Leaves & Foliage

'Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower.' - Albert Camus


Even though this Flower Collage course is mostly inspired by florals, leaves and foliage also offer wonderful sources for shapes and forms to be used in art and design. They're present in the history of all decorative art forms and this week we will be using leaves as the focus for the mini-projects, culminating in the creation of a collage artwork at the end of Module Two.

In this module we will also focus on paint techniques and mark making processes, as well as exploring the secondary colours: purple, orange and green.

Observational Drawings

Today’s mini-project is about observing and drawing of leaf shapes.

The Process

Find some leaves in your garden or a park. Look for variety: spear, round, spikey, curved etc. Notice the difference in leaves of the same plant and how young leaves differ in colour from mature ones. Also note the colours of the season as evident in the leaves around you.

Pick a few and draw them with a dip pen using High Flow paint diluted with about 30% water.

The drawings can be done in a sketchbook or on smooth watercolour sheets. It is important to do the observational drawings as you will refer to them in follow-up projects this week. Draw from life rather than photographs, it makes a difference to how you observe and create.

Here is a video of leaf sketches being drawn:

The beautiful book featured is Spectrum: Heritage Patterns and Colours. I used two parts Pthalo Blue, two parts Azo Gold and one part Black to create a dark green ink-like liquid for the drawings.

For inspiration on how leaves have been used in surface pattern design over centuries have a look at this Pinterest board.