How to Draw Dead Leaves Falling Off of a Tree

Updated February 21, 2017

Watching leaves fall gracefully off a tree to rest on the ground is one of the simple pleasures that nature provides. The leaves move and stop in harmony with their environment. Trying to recreate this process via drawing is a notable endeavour. It's also a relatively advanced drawing activity and a worthy challenge for the sketch artist, as it requires you to portray items in flight. However, drawing dead leaves falling off a tree prepares you for more complex in-motion sketches, such as animals and people walking.

Sketch a rough outline of the tree trunk. Make sure to represent the bottom lines of the tree sloping into the earth.

Add simple lines of branches jutting out of and up and around the trunk of this tree. Keep adding branches until you are satisfied with your tree.

Shade with your pencil in between all the branches. This prevents you from having to draw every single individual leaf. Shade in the outline of the leaves around the tree, creating distinct edging, contour and texture.

Draw the outline of the falling leaves: Draw two loose fork shapes within the scale of the tree. Frame each fork shape with a curved line.

Draw around each curved line or fork the leaf shape of your choice. Add stems by drawing simple lines out from the bottom of each leaf. Curve the stems slightly upwards as if drawing the leaf in flight, billowing up from the force of the wind.

Draw details such as the veins spreading within the leaves, connecting out to the edges of the leaf. If desired, you can shade the leaves with pencils in different colours such as bronze, burnt red and brown.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Sketchpad
  • Coloured pencils
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About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."