Fun With Florals: Create Flowers with Dimension & Personality in Procreate | Gia Graham | Skillshare

Fun With Florals: Create Flowers with Dimension & Personality in Procreate

Gia Graham, Designer, Letterer, Illustrator

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10 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Getting Personal

    • 3. Flowers: Shapes & Styles

    • 4. Leaves: Shapes & Styles

    • 5. Planning Petals

    • 6. Adding Dimension

    • 7. Managing Layers

    • 8. Personal Touches

    • 9. Arrangements

    • 10. Final Thoughts

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About This Class


Nothing brightens a mood quite like flowers! Let’s explore a few fun ways to create beautiful imagined florals, drawing digitally in the Procreate app.

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In this class you’ll learn:
• How to create flowers and leaves by using simple shapes
• How to add dimension and detail to your drawing
• How to arrange your florals to create a beautiful, engaging composition

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This class is ideal for anyone who wants to take their floral drawings from flat to fantastic! Some digital drawing experience and basic knowledge of the Procreate app is recommended.

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For more floral inspiration, I invite you to join me on Instagram as well!


1. Intro: nothing brightens mood quite like beautiful blues. So let's have fun with florals. Hi, my name is JIA Graham, and I'm a freelance designer, illustrator and hand lettering artist. In this class, we will explore a few fun ways to create beautiful, imagined florals. Join digitally in the procreate at I often incorporate whimsical flowers and foliage into my work because it's a great way to make my designs feel lush and lively. Although I occasionally use rail flowers for reference, most of the flowers I draw come from my imagination, and I think these imagined florals are a great way to embed your own personality into the artwork. If you were to hold up a sign to express who you are, what would it look like? The project for this class is to create a personal placard, a poster that will have your name on it, surrounded by florals in a style that expresses your personality. Together we will work on building flowers and leaves from basic shapes. I will show you how to use layers and clipping masks to create depth and dimension. I will share which procreate brushes I use and recommend, and I will give you my tips on arranging flowers to create the best composition. This class is ideal for anyone who wants to take their floral drawing from flat to fantastic. I will be drawing digitally so some basic digital drawing experience and knowledge of the procreate app is recommended. Now let's get started. 2. Getting Personal: before we begin, let's dig into this idea of a personal placard and what it's all about and case you're not familiar with the word. A placard is a poster or a sign for public display. It's something that can be fixed to the wall, or it can be carried as you would at a rally or a demonstration. So the poster you're going to make is going to be all about your style and personality. Let's think about it in this context. Say you're at the airport in a foreign country and you're going to be picked up by a driving service. Now there are 50 drivers outside of baggage claim, all holding up signs, and you have to scan the crowd to find yours. If you were to design that sign so that at a glance you can look at it and say, That's totally me. What would you want it to look like? You're a few things to consider. What your favorite colors will you choose colors that are bold and vibrant, or do you prefer colors that are softer and more subdued? How will you incorporate your name? You can choose to use your first name your full name or even just initials. You can choose a font that you really love. Or if you have calligraphy or hand lettering skills, you can write or draw your name in a style that suits you best and most importantly for this class, the flowers. Once you've worked your way through some of the exploration exercises in this class, you want to start thinking about what style of flowers you'll use on your placard. As I mentioned in the intro, Ruthie's will be imagined. Florals. So by default they should already show who you are and what you like, because they're coming from your own imagination. But you do need to take a moment to just think what part of your personality you want to express, because this will help guide your project. Here's the placard I made for myself. I wanted to express my love for vibrant color, and I wanted to give it a clean and modern but also slightly tropical feeling. If you want to express a certain sophistication, maybe use classic colors with elegant florals like in this example, or if your style is more natural and organic, you could use more gritty textures and earthy colors, and this last example shows a sweet and whimsical style with lots of pattern and detail. Now that we have a bit more context, let's move on to our first lesson. 3. Flowers: Shapes & Styles: So let's start with the basics of building flowers. There's so much that we can do with just a few very simple shapes. For example, here I have a teardrop and 1/2 circle and I'll draw for you of flour that I often draw simply because it's so easy to do. And I'm gonna use four teardrops and 2/2 circles to create it. So I'm just gonna angle my teardrop shapes like this and then overlap them with a couple smaller to your drops to create the pedals. And I'll put 1/2 circle in the center and another half circle on top to create that pedal in the back. Super simple. Now let's see how many different versions of this we can make using the same shapes. Now, remember thes air not meant to be realistic blooms, So we have the freedom to be as creative as we want to be. - Now here, I'm going to try combining the two shapes. I'm gonna add a few half circles to the teardrop to see how I can create a different kind of pedal. So let's start with me, too, teardrop pedals. But I'm gonna at a couple half circles here. Then I'll add some half circles in the center. So, as you can see, we've got a few rough shapes here and quite a bit of variety. Considering that we're only using two shapes to create all of these, we can take these rough sketches and bring them to life a little bit more by adding a few details. These can be lines dots. You know, we can add a few whimsical stay man coming off the flowers. This is where you can really use your imagination and get created with each of the flowers . So let's see what we can do here. Um, can add some lines in the center of this flower here, just a few details. - So as you can see, the options are endless. Here are a few more basic shapes that can be used in a variety of combinations to create more flowers, you can find these in the pdf that I made for you, which you can download from. The resource is section below, but here we have the half circle on the teardrop that we were just using. Then there's a circle, an almond shape, a rounded rectangle, a pointed half Circle Oval and a wave. So now let's play around with a few combinations of these to see what we can come up with. So I brought all my shapes in to use as kind of a cheat sheet. So let's just see what we can create here. Let's start with a circle in the center and I want to use this rounded rectangle shape. But first, I'm just gonna draw a few light lines so that I can have a little bit of a guide for where I want to put these petals lightly. Start sketching in the pedals here. Okay, Now I can go back in and fill these in a little more. Now, these four pedals, I want them to appear a so they're behind the 1st 4 So I'm just not going to complete the shape, so it looks like it's sitting behind these. - I'm gonna use the two waves to make this shape completely different. So I'll start kind of in the center and, um, draw my wave shape here and another one here. Then I'll go in and connect those. Let's try appointed half circle at the top. By the way, you can kind of alter any of these shapes in any way that you want to. So, for example, I'm going to use a teardrop again. But I'm going to stretch it out. I'm gonna elongate it to create something slightly different. Now, I can go in and add a few details and just work on these shakes a little. What? Here. I want to create a little wider base for this flower. Just go in and add a little more curve here. So there we have it. We can create as many different styles of flowers we want by just mixing and matching and experimenting with all the various shapes. The same goes for leaves as well. So in the next lesson, we'll walk through all the different kinds of leaves we can create with just a few basic shapes. 4. Leaves: Shapes & Styles: much like with the flowers. Drawing leaves can be broken down into simple lines, and shapes were going to recreate each of these step by step. But first, let's take a quick look at the shapes will be using, as you can see several of these air, similar to what we used when creating our flowers. But there are a few new ones. There's a lane, a curved line, an S curve line, the pointed half circle which were familiar with the almond, a stretched almond shape, the oval and teardrop. Once again, I've added all my shapes here so I can use for quick and easy reference. So let's start with something pretty simple and straightforward. Will use the straight line and the almond shape, and you conjoined these together in any combination and size. Pretty straightforward, we can do the same with the Street lane and the oval. It's on your over leaves here again. Quite simple. Now there'll be times when you'll want to add a little movement to your leaves, and that's where the S lion comes in so we can draw Ness Lane for the branch and ads and leaves to that. Now we could also add movement to the leaves themselves. So we can do this by combining the almond shaped with that s curve. And I'll show you what I mean. Start with your almond shape and then you'll draw an s curve following the top line of the almond shaped and coming into the open space. You just take your s curve and do this, and you can go in and erase what you don't need. And that's a simple beginner way of drawing a leaf with a little bit more movement to it. Eventually, once you have a little more practice, you'll be able to draw those freehand. But that's just a quick way to get started. The same principle applies to that stretched almond shape. You can either have a few leaves that look like this or you can and a little curve to that . The beginner version of that is to do your stretched almond shape and then just come in with your S curve lane and erase what you don't need. So I'm gonna go through and just like we did with the flowers, make us many different leaves as I can think of using just thes shapes all slow things down a little here to show another way of combining the shapes to create a different leaf style. First, I'll just draw basically, and then I'm gonna use this pointed half circle to create leaf teeth. Those are the little jagged edges on a leaf, so we'll just go in and add that pointed half circle all along the edge. I usually like to stop just shy of that top point, and then you just go in and erase the areas you don't want to show. There you have it several different leaves that you can create just with a few simple shapes. Remember, you can always reference the drawing guide I've provided for you in the resource is section . If you'd like to revisit any of these exercises and let's move on to the next lesson. 5. Planning Petals: Now that we have the basics of building leaves and flowers figured out, we can turn our attention to bringing these sketches to life. A few subtle details can really help create a three dimensional look and lift your drawing off the page, but it does require a little planning and forethought. The key here is to plan your petals and use your layers before starting. It's helpful to think through the shadow areas on your sketch where they will be, because this will help you know what needs to go on each layer. So here, since these pedals are a little bit behind, we can just drawing a little shadow here as well as here. And this pedal sits behind these two, so it makes sense that there would be a little bit of a shadow area here. A swell. So now, when it comes to inking this rather than just thinking of thinking it all on one layer, let's think of it as a flower sandwich. We're gonna need a top layer, a center layer and the bottom layer, so let's go to our layers panel and create three new layers, and just so we don't get confused let's rename each of them. So we've got bottom center and top. Now, when we look at our sketch, these two pedals are in the foreground. So want these to be on our top player? This pedal in the center is our center layer, and these pedals that are at the back will be on our bottom layer. Now, we're gonna go ahead and ink the appropriate pedals onto the appropriate layers before I start thinking I find it helpful to reduce the opacity on my sketch layer so it doesn't get too confusing. And I'm going to start with these two pedals that will be on my bottom layer. So make sure I'm on my bottom layer. We'll just go in and I think those shapes Now, I'm gonna hide this again. So I'm not confusing myself. So I'm just gonna get that out of the way, shift up to my center layer and just draw the pedal that's gonna be on that layer again. I'm gonna hide it, move on to my top layer and draw thes two pedals that are gonna be in the foreground. All right. So I can now turn off my sketch lair and I'm done. The first part of the thinking process. It doesn't look like much, but I promise it will come together in the next lesson. 6. Adding Dimension: Now we get to the fun part. We have our flower sandwich, and we want to add some dimension to it. So for this I use textured brushes and clipping masks, So let's start with the bottom layer. We make sure that we have our bottom, they're selected. Then we tap on the plus symbol to create a new layer above it. Tap that new layer and select clipping mask. You'll see a little arrow here that shows up that indicates that you're masking the layer below. So this bottom layer are these two pedals right here, so I'll go ahead and select whatever textured brush I want to use. Select a new color and just start to lightly shade the areas. I want to have a little shadow. Now let's move up to our center layer. Add a layer above, make that layer a clipping mask and we'll do the same and we're just lightly adding some subtle detail. Now, what I usually like to do is create an eraser using that same textured brush so that if I've overdone it, I can just kind of lightly go in and remove some of the areas that I've done. A little too dark. Now those two pedals in the foreground don't necessarily need a lot of shadow, but we could still add a little dimension there. So let's go ahead and add a new layer. Make it a clipping mask and we can just add a little subtle dimension here. Feels a little heavy handed, so we'll just go in and erase little, and that just helps it look a little less flat. Here we go. Something to think about is choosing the right color for your shadow areas. The easiest way is to simply create a darker version of the color that you are already using. So I was using this light pink for the flower. So just click on my swatch and go down to the color disk and you'll notice that in the color disk, the lighter colors or a top left, and it gets darker as you go bottom right. So this is the color that I've selected. You basically tap on it and then just go towards the right and down a little just to give you a slightly darker version of that color. By the way, if you'd like to learn how to pull together a cohesive colors for your digital art. You can take my class on how to build a perfect color palette. The other thing you want to consider is what brush you'll use for the shadow areas. I have a few go to Russia's I like to use for adding texture and dimension. Ah, the first is the noise brush, which comes free with procreate. It has a pretty fine texture and not a lot of grit, so it's great for really subtle shadows. The brush I tend to use most these days is this gua shader from Retro Supply Co. It has just enough grit without being too overwhelming, and the smaller you make your brush, the more defined it is, and the larger you make your brush, the more texture you'll get. Another great brush that I like is from sin, no pink. It's this medium grit shader. This one's really good for some pretty heavy duty texture, and lastly, this half don't brush from shot. Bam is great for a retro vibe and some really nice rough texture, so you can just choose a brush based on your personal style or whatever vibe you want to create with the particular piece that you're working on and I'll be sure to share links for all of these in the resource is section below. 7. Managing Layers: before we move on, I want to take a quick moment to talk about all these layers, as I'm sure you can imagine. If you have several flowers in your drawing, having multiple layers per flower can get confusing pretty quickly. So to come back this, I recommend a couple different things. One of the ways to keep your layers toe a minimum is to share layers. When you figured out the layout for your drawing and you're ready to start thinking, go ahead and make those three layers for your flower sandwich, your top center and bottom layers. And then you can Inc all of the foreground petals on that top layer, all of the centre elements on the center layer and all the background pedals on the bottom layer. So show you what I mean, so you'll see here if I hide this. All of my top pedals are all sharing one layer, same for the center elements in the background elements. Another great way to manage your layers. It's to group them in this drawing. I have several flowers and leaves, So as you can imagine, there are a lot of layers happening here in order to keep your sanity. In a situation like this, I would suggest using layer groups. So what I would suggest is creating a layer group for each flower. So I'm gonna create a group for this flower here. When I go into my layers, I know that all of these layers create that one flower. Um, not only do I have my bottom center and top players, I split this center area into three different layers so that I can give it a little more dimension. Each of those layers has a clipping mask, so it really adds up. So to create your layer group, what you would do is just make sure one layer is highlighted, preferably the top one. And then you just swipe right on all the layers that you want to include in your group. So once you have everything selected, you would just go up here and tap group and you'll see that everything is contained within one group. Then I would tap on where it says new group rename, and I'm gonna call this coral flower. And there I have a group that has just that flower that I want the great thing about layer groups is that you can not only hide and reveal all of the layers within that flower at once, but you can also move all of those layers without having to go in and change them all individually. And you can also duplicate all of those layers all at once, and you can have a second version of their flower while maintaining all of your layers. So, as you can see, I've created layer groups for each flower in this piece, and I have them all named so that they're easy to identify. I've done it for the leaves as well, so my layers panel is organized. It's easy to manage, and I still maintain the flexibility of going in and changing any of the individual elements in my layer group. Depending on the complexity of your piece, even having layer groups can still become quite cumbersome. So once you're satisfied that you will no longer need to make any changes to each of these flowers, you can go ahead and merge or flatten your layer groups. So what you do is you just tap on your layer group click flatten and there it iss. Everything was condensed into one layer tap, flatten, and that's it. If you don't want to completely flatten your layer groups, you do have the option of simply merging down a few layers within that group. So, for example, if you tap on a layer, you'll see an option here that says Emerged Down. If you tap on that, what it does is just combines that layer that what you had highlighted with the layer below it, so tap merged, own. So emerging those three layers. What I've done is just created a flattened section of the flower within my layer group. But I still have all of the other elements in layers if I decide to go in and make changes later on. So the biggest thing to keep in mind is that when you flatten or merge layers, you no longer have the option to go in and make changes on any of the individual layers. So you only want to do this if you are sure that you do not need to make any additional changes to those flowers. Now that we've covered the basics, let's turn our attention back to the flower we were working on 8. Personal Touches: it's time to inject some personality into our drawing. The shading between pedals that we covered in less than six added dimension so it doesn't feel so flat. Now it's time to explore how we can add more detail when it comes to adding detail to your floral drawings. The options are endless as your imagination, but here are six ideas to get you started. First up, small dots these could be is dense or spread out as you want. Loose dots would be more sporadic and placement shape and size. I use these loose lines in my joints quite often. It's a great way to add visual interest pretty quickly. As the name suggests, detailed lines would be more intricate and elaborate, like the loose dots. Loose strokes would very in shape and size, and you can even create patterns within the flowers for a whimsical look. Another great way to add personality to your flowers is to create stylized interpretations of floral anatomy. You can do all sorts of fun things with this demon. You can add steeples or samples depending on where you're from, or you can incorporate a stylized version of the stigma. You can also change the feeling of your drawing with the brushes you choose to use. Of course, I can't cover all the possibilities because there's so many of them. But here are a few examples to show what a difference your choice of brush can make. The studio pen is ideal if you want your ink drawings to be really clean and crisp, and in this example it's paired with the noise brush for the shadows. Wash brushes are great for a textured, painterly effect, and they can be somewhat transparent as well, which you can see in this example when you have a dark color behind it, that color will show through the brush Strokes and chopped brushes have this wonderful effect of being gritty but somehow still buttery smooth at the same time, I encourage you to play around with these options and even see if you can come up with some of your own. This is a great way to explore your personal style preferences so that when you're working on your placard for the class project, it will truly reflect who you are. Now let's try another exploration exercise. I have three duplicates of the same flower and I'm going to give each of these a different personality, using some of the detail options just shown. I'm going to go for a playful look with this one. I'll try something painterly with this, and I'll go for an elegant option here and, uh, go ahead and speed this process up for you. - As you can see, although the framework of the flowers is the same, they each have their own individual style. Now that we've practiced working on individual flowers, how do we put this all together to create a fun piece of art? Well, we'll cover that in the next lesson. 9. Arrangements: let's start working on our project. Since the placard will feature your name surrounded by flowers, we now have to think about how to arrange all those elements. One of the most important things to consider when composing a floral arrangement is movement. You want all of your elements to create a nice organic flow. As you can see with this arrangement, the flowers are facing in different directions, and the curves and the leaves and the stems are all flowing outward from the center of the piece, which creates energy and movement. You can see it here with these arrows, which are really moving in different directions, and that helps peace, not feel a rigid or static. Another trick that will bring life to your arrangement is layering, just like we created the flower sandwich, with elements in the foreground, the center in the background. We can think of the overall arrangement in the same way. For example, here the flowers don't just sit next to each other. They overlap. Let me show you this way, so flower number one is in the foreground. It's it's on top. Flower number two is in the center. It sits under flower one and above flower three. And this third flower is in the background of this grouping, and then all the leaves and buds and stems are sitting in the background behind all of the florals. The best way to start working on your layout is to do a really loose skeleton sketch with just shapes and lines. First thing of the overall shape you want to create for this. I want a slightly horizontal shape with a large flower in the center, so I'm just going to start creating a circle really loose. And then I'll probably have another flower somewhere here. Maybe something down here. Then I can add a few stems for movement. So I've defined my shapes and I created a template for myself, and I will reduce the opacity on this just so it's not too distracting. Now I can start sketching my flowers, using the shapes as a guide. - So there's my sketch. I can remove my template, and I have a really rough idea of where I want to go with this arrangement. So now that I've done my loose sketch, I can go in and define things a little more. Here's my tightened up and more defined sketch. And from here I would just go to the thinking process. And just like we did in the earlier lessons, I would think through where the foreground areas are gonna be, where the background florals will be. And I'd create layers accordingly to make life a little easier. For you have created three templates, which you can use as a starting point for your placard. Of course, you're more than welcome to create an arrangement of your own. But if you're new to composition or if it's something you just need more practice with, these templates will be a helpful head start. You can download these in. The resource is section template one is based on the placard I designed for myself. I'll show you an overly so that you can see The circles are just areas where you can create flowers. The lines can represent leaves or stems, and, as you can see with mine, I varied slightly. Everything doesn't fit perfectly within the shapes of the template, but the point of it is just to serve as a guide so you can add flowers. Here you can add flowers to just see three circles, ignore these two and put leaves there instead. It's really just a starting point for you now. I have a really short names would fit within a circle just fine. But if you have a longer name, you might consider changing the circle to an oval so you can have more horizontal room Template to is great for a longer name. It frames of name really well. And as you can see, you have space for several blooms as well as areas for stems or leaves. And this template also plays with negative space in a fun way. The idea here is to make sure that there's no outline on the rectangle so that it looks like this shape is cut into the flowers and I'll show you how I did that. The trick to that effect is to create a white rectangle above the layer with all the flowers. So here's my flower layer, and above that I put a layer with a white rectangle, and in order to have this effect where some of the leaves are are filling that negative space, you basically then put a layer above the rectangle where you would add those leaves Template three is a straightforward floral wreath, which you can make as simple or as elaborate as you want here. In the placard example that I've created, I've pretty closely followed the template with three main blooms. I added 1/4 year, and this area can be filled with leaves or stems whatever you would like now, you can also make this even more elaborate by adding even more flowers. Or you can make it really minimal and simple and just have stems and leaves and maybe one or two small buds here and there. It's completely up to you. 10. Final Thoughts: whatever design decisions you make with your placard, the goal is simply to have fun and let your personality shine through. Feel free to ask me any questions. If you have any along the way, and be sure to post a project in the gallery below. I can't wait to see what you create.