How to Draw a Peony
Step 1. Guideline Circle
Start by drawing a large circle that is closer to the top than bottom, leave room at the bottom for the stem because we will use this circle to build the flower. Draw your guideline lighter than the image below, I drew it darker to help you see the shape :D
Here is a video version of the tutorial if you want to see it drawn in real-time
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Step 2. Core Circle
Draw a smaller circle in the middle of the guideline circle, this circle is for the bulb in the center of the flower.
Step 3. Bulb Curve
Draw a curving line that goes overtop of the bulb, this line is slightly off center to the left. Use the diagram on the left to help you see the shape of the line.
Step 4. Second Curve
Add a curving line in the opposite direction of the last one that intersects close to the center of the bulb. This petal is layered underneath the last one so we see less of its side. Pay attention to this overlapping element when drawing flowers, its a crucial part of making these flowers have dimension :D
Step 5. Top Curve
Now add another curving line that connects the other two lines. Notice how the bulb feels like its looking towards the top right, make sure to capture this in your drawing. Make sure to fix mistakes as you go, erase away and redo as many times as it takes. Laying down a good foundation will make this so much more fulfilling :D
Step 6. Dissect
Draw a line that cuts through the space in the middle, this helps indicate that there are more layers of petals underneath.
Step 7. First Petal
Now that we have the core and outer guideline set up, we can begin drawing the petals. The key to drawing nice petals is to remember that the petals flow out from the center/core of the flower. Think of sun rays coming off a sun, our little Sun Buddy in the diagram is here to remind us of this concept.
Draw a line towards the top right that’s curved, notice that the line ends before it comes close to the guideline circle.
Step 8. Petal Curve
Draw a curved line starting from the end of the last line that has a similar shape to the guideline. Keep a similar distance from the guideline along this line.
Step 9. Bottom Edge
Complete this petal by adding a bottom edge line that curves into the core bulb of the flower. This is the basic approach of adding petals.
Step 10. Second Petal
Start the second petal by finding the middle point of the left side of the bulb (opposite of where the last line ended) and curve it upwards. This line also ends far away from the guideline. Make sure to leave room for the lower layers of petals that also have to fit within the guideline circle (check the diagram on the left, the blue line is that one we are adding).
Step 11. Outer Curve
Continue this petal by adding a line that curves similarly to the guideline circle.
Step 12. Petal Edge
Finish this second petal by drawing its edge line coming down to the bulb.
Step 13. Third Petal
Add a line that starts at middle left point of the bulb that curves slightly upwards. Notice how the beginning of the last petal curved upward as well but with a much steeper curve.
Step 14. Petal Curve
Draw a curving line that comes downwards toward the center of the image.
Step 15. Petal Edge
Complete this petal by drawing a curved line that is almost horizontal.
Step 16. Fourth Petal
Draw a curving line that starts at the middle of the last line we drew, comes towards the guideline and then curves up. This line doesnt touch the guideline.
Step 17. Complete Petal
Continue the curved line and intersect it with the top right petal. Notice how this petal we just drew is layered underneath. We see less of its edge lines and this creates and overlapping effect that helps the flower feel realistic. Pay attention to this effect because it is crucial to drawing beautiful flowers.
Step 18. Top Petal
Draw two lines that start on the top petals and move upwards but curve slightly together (in blue) and then add a curved line (in pink) connecting the two. The curved line can either be very close to the guideline or right on it depending on how your outer circle looks. If I drew this petal all the way to the guideline it would feel too large and I felt like it would throw off the proportions slightly. You can always try different sized petals and erase away to see which size you prefer, make sure to play around and experiment! The fun of drawing comes from its freedom :D
Step 19. Left Petal
Lets add a petal to the left side, draw a small line defining the edge of this petal that begins at the top left petal. Notice how the top left petal (the one connected to the bulb) is overlapping two of the petal edge lines.
Step 20. Petal Curve
Add a curving line that follows a similar flow to the guideline circle.
Step 21. Petal Complete
Finish this petal by adding its edge line that goes underneath the bottom left petal.
Step 22. Bottom Petal
Now try adding a petal to the bottom by following the steps we have used. The edge lines (in blue) move away from the center and usually intersect two different petals. The curving line (in pink) follows the movement of the guideline circle.
Step 23. Right Petal
Add a petal to the right side that consists of a long curve. We dont really see the edge lines for this petal because its two layers underneath.
Step 24. Erase
Erase away the guideline circle and any other minor mistakes you want to fix. Never feel shy about erasing, getting used to trying new things and erasing away mistakes is what will allow you to learn quickly. I am using a kneadable eraser which is a play-dough/puddy like eraser that you can sculpt into whatever shape you want. I like using these erasers because they dont leave any shavings that I have to clean up later.
Step 25. Strengthen Lines
Darken any lines that got slightly lightened by accident when erasing.
Step 26. Left Petal
Add a petal to the bottom left between the two outer petals, pay attention to how the edge lines (in blue) start at the curve lines of the other two petals. The curve for this petal will be about where the guideline was (in pink).
Step 27. Shading Line
Add two lines to the biggest petal of the bulb, curving upward from the base. These lines help describe the form of the petal.
Step 28. Shading Lines
Repeat the same thing for the petal on the right, except these ones curve the opposite direction (towards the middle).
Step 29. Corner Shading
Add lines to all the petals towards the core and in areas of overlap/intersection. Dont add these shading lines to the outer side of the petals, keep them closer to the core.
Step 30. Stem
Draw two vertical lines that are slightly curved and connect towards the center of the flower. Make sure not to make these lines too off center, it should feel like the stem can support the weight of the flower in a balanced way.
Step 31. Leaf
Add a line curving outwards from the stem on the right side, this will be the center line for the top leaf.
Step 32. Overlap
Draw the top edge of the leaf, notice how I am layering this leaf underneath the flower by cutting off the line where the petal is and starting it again where it would reappear.
Step 33. Complete Leaf
Finish this leaf by adding the bottom edge lines, I have split it into two curved lines. Feel free to experiment with different leaf shapes to see what you like! :D
Step 34. Second Leaf
Lets add a leaf on the left side, draw a curving line that comes upward from the stem at a lower point than the last one.
Step 35. Bottom Edge
Add lines to the bottom edge of the leaf, here I went for something slightly more straight than the last leaf.
Step 36. Top Edge
Continue constructing the leaf by adding a top line.
Step 37. Connect
Finish up the leaf by connecting the top edge to the stem.
Step 38. Stem Shading
Add shading to the stem where it would go underneath the flower, this helps give it dimension.
Step 39. Leaf Shading
Add lines to the leaf towards the stem, similar to how we added shading lines to the petals earlier.
Celebrate your drawing!
Yaay finished the drawing! Thank you so much for letting me share my love for drawing flowers with you! I really hope this was fun for you and maybe (just maybe) this tutorial has helped you realize that you can totally learn how to draw. I learned drawing at a later age so I know that this is a learn-able skill that anyone can pick up at any time (with effort, of course).
Check out more of the tutorial on the site! I've put lots of effort into creating these free resources because I want more people to fall in love with drawing. So feel free to share the link to this tutorial with friends :D That would be tremendously helpful to me on this mission to spread the love for drawing.
I have created a 20 page Printable Workbook (PDF) that will teach you how to draw different floral arrangements. I wanted to create something that could really speed up someone's learning and actually get them drawing. I poured tons of time into it to make it as useful as possible to someone who wants to capture the elegance and beauty of flowers, I would looove it if you grabbed your copy and drew with me some more!
Im on a mission to share the joy and beauty of drawing flowers, will you join me on this adventure?
Learn how to draw flowers for homemade cards and other gifts/DIY projects. People just love receiving a hand-drawn card that has beautiful flowers on them!
20 Page Floral Arrangements workbook that will take you through the process of drawing gorgeous flowers!