Floral Ink Drawing 101: Line, Depth and Texture | Karla Jodoin | Skillshare

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Floral Ink Drawing 101: Line, Depth and Texture

teacher avatar Karla Jodoin, Bespoke Floral Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (48m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Tools + Materials

    • 4. Finding Inspiration

    • 5. Basic Leaf Techniques

    • 6. Basic Petal Techniques

    • 7. Creating a Composition

    • 8. Drafting Your Design

    • 9. Inking Outlines

    • 10. Details, Depth + Texture

    • 11. Final Thoughts

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About This Class


I love to draw, and I love flowers. So naturally, the majority of my work consists of florals. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years refining my style and the process that I use to approach drawing flowers into a few simple but specific steps.

Too often, we can get caught up in the intimidation of the next step. Or, we get discouraged early on when we try something new and it stops us from developing a new skill. I want to demonstrate that no matter your experience level, you can follow the steps that I lay out in this course to achieve a final piece that you can be proud of. 

I look forward to sharing with you some of my favourite techniques and tips to help you master the art of drawing flowers by hand. Using only a few basic materials, you will learn key skills so that you can draft and create your own composition. 

This is a beginner class, so don’t worry if you don’t have any drawing experience! This class is an excellent starting point if you’re interested in developing your drawing abilities and the skills shared here can be applied to different subject matters, not just florals! You may choose to create your own floral illustration with some of the skills we cover in this class. Or, if you want to follow along with what I'm doing, I've included a PDF download of a sketch you can print and use as a template to practice your ink drawing skills on top of!

In Floral Ink Illustration 101, we will cover: 

  • An overview of my go-to materials and the decisions behind choosing certain supplies and brands 
  • Tips on making the most of your art supplies 
  • Finding inspiration and reference photos for your drawings
  • Tangible ways to transform your inspiration into “guidelines” in pencil prior to working with ink
  • How to properly remove the guidelines once you’ve inked your image 
  • How to identify the outlines of petal and leaf shapes so that you can create a solid outline for your floral composition
  • Adding depth and texture to your shapes them to life
  • and more!


  • A soft pencil, (HB) 
  • A black fine-liner pen, Sakura of America Micron 01 (.25 mm) recommended  
  • A kneadable eraser
  • A sketchbook or sketching paper, Canson Mixed Media 9x12 Sketchbook recommended

I can't wait to share with you my love of drawings, and of course, all things floral. Let's create something beautiful together!


Meet Your Teacher

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Karla Jodoin

Bespoke Floral Illustrator


Hello, I'm Karla Jodoin. I'm an elementary school teacher, wife, mama and freelance artist from Ontario, Canada! I have always been creative, but it wasn't until my first maternity leave from teaching a couple years ago that I finally was able to reconnect with my love of drawing. I started sharing my art on Instagram which soon turned into Love Karla Designs. 


Since that time, I've been sharing my art on Instagram and Pinterest (@lovekdesigns) and on my website at www.lovekarladesigns.com and am working my way toward creating a sustainable career around my art. 


I love to draw, and wi... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi there. Welcome to my Skillshare class. My name is Karla Jordan, and I am the face behind Love Karla designs. In this Skillshare class, we're going to work through my start to finish drawing process two create a beautiful floral illustration together. We'll be drawing flowers but the skills you'll learn hear can be applied to many different subjects. Flowers have always been my love language, but when I took my first maternity leave from teaching a few years ago, I took it to a whole new level. I reconnected with my love of drawing as a creative outlet during my quiet moments at home with the new baby and started sharing my work on Instagram. This grew into Love Karla designs. Since that time, I've been working my way toward building a sustainable career around my art. In this class, I'll share with you my go-to materials for creating floral ink drawings. I tried many different brands over the years, and certainly I've developed a few favorites. I'll save you time and money by showing you what I use and some really helpful tips and tricks for each item. We'll talk about finding inspiration for your drawings, where to find source images, and how to turn your inspiration into a composition. I'll walk you through how to draft a design before you start working with ink, and I'll show you the steps I followed to bring my draft to life with ink. I've a very specific process that makes creating a floral illustrations simple. From draft to align to adding details and dimensions, I'll take you along for my detailed step-by-step process so that you too can create something beautiful. I can't wait to share my knowledge with you, and I look forward to seeing what you create. I can't wait to dive into this course with you. Let's get started. 2. Class Project: Together in this Skillshare class, we're going to create beautiful floral illustration. Now, you might choose to follow along with the design that I'm doing or you can choose to use the skills that you're learning and apply it to your own design. If you choose to follow along with the drawing that I'm doing, I've included a PDF pencil sketch download that you can print and use as your guide today. Either way, I encourage you to share your project in the gallery. I've included three action moves in this course to keep you on track to creating your final piece. I'll outline them in the final slides of this section. In order to set you up for success, I've broken down the class into the exact steps that I use when I create. Starting with creating a composition, drafting or designing pencil, inking or outlines, and finally, adding detail, depth, and texture with your pen. I chose this project because floral illustrations are what I've come to be known for. I know you love creating your own design with the techniques outlined in this class. There are so many different ways you can use your final drawing. The piece we create together will be perfect to add some custom hand-drawn art to your walls at home or to frame and gift to someone you love. I can't wait to walk you through creating a floral illustration today. See you in our first lesson, all about the basic materials that you'll need. 3. Tools + Materials: I've used a lot of different materials over the years in my artistic practice. I found a few things that I really love and I find myself going through again and again. Let's talk about the materials that I recommend you use for this drawing. The main things that you're going to need are good quality pen, a soft HB pencil, and kneadable eraser, and a good sketchbook. My all-time favorite sketchbook is this bade buoy right here. It's the Canson mix media sketchbook. It spiral bound, and it comes to the hardcover. This is really nice because if you use your sketchbook when you're on the go, it protects the pages a lot better than a soft covering. The paper within is double-sided, so the front sighed has a little bit of texture and the backside is smooth. If you prefer to work on a smooth surface, you can flip the book around. But I actually prefer to work on a texture side. There's a few reasons for this. The first reason is because it actually slows down your pen a little bit just by having that little bit of texture you move a little bit slower, which makes you focus more on your lines. The other reason I really like this is because you can never really get a perfectly straight line and it makes sure you're never really going to found a perfectly straight line. So it just adds another really nice element at your peace that makes it look a little bit more realistic. This project, I also recommend that you use soft pencil. I'll link the exact ones that I use here. This won it's an HB pencil, which means the light is not too hard. If you draw it lightly with it on your page, it's not going to leave any indents on the page and it will be too hard to erase. It's also not so soft that it will leave behind a lot of dust. So when you're rubbing your hands across it, it's not going to say much, it's smear on your page. You'll notice here that I'm using a really light touch to sketch it my draft. This pencil is perfect for this because the lines will still be dark enough without having to push to hard. Also, this type of pencil can be removed really easily from the pages of your sketchbook with kneadable eraser, which we'll talk about next. Size could be really fun to play with. kneadable erasers are a lot better than traditional erasers for the style of drawing. Because you're using the eraser on top of your ink, you don't want to have to do a lot of rubbing. A kneatable eraser allows you to just dab and lift away the pencil without putting too much forests on your page and that way you're leaving the ink behind and not lifting too much a bit away. Another reason why I love these kneatable erasers is because they don't leave behind any eraser crumbs. You known the mess I'm talking about when you rub and rub on your paper and you're left with a whole pile of racer behind. Well, that doesn't happen with these. Once you use the eraser on your page, you just literally knead it and the pencil that you lift away from the page is worked into the eraser. These lasts for years, I think I've had this one for at least five and it's still going really strong. You don't need to store it in a bag or anything. They just stay really nicely like this. My all-time favorite pen is the one that you seen hear. The Sakura of America Micron Pen. Usually for my drawings, I use the 01, which is 0.25 millimeters. I also really liked the 005, which is little bit thinner. What I like most about these pens is that the tips are really firm. So they last quite a long time even if you're using them a lot, they're not going to lose their shape or heavy fibers that come loose from the tip. So you'll always have a really nice clean line, this pen. Another reason that I really like these pens is because the tip has unique shape. Wherein if you angle depend lower towards your page, you'll be able to color with the edge of the tip and get a really narrow line and if you pull it upright, you'll get a more solid line. I love that you can get so much variance with just one pen. There are also available in a lot of different sizes. So if you do want a thicker tip, but there'll be a pen for you. One way that you can make sure you're making the most of your pens is to make sure that you always store them with the tip side down. This way the ink will always flow toward the tip instead of away from it and it will last a lot longer. If you store them upright, the ink will flow away and it'll dry out a lot faster. 4. Finding Inspiration: Before we start drawing today, I want to talk little bit about finding inspiration and source images for your works. I can't stress enough how important it is to touch, feel, and explore real flowers and leaves to inspire your work. I love picking up fresh bouquet from our local market and I've learned so much from just stepping out in my own backyard. I'll look for leaves, flowers, and weeds that have interesting shapes. Sometimes I bring them inside and use them as reference to draw from or sometimes I'll snap a photo on my phone of a few angles of the plant so I can reference it later on. I've also found it really helpful to dissect flowers, hold the pedals out and examine their shape, and take a look at what the center of each bloom looks like once the petals are removed. If you don't have any real plants to reference when you're learning how to draw flowers, another great resource is Pinterest. I'm always saving photographs of different varieties of flowers on an inspiration board I've created exactly for this purpose. On this board, I save flowers and leaves so that I can quickly pull them up when I'm ready to create something new. Now that we've talked about a few places you can find inspiration for your piece, it's time for your first action step. If you're going to create your own composition, I want you to create a Pinterest boarded of photos that you can reference while you're drawing. Look for images that you're especially drawn to, or flowers that have some meaning. Try to find images with different angles so you have a visual for when you're creating. Once you've created your board, I want you to share a link to the board so myself or anyone else taking the class can take a look and maybe also be inspired. I always recommend drawing from photographs or from real flowers if you're able to. Never draw from another artist's work or paintings or drawings that you find online. This way, you don't run the risk of accidentally copying someone else's work and you have a better chance of developing your own artistic style. Now that you've considered the type of blooms that you want to draw and have created your inspiration board, it's time for us to talk about creating a composition. I'll seen you in the next lesson. 5. Basic Leaf Techniques: Here I've gathered some leaves from my yard. Each of these leaves has something in common, a thick thin running down the center of the leaf. For this drawing, I'm going to use two different types of leaves. A smaller, simple leaf, and a larger leaf that I like to call the s-curve leaf. Let's see how it's done. I start both by drawing a vein that consists of two parallel lines that come together toward the top quarter of the leaf. Next, I'll add a jagged line on either side of the vein to create the outer edges of the leaf. To add some depth, I'm adding some very simple detailed lines similar to the lines that we'll draw in the petals. Here I'm drawing a larger s-curve leaf, starting off with the same parallel lines converging at the top quarter for the vein. I'm adding in a jagged line on either side of the vein for the outer edge of the leaf. Now, what I'll do is add in a subtle s-curved line on either side of the vein connecting the outer edges of the leaf to the vein. I'll fill it in with a few simple detail lines just to create a bit of dimension and that's it. Now I want you to jump into the next mini-lesson, where I'll show you a few really basic techniques that we'll use today to draw our petals. 6. Basic Petal Techniques: The final piece I've created may look complex to some, so I'm going to continue breaking down a few of the elements in the drawing into some basic shapes. Here you'll see me drawing some really simple five pedal wind flowers or wild anatomy. The center is made up of tiny circles drawn on top of one another to create a larger circle. Next, I'll add the petals. I use the loose u-shape here. Notice that the lines aren't perfectly curved and each is a bit different from the next. I'm filling them in with some really simple detail lines that I'm concentrating toward the center of the bloom. That's it. Now let's draw some simple peony centers. The center of a peony is such an interesting form. I'm going to use similar tiny circles to what we used for the five petal wind flowers surrounded by some loose diamond shapes and elongated ovals. Take a look at how this piece comes together. You'll notice that there are so many different shapes and forms within it. I'm going to draw some small circles, some elongated circles, some ovals connected to lines, and a few really loose diamond shapes. Next, I'll draw a few different petal shapes. The petals of a peony are quite diverse. If you ever pull one apart, you'll notice many different shapes. This makes drawing them easy since you don't need to worry much about having any two petals being perfectly alike. Take a look at how I create some small folds in the petals and add the same simple detail lines to the base of each one. You'll seen all of these techniques come together during the rest of this Skillshare class. But for now, I think we're ready to move into creating your composition. 7. Creating a Composition: I'm going to share a few ideas to get you started on creating a composition here. Often when I begin a drawing, I already have a vision in my mind of what I want my piece to look like. However, I know that when you're starting out, having a clear vision of where you want to take your drawing could be really beneficial to keeping you on track and make sure the whole process is easy. First is to have a number of flower and leaf shapes cut out and ready to go. The pieces here were created from another drawing I've done, but you could use pictures you print off Pinterest, photographs or magazine clippings too. Play around with the shapes that you want to create and see how many different ways they can be arranged. The possibilities here really are endless. When you are brainstorming like this, it takes a lot less effort than to actually draw out your ideas. Another technique that you can use to practice drawing different leaf and flower shapes is by tracing them. You can do this on an iPad if you have Procreate. But the simplest method is to just use a piece of tracing paper placed on top of the photograph of the flower you are working with. Here I'm demonstrating how I can transform a drawing that I've already created and do something completely new by tracing the elements but moving them into a different composition. Play around with these techniques, if you're hesitant to create your own composition or want to spark some new ideas. Once you're ready, I'll see you in the next lesson. Creating your draft design. 8. Drafting Your Design: To begin, you need to have your pencil, your kneadable eraser, and your sketch book or paper on hand. Start sketching out with a very light touch where you want your details to be. I have a rough idea in my head of what I want the overall composition to look like. I'm starting by drawing a small cluster of wind flowers towards the top of the page. I known that I want a few larger blooms surrounded by some smaller flowers and leaves, so I'm adding in some circles to represent where I will eventually draw those larger flowers. You'll notice that I'm not adding in a lot of details at this point. I want you to focus more on your overall composition and where you want flowers and leaves to be laid out. Try using larger shapes and simple lines to represent these ideas. The purpose of this draft layer is to create a base for you to work on. Details will come in later. To add some interest to my drawings, I always add a few different sizes of leaves. Hear, around the larger flowers, I'm adding some large leaves. To add some interesting variation, I'm adding in some smaller and mid-size leaves as well. Layering in different sizes of leaves helps to create depth within the piece. When drawing large blooms like pennies or garden roses, I always start with the center or at the stamen of the flower. This way, you'll always have a working visual of where each petal will stem from. You want to be able to visualize the bottom of each petal joining into the center of the flower and growing outward from it. Now that the bulk of my rough draft is complete, I'm noticing that I was a little bit heavy handed and some areas with my pencil. I'm going to go back in with the kneadable eraser and lift some of that pencil away. I found it really helpful to work my draft in light layers. I'll draw some elements, lift off some of the pencil with the eraser, and then draw some more subtle details on top. I'll continue with this until I'm happy with my draft. Keep in mind, it is really important to lift away as much of the pencil as you can at this point in your drawing. Regardless of the quality of pens that you use, if you're constantly coloring over top of pencil, your pens will not last as long. Moving as much of the pencil lines here as you can, ensures that your pens have a longer life. Now that I have my draft all sketched out and any excess pencil lines removed, I think we're ready to start inking. Before we do that, let's take a look back at some of the key takeaways from creating your draft. First, you'll want to be using a soft HB pencil that can be removed easily from your page with kneaded eraser. You always want two draw with a very light touch to avoid any unwanted lines and indents in your paper. You also want to remove as much of the pencil as you can before you start inking to ensure that your pens last longer. Finally, I really want you to have fun with this arrangement. Play around with the placement of flowers and leaves and foliage until you come up with something that you really like. Our draft is complete. It's time for us to start inking in our outlines with our pen. Let's start. 9. Inking Outlines : Our draft is done, which means it's time for us to start inking our lines. For this part of the process, I like to use Sakura of America Micron 01, which is 0.25 milliliters. I found it's the perfect thickness for my outlines, but it also works really well for adding the details later on. All you have to do is to hold it at a slightly different angle and you'll get that great variants in the thickness of your line. Let's get started. I'm starting by inking the small flowers towards the top of the page. I'm drawing the petals first and I'm rotating my paper to make sure that I have a good angle for my hand to move at. Make sure that your workspace allows you enough room to be able to spin your paper or sketchbook around. Once I'm done drawing the petals, I'll move in to drawing the stem and the center of the small flowers, followed by the small flower's leaves, smaller leaves, then the larger leaves, and then the larger blooms. I like to work on certain elements altogether at once. That way, I maintain a cohesive look throughout the piece. I'll talk more about how I draw leaves later on. But here, take note of the center vein that runs through the leaf. I find it's always a good guideline to start with. Hear you'll notice I'm using a slightly and rough jagged line as I draw the outline of the leaf. It's definitely a different style of line that I use around the petals and makes it look a little bit more rough and uneven. Once we start adding the detail lines in the next chapter of this class, you'll notice the leaves and the petals take on a completely different look. Here I've started drawing the center of my flowers, all I'm doing is drawing some really small circles, staggering them and stacking them one on top of another. I rotate the paper to make sure I have a good angle and continue drawing the small circles that indicate the inside of the flower. Now I'm starting to draw the smaller leaves. One thing I really want you to take note of here is how I draw the center vein. I use two thin lines very close to won another, and about three-quarters of the weigh up towards the tip of each leaf, I taper the lines in so they become one. This adds some shape to the leaf and makes it look as they do on a real leaf where the center vain narrows toward the tip. Moving into drawing the larger leaves now. I'm using the same techniques that I used with the smaller leaves, only this time it might be a little bit easier for you to seen the way I'm drawing the center being. I'm using the same technique with the two lines tapering towards the top quarter of the leaf. I'm also using a similar rough or more jagged line to outline the leaves. You'll find that this type of line is lot easier to make if you use a sketchbook or paper that has little bit of texture. I actually prefer the textures so much when I'm drawing because it gives my drawings a little bit more character and almost a more lifelike feel. Flowers and leaves in nature are never actually perfect, so I like my drawings to be the same way. Now I'm going to start drawing the larger flowers for the peonies. When I draw larger flowers, I always like to start with the centerpiece or the statement of the flour first. We're going to start drawing the petals of the peony. The one thing that I really want you to consider while drawing them is that the base of each petal should be connected to the center of the flower. I want you two imagine each of the petals growing outward from the center. Keeping this in mind while you draw will really help you with the shape and orientation of each petal. I also want you to take note of how I'm creating sum small folds in the petals here. By drawing a bit of an S curve on the sighed of some of the petals and make it look as though the petals are curving into themselves, as they would in the center of a real peony. Here I'm adding some more of the petals that are folded up towards the center. You'll notice they all have a similar look, that broad diamond shape with a little dip in the center and the base of it still connected to the center of the flower. I want you to get creative with the shapes that you create here. When you look at a real flower, no two petals are the same. They'll always be a lot of variance within each bloom. I'm going to work on creating a few more petals that are angled up toward the center of the bloom before we finalize our outline. I'm going to just do a little bit of refining here and make sure that there aren't any lines left that need to be finished off. Once I've done that, I'm going to add in the final little sprig of lavender in the bottom left-hand corner of the piece. I wanted to add this here because it just adds a little bit more of a textural element and some more contrast within the piece. It looks like we're just about ready to finish up. Just like we did when we were finishing up our draft, I'm going to take my kneadable eraser here and remove any unwanted lines before we move into adding the details to our piece. Again, we just don't want any unnecessary pencil lines on the page as they'll shorten the life of your patterns. This looks good. I think we are ready to move on to adding some details to this piece. We finished drawing our outline, which means it's time for us to start adding details and dimension to our piece. 10. Details, Depth + Texture : We finished inking an outline, which means we're ready to move into adding some details to the piece. Now, like I mentioned before, I am going to use the same pen, the Sakura of America, micron zero one. This pen's really great for adding details because all you need to do to get really fine lines is hold it at a lower angle. You'll notice that I don't often cross my lines over one another or add any cross hatching or stippling, my drawing. I often found clean lines look best for this style. I'm going to start by adding some really fine detail lines to the smaller flowers at the top of the page. You'll notice that I'm only adding a few lines to each petal. I want the petals to look smooth. By adding more lines, we'll add more texture, and that's what I don't want here. I'm concentrating the lines toward the center of each petal to create depth. Remember to rotate your page as you work, so that you can get the perfect angle with your hand for creating these lines. Now that I'm done working on the smaller blooms, I'm going to move on to working on the [inaudible]. I'm going to use the same technique where I keep a low angle and a very soft touch to create the dimension here. Again, I don't want too many lines, but I want to focus the lines toward the center of the bloom, and where the folds of the flowers are to create shadow and depth. Again, I don't want to add to many lines here because I don't want to create too much texture, but I want to create enough line to indicate where the shadows would be and where the folds of the blooms would be. We'll, continue to add light detail lines toward the base of each petal that's visible. Continue to rotate your page so that your lines always appear as though they're stemming from the center of the bloom out. You want to make sure that you have a really good angle for this or you'll end up with some wonky lines. Finished adding detail to the puny blooms. I'm moving into inking the larger leaves. I want you to pay close attention to the line that I'm drawing here. I'm adding a very subtle s-curve along each side of the leaves on either side of the vein that we created in the last step. Then I come in with sum smaller lines to add dimension. I want each of these leaves to appear like they have a bit of a curved stem, so I'm leaving some white space. You'll notice that I'm leaving a gap between most of the s-curves and just filling it in with a partial line. I really like drawing leaves this way. It's super easy when you break it down into having the vein, the s-curve and a few fill in lines. But once they're done, they look really beautiful and full of life. One of the leaves that I drew hear has a bit of a fold to it. I want you to watch how I continue the s-curve along the fold. I change the direction of my lines to indicate that the leaf is moving in a different direction. I'm also using some of the fill in lines to create a shadow from the fold of the leaf. Now I'm going to finish up the small leaves. I'm not going to add a whole lot of detail here, but we'll draw a few simple light lines from the center leaf or the vain toward the outer leaf. Watch how quick my motions are and how lightly I'm moving with the pen. Don't forget to keep rotating your sketchbook or your paper so you always have a good angle to draw from. Lavender sprigs in the bottom of this arrangement are the finishing touch on this piece. All we have left to do now or add a few subtle detail lines toward the base of each piece of lavender coming up from the stem. That's it. Now that all of our detail lines are done, we're going to go back in, and refine our drawing just a little bit. I want you to make sure there's no pencil lines left, no spaces where we need to add a little bit more [inaudible] , or anything less than we might have overlooked, where we want to add a few more lines. 11. Final Thoughts: Congratulations. You've finished the course. We've covered so much together from creating a composition and drafting your design, all the way to working with ink to add final details to your piece. I hope that you've created something that you really love. I know I mentioned this before, but I really hope you can take away from this course how easy and attainable certain styles of art are. We created something beautiful with only a few supplies, and some really simple steps that I known you could follow along with. By breaking down the process into steps like this, you're able to enjoy intentionally creating a piece of art that you can be proud of. If you've been sharing your progress in the gallery, I would love to see what your final piece looks like. Make sure you share a photo. I can't wait to see what you guys have created. If you've enjoyed this class, make sure that you follow my profile, and take a minute to leave a review. Thank you so much for being here, and if you're still listening to this, thank you so much for that, too. See you soon.