It’s camellia season on the Gulf Coast and big, showy blossoms are everywhere. Unlike the azalea’s brief explosion of riotous color followed by ten months of weedy-looking shrubbery, the camellia’s glossy greenery looks robust year round. Some varieties bloom for months and can survive, essentially neglected, for centuries.

But I like them because they are such fun to draw. Simple or heavily ruffled, their flowers range from snowy white to delicate pink to intense crimson — or speckled and spattered combinations of these colors. And their crepe texture is perfect for colored pencil. Here’s a recent preliminary drawing using a dark umber Prismacolor pencil:


And here’s the same drawing, with layers of color added. I used five colors in addition to the umber “foundation drawing” :  Crimson, Cream, Chartreuse, Canary Yellow and Dark Green: