How to Draw and Paint Curling Leaves – Step by Step – A Jacki Kellum Art Tutorial


Curling Leaves and Branches That My Older Students Will Draw and Paint This Week

In yesterday’s post, I discussed why learning to draw carefully was essential for me–even though my work seems to be done with very little drawing skill. See that post Here


Tulips in Watercolor – Jacki Kellum


I thought that you might like to see how I drew and painted the leaves at the top. I began with a pencil drawing. Notice  that the leaves are both directed toward the center. That is a compositional trick to help keep the viewer’s eyes within the canvas. The placement of the branches is intentional. The branches direct the viewer’s eyes toward various parts of the canvas.

In addition to studying foliage and shading with paint this summer, my older students are also studying book design. If you look carefully at the sketch, you will see that I drew this on two sheets of paper. When the book is opened, the drawing should cross the center of the book–just as though it is not two pages. In most cases, the two pages that are open, in a book, act as one.


Prismacolor Color Pencils for Drawing

Ceramcoat Craft Paints: [I used cheap paints for this student painting]

Bright Yellow
Lime Green
Christmas Green
Navy Blue

I redrew the branches on another paper. I used Yellow-orange Prismacolor Color Pencil for this. I drew the leaves with True Green Prismacolor Color Pencil

1b I began by painting both the leaves and the branches with a light, lemonish yellow. In a good set of paints, this would be cadmium yellow light. I actually painted this with cheap craft acrylics. I used Ceramcoat paint, and the first color is bright yellow.


I began to shade the branches with orange–first the lighter orange: Ceramcoat yellow [cadmium yellow medium] with a tad of orange: Ceramcoat OJ.


Then, I added a darker orange on the undersides of the branches. Ceramoat Pumpkin -[cadmium orange–with lots of yellow]. Note that I allowed the yellow to remain on the tops of the branches. That is what catches the light, and I almost aways use yellow as a highlight.


I began to shade the leaves with pale yellow-green.Ceramcoat Gecko. On the next layer, I used Ceramcoat Lime Green. As I continue to paint, I’ll make every effort to preserve some of the yellow.


I added a darker green.Ceramcoat Green. On a curling leaf, apply your brush strokes around the curve–in the above leaf, I painted from the center vein and the up and over the leaf diagonally toward the upper left.


Next, I used an even darker. Ceramcoat Christmas Green. I paint around the veins upward and diagonally to the left.


The parts of the leaves that curl forward catch the most light and are brighter yellow. In this leaf, the vein is raised and it is also yellowish. The leaf on the left is light at the top until it begins to curve back downward. At that point, it begins to get darker.





I painted blue around the leaves and branches, and I added blue to the deepest shadows in the leaves. Ceramcoat Navy Blue.



I washed just a touch of brown into the darkest parts of the stems.

©Jacki Kellum June 20, 2016




5 thoughts on “How to Draw and Paint Curling Leaves – Step by Step – A Jacki Kellum Art Tutorial

  1. I enjoy your art work so much, your painting of leaves and trees and flowers. I’d never have thought the work was realized but through study and practice. I’d be more surprised to find out that the paintings came forth with ease! (Though I suppose that’s possible.) I appreciate these lessons. I learn much here. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From you, I learn to be kinder and to be more aware of the efforts being made by others. As always, Christopher, thank you.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s