Abstractions of Nature: A Sketchbook Activity (Draw 10 New Flowers) | Annette Brown | Skillshare

Abstractions of Nature: A Sketchbook Activity (Draw 10 New Flowers)

Annette Brown, Embrace + Express Creativity

Abstractions of Nature: A Sketchbook Activity (Draw 10 New Flowers)

Annette Brown, Embrace + Express Creativity

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13 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Abstract Flower 1

    • 3. Abstract Flower 2

    • 4. Abstract Flower 3

    • 5. Abstract Flower 4

    • 6. Abstract Flower 5

    • 7. Abstract Flower 6

    • 8. Abstract Flower 7

    • 9. Abstract Flower 8

    • 10. Abstract Flower 9

    • 11. Abstract Flower 10

    • 12. Using Your Flowers: Create a Bouquet

    • 13. Thank You + Have Fun

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About This Class

Welcome to "Abstractions of Nature: A Sketchbook Activity!"


In this class I share a sketchbook activity I use when I want to draw abstract versions of flowers I see in nature.

Through ten short lessons, we will look at a photo reference, consider what changes we'd like to make, and then sketch out our new flower. Each lesson is under three minutes long.

What do I mean by "abstractions of nature?" This means that we will draw flowers that do not look exactly like the reference photo. We will alter each flower's shape, form, lines, texture, or create gestural marks to represent the flower.

Since this is a sketchbook activity, we don't have to shy away from imperfections. Unexpected outcomes are welcome because we can learn from them and experiment further in the future. 

Overall, we'll be drawing 10 new flowers that we otherwise may have never drawn. 

I will also share one example of how you might use these flowers in future projects. You'll have the option of watching me draw a floral bouquet using three to four of the 10 flowers we create. 


  • The only supplies you'll need are your favorite sketchbook and pencil.
  • If you would like to draw a bouquet, I used colored pencils.

Meet Your Teacher

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Annette Brown

Embrace + Express Creativity


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1. Welcome: Hello. I'm and Nets from Love and Light Design dot Co. And I would like to welcome you to my newest class abstractions of nature, a sketchbook activity in this class. I like to share with you a couple methods I use to create new ideas in my sketchbook. And because it is sketchbook practice, your drawings do not have to be perfect. You may not even like the outcome of some of the flowers that you make, but the idea is to experiment and learn from this experience so that you can apply what you learn to future creative projects. Our references for this class will be photographs that I've taken along the Illinois Prairie Path or Justin Gardens that I've walked by while outdoors. You are welcome to use your own photo references as well. Or you may want to sit out in nature as you work through the sketchbook Exhibit E. There are a lot of different ways to create abstract art, and the outcome usually depends on not only your approach, but also the tools that you will be using. So for this particular class, we will simply focus on the main idea that an abstraction is not an exact representation of what we see in nature. Over the course of the class, I'll show you images of 10 different flowers. We will look at each flower one by one and determine how we might create an abstract version of it. Things you might want to consider are its shape, its form, whether or not there's texture, are the lines curvy or sharp? Um, would you prefer to create gestural marks to represent this flower? The final outcome is completely up to you. These are just some ideas that you may want to consider. As you are drawing your own variation of each flower. Offer an example of how you might use thes abstractions. I'm going Teoh your ah floral bouquet in the last portion of this class, using 3 to 4 different flowers from our sketch with practice and for your final project, you can share your bouquet, or you can share your sketchbook flowers with us. If you're ready to start the class, I invite you to pull out your favorite sketchbook and pencil, and we'll start drawing in the next video 2. Abstract Flower 1: So let's start with our first flower. Here's the reckons photo, and if you're sketching along with me, just take a few moments to look at it and decide what you would like to change. I've listed some points for you to consider. When creating an abstract version of this flower, you may want to think of its shape, its lines. You may want to create gestural marks for at texture to it. It's completely up to you. I decided to make three changes. I want to you exaggerate the dip in the pedal, and I also want to create a simple or organic straight for the reproductive system. And lastly, I want the statements to look like large circles as opposed to the small dots that they are currently. So here I am beginning to draw the sensor reproductive system. And as you can see, I created really big tips in each pedal and wanted Teoh dark in the lines, not necessarily to create shading, but just Teoh make it appear different from what it waas, and I'm also darkening the tips also not fresh for shading purposes just for personal preference. And here are those round stay Mons instead of the small dots that you see in the reference photo. And then you may decide that you want to add some additional marks to your flower beyond what you originally decided. And that's what I'm doing here. Okay? And that completes flower number one. We'll use the same method to you draw flower number two in the next video. 3. Abstract Flower 2: moving on to flower number two. Here is that reference photo, and as you're looking at this photo to determine what you may draw differently, just keep those same points in mind the shape form. Would you add texture to it? Would you change the lines in some way? Would you create gestural marks? Just take a few moments to look at this photo and decide what changes you would like to make. I decided that I wanted to retain the oval shape of these little flower buds, so that will remain the same. But I want to create individual stems instead of clusters as seen here. And lastly, I want to create larger steeples. So those are my three points and I will start drawing it in the next clip. So it created these little upside down teardrops to you maintain the little oval shape and the Sequels are a little larger, so they look a little more cartoonish from what it's seen in the records photo. But that's fine. And so I created three individual stems instead of creating the clusters that you saw on the recommends video. And then I decided Teoh ad some leaves us well just for a soon greenery. Okay? And that's it. So this is my take on creating an abstract version of photo number two. And number three is next. 4. Abstract Flower 3: Now we're at flower number three. Here is the reference photo, and if you look really closely, you may notice that the center of this flower is already textured. It has, like a little pom pom, um cotton or felt like texture to it. So you may want to consider whether or not to keep that texture or, if you want Teoh make it smooth, and also the pedals air really small and delicate. So will you keep the pedals the same? Or will you make the lines larger? Just take a few moments to look at this flower a little longer and determine which changes you would like to make. Here are the changes I plan to make. I'm going to start by creating a smaller reproductive center, and then I'm going to create rectangular pedals instead of these slender, oval shaped pedals you see here. And lastly, I'm going to create fewer paddles. And here is my sketch and starting with this really small circle t represent the reproductive center, and I'm creating these really big, boxy rectangles as the pedals. And as you notice I pause a little bit in between, I'm drawing each element. That's just to get an idea of where I would like to go next. So just take your time and explore your ideas about each flower. So this is my third flower. And in the next video, we will work on fire a number four. 5. Abstract Flower 4: here is our fourth reference image. Just take a moment, Teoh. Look it over and determine what you might change. If you find that you've been distorting the shape, form and texture solely, then you may want to consider distorting line this time the outline of the bud or the outline of the stem. Um, if you haven't explored gestural marks that you might want to do that this time around I challenge you to mix it up and considered making alterations in ways that you may not have already in this class. So let's look over this flower a little longer to get some more ideas and then proceed to use sketching the's buds air pretty large. So I'm going to make mine a lot smaller. I'm also going to make the people's larger and repurpose them, possibly making them actual flower petals. And then lastly, I am going to remove the texture that you see here on the buds and keep in mind These are sketches you are sketching in your sketchbook in order to explore possibilities. So I'm playing around with shape here. The original see pols were so thick and kind of wild, so I wanted Teoh kind of play on that and make the make them larger. Um, And then create my own Cibeles, which is this darkened portion that you see here. - And since I wanted to make the buds smaller, um, I decided to you draw some smaller circles around these pedals. And again, I was this experimenting. I wasn't completely pleased with what was going on, but I did like some parts of this flower. So this is my number four. And in the next video, we will be halfway through as we work through number five. 6. Abstract Flower 5: this beautiful Lou Pain is our fit flower subjects and I will give you some time to look at it and determine what you would like to distort with this flower. And again, if you would like to use your own photo references, you're more than welcome to do so. And you can consider these five points when you're thinking of boys. Teoh, create an extract version of the flowers that you're looking got in your own photo reference. In my drawing, I'm going. Teoh, switch the direction of the tip of this Lucquin and I'm also going to draw fewer flower petals. And lastly, I'm going to make the flower smaller than it is in this photo. My flower petal shapes are very similar to that of the Lucquin. I decided to add these darkened shapes to the top of each flower. Just Teoh, create another visual element for the flower. It also adds dimension to it. Have you this stem and leaf as gestural marks? So this is my number five we are halfway through. Number six is next 7. Abstract Flower 6: Our sixth example is the common milkweed, and this is a very densely clustered plants, and it has very huge leaves and really thick stocks to it. I invite you to take a few more seconds. Teoh. Look at this image and it's Herman. What you would like to alter in your next sketch, I decided to create individual stems instead of the dense clusters. I also want to create some more simplistic centers, and lastly, our creates stylized blooms based on the shape of these blooms here. So this is a very basic geometric shape, really simple. But the shape of the bloom is very much influenced by the milkweed, and I'll create one more. They're still connected, but it's not such a huge cluster. And that's my number. Six. If you're sketching along with me, I'll see you in the next video for lower number seven 8. Abstract Flower 7: next is a wild sunflower variation. You can study it for a few moments, and then I'll discuss the changes I plan to make. I think it might be interesting to create a collective form for the outer shape and also for the center. And so I'm creating this organic center in another organic shape for the outer outline. So I'm just following along a path that I think might be created by all of the individual pedals. I'm kind of still playing around with it because I wasn't really satisfied with the outcome . What I envisioned didn't really come out on paper, so I started another one, too. With the same general concept, it's creating an outline, so to play, tracing the flower itself. - And again, I wasn't really happy with it, but it gives me ideas for how I might created new flower the next time around. So here's my number seven, and if you're hanging around with me, um, we will work on number eight 9. Abstract Flower 8: another sunflower variation is our eighth flower, and I will give you some time to look at this image. And then I'll share my plan for in my sketch. So the first thing I'll do is invert the proportion of the sensor versus the pedals and then I'll exaggerate the leaf shapes. And lastly, I'm going to style eyes, the leaf tips. So this is my interpretation of inverting the proportions. The flower was whiter at the center and narrower on the edges. So I decided to make the pedals whiter at the very tip and then become narrower towards thesis enter, which is also a lot smaller than the original image. And now I'm going to style eyes the tips with these, like a sort of like a V shape. And I thought I was finished. But as I looked at it a little more, I decided that I would call her in the base of this of each pedal. And now I finished and I will meet you in the next video 10. Abstract Flower 9: And here is our ninth flower, which I think is actually a grass. But I really liked the texture and I thought it might be a nice subjects to include in this project. So take a few moments to look at it, get some ideas about its shape, its texture. Will you alter its form or make it more gestural? It's completely up to you. Just take a few more moments, Teoh, get some ideas. The first thing I'm going to do is shorten the length of this particular piece and they know at a tube to its base. And I will also add a bloom to this hot. So here is the tube, the head I added to its base. And now I'm going to create a shorter version of the cylindrical long body shape that it had. And now I'm proceeding to create a bloom on top of it. - Okay . And I think that is about it. This is nine number nine. Join me in the next video for our final flower 11. Abstract Flower 10: And here is our last flowers subject. I'll give you some time to look at it and then our share my plants for creating an abstract version of it. I was most intrigued by the way that thes flowers protrude out from the bush. So I'm going Teoh create leaves instead of blooms. And I'm going to make them a pin eight composition where they're side by side. - These probably look the least like thier original photo. But I wanted to show you how you can just use a photo as inspiration and then create something completely new from it. This is my last flower. And in the next video, I will show you how I use some of my flowers to create a bouquet. 12. Using Your Flowers: Create a Bouquet: There are a lot of different ways that you can use the flowers that you just create it, and I am going to show you just one way, and that's by creating a floral bouquet in your sketchbook. You won't need many supplies for this portion of the class. I'm using Crayola and Prisma colored color pencils. It's a limited color palette of oranges and reds, sketchbook, paper and also the flowers that you just created as a reference. I have my small discussion book as a reference in front of me, and I'm just going to use maybe two or three different flowers from the sketchbook. I won't use all 10 because that will look a little too busy in one bouquet. And for this first flower, I'm referencing the eighth flower that I created in my sketchbook, and it doesn't look exactly like the flower in the sketchbook, But again, this is only a reference, so you can make any additional changes that you would like to make. The whole point in the sketchbook project was just to get some ideas, and now you can use those ideas in your own way. Um, you can still continue to make embellishments off the flowers. Um, or you can leave them exactly as is if you were pleased with the final outcome. - Now I'm referencing the fifth flower that I created in the abstract sketchbook project. - Now I'm incorporating the 10th flower into the bouquet, and this is flowered number six. So in total up used four of the flowers that I created from the sketchbook projects, - and that's the gist of it. After more shading and adding a few more flowers, this is the final outcome of that sketch. 13. Thank You + Have Fun: thank you so much for enrolling in this class. I hope it helps you to create abstract versions of flowers you see in nature that you can then apply it to your own creative projects. For this last projects your welcomes, you share your sketchbook drawings with us. Or you can also share a final project using your abject flowers, such as the bouquet example that I shared with you. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the discussion section below. And I'm just really excited to see what you all make. Thanks again for enrolling, and I hope to have you in future classes.