Draw a Rose with Fiber Tip Pen

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A Rose to Draw

rose reference photo
A clear reference photo. H South, licensed to About.com

I drew this rose previously using my drawing tablet, and I thought it would be interesting to try the same bloom using a different approach. So this is the reference for this rose drawing tutorial. You might prefer to try a different one. If you can, get a real bloom to draw from life.

I used a simple Artline fiber-tip pen for this tutorial, on a generic brand of multi-purpose sketching paper. Office paper works well for practice sketches. Test out your pen and paper first to ensure that it isn't inclined to 'bleed' ink into the fibers.

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Drawing the Rose from the Inside Out

begin drawing from the center
H South, licensed to About.com, Inc.

When you're drawing in ink, so can't make corrections, it's a good idea to do a rough sketch in pencil first, to 'place' the bloom on the page and get the overall proportions right. Then, begin in the center, looking for the innermost, curled petals in the middle of the rose, that are almost 'framed' by the petals around them.

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Developing the Rose Drawing

H South, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Now continue adding petals to the rose. Keep the line clean and simple. You're really just looking for definite edges, and paying attention to the way the petals curl and overlap. Some shapes will seem a bit odd, because of the way the petals change plane as they curl. That's fine - they'll make sense as the whole thing comes together.

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Completing the Rose Outline

H South, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Finish outlining the petals, then add a little detail. Use fairly short, neat marks to suggest the veins on some of the petals, curving to show the direction of curl. You can also add a little hatching in the darker folds of the flower.

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The Finished Rose Pen Drawing

rose outline
H South, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Outline the leaves, add veins and a little hatching, and you're done. Note that this is a very linear style of drawing - it's very crisp and hard, and not naturalistic at all. If I was going to apply an ink wash, I'd use a more broken line for a natural look. The outline used here will fight against any tonal shading. However, some strong, clean color might work well for an illustrative look.