What is a peony? The peony is a flower known for having large petals and dramatic blossoms. The plants grow up to four feet tall, and are perennials, returning each year – some grow new stems annual, while others have woody trunks, like small trees. Seeds are very slow growing, taking two years to germinate.
Native to Europe, Asia, and western North America, mythology surrounds this flower’s origin. One legend relates that the mother of the god Apollo gave the flower to Paeon, a doctor to the gods, when he visited Mount Olympus. The flower was then named after him. In another story, Paeon avoided death by becoming a flower.
The peony still possesses much symbolism today. It is a traditional symbol of China, and the state flower of Indiana, U.S.A. It is also the preferred flower for the twelfth wedding anniversary. Giving someone a peony can embody the ideas of riches, honor, romance, prosperity, good fortune, or happy marriage.
Would you like to draw an elegant peony flower? This simple, step-by-step drawing guide is here to help. All you will need is a pencil, a piece of paper, and an eraser.
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Step by Step Instructions for Drawing a Peony
1. Begin by drawing a small circle. This will form the flower’s center.
2. Extend short, curved lines outward from the circle, forming the flower’s filaments. At the tip of each, curve the line back upon itself to enclose a circular shape. This forms the flower’s anthers.
3. From the vicinity of the anthers, extend a curved line. Bend the line towards the anthers to enclose an irregular shape. This forms the first petal. Extend another curved line from the side of the petal to the anthers. Continue to draw curved lines, enclosing irregular shapes, until five petals have been formed around the flower’s center.
4. From the petals, extend another curved line. Bend it back towards the petals, enclosing an irregular shape. Repeat this process to form additional petals. Notice that the petals are of different sizes, some much larger than others.
5. Continue to sketch petals, using a curved line to enclose each. The flower should now have two to three layers of petals.
6. Round out the flower with additional petals, filling in any bare spots. Use a curved line to enclose each petal.
7. Extend a pair of long, curved lines downward from the flower. Enclose this stem at the bottom using a short line. Then, extend a pair of short lines outward from the stem, erasing guide lines as necessary. From these lines, extend two longer curved lines. These lines should bow outward, then meet in a point, forming a leaf. Draw a curved line down the center of the leaf to form the vein.
8. Extend a set of short lines from the other side of the stem. Then, draw the leaf using two curved lines that meet in a point. Draw the leaf vein using one or two curved lines.
9. Add detail to your flower. Extend diagonal straight lines outward from each leaf vein. Add depth and texture to the petals by sketching two or more curved lines down the length of each.
10. Color your peony. Common colors include white, pink, red, purple, and yellow. Notice in our example that two colors are used, and that the center color gradually fades into the other. If you are using colored pencils, you can try this shading technique.
You can appreciate the beauty of one flower, but why not a whole bouquet? Check out our plant drawing guides to help you get started.
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