While some people dive right in and learn by trial and error, my tendency is to research first (often too much!). I’ve also found out that, as much as I sometimes want to, drawing from photos simply isn’t for me, at least at the moment. As I do my “research”, I read about the subject, I look at photos, I see how other people represented it in their art, and all the while I absorb. Then when I set to drawing, my mind already knows the subject matter a little bit, and I can output it better.
At this point I must mention someone who deserves a separate post – John Muir Laws (link to his website). John Muir Laws is an “artist, naturalist, author, and educator” as he defines himself on his website. His art is beautiful, and he is a gifted teacher. I first bumped into him while searching for info on how to draw birds, and watching (all!) his videos and looking at his tutorials I have learned a whole lot. He has a wonderful way of simplifying subject matters, giving you very practical and reasonable methods for approaching drawing them.
It just so happens, that he has a video lesson on drawing plants: http://www.johnmuirlaws.com/drawing-plants.
In it, he suggests cutting out paper flower and leaf shapes, to learn how create perspective. It’s a brilliant method, I recommend watching & trying.
Another reference link is http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/WEEDS/ID/broadveins.html. Here, UC IMP show, with simple illustrations, various leaf shapes, vein patterns, how different leaves attach to stems, their arrangements, flowering patterns, roots etc.
Back to my leaves, after soaking in the images and explanations, I spent the evening drawing. I am still infatuated with my new Sailor fountain pen (review can be found here) so I used only the pen in this drawing. Practicing hatching lines is always good, right?
I mentioned Negative painting, earlier, and want to add 2 recommendations for 2 brilliant artists who use this technique:
Both also have very instructive videos on Youtube. Look them up.
This is it for now, thanks for reading and good luck with your own endeavors!