Flow Drawing: How to Draw a Poppy

What is Flow Drawing?

Flow Drawing is a new art technique developed by us to encourage children (and adult beginners too!)​ to understand shapes and create illustrations, in a much ‘freer’ way. By removing restrictions, flow drawing encourages children to fully engage in the moment and discover their natural flow, making every line count and bringing mindfulness to their creative process.

You can think of the flow drawing technique as a ‘how to draw’ guide with a difference – children won’t just draw a picture, they’ll create a unique work of art, right from their soul.

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What you need:

White Card Stock
Oil Pastels or Wax Crayons
Watercolor Paints

Let’s Draw a Poppy!

Create two circles; one large circle drawn lightly and second darker circle inside.

Start with Circles

As well as exploring natural flow, this guide will teach children how to utilise light and dark lines, helping them to understand pressure and technique.

Start by drawing one large circle – we’re going to draw this one lightly. Then draw a smaller circle inside the larger one – we’re going to be press down more firmly this time to create a darker, heavier shape.

Draw both circles a second time if you want two poppies on the page like us.

Draw free flowing stems.

Draw the Stems

For the stems, draw two free flowing wriggly lines down from the large circles. Don’t think about them too much, just draw – remember, this is flow drawing and poppies are wildflowers!

Draw the spiky grass.

Draw Spiky grass

Now for some grass in the field of wildflowers! Let yourself go and draw the grass with quick movements, up and down, making erratic zig-zags that move from one side of the page to the other.

But we don’t want to scribble dark lines across our pretty flowers – make sure you draw the grass lightly by pressing gently with your crayon.

Draw the leaves.

Add Poppy Leaves

Let’s add some leaves. With a firmer pressure, draw over the grass to create bold, darker leaves. Swoop out and up from the bottom of the stem to a point; then down, out and in again to meet the leaf at the bottom. Repeat on the other side of the stem. Don’t forget to let those leaf shapes flow naturally!

Use the outer circle as a guide, begin filling the space with petals.

Creating the Petals

Using the light, larger circle as a guide, use more pressure this time to create defined poppy petals on your flower.

Starting at the inner circle, draw a diagonal line up to the outer circle, trace around some of the edge, and then draw another diagonal back to the inner circle again.

Complete the poppy.

Fill the Circle

Repeat this process three or four more times around the circle to create all of the petals.

Add stamens.

Add Detail

Poppies have lots of very recognisable stamens (the bits that stick out and make the pollen), so add these onto your poppy by drawing sticks with dots on the end all around the middle circle.

Time to Play

Now for the fun part! We know poppies are red, but let’s explore and play with the color a bit more. Just like we did with the crayon to make light and dark lines, experiment with your oil pastel, using different pressure and techniques, to give your petals depth and texture.

Why not try using it around the outside of the petals to emphasise their edges?

Add definition to the petals with a red oil pastel.

Then move onto contrasting green for the leaves and stems – move your pastels around the edges, create patterns or veins in the leaves – it’s up to you!

Fill the poppy design with watercolour paint.

Let’s Add Color

We’ve designed a beautiful base, so let’s start painting!

Use different shades of green to differentiate the grass, leaves and stem and to highlight the patterns you’ve created.
Then play with the red – notice how the oil pastel contrasts with the paint and adds emphasis to the areas you’ve used it.

Such an easy technique, but it really captures the texture and personality of the poppy!

Dandelion Clocks

Let’s complete our artwork with a pretty background. Using black and white oil pastel, draw some short lines with spiky tops around the flowers, to create the impression of dandelion clocks blowing in the wind through a spring meadow.

Complete with a blue sky.

Using your watercolors once more, paint in a bright blue sky to complete your artwork. Doesn’t it look so fresh and peaceful? I can almost imagine lying down for a nap in this field of beautiful wildflowers…

We know there might be a lot to take in with this one, so let’s have a quick recap. As well as all the flow drawing benefits, our poppy guide will help children to:

  • Understand light and shade within art, how to create it, and why it might be necessary
  • Explore color and how to use it to create depth, texture and shade
  • Experiment with different mediums and help them to understand how they can work together to create maximum effect.


Creative and fun art & craft ideas for parents and educators of children 3-8 years old.

DIY art & craft projects and printable templates, activities, how-to-draw guides, colouring pages and more in the Arty Crafty Kids Members Area!

Happy Crafting!

Helen x

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