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How To Draw A Rose: A Step By Step Guide

Drawing a rose is both a challenge and a pleasure, learning to draw a rose can be a very rewarding and relaxing experience. Whether you are a budding artist or an absolute beginner, my step-by-step guide will have you confidently sketching roses, playing with composition and building a piece of artwork bursting with the vibrant colours of the English Rose.

Roses are in full bloom in our garden as I write this. The most striking of which, the climbing rose, brings an abundant pop of rich ruby red against the green foliage and garden trellis. 

Inspired to capture their beauty before they go over, I grabbed my camera and took some close up shots of their sumptuous layers of petals.

photograph of a rose

I love the structure of the rose and the way that their petals sit tightly wrapped around one another in the centre, gradually bursting outwards with a staggered overlap. Roses bring joy to any English garden.

From the Middle Ages and until present the rose has been widely used to symbolise love and purity in Art and Literature. Roses were widely depicted in paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite, Aesthetic and Symbolist painters throughout the second half of the 19th and into the early 20th Centuries. 

The rose continues to be the ultimate symbol of love and desire in popular culture and society. From fabric designers to tattoo artists, oil painters to photographers, the rose image is a widely depicted, instantly recognisable, commercial and much loved symbol. 

I love to draw roses. In fact, I find the process of drawing their soft, curvaceous petal shapes, thorny, tangled stems, deep green leaves and their beautiful layered centres most mindful and relaxing. 

That is not to say that depicting a rose in pencil, paint or other Art Material is not challenging. It is a challenge indeed to capture its distinctive shape, smooth, intricate form and to shade the rose sympathetically, giving it true depth and life-like tone. 

The very best way to start drawing a rose has to be from life, sat with a sketchbook and pencil in the garden, enjoying their soft scent and three dimensional form. 

However, to help you begin your journey of creating rose imagery in your art practice, I have put together this step by step process that I used to create the roses featured in the design at the top of this article. 

We will work from a photograph of a rose taken in my garden and I will take you right through from drawing the structure of the rose in pencil right through to adding rich layers of beautiful colour to add depth and tone to your work.

completed rose drawing with colour


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