Leaf Drawing 101

I’m sure you probably guessed the outcome of today’s search words — scared, teeming, guarded, ash, tree. With ash thrown in there, there was no real search to be done. An ash is a tree, and Google went directly to it. All I had to do was find a suitable reference photo. I settled on one with lots of lovely leaves.

Inktober 14 - Ash (2)
Ash Leaves – Ink drawing by Judith Kraus

As I’m drawing each morning, I think a bit about how each different illustration ranks in the overall scheme of Inktober. Now, I’m not comparing them on how good or bad I think each one is. Some are better than others, and I think that will always be true for any artist who sets about doing a series or a set of drawings. Instead, I’m rating them by the many different feelings I’ve had while completing each one.

Today’s ink drawing of ash leaves is currently ranked as “The Most Enjoyable Inktober Drawing.” I truly enjoyed sitting down at my table and creating this little illustration. I’ve mentioned Kate Berry’s book Drawing Lessons for Beginner Artists, the ninety-nine cent bargain that set me off on this art journey. Oh, how many leaves I drew as I followed along with the illustrations in her book. My first leaves weren’t great, but as I practiced them more and more, they started looking better and better.

My leaves are never going to be botanical wonders, and that’s all right. As I improve my drawing skills, I do hope to achieve greater realism, but not to the point of botanical accuracy. One of the things I loved about Kate Berry’s book was her insistence that beginner artists not worry about all those fussy little details. That advice, alone, was worth ninety-nine cents, and it definitely saved me from much discouragement. It made drawing fun, and I found that fun again this morning as I drew — and inked — these low-hanging branches of an ash tree.

I actually used three different Pitt Artist pens for this drawing. I did the original lay-out in graphite, making sure I had a pleasing arrangement, and also being sure to include a few overlapping leaves since that’s something I’m working on. Then I used a medium tip pen to ink in the graceful, flowing lines of the slender branches. With a fine tip, I outlined the leaves, creating a slightly jagged edges. The tiny veins were drawn in with an extra-fine pen.

High Resolution green leaf of ash-tree isolated on white backgroundThese leaves are not as accurate and detailed as they could be, but that’s all right. They have the right shape, the right structure. I think they’re recognizable as leaves from an ash tree, and I’m happy with that.

From the time I first started drawing, I’ve had fun drawing leaves. They may be simple or compound, smooth-edged or serrated. Leaves come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and I enjoy learning about them as much as I enjoy drawing them. So, indeed, today’s drawing was most enjoyable.

Coming up tomorrow? What tree will Cheeky Monkey Mind and I be swinging from?


  • Tree
  • Fierce
  • Clock
  • Overgrown

Yes, tree was one of the actual prompt words from the 2016 list, making tomorrow’s search a shorter one.



I'd Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Connecting to %s