How to Draw a Poppy Flower

How to Draw a Poppy Flower – A Blood Red Memorial Flower Sketch

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The gorgeous red poppy flower has become the memorial symbol for the combatants who had fallen during the first and second World Wars. This dainty little flower with soft petals that move in the gentle breeze can be challenging for any artist to bring to life, but that makes it so much more exciting to master! This easy-to-follow, how-to-draw-a-poppy-flower tutorial will show you the basic steps to create a realistic poppy flower drawing.



How to Draw a Poppy Flower in 18 Easy Steps

To create a realistic poppy flower drawing, we advise you to follow our easy-to-draw guide. In this drawing exercise, you will  first complete the foundation lines and layers of your poppy outline. Once you have mastered this phase, you will move on to creating the texture and dimensions of the poppy flower drawing. The final color phase will encompass most of this tutorial. You can see what to expect from these steps in the diagram below. Be sure to choose the medium you are most comfortable with.

Poppy Flower Drawing Steps

This how-to draw-a-poppy-flower tutorial has been created using acrylic paint, but you are welcome to adapt this lesson to use any other art medium you prefer, be it colored pencils or a digital design tablet. If you choose to go the digital route, be sure to make your foundation line layers separate so that you can easily remove them at a later stage.


Step 1: Creating the Foundation Lines of Your Poppy line Drawing

In this step, you will be drawing the foundation lines of your poppy outline. Draw two oval shapes in the center of your page. The first oval circle should be larger, while the second oval must be smaller and off-center towards the left-hand side.

Poppy Flower Sketch 1


Step 2: Laying Down the Poppy Flower Petal Outline

The foundation lines you drew in step one will be used as your guide in drawing the poppy’s flower petals. The flower has three main petals, these being the bottom petal, and two small petals along the sides. Remember, we are only focusing on the outer flower petals for now!

Poppy Flower Sketch 2


Step 3: Drawing the Inner Petal Outline of Your Poppy Flower Illustration

Imagine the poppy flower petals folding over one another. Draw some inner petals alongside the outer petals you sketched in the second step. Use the oval shape foundation lines as a guide to sketch two smaller petals around the center circle. The petals should be shaped similarly to a small cup and should extend upwards. Remember to add some folds to the petals. To conclude this step, you can draw a squiggly line that connects to the top lines of the outer petals.

Poppy Flower Sketch 3


Step 4: Drawing the Seed Pod of Your Realistic Poppy Flower Drawing

You will now be drawing the seed pod. The small center foundation circle will in this poppy illustration become the flower’s seed pod. Starting from the center of your inner foundation oval shape, draw tiny petal shapes that face upwards. Draw these extending all around the circle. Ideally, you want to create a dome shape that faces the center. Add fine lines between that.

Remember, the poppy flower has a hardy seed pod, so don’t be afraid to give it texture!

Poppy Flower Sketch 4


Step 5: Creating the Outline of the Stamen and the Stem

Poppies generally have a lot of tiny stamens all around the seed head, as this is what gives it that furry look in the center. Around the center of the seed head, you can draw tiny fine lines close together. Now, you will draw very small, long, and oval-shaped pollen pods on top of the tiny fine lines. For the stem, you must draw two short lines at the bottom of the poppy outline.

Once complete with this phase, you can erase the remaining foundation lines from steps one and two.  

Poppy Flower Sketch 5


Step 6: Adding the Base Color Coat to Your Poppy Line Drawing

In order to create a realistic poppy flower drawing, you will now need to focus on the color layers. Start this phase by adding the base coat to the poppy line drawing. Take a regular paintbrush and some bright reddish-orange paint, and gently paint an even coat over the entire poppy sketch. Leave the stem paint-free for now.

Poppy Flower Sketch 6


Step 7: Adding Color to the Stem and Stamen

Take a very fine tipped paintbrush and some black, white, and light gray paint. Now, gently trace the stamen’s outlines, and use some gray paint. Using the white paint, you can fill in some of the oval and long-shaped pollen pods. Finish off with black paint for the stems.

Poppy Flower Sketch 7


Step 8: Continue to Color the Seed Pod of Your Poppy Illustration

The seed pod will require three different colors. Take a sharp-tipped paintbrush and dark purple paint, and gently paint the top part of the seed head. Next, you will take a touch of dark green paint and add it to the leafy bottom of your seed head. 

Poppy Flower Sketch 8


Step 9: Creating Some Petal Texture in Your Poppy Flower Drawing

This next phase will be about creating texture on the flower petals. This is an important step in our how-to-draw-a-poppy-flower tutorial. Select a small blending paintbrush and a darker shade of red-orange pigment. You can now start adding small brush strokes in an inward motion that extend from each of the crinkles within the flower petals.

Repeat this process with each petal.

Poppy Flower Sketch 9


Step 10: Defining the Lines of the Stamen of Your Poppy Sketch

This step is simple and easy as all you need to do is define the lines of the poppy’s stamen. This method will assist you in making a realistic poppy flower drawing. Take a small-tipped paintbrush and trace over the stamen lines using black pigment. Avoid the white lines you painted in the previous step.

Poppy Flower Sketch 10


Step 11: Contouring Your Realistic Poppy Flower Drawing’s Petals

Part of the shading technique is to add contour lines and blend them. Select a small blending paintbrush and a second coat of paint. Choose a darker shade of orange and gently trace the foundation lines you made in step nine. Apply the darker shade of orange to contour the folds of the flower petal. 

Poppy Flower Sketch 11


Step 12: Shading the Texture of the Poppy Flower Petals

You can now start shading the texture on the petals of your poppy illustration. Take a small blending paintbrush and a touch of dark gray or black paint, and then gently shade along the contouring lines, ensuring you don’t cover the contouring lines. This shading technique is to complement the contouring and should not overshadow it.

Poppy Flower Sketch 12


Step 13: Adding Highlights to Your Realistic Poppy Flower Drawing

You have completed the shading and contouring of your coloring technique, and now it is time to add highlights! Take a small blending paintbrush and light orange pigment and gently add the lighter shade of orange between the shaded areas of your flower’s petals. Let that dry for a moment. Then, take a touch of white paint and add it to the central points of the orange-painted highlights.

Poppy Flower Sketch 13


Step 14: Adding Detail to the Seed Pod of Your Poppy Sketch

Take a small blending paintbrush and a bit of black paint. You want to enhance the shading of the edges of the seed pod with soft brushstrokes that meet in the center of the seed pod. The pod will now resemble a dome shape, so all the lines will meet in the middle.

To finish it off nicely, you can take a touch of purple pigment and trace the black lines on the seed head of your poppy line drawing.

Poppy Flower Sketch 14


Step 15: Blending the Colors of the Seed Pod of Your Poppy Sketch

To make this realistic poppy flower drawing come to life, you will need to add texture and highlights to the seed pod. Take a small blending brush and purple paint and gently blend and soften the top part. Then, dip a small soft paintbrush into the white pigment and use fine strokes to highlight the center of the seed pod. Continuing to use the same brush and white paint, you can finish off the stamen lines around the base of the seed pod. Next, trace along the inner petal lines with black paint.

Poppy Flower Sketch 15


Step 16: Finishing the Seed Pod of Your Realistic Poppy Flower Drawing

Completing the seed pod of this poppy illustration is easier than you think! Take a small, soft paintbrush and add curving lines from the top of the seed pod and around the edge. Add some final shading to the bottom of the seed pod and, lastly, use some green paint to add color to the stem. You can darken the stem by applying some black paint.

Poppy Flower Sketch 16


Step 17: Adding the Final Highlights to Your Poppy Flower Drawing

As we reach the end of your how-to-draw-a-poppy-flower tutorial, you will need to finish the art piece with highlights. Take a small blending brush and some white paint and trace along the curves of the flower petal structure and outlines.

Add the highlights as per this example image.

Poppy Flower Sketch 17


Step 18: Cleaning Up Any Loose Lines of Your Poppy Line Drawing

Depending on if your poppy sketch has any loose lines by this final stage, you can begin to erase any of these lines that may still be visible. To complete your poppy flower masterpiece, you can use a fine, sharp paintbrush and trace over the outlines and inner lines of your poppy flower to give it that finishing touch.

Poppy Flower Sketch 18


Well done! You have reached the finish line and you have completed the how-to-draw-a-poppy-flower tutorial in 18 easy steps, from sketching your poppy outline to painting a realistic poppy flower drawing! Using these steps, you can create a poppy flower drawing any time and any place! Would you like to sketch a whole bouquet of beautiful flowers? In that case, be sure to see our other fabulous drawing tutorials!



Frequently Asked Questions


Is It Easy to Sketch a Poppy Flower?

The flower is an artist’s delight and also a curse. The flower petals overlap and have shadows and dimensions, which can make it all seem quite daunting! We have created an easy step-by-step guide to help you to paint a poppy flower and build your confidence by working through the steps and stages of creating a realistic poppy flower image.


How Do I Draw a Poppy Flower Line Drawing?

The way to draw anything is to start from the very beginning. This will mean that you will need to draw what we call the foundation lines, and from there, you will build the different layers of flower petals and then add color and shading. Luckily, the poppy flower has squiggly and curvy lines that run along the edge of the poppy flower petals, and this is great for artists to recreate!

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