From Reference to Stunning flowers in Watercolor and Ink

Updated: Feb 22

When I create floral art in watercolor and ink I always use references. You can find a guide to this technique in my class on "Flowers in Watercolor and Ink" but in this blog post I will show you how to take you from reference to art in no time.

First let's find something to look at

There are many ways to find references for your art. You want to make sure that you are allowed to use the photo. That means that you have to keep an eye on the copyrights of the photo before using it.

That sounds a little crazy but there are some super easy ways to do this

1.Find your own references

Get up from your chair and head out in the world to find your own references. It can be good in a lot of ways. Bring your reference back with you (if its small like a flower and not big like an elephant) or you can just take a picture of it with your phone. Make sure to take plenty from different angles and if you are shooting flowers like me, make sure to get both the buds, flowers in bloom, whithered, leaves and stems.

2. Go online

You cant find everything outside your door and that is totally fine. There are pages where you can find images that are free to use.





When you have your image

Now you can sit down, get a cup of tea and relax because you have collected your references and have them in front of you. It is now time to create art.

I choose an image from Pixabay of Magnolias. It's totally free and stunning.

When you find an image you like you shouldnt stop there. To avoid copying the photo its great to have at least 3 photos to look at.

Then you can begin looking at:

  • The shape of the flowers

  • How the petals overlap

  • The color, the tones and the shadows

  • The discrete lines in the flower

  • How the flower and leaves are attached to the branch

  • How the branches look and feel

Give yourself time to do some quick sketches in pencil and you should be good to go.

You can see how I didnt copy the photo or the composition. I made it my own. And you can do the same if you follow the steps above. And if you want help with the Line and Wash Technique Im using here, you can find my class "Flowers in Watercolor and Ink" HERE.

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