Leaves are a part of most still life, floral and nature pictures. Learning how to draw leaves is a basic and essential step in developing your drawing techniques. When drawing leaves in pencil, the shading and tonal aspect is important. Once you have mastered drawing a simple leaf shape, you will be ready to draw all kinds of trees and flowers. There are several types of leaf shapes, so start by drawing maple, acorn and standard oval-shaped flower leaves.
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Draw several lines on a piece of paper to create leaf stems. All leaves have stems, veins and blades, so when drawing different types of leaves, always follow the same structure. Start by drawing a maple leaf shape.
Draw four points that branch out from the top of a stem into a star shape. Around the branches, draw wiggly lines that follow around the branches but open out wider. This will create a maple leaf shape. Using the pencil, draw veins coming off each branch and surrounding the shape of the leaves.
Pick another stem and try drawing an oak leaf. Draw a kite shape around the straight stem. Draw curvy skinny lines that come in and out from the centre of the leaf. Draw skinnier veins coming off the central stem and into the oak-shaped leaf.
Choose a final stem and draw a simple flower-leaf shape. Following the stem, draw a tear drop-shaped oval around and bring it into a point. This would be a typical leaf that could be used for almost any type of flower. Following the central vein line, draw fainter lines off to the edge of the leaf.
Once the three simple leaf shapes have been drawn, shade them in with the pencil. Shade in the stems and each vein darker; the rest of the leaf shape should be shaded in considerably lighter.
Tips and warnings
- To create depth to the leaf drawings, use a variety of pencil grades from HB to 6B or to 6H.
- Don't make the leaves too complicated; a few simple veins branching off the stem will create a realistic leaf.
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