In my nature journaling workshops and online classes, people often ask me how to draw or paint leaves that aren’t flat. I love this question because I love to paint bent, curled, and folded leaves! Leaves are so interesting, and are a great nature journaling example of how breaking an item into it’s basic shapes reveals how it’s drawn.
The key is understanding the perimeter lines and the ways that they connect and relate to each other, making the oval and triangular shapes. Learning to do this becomes a fun exercise in tracing with your eyes that can be done anywhere or anytime you see a leaf – from a potted plant in the dentist’s waiting room to a rest break out on a trail.
All you need to do is slow down and practice your seeing. But to help with the basic shapes, I created 5 quick videos for you – The Bent, Curled, and Folded Leaves series!
You may have seen some of these because I’ve been posting on Instagram over the past couple weeks, but today, in this post, I have a new one where we sketch straight with paint. Even if you saw the drawing videos, have you tried them yet?
No? Well let’s give them a try today!
For the video below, you’ll need:
- Watercolor paper
- Watercolor paint
- A sprig of basil (homegrown or from the store) I used the kind from the Asian grocery because I like the deep magenta color in it’s stems. If anyone knows the name of this basil let me know in the comments because I want to grow it!
- For the other video’s you just need a sketchbook, pencil, and markers or color pencils. (Links to those are below in Seeds to Sprout.)
- ALSO, for any of these videos, you can always choose to draw first, or use paint or color pencils instead of markers – or try them a few different ways in different mediums.
Paint a Basil Sprig
How did it go?
Share your bent, curled, and folded leaf drawing and painting observations in the comments below!
Share pics of your bent, curled, and folded leaves on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder !
Seeds to Sprout:
Watch the 4 other Bent, Curled, and Folded leaf drawing series videos on You Tube here! Use your own leaves (from the tress or fridge) or follow along with mine if your trees (or fridge) are currently bare!
Want to deepen your understanding of how to draw and paint nature? Check out my online nature journaling school here! You’ll find lots of classes to take at your own pace, from color mixing for nature journaling to drawing and painting tutorials to using nature journal prompts!