I'm taking a jump into some digital painting and struggling with getting more defined lines to look right. I'm basing it entirely on this Flower from Unsplash.com and have been using the 3 Basic Brushes from CtrlPaint.

Here's my work in progress with and without the veins showing:

Pink Flower with Veins

Pink Flower without Veins

To do the veins I've been using the angled brush from the brush pack set down to about 2 or 3 pixels. Shape, Transfer, Smoothing and Build Up are all turned on with my Tablet.

The two dark petals I've done I'm okay with, the one could use that one dark line on at the apex adjusted but overall those two are getting close. The three lighter petals I've done so far however are way off.

Any suggestions on either a technique or brush to help improve the veins?

To make it easier here is the source image for faster reference:

Source Flower from Unsplash

  • My 2 cents. Use paths to controll the trajectory of the veins. (Probably I'll add a post later to explain further)
    – Rafael
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 13:33
  • First.. wow, you're very good! Amazing work so far! Second, I guess I would add layers with multiply and some gradient masks to darken some parts of the veins only. I like to use a lot of layers with different blending to add more texture, move the duplicated layers a bit and use different blending mode to create dimension and light, etc. But honestly, I'm just commenting to have an excuse to tell you you did a great job there!
    – go-junta
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 4:21

1 Answer 1


The light modulation on this flower is hellishly hard. You are doing a great job. Honestly you are on the right track, and I don't have as much of a problem as you seem to.

One thing you seem to be struggling with is the idea that the veins are separate from the structure. On the lighter petals, especially the central one, you can see that the petals are really sort of tubular facets bracketed by the veins. Kind of like sails. You (rightly) blocked in the petals as idealized shapes, but now it is time break them. You need to do some give and take with the lights and darks.

Note that the darker areas always read flatter. This is why you are happier with those areas. Baroque painters used the lit areas to define form. Contrasts of any sort (scale, color, tone) create depth and distance.

I had a really great teacher (Michael Rossman) who spoke about the 4 basic requirements for mark-making. I only remember 3: proximity, scale, texture,... (profit?). We would have to go around the city and take crayon rubbings, and then we cut them into strips and attached them to 3x5 index cards. Then we had to draw them.

If you get the marks right in spirit, without the source in front of the viewer, they will accept it. So don't get bogged down with hyper-accuracy (that's what cameras are for). Examine the structure and build your own version.

enter image description here

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