Why a rose?
Roses inspire many people and are one of the most desired subjects people wish to draw. In this article, I will take you through every step of drawing a rose using a block-in method. By following this drawing method, you will learn a process that you can apply to any rose you wish to draw.
I am using a photograph for clarity in this post, but I strongly recommend that you draw from life using the same process that is demonstrated here.
Although this lesson shows you how to draw a rose, it is really teaching you a drawing method that can be applied to anything you want to draw!
The overall concept is to work from big ideas to small ideas. So let's get started!
Step 1: Identify how much of the rose you want to draw.
In this demonstration, we are going to focus on drawing just the bloom. To start, we need to identify the top, bottom, and sides of our bloom.
Place a dot at the highest, lowest, furthest left, and furthest right most point of the part of the rose that you intend to draw.
Then, draw horizontal and vertical lines through your highest, lowest, furthest right, and furthest left dots to create a box.
This box is called your "proportion box" and represents the height vs width of your bloom.
Step 2: Draw the proportion box on your paper.
Is the box taller? Or fatter? It's fatter. Now is it a whole lot fatter, or just a little bit? It's just a little bit fatter. So you need to draw a box on your paper that is just a little bit wider than it is tall.
The size of this box doesn't matter, as long as the proportion of the box is accurate to what you observe in your subject.
Step 4: Find the biggest shape
When drawing realistically, you always want to find the biggest ideas first. In this case, we want to identify the biggest shape of our bloom. This is often called an envelope.
An envelope is a small number of straight lines that describe the biggest shape of our subject. These lines should be big and not small. It is easy to get distracted by all the little ins and outs of our subject, but notice below how all the little details can be encompassed in one big shape.
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Step 5: Translate envelope to your drawing
Now we want to draw this shape inside the box on our paper. Remember, your envelope is touching the top, bottom, and sides of your box. A common mistake is to make the envelope small and floating inside the box. Remember that your box represents the highest, lowest, farthest right and farthest left most points. This means that the envelope must touch the box's edges in order to be accurate.
One way to translate the envelope to your drawing is to use the 0-100 method. This method asks if the bottom of your box is zero, and the top is 100, where is the envelope line hitting?
Step 6: Envelope method #2
Another way to translate your envelope is to look at the negative space it creates. The negative space is the shape that is made between the subject and the box. With this particular envelope shape, there are lots of triangles that are made in the negative space.
Step 7: Envelope method #3
Sometimes, you need to translate an envelope line that is not directly touching your proportion box. In this case, our point on the upper left of the rose is not touching the outside box.
The secret? Extend the line until it does touch your proportion box. This is called a follow-through line.
Step 8: Complete envelope shape
Every rose you draw will be unique, so it is good to understand all three approaches to creating your envelope shape. Use your favorite approach to finish the last translating the last line of our envelope shape to your drawing.
Step 9: Clean up your drawing
It is important that you keep your drawing clean as you go. You do not want to get confused as more lines are added. Erase the extra "noise" that you no longer need.
Congrats! You now have an accurate proportion and shape of your rose.
Next week on our blog, we will show you how to complete this drawing. Too excited to wait? Join our newsletter for a FREE PowerPoint that takes you through every step of How to Draw a Rose!
How did you do?
How did your rose turn out? Is this your first time using this drawing method? Did it work for you? Let me know in the comments below :)
Mandy Theis is a licences K-12 art teacher, Director of the School of Atelier Arts, Academic Director of the Florence Academy of Art, and classically trained painter. You can follow her on Instagram @mandyfineartist.
Dept. of Aesthetics Blog
Mandy Theis is a licensed art teacher and atelier-trained artist. She is the former Co-President of the Washington Art Education Association and Director of School of Atelier Arts.