How to

Drawing leaves: How to draw step by step – Doodle a leaf

Learn the art of drawing leaves in this comprehensive step-by-step tutorial. We’ll start with the basics, covering the different parts of a leaf and then dive into doodling various leaves from imagination or using real leaves as references. Whether you want to create beautiful bullet journal spreads or add a touch of nature to your projects, this tutorial will teach you how to draw over 25 different types of leaves.

Leaf Drawing 101: Understanding the Parts

Before we begin doodling leaves, it’s essential to understand the different parts that make up a leaf. While it may seem complex, knowing the basic anatomy will help you create realistic and detailed drawings of leaves.

Parts of a leaf

Here are the key parts of a leaf:

  • Stem: The support system of the leaf, connecting it to the branch.
  • Axil: The upper angle between the leaf and the stem.
  • Leaf base: The lowest edge of the leaf, connecting to the petiole.
  • Petiole: The stalk that attaches the leaf to the stem.
  • Leaf-blade: The thin and flat part of the leaf that aids in aerodynamics.
  • Leaf lobe: Partially separate sections found in some leaf types.
  • Vein: Transports nutrients and water throughout the leaf.
  • Leaf margin: The outline of the leaf.
  • Venules: Smaller veins on the leaf.
  • Midrib: The central vein running from the petiole to the leaf tip.
  • Tip: The pointy end of the leaf.

Understanding these parts will help you capture the essence and shape of different leaves accurately.

Drawing Supplies: Getting Started

To begin your leaf-drawing journey, you don’t need fancy supplies. You can use any monoline pen or pencil you have readily available. However, if you want to take your doodling to the next level, here are some recommended tools:

  • Monoline pen or pencil: Provides consistent line thickness.
  • Sketching paper: Ideal for doodling and experimenting with different leaf shapes.
  • Tracing paper: Useful for creating layers and correcting your drawings.
  • Watercolor journal: Great for adding watercolor details without bleeding on the pages.
  • iPad (optional): If you prefer digital drawing, consider using an iPad with Procreate software.

Having the right tools can enhance your drawing experience and allow you to explore different techniques.

Sketching Tools

Here are some essential sketching tools you can consider:

  • Pencils of varying hardness (HB, 2B, 4B, etc.)
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Blending stump
  • Tortillon

Inking Tools

When it comes to inking your drawings, you can use:

  • Fine liner pens (varying sizes)
  • Brush pens
  • Dip pens with ink

Tracing Multiple Layers

To create complex and layered drawings, you might find these tools helpful:

  • Tracing paper
  • Lightbox (or a window with natural light)
  • Various reference images

For more advanced techniques and tools, refer to our comprehensive guide on drawing, lettering, and calligraphy.

How to Doodle Leaves: Adding Variation

Before diving into drawing specific leaves, let’s explore different ways to add variation to your doodles. By combining various techniques, you can create unique and eye-catching leaf designs. Here are some basic techniques to keep in mind:

The Basic Shape

Doodle leaf basics

To create a basic leaf shape, follow these steps:

  1. Start with a straight line for the midrib.
  2. From the bottom of the line, draw a rounded shape, straightening the stroke until you reach the leaf tip.
  3. Mirror the shape on the other side, unless you want to draw the leaf in profile.
  4. Congrats! You’ve just doodled your first leaf.

Veining Variations

Adding variation to the way you draw veins can completely change the look of your leaves. Consider these options:

Doodle leaf veining

  1. Variation 1: Create equal separations between the veins for a simple and basic look.
  2. Variation 2: Start with average vein separations and gradually increase the density towards the leaf tip.
  3. Variation 3: Add veining on one side only to give leaves a unique appearance without overwhelming them.
  4. Variation 4: Experiment with uneven and scattered vein lines for a more artistic and natural look.

Angle Variation

Adding angles or slants to your stem can provide perspective and depth to your leaf drawings. Follow these steps:

Doodle leaf angle

  1. Start with a slanted or curved stem.
  2. Create the first side of the leaf by starting with a curve and straightening it towards the leaf tip.
  3. Make the other side slightly smaller to add perspective.
  4. Admire your beautiful leaf with added dimension.

Leaf Shape Variation

Experimenting with different leaf shapes can result in a wide range of unique and captivating doodles. Try these variations:

Doodle leaf shape

  1. Variation 1: Make the leaf base wider to create a different look.
  2. Variation 2: Keep most of the leaf shape the same size, giving it a soft and oval appearance.
  3. Variation 3: Create a flatter leaf shape resembling an egg or eucalyptus leaf.
  4. Variation 4: Embrace uneven lines and asymmetry for a more natural and organic feel.

Doodle Leaf Examples

Now, let’s look at some examples of my favorite imaginary leaves. Feel free to let your creativity flow and experiment with shapes, sizes, and details beyond real botanical references.

Doodle leaf examples

These unique leaf designs reflect your personal style and imagination, making your artwork truly one-of-a-kind.

How to Draw Specific Leaves: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we’ve explored different doodling techniques, let’s delve into drawing specific leaves. We’ll simplify the leaf shapes inspired by real-life examples, making them more accessible for beginners.

Drawing a Ginkgo Leaf

The ginkgo leaf is known for its fan-shaped appearance. Follow these steps to draw it:

  1. Start with a vertical line and mark points for guidance.
  2. Create a curved line that outlines the leaf shape.
  3. Sketch the details, such as veins and smaller lines, to complete the leaf’s distinct look.

Drawing a Red Maple Leaf

The red maple leaf features lobes and serrated margins. Here’s how you can draw it:

  1. Begin with a vertical line and horizontal lines for guidance.
  2. Connect the lines to outline the leaf’s shape.
  3. Add details, such as serrations, venule texture, and color, to bring the leaf to life.

Drawing an Ivy Leaf

Ivy leaves come in various shapes and sizes. Follow these steps to draw a simple ivy leaf:

  1. Draw a vertical line and horizontal lines as guides.
  2. Create curved lines that resemble a flattened triangle.
  3. Add details, such as veins and texture, to enhance the leaf’s appearance.

Drawing a Sugar Maple Leaf

The sugar maple leaf is characterized by its lobed shape and serrated edges. Here’s how you can draw it:

  1. Draw a vertical line with horizontal lines for guidance.
  2. Connect the lines to create an upside-down triangular shape.
  3. Sketch the lobes, outline the margins, and add venule texture for a realistic touch.

Drawing a Red Oak Leaf

Red oak leaves have pointed edges and multiple lobes. Follow these steps to draw a red oak leaf:

  1. Use a vertical line and horizontal lines as guides.
  2. Add diagonal lines to create a framework for the leaf.
  3. Connect the lines to shape the lobes and serrated margins.
  4. Add venule texture and color to complete the drawing.

Drawing a Silver Maple Leaf

Silver maple leaves have distinct lobes and silvery undersides. Here’s how you can draw a silver maple leaf:

  1. Begin with a vertical line and horizontal anchor points.
  2. Create a leaf shape by connecting the lines with curved edges.
  3. Complete the leaf by adding veins, the leaf base, and venule texture if desired.

Drawing a Bur Oak Leaf

Bur oak leaves feature rounded lobes and sinuses. Follow these steps to draw a bur oak leaf:

  1. Start with a vertical line and multiple horizontal anchor points.
  2. Draw branching lines and create a framework for the lobes.
  3. Connect the lines to shape the lobes and complete the leaf.
  4. Add color, remove unnecessary guidelines, and enhance with venule texture.

Drawing an Ash Leaf

Ash leaves are compound, consisting of multiple leaflets. Here’s how you can draw an ash leaf:

  1. Draw a vertical line and horizontal anchor points.
  2. Create circles around the top anchor points as guides.
  3. Connect the lines to form the leaf structure.
  4. Add details to the leaflets and color as desired.

Feel free to explore and combine these drawing techniques to create your own unique leaf designs. Remember, the key is to have fun and let your imagination guide you.

Exploring Additional Leaves

Inspired by real leaves and your imagination, you can create a wide variety of leaf designs. Here are some examples to spark your creativity:

Additional leaf drawings

Feel free to experiment with different shapes, sizes, and textures to make each leaf a work of art.


Now that you’ve mastered the art of drawing leaves, it’s time to let your creativity soar. Use these techniques and step-by-step guides to create beautiful leaf designs for your bullet journal, artwork, or any other creative project. Remember to have fun with it and embrace the unique style of your doodles. Happy drawing!

Doodle away!

Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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