Autumn Leaf Doodles


Download the Outline

Download The Line Art For This Project

Click the button below to download the outline for this project for free. All you need to do is print it out, transfer the outline to your watercolour paper using carbon paper, pencil transfer or by using a light source like a light box. See my video on how to do this if you’re stuck!

Downloads are for personal use only. Please do not sell any work based on this artwork and please credit me if you post work online that you’ve made from following this tutorial or using this line work.

Video Tutorial on Youtube!

Step - By - Step Instructions

Draw Your Leaves or Trace your Pencil Outline

Either, collect some real leaves and trace around them in pencil, or find the line art above and transfer your line drawing onto watercolour paper.

Hold down the curled edges of each leaf with one hand while drawing around it with the other and take your leaves one at a time.

Paint your leaves with water

Fill the inside of your pencil tracing lines with a puddle of water (or light coloured paint!)

It helps not to go right up to the pencil line, that way, you can rub them out when you’re finished and they won’t show underneath the paint.

Begin to add pools of colour

You can choose colours randomly for this project. Choose your favourites, or use it as an exercise to see how new colours mix.

Take some paint on your brush and drop in to areas on the leaf. Drop colours next to one another and watch them mix. You can help them along with your brush if they’re not blending nicely.

Deepen the colours on the leaves

For this project, make your colours nice and dark, because we’ll be going over them with white pen, the darker the paint, the easier it will be to see the pen details.

Continue adding colours to all your leaves. When you’ve finished each leaf, use the tip of your brush to pull a stem away from the base of the leaf with the wet paint.

Vary the colours of the leaves

Keep going until all your leaves are painted. You can choose to use different combinations of colours for different leaves. I chose to use redder colours on the apple tree leaves (I think that’s what they are!) and browner ones on the ash and oak leaves.

On some leaves I dropped in dots of darker colour, others I painted stripes and allowed the colours to blend.

Add doodles!

I used a white pen, but you could use a fine brush and some white paint, and began to add doodled details to the leaves.

I used combinations of really simple shapes; straight and wavy lines, dots and half circles.

Paint Detail onto your leaves

For some leaves, I made more intricate patterns, starting from the base and working out in a circular fashion. 

These complex patterns are all made up of really simple shapes, radiating lines, small circles and dots, triangles etc. Just use your intuition to choose which type of shape to use next, fill in larger shapes with repetitions of smaller shapes and keep going until you’ve filled the whole leaf.

Finishing Touches

Keep adding areas of detail to your leaves until every leaf is complete. Use simple patterns in some areas to add visual space and try and balance your composition by mixing up straight lines, curving lines, complex patterns and simple ones across the piece.

Use your eraser to remove any pencil lines you can still see.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations of this project!

if you post your work on instagram, tag me @louracheldavis and I’ll see them, and share them in my stories!