Free Art For All - Single Geranium Study in Pen and Ink

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Creating a composition requires many elements working together.  We are working towards creating a painting in pen and ink of my front door.  Your job will be to work along with me in these lessons.  When it is complete you will all have a painting of my front door that you can be proud of or throw away.  True learning will have happened.  After you have completed the front door painting you will be ready to take a picture of your front door and create a picture unique to you.  Now we need to learn how to break down the individual elements in our painting.  There will be a door, wreath, and a planter of geraniums.  Let’s start breaking down the elements by looking at a single geranium.  


  1. Strathmore Sketchpad
  2. Pentel Mechnical Pencil
  3. Sakura Gelly Roll Gel pen in white
  4. Staedtler Pigment Liner Sketch Pens
  5. General kneaded eraser
  6. Fine mist water spray bottle
  7. Ziploc plastic sandwich bag
  8. Arteza Water based Real Brush Pen Set
  9. Real geranium bloom (provided in video but helpful to have your own to study)
  10. Real geranium leaf (provided in video but helpful to have your own to study)
  11. Black and white photocopy of the reference photo for a tonal study



  1. Understanding how a geranium looks and grows makes drawing one easy.  We need to know how to find the basic shapes inside of the blossom.  We need to know how the stem attaches to the blossom and draw it with very simple shapes.  I used lines and triangles.  Sketch the blossom with your pencil. You can just turn the blossom to get different views of the same flower and put it together.
  2. Next is the leaf.  Notice the single leaf shape.  The way the stem attaches to the leaf.  How the veins run in the leaf.  Where it attaches to the stem. Notice the leaf does not attach to the blossom.  Sketch the leaf with your pencil.
  3. Switch to your Staedtler Pens.  There is a brief explanation about how the pens work and how to decide which pen size you will need.
  4. Trace over your pencil marks of your blossom and leaves with the pens.  We used the finer thinner tips(.05 and .1 ) this allows you to not lose the white of the page when working with the fine detail work.  We stepped up in pen size (.3 and .1) and started shading in triangles of shadow around your petals.  This will make it appear to push some parts of the leaf back and bring others forward, giving your picture depth.  Add a couple of leaves around the bottom area of the blossom.  Be careful to preserve space, that white space gives the illusion of air flowing around the flower.
  5. We know we cannot apply water directly to our sketch pad.  The paper will not hold the water.  Therefore we will have to apply the color a little differently.  Using your sandwich bag, apply colors from the Arteza real brush pens directly to the bag.  Start with your lightest color (yellows , orange, red) for the blossoms and yellow, light green, dark green for the leaf area (this helps to keep your pens true to their original color.  Holding your water spray bottle about 12 inches from the plastic bag you will give 1-2 spritzes of water (for more water hold the spray bottle closer).  Turn the bag over so that the color drops are next to your drawing.  Place the plastic on the paper and rub and smush the back spreading the water and color around.  Instead of trying to color each petal we are giving the illusion of colors.  

Congratulations!  You have completed a single geranium study.  Now you are ready to practice this flower over and over.  The more you practice the easier the next step will be.  The purpose of doing this is to get comfortable with your geranium.  Most people need to practice this over and over to achieve mastery.