Here's a little step by step for you of a rosebud I enjoyed painting. The paper is called Canvas Paper, and it's kind of flimsy and picky but I like the results so I keep using it. It's 2.5" x 3.5", standard ATC/ACEO size, and I buy it precut in packages at Hobby Lobby.
Step one. It's about life size here, but you can click each photo to enlarge it a lot! To begin I used a standard #2 pencil to lay out the composition using a photograph taken by my online acquaintance 'macdragon' (Marc), from WetCanvas. I carefully found the shapes of the petals and added a hint of the shadows, without over darkening the pencil. I want to be able to cover it completely in gouache. You can see that I used a nice dark Hooker's Green to wash in a background first.
Step two was simple enough. I lightly washed pink over the whole rosebud to give it a unity of color. Gouache re-wets, so the pink will lift and mix into anything I put over it, to some degree or another. This works to advantage in a uniformly colored object, but I don't want it too thick or I fight that tendency. So watery color works well. The leaves are greenish gold, also washy, and the stem is naturally a red.
Step three is a big jump. I added thicker paint all over the rose, leaves and stem, creating light, medium and dark pinks and purples to sculpt the rosebud. I wanted that deep reddish heart to be a very interesting color, compelling you deeper into the recesses of the rose. When you enlarge it you'll see the dry brush effects even more clearly. I wanted it to be loose and painterly, not strictly literal.
Step four is the final painting. I decided to emulate Richard Schmid, and one of his proteges that I admire, Qiang-Huang. I like the way each of these wonderful painters expresses the depth of a flower using lost edges, so I flicked the paint around with my angled brush, letting things soften. I darkened the background around the stem so that it and the leaves are evident but not highly contrasted. And I added a spark of red at the heart of the rose.
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Hope you enjoy the demo. Any questions are welcome!