DIY Tutorial: How to Create a Simple Floral Spot Illustration

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I'd love to say I have a big master plan for this tutorial, but I really don't. Sometimes you just want to draw for the sake of drawing! 

I love practicing my skills on flowers, because you can make them as simple or as detailed as you want. So I decided to make this step-by-step tutorial for a simple spot illustration.

Now, I did this drawing in pen and ink. If you'd like to do the same, you can learn more about the supplies needed and master the basic strokes right here on the blog. You could also use a brush pen, gel pen, or even a glass dip pen, depending on the supplies you have on hand and the look you ultimately want to achieve.

1. Gather your supplies

supplies needed for diy floral spot illustration tutorial

You will need paper, a pencil, and a thorough but gentle eraser. You'll also need your ink delivery system, whether that's a dip pen and ink, marker, etc. Nothing too fancy required for this one! I just drew mine right in my sketchbook.

2. Draw a pencil outline

floral spot illustration pencil outline

This step isn't totally necessary, but I like to do it because it helps eliminate flubs with my ink later on. You can trace an image, sketch from a reference photo, copy my outlines here, or make up an image from your imagination. No need to get too detailed - just give yourself a rough outline to help with spacing along the way.

3. Start adding ink

centers of flowers have been inked

I inked the center of my flowers first because it helped me really cement the spacing and size of the drawing. From there, I picked a top corner and worked down as much as possible to avoid smudging the ink as I went:

working top down on pen and ink illustration

As you can see, I didn't have to think too much about where to put my lines since the pencil outlines are already there. It was a beautifully mindless activity once the sketching was complete.

rotate the paper as necessary to avoid smudging

I took this picture to demonstrate how I move the paper around while I'm drawing, especially when I'm drawing with pen and ink. Sometimes it's much easier to move the paper than it is to contort myself into a position that doesn't tug on the nib too hard or smudge the ink! Feel free to move things around to stay comfortable.

the completed outlines in pen and ink

All done with the outlines! You can see the pencil lines are still there - I don't erase those until the VERY end. The ink has to be totally, 100% dry before you erase, otherwise your hard work will end up with streaks all over the paper! (Yes, I've definitely learned that one the hard way...)

4. Add a little detail

I could have stopped there, but I wanted to bring the illustration to life a little bit more. I tested the detail strokes on the small bud in the upper righthand corner, figuring it wouldn't be too noticeable if I ultimately decided to skip this part:

first shading complete on bud

But I did like the effect, so I kept going:

shading added to flowers as well

You can see I didn't go overboard with adding all sorts of texture. Just a few thin strokes wherever there would naturally be a shadow to give the flowers a little depth. Most of the drawing remained untouched white space.

texture and shading added to leaves

Officially done with the ink! I added a little more texture to the leaves so they would appear darker than the petals.

5. Wait AT LEAST 30 minutes to erase pencil lines

I know, I'm terrible at waiting, too. Especially when I like the drawing as much as this one! But trust me - the wait is worth it. Even after 30 minutes, there's still one streak from a spot that was still tacky when I went to erase. Thankfully, you can barely tell.

6. Erase pencil lines and sign

final spot illustration signed and dated

Congratulations, artist friend! If you post your results anywhere, tag me on Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to see!

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