How to draw a sunflower

How to Draw a Sunflower – Creating a Realistic Sunflower Sketch

Sunflowers are some of the most beautiful blooms. From their bright yellow petals to the way that they turn their faces to the sun, there is no doubt that they are aptly named. In this sunflower sketch tutorial, we guide you through all of the necessary steps to help you create realistic drawings of sunflowers. 



A Step-by-Step Sunflower Sketch Tutorial

In this tutorial, we want to show you how to create hyper-realistic drawings of sunflowers. In order to make your sunflowers drawing as realistic as possible, we begin the tutorial with several construction steps. We then go on to form the outline sunflower drawing, before adding details, textures, and colors. You can see an outline of the tutorial steps below. 

final collage

For the coloring of your sunflowers drawing, the choice of medium is wide open. If you are a more physical artist, you can use any coloring medium from paints to coloring markers. If you are a digital artist, then you can use your drawing tablet. 


Step 1: Construct the Center of Your Sunflower Sketch

Before we begin the construction steps, we have a quick note about how to draw the construction lines. If you are using a physical medium, we suggest using a very light and easily erasable pencil. For digital drawing mediums, draw the construction lines on a separate layer, so that you can simply delete the layer at a later stage. To begin our drawings of sunflowers, let us begin by locating the center of our drawing canvas. 

Here, draw a large circle to represent the inner part of your sunflower sketch. 

sunflowers drawing 01


Step 2: The Sunflower Petal Drawing Outline

We are now going to begin constructing the sunflower petal drawing. Begin with the first layer of petals around the circle from the previous step. Once you have the first layer, you can then begin to draw partially visible petals behind the front layer. Repeat this process a few times, until you are happy with your sunflower sketch. 

sunflowers drawing 02


Step 3: Construct the Stem of Your Sunflowers Drawing

We are now going to outline the stem of your sunflower sketch. Draw two slightly curving lines that extend from the central point of the bottom of your sunflower. This stem should be fairly long, as sunflowers tend to have very long stems. 

sunflowers drawing 03


Step 4: Draw the Small Leaf Branches

On either side of the stem, you can now draw a series of small protruding branches. In the next step, we will outline the leaves of your sunflowers drawing. This step is one of the first where you can make the decisions about how many leaves you want and on which side of the stem. 

sunflowers drawing 04


Step 5: The Leaves of Your Sunflowers Drawing

In this step, we are going to draw the leaves of your sunflower sketch on the ends of the small branches you drew in the previous step. The leaves should be almost heart-shaped, with a sharp point at the end. The edges of the leaves should be slightly jagged to give our drawings of sunflowers a little more realism. 

To increase the realism further, you can place your leaves at different angles, some overlapping and some only partially visible. 

sunflowers drawing 05


Step 6: Filling the Floret of Your Sunflower Petal Drawing

We are now going to fill the inner circle of the sunflower petal drawings with the sunflower seed details. Draw this detail by creating several patches of tightly packed circles that do not overlap each other. Around this inner detail, you can now draw small circles and incomplete circle shapes with a wider space between them. 

sunflowers drawing 06


Step 7: Adding the Base Color to the Sunflower Petal Drawing

With a regular paint brush and a yellow shade of paint, apply an even coat of paint to the sunflower petal drawings and the inner circle of the sunflower sketch. Make sure that this coat does not have any darker patches and sticks within the outline sunflower drawing. 

sunflowers drawing 07


Step 8: Coloring the Seeds of Your Sunflower Sketch

With the same regular brush and some light brown paint, you can now fill the inner disk of sunflower florets with an even color coat. 

sunflowers drawing 08


Step 9: Adding Some Color to the Leaves and Stem

For this step, you will need a smaller brush and a shade of olive green. Use these tools to carefully apply an even coat of color to the stem of your sunflowers drawing and each of the leaves. 

sunflowers drawing 09


Step 10: Applying the Second Color Coat

Now that we have the base color coat applied, we can begin to add some more coloring dimension. You will need a small blending brush and some orange paint. Using these two, carefully apply a blended layer of shading to the edges of each sunflower petal drawing. 

You can also apply a more general blend of color around the central disk of the drawings of sunflowers. 

sunflowers drawing 10


Step 11: Time to Apply Some Highlights

In the last step, we began to create dimension by using a darker contouring shade. We can now complement this with a touch of highlight. With a clean small blending brush and some bright, light yellow paint, apply a touch of highlight to the edges of each sunflower petal drawing. Apply this highlight gently, being careful not to hide the first color coat and the shadows. 

sunflowers drawing 11


Step 12: Finish Coloring the Sunflower Petal Drawing

We are now going to finish coloring the sunflower petal drawing. With a very fine brush and some bright yellow paint, add some fine hairlines within each petal. 

You can then repeat this step with some orange paint to create a realistic texture on each petal. 

sunflowers drawing 12


Step 13: Color Detail for the Internal Florets

Now that the petal details are complete, we can move on to applying details to the florets of our drawings of sunflowers. Use a fine detail brush and some yellow paint to fill each of the circles that you drew in the previous steps with yellow color. 

sunflowers drawing 13


Step 14: Shading the Sunflower Florets 

Now that we have added the yellow color to the sunflower florets, it is now time to add some dimension with shading. With a very small blending brush and the smallest touch of black paint, begin to apply some shading to the darker patch within the inner floret disk. You can also add a slight amount of shading around the outer edge of the circle. 

Finish this step by using a clean small blending brush and some yellow paint to enhance the color around the shading.  

sunflowers drawing 14


Step 15: Blending Your Colors Together

With some orange paint and a small blending brush, you can now shade the majority of the painted dots, ovals, and circles in the center of your sunflower petal drawing. You can repeat this process one or two times with increasingly darker shades of orange to add variety and depth to the sunflower seeds. You can finish the step by using a large soft blending brush and applying an even coat of darker orange right in the central shaded area. 

Finally, for a smoother blend between your colors, use a clean blending brush and softly smooth all of your colors together.  

sunflowers drawing 15


Step 16: Detailing the Leaves and Stem With Color

Up until this point, we have been focusing our color detailing on the sunflowers drawing itself. Now, we are going to focus our attention on the stem and leaves of our drawings of sunflowers. Begin this process with a regular paintbrush and light green paint. Apply dashes of light green to each leaf in an abstract pattern, leaving the base color coat visible. Next, use a darker green shade and a soft blending brush and apply a shadow to the stem and small branches leading to each leaf. 

Finally, complete the step by blending a bright shade of green onto the top leaf of your sunflower sketch and gently apply the same color to the center of the florets.  

sunflowers drawing 16


Step 17: Creating Texture in the Leaves

We are now going to use a small detailing brush and some white paint to create some vein details on each of the leaves. Use the curvature of each leaf to help you find the right direction for each texture line. These lines look a little like lightning strikes, but they are slightly simpler. 

sunflowers drawing 17


Step 18: Shading Your Sunflower Sketch Leaves

With a small blending brush and a dark green shade of paint, carefully shade along the edges of each leaf and on the small branches leading to the stem. You can then finish this step by repeating this process with a small blending brush and a touch of black paint, enhancing the shadows carefully. 

Tip: whenever you are shading with black, always start lightly and deepen the color as needed. You can always add more black, but you cannot take it away. 

sunflower sketch


Step 19: Adding the Finishing Touches to Your Leaves

To complement the shading, we can now highlight the leaves with some grass green paint. Use this shade as an intermediary color, blending together the existing colors of each leaf. For a lighter shade, you can repeat this process with some white paint to add spots of highlight. 

outline sunflower drawing


Step 20: Highlighting Your Stem

To brighten the highlighted areas of your stem and branches, use a fine detail brush and some white and bright green paint. You can then use this same color combination to brighten the hairline textures on the leaves. 

sunflower petal drawing


Step 21: Finishing Your Sunflowers Drawing

To finish our drawings of sunflowers, we are now going to remove the outline sunflower drawing. Use a very fine brush to trace the outlines and the inner texture lines of your entire sunflower with a corresponding color of each area. This will create a final seamless result and a realistic sunflower drawing. 

sunflowers drawing


Congratulations on finishing our step-by-step tutorial on how to draw a sunflower. We hope that you have enjoyed the sunflowers drawing process and that you are happy with your final sunflower sketch! Come back and visit us for more flower drawing tutorials. 



Our Flower Drawing Tutorials



Frequently Asked Questions


How Do You Outline Sunflower Drawings Realistically?

The process of creating the outline of your sunflower drawing is very simple when you follow the construction steps for our tutorial. We construct every element of the sunflower sketch separately to ensure that we have the correct shapes and dimensions. 


How to Draw a Sunflower Realistically?

As with any realistic drawing, we begin by ensuring that we have the right dimensions for the construction steps. Then, we create our final outline and add realistic coloring in several layers. Finally, we remove the outline to create a seamless sunflower sketch. 


Cite this Article

Matthew, Matthysen, “How to Draw a Sunflower – Creating a Realistic Sunflower Sketch.” Art in Context. April 26, 2022. URL:

Matthysen, M. (2022, 26 April). How to Draw a Sunflower – Creating a Realistic Sunflower Sketch. Art in Context.

Matthysen, Matthew. “How to Draw a Sunflower – Creating a Realistic Sunflower Sketch.” Art in Context, April 26, 2022.

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