A Good Photo Equals a Good Drawing | How to Draw Flowers

There are several benefits to using photo references for still life art, be it in oil, watercolor, colored pencil, or any medium. As we know, the beauty of a flower is temporary and so it helps to photograph it at its peak of beauty. And if your subject is a flower in an outdoor setting, taking a photo for reference allows you to control the lighting, giving it soft or dramatic shadows. In Sandra Angelo’s eWorkshop on how to draw a rose, she explains step by step how to select your favorite photo reference so you can have a strong start on your own flower drawing.

How to draw flowers, at ArtistsNetwork.com

A Contagion of Virtue (colored pencil on paper, 28×33) by Barbara Edidin

Choosing the Right Photo Reference for a Beginner by Sandra Angelo

“Memorize this: a good photo equals a good drawing,” says Angelo. “If you love to draw flowers, you no doubt have many pictures of your favorite blooms. Some will be right for drawing and some are more suitable for framing.”

Learn how to draw a rose in colored pencil

The shot on the left was taken on a delightful birthday outing with close friends at Descanso Gardens. Still, it’s very complex so it would not be a good photo reference for a beginner. The photo in the middle has a full range of values, it’s uncomplicated and it was taken the same day, so it would be a perfect photo for a beginner. The image on the right shows a finished rose drawing.

Sandra Angelo’s 3 Rules For Selecting a Photo Reference

1. Make sure the bloom is uncomplicated. Later when you become more advanced you can take on those challenging photos, but for now, stick with easy flowers.
2. Find a photo that has meaning to you. If you have a passion for the subject, or if the flower marked a special occasion, your heartfelt connection will help you push past any challenges. If there is a story associated with the flower, your movie memories will rewind while you draw.
3. Look for a full range of values so you can sculpt your flower and create the illusion of depth on your two dimensional surface. ~S.A.

Learn even more in Sandra Angelo’s online workshop, How to Draw a Rose with Colored Pencils on White Paper. It’s one of several online art classes that you can take at your convenience.

All best,
Cherie

Cherie Haas, online editor
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