Strength in Numbers
While it may seem daunting to paint more than one rose, not to mention a bunch of roses, don’t worry – in some ways, it will be easier than painting just one.
First, you’ll need to decide what kind of perspective to show your piece. A bird’s eye view will make it more difficult to tell that it’s a bouquet, but it’s still doable. A side view or slightly angled view is good for seeing the entire bouquet, though the focus will be on the bouquet rather than the beauty of the roses.
I’ll demonstrate how to do both, so you can take a look and decide later!
The Bird’s Eye View
For the bird’s eye view bouquet, I recommend capturing the essence and general shape of the roses rather than painstakingly painting a realistic rose over and over again.
To start, if you need, you can draw a circle as big as the paper will allow (including however big of a margin you prefer). This circle will mark the area where you’ll fit most of your bouquet.
Then, paint the biggest, central roses first. Using a saturated red (or pink) paint, create three tapered brushstrokes that form a kind of rounded triangle, then gradually adding larger and lighter petals that surround the centre.
Tip: One of my favourite colours to use for roses is alizarin crimson, but you’re more than welcome to use whatever you have!
Repeat this step for the other central roses, allowing some petals to overlap and bleed into one another.
For roses near the outside of the bouquet, you don’t have to squeeze them all inside the initial circle you drew. It’s fine to have one or two that form more of a diagonal oval shape than a round shape! You can also vary your red by mixing pink or purple paint to make the bouquet more interesting.
When you’re done with the roses, add some hints of leaves lying beneath the roses by dabbing some green paint in the white areas between the roses. You don’t have to fill in every white gap, but this is up to you. I also recommend varying the green colour by mixing yellow and blue paint and occasionally adjusting the ratio to paint the leaves.
Finally, paint the decorative wrapping holding the bouquet together using any colour of your choice! I recommend a more neutral colour like blue-grey or brown to focus on the red roses, but you could also pick a colour like lavender for something different.
Tip: For an even wider colour variety, you can paint roses in different colours, such as pink, peach, and yellow. You could even include a “design” within the bouquet, where the roses in the centre spell out your recipient's initials, while the surrounding roses are a different colour!
The Side/Angled View
The side view might be more challenging to paint but easier to understand. First, I recommend looking up a reference photo to get an idea of how roses look from different angles.
Then, you can do a quick pencil sketch of the overall shape of the bouquet. You can roughly mark the position and angle of each rose, but again, don’t go into too much detail. This mark will be a rough guide on where everything should go. It’s also up to you whether this bouquet is tied with a ribbon or string, so feel free to get a little more creative!
Tip: You may also want to note how the wrapping paper is creased or wrapped around the roses.
For the painting part, you can do something pretty similar to before, especially for the roses directly facing the viewer. So paint those roses first. If you can see the side, add two or three larger brushstrokes, deep red or pink, to represent the petals’ cupping shape.
For more angled roses, start with the centre, but instead of making each brushstroke of a similar size, change it so the petals in the direction the rose is facing are more significant than the ones facing away. For example, if the rose is angled to the upper left corner, petals nearer the upper left should be more prominent than the petals in the lower right.
Paint two or three petals to complete the angled effect that gently “cup” all the other petals. You can wait for a little between painting these petals for a cool layered effect, so they don’t bleed into one another so much.
It’s a good idea to vary the size and colour of your roses here too, or even add a few rosebuds for a different type of rose! Rosebuds are super simple to paint – paint a blunted teardrop shape, then dab in a few petals near the top.
Next, paint any visible leaves and stems. They can have a little more definition, especially the leaves poking out from the side. Again, vary the shades of green by adjusting your yellow to blue ratio.
For the wrapping paper, whatever colour it is, paint the back part lighter, the front part in a mid-tone, and areas in shadow darker. The area closest to the ribbon or string should have the most creases, so don’t leave those out! You can also paint the ribbon or string, being careful to note how it curves or how the knot overlaps itself (if visible).
Tip: You can include a pattern on the wrapping paper too! If you want it in white, I recommend using white gouache paint to paint on top of your watercolour. If the pattern is darker than the paper, then a glaze or more saturated layer will work.
A Feast for the Eyes
That’s pretty much it for painting a bouquet of roses! Hopefully, you’ll find this easier than it looks. But regardless of how it turned out, I hope the process was fun and that you can apply similar techniques featured here to future paintings!
Do you prefer a single flower or a bouquet? And have you painted or gifted a bouquet to anyone before? Let us know in the comments below! If you’re interested in getting more tips, tricks, and taking your art to the next level, feel free to subscribe to our email newsletter!