Still life art

Create still life art to suit your style with Esther Curtis’s still-life created three times over. Learn how to make your own still life painting, drawing or collage

Still life art: 3 floral designs

Different people view and interpret the world in so many different ways through their art. That’s what creativity is all about! This still life art project shows how one subject can be expressed in many ways according to the medium you use.

The examples include a traditional watercolour, a simple black-and-white ink drawing and a fun contemporary collage. But these are just three ideas to get you started on your own artistic journey – you might want to try gouache, pencil or colour chalks too.

In other words, this project is perfect if you want to experiment and find what works for you, using one subject as a reference point. And, in the process, you might even discover your own signature style. Who knows what ideas will bloom?

What is still life art?

Still life is a popular art form that has inspired artists for centuries. Still life art typically portrays an arrangement of objects on a table and it’s a great way to practice your artistic skills.

Arrangements of fruit and flowers are very common in still life art, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t paint any selection of objects that inspires you. If you’ve gathered some shells on a beach walk, why not paint them? You could paint your dressing table, window sill or even your desk if you’ve got an interesting array of possessions scattered there!

Read on to learn how to make your own still life art with Esther’s top tips…

Looking to develop your artistic skills? Learn how to draw a flower, how to make butterfly art using gouache or how to paint a self-portrait. We’ve also put together an inspiring collection of easy watercolor painting ideas for you to try.

Before you start this project, you might find it useful to explore our best watercolour paints guide and our watercolour painting for beginners guide.

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You Will Need

  • Watercolour paints
  • Fineliner pen
  • Paper, from magazines
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Drawing pencils
  • Eraser or putty rubber

Watercolour

Step 1

Sketch the outline of the vase and table top, then start to paint from the front, working backwards. Here, the two biggest blooms were started first by laying down water with a flat brush, before applying the palest pink, leaving a few areas of white for highlights. Stronger pinks were layered over the top to suggest petals. The yellow centre was added while the pink was still wet, so the two colours would bleed into each other. The method of layering paint from pale to dark was used throughout, with the detail added in after.

Watercolour still life

Fineliner pen

Step 1

Sketch the outline of the vase and table, and roughly put in the main shapes of the flowers, leaves and grasses. Now take your fineliner pen and simplify the forms into stylised shapes, before filling in with dots and hatching to create texture. When doing this kind of piece it’s helpful to think about what to leave out – how much detail can you take away while still identifying what the subject is? Remember, you’re not going for accuracy; it’s about distilling the forms down to create a design.

Fineliner pen

Collage

Step 1

First prepare the paper shapes! Cut up magazines or colour your own paper with acrylic, watercolour or pencil crayon. For the table, we used graph paper, but white envelopes also have interesting designs on the inside. Cut out and stick down the vase leaving 1cm unglued at the top so you can tuck the stalks under later. Simplify the shapes for the flowers and leaves, then draw them out. Now cut out the shapes and stick down with PVA glue applied with a brush, layering the paper with different tones of colour. Finally, stick down the stalks under the top of the vase, then glue it down.

Collage still life art
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You’ve finished! Display your trio of still life art designs on shelves, as we’ve done here.

Still life art