We should have by now some color and some shadows/highlights over the whole flower – our map.

Now it’s time to begin building our layers.

As per the detail cutaway image, this is the area we will be focusing on in terms of technique. It will be applied to all the petals. The blending of colors begins with building multiple layers from 2 or more colors and laying them in close proximity of one another gradually overlapping to a seamless or near seamless result while following the contours of the subject.

Yellow_Flower_Cutaway Detail

Vary your shading and layers somewhat from one petal to another so they don’t look like cookie cutters. Once the blend is almost complete, additional work such as lines, shadows etc., can be accentuated or added. If you’ll remember previously, I mentioned about being light-handed. This is the key to being able to control what you are doing. If you simply go in and color your picture, the end result will be – a colored picture, nothing more.  For these layers to work, you must continue to use a light to moderate touch with sharp pencils building your layers by filling in the valleys with dots and strokes, especially at the blending line overlapping your colors from one side to the other. This is not a fast process.

Working on one petal at a time, begin filling in the yellow portion using the Light Cad Yellow and work up to and within close proximity of where the red begins. Do the same with the red side using the Dark Cad Orange to start. We’ll add red again after the orange in layers so we can create more dimensions in the color. Don’t apply any red or orange at this point to the pistil/stamen area in the center


  • Refer to your reference photo but your color map should guide you.
  • Remember not to cover up your highlights but work your colors up to them. You can always adjust those areas at the end.
  • Remember to follow the direction of form with your strokes – i.e curved petals, rounded corners etc
  • Remember as you go to incorporate any lines or markings on the petal only dark enough so you don’t lose the location. Once all the major work is done on the flower you can go back in and deepen any colors or emphasize any lines etc.
  • Remember to create the slightly darker areas along the underside of the curls and allow the color to fade out toward the center to create the illusion of the petal curling.

Once you have a pretty good build on the one petal, move on to the others until you have more or less finished each petal. (See Image)




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