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How to Draw Water Lilies: 7 Drawing Guides in One Tutorial

Welcome to the tutorial on how to draw water lilies. I will show you how to make seven different water lily drawings. You will start with a simple water lily flower. Then you will move on to a simple realistic sketch that looks a bit more detailed. Next, you’ll try a geometric water lily drawing with clean lines and symmetry. After that, we’ll add some leaves to the lilies for a stylized look. The fifth drawing will be more detailed, showing the flower’s complexity. The last two drawings will feature water lilies on water—one with a short stem and two leaves, and another with lines on the water to show nature movement. Let’s get started and have some fun drawing!

Table of Contents

  1. Guide 1: Simple Water Lily Flower
  2. Guide 2: Simplified Realistic Water Lily Sketch
  3. Guide 3: Geometric Symmetrical Water Lily Drawing
  4. Guide 4: Stylized Water Lily Sketch with Leaves
  5. Guide 5: More Complex Water Lily Drawing
  6. Guide 6: Water Lily with Leaves Peeking Out of the Water
  7. Guide 7: Water Lily with a Shorter Stem

Drawing water lilies can be quite different from sketching roses, which I recently created a guide for. Roses often involve more intricate petal shapes and folds, while water lilies provide a more relaxed experience with their broader, flatter petals. Each flower has its unique charm and drawing them can teach you different skills and techniques. If you’ve enjoyed learning how to draw roses with my previous guide, you’ll find drawing water lilies to be a refreshing new challenge.

Understanding the Water Lily Drawing Guide

This guide is structured to make your drawing process simple and enjoyable. It consists of a series of images, with each image representing a single step. By following these images one by one, your drawing will gradually take shape, just like putting together a puzzle.

  • Red Color: Highlights the current step to focus on.
  • Black Color: Shows the lines from the previous steps.

The final stage offers an option to ink your sketch. Inking adds a crisp, definitive edge to your drawing, making it stand out. Always wait for the ink to dry completely to avoid smudging. Once dry, you can gently erase the pencil lines to give your artwork a clean, finished look. This step-by-step approach ensures that even beginners can successfully create a beautiful water lily drawing.

Guide 1: Simple Water Lily Flower

How to draw a simple water lily flower - a step-by-step guide
Easy water lily drawing – the final piece

Let’s start with a simple water lily drawing. This guide has just 7 steps, making it perfect for beginners. The final drawing shows a flower with open petals, giving it a welcoming appearance. This guide will help you recreate the image with ease, one step at a time.

Step 01 – Start by drawing an elongated, almond-like shape vertically. This will form the central petal of your water lily

Easy water lily drawing step showing the central petal shape - step 01
Begin your simple water lily drawing with the central petal

Step 02 – Draw a petal on each side of the central one, starting from its base and curving outward to suggest the width and natural form of the flower

Adding side petals to an easy water lily drawing - step 02
Adding the first pair of side petals

Step 03 – Insert two more petals in between the ones from the first and second steps, ensuring they are partly behind the first set for a layered effect

Progressing with additional petals in a simple water lily drawing guide - step 03
Sketching additional petals to shape the flower

Step 04 – Add another set of petals behind the existing ones to create fuller layers

Continuing with more petals in an easy water lily drawing step - step 04
Continuing to add petals to your easy water lily drawing

Step 05 – Sketch the final petal to complete the circle of the water lily bloom, and then extend a graceful curve downward from the base to indicate the stem

Finalizing the petals and adding a stem in a simple water lily drawing - step 05
Adding the final petal and the stem

Step 06 – Give life to your water lily by adding texture lines within each petal, suggesting the natural veins and contours that give the flower its delicate appearance

Detailing an easy water lily drawing with texture on petals - step 06
Adding texture to the petals

Step 07 – Observe your sketch and add any missing details. You can optionally ink your sketch and erase the pencil lines for a clean, defined drawing

Completed easy water lily drawing guide with textured petals - step 07
Your how to draw a simple water lily guide is complete

Guide 2: Simplified Realistic Water Lily Sketch

How to draw a simple realistic water lily step-by-step - the finished sketch
How to draw a simplified realistic water lily

Moving on to a slightly more challenging sketch, this second guide will walk you through 12 detailed steps to draw a simple but realistic water lily. The finished drawing will have multiple layers of petals that create a full bloom, and a textured center that brings the flower to life. This guide is perfect if you’re ready to take your drawing skills to the next level and add depth to your water lily illustrations.

Step 01 – Start your water lily sketch by drawing the three main petals that form the forefront of the flower. These should be slightly curved and pointed at the tips, mimicking the natural shape

Step-by-step water lily drawing starting with three petals - step 01
Begin your water lily outline with three foundational petals

Step 02 – In this step, begin sketching the central part of the water lily, which is the stigma. Draw a set of small elongated shapes at the center

Water lily sketch showing the beginning of the central part - step 02
Initiate the center of the flower

Step 03 – Continue to define the center of the flower by adding additional shapes around the stigma. These shapes represent the intricate detail and texture found in the center of a water lily

Continuing the heart of the water lily outline - step 03
Continue shaping the heart of your water lily drawing

Step 04 – Sketch more of these shapes and build upon the middle part to create a more realistic appearance

Sketching additional details in the central part of the water lily - step 04
Sketch additional central details

Step 05 – Finalize the first layer of petals surrounding the center of the water lily. Ensure these petals are varied in shape and size to add to the flower’s natural look

Finalizing the first layer of petals in the water lily sketch - step 05
Complete the first layer of petals

Step 06 – Add four more petals underneath the initial ones to create a new layer. These should peek out from below the first layer and help to give your lily depth and fullness

Adding a new layer of petals to the water lily drawing - step 06
Add another layer of petals to your water lily outline

Step 07 – Sketch another series of petals to continue building the layers. These petals should extend outwards, filling the space and adding to the flower’s open bloom

Continuing to add layers to the water lily outline - step 07
Continue building the layers of your sketch

Step 08 – Draw one more petal in the foreground

Drawing an additional petal on the front of the water lily sketch - step 08
Add an extra petal to the front

Step 09 – Sketch in another seven petals to further expand your water lily’s bloom. Arrange them naturally around the flower, with some behind and some on the sides of the existing petals

Expanding the water lily drawing with more petals - step 09
Expand your water lily outline with seven more petals

Step 10 – Add petals to the bottom side of your water lily sketch to complete the base of the flower. These will give the impression that the flower is sitting on water

Enhancing the water lily sketch with bottom petals - step 10
Enhance the base of the flower with bottom petals

Step 11 – Add the two final petals to ensure your water lily’s outline is complete

Completing the water lily outline with final petals - step 11
Complete the sketch by adding the final petals

Step 12 – And now you know how to draw a more realistic water lily as we reached the end of the second guide. You can choose to ink your sketch for a polished look, and then gently erase the basic sketch lines for a clean final presentation

Completed water lily drawing ready for inking and erasing the basic sketch - step 12
The water lily sketch is now complete, ready for inking

Guide 3: Geometric Symmetrical Water Lily Drawing

Easy drawing of a geometric water lily - step 08
How to draw a geometric water lily – a step-by-step guide

In this third guide, we’ll explore how to draw a geometric water lily with clean, symmetrical lines. This 8-step process will lead you to create a structured and balanced depiction of a water lily. Each petal is drawn with precision, emphasizing the harmonious design nature offers. By the end, you’ll have a stylized flower that showcases both the beauty of geometry and the organic flow of natural flora.

Step 01 – Begin by sketching a straight vertical line in the center. Approximately halfway up this line, draw an almond-shaped outline to form the first petal of your water lily. This establishes the symmetry and central point of the flower

Initial outline for a geometric water lily drawing, featuring a vertical line and a single almond-shaped petal - step 01
Starting the geometric water lily drawing with the central petal and a guiding line

Step 02 – Add three new petal shapes. Place one petal directly on top of the initial almond shape, aligning its tip with the vertical line. Then, position the other two petals symmetrically on either side of the first petal, creating a balanced trio of shapes

Progression in geometric water lily drawing with three new petals added around the initial shape - step 02
Adding three surrounding petals

Step 03 – Continue to elaborate your geometric water lily drawing by sketching three more petals. Add one petal at the base of your central petal, its tip pointing downward along the vertical line. The remaining two petals are drawn between the gaps of the upper and side petals, filling out the shape and adding to the symmetry

Additional petals enhance the complexity of the geometric water lily drawing - step 03
Further detailing the geometric water lily with a trio of petals

Step 04 – Draw four additional petals. These should be placed in the remaining spaces between the existing petals

Geometric water lily drawing showing the addition of four new petals to the design - step 04
Adding a new layer of petals

Step 05 – Conclude the base outline of your geometric water lily by adding the final four petals. Position these petals to resemble butterfly wings, with two petals spreading out horizontally at the center and the other two at the bottom, mirroring the top set

Final petal additions complete the base shape of the geometric water lily drawing - step 05
Completing the base shape of the geometric water lily with the last set of petals

Step 06 – Now, draw additional lines within each petal. These lines should radiate from the center to the edges, following the shape of the petals and accentuating the geometric style

How to draw a geometric water lily - adding lines to petals, enhancing volume and symmetry - step 06
Adding lines for volume and symmetry

Step 07 – Apply the final touches to your drawing by adding more lines and textures. Keep these lines symmetrical and consistent throughout the petals to maintain the geometric integrity and visual harmony of the design

Final touches of texture and detail added to the geometric water lily drawing - step 07
Applying the finishing touches

Step 08 – Your geometric water lily drawing is now complete. Examine the sketch to ensure that all lines are symmetrical and that the geometric style is evident. I hope this step-by-step guide has helped you create a balanced and harmonious depiction of this beautiful flower

Completed geometric water lily drawing showcasing detailed texture and symmetry - step 08
The completed how to draw a geometric water lily guide

Guide 4: Stylized Water Lily Sketch with Leaves

Easy step-by-step drawing of a stylized water lily
How to draw a stylized water lily

Drawing a stylized water lily with leaves adds an artistic twist to the natural form of this charming flower. In this 11-step guide, you’ll create a drawing that combines the organic shapes of water lily petals with the bold, graphic lines of stylized leaves. This balance of natural and artistic elements makes for a delightful drawing project.

Step 01 – Start with an egg-like shape in the center of your paper. This shape will serve as the first and central petal

Stylized water lily drawing step showing the central petal shape - step 01
Beginning the water lily outline with the central petal

Step 02 – Add four more petals. Place two petals on each side of the central one; the bottom two should be elongated, reaching downward, while the top two are shorter

Adding four petals to the stylized water lily outline - step 02
Expanding the drawing with additional petals

Step 03 – Next, draw five new petals. Sketch four petals in the spaces between the previously drawn ones, ensuring they’re slightly visible behind the front petals. Add the fifth petal at the base to create a backdrop for the central petal

Detailed water lily outline with new petal additions - step 03
Sketching more petals for the fullness of the stylized water lily

Step 04 – To give your water lily even more dimension, draw an additional set of petals behind the existing ones. These should be slightly larger, peeking out from behind the first layers

Water lily outline showing a new set of petals - step 04
Layering petals to create dimension

Step 05 – Finish the petal work by adding the final layer in the back. These should be the largest, mostly visible from the sides and top

Finalized back petals in the water lily drawing outline - step 05
Completing the petal layers

Step 06 – Now, draw the stem extending from the base of your water lily bloom with a smooth, curved line. Add one shorter curved line next to it – it will hold the leaf we will draw next

How to draw a stylized water lily - drawing stem and leaf outline - step 06
Adding the stem to the water lily outline

Step 07 – Outline the shapes of the two leaves, one on each side of the stem. These should be large and rounded, resembling the natural shape of water lily pads

Stylized water lily drawing with outlined leaf shapes - step 07
Outlining the shapes of the leaves

Step 08 – Give life to the leaves by adding vein details. Draw a central vein and several side veins branching out towards the edges of each leaf

Adding vein details to the leaves in the water lily outline - step 08
Sketching the veins on the leaves to enhance the water lily drawing

Step 09 – Add volume to the front petals by drawing additional lines within each petal for texture and depth

Water lily drawing showcasing volume in the front petals - step 09
Bringing the water lily to life with textured front petals

Step 10 – Sketch some short gentle lines within the petals to provide stylized texture

Our how to draw a stylized water lily guide is almost complete - add final texture to the petals - step 10
Adding texture to the flower

Step 11 – Your drawing is nearly complete! The water lily now has stylized textures and shadows, with detailed lines on both the petals and the leaves. You can further refine your drawing by going over it with ink to create a striking contrast and to make your flower drawing stand out. This step is great for those looking for how to draw a water lily easy and wanting to add a professional touch to their artwork

Finished stylized water lily drawing with textured flower and leaves - step 11
Completed water lily drawing with stylized textures and shadows

Guide 5: More Complex Water Lily Drawing

Easy step-by-step water lily drawing - the finished sketch
Easy drawing of a water lily – a step-by-step guide

Ready for a challenge? This 11-step guide will take you through creating a more complex water lily drawing with detailed petals and a rich center. To make these SketchOk guides clearly structured and easy to follow, I use vector graphics, which is why the shades are often bold and distinct. Remember, it’s not necessary to replicate this style exactly; feel free to add shading in a more traditional way that suits your drawing technique. This approach allows for depth and intricacy, giving you the freedom to bring out the realism and dimension in your water lily as it blooms on the page.

Step 01 – Start your water lily drawing by creating two slightly curved petal shapes. These petals should be positioned with one slightly above the other, forming the basic foundation of your flower drawing

Start drawing a water lily flower with the first two petals - step 01
Beginning the water lily drawing with two basic petal shapes

Step 02 – Build upon the foundation by adding three more petal shapes on top of the initial two. Arrange these petals in a way that they overlap slightly with the previous layer

Add three more petals to the water lily flower drawing - step 02
Expanding the flower with additional petals

Step 03 – Continue to add depth to your flower drawing by sketching a cluster of smaller petals in the center

Sketch a set of smaller petals at the center of the water lily flower - step 03
Drawing the inner layer of smaller petals

Step 04 – Add four additional petal shapes extending from the outer edge of your water lily drawing. These should be drawn larger and more elongated to represent the outer petals of the flower

How to draw a realistic water lily - Illustrate four more petals on the outer part of the water lily bud - step 04
Enhancing the flower’s outline with outer petals

Step 05 – Focus on the heart of the water lily by drawing the stamen in the center. Add some shading inside this area to emphasize the depth of the flower’s core

Draw the heart of the water lily flower and shade its center - step 05
Sketching the stamen and shading the core of the water lily

Step 06 – Draw five new petal shapes around the central part of the water lily. These should bridge the gap between the inner and outer petals, providing a seamless transition in your flower drawing

Frame the central part of the water lily with five new petals - step 06
Creating a frame around the central stamen with new petals

Step 07 – Enhance the three-dimensional effect by adding another layer of petal shapes at the back of the flower. These petals should appear behind the existing ones, contributing to the lushness of the water lily drawing

Include an additional layer of petals on the back side of the water lily - step 07
Adding dimension with a back layer of petals

Step 08 – Broaden the water lily’s silhouette by drawing two elongated petal shapes on each side. This step will help balance the flower’s overall shape

Add two more petals to each side of the water lily flower drawing - step 08
Expanding the flower’s width with side petals

Step 09 – To give your water lily drawing a base, sketch five petal shapes below the main flower. These will represent the petals that are often submerged or just at the water’s surface

Sketch five additional petals beneath the main water lily flower - step 09
Detailing the lower part of the flower with more petals

Step 10 – Use bold strokes to add shadows, textures, and volume to the petals of the water lily. This step is about refining the drawing with stylistic elements that bring out the flower’s form and make it pop

Enhance the water lily flower drawing with bold shadows and textures - step 10
Finalizing the flower drawing with stylized shading

Step 11 – The completed water lily drawing should now be fully detailed with textured shading, giving it a vibrant and lifelike appearance

Completed water lily flower drawing with detailed shading and textures - step 11
The fully drawn and shaded water lily flower in its final form

Guide 6: Water Lily with Leaves Peeking Out of the Water

How to draw a water lily with pads - step 10
Easy drawing of a water lily with pads on the water

For the sixth step-by-step guide, you’ll master drawing a graceful water lily with a longer stem that stretches above the water, complemented by two broad leaves floating alongside. This 10-step drawing showcases the water lily’s connection to its aquatic environment, capturing both the flower and its foliage. The leaves add balance and context to the composition, inviting viewers to imagine a calm pond scene.

Step 01 – Start by drawing the first two petals of the water lily at the front. These petals should be slightly curved and meet at a point on one end, creating the tip of the petal. They form a V-shape as they overlap at the base, which will be the center of the flower

Outline drawing of the first two petals of a water lily - step 01
Drawing the first two petals of a water lily

Step 02 – Add four more petals around the initial two, positioning them to create a fuller look for the flower. Each petal should be drawn with a slight curve, broad at the base and tapering to a point at the end, ensuring they’re evenly spaced around the central petals

Addition of four petals around the initial two in the water lily outline drawing - step 02
Expanding the water lily with more petals

Step 03 – Between the petals drawn in steps 1 and 2, sketch another set of four petals to give the flower a layered appearance. These should be placed in the gaps, slightly behind the first layers, peeking out to fill the flower’s shape

Water Lily drawing with four additional petals placed between the original layers - step 03
Interspersing petals for a layered effect

Step 04 – Start drawing the next layer of petals behind and below the existing ones. These petals should be slightly larger to represent the way they are positioned further out on the flower. Curve them gently to mimic the natural shape of water lily petals

Water lily outline drawing showing the next layer of petals being started - step 04
Beginning the next layer of petals in the water lily drawing

Step 05 – Finish the second layer of petals by adding in the remaining ones needed to complete the circle. Ensure these petals are partially obscured by the ones in front to create depth in your drawing

Water lily outline with the completion of the second layer of petals - step 05
Completing the second layer of petals on the water lily

Step 06 – Draw the final petal to the side of the flower to balance its shape. Then, sketch the stem leading down from the flower, including the start of one leaf extending from it, to establish the flower’s connection to the rest of the plant

Outline drawing of a water lily with the final petal and stem addition - step 06
Adding the final petal and the stem

Step 07 – Outline the full shape of the leaf attached to the stem, giving it a rounded edge to represent a typical water lily leaf. Add another small stem near the base of the flower, then sketch the shape of the second leaf

Water Lily drawing with leaves' shape outlined and a small stem added - step 07
Outlining the leaves and adding a small stem

Step 08 – Create a sense of the water environment by drawing lines that represent ripples or reflections around the water lily stem

Water lily outline drawing featuring the addition of water ripples - step 08
Adding water lines

Step 09 – Add texture to the petals and leaves by drawing fine lines to represent veins and the delicate texture of the water lily

Detailed water lily drawing with textures on leaves and petals - step 09
Detailing the texture of leaves and petals on the water lily

Step 10 – The water lily drawing is now complete. To polish your sketch, consider inking the final drawing for a cleaner look, then erase any remaining pencil lines for a neat finish. This last step elevates the drawing, making it ready to showcase or to be colored

Completed water lily drawing with leaves and shading details - step 10
The Finalized Water Lily Drawing

Guide 7: Water Lily with a Shorter Stem

How to draw a water lily on water - the drawing we will create
The final easy drawing of a water lily on water

And here’s the last one! This guide of 11 steps will lead you through drawing a water lily with a short stem, floating effortlessly on water, surrounded by two lily pads. The beauty of this piece lies in its simplicity and the serene ambiance it represents. It’s a perfect subject for those who want to capture the quiet harmony of nature in their art.

Step 01 – Begin by sketching two elongated, oval-shaped petals side by side with a slight overlap at the base, forming the front of the flower

Outline of the first two petals in a water lily on the water drawing - step 01
Drawing the initial two petals of the water lily

Step 02 – Add one petal on each side of the initial two, curving outward gracefully, and another petal between them at the top, standing vertically

Progression of water lily on the water drawing with three additional petals - step 02
Adding three more petals

Step 03 – Draw four new petals interspaced between the existing ones, positioned higher to create depth, with each petal partially hidden behind the front layer, enhancing the flower’s fullness

Additional layer of petals added in a water lily on the water drawing - step 03
Sketching a new layer of petals on the water lily

Step 04 – Outline a set of new petals above the previous layer, varying in size and direction, to complete the top section of the water lily, making sure they appear nestled within each other

Full petal outline in the how to draw water lily on the water guide - step 04
Completing the water lily’s top petals

Step 05 – Begin sketching the water lily’s central part, by adding several stamen shapes around it, indicating where the pollen forms

Detailing the central part of the water lily in a drawing - step 05
Defining the central structure of the flower

Step 06 – Start drawing the petals on the side of the central part. These petals should be partially visible, tucked behind the central structure and the front petals

Starting the backside petals in a water lily on the water drawing - step 06
Initiating the water lily’s rear petals

Step 07 – Continue adding petals to the backside, ensuring they wrap around the sides of the water lily. These should be wider and slightly curved, giving the impression of a fully bloomed flower

Completing the backside petals of the water lily drawing - step 07
Detailing the rear petals

Step 08 – Sketch the outline of the stem and leaves, starting with a short stem extending downwards and two wide leaves, one on each side, floating on the water’s surface

Adding stem and leaves to the water lily on the water drawing - step 08
Outlining the stem and leaves

Step 09 – Add texture to the leaves and the water lily by drawing veins on the leaves and refining the central carpel with additional stamen lines

Texturing the leaves and flower in a how to draw water lily on the water guide - step 09
Texturing the leaves and petals of the water lily

Step 10 – Apply shading to the stem. Draw several concentric lines and ripple marks around the lily pads and stem to suggest calm water movements

Shading and water details added to the water lily on the water drawing - step 10
Shading the stem and sketching water ripples

Step 11 – Review the drawing, making any necessary adjustments or refinements. Optionally, ink the outlines for a polished finish, and erase any remaining sketch lines to complete your guide on how to draw a water lily

Completed water lily on the water drawing with shading and details - step 11
The final step of the guide on how to draw a water lily on water

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to draw water lilies through these step-by-step guides. Remember, whether you started with the simple one or ventured into the more complex designs, each stroke brings you closer to becoming the artist you aspire to be. Practice is key, and I’m here to guide you along the way.

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