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Drawing the Base of a Leaf in Illustrator

written by: Amanda Presley•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/5/2011

This tutorial will show you how to draw a basic leaf in Adobe Illustrator CS3.

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    In Adobe Illustrator CS3, you can create many different types of leaf graphics. In this tutorial series I will show you how to create a basic leaf graphic and turn it into other leaf graphics. I will show you how to create a solid color leaf, gradient leaf, and more. Leaves are often used for creating floral and vine graphics.

    Drawing a Basic Leaf

    We will start out by creating a basic leaf. You will use the arc tool to create the leaf. So, select the arc tool from your toolbar on the left. Explaining how to draw the leaf is kind of difficult. So I will show you how to draw it by using the properties box. I will also tell you how to freehand draw it, but if you can’t understand me, use the properties box.

    Adobe Illustrator CS3 Web Graphics - leaf graphics - arc properties 1 Using the Properties Box to Draw the Leaf

    We will create two arcs, then we will put them together to create the leaf outline. Select the arc tool and click your document. When the properties box opens, enter the following in the boxes.

    Length X-Axis – 70pt

    Length Y-Axis – 84pt

    Type – Opened

    Base Along – Y – Axis

    Slope – 50

    Fill Arc – Unchecked

    Click OK on the box to form the top part of the leaf. Click your mouse on the document again to pop the properties box back up. Everything is going to stay the same as the above properties except the Base Along. Change the Base Along to X Axis. Click OK to form the bottom part of the leaf. Now drag the two arcs together to form the leaf.Adobe Illustrator CS3 Web Graphics - leaf graphics - leaf outline Drawing the Leaf by Freehand

    Now I will show you how to draw the leaf by freehand. Select the arc tool from the toolbar. Click your document and draw upward until you have the arc. Let go of the mouse. Start from the top point of the arc, click your mouse and draw downward to the bottom point of the first arc. Then you will have your leaf.

    Grouping your Two Arcs

    To better manage your leaf, you will need to group the two arcs. Hold down shift and click both of the arcs to select them. Go to the top of your window and click Object > Group. Your two arcs are now in the shape of a leaf.

    You can copy and paste the leaf to create more leafs. You can also resize and rotate the leaf using the transform tool. Move on to part two of this tutorial to learn how to do more with the leaf graphics.

Leaf Graphics in Adobe Illustrator CS3

This series will show you how to create leaf graphics in Adobe Illustrator CS3.
  1. Drawing the Base of a Leaf in Illustrator
  2. Creating Gradient Leaf Graphics in Illustrator
  3. Apply Textures to Leaf Graphics in Illustrator