Botanical Leaf #2- 30 day Leaf Challenge

by Mindy on October 2, 2011

in Botanical Art, Drawing Tips, Graphite, Leaf Challenge

I am grateful for football season! Why?

Every fall from September to January my husband sits faithfully on Sundays and watches football….. all day and into the night. I am a moderate football enthusiast but I only really pay attention to the instant replays when something good happens. During this time I get to draw in front of the tv with my husband. We are together, he is happy and so am I. This is the time that I use graphite and colored pencils… something that is portable.

Today I went to Kanapaha Botanical Garden here in Gainesville, Fl. It is awesome to have a beautiful botanical garden 15 minutes from my house. I went on a "leaf hunt". It was a gorgeous day and I was able to find a bunch of leaves that have inspired me to paint. I had to rush home by 1:00 because that was when the first game started. With leaves in front of the tv I spent most of the day just doing line drawings for preparation to painting. I was only able to do small leaf in graphite today, but it made me realize that going back to the fundamentals is always best.

 

Lets look at general leaf anatomy:

The stem usually flows into the midrib which tapers to the end of the leaf, ending usually but not always in a point.  An exception is the Ginko tree whose leaves are fan shaped and do not have a defined midrib.  After the midrib, there are a series of veins that branch off from the midrib. These are the primary veins. The primary veins branch off into secondary veins and in some cases the secondary veins branch off into capillaries. This system is similar to the human circulatory system. Observe carefully how the venation comes off the midrib. Does it branch off in pairs or alternate? Are the capillaries visible to the naked eye or do you need a magnifying glass or microscope to see the detail? In your drawing, how much information is enough? I have used a xerox machine to experiment to see how much detail the machine picks up in creating a copy. You want your leaf to be believable, which means you must figure out how much detail to put in or leave out. I have also used a tracing paper rubbing to record how much information is visible to the naked eye. I can later use this rubbing to fill in information after the leaf has died, which trust me it will, way before you want it to.

Tomorrow I will do some work in color, now that I have a pile of leaves beginning to wilt in the refridgerator…… Which reminds me….If you place your leaves between 2 pieces of damp paper towel and put them in a tuperware container and put them in the fridge they will last longer.

The graphite drawing above was done with a 2H pencil on Strathmore drawing paper. It is available through my Etsy store.

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jarnie G October 3, 2011 at 6:07 am

 Hi again Mindy
thanks for the tutorial on leaf anatomy, it really helps to know how it all works together, especially when trying to get the initial drawing right. Working on leaf 3, just taking a tea break!  love your pencil drawing, so delicate.

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