Fun Colour Study of a Houseplant – Starting With a Pencil Sketch

This series will show you how to create fun studies of plants in acrylics using a simple bold palette.

This lesson will cover the first stage – making a loose line drawing using pencil.

You can download the reference image here:


  • Paper, canvas or panel suitable for acrylic paint
  • Pencil
  • Easel
  • As this is going to be a sketchy approach – you don’t need to use an eraser, but I recommend starting light with the pencil at first and only getting darker when you’re more confident about the general proportions.
  • Start with a few big, gestural shapes to approximately place the forms of the pot and leaves.
  • Then place a few leaves at the limits of the group.
  • The furthest left, furthest right, top etc.
  • Then once you’ve got these more extreme placements, it’s easy to just fill in the leaves that fill the space between.
  • Pay attention to the particular character of each individual leaf. Some are more round, some are oblong etc.
  • Finally, make the darker edge of the leaf forms darker (with a heavier line) – the darker edge will tend to be facing away from the light.
  • Once you’ve done that, you can pop a few coats of fixative over the pencil sketch.
  • When it’s dry you can start painting.