I often draw what happens to be there with what I have on hand (see this ballpoint pen drawing). Why? Because it’s convenient. Also because when you tackle different (and sometimes unexpected) subjects you get out of your comfort zone. You develop your drawing, painting and observation skills further. So when I was given a bunch of flowers I had to make a Lily flower drawing. Even so – or maybe because, I am not a ‘flower’ painter.
An explosion of shapes and colours
By the time I sat down to draw, the lilies were past full bloom: just about to break apart. Open lilies are a messy explosion of petals, filaments, stigmas, leaves and colour. Very much like fireworks.
I found out that one lily flower drawing wasn’t going to be enough to really get to understand my subject.
Lily flower drawing series
I decided to make a few sketches. I worked fast and each time I used a different approach to draw my subject.
I attempted my first study in watercolour only, something I rarely do (another way to get out of my comfort zone!). As it progressed, I felt the painting wasn’t doing as I wanted, so I drew the flowers in pencil over the top of the watercolour.
Pencils and pen over watercolour wash
For the second study, I focussed on observing movement and values. I painted loose watercolour shapes and drew the lilies over the top of the dry wash with pencils and a black pen.
Posca pen drawing
For the third study, I decided to simplify the drawing down to a few basic shapes and colours. I painted the flowers using just four posca markers and my fine liner.
Last of all, before the petals scattered on the floor, I attempted a watercolour study again. I was more successful this time, although I couldn’t resist adding brush lines and drawing with the paint to finish the sketch. I am a line addict!
When you draw or paint you look at lines, shapes and values and study how they interact with each other. You might choose to simplify what you see and draw only certain shapes and elements to tell a specific story.
I like to experiment with different ways of telling a visual story. It’s fun but it also helps sharpen the way you see. As you play you might discover new ways of working you really enjoy too!