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How to Draw a Yayoi Kusama Flower

Artists 8+ Can Make This Cool Art!

About the Artist: Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but she also makes paintings and even does other kinds of art in performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and more. She uses super bold patterns in her sculptures. In the drawing we'll be doing today, we're using her inspiration with polka dots. If you're interested in seeing one of her big rooms you can check out this list of her live exhibits.

Have you heard of Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Rooms? They're huge installations that take up an ENTIRE room! When Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Room was at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Lily did a Vlog of her visit that you might want to check out to see some more awesome Yayoi Kusama art.

Anyway, back to our project... drawing Yayoi Kusama inspired flowers with colored pencils!

What You'll Need

- Colored Pencils

- Piece of white paper: we chose square, but you can use a regular piece of paper if you want!

- Pencil

- Pencil sharpener

- Bottle caps, coins, and other things that are circular you can trace of all sizes. You can freehand too if you want!

Step 1: Draw the Center of the Flower

We're going to use our pencil to draw our guidelines to start. Let's start with a circle in the middle of the paper (it can be off center too, if you want). Inside that circle, we're going to add three more concentric circles. Concentric circles are when you have circles inside of another circle, like a target! You can use a stencil for these circles or freehand them, whichever you prefer.

Example of Concentric Circles

Once you have your concentric circles, draw 5 lines coming from the center to the second ring. Then we're going to stagger our lines in the next section, and the third section as well. Kind of like how bricks are laid.

Now we're going to draw the eye! It's the shape of a lemon, or a football, or an almond. It'll go outside of the circles we just drew. Make sure not to draw it going to the edge of the paper. PRO TIP: try drawing the shape with your eraser first, and if you like it, then draw over that with your pencil.

Lastly, we're going to draw mini petals that kind of look like a leaf around the eye. This sort of looks like eye lashes with some space in between. You can do as many as you want, we recommend doing at least 5 petals on top and on bottom. To draw a petal, it looks like a curved triangle!

Step 2: Draw the Petals

We're doing a super close up version of this power, so sometimes the petals may not fit on the paper- that's okay! Let's make this drawing BIG and fill in the space we have.

The petals are easy to draw: first, start by drawing the sides, which are two slightly diagonal lines. The top of the petal looks like 3 puffs or rainbow curves, with the middle one a little bit higher than the other two. We recommend you start with the middle curve and draw the other two to connect the middle rainbow curve to the petal sides. Once you've got one done, turn your paper and draw more big petals all over the eye shape we drew. You can make as many petals as you want, in our example we drew 6 big petals.

Lastly, once you've got your petals, you're either going to inline or outline them. If you have big petals, you can draw another line inside the petal, which is an inline. If you have smaller petals, you can draw another line outside the petal, which is an outline. It looks like you're drawing the same shape inside or outside of your petal so that it's doubled. Don't forget to inline your eye in the center of your flower as well. We'll be coloring these a solid color later!

BONUS STEP: Let's add a leaf! If you have a little space in the background, add a leaf or two in the background.

Step 3: Draw Your Polka Dots!

We're going to be drawing circles of ALL sizes, from small to big. We can freehand the smaller dots because sometimes stencils don't get to be that small.

The Eye: let's freehand some circles inside the eye's football shape. They're going to be about the size of a bead. Don't forget to add half circles that touch the edge of the eye all over!

The Eyelashes: freehand some small circles inside each petal or eyelash. You'll want between 5-7 dots inside each eyelash. These polka dots are about the same size as the ones in the eye that are bead sized. These won't have any half circles - they're all floating in the middle of the petal.

The Background: if it's not a flower petal or a leaf, it's the background! Let's add some circles to this negative space, too. We can freehand these circles that tuck under the petal and full circles inside the background, too.

The Leaves: Find some small coins like dimes or nickels or small bottle caps if you want to trace bigger circles inside the leaves, if you drew them. You can do partial circles inside the leaves if they don't fit. If you didn't draw leaves because your flower took up the space on the paper, that's okay! Move on to the next step.

The Big Petals: let's start by making big circles to fill up lots of space inside the petals. Let's add 3-4 big circles (nickel or penny sized) inside the flower petals. We won't do partial circles inside the petals, only full circles. Once every petal has some big circles inside, fill in any empty space inside the petal with a few smaller circles, too!

Step 4: Color Your Outlines

We're going to thicken all of the lines around the eyes. Using a black colored pencil, let's go around all of the circles in the middle of the eye and go over the lines inside them, too. We'll make those lines extra thick.

Then, on everything else, we'll still do an outline but with different colors. If you want to make your drawing extra Kusama-like, make sure your choices are consistent. For instance, if you want to outline your petal with orange, make sure all of your big petals are outlined with orange. That will make these shapes look super bold. And, whatever color your outline is, your polka dots will be the same color. You can pick any color you want for your outlines and dots!

Step 5: Fill In Your Colors

Once your outlines are all done, let's color in the dots and the shapes with the colors you chose! When you color, we want it to be super saturated, which means that we want it to not have any paper show through. This step may take a lot of time, so it's okay to take your time and make sure it's colored in the way you want.

PRO TIP: make sure your background and foreground are contrasting colors! This will make your art really POP and look like Yayoi Kusama's artwork.

The Final Product!

And Remember... Keep Making Cool Art!

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