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Illustrating Leaves This course ceases completely for registration in September 2020. The current students and any students who join the course by September will finish the course in their own time with support. There will be no new intakes after September 2020. There is however a new leaf tutorial available in November 2020.

Cost £325.The course will cease for registration 1st  September 2020. A new tutorial will replace it.  

If you want to be a botanical artist or illustrator you must be able to paint accurate leaves, after all it's often the leaf that a botanist uses to identify plants. Leaves should never be an afterthought and are as important as any other part of a plant. Practice and learn to understand and interpret leaves to achieve accurate leaf illustrations in this course.

So many botanical paintings are spoiled by lack of attention to leaves. This comes from a combination of problems, which include:

  • Poor observation, e,g. painting what you think you see, instead of what you actually see, resulting in stylised shapes and 'tram-line' veins with a general lack of accuracy.

  • Inaccurate Colour: Inaccurate colour  can result from a lack of understanding of colour mixing and watercolour technique. Using my simplified system mixing greens make green mixing much easier.

  • Not enough light and shade (tonal values): another observational issue which and can be caused by not lighting the subject well or by confusion between colour and tone.

  • Lack of control of the medium and uncertainty regarding the necessary watercolour techniques. This can result in over-painting of the highlights or heavy areas of dense paint where there is a poor understanding of colour in relation to tone.

As you will have noticed from this description, these problems are not mutually exclusive!



What this Course Aims to Achieve

In this course I will first teach students how to observe and draw leaves - in portrait and perspective. This is a fundamental skill.

You will learn to identify leaves and create a sketchbook leaf library,  observing and annotating their features.

You will learn about colour mixing with a particular emphasis on greens, which always seem to cause problems.

You will be expected to produce a colour sheets of different leaves, varying in shape, features and colour.

You will produce a study page of leaves in perspective.

During these exercises I will cover the appropriate techniques to deal with different types of leaves, such as: dark shiny leaves, hairy leaves, puckered leaves, leaf markings and variegated leaves. You will also work on painting believable veins and tidy leaf margins ......all of which can be problematical.


How is this Course Delivered

The course is delivered online via a webpage with downloadable PDF files for lessons. Video tutorials and worksheets support your learning and you can print and keep these documents for future reference. An optional dedicated Facebook Group also makes a useful forum for sharing work and student discussion.


It should take 8-9 months to complete but you will have a period of up to 18 months to finish it, I recommend taking your time!

You will receive personal feedback on your work throughout, and this should enable you to make continuous improvement.


Start date: this course will cease after the current presentation 

Cost: £325



Please read the Terms and Conditions before enrolling in a course



Camellia leaf wip
Autumn leaves
Watercolour of Laurel leaf wip
Green watercolour mixes system
Comparing the stippling technique in graphite and ink
Detail Gardenia leaf in graphite
Observation drawing
Line and tone
observing perspective
measuring perspecti
Drawing perspective
colour wheel principles
Colour mixing, the greens
leaf types
Hairy leaves
Fine detail and veins
Sketchbook Study of green mixes, Ivy leaf
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