Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Leaf

2/12/20 Philodendron leaf (from photo)

In light of my current focus on botanical drawing, this is the sketch I made for a Valentine card. Sadly, I had to draw it from a photo, as I don’t have a philodendron plant (for the sake of its own health and safety). Unlike me, my mom had a very green thumb, and I have fond memories of her several philodendrons and their shiny, heart-shaped leaves throughout the house.

Technical note: One of the techniques I learned in Crystal Shin’s workshop was using an incising tool to mark leaf veins into the white paper. Then when colored pencil is applied lightly over the debossed lines, they resist color. Afterwards an appropriate hue can be added to the vein lines with a very sharp pencil point. In class, I borrowed our instructor’s tool, which had a fine, smooth point to avoid damaging the paper’s surface. Making this philodendron leaf sketch at home, I didn’t have an incising tool, and other things I tried (like needle nose pliers) were too rough and scratched the paper. I’ve heard that people use dried-up ballpoint pens for this purpose, but I didn’t even have one of those in the house.

My next idea was a white colored pencil. I remembered that my vintage Prismacolor Verithins are among the hardest colored pencils I’ve used, and I happened to have a white one. It turned out that in addition to being very hard, it’s also old and brittle, so when I applied pressure, the sharp point kept snapping.

Finally, I looked around at other somewhat hard colored pencils on my desk, and I spotted a Tombow Irojiten in a pale yellow hue. It’s certainly not the hardest colored pencil I own, but it was handy. It turned out to be just right as an incising tool, and the color was also just right so I didn’t even have to apply color to the vein lines afterwards. 


  1. Your shading on the philodendron leaf is amazing!!

    1. Thanks, Joan! I appreciate your stopping in at my blog regularly, even with all that's on your mind lately!


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