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Lesson 4

Leafy Border

Gael Stirler


On the first scroll, the female AoA, all you need to do is paint the leaves in a variety of greens or in fall colors. Then paint a vein in white or gold down the center of each leaf. Paint the berries in gold (as pictured here) or red, blue or purple. Add a dot of white in the upper right-hand quadrant of each berry to make it look shiny. Look at the laurel scroll for examples of shiny berries.

The leaves are stylized maple leaves with three long points on a narrow vine. Note how the leaves hardly ever touch each other. This is an important part of making a leafy border look even and neat. Look at the full size scroll and see how some leaves are drawn smaller or distorted in order to fill the space without touching the others. I drew a little star burst wherever there was an emply space that I couldn't fill with a leaf.

For the male AoA scroll you will need to draw the little leaves on the fat vine. Use simple leaves like these. Space them evenly and don't let them touch each other, the vine, or the sides of the border. If you can't reach a spot with a leaf put a star or a bug in that spot. The leaves can be a different color than the vine. I painted the vines red and blue and their big finial leaves in the same colors. Lastly, I painted a thin line down the center of each vine with white, to give it roundness and added veins in the big leaves. If you would like, you can make the big finial leaves into flowers. See how many bugs you can spot on the full size scroll. Did you find the happy sun face among the leaves?


Drawing Vines and Leafy Borders

On many of the scrolls you will need to draw your own leafy borders. They are very easy to draw when you know how. The trick is to to space the leaves and flowers evenly. This gives a texture to the border that is pleasing to the eye.
Step 1
With a pencil and a straight edge, lightly sketch the shape of the border. Then sketch a series of circles down the center of the border area, about a quarter of an inch from the edge of the border.

Step 2
Starting from one corner or side of the border, draw an undulating line around the circles. End in a curl.

Step 3
In pencil, draw a curl off the main branch of the vine on the inside of each circle. Make sure that all of the branches are "growing" in the same direction. Trace the lines in pen. From this point on you can work in pen. Practice drawing leaves on another sheet of paper first if you're nervous about working directly in pen. Draw a leaf at the end of each curl. Vary the direction the leaves are pointing. Don't worry if your leaves don't look exactly alike.

Step 4
Fill in the rest of the vines by drawing evenly spaced stems and leaves on each side of the vine. The leaves shouldn't touch each other or the vine. Make sure that they are all "growing" the same direction. Make them fill up the border area to the edges without going over. Sometimes, there are spots that need leaves but you can't get a stem to reach the spot without spoiling the pattern. In these cases draw a little "star" or bug to fill in the spot. If you want a more elaborate effect draw flowers on some of the stems and add curly tendrils or twigs between each leaf. You can add a berry or knob at the points where the vines branch (see above). Finally, erase your pencil lines with a kneaded eraser.


Weedy Borders

Here are two examples of weedy borders that are quite decorative. Each starts as an undulating line. The one to the left has long stems branching off from the main vine. Each stem ends in a little oval seed pod topped with a few strokes of the pen. The wide-spaced leaves are no more than sqiggles that give the impression of dried up leaves. Once again, I used stars in places that needed filling. Painting was very simple, a hint of color on the leaves, a dot of gold on the seed pods.

The weedy border to the right was more complicated and included pink-throated morning glories as the flower in the center of each spiral vine. First I drew an undulating line that ended in a spiral. Then I went back and added more spirals to the line making sure they all "grew" the same way. I added a variety of leaf shapes to the vine, keeping them widely spaced. Then I put hair on the edges of the leaves to make them weedier. I added smaller leaf sqiggles, some with seed pods. finally, I painted all the leaves in powdered gold tempera paint.

In the next lesson you will learn how to draw and paint acanthus leaves.

Go to Lesson 5: Acanthus leaves.
Go back to Lesson 3: Figures.


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© 2002-2004Gael Stirler, Inc. 1-520-721-8346
Unless otherwise noted all art is the work of Gael Stirler.
AKA Mistress Dairine mor o' hUigin, OL


This page was last updated Monday, 16-Mar-2009 15:36:14 CDT