Since the center of a sunflower is actually made up of hundreds of smaller, tiny blooms, “sunflowers have a lot of texture where the center blooms have started to die off,” explains Stanton. “Each of those flowers then creates a separate seed.” If you want a simple, stylized drawing, add some crosshatching lines in concentric circles inside the center of the sunflower. Or, you can get more precise and draw the individual sunflower seeds rotating out from the center in a spiral. Take your time with this step, and keep the spiraling layout of the seeds.
Draw the stem and leaves.
Sketch in a stem for your flower, and make sure it’s not too skinny. The stalk is sturdy and thick, since it supports the weight of the flower. Sunflower stems are also rather rough and hairy, so add textured crosshatching to suggest volume and communicate light and shadow.
When the stem is in place, add in a leaf or two. Remember, the leaves are broad and pointed at the end. Check out some reference photos to understand how foreshortening will affect the shape, and add in a few thin lines and crosshatches to show the veins and lines of the leaves.
Layer in color.
With the linework done, it’s time to get colorful. With digital watercolors, “go in with a soft yellow wash around the perimeter of the flower, and work with your lighter colors first,” says Nugent. After your base color is in, you can go back and do some more work with shades and highlights. Layer in darker colors of yellow to add volume and shadow to the petals, and use browns and blacks to the center in short strokes to create more texture.