Drawing Roses in Pencil & Charcoal

Art Prof Clara Lieu and Guest Teaching Artist Kathleen Speranza show how to draw roses with pencil and charcoal as preparatory drawings for oil paintings. Kathleen explains her engagement with roses as a figurative subject for her paintings, providing a comprehensive demo on how to set up the lighting and placement of the roses, how to sharpen & prepare pencil/charcoal supplies, and then how to draw a structural drawing in pencil, and a pictorial drawing in charcoal.

Video Walkthrough

  • Charcoal technique
  • Sharpening tools
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Kneaded erasers
  • Eraser sticks
  • Pencil hardness
  • Paper
  • Powdered charcoal
  • Seurat’s drawings
  • Pan Pastel sponges
  • Blending stumps
  • Nitram charcoal
  • Brushes
  • Sharpening charcoal
  • Sharpening charcoal pencils
  • Why roses
  • Setting up the roses
  • Lighting
  • Setting up 2 roses
  • Giotto
  • Touching the roses
  • Starting the pencil drawing
  • Squinting
  • Rembrandt’s etchings
  • Drawing shadow shapes
  • Darkest part of the rose
  • Finished structural drawing
  • Shooting reference photos
  • Setting up the roses
  • Reference photos of the set up
  • Starting the charcoal drawing
  • Drawing with toilet paper
  • Composition
  • Teaching drawing
  • Rose encyclopedia
  • Changing Light
  • Commercially grown roses vs. garden roses
  • Finished pictorial drawing

Art Supplies

Books & Artists mentioned

  • Encyclopedia of Roses 
  • John Constable
  • Giotto
  • Georges Seurat
  • Rembrandt
  • Johannes Vermeer
  • Vincent van Gogh
  • J.M.W. Turner
  • Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin
Rose Reference #31
Guest Teaching Artist

Kathleen Speranza

Kathleen Speranza has had an academic career of more than thirty years teaching painting and drawing at the college level. She was on the Faculty of the Rhode Island School of Design for several years. Kathleen now leads painting workshops both nationally and Internationally. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University School of Art.

Her paintings have always explored the visual language of space, light, color and form as it relates to specific subjects from nature. Kathleen has exhibited work in group and solo shows throughout the US and UK. Her work can be found in numerous private and public collections. Find Kathleen’s painting classes online on podia