How to Draw A Leaf With A Curl

how to draw a leaf with a curl and how to shade a leaf with a curl
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A Step-by-step Tutorial on How to Draw A leaf With A Curl.

You may want to review the drawing tutorial on a basic leaf.

Draw a Grid . . .

tutorial on how to draw a leaf

When you are beginning a new drawing, a grid can help establish your lines.




  • Start by lightly drawing a grid on your paper.
  • Sketch three horizontal lines each spaced 1 and 1/2 inches apart (illustrated by the dotted arrow line).
  • Sketch six vertical lines each spaced 1 and 1/2 inches apart (illustrated by the dotted arrow line).

Erase a Section of the Top . . .

how to draw a leaf

Draw all of your lines lightly so you can erase them later. 

  • Erase a portion of the top section (illustrated by "A"s).
  • Erase a portion of the side veins below the erased top section (illustrated by "B").

The erased section is 2 and 1/2 inches in length--or one and three quarter grid lengths.


Place the Curved Line . . .

drawing leaves


  • Begin sketching a downward curved line (illustrated with 3 arrows and "A").
  • Sketch the folded over edge two thirds of the way down to the center vein (illustrated by dashes at "B" and the dotted line at "C").

This edge "dips" down.

Tip: One of the most important things to understand when you are learning how to draw a leaf with a curl, is that the curved line (illustrated by "A") is a continuation of the leaf's edge.

The edge is now curled (or folded) over to the front, but it's the same edge as the rest of the edges drawn so far (illustrated by small arrows and small "A"s).


You are Now Changing the Leaf's Edge . . .

The curled over part is now the back "folded" over to the front! This will become clearer as you actually sketch the curl.

learn how to draw a leaf with a curl








  • Place a dashed line where you previously erased the edge (illustrated by "A").
  • Place a slightly downward curved line between the dashed line and the curved line (illustrated by "B").

This line you are now sketching is a little more than half way down between the dashed line and the curved line.

This happens because some of the curl is "taken up" where the it actually folds (or curls) over (located at "B").

This slightly curved line is where the edge folds, it is separate (and new) from the continuous one you drew in step four (illustrated by "A"s).

With the leaf curled over to the front, a brand new edge was created that was not there before!

  • Erase any dashes and all of your grid lines now and get ready to begin shading.

How to Shade . . .

how to shade a leaf with a curl







The light source in this lesson is coming from the top left hand side (illustrated by dotted lines). The light source determines where the shadows will be located, thus indicating where to place your shading.

  • Place The Cast Shadow "Under" The Curl
  • As the light shines on the leaf, this creates a shadow underneath and to the right of the curl (illustrated by "B").

Shade Where The Curl is Actually "Folded" Over . . .

Notice that there is shading located on the top middle of the folded over section.

  • The outer edge of the curl is coming out--toward you a tiny bit, this creates slight shadowing in the middle (illustrated by "C").

Shade The Left Edge of The Curl

  • Place slight shading on the left edge of the curl (illustrated by "D").

This shadow is created when the very edge of the curl is lifted up enough (from folding) that it creates a shadow in the upper left hand corner.

When learning how to draw a leaf, include details. They make a difference!

Shade The Stem

Create the illusion of a rounded stem . . .

  • Add shading to both sides of the stem and leave the middle area to become a white highlight (illustrated by "F").
  • The top part of the stem has more light shining on it than the bottom, therefore shade the bottom area darker than the top (illustrated by "G").

Erratic Lines for The Veins

  • Sketch "wavy" (or erratic) lines around both sides of the veins that you previously drew (illustrated by "E").

Shade The Veins and Stem . . .

drawing and shading a leaf with a curl


Create The Illusion of Raised Veins

  • Shade around each vein (illustrated by "A").
  • Keep the veins "highlighted" by leaving the middle of each white.

Shading around all of the veins gives the illusion that they are raised because the middle of each is highlighted with white.

Add Finishing Touches By Shading The End of The Stem

  • Shade the "bulges".
  • Leave a highlight at "B" where where the bottom bulge is located.
  • Leave a smaller highlight at "C" where the top bulge is located.

Note: The leaf only looks different because of the shading. The lines have been drawn exactly the same as before the shading.

how to draw a leaf with a curl and shade it

Now that you know how to draw a leaf, be sure to sign your artwork!



Creating art and crafts builds new neural pathways in your brain and is a great way to keep your noggin healthy. Keep creating for optimal brain health!

Love, 

~~~Samantha Mariah



draw a leaf

Once you have learned how to draw a leaf with a curl, you may want to continue on to more advanced drawing tutorials such as leaves that twist.


Want to share your drawing in the Leaf Drawings Visitor Gallery?


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