Cindy Wider

In this step-by-step drawing tutorial, I’ll show you how to draw a sunflower. It may seem like a challenging flower to draw because of some of the finer details, but don’t worry. By focusing on each step of the process, you can sketch a realistic sunflower easily on your own. 

We’ll start our sunflower drawing with some circles in the center to use as a guideline. After that, we’ll move on to create wind-swept petals using soft curved lines. Finally, we’ll draw the stem and add some luscious leaves. 

Grab a pencil and paper, and let’s get started! 

Drawings of three of the progressive steps to draw a sunflower

9 Easy Steps To Draw a Natural Sunflower

By following each step below, you’ll be able to construct a realistic sunflower that has detail and movement. 

Step 1: Draw a guideline for the outside of the inner circle

Drawing of a cross

Start by drawing a guideline in the form of a cross (the horizontal and vertical lines of the cross should each measure about 3cm or just over 1 inch long). Your lines should be the same length and cross over each other at the center. 

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This guide will help you draw a circle that is symmetrical and even. 

Quick Tip: Draw your guide above the center of your page. This will ensure there is plenty of space around your circle to add beautiful, curling petals and a full stem on your sunflower later. 

Step 2: Draw the outside of the circle around the cross

Drawing of a circle around a cross

Add a circle around your guide so that it touches all four ends of the vertical and horizontal lines of the cross. 

Step 3: Draw a smaller circle within the other circle 

Draw a smaller circle within the other circle

Draw a smaller circle inside your original circle. This will act as a guide later on when you start to create texture in the center of the flower (or the pistil).

Step 4: Add a larger circle as a guide for the edge of the petals

larger circle as a guide for the edge of the petals

Extend the lines of your cross out to 8cm or 3 ¼ inches long. Draw a circle around the edge of this new, longer cross. This is where all the petal tips will end. 

This outer circle will help you draw petals of similar size.

Step 5: Practice drawing your petals

First, practice drawing curved lines and shapes on scrap paper. 

To draw curly petals, start with oval shapes. Draw lots of random ovals in all different directions like you see below. 

oval shapes

After you’ve drawn different oval shapes, you can make adjustments to each oval by adding curved lines inside of them to make them look more curly. 

You can see in the image below how I added the curved lines inside the oval shapes. As you add your curved lines, ask yourself what direction your curves are moving. 

Are they curving upwards or sideways? Are your ovals pointed or rounded? This can help you determine what type of curved line looks best, or most natural, inside each oval. Variety is important for your petals so that they look unique.

Illustrations of oval shapes in all different forms with curved lines added inside each shape

After you’ve drawn the curved lines in the ovals, you can start to erase some of the outer oval shape. This will form curly sunflower petals that aren’t as structured.

Illustrations of petal shapes in all different forms with curved lines inside

Now you’re ready to draw petals on your sunflower! 

Start with the oval shapes you liked best from your practice. Don’t worry about adding the curved lines inside the petals just yet.

Quick Tip: Don’t just start at one place and make your way around the sunflower circle; you may end up with crooked petals. Instead, add a few petals in each quarter of the larger circle like you see below. 

 Illustration of a circle around the outside of a cross with 2 smaller circles inside near the center of the cross and several petal shapes drawn around the smaller inner circles in each quarter of the cross

Step 6: Add more petals 

Illustration of a large circle around a cross with two smaller inner circles near the center of the cross and petals drawn around the inner circles filling up all quarters of the cross

Add more petals around your sunflower. Allow some to overlap. Use variety to position your petals.

Step 7: Erase the extra markings and add detail to the center of the flower

Now it’s time to clean up your petals. 

Erase all the lines and curves that you don’t need or that look too structured. Erase any petal lines that are layered over with other petals so that you don’t see some parts of the petal underneath. 

After you’ve cleaned up the stray lines, you can add some small curved lines inside the petals to create creases. 

Now it’s time to add detail to the pistil or the center of the flower. This detail doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to include some small, curved lines that resemble the center of a sunflower.

Start by adding curved ‘m’ lines all around the outer edge of the larger center circle. 

Illustration of several squiggly lines in the shape of a lowercase “m” and small circles inside of a circle

Then, draw more ‘m’ scribbles that are upside down around the outer edge of the smaller center circle.

Fill in the area between those ‘m‘ scribbles using shorter groups of ‘m’ shapes in different directions. 

Then, add tiny circles in the very center, gradually making them smaller as you get toward the center of the sunflower. 

Illustration of a sunflower head with curved petals and a detailed center with squiggly lines and small circles

Step 8: Draw the sunflower stem and leaves

sunflower stem and leaves

To add the stem to your flower, draw two curved parallel lines from the bottom of your flower down your page. 

Then, add the outer shape of the leaves. I like to shape mine like a curved heart. Using the same idea as the petals, add curved lines inside to create movement in the leaves. 

Step 9: Add the final details to finish your sunflower 

final details to finish sunflower

Draw a large center vein in each leaf, following the curve. Then, add small, thinner veins traveling out from the center vein. Add any other finishing touches you’d like to your flower to create movement and texture.

Congratulations! 

Your gorgeous sunflower is now complete. Feel free to shade your sunflower or color it in; the final touches are up to your unique, artistic eye and preference. 

Page Last Updated: April 2022