Line Drawing: Cactus & Succulent Edition | Peggy Dean | Skillshare

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Line Drawing: Cactus & Succulent Edition

teacher avatar Peggy Dean, Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Cactus #1: Pincushion


    • 3.

      Cactus #2: Beavertail


    • 4.

      Cactus #3: Red Cap


    • 5.

      Cactus #4: Fairy Castle


    • 6.

      Cactus #5: Hedge


    • 7.

      Cactus #6: Dwarf Chin


    • 8.

      Cactus #7: Snow White


    • 9.

      Cactus #8: Saguaro


    • 10.

      Cactus #9: Peyote


    • 11.

      Cactus #10: Turk's Cap


    • 12.

      Succulent #1: Zebra


    • 13.

      Succulent #2: Aloe


    • 14.

      Succulent #3: Hen & Chicks


    • 15.

      Succulent #4: Elephant Bush


    • 16.

      Succulent #5: Burro's Tail


    • 17.

      Succulent #6: Panda Plant


    • 18.

      Succulent #7: Snake Plant


    • 19.

      Succulent #8: Living Stone


    • 20.

      Succulent #9: Topsy Turvy


    • 21.

      Succulent #10: Rabbit Ear


    • 22.

      Project Time!


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About This Class

Line drawing is an easy art form featuring illustrative, doodle-like designs. It's used widely among artists of many types with both fine lines and bold lines. This class is a follow up from my Botanical Line Drawing class featuring flowers and leaves (which is not needed to take this class, although you should because it's fun!), and goes over 20 types of cacti and succulents. 

This class will go over the following cacti and succulents in a "doodle" illustrated form


  • Pincushion
  • Beaver Tail
  • Red Cap
  • Fairy Castle
  • Hedge
  • Dwarf Chin
  • Snow White
  • Saguaro
  • Peyote
  • Turk's Cap


  • Zebra
  • Aloe
  • Hen & Chicks
  • Elephant Bush
  • Burro's Tail
  • Panda Plant
  • Snake Plant
  • Living Stone
  • Topsy Turvy
  • Rabbit Ear

For more DIY projects, lettering and drawing tutorials, and resources of all kinds, visit my channel, my website and my Instagram.

Looking for more inspiration? Head here to discover more classes on drawing.

Meet Your Teacher

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Peggy Dean

Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

Top Teacher

Snag your free 50-page workbook right here!

Hey hey! I'm Peggy.

I'm native to the Pacific Northwest and I love all things creative. From a young age I was dipping everything I could into the arts. I've dabbled in quite an abundance of varieties, such as ballet, fire dancing, crafting, graphic design, traditional calligraphy, hand lettering, painting with acrylics and watercolors, illustrating, creative writing, jazz, you name it. If it's something involving being artistic, I've probably cycled through it a time or two (or 700). I'm thrilled to be sharing them with you!

Visit my Instagram for daily inspiration: @thepigeonletters, and head over to my blog for more goodies curated just for youuuu.

I'm the author of the best selling... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Hi guys, I am Peggy, I'm a Hand Lettering Illustrator. In this class, we're going to be going over some botanical line drawings. It's going to be similar to my first Botanical Line Drawing class. Only this class has a focus on cacti and succulents. So if you're a cactus fan, then this is the class for you. If you're one of those people that thinks you cannot draw, think again, because this class will break it down for you so that you too can create some beautiful botanical line drawings. I look forward to seeing you in the class. 2. Cactus #1: Pincushion: The first cactus that we will draw is commonly known as the pincushion cactus. Throughout this lesson, we're going to be also incorporating a lot of different pot styles. As we go along, feel free to personalize those. For this first one, I am going to create a pot just with a slight curve toward the bottom and then just a slight curve on the top. It's not going to be a lip or anything, just like this and then I'm going to create my cactus. I am just going to have this kind of an oblong shape come up and back down. This cactus has a lot of little needles sticking out of it. Keep the top open. You can do these in little Vs. Note that as you get toward the center, you don't want them to be as long because in theory they're coming out towards you. So just real short in the middle and then longer toward the outer edges. This cactus has a lot of needles coming out of the same point, so feel free to incorporate that. Then on the top, it has blooms. All that we're going to do for this is come up and out and back down and do this about three times. Then do another set of those. Then one toward the middle here and I'm just going to do that in a couple of different areas. So curves down, back up, curves down, back up, and then up and then back down. Then if you see a blank spot and you want to add one, you can just do a couple little peekaboo ones coming from behind. Then you can decorate your pot. I'm going to create a line, another line and then I'm going to put in some triangles. All I'm doing is going from the bottom to the top, bottom to the top and then it's creating triangles both with the base here and the base here. I'm only going to concentrate on one of those. I'm going to stripe them, but I'm going from horizontal to vertical, horizontal to vertical. Then I'm going to do the same thing on the bottom, only with focus on the top, with the base facing the top of those triangles. I'm going to bring this pot just behind so you can see that it's got that rim. Then just create a little bit of a few dots to give the appearance of some dirt. So this is your pincushion. 3. Cactus #2: Beavertail: We are now going to create a beavertail cactus and you can probably guess the reason this is called the beavertail cactus is that it resembles a tail of a beaver. They also look like little feet. I'm going to create a pot, and this one I'm going to create a little bit wider, and then have a small ridge. To create the beaver tail, you'll have a smaller base and it's going to get bigger as you get up toward the top, so just gradually increase that size and come around and back down. Then from here, you're going to create the same thing, just branching off of the top. So at its center gets wider toward the top and then back down. There's usually 1-4, you won't see them so much on the sides as you well the top and sometimes you'll see blooms on the ends also. So you're welcome to add flowers, we'll do that at the end so that you can see what that looks like. They're wise. We will also add needles. It's similar to the pin cushion where there are several coming off of the same area. You can do two or three, you can do just one, and then as you get toward the center, remember those are facing here so you want them to be shorter. Make sure that this style of needles that you're doing are consistent too because you don't want to have some that look out of place. If you're going to do these little v's, make sure to include enough of those so it doesn't look like you just have some random line making. Then also you'll want to bring that up through these top pieces. Then this one we'll add that little flower. These just have those wider petals. I'm going to come up and then just do a little dip here, back down and then do the same thing on the other side, only a little bit higher so that it will cross and just me and inside that depth that we did, and then I'm going to bring another one out on this side, do the same thing, and then a couple of lines toward the back and then maybe one on this side. That's it there. Then I'm going to grab my pot, bring it around, and then I also want to match that lip that I made. If you don't have enough room on the bottom, you can do it on the top. That looks good. Then you can design your pot however you want to. I'm just going to do these little circles and then just a quick scribble on the enzyme and you can fill those out all the way if you want to. I just like it to look a little bit looser. You can add some dirt and here too. Then you have your beavertail cactus. 4. Cactus #3: Red Cap: Now, we're going to draw a red cap cactus. These are really popular in a lot of nurseries, so you've probably seen these around quite a bit. Their stock is pretty hardy and then they have a really pretty bloom on the top. We usually see it as red or red and yellow, there's pink. So we're going to draw our pot and I'm going to do one with a lip, like that, and then I'm going to make it more narrow toward the bottom and make sure that my curve matches the top curve that I made here, and then I am going to start not right at the base, but just off right here so that I can add my dirt in. This is a squiggly line, so it comes up, dips, comes up, dips a little bit, and then up. Then, these aren't too wide, so this is my other base, same thing here with a little bit of a dip and then in. Because it has more than that flat side, I'm just going to add a little line here to create some dimension, and then you can do a little dip here if you want to, but just enough to where you can see that it is not just a flat piece. Then, for the top part, you can get as detailed with this as you want to, but I'm just going to do something pretty basic, and come up and around, up and around. So I'm creating that circular shape and then I'm going to do a small dip here, and then add a line here, add a line here, and then in the center. Then, the only places that your needles come off of are along the seams. I'm just going to do some small, small, smaller toward the center because they're coming at you, and then a little longer on the side, and then they also have them coming off the top. Then, I'm going to go back in and create my soil line, and then my pot that rest behind that, and then come in and create a little stippling for your dirt, and my seam here. Then, I'm going to also create a little bit of shadow by doing just some line work. All I'm doing is setting my pen down. There's more pressure at the bottom and then it's more of a flick up to make those more textured lines. So put the pressure toward the seam, and then toward the middle is where you will lighten up, and then I can decorate my pot or I can leave it plain. This one, I'm just going to do two thin lines on the bottom and that's it. So that is your red cap cactus. 5. Cactus #4: Fairy Castle: I don't know if you guys have heard of this next one, but it has the funniest name. This is the fairy castle cactus, and this is something that can be a house plant also, you can't go wrong with something with the title of fairy castle. So I'm going to do a pot similar to the one we just did. Only my lip is going to be a little smaller and my pot is a little bit wider. Same thing I'm going to leave a little bit of room for the soil. Then these are just long skinny lines that curve outward and come back down. So I'll create a few of those. They overlap, so all you have to do is start from a little bit behind, come up and back down. Get a smaller one here. Then they just keep growing. So it's a bit of a cluster toward the bottom base. Then as it gets taller, it gets a little bit thinner. Bring it up quite a bit, back down. I'll do a couple of these and then up the sky here. Then they also have, along the sides, some pieces coming off. So that's it on those. Then they also, just similar to the red cap, instead of being round, they have sections. So I'm not going to do this on all of them because I don't want it to look too cluttery. But I am going to, just to the side, make a seam on some of these. Same as the red cap, the needles come out of only the seams. So I'm just going to create some small lines just off these seams. I'm going to act as though this edge is the seam here. Then go in my soil line here, little bit of stippling. Then bring my pot around. Then I can decorate that one. I'm just going to create two diagonal lines to separate that into a triangle. Then I'm going to do a circle that touches those edges. Then same thing on this side and on this side. Then a triangle inside of those and this bottom one, I'm going to have the base up run. Then I'm going to bring these lines, follow the line on each side and bring them all the way down just to match. Then on the inside of these triangles create some lines as well. Then some dots in the empty spaces. 6. Cactus #5: Hedge: The next cactus that we're going to draw is the hedge cactus. This one's pretty big. They're often used as landscaping for homes that are in the desert. But we're going to create a potted hedge cactus. So I'm going to create a large pot base, and it's rounded on the sides and then rounded on the top. This one is going to come up quite a bit, and it's similar to the fairy castle. It's just much larger in size, so it's going to come up a lot taller, and it's pretty wide. Then it will also have some pieces that branch off of it. A lot of them have this thinner area toward its connection. It doesn't have g like this one could be coming from the back, and then they often also come out, and then I'm going to create their seams, because they're not round so much as they are sided. So the same would be here and then connect here. Then you can create those lines to be more realistic or you can just create an area that gives that idea and then the needles are along the seams. So I am just going to put those in here, and I'm going to push the seaming right here, and then act as if this is the other. On this one I'm only doing the needles in that v-shape. It's not as realistic. It's more of just like a fun illustration. I'm going to create a little seam here. That's it for that guy and then to decorate its pot. What I'm going to do is create some imperfect lines going all the way down, and then draw some triangles and fill those in. This is your hedge. 7. Cactus #6: Dwarf Chin: We're going to do a Dwarf Chin Cactus and this one is similar to the Pincushion. It's just going to be more round. So go ahead and create your pot. Come up in just complete circle, and then create some seams. I'm going to follow the shape of the circle to do that, just like this. Then my needles are concentrated on the seams but also in points. If you want to, you can actually create those nodules for cactus like this one. Because it's so simple, I like to create these little nodules coming off. Then oftentimes this cactus too, the needles will come curved down. If you incorporate that, then it adds just that much more character. Then on the top, some blossom. These flowers, when you're creating them, just have them come up, that's curved outward and then back down inward, and then some just peeking from behind. So I'm going to do another one here, and then peeking out from behind, and then you can always push some in the back. Then if you want one on the forefront, just create the pedals a little bit smaller, and then go ahead and decorate your pot however you'd like to. For this one, I'm going to do some vertical lines. I'm going to follow the shape of the pot because it is curved inward. You don't have to do that if you want more of a doodle effect, they can be straight up and down. It's all personal preference when it comes to that artistic expression. Then I'm going to create a line just next to the ones I just did. 8. Cactus #7: Snow White: Our next cactus is like the Dwarf Chin cactus. It isn't on a scene, it's just round and if you've ever seen the Snow White, it has those real thin needles, the ones that if you touch, they get stuck in your skin and they're hard to get out because they are super, super fine. But it's a really pretty one. I'm going to create my pot and I'm going to create a soil line on this one. Have that nice round shape again and then I'll put my soil line in, and then connect my pot in the back. Then on this one, real thin needles. So I would start with the pressure on the center and then just flick it outwards like this to create those real thin, wispy hairlines. Remember, that the closer in you get, the shorter you want those to be, because they're facing inward. We're going to do a lot of these because there are a lot of fine hairline needles on the Snow White cactus. Then you can decorate your pot however you want to. I'm just going to do some different directional lines and then do a quick line mark making to fill in some of that white space. 9. Cactus #8: Saguaro: Everyone's favorite traditional cactus, the Saguaro. This one's real tall. You find this out in the desert. I'm going to create a large pot. I'm going to put a lip on this one, and then just real simple. I'm going to come up, branch out, and go up again, curve around, back down and meet in the middle. Then come up a little bit taller, curve around and then before I get down to this area, I'm going to create another branch off here and then down. I'm just going to put a few needles that are quite bold and just place them sporadically. I'm not going to do too many there. Bring my pot lip around, do some diagonal lines, and then some dots in the middle. Probably do another set of these, and that's it. 10. Cactus #9: Peyote: Next, we're going to do a peyote cactus. This cactus has a bit of a tangled history but it's a beautiful plant. So I'm going to create a smaller pot and it's like those flat, round pumpkins where they're a little bit fatter. So do a circle that's a little bit fatter. I'm going to create a soil line, and then bring my pot around. This line also has some seams, I'm just going to bring them toward the top like a pin cushion as well, so not all the way down, you can, but I just am choosing not to. Then, it's got some nodules in between those, so not on their seams, but just in the middle of those. I'm just doing some real small circles. Then from there, they have a little fuzzy needling, but really short, so don't bring that too far out. Then, the bloom that comes off the center is up and out, but they're pointed toward the end, so I'm just going to do some up and out. Then, please feel free to decorate your pot. 11. Cactus #10: Turk's Cap: The last for our cacti is the Turks-cap cactus. It looks similar to the Dwarf Chin with straighter spikes, and as its name implies, it's got an interesting cap on the top. I'm going to do a pot with a lip, bring it down inward. This is a circular cactus as well. It's got some seams. I'm going to bring those down in which its needles will come out of the seem. This, I'm doing the Vs with the center. Then on the top, it's got this weird round cap. It's got a couple of layers. Then I'm just doing stippling for mark making. This is a red cap if you're using color, and then I'm going to bring my pot around. That is it. 12. Succulent #1: Zebra: Creating line drawings of succulents is one of my absolute favorite things. I'm going to start by showing you the zebra succulent, which is also a cactus. I'm going to create a basic pot and it's just going to come down, curve on the edges and back up and then a little bit of a dip in the middle. Then I am going to create a soil line right about here, so I'm going to start here. Then these are just pointy, very skinny. They are thicker toward the base and then they get skinny toward the top. But very skinny, so you want to make sure to keep them that way. Then toward the base here, there's just a few that come out the bottom. That's really all that you need to do. I'm going to bring my pot around and then create my soil line, some stippling for some dirt. Then the fun part is creating its stripes. You can go straight across with just moving your pen up and down in a short manner. Then some of these just from the edge because they're not going to meet all the way across. There is your zebra succulent. To decorate these pods, you can do some illustration. For this one, I am going to create these diamond shapes. That's it. 13. Succulent #2: Aloe: Our next succulent is our favorite sunburn partner, the aloe succulent. This one is similar in style to the zebra succulent, it's just longer and a little bit thicker at the base. I'm going to create a lip and then a pot coming down inward, and my base is going to be thicker. It's going to be a little bit longer about here and come to a point. Then these overlap, so you will see aloe plants overlapping like this. I'll just draw a line straight up and then from the back and from the back here, and I'm going to do one more. Then they have little nodules toward the sides, but they're very small so don't overdo these. I'm just setting my pen down and creating little dots on the edges of these. They can have markings on them as well and it's up to you if you want to incorporate some of those. We're at the bottom. Then I'm going to bring my pot around and for this one, I'm going to create some horizontal lines all the way down and then just fill those in. 14. Succulent #3: Hen & Chicks: Our next succulent's really common, it has a strange name though. It's the hen and chicks succulent. For my pot, I am going to do just a very basic curved pot and then this succulent will start at a base, come into a point here, and then come back down, and these are pretty wide bases, and then come the other direction, come up behind that, up behind that, come out this way, and you're just building a little bit on the top, but that's it, that's all that you have to do. Then I'm going to create a little bit of line, a mark making toward the top, because these are often green with a purple tip. Then for my pot, I'm going to bring it around, and then create a line here, and just do some vertical lines on the top. 15. Succulent #4: Elephant Bush: The Elephant Bush is really pretty, also a really common succulent to have at home. On this one, I'm going to create a square base for my pot and if you want this to be a more dimensional, you can always kick off the side with this very small angle towards the top and then bring that down and same thing just right here. Then I'm going to create a soil line right about here and this is going to stem up and have a couple of these and then come off of the stem with some narrow lines that are going to be skinny, come around and back in. They can dip a little bit and come back in and just do that on all of the stems that you created and then I'm going to create my soil and get my pot over this direction and that is it on that one. 16. Succulent #5: Burro's Tail: Our next succulent is the Burro's Tail. You'll mostly find these in hanging planters. I'm going to draw three lines up to create a hanging pot, create a lip around here, and then come into my base. Then off of that, these are just little nodules. They are little ovals that connect to each other in bunches, and they can come up and out. But these are just little oblong shapes that come together and they can hang pretty low, or they can come out like this to the side. These can be pretty long too. If you want to make these hanging quite low, you totally can, because you will definitely find them in that form. That is your Burro's Tail. 17. Succulent #6: Panda Plant: The panda plant is a really pretty succulent. It's got a nice velvety outside, and then the tips of it have some darker markings that give it its name. This pot, I'm going to curve around, and then I'm going to decrease the length as I get lower. I just keep making those curve lines into its base. Then I'm going to create a stem. My soil end's going to be right here. Come up toward the back a little bit, bring my pot around. It's going to have some long, circular lines that come up, curve around, and then back down. Come up, and back down, and pop some toward the bottom. Then I'm going to, toward the top, create this darker. I'm just coloring toward the curve on the top end, not bringing it down too far, which is going to give it its panda effect. 18. Succulent #7: Snake Plant: Now, we're going to do the snake plant. This one can get pretty tall. I'm going to create my base and it's going to be wider. Then I'm going to create my soil line here. Then these are going to be real long skinny, like this at various heights. Just straight up and you can have them coming from the back a little bit and leave some room between some of these. Then these have a lot of markings on them, so without getting too much going on, I'm just going to create these small dash lines towards the center. As you can see, I'm going pretty quickly, so these don't have to be intricate. My pot around and then I'm going to create some triangles with the base toward the top and just some vertical lines in the center. 19. Succulent #8: Living Stone: The living stone succulent looks like little brains on the top, and they're on some prefix stocks. I'm going to create a wider pot with a lip that is a little more shallow. This one, I'm going to put some pebbles inside. I'm just creating some harsh circular type markings. Then they will come straight up, dip in the center, straight up, and dip in the center. Then usually, you'll see the top a little bit, and they have a seam here, and then they have some pretty cool lines toward the top, but since these are pretty small, we don't want to do that too much,so the stalk and then toward the center. I'm just going to do these throughout this one behind this a little, same thing there, and then I'm going to pick one out here where you can actually see more of the top. That's it for those. Guys. Then I'm just going to create two horizontal lines. My circles are going to line up and touch those lines on each side and each other, and then just some vertical lines just beneath. 20. Succulent #9: Topsy Turvy: The Topsy-Turvy is going to be a little bit shorter. I'm going to create a pot with a lip, it's a little deeper. Then I'm going to start with really small points that curve underneath because that's what's facing me. Then the sides, they are going to come up, dip and then up again for their point, and then just meet back down. Then just create the sides and then the back, I'm going to come up, point and come back down. It's coming up, point, dip, and then out again and down. That's creating that more of a full effect. You don't want these to be too tall. That's about it. I'm going to do a horizontal line, and then some circles, then another horizontal line. 21. Succulent #10: Rabbit Ear: I think that it would probably be pretty obvious as to how the rabbit ear succulent got its name. It looks like it is a rabbit head with ears coming off pretty high. It's a really cool succulent. We're going to create our pot and I'm just going to create a lip here, so coming down, curving under and then matching the top. Coming down on each side inward and curving under the basic pot. Then from here, there are some little stalks that it comes out of and they curve inward and then they have a crease here and continue. Then they have almost a paddling effect. I'm just going to push in a little bit of that and that's what holds the rabbit ear. Then the rabbit ear itself is round at the base and then this is the fun part, just real skinny lines, two of them right off of there. Then for this stocky part, I'm going to do some line works so that you can see the separation. Same thing over here, so two lines create a crease and then we're going to create the area that is holding the rabbit ear, put some lines in here or some dimension, create your circular area, come up and then back down, come up, back down, real skinny and that's your rabbit ear there. You can do as many of these as you want. They often come off of each other, so you can have it connecting. Then from behind, it's an overlap and then your circle and come up, and down and up and then back down. Then I'm going to make my pot come around the back here, create my soil line and any area that is showing the back where you don't have no overlap, make sure you bring your pot through there too. Then you can design your pot. I'm just going to do a horizontal line here and here and then some vertical lines inside of that and the center, just a filled in circle. 22. Project Time!: That's all that I have for you guys this time. I hope that you enjoyed the class. I can't wait to see all of the stuff that you took in creating your line drawings. The project for this class, I would love to see your doodles that you did throughout each segment, but I also love to see a creation that you come up with yourself. Get creative with your pot design and even your leaves. They don't have to be actually found in nature, use your imagination. Thank you so much again, and we'll see later.