Leaves are such interesting shapes, and they make beautiful design elements especially teamed with the colors of fall. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to draw a heart-shaped leaf shape in Procreate, fill it with a colorful autumn watercolor texture and add some contrasting veins. Once your leaf is drawn, you can make multiple varieties of it simply by adding different textures and vein colors.
I used a redbud leaf as my inspiration for this tutorial. It’s is one of many leaves shaped like a heart. Its simple, symmetrical shape is easy to draw in Procreate. Here are a few examples of my redbud leaf drawing filled with different textures.
Once you’ve created one type of leaf, you can use this technique for others as well. Here’s an example of some of the other leaves I’ve drawn combined into a wreath.
It’s easy to become obsessed with this technique. The varieties of leaves, textures and colors seem endless so let’s started.
Gather your Tools and Resources
- iPad with the Procreate app
- Apple pencil is highly recommended
- A pre-made watercolor texture – Download our example leaf texture from our Resource Library and save it on your iPad.
Setup your Canvas
Choose a canvas
Launch Procreate and select the pre-made Square canvas.
Turn on symmetry
We’ll be using the symmetry function in Procreate to draw the leaf. We’ll draw a rough outline of the shape and modify it to make it look more like a leaf. You can access the symmetry function through the Drawing Guide. Tap the wrench icon. Under Actions, tap Canvas, set the Drawing Guide to the on position, and tap Edit Drawing Guide.
At the bottom of the Drawing Guide screen, tap Symmetry, toggle on the Assisted Drawing button, and select the Vertical option. When you’re finished, click Done at the top right of the screen.
Rough-in Your Leaf Shape
Choose a brush
Select a line brush to draw the rough shape of your leaf. At this stage, you’re just going for the basic shape, in this case an inverted heart. I used the Monoline brush in the Calligraphy set. I set my color to black. I set my size to about 18%.
Draw the rough shape
To draw the leaf, I placed my Apple pencil just to the right of the drawing guide and drew the half leaf. It’s fun to watch as both sides get drawn simultaneously. I tried drawing the inverted heart shape multiple times. I’d draw, tap with two fingers to undo, and try again and again until I got a nice shape. Here’s what my initial shape looked like. Notice how I didn’t close off the shape.
Refine your Leaf
Next you’ll refine your leaf on a new layer. But first, tap the N on your leaf shape layer and set the Opacity of your rough drawing down.
Create a new assisted layer
Create a new layer. Tap the wrench, then Canvas, then Drawing Guide and set the Edit Drawing Guide options to make it an assisted symmetry layer as well. Trace your original shape but this time refine it to make it look more like a leaf. I added some little peaks near the top. Here’s what my improved shape looks like. Notice that both Layer 1 and Layer 2 have the word “Assisted” under them so you know the symmetry function is on. When you like the look of your refined leaf, uncheck the box on Layer 1 (the rough layer) to hide it.
Add the stem
Next we’ll add the stem to the leaf and close the top point of the leaf. We’ll turn the symmetry off since we don’t want to end up with two stems! To do this, tap Layer 2. The fly-out menu shows Drawing Assist checked. Tap it to turn the symmetry off.
Also now that you’re finished with the Drawing Guide, click the wrench icon and toggle off the Drawing Guide button.
If you don’t have room to draw the stem, select your arrow tool, tap Uniform at the bottom of the screen, and make your leaf smaller. With the symmetry turned off, draw the stem at the bottom of your leaf. Again, be patient with drawing. You can draw, tap two fingers to delete the attempt and try again. It usually takes me multiple times to get it to look good. Here’s the stem I settled on.
Close the leaf shape
Next you’ll fill the leaf with color. To do this you’ll first have to make sure there are no gaps in the outline like the large gap I have at the top point of the leaf. Use the same color as the outline (black in my case) and your Monoline brush to close any gaps. Make sure to check the areas where the stem meets the leaves for gaps.
Fill the leaf shape with color
Make sure your color swatch is the same color you used to draw your leaf. Drag from the color swatch to the center of your leaf to fill it. If there are no gaps, the leaf will fill with color.
That’s the leaf shape! Let’s fill it with a texture.
Fill the Leaf with a Texture
Get your texture ready
If you haven’t already downloaded our sample texture, grab it from our Resource Library and save it somewhere that you can access through Procreate. I saved ours to our Camera Roll. You could use one you may already have. Make sure it’s at least 1700 x 1700 pixels in a format Procreate can import. Our texture is a .jpg. Here’s what the sample texture looks like.
Add a new layer and import the texture
Add a new layer to your Layers stack. Tap the wrench icon, tap Add, and choose either Insert a file or Insert a photo depending on where you stored your image. Since ours in our Cameral Roll, I chose Insert a photo.
Browse to your photo and select it. Use your arrow tool to move the texture so it fully covers your leaf drawing. If the texture is too small for your leaf, tap the arrow tool, tap Uniform and make the texture larger.
Here’s what my project looks like now with 3 layers in the Layers panel and the texture covering my leaf.
Create a clipping mask
Here’s where the magic happens. Tap Layer 3 (the texture layer). From the fly-out menu, select Clipping Mask. Your leaf will be filled with the texture. You can tap the arrow tool on the Procreate menu and move the texture around inside your leaf. You can rotate the texture as well. If you want to make the texture larger or smaller, make sure you have Uniform selected in the panel that appears at the bottom of the screen when the arrow tool is selected.
Here’s my texture-filled leaf. Notice that Layer 3 now has a small arrow to the left of the thumbnail that points to the layer below it. This indicates a clipping mask is covering that layer.
Draw the Veins
Add a new layer to your layer stack. You’ll draw the veins on this layer.
Choose a vein color
Tap your color swatch icon and choose a color that is slightly darker than the predominant color of your texture. I chose a dark gold. If you want to use this gold, choose the Value option at the bottom of the swatch dropdown menu. Type da9f30 in the Hexadecimal field.
Draw the veins
The veins on a redbud leaf have primary and secondary veins that all start near the stem. The primary and secondary veins have smaller veins jutting out from them. I drew the veins using two layers. I wanted to make it easy to erase if I needed to.
On the first veins layer, I started by drawing the primary center vein. Then I added the large veins on either side of it and the large veins at the bottom. For these I set my Monoline brush width to about 20%.
On the second layer, I drew additional veins at the 20% size growing out of the primary and secondary veins. Next, I reduced my brush size to 14% and drew the tiny veins that grew out of these.
Merge the veins layers
When you’re happy with the way your veins look, merge the two layers together by tapping the top veins layer and selecting Merge Down in the fly-out menu. Now all the veins should be on one layer.
To improve the look of the leaf and let the texture show slightly through the veins, click the N on the layer to access the Opacity slider. I set the slider to about 62%.
Duplicate the Leaf Shape, Texture, and Veins Layers
Your leaf exists on 3 layers. You’ll merge the layers to make it act like a single graphic. However, before you merge the layers, let’s duplicate the layers so you can create variations on your leaf.
Put your layers in a group
Tap on the veins layer. Swipe right on the texture and leaf shape layers. This will select all three of them. Tap Group.
Duplicate your group
To duplicate your group of layers, swipe left on the New Group layer and select Duplicate.
Merge one group of leaf layers
In the top group, tap New group and select Flatten from the fly-out menu. Now your leaf is one graphic. Use your arrow tool to move, resize, rotate, and copy / paste it.
Create a Variation of the Leaf
You can use your original group to create a variation of your leaf. You can add a different texture and change the color of the veins.
Clear the texture layer
Turn off the visibility of your merged leaf group. In the second group of layers, tap the texture layer. From the fly-out menu, select Clear.
Your texture layer appears as an empty Clipping Mask.
Insert a different texture and recolor the veins
As you did with the first leaf, use the wrench icon and select Insert a photo (or a file) and select a new texture. You can fill your veins with a new color to match the texture.
Here’s my leaf with a different texture and recolored veins.
Want More Options?
As I developed this technique, I decided to save each leaf shape I made as a Procreate stamp brush. I made a corresponding veins stamp brush for each leaf shape. Having the leaves and veins as stamps allowed me to use them in projects quickly and easily without having to create them from scratch each time.
I also hand painted some watercolor textures, scanned them, and optimized them to fit the leaves. I’ve had a great time stamping leaves, inserting different textures and stamping/coloring the veins.
Because they’re so useful, I just had to share them. You can now get my entire set of Procreate brushes and textures through our Etsy shop. Here’s the link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/725182500/procreate-leaf-brushes-set-leaf-stamps?ref=ss_listing
How to Download the Leaf Watercolor Texture used in this Tutorial
The texture used in this tutorial is included in our free Resource Library as a .jpg file. Download it and save it in a place where you can access it through Procreate.
Subscribe to Access the Resource Library
You can find the leaf texture as well as our other free files in our Resource Library. You need to be subscribed to our site to access the library. If you’re not already subscribed, you can sign up using the form below. We’ll email you updates on what we’re making as well as a password to access the library where we’re building a collection of projects and information you can use to continue making great stuff!
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