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

Now, we’re going to erase any remaining guidelines and add some definition to the sunflower. Starting with the petals, sketch some creases in the center of each shape. Then, draw fine hairs all over the stem and add veins in the leaves.

 

Step 8: Add embellishments

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

Although this step is optional, consider adding some embellishments to your sunflower drawing to make it a finished illustration. An easy way to do this is to create a circular border with a protractor and draw small circles along the curved line. This way the viewer’s eyes are drawn to the head of the sunflower.

 

Step 9: Go over the drawing in ink

How to Draw a Sunflower

Photo & Art: Margherita Cole | My Modern Met

At last, it’s time to complete our illustration by going over it in ink. So, place a scrap of paper under your drawing hand, and carefully go over the pencil lines with your favorite pen. Once you’ve gone over all of the linework, feel free to add some texture to key areas like the stem, leaves, and petals. Stippling and hatching are two great techniques you can use. After you’re done inking, make sure you wait a considerable amount of time for the ink to dry, before erasing any remaining pencil marks. You can either fill the drawing in with color or leave it as is for a striking black and white illustration of a sunflower!

 

 

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