Illustration: Learn How to Draw Flowers in Dotwork | Lonneke Idema | Skillshare

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Illustration: Learn How to Draw Flowers in Dotwork

teacher avatar Lonneke Idema, Illustrator from The Netherlands

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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 (60m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Setup

    • 3. How to Symbolize a Story

    • 4. Reference + Flower 1 - Lavender

    • 5. Flower 2 - Poppy

    • 6. Flower 3 - Lotus

    • 7. Flower 4 - Plumeria

    • 8. Dotwork Shadows

    • 9. Apply Dotwork in the Flowers

    • 10. The Final Drawing

    • 11. The Assignment

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About This Class

Love to draw flowers? This is the easiest way to draw simple flowers with dotwork!

In this class, you will learn how to draw flowers using only black fineliners. I will also explain how to create shadows and apply depth by dot work also using only the fineliners. What makes this class different is the extra angle of approach. We will be discussing what meanings different flowers can have and how applying these meanings into the drawing can make it personal and also have a mentally healing effect.

Key lessons include:

  • Using the right tools
  • Choosing a good reference
  • Learn the easiest way to draw outlines and shadows in dotwork
  • Give your drawing a personal meaning
  • Draw flowers together into a composition

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Meet Your Teacher

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Lonneke Idema

Illustrator from The Netherlands


Hello, I'm Lonneke, an illustrator and aspiring tattoo artist from Utrecht, The Netherlands. My work is mostly smaller illustrations in blackwork combined with linework and dotwork. 

I believe that everybody has an inner artist, you just have to practice and give yourself time. Everyone is still learning it's awesome to share your skills and your enjoyments in these skills with others.

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1. Introduction: My name is Lonneke Idema. I'm an illustrator/graphic designer from Utrecht, it's out in The Netherlands. I am going to share with you how to draw flowers within dot work and black work. Been an illustrator for only two years now. Before that I was studying journalism. The work I do mostly is tattoo work, dot work, and black work, some digital design but normally it's just pretty classic, pretty old school, just some pencils and paper. What we're doing today is drawing flowers with a back story. We're drawing four types flowers. Beginning with, I'm going to explain the tools that I use and why it's important to use different kinds of tools. I really find the meaning behind flowers or behind different kinds of elements in a drawing and that makes the drawing personal and special. After that, we're diving into the dot work, how you can imply shadows with dot work, and how the thickness or the blackness or how fine line areas admit thickness. Often fine liners can be a really great effect on how the outcome of your drawings is going to be. That's what we're working with today and I'm happy you're following up. 2. The Setup: In this chapter, we're going to talk about the tools that I use, the pencils, the pens, the fineliners, and the paper that I use. Let's start with paper. Normally, when I sketch, it's just on normal paper, like prints or papers, totally fine, or just thin paper in my sketchbook because thick paper could be quite expensive. But for these drawings, I really do recommend you use thick paper. I think it's 220 grams, but I'll look that up. It's a little bit better because the sketching on it really slides on easily, and even with the thicker or the pencil that I use, which is a 2H pencil, it's quite a harsh, quite strong tip. Normally, when it's thin paper, you can't erase it very easily while, while you use a thicker paper, it's very easy to erase it or to adjust any of the lines that you draw. That's why I recommend the thicker paper, and the 2H because the lines are really thin and with pencil, we're going to draw over it with fineliners anyway. So it's easier to use a really strong pencil that the lines are going to be really thin. Obviously, get a pencil sharpener just in case. I use a quality eraser. This one is from Faber Castell, it's a latex free eraser, it's really good, does its job. Normally, it's also okay to use a kneading eraser because normally you can twist it into a tip and get into the fine crevices of the drawing, but this one, I never had troubles with it, so this one is fine. The fineliners that I use are from Copic and from Micron, both work fine, but there's one fineliner in particular I want to go in depth about. Both brands have it. This is a 003, the 0.3 millimeter fineliners. The tips are very, very fine, and I use these for dot work. I don't know if the zoom on the tips would even work, but the tips are very fine. As I said, it's 0.03 millimeters. It makes a perfect tip for a really fine dot work, and I'll show you some examples of that. Furthermore, the Micron pens that I use are the 01, 03 and 08, they're fine for making the lines a little thicker, making some thicker dot work. It's just for the outlines. They work perfectly. For the really thick outlines or the larger areas that I have to color in, I use the Posco markers, the 07 and the 09 and 1.3 millimeters. These are just on alcohol bases pens. They work perfect, and also the Copic one, which is perfect for some marbling effect. Last but not least, a ruler. I use these kinds of rulers because not always drawing on flat surfaces, but this works perfectly if you have to draw a geometric shapes or anything in that category. Now that we've discussed the tools that we're going to use, let's dive into how to visualize a story. 3. How to Symbolize a Story: For the next part, we're going to talk about how flowers can be very helpful into, visualizing or symbolizing a story. Not all in life. It is very easy to go through and sometimes you need a little help to get over hard times or to just help you cope with something that happened or anything. Even for other people, if you like drawing, it's very nice to visualize something beautiful. That's what we're going to do right now. I'm going to tell you the different meanings of the four flowers we are going to draw today. First flower would go into draw is Lavender. Lavenders are very frequently present like all of the time. What that means to me is it was very much useful to someone who is always pleasantly there, like always into picture, always helpful, always having a smile on their face. Like if you're making a drawing for someone who is that person, it would be perfect to draw lavender for that person. Lavender is also, as source of youth. It's also very feminine. It is purple, the color purple has all different meanings on its own. It's stands for refinement, grace, elegant. It's also very delicate, but all these meanings can mean something different for you. The second flower we're going to draw is a Poppy. Poppy is by far my favorite flower existing. It is a very delicate flower, but it's also very strong. Last thing I want to say about the poppy is that it is often seen as a weed and is often removed from grounds. It's the most beautiful flower that can grow on dead ground. It grow through cement, but it does almost dies instantly when it's picked up, I think that's the most beautiful thing about poppy. Next, we're going to talk about the Lotus. There are a few different lotuses, with different meanings. The White Lotus stands for purity and devotion and is often used in a spiritual meaning within Eastern countries like India, within Buddhism and Hinduism, because it's white, it stands for purity. The blue and the purple lotuses are taken on a different spiritual meaning, which is devotion, rebirth, enlightenment, ascension. Within black and white drawings you can really draw like that, the colors within, but you can choose a meaning for yourself. Last flower that we're going to discuss is the Plumeria. It's a very white or pink flower, mostly used and grown in Eastern countries like Singapore and Malaysia, Indonesia. This flower is all about positivity and celebration. It was nice to include that as well. In the next chapter, or going to dive into drawing and we're going to draw the outlines of all the flowers that I just mentioned. 4. Reference + Flower 1 - Lavender: In this chapter, we're going to draw the outlines of all the flowers that we talked about in the last chapter. In this chapter, is going to be very easy. Just drawing the outlines, but it's a necessary step of course. We're going to begin with seeking out references. There's a few steps in picking a reference. The most important one is to pick a photo, and not a drawing that somebody else's made because it's a personal project. Second of all, pick something that you can actually draw. So make sure the lines are obvious, and it's really easy for you to draw. I picked Pinterest for this because it has a lot of options to choose from. Vertical position I am drawing some face for my lavender. Because lavender on its own is more like an addition to drawing. So I'm just going to draw something easy where it can sit in. Something like this. I'm going to draw like three branches. One like that, one like that, and one like that. Now I'm going little bit of depth to the vase. It's amazing how easy that is. Because you can just draw like really light, shadow within lamp like this. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, was only a pencil, so they'll be fine. So do some with lavender, there's a branch here, and then more at the top. So that's what we're doing to do. Choose drawing. Little branches. It's not perfect, anyway it is fine. I'm sure. Just going to draw it like that. If you want fuller branches then just go for it, that's totally fine. So that's going to be. I will do one more, one more like that. So that's our first one, and then a little one down here. Just like that. I think that's perfect. Moving on to just doing this to all three of them. Don't be afraid. Like don't even call it mistakes because first of all, we're drawing in pencil. Second first of all, my leaves are everywhere, so it'll be fine. Just like that. Now are going to fill it in with micron 01 because the shadows we're going deal with, there are 03. This will work perfectly. So now we've built everything in with a quite thick fine liner. Now I'm going to grab that 03. That is this one. Of course we're leaving the shadows till the next chapter. But for now, I just want to fill in like the tiniest bits right here. Just to make that line like little thing. Just like that. For our last step, don't do it very harsh, but we're going to erase it. Now I haven't found a really good, thinner liners that don't erase or just don't faint. When you erase it. So just tried to do it very lightly. It will fade a little bit, if you want you can draw over that again. But if you do it very lightly, there's not really needs. Its just fade out all the gray areas from the pencil. You can take that in mind for drawing the next flower. Just don't over press your pencil. Just like this, and we're done with the lavender. 5. Flower 2 - Poppy: For our next drawing, we're going to draw the poppy. It looks like a difficult flower, but it's really not that hard because it looks quite chaotic and in the drawing it's exactly the same. All the leaves flapper everywhere. That's just what we're going to do. Starting off here. Just [inaudible]. Just like that and moving on. Most of the time, if the wind blows directly at it then the bottom leaves will reveal what's inside. I think I'm going to take that angle. I can show you an example of it. It doesn't need to be perfect. The bottom leaf choose to going down there. I'm going to make the other leaf first because I don't know what the inside is going to look like yet. I'm going to draw a leaf there just like that and then maybe pick one top like that and maybe one blowing in the wind down here as well. Let's make it have a little flap just like that. We're going to attach it to the other one. So let's see. It flips over right there. Just imagine you're in a Bob Ross tutorial, there's not a lot you can do wrong here. Let's do it like that. Attaching this one. [inaudible]. We're going to do a flap right there. Just like that. Now we're going to draw the inside and just let this go a little bit up. We're going to draw the sensor just like this. I think that's enough. Also, it doesn't have to be perfect and you just draw little strings from it. A little shorter, a little longer. Just let it vary like that and draw little dots attached to it. That's a pretty big sensor. I'm Looking at it now, but it's totally fine. Just to add a little bit of shadows, let it have some ground so it doesn't look like it's floating. That's also nice. Just like the beginning of the shadows, try to draw the lines like the same space in-between of them, but also try to make it go from the crevices that you draw into lines just like that. If there's a corner, draw from there and there's a corner roughly there. Here's one draw from there and just like that. This one's a little bit difficult but you won't even notice. Just do it like that. Then we have made a sketch from our poppy. Moving on to the same micron pen that we've used before, the O1. Go over it like we did with the lavender. Remember, the pencil that you drew isn't permanent. So don't be afraid to don't follow the lines perfectly because these are the lines that will stay there. The pencil you will erase, so don't worry about it. Of course if you want to use the really small OO3 tip for this, be my guest. But at the shadows later anyway, this would look fine. This is a perfect timing for making these strings look a little bit smaller because it's quite big and the flower isn't that big. Again, only retaining maybe a few less. Then draw little dots. Now it looks weird because the pencil is still there but remember I'm going to erase afterwards. Just like this. Now grab your OO3 and let's add them shadows. Like that. Grab your eraser. Just go over it lightly. Like that. We've finished our Poppy. 6. Flower 3 - Lotus: Now we're moving on to the Lotus. Lotus is also a very chaotic flower, it looks chaotic if you photograph it from different angles. I think what's most important in the Lotus is, when and where you apply the shadows. For the outlines, it doesn't really matter as long as the leaves have the same shape except for under the flower. That's what we're going to do. Let's start with the most difficult part, which is the center. Just draw a tiny flower, little folded into wind like that. Let's attach some weird flowers at the bottom to this one over here. I know this looks nothing like a Lotus but just keep faith and the last one at the bottom. If you feel scared drawing flowers just like it drives me, practice makes perfect. We're going to draw the front of it. Obviously the one in front looks shorter and thicker than the one in the back which looks taller and a little bit thin. We're going to start with the bigger one. If you are hesitating, just look at your reference photo that you picked out try to mimic what it actually looks like. Maybe you have a small one peek through it. Just like that, and of course it will look different with the shadows, but that gives you a Lotus in it. Grab your 01 again and just trace it, just like that. Grab your eraser again and go for it, and of course, make sure everything is dry. Once you've made that mistake, you're not making it again. Now we are done. 7. Flower 4 - Plumeria: For our last one, drawing a plumeria. This is quite easy except for the proportions. So let's just start and hope for the best. It's going to look weird if the leaves aren't all the same size. We're just going to start. It's basically a wheel. We're just going to draw the first lines for now. This is working out pretty good like that. I have some kind of shooting star, and we're just going to attach it. Just like that, it's pretty dope. For the shadows, you can do that with pen, but it's easier to make it happen with pencil first. We're just going to make a round at the end and fade it out just like that. Make a round, swing it up, fade it out. Just like that. Moving on to your 01. Just to draw it over. I would apply the same technique as using a pencil. If you can make it in one stroke, then I would definitely recommend that because it usually comes out looking a little bit neater. But of course, no flower is the same, so now we have our star again and just going to attach it. These lines are in the flower, pretty obvious. So I am doing that still with the 01 pencil. Also, because the shadows are going to come from inside, so I think this is our best options where I make them look visible at all times. Like that. Grab your eraser and just go over it lightly We're done drawing the flowers. Now that we've drawn the flowers, we're going to move on to Chapter 4, which we're going to apply the dotwork shadows in. 8. Dotwork Shadows: In this chapter, we're going to head into the Dotwork and how we can create shadows with it. Normally Dotwork within tattoo work is used to apply shadows to fill in certain areas, just to make everything look united, like it's one. That's what we're going to do consider right now within Dotwork, we're applying shadows to our flowers. For this chapter, we're going to start trying out the Dotwork. The easiest way to do that, for me to explain it, is to draw a mountain. That's what we're going to do, is just to explain Dotwork to you and using the Dotwork as shadows. You're just going to draw easy mountains like that, one big one and one small one. Mountains have shadows obviously, so that's what we're going to draw, like these are great. I'm going to draw over them with the 0.1 just like that. Let it dry for a little bit, and go over it with the eraser, like that. Go over it with the one with a little bit thicker tip, the 03 I'm going to use for it because then the lines within the mountains are more obvious and the shadows are even more obvious, just like that. Then grab your 01 again and start drawing very softly, some lines from the crevices of the mountain down. Right here, I'm going to draw a tiny line there and from here down as well, and down from there and make a split one from there. One from here, now one from there down and from here down and from here that way, like that. Do the same one for the other mountain. Just like that. Grab your 03 and I'm going to show you what it looks like to draw shadows or to draw just dots. What it's going to look like if I draw just dots is this. This could look like shadows, but it doesn't. I'm going to show you what an actual shadow using Dotwork looks like. You start very heavy at the top like that, just make it almost all black. Then when you go down, your dots become lighter and more spread apart. This is also why using really fine black liners is really important. If you use a thicker marker, then the dots will be thicker and you can't put them apart like this, and you can't make make the gradient look as fluent as it does now. Just like that. Once you practice further, you can draw the whole mountain. I'm going to leave you by this because the video is about flowers and this is just explaining how Dotwork as shadows work. Now that we know how Dotwork is applied, we can apply Dotwork to the flowers that we've just drawn. That's what we're going to do in the next chapter. 9. Apply Dotwork in the Flowers: Now that we've finished Chapter Four, we're moving on to Chapter Five. We're going to apply all the dotwork that we've practiced into our drawn flowers that we've drawn before. With a lavender, the dots that we're going to apply are at the beginning of the leaves, everywhere but not a lot because the leaves are very tiny and also this is a tinier part, right there. So that's where we're going to apply a lot of dots and then maybe a little bit in the corners and across from the strings everywhere the shadow would hit. So that's what we're going to do. That's it for the lavender and of course, we're going to finish the other two as well. For the vase, we are going to dot here the most. Make sure to go over the inner shadow line as well when you're finished. It almost works the same as in, if you've ever worked with Photoshop or Illustrator. The layer that is on top will be the most visible. In drawing it's less visible, but it's still there. The layer on top will be the most present. Just follow those rules and you'll be good. As you can see, this dotting really makes the drawing have some character. Just like that and go over the inner lines. Where there's no dots, you don't have to go over because this will actually contribute to the shadow effect. Just like that. What I would advice, just to go over with the 03. Not the 003 but the 03. Just go over the lines of the vase because it will make it look a little more detailed, and like that, it will make it obvious that that is the outline. After all, with these drawings, it really comes down to the detail. Just like that. Finish your lavenders and you're done. Just like that and your lavender is done. Moving on to the second one, which is the poppy, we're going to dive in with the 003. This one is for shadows. This one's fairly easy. We're only going to play some shadows in this part and then just in between of these [inaudible] shadow stripes and on the sides so that just the middle is lit up. Something like that. Make it go inward a little bit. So right there. Make the dots go in. Gives it a little bit more definition. Remember that these drawings can actually take a while because dotwork really just takes a long time to make it perfect. You just go from the inside here a little bit. Not a lot. Something like that and then accentuate the sides a little bit also, right here. Like that and if you really like the effect that the dots give, you can go in the middle and just add a little bit everywhere. It gives it a little bit more life. Just like that and repeat that for all the leaves. Like that and we're done with the poppy. For the lotus, I forgot. We didn't draw the stem so we're going to do that real quick. Then moving on to the three, we're going to create some shadows using lines and dots. The lines go from this point all the way down to where it's the broadest. That's what we're going to do with all of them I'll show here, and if the line stops halfway, that's fine because it shadows anyway. Just like that, and that's what we're going to do with all the leaves. Just like that. Now we're going to apply the dots into like mostly we want to leave the inside as white as possible. We're going to draw from the outside in. Dotting from the corners where you also drew the lines. It doesn't have to be as many, because the shadow is already there. If you have to make the tips a little darker, you can use tiny lines for this as well because you'll really see it. For the stem we're going to dot from here or from downward. But first we're going to do the same that we also did to the copy and that is draw a shadow right at the end here. Doesn't have to be very precise, just like to give the illusion that it's standing on something. I like to do a very vague ground, but you can also do one little bit bigger line that just goes down. It needs to have some balance or some bow inside the line or else it would look, if you draw just a straight line, it will look a little bit odd. I would give the advice to just play with it a little bit and you'll figure it out. Just dot at the bottom and go up like that and do the same thing over there. Just like that. To me, the stem lines here look a little bit odd. What I'm going to do is take the O3 and make these lines just a little bit bigger. Give them some detail. Just like that. I really like that because it draws attention to it. It shows you that it doesn't have to be perfect and that imperfection actually makes it more beautiful most of the time. We're done with our third flower and for the last flower, it's probably one of the easiest, but it's actually quite weird if you look at the flower, the shadows come from the inside out. That's what we're going to do. The area in the middle is, if you convert it to black, it will be almost completely black, like that. From there out, the shape, it follows a pattern that goes like that. It's the shape of the leaf within the leaf. That's what we're going to do. But then with two dots, I'll make it like that, and then fill it up and go from blackest to lightest. Of course it doesn't have to be perfect. It will look cool anyway. Just like that and you're going to repeat that on every leaf. Just like that and now I look at it, I think it would be prettier if we draw this line a little bit further just like we did with the lotus, so that you can really see that as a shadow as well. Like that and we're done. Now that your flowers look awesome, we're going to move on to chapter 6. 10. The Final Drawing: In this chapter, we're going to talk about the end result, the finished products, and what you can do with it. We're also going to move on to making a composition. For this part, we're going to be discussing, how to composition. For a composition, you use multiple flowers and thereby you can also use multiple explanations or meanings for you that you want to represent in your drawing. For this one, I used daisy, I used something I don't even know it look pretty. I used few leaves, I used the Indonesian flower, some flowers, leaves over there and lavender. For now, the main thing the we have to focus on when drawing a composition is to use one or two main flowers or like bigger items that pop in your picture or in your drawing. You can use different kinds of leaves or little flowers or lavender, always goes great like around everything. Leaves like these indies also do great. So that's what I drew. For this, this is also like the assignment I will talk about later. This is something that you can draw for yourself and just get creative on. For now we're just going to fill it in, then get started on how to bring some shadow into this composition. We're done with drawing the outlines. Now just as for the drawings we drew before, just grab your eraser and go over it very slightly. As you can see, some of the lines are less black than they were before. But it doesn't really matter because this is the drawing we are going to dump up just a little bit and a little bit faded isn't that bad either, it gives it a little bit of character. That's it. Aren't going to start with dot work. For the next part we're going to do dot work, do the shadows using the dot work. Let's start with the daisy right here. The dot work focus is on the inside, but obviously from the outside is also a lot of shadows. Since the inside is already dark we are going to focus the shadows from the outside in. Just dot work from dark to light, not that many because daisies are mostly white. Just like that on every flower leaf. Now we are moving on to the lavender. For the lavender, as we did before just do the same thing. Now that we're done with the lavender, we're moving on to the eastern flower that we did before. Also they're quite easy, do the same thing as we did before. Now that we're done with that, we're going to move on to the leaves here. Normally, when it comes to leaves, I just keep one rule and that's just create shadows from top and create some shadows from the bottom, and normally it just looks really nice. That's what we're going to do. For the last part we are moving on to this one. I'm leaving the leaves here, leaving them clean because it mixes well in between all the dot work. For this one here, there's also a lot of dot work and a lot of black surrounding it. I'm just going to emphasize it a little bit because it looks a little bit pale right now. I'm going to emphasize it, with some stripes, just light stripes from down up, just a few nothing special. Just like that, and we're done with your final drawing. Now that we've made the end product, and I hope you're really happy with the outcome. I think everything will look beautiful and it's very personal, so probably mean a lot to you. We're going to move on to the assignment. 11. The Assignment: For the assignment for today's class, I'm asking you to search for a flower that represents your story, a flower that really speaks to you, that connects to you, that really visualizes what you feel and what you want to put out into the world. Draw that flower as we did in this class and applied to artwork. Share your flower in the communities' app with what it means to you and try to make it into a poem as well.