How to Paint Flowers – The Best Way to Begin is Botanical Art

If you are a flower painter who is often frustrated and disappointed by your finished painting, then you need to go back to basics and learn how to draw. Maybe you already have good painting skills, but if you don’t know the basic principles of accurate observation and how to build up form through tonal value, you are wasting valuable time – and probably talent too.

How to Paint Flowers – The Best Way to Begin is Botanical Art

Learn how to paint flowers successfully by doing what I did. Learn how to draw. Botanical art is the best way I know of teaching you how to become an able and accurate drawer.

I love botanical art. I run botanical courses and workshops, and sell my flower prints around the world, but before I became a painter of flowers, I first learned how to draw them.

The skill of accurate drawing is vital to botanical art, a magical and increasingly popular art form that I love to teach. Botanical art has its origins in scientific illustration, whose aim is to impart knowledge. Before the advent of photography, the botanical illustrator was the lens of the camera, recording the natural world in all its astonishing beauty and complexity.

The basic principles of creating a believable 3D image on a 2D surface are exactly the same for both painting and drawing. For me the only difference is what you hold in your hand – a paint brush or a pencil.

Drawing and painting are like walking and running: one skill follows naturally from the other. After all, you learnt to walk before you could run, didn’t you? First learn how to draw, and then move on to painting. And when you have mastered the skills of painting, then move on again, if you want to, to a more approximate, more impressionistic, more abstract style.

I think all painters should be able to draw competently and accurately – if they have to. Whether they choose to is a different matter. Of course, this is a purely personal opinion, but in its defence, I’d like you to name me one great painter who couldn’t draw.