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Lesson 5

Acanthus Leaves

Gael Stirler

Twirling Ribbons and Twirling Acanthus Leaves

Leaves and ribbons are drawn in a similar manner. To make ribbons just skip the steps for drawing the ragged edges on the leaves. The method described below gives you one scrolling acanthus leaf. If you want two intertwining leaves like these blue ones, don't use perpendicular lines in step 2. Use 45 ° angled lines instead. For your first try, I suggest following the directions below. Then try variations after you have caught on to the technique.

Step 1:
To draw the single acanthus leaf borders, use a soft lead pencil to draw the pole that the leaves will curl around. Divide it into segments the width of a finger (approximately 1/2 inch). Lightly shade every other segment. The shaded portion of the pole will show between the leaves. Draw dots above and below the centers of each segment about one finger width from the pole.

Step 2:
Draw short perpendicular lines through the pole on the lines of division. Connect the dots above the shaded segments to the perpendicular lines on the right of the shaded segments with curved lines. Connect the dots above the clear segments to the perpendicular lines on the right of the clear segments with similar curved lines. Do the same for the bottom part but reverse the direction of the curves.

Step 3:
Connect the curves that start above the shaded segments to the top of the curves over the clear segments. This can be done with a straight line or a line with a little dip in it as illustrated here. Connect the curves at the bottom the same way only reversing direction. You have just compleated the basic leaf shapes.

Step 4:
Erase the pole in the center of the leaf shapes.

Step 5:
Connect the pointy part of the leaf shape to the pole where it meets the next leaf. Repeat for each leaf shape above the pole then each leaf shape below. The leaves in front of the pole should look like they are connected to the leaves behind the pole. At this point they look more like ribbons than leaves.

Step 6:
Draw a slightly curved vein down the center of each leaf shape in front. Draw lobed edges on the front leaves. The lobes should all hang downwards.

Step 7:
Draw a slightly curved vein up the center of each leaf in back without drawing through the pole. Draw lobed edges on the back leaves. The lobes should all point upwards.

Step 8:
With an ink pen or a #00 brush dipped in waterproof ink draw over the leaves, veins, and pole. Let the ink dry and then erase all of the pencil line. You can use a technical pen, a crow quill or my favorite is a Micro Uni-ball writing pen.
Learn how to paint acanthus leaves in the next lesson

Go to Lesson 6: Painting Acanthus Leaves.
Go back to Lesson 4: Leaves.

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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 Friday, 27-Mar-2009 14:30:09 CDT