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Create Your Own Bouquets on Paper by Learning How to Draw a Rose

How to Draw a Rose

Photo: Drawing a rose from Djem / Shutterstock.com
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When you think of love, one of the first things you think of are probably roses. As one of the world's most popular blooms, they've proven themselves to be an enduring symbol of romance throughout time. Just as writers speak of their beauty, artists like to draw their delicate petals.

This particular bloom is a challenge even for the most seasoned drawer. Loaded with layers of petals, sketching a rose in a realistic way requires you to have an understanding of foreshortening and shading techniques.

Improving your drawing skills isn’t something that’s done overnight. It takes years—and many hours—of practice to get your roses right. But once you learn the basic techniques of how to draw a flower, you can use them to replicate roses and refine your skills. And with every flower you draw, you’re becoming more adept at it. Need proof? There’s an entire draw it again movement that challenges the artist to redraw things they created years ago, and the results are incredible.

Before you begin to draw a rose, make sure you have the right supplies.

How to Draw a Rose Step by Step

Photo: Tim Wright

Roses showcase a variety of tones. Their petals are folded around one another, and this creates deep shadows with highlights appearing at the outer edges of the plant. Because of these opposing casts, you'll want to use at least two pencils in your drawing. One will be a hard graphite (H to 9H) and the other will be softer (B to 9B). The hard graphite will help you indicate fine details while the softer lead allows you to achieve rich darks.

To select the best drawing pencils for your artistic practice, check out our top picks. Once you've got your pencils sorted, be sure to grab a white eraser—another essential in sketching.

Select your drawing source.

When you're first learning to draw, creating work from direct observation is always preferred. It's a bit different with live flowers, however, as they are liable to change by the end of the day! To ensure that they look the same from the start to finish of your drawing, try sketching from a photo like this one.

Next up:  Step-by-step instructions on how to draw a rose.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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