How to Draw A Sunflower

how to draw a sunflower

Learn how to draw a sunflower using this reference photograph and tutorial.

When you set out to draw flowers, you'll find that sunflowers can be one of the most exciting to draw!

Click the printable sunflower images to print the full sized image of this sunflower in both color and black and white, for your own personal artistic reference.


Draw A Grid On Your Paper

draw a sunflower from a reference photo
draw a sunflower from a reference photograph










Before you begin, you will need to create a drawing grid.

Establishing a drawing grid on paper will help you to translate all the different parts of the sunflower that are located in each grid section onto paper with good accuracy.

It will help you to keep your drawing in perspective and proportion even when you change the size of your drawing . . . all you need to do is make the grid sections on your paper larger or smaller, while maintaining respective grid proportions.


Pay Special Attention to Negative Space Around The Petals When Learning How to Draw a Sunflower . . .

how to draw a sunflower using the grid placement method
  • I have darkened the negative space in grid sections (3), (10), (11) and (16) for illustrative purposes. 
  • Viewing the darkened areas around the subject illustrates the negative space located in those sections, and can assist in understanding where to place your lines.

Now that you can better visualize negative space, notice the grid sections that are not darkened and see how much easier it is to see where the petal lines are to be drawn.


Let's Get Started on How to Draw a Sunflower . . .

learn how to draw a sunflower










The sunflower is tilted toward the left. Draw the middle towards the left of grid sections (6) and (10).

When you are learning how to draw a sunflower, establishing the middle first is extremely important because all of your petals will extend off from there.

Draw The First Three Petals

Carefully draw only the parts of the petals as they are located within their respective grid sections, paying special attention to the negative space around each.

Petal (A) is tilted and foreshortened so getting it correct can be a bit challenging. It comes up at an angle, gets wider and then recedes.

  • It is located in grid sections (6), (2), extends into (3) and a small portion of the bottom edge is located in section (7).

Petal (B) is behind (A) and is not as foreshortened as much (which is why it is drawn longer).

Petal (C) goes outward, gets wider (because the middle is closest) and then recedes.


Draw The Petals In Grid Sections Six, Seven, Ten and Eleven

learn how to draw a sunflower from a reference photograph










Petal (A) is at a slight angle and is therefore drawn shorter and thinner than the ones around it. It is in front of the other petals.

Petal (B) is behind the other petals and it curves back just slightly.

Petal (C) is in front of (B) and in back of (D). 

Draw a portion of petal (D) which is in front of (C)

Tip: When you are learning how to draw a sunflower place the drawing lines of each petal to represent whether they are in front or behind. This will keep your drawing in perspective and give it the depth of 3-dimension that you are looking to achieve.

Draw The Petals In Grid Sections Ten, Eleven and Fourteen

drawing a sunflower can be easy when using the grid method of drawing










When you draw (B), you will automatically complete the remaining lines for petal (A).

Draw petal (C), keeping it is behind (A) and (B)

Petal (D) has a twist in it, illustrated by the letter (E).

The petals you are now beginning to draw are narrower than the previous ones. They are angled away from your view and thus you see (and draw) less of each. When a part of your subject is viewed from an angle, it is drawn foreshortened.


Draw The Petals In Grid Sections Ten, Fourteen and Fifteen

tutorial on drawing a sunflower, sunflower, sunflower reference photo










These petals are even more angled (or tilted) away from your view than previous ones you just drew. This is because the left side of the sunflower is receding, it is foreshortened.

Notice (A) is behind two other petals and is a lot more narrow than the petals on the right side of the sunflower.

When drawing (B), notice that the twisted petal to the right is slightly in front of it.

Draw (C), noticing how much narrower and shorter it is. It recedes so much that you don't even draw the tip.

Petal (D) is angled even farther away so only draw the small beginning part of it.


Draw The Petals In Grid Sections Six, Five and One

drawing a sunflower, sunflower, sunflower reference photo










  • Petal (A) is also angled so far away from view that you only see (and draw) the beginning of it.

It can feel "weird" to only draw a part of your subject when you know the rest is actually there. 

Remember that you only draw what you can see, this keeps your drawing in perspective.

  • Notice that petal (C) has a curl, draw the curved line within it to represent the curl.
  • Petal (B) extends behind (C) and is angled away. The tip also pops out above (C). 

Draw The Two Petals Located In Grid Section Two

how to draw a sunflower, sunflower, sunflower reference photo










The top of the sunflower is now beginning to turn back toward our view. 

Draw petal (A), keeping it located in front of (B).

(B) is really the only petal that is not foreshortened in one way or another.

Be sure and notice that these two petals are to be drawn almost to the top of grid section (2), and therefore to the top of your paper.


Draw The Petals In Grid Sections Six, One and Two

sunflower drawing tutorial, sunflower, sunflower reference photo










Draw petal (A) which is in front of the other petals.

Letter (B) illustrates the area where petal (A) is twisted.

Tip: When learning how to draw a sunflower, always draw any petal that is twisted, as these add liveliness.

Draw (C), notice that it is behind the twisted petal and in front of (D).

Draw (D)

  • (D)'s edge is all that you view--most of it is behind (C).
  • (D) is not foreshortened (as far as we can tell), most of it is hidden behind (C).

Draw The Stem and Leaf . . .

draw a sunflower, sunflower, sunflower reference photo









Draw The Stem

Whenever you are learning how to draw a sunflower, adding the stem and any leaves will help your flower look more realistic.

The stem's top part begins at grid section (7) and continues into sections (11), (15) and also curves over into sections (16) and (20).

Draw The Leaf

Pay special attention to where the middle line of the leaf is located (illustrated by "G"). 

This line is located at the bottom part of the leaf because the bottom part is angled (tipped upwards) toward your view. Therefore the bottom part of the leaf is foreshortened and you draw (and view) much less of it than the top.

Hope you enjoyed "How to Draw a Sunflower"!

TIP: You can use any sunflower photo (preferably black and white) and draw a grid on it and use it to draw your own sunflower onto any size paper! Just be sure and transfer your grid correctly, using respective grid proportions as we did above.

A sunflower can be drawn just as it is in the photograph, or exaggerated to make it more lively. All you need to make sure of is that you keep your drawing in the original perspective of the photograph.

If you keep accurate perspective, you will be able to change different aspects of the petals for a more lively effect. 

Creating art and crafts builds new neural pathways in your brain and is a great way to keep your noggin healthy. Keep creating for optimal brain health!

Love, 

~~~Samantha Mariah



Glossary Words Used On this "How to Draw a Sunflower" Page . . .

drawing grid

foreshortened

perspective


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