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Drawing Roses in Graphite Pencil and Colored Pencil | Two Demonstrations

Discover how easy drawing roses can be in these detailed step-by-step tutorials.

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Gorgeous color and fun organic shapes make up every single rose — and every single rose drawing. Discover how to draw a rose from stem to bloom step by step in graphite pencil and colored pencil in two drawing roses demonstrations from artist and instructor Gigi Chen. You’ll discover how ease and accessible drawing roses can be! For more on how to draw roses, explore Gigi Chen’s beginner step by step tutorial to create a rose, petal by petal, in nine easy steps.

Drawing Roses with Colored Pencil

Step 1

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Drawing roses starts with the basic shapes and outline of the rose and its stem and leaves. In this drawing, the outline for the rose is Faber Castell Polychromos in Tuscan Red. The leaves and stem are in Leaf Green. Of course, any color variation will work as well depending on what you have on hand.


Step 2

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Let us break it down and begin with the rose bloom. In this drawing, the outline for the rose is Faber Castell Polychromos in Tuscan Red. The petals of a rose were once tightly encased in a bud. Imagine a bloomed rose as the petals bursting out from their original space. Begin from the middle with smaller petal forms and gradually make them larger as you draw outwards. Also take note that the form of the rose is a series of alternately overlapping petals. They do not grow in even rows.


Step 3

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Lay down a base color of Prismacolor Cream, making sure to leave out some outer edges to maintain highlights. Have a sharp pencil and keep your strokes in uniform directions for each petal.


Step 4

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Gradually darken the rose with Dark Chrome Yellow as the next step towards adding depth. Once again, sharpen your pencil and follow the direction of the curve of the petals. Make short deliberate marks from the inside out with the tip of your pencil. Remember, you can rotate your drawing to more comfortably make your marks in the direction that you please.


Step 5

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

This is a yellow and red rose after all. Each petal bleeds from yellow to pink and crimson towards the edges. Using Derwent in Ash Rose, add the base pink color to the outer edges of the petals. It is best to use a sharp pencil tip and start from the outer edge and make your way with small strokes towards the center. This keeps the edge of the rose darker and cleaner.


Step 6

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Next, push the colors even further with Faber Castell Rose Carmine. This will make the red bleed more and create contrast from the yellow base colors.


Step 7

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Finally, add some darks. Use a nice sharp Faber Castell Red Violet. This will create rich variations between the petals as well as add depth and contrast. Be sure to not add too much shadow too evenly onto every nook and crevice. This might flatten your image. Make a note to give each petal its own character and motion. Adding folds and small pits and splits can make the drawing appear more lifelike and appealing.


Step 8

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

When you are ready, move onto the stem and leaves. Outline with Faber Castell Leaf Green. The stem is the resting place of a rose, holding everything up. It should be sturdy and thick. Leaves tend to grow randomly and will face different directions. The unpredictability is natural. Try not to make the leaves too evenly spaced.


Step 9

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Create a base color with Prismacolor Cream and Faber Castell Light Green. Be sure to maintain highlights. Using sharp pencils, render the leaves with little strokes from the stem out. And when filling in the stem itself, make your marks going up and down the stem. This will create the illusion that the rose is shooting upwards.


Step 10

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Go a shade darker with Leaf Green once again. Making sure to use this opportunity to indicate areas where you would like to add depth, such as right underneath the leaves and where the rose meets the stem. Be sure to use a sharp pencil and to shade in the direction of the curve of each surface.


Step 11

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Go further still with the play of depth and perspective. Use a sharp Pine Green to sharpen edges and mark out particular existing details.


Step 12

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Give the rose a story by adding pits and holes and rips into the greens.


Final Step

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Finally, tie the whole drawing visually together by going back to the Red Violet that was used to complete the rose. Use this opportunity to make things pop. Darken your darks and add lovely detailing to the stem.


Drawing Roses in Graphite Pencil

Step 1

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

When drawing roses with graphite pencil, it’s best to start with a light pencil, such as a 3H. And always have a kneaded eraser ready for clean adjustments. I like a nice dull pencil when I do preliminary sketches. Work loose and fluidly to start.


Step 2

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

The rose is a lovely bundle of petals that splay out from the stem, up and out. As we move away from the base, the petals open up wider. Therefore, we first sketch out the round top form of the bloomed rose. Add a guide indicating the center of the rose. Remember to consider perspective. In this case, the rose is upturned and the center will appear further up from center. The base is almost like a rounded cup or bowl. With the stem holding up the whole structure. Start drawing the petals from the center of the rose.


Steps 3, 4, and 5

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network
Step 3
Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network
Step 4
Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network
Step 5

As we sketch in the petals, we are using almost wide C’s or D’s. The petals do not grow in patterns nor do they form in a straight row. Instead, they alternately overlap, getting larger and wider the further out from the center we get.


Step 6

drawing roses in graphite pencil | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

After we have sketched in the basic rose shape, adjust the drawing with tiny details such as sharper or rounded edges. Remember to add a few flourishes such as a curve of the leaves if you desire. Use your kneaded eraser to clean up any excess sketch lines.


Step 7

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

When adding shadow, also start from within the rose. I prefer a light pencil such as an H to start indicating where I want to darken. A lighter pencil is nice because it will be easier to clean up. It is also the beginning stages and you want to start out more deliberately.


Step 8

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

While shading, use the tip of the pencil to make little strokes. Make your marks with consideration to the curve of the petal and the leaves. I prefer to draw from the inner petal towards the outer edge of the petal and the leaves from the stem outward, lightening up as I get to the outer edge.


Step 9

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Start gradually using darker pencils. Graduate to HB and then to heavier B or 2B to add intense cast shadows. This will add drama and create contrast.


Step 10

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Use a sharp HB pencil to add a small break to the stem as well as a thorn or a little pitting. You can also clean up the outer lines with a nice sharp 2H.


Step 11

Drawing Roses | Gigi Chen | Artists Network

Details are important. Petals and leaves have a tendency to curve, curl, coil, fold and crinkle. Some parts also have small breaks, holes and splits. These touches create character. Imperfection can add a wild and lifelike quality. Remember: In nature, as well as in art, perfection can look a little out of place.

Join the conversation!

One comment on “Drawing Roses in Graphite Pencil and Colored Pencil | Two Demonstrations

  1. BABRE ANNE KOCH says:

    I am so glad I am back with you.
    I am looking forward to really dig in. I am retired now and between travelling all over I make time for painting and sometimes take my painting kit along in the camper van and enjoy painting in the outdoors.
    Beste regards

    Babre Anne

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