Realistic flowers & botanicals
Do you dream about coloring beautiful botanicals with Copic Markers or colored pencils?
Are you striving to create more depth and dimension?
Do you want to color with more realism?
Psssttt… I’ve got a little tip for you:
A great coloring project starts long before pick your colors.
You must understand what you are coloring before you begin the coloring process!
Good artists are always careful observers.
It doesn’t matter if the artist is working with paint, charcoal, clay, or even tattoo ink— a good artist understands the object that they’re trying to portray.
You can’t capture the look of a real daffodil if you don’t know what a real daffodil looks like.
The same rule holds true in coloring, where you’re working with stamped images that you did not draw yourself.
Actually, the rule is especially if you didn’t draw the stamp yourself!
If you want to capture accurate depth and dimension, you must understand the shape of the object you’re trying to color.
Shut up and See!
I’ve noticed a striking similarity between the best professional artists I know and the best coloring students I’ve met over the years.
There are a heck of a lot of introverts making outstanding art.
I’m practically the poster-child for introverted artists. I go nowhere and talk to no one unless I absolutely have to.
And if you’re reading this article, you’re likely someone who finds online art education very appealing for the same reason. It’s less stressful to huddle in your safe little cave than to take a public art class where you have to sit next to real people who might try to start actual conversations.
Anyway, I’ve thought about this introverted artist thing for a while now and I’ve finally formed a theory:
Introverts make good artists because we spend our time observing rather than conversing.
Instead of entertaining crowds with fun stories and all that conversationy stuff, I sit and watch.
I’m a hermit, even in a crowd.
But I’m not bored. I spend a lot of time looking deeply at stuff.
My husband is used to me staring at everyday objects for long periods of time for no apparent reason.
He calls it “zoning out” but actually, I’m zoning in.
So if I’m sitting on a bench waiting for my son to finish soccer practice, instead of chatting with the mom next to me, I’m likely staring at the nearby patch of daffodils, wondering how I’d draw them.
I’m not just admiring the color, either. I’m looking at how the stem attaches to the blossom, how the leaves seem to grow out of the bulb instead of sprouting from the stem, and why some blossoms rise toward the sun while others hang low, bent over from their own weight.
I also spend a lot of time looking at the real shape of things.
Most of what we see in everyday life is folded, creased, draped, or bunched up. Shirts look different spread flat upon a table than they do draped over a body. And we rarely see things like flags or even Daffodil petals in their natural flat shape. Understanding the original shape will help us create more realistic folds and waves.
To color something well, you must know it well
I investigate objects thoroughly before I draw them.
I google the heck out of every single object in the project. I want to see it all from every angle. This helps me to create an accurate drawing.
But I don’t just research objects for my own drawings. This is “Daffodil Bouquet” by the wonderful artist Marcella Hawley at PowerPoppy.com
Even though I purchased this stamp instead of drawing my own daffodils, I still looked at about 20 different daffodil photos and maybe 10 shots of grape hyacinth before I started to color the project for my upcoming Livestream demonstration.
And remember, my research is not always about color. Yes, I do recommend photo references as a great source of color inspiration but references are valuable for so much more!
I spent most of my daffodil investigation looking the cup area (called the “corona”) of the blossom.
The corona isn’t just a petal that’s been curled around into a tube shape as I previously thought. The corona is almost an extension of the stem. It’s like the bell of a trumpet, a gradual widening and yellowing of the stem.
Before, I had assumed that the cup was literally that, a cup that was somehow set down on top of a blossom. Instead, I find that the flower petals grow out of the base of the corona, not the other way around.
How does this help me color a better daffodil?
For starters, the trumpet bell structure of a daffodil’s corona means that when you look down into the center, you will see green.
You see green because you’re actually looking down into the tube that becomes the stem. There are bits and bobs of reproductive organs down in the base but the green you see is coming from the stem.
And it’s deep in there. There is no bottom of the cup, it’s not closed off. The hole keeps on going well down past the start of the stamens.
To capture the look of a deep tunnel, we need to use more shading color than if the cup had a shallow bottom.
Far too many people assume there’s a shallow bottom to the cup.
By missing this key detail, many people color daffodils wrong.
The other important thing I learned from looking at daffodil references is that while some varieties have very short coronas that barely rise high enough to count as a cup, the squatty corona versions don’t look very daffodillish.
Now I know that sounds weird because the short cupped varieties are still real daffodils but they don’t read as daffodilly as tall corona daffodils.
So when we color the Power Poppy daffodils, we want to make sure to get the cups to look nice and tall— even when the daffodil is drawn straight on with foreshortened perspective.
If the cup doesn’t sit high, it simply won’t look like a perfect daffodil.
Photo references create mission plans
So up above, I was yakking about all my little daffodil observations… but if you go back and review it again, you’ll see a very concrete daffodil plan taking shape.
The same thing will happen for you as you research your subject.
Research provides guidelines for more accurate coloring.
Daffodil petals are slightly tear drop shaped but when you see them looking rather pointy, it’s usually because they’ve rolled or waved into a dagger shape.
The petals emerge gradually from the side of the corona, so there will not be a sharp right angle where the corona meets the petal. The shade should be soft instead of sharp.
The corona is a continuous tube, so stop looking for the edges of a rolled petal.
There is no bottom to the corona. It’s not a cup, so don’t color a bottom
The stamens and filaments come from deep within the tube and they fill up a lot of the space. If you make that area too light and bright it will appear shallow but it also cuts off the length of the filaments.
The green inside the corona isn’t imaginary or an artistic touch, it’s color from the inside of the stem.
Make sure the corona appears to rise tall above the petals, even on full-face blossoms.
Do you see how the research guides the daffodil project?
Every observation you make directly changes your coloring process.
Better research = better coloring.
To color something well, you must know it well.
Now that you see how much I’ve pondered and observed daffodils, is it any wonder that my project here looks more complete and thorough than someone who just hacked away at the stamp with a pretty yellow blending combination?
There are a lot of daffodil drawings out there.
There are a lot of people coloring daffodil stamps too.
But there are not many people taking the time to really observe and know daffodils.
To stand out, you must do daffodils better.
To color smarter, be smarter
Improve your coloring by improving your observation skills.
Want to know more about daffodils and controlling your yellow markers?
Join me for Sunscreen for Yellow Markers, a lesson on controlling the vibrancy of your yellow projects.
Yellow can be a monster that becomes bright enough to dominate your whole entire project and blind your viewers.
You don’t have to be an artist with a gigantic brain and overflowing talent to master this method! Color Control is for everyone.
Let’s color daffodils!
Join me for a fun Copic + Colored Pencil lesson at Patreon!
"Sunscreen for Yellow Markers" using Power Poppy's Daffodil Bouquet
Vanilla Livestream is held monthly at Patreon.
Friday, March 15th at 11am EST
Can't make the livestream? Recorded version is available until Sept. 2019!
Note: Patreon class details change each month. “Sunscreen for Yellow Markers” info is available on the website until late March 2019 when it will be updated with new class info. Full project info + Sunscreen for Yellow Markers videos are kept on Patreon until September 2019.
What is Vanilla Live-Stream?
Real coloring in real time.
I'll walk you through my coloring process, discussing the ins and outs of the project.
I make mistakes too and you’ll see me fix them.
Plus, you can ask lots of questions. That’s something you can’t do with tutorials or pre-packaged video classes!
We always cover lots of artsy tips and tricks which you can apply to tons of other projects.
Every month, we tackle a new art technique or creative process, helping you develop your artistic skills and realism!
Can't attend live?
Not a problem!
Livestreams are recorded and archived for Patreon members. There are always six months of lessons in the archives; replay them as many times as you want.
That's something you definitely can't do in my local classes!
Class Printable Pack Includes:
Class syllabus with detailed recipe guide
Full color project sample, guide to shading
Guide to Copic base
Detailed color map
Project inspiration references
20% off Daffodil Bouquet
Marcella Hawley, the amazing artist at Power Poppy gives all my Patreon members 20% off the class digital stamp of the month! “Daffodil Bouquet” is an instant download from PowerPoppy.com; just print it to a Copic safe paper and color along with me!
Join me for an online lesson that will change the way you think about color!
Plus, it'll be tons of fun!
Supplies used in “Sunscreen for Yellow Markers”:
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