Draw a Butterfly: A Free Illustration Tutorial

Draw a Butterfly: A Free Illustration Tutorial

I’m back with another illustration tutorial! I previously walked you through how to draw a flower with watercolor pencils, but not everyone has those lying around like I do. So today, I’m going to teach you how to draw a butterfly using whatever set of markers you have lying around. If you’ve got fancy artist markers, great! (I’m jealous!) If your kid has a set of Crayolas lying around, go ahead and steal borrow them for this exercise – they’ll work just fine.

One note before we start: I’ve developed this tutorial to draw a more stylized, cartoon-y version of a butterfly. It’s a nice way to practice symmetry, experiment with color combinations, and practice a little bit of shading. If you’d like to learn how to draw a butterfly that looks more realistic, give me a shout and I will definitely put that tutorial together!

If you would prefer to view this tutorial as a PDF, you’re in luck! You can download it, save it, and print it HERE.

What You’ll Need to Draw a Butterfly:

  • 5 markers (any color combo you want)
  • A sheet of paper

Step 1: The Thorax

With Color 1, draw an upside-down egg.

draw a butterfly with markers step 1

Step 2: The Abdomen

Still working with Color 1, draw a petal shape coming off the bottom of the thorax. Mine is pretty pointed, but you could round that bottom shape out more if you prefer.

draw a butterfly step 2

Step 3: The Head

With Color 1, draw a round head on top of the thorax.

draw a butterfly step 3

Step 4: The Eyes

On either side of the head, use Color 1 to draw two ovals and color them almost completely in. Leave a tiny bubble white in each eye – this gives them a more realistic-looking shine.

draw a butterfly step 4

Step 5: Antennae

Now it’s time to give that butterfly some antennae. Still using Color 1, start near the back of the head, between the eyes. You could do a simple arc over the head, or you can make them extra curly like I did. I like the decorative effect it added.

draw a butterfly step 5

Step 6: Begin Filling in White Space

For right now, stick with Color 1 and start filling in the white space in the butterfly’s body. Don’t go too heavy, though – use quick, aggressive strokes that follow the shape of each body section to give it some texture. Leave a little white space peeking through.

draw a butterfly step 6

Step 7: Add Some Depth

It’s finally time for Color 2! This should be slightly darker than Color 1, and you can use it to finish filling in the white space on the body. You’ll notice I colored a little heavier around the connections between the body segments – this helps the body look 3D.

I left the eyes as Color 1 here, but I wasn’t happy with how it looked at this point. You’ll see how I fix that in a minute.

draw a butterfly step 7

Step 8: Add the Top Wings

Time for wings! With Color 3, draw the top halves of each wing. They should look like rounded triangles coming out of the thorax. I try to get them as symmetrical as possible, but one always turns out longer than the other. I’ve given up trying to fix that. Now I just roll with it as a personal drawing quirk!

draw a butterfly step 8

Step 9: Add the Bottom Wings

Staying with Color 3 for a moment, add the bottom wings. I like to use a rose petal shape, but you could make yours rounder if you’d like. The only thing that matters is size – they should be a bit smaller than the top wings.

draw a butterfly step 9

Step 10: Start Decorating the Wings

This is the fun part! This is where you can go really crazy with color combinations and decorative elements. (If you go off-tutorial here, I’d love to see the results of your designs!)

If you want to continue with the tutorial, grab Color 4. (My color 4 is the darkest shade I selected for the batch of 5, which definitely made a difference for the outcome.) Make a smaller mimic of the wing shape inside each wing segment. This can be done quickly and imperfectly; the differences just add to the charm.

draw a butterfly step 10

Step 11: Repeat Step 10

Do the same thing as Step 10 inside the first lines you made with Color 4. This gives you some fun shapes to color in to add contrast.

drawing a butterfly step 11

Step 12: Color in the Bands

With Color 4, fill in those contrasting bands you just created in Steps 10 and 11. I also colored over the eyes and added just a couple streaks of Color 4 to darken the shading on the body. This helped the body really stand out instead of getting overwhelmed by the colorful wings.

draw a butterfly step 12

Step 13: Color in Outer Regions of the Wings

Returning to Color 3, fill in the outermost regions of the wings. If you like how it looks at this point, you can totally stop here! I really liked how mine looked at this stage, but I tinkered a little bit further since I was aiming for the wow factor. If you’d like to join me in adding even more decorative elements and that fifth color, read on.

draw a butterfly step 13

Step 14: Polka Dots

A lot of butterflies have dots along the edges of their wings, so I decided to add a stylized version of that to my design with Color 4. Place the largest dots near the points of each wing, and then make them smaller and smaller as they head away from that point.

draw a butterfly step 14

Step 15: Color the Remaining White Space

With Color 5 (the lightest and brightest shade), fill in the small regions of white space left on the wing. I also added a quick streak of Color 4 to visually tie these sections in with the rest of the wing.

draw a butterfly step 15

And there you have it! You now know how to draw a butterfly anywhere you like. I used to doodle these all over my notes for school. Now, I doodle them all over my actual artwork. 🙂

Once again, if you’d like to save this tutorial for future use, you can grab the free PDF version HERE!


How to Draw a Flower (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

How to Draw a Flower (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

Hello all! I am back from my New Hampshire vacation with this step-by-step tutorial to guide you through how to draw a flower. This particular tutorial uses watercolor pencils, markers, and a touch of ink, although you could follow the basic instructions with any medium you want. It’d look great with paints, colored pencils, pastels…you name it! You can also scale this tutorial however you want; use it to make greeting cards, or draw it large enough to hang on your wall.

*Please note: There are a few affiliate links below. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission of any sales made. For a full description of how these work, please see this page.*

If you would prefer to save and print this tutorial, grab a PDF version here:

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What You’ll Need:

Materials for How to Draw a Flower


Step 1:

Draw the center of your flower. I did it as a small cluster of circles, but you could do one larger circle if you prefer.

Step 1 Draw a Flower

Step 2:

Draw 5 petals. They do not have to be anywhere close to perfect, especially if you’re using the watercolor pencils. We’re just doing a vague outline at this point.

Step 2 Draw a Flower

Step 3:

In a coordinating color, draw 5 more petals behind the first set. Again, no need for perfection! If you go really off course like I did, you can lighten the lines with a kneaded eraser* (possibly my favorite tool in my kit).

Step 3 Draw a Flower

Step 4:

Color in that first set of petals. It will look especially great if there are some darker lines toward the center, since that creates a nice little shading illusion.

Step 4 Draw a Flower

Step 5:

With the coordinating color you chose, color in the second set of petals. Again, make sure you’re adding some darker lines toward the center. That contrast really helps!

Step 5 Draw a Flower

Step 6:

With a small paintbrush, paint over the watercolor pencil with water. This helps smooth out the colors, and you can create a nice feathery effect at the tips of the petals if you want. I find that the less perfect my petals are to begin with, the less it matters when I get unintended smudges on the page…

Step 6 Draw a Flower

Step 7:

Now things really get fun! I wasn’t fully happy with the flower when it was 100% watercolor, so I grabbed my markers next. I started adding some color where those original darker lines were to really solidify that shading effect. As you can see, I chose extremely bold colors for this step – feel free to choose colors that are closer to your original two if you don’t want quite this much contrast.

Step 7 Draw a Flower

Step 8:

Even after adding the marker, it still didn’t look done to me, so I grabbed my gold calligraphy ink* and dip pen next. I didn’t want to go overboard with this, but I added some lines (following the shape of the petals) to fill in more of the white space.

Step 8 Draw a Flower

Step 9:

To tie in the gold a little better, add some small lines coming out of the very center and some longer ones going down the middle of the second set of petals. You could also add a bit of gold outline to the circles in the center cluster.

Step 9 Draw a Flower

Step 10:

Sign your work, and you’re done!

Step 10 Draw a Flower

There you have it: now you know how to draw a flower! Feel free to share your creation by email or on the VanDuinen Studio Facebook page. If you decide you want to save and print this tutorial, you can download a PDF version:

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And please, if you know anyone who might appreciate this tutorial for how to draw a flower, share away! Let’s build this artist community together. 🙂






P.S. Did you like this tutorial? You might like these posts, too!

DIY Tutorial for a Customized Memory Box

DIY Beaded Earring Tutorial

DIY Tutorial for a Customized Memory Box

DIY Tutorial for a Customized Memory Box

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a percentage of any sales of the products mentioned in this post.

How many of you are pack rats? I have to raise my hand to the ceiling with this one!

In a recent post, I mentioned my efforts to reduce the amount of random junk and knick-knacks I keep around. It’s definitely still a work in progress, and I’m finding in each room that there are things to which I’m too emotionally attached to get rid of entirely. Shelf space is limited though, so the need arose for a way to keep them together and somewhat organized. I know a lot of people like to scrapbook, but I find that too time-intensive. I really love using a memory box, instead. My box from high school is overflowing, and the pre-made versions run for about $10 a box, so I decided to decorate my own.

Thanks to my need to stash everything under the sun, I have plenty of boxes of all sizes tucked in the basement. I pulled out a shoebox for this particular project, and  I also put together this easy-peasy tutorial you can use as inspiration for your own DIY memory box.

If you would like a PDF version of this tutorial to print or save, click here:

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  • Wide paint brush
  • Acrylic paint (opaque)
  • Mod Podge + foam applicator
  • Super glue (optional, depending on your decorations)
  • Anything you want to use as decoration – I used wrapping paper scraps, tissue paper, and pictures cut out of an old calendar and a gardening catalog. You could also use shells, rhinestones, small rocks, etc.

DIY memory box supplies


Step 1: paint memory box

I used Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paints* in black and ecru for a neutral-yet-interesting backdrop. Learn from my mistakes: if you do a two-toned palette, tape off any areas you don’t want painted the second color! I wasted a lot of time touching up very obvious spots of ecru that appeared on the black spaces…


I chose to use an old scrap of tissue paper as the backdrop. It wasn’t quite square, and I was feeling lazy, so I also cut out border pieces from some scraps of wrapping paper I had ferreted away last year to hide the edges. Finally, I used a hobby knife* to cut out a butterfly from an old calendar, and a few flowers from one of the dozens of gardening catalogs that make their way to my mailbox. (Seriously, if you order from one gardening supply company, you’ll get catalogs from every company that exists!)


Since I was using strictly paper, I went with thin layers of Mod Podge both under the paper and over the top, making sure no corners stick up or look unfinished. If you want to add shells, rocks, rhinestones, or basically anything heavier than paper, I swear Gorilla Glue* is the stuff of legends. Just, uh, try not to get it on your hands. It comes off, but it tends to take the top layer of skin along for the ride. Not that I know this by experience, of course…cough cough

Tip: Lay everything out on your surface before you start gluing to make sure you like the composition. I have an embarrassing number of craft projects stuffed in the basement that failed because I just dove in without planning!


Final Product DIY Memory Box

As you can see, I folded the flowers down along the front edge to make the design more three dimensional. I’ll see the front edge in my closet more often than the top, after all!

Another angle:

Final Product DIY Memory Box

Now, all that’s left is stuffing it with ticket stubs and old photos!

Once again, if you’d like to save or print this tutorial, there is a free PDF version:

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If you decide to try this DIY memory box tutorial, feel free to post your final product in the comments! I’d love to see what you come up with.


A Free DIY Beaded Earring Tutorial

A Free DIY Beaded Earring Tutorial

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I sincerely hope your morning started out better than this:

And yes, for those wondering, that is permanent marker. She has washable Crayola markers, but it had to be Sharpie. Of course.

Free DIY Beaded Earring Tutorial

Anyway, onto the meat of this post: a free beaded earrings tutorial. Why? Because I don’t believe in hoarding creativity – if you want to give it a try, go for it! Plus, I think being transparent in the artistic process helps the general public understand why handmade items are priced so highly compared to retail. Making jewelry is a hobby, but it also takes a lot of practice and patience.

Before we begin, there is a PDF version of this tutorial available, if you’d like to save it for later and/or print it:

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  • A pair of small needle-nosed pliers
  • Wire cutters or scissors
  • Beading wire (I like 28 gauge, because it’s nice and flexible)
  • 2 earring hooks
  • 2 round beads
  • An assortment of seed beads
  • Any other beads you want to include

beaded earring supplies needed


Decide how long you want your earrings, keeping in mind that you’ll need extra wire to tie off the ends. Double that length before you cut – you’ll need 2 strands to create the seed bead halo.

step one beaded earrings


Feed the cut wire onto an earring hook, folding it at (or at least near) the halfway mark.

wire threaded into earring hook


At this point, I fed both strands through a couple of beads I wanted near the top. At the very least, thread both strands of wire through one of your round beads.

first beads threaded onto wire


Once your round bead is in place, separate the two wires and feed an equal amount of seed beads onto them. You may have to experiment with the numbers to get the right-sized halo – I started out with 8 on each strand, but had to bump it up to 10.

beginning to make the halo


Pull one strand up and around the round bead, securing this half of the halo by wrapping the wire once at the top.

first half of beaded halo


Do the same on the other side, completing the halo effect.

completed beaded halo


Take one strand of wire and feed it back through the hole in the round bead.

wire fed through bead


Using the strand you fed through to the bottom of the round bead, add a final bead to cap off the end. Wrap the wire several times, cut off any excess, and pinch the end in to hide it as much as possible. This is where those needle-nosed pliers come in handy!

end bead added


Take the other strand of wire and once again, wrap the wire several times, cut off any excess, and really pinch that wire closed.

last wire closed off

Now you have a completed earring!

complete beaded earring

Take a moment to really look at your work. Do you like it? Is there a combination you’d like better? I always like to check in with myself after the first earring is made, because it’s much easier (and less depressing) to rip out one earring and start over than it is to rip apart both. I ended up liking this set, but I’ve been known to try three or four different designs before moving onto earring #2!

complete set of beaded earrings

Once you’ve repeated the steps for the second earring, congratulations! You made your own pair of beaded earrings!

Once again, if you’d like the PDF version of this tutorial, click here:

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If any of you try this beaded earring tutorial, I would LOVE to see your results. Also, if you’ve fallen in love with this particular pair, it can be found in my Etsy shop.

Happy creating!


Easy-Sew Envelope Throw Pillow Covers

Easy-Sew Envelope Throw Pillow Covers

Envelope Throw Pillow Covers: Easy Interior Design

Envelope throw pillow covers are a fun, affordable, and super easy way to spruce up your living room or bedroom. The best part: they don’t require you to figure out how to sew in any zippers! I didn’t make this a full tutorial, but I have included a link to the tutorial that I used. In all honesty, though, I use tutorial directions more like guidelines. With a bit of creativity, you can create customized decor for your home. The possibilities are endless!

The last time we moved, I spent a couple weeks packing and cleaning and sorting like a madwoman. It inspired me to look at all of our belongings with a hypercritical eye, meaning the local Goodwill got a couple of large donations. (When did we get so much stuff?!)

During this process, I took a good, solid look at the throw pillows we’d had on our couch since college. When I made their covers, I hadn’t thought ahead to make them removable. A dog, a cat, a baby, and five years’ general wear and tear had left them looking…not fresh. Thankfully, a trip to the fabric store, two yards of fabric, and a couple hours provided an easy solution to that problem.

I’ve recently fallen in love with watercolor-printed fabrics. A 2017 issue of the Better Homes & Gardens magazine featured throw pillows from bunglo.co, so I checked them out, fell in love with some of their products, and then had a heart attack when I looked at the prices. An Etsy search landed a few options closer to the affordable range, but once I factored in shipping and taxes, I knew I could make something just as pretty and significantly cheaper.

How Do You Make Envelope Throw Pillow Covers?

I used this pattern for an easy sew envelope pillow cover as my inspiration, except I did hem the fold-over bits to prevent raveling long-term. Thanks to a stroke of inspiration, I also added some handmade bias tape in a coordinating cotton fabric to the edge underneath to strengthen the edges even more. Hopefully, that’ll keep these covers on even with a kid and a dog jumping on them. (Update 6/17/2018: The folded edges aren’t crisp anymore, but the covers do stay on the pillow. It’s a success in my book!)

I did one cover at night after putting the baby to bed, and I made the second cover the next day while she was napping. I don’t know if I was just extra tired that first night or what, but the first cover took 2 hours, while the second one only took 20 minutes (including ironing and pinning). Oh well, at least I have the technique down now. And, in my defense, I had some impediments that first night (and a brother willing to capture the fun on camera):

The next day, piecing everything together went like clockwork:

envelope throw pillow cover assembly


I’m really happy with how they turned out! This is by far my most professional pillow cover job to date. The fold-over back looks really nice:

Completed throw pillow cover back


The finished product:

Completed pillow covers

Nothing beats the personal touch of choosing your own fabric, and this easy sew envelope pillow cover project isn’t a huge time commitment. With a few materials and a couple hours, you can give any room in your house a fresh new look.

Want to give this project a go? I put together a complete materials checklist you can print and take to the fabric store:

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Tried this project? I’d love to see the results! Feel free to share photos, frustrations, or triumphs. And if you have any questions about the project, ask away! I’ll do my best to help you find a solution.  

Until next time,


P.S. If you like home decor posts, you might also like my Custom Crocheted Tree Skirt!