The Secrets to Coloring Dimensional Flowers


Hi crafty friends! I haven’t posted for a while so I thought I’d come back with a bang, or rather a very useful technique! Today’s post is all about flowers and it’s going to be long. Just sit back and relax as I walk you through my discoveries and tips 🙂

I started my cardmaking journey with a lot of critters, because obviously they are cute and I couldn’t resist them! Besides that, I also thought cards with critters can be very creative. Not that I don’t like critters anymore, I still love them to death, but lately I’ve discovered the beauty of flowers and leaves. I began to realize that to be an all-rounded artist, I have to be good at coloring everything. Or maybe I’m just getting older and beginning to appreciate Mother Nature more 😛

For today, I want to share a recent unlock of my coloring skill that I’m really happy about! It took me like a year to realize my problem and really face it. Let me describe it to you. In the past, when I colored a flower image, I’d color petal by petal and I’d use the exact same color and shading on every petal. So it would end up looking like this. I made this card last year so I thought it’d be a good example for comparison. I thought my coloring was pretty good back then, but now when I look at it, it doesn’t look very dimensional nor realistic. There’s not enough interest to it. Not to mention that my photography skill wasn’t very good at the beginning as you can see 😛


After studying the works of artists and trying out a few experiments, I finally figured out how to achieve more dimensional and realistic-looking flowers. Here are my results. So, how to do it? There are three things you must do in order to have results like this.


First, look at references e.g. real flowers, photos of real flowers or references on the stamp set itself. I’ve used Altenew’s Peony Bouquet Stamp Set for this example. There is an illustration on the back of the stamp set. I look at it, study it and identify the darkest and the lightest areas and all that in between. If you can replicate that in your coloring, I’m sure you are already halfway there!


I used to think it’s not really creating if I have to reference something. Creation has to come from my head, right? NO! WRONG! Many artists study references when they draw and paint. Even the most abstract art style has to base on reality. Reference is so important to artists! So, there is nothing to be ashamed of to look at a reference while creating!

Use This

Second, light source. In the past, I didn’t consider light source at all when I colored. I always started at the bottom with the darkest color and lightly move towards the top. It works most of the time, but it wouldn’t work for realism. Once I started to identify the light source, I actually can easily map out the darkest areas and the highlights, making it super easy to color each petal. Take this flower as an example. It’s from Altenew’s Beautiful Day Stamp Set. My light source is on the top left hand corner, hence the shadow would fall on the bottom right hand side of each petal or fold. You can see that in all of my petals. Try to color each petal a little different too because in nature, they are all different and imperfect, but once you look at them together as a flower, it would look perfect!

After the first round of shading, I would gradually increase the contrast by layering on darker colors until I am happy with the overall image, usually after 3-5 rounds of additional shading. Value is the key. It’s the third important thing. Don’t be afraid to use really dark colors at the darkest places. I know it can be scary! I’ve been there! But now I’m not afraid anymore and I’m using those dark colors more.


For both images, I have stamped them onto Strathmore Drawing Paper with Versafine Smokey Gray ink and colored with Faber Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils. I have the 36 color set. I like experimenting shadowing with colored pencils as I can have full control over the intensity of the shading. If it’s not dark enough, I can simply add on layers and layers as opposed to using markers (may not have the exact shade that I want). I also don’t need to wait between layers as opposed to using watercolors.

I ended up using both of the flowers on two separate cards. Here are some photos. I am loving this new artsy style! All supplies I used are linked at the bottom.



For my first card with the pink peony flower, I went with a simple ink-blended background with a little texture from embossing paste over a stencil. The focus is still on the flower itself. I finished with a broad sentiment strip and some colored sequins to bring out the colors in the flower.



For my second card, I went with a darker green background and some vellum clustered leaves to bring out the softness of the flower.

One last thing! Keep in mind that the more shadows you have in your flower, the more serious it will look. So if you want a more airy style, refrain from adding too much shadow.

It’s really not that hard when you follow these three steps when coloring flowers. Try it out and let me know if it works for you! That’s it for today! I hope you understand what I was trying to communicate in this post. Thanks for stopping by and have a good week! 🙂


  1. Faber Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils 36 Set: Dick Blick
  2. Altenew Beautiful Day Stamp Set: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  3. Altenew Beautiful Day Die Set: Simon Says Stamp
  4. Altenew Peony Bouquet Stamp Set: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  5. Altenew Peony Bouquet Die Set: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  6. Altenew Remember This Stamp Set: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  7. Altenew Evergreen Ink Pad: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  8. Altenew Rouge Ink Pad: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  9. Altenew Frayed Leaf Ink Pad: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  10. Versafine Smokey Gray Ink Pad: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  11. Neenah Solar White 110lb Cardstock: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  12. Simon Says Stamp Fog Card Stock: Simon Says Stamp
  13. Vellum Paper: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  14. White Embossing Paste: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  15. Simon Says Stamp Falling Snow Stencil: Simon Says Stamp
  16. Simon Says Stamp Clustered Leaves Die: Simon Says Stamp
  17. Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangles Die Set: Simon Says Stamp
  18. MFT Die-namics Single Stitch Line Oval Frames: My Favorite Things
  19. Pretty Pink Posh Clear Sparkling Sequin Mix: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  20. Pretty Pink Posh 4mm Clear Droplets: Simon Says Stamp
  21. Pretty Pink Posh Wisteria Blossoms Mix: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  22. Pretty Pink Posh Metallic Rose Gold Sequins: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  23. EK Success Powder Tool: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  24. Versamark Watermark Ink: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  25. Hero Arts Wagner Heat Gun: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  26. Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder: Simon Says Stamp
  27. Ranger Ink Blending Tool: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  28. Ranger Ink Blending Tool Replacement Foam: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  29. Scotch Double-Sided Foam Tape: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp
  30. Cheaper Alternative Foam Tape: Ellen Hutson
  31. Be Creative Tape/ Scor-Tape: Ellen Hutson // Simon Says Stamp

4 thoughts on “The Secrets to Coloring Dimensional Flowers

  1. Wow! Wow!! Both the cards are super gorgeous!! Love the coloring and really appreciate your effort and time for giving all the details about coloring. Thank you so much❤


  2. You are indeed becoming quite an artist. What I liked about you in the beginning was your use of cute critters but I am equally impressed with these flowers. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s