Drawing A Leaf That Is Twisted

How to draw a leaf that is twisting
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This step by step tutorial covers drawing a leaf that is twisting in space.

Let's get started . . . 

TIP: Draw all of your lines lightly, as some of them will be erased later.

Begin by drawing the midrib . . .

drawing a leaf and shading a leaf
  • Draw a line for the midrib (the main leaf vein)

This line is a lot like a wave crashing on a shore. It comes up in a swell and then "flows" back down.

  • Erase a small section located just before the top of the swell (illustrated by "A").

Drawing the midrib first is key!

Once you have the midrib established, the rest of your leaf drawing will follow this foundational base.

Draw a continuous line for one edge of the leaf . . . 

how to draw a leaf, complete with how to shade a leaf
  • Begin where the stem will be located and draw a continuous line right through the erased section and down to the tip (illustrated by "A").

This line will become one entire continuous edge of the leaf.

  • Draw the bottom of the leaf wide and rounded ("B"), to represent the first rounded part.

This part is widest because it is not twisting (it is not foreshortened).

  • After you go through the erased part follow the "wave" of the midrib, going up and then back down. ("C").
  • Go in at the tip ("D")

Draw the non-continuous top line . . .

how to sketch a leaf and shade a leaf
  • Draw the top line to create the rounded top section ("A).
  • This top line curves in just before it meets the line you drew above (illustrated by "B"). 

The top of the leaf disappears behind the front edge of the continuous line you drew (the front edge of the leaf), and you cannot see it again until it appears again on the bottom.

Getting this curved-in line correct has a huge impact on how realistic the twist turns out in the end.

TIP: The leaf is foreshortened in this area due to that it is twisted and is angled away from your plane of vision. 

When you are drawing a leaf, take advantage of foreshortening!

It gives the sense of three dimensions on paper, and will make people go "wow" when they see your leaf drawings. They may not know what you did, but they will be impressed -- foreshortening is always impressive.

Draw the last line on the twisted part . . . 

in this drawing tutorial, learn drawing a leaf and how to shade a leaf
  • Here is where the line reappears and begins again at "A".

Begin it fairly close to the midrib.

  • Draw the line down, following the midrib and coming in at the tip ("B").

Move the ribs slightly . . .

learn how to draw a leaf and shade a leaf

Erase part of the midrib just before the top goes behind the leaf twist ("A") and the bottom just after it comes out from behind the leaf twist.

  • Move the midrib line over to the left, from "A" to "B". 

The midrib ends, disappearing into the curved-in line (at "B"). This is where the leaf curls and the midrib continues behind, it is out of our plane of vision. 

TIP: Getting this line correct is important because it gives the illusion of a three dimensional leaf.

Move the bottom section of the midrib up slightly (illustrated by "A").

Draw the veins and finish the leaf . . .

  • Draw the veins coming off of the midrib, as shown.

Sometimes corrections need to be made . . .

  • In the end, I decided to move the line at "A" in a little bit and move the line at "B" up slightly.

When I realized that I wanted to change the lines at this stage of the drawing, my thought was to just draw another leaf for this tutorial.

However I realized that this is a good example of how things can easily be changed as long as you have the center midrib done well.

Draw the stem and a more realistic rib . . .

  • Draw a rather traditional stem with bulges on the end where it was attached.
  • Draw a line along both sides of the midrib to create a nicer effect (erase the previous line).

The midrib will take on a more realistic, three dimensional effect once it is shaded.

Hope you enjoyed learning how to draw this leaf!

I would love to have you enter your leaf drawing in my Visitor's Leaf Gallery´╗┐.

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!


~~~Samantha Mariah

If you missed drawing a leaf with two twists, you may want to check it out right now!

Glossary words used in this "drawing a leaf that is twisted" page . . .

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