How to Draw Tropical Flowers Step-by-Step

Written by hannah wahlig
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How to Draw Tropical Flowers Step-by-Step
Tropical flowers are colourful drawing subjects. (tropical flowers image by Gary from

The simple bubbly flowers that adorned notes to middle school friends or the interior of high school lockers are a far cry from the technically demanding paintings of tropical landscapes dotted with exotic plant life. Tropical flowers are distinct for their bold colours and unexpected petal shapes, but the complicated plants can be replicated in drawings if you approach the process in simple-to-follow steps. Collect reference images of tropical flowers like hibiscus and orchid to serve as guides as you create your own piece of art.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Smooth drawing paper
  • B-grade graphite pencil
  • H-grade graphite pencil
  • Reference photos
  • Hand held eraser

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  1. 1

    Use your softer B-grade graphite pencil to sketch an elogated oval in the centre of your drawing paper. The oval should be approximately 1 inch tall and 1/2 inch wide at the middle. The oval represents the centre of the orchid.

  2. 2

    Draw an elongated letter "C" shape that begins at the top left side of the oval and ends 1 inch below the bottom of the oval and slightly to the left. Create a mirror image of your letter "C" on the other side of the oval, but do not connect the ends of each curve.

    How to Draw Tropical Flowers Step-by-Step
    Each "C" represents the inner petals of the orchid. (orchid image by gmlynek from
  3. 3

    Connect the bottom of the two letter "Cs" with a large letter "U." Extend the bottom curve of the "U" so that it is round and bulbous. The "U" shape is the distinctive bottom tongue-like petal of your orchid.

    How to Draw Tropical Flowers Step-by-Step
    The "U" shape represents the lower inner petal of your orchid. (Orchid image by Christos Kyratsous from
  4. 4

    Sketch a trio of fan-shaped petals that extend from top centre, top left and top right of the central oval. The top petal should be approximately 3 inches tall and 1 inch wide, while the two side petals should be 2 inches wide and tall. Sketch two small half-circles to connect the two large side petals to the two inner "C" shaped petals.

  5. 5

    Retrace your petal outlines to make the edges more wavy and natural looking. Blend the new lines in with your original sketch, and use your eraser to remove any excess or distracting lines.

    How to Draw Tropical Flowers Step-by-Step
    Orchid petals tends to have irregular wavy borders. (orchid image by Earl Robbins from
  6. 6

    Use your H-grade pencil to draw a collection of small, irregular dots extending from the central oval of your flower. Shade the centre and the edges of some of your petals with closely spaced, lightly drawn parallel lines to create depth.

  7. 7

    Use your H-grade pencil to draw two parallel lines extending from the bottom of the flower to represent the stem.

  1. 1

    Sketch a 1-inch circle with your B-grade pencil in the centre of your drawing paper. Around the centre circle, draw five 3-inch circles that overlap and connect to the centre circle. The large circles represent the petals of your hibiscus.

    How to Draw Tropical Flowers Step-by-Step
    Hibiscus flowers contain five overlapping petals. (hibiscus image by Patrick.Lenoble from
  2. 2

    Use your circles as guidelines for created wavy, frilled edges for each petal. As you draw each petal, overlap the right edge of one petal with left edge of the adjacent petal.

    How to Draw Tropical Flowers Step-by-Step
    Hibiscus petals are wavy and frilled. (hibiscus image by Gratien Jonxis from
  3. 3

    Mark a small dot in the centre of your central circle. Mark a second dot in the centre of your upper left petal. Connect the dots with thick line to create the distinctive pistil.

  4. 4

    Use your H-grade pencil to create small, dark circles along both sides of your pistil to represent clusters of pollen. Shade the edges of your hibiscus petals with short, parallel lines. Use your eraser to eliminate any remaining guidelines.

Tips and warnings

  • One of the most distinct features of tropical flowers is their colouring. After you complete your pencil drawing, experiment with pastels, coloured pencils or watercolour paints to add further depth to your drawing.
  • Smooth paper is best for finished drawings. If you are just sketching, opt for sketching paper which is more textured.

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