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Tutorial no. 5 of Prof's PSP 9 Art Media Tutorials  >
Art Media: Flowers
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Art Media: Flowers
Created by: Prof

We will continue to use the Art Media Oil Brush with some additional techniques to create leaves and flowers. If you are not familiar with using the Oil Brush you might want to look at the four tutorials on using the Art Media tools.

Introductory Remarks

Using a tablet and pen will allow much more control and versatility in creating strokes than just using a mouse. However, one can use a mouse with similar stroking to produce the outcome. The difference is that to create different-size strokes with the mouse requires changing the size while with the pen it just requires more or less pressure on the tablet. Also, though the other options do create variations in the strokes and painting with the mouse, with the pen the differences are more pronounced.


New Image

Mixer Knife     Mixer Tube

The Mixer Palette

We will be using a 300 x 300 Art Media canvas with the Simple Canvas texture and "Enable fill color" = White. We will begin with techniques to create leaves so we will create a Mixer palette of various shades of green mixed so that there are variations in the paint used. (I am using three shades of green and a swatch of white to mix together.)

Experimentation in both the mixing process and the selection of paint will need to be done so that the oil variations when used with the brush create the effect one wishes. The following are considerations when mixing and selecting paint:

  • Mix color swatches either with the Mixer Knife or with the Mixer Tube. For variations, allow streaks of different colors to be visible.
  • Selection of the mixed paints will create different effects. The darker green color on the right of the Materials box produces a dark green line on the right of the brush stroke.
  • Making the selection area larger or smaller (in this case small for the dark on the right) will produce a finer line when drawing top to bottom. Conversely, with the darker streaks on the left the painting will be reversed when drawing bottom to top.

Again, after mixing colors, experiment with painting to see if the colors mixed are what you want. It is possible that one may need to mix the colors on the Mixer palette again, or even add additional swatches of colors and then re-mix. It is also possible that selecting the paint will require additional trials.

The more one explores the more one will develop an idea of how the oils will look when painting. Also for this tutorial and for leaves I want a darker color also in the middle somewhere to help define the leaf vein.


Art-Media Oil Brush Tool (PSP 9)

Initial Exploration for Painting Leaves

The following settings were used for the Oil Brush for this illustration (however, often one will use different sizes to create different types of stroke effects):
– Size = 25
– Head tracking = Track path
– Head loading, Viscosity, Firmness = 100
– Bristle size = 1

The basic stroke is to draw from one direction to another. In the illustration I drew from top down or from left to right. The direction used will determine the positioning of the leaf effect. Some notes regarding the illustration:

  1. The left drawing of the two left and two top middle leaves are using the mouse and the right drawing uses the pen. The top horizontal is done with the mouse and the bottom is done with the pen.
  2. Notice where the dark edge is (on the right) of the two left vertical strokes. These strokes were drawn top down. The middle top drawings started with the first stroke top down and then painted the second stroke from the bottom up to the top of the stroke. This technique creates a dark middle as the dark line reverses when reversing the stroke.
  3. Notice in the bottom vertical strokes where the first stroke was drawn left to right and the second right to left that again the dark center is created. Also, notice that there is more definition of the oils.

Different Strokes for Different Effects

There are many different ways to create the leaf effect. Often one just strokes and practices and one will find different techniques for different results. The following are some of the techniques I found useful to display different types of leaves and foliage and illustrated are those using just the pen as one can vary the size and look when applying different pressures on the tablet.

  1. Start with a very light pressure for the top of the leaf and increase the pressure to finish up the bottom of the leaf. Dependent upon where you want the darker effect, you may want to draw from the bottom of the leaf to the top first and then draw from the top to the bottom. This approach often gives a slightly more pointed leaf. The stem is drawn with a very light pressure stroke.
  1. The rounder leaf is created in a similar way except I increased the size of the brush to 52.
  1. Creating grass-like effects using a smaller brush size (20) and drawing fairly quickly with light pressure from top to bottom. Curving the leaves to the base creates a different type of foliage effect. Also, draw the back leaf first and the front leaf last. Alternate between left and right.
  1. A fern effect is drawn first with a lower size (15) and drawing the stem. Then add the leaves starting at the top, then alternating left and right. Make each lower set of leaves just a bit longer to get the effect.
  1. A leafy vine effect is created by using a small-size brush (6) and light pressure. The strokes are individual and drawn down a stem using a 'Y' or an 'X' stroke.

Another Technique

This illustration is of a technique of lowering values so that the resultant effect is lighter and can be seen with the canvas selection. The values used include Size = 50, Head tracking = Track path, Head loading = 1, Viscosity = about 15, Firmness = about 25, Bristle size = 1 and Auto clean = checked. Lowering the Viscosity and Firmness even more will produce an even lighter effect.


The strokes used are for the most part the same as discussed above.

  1. Top to bottom and then bottom to top.
  2. The back leaf was drawn first, then the right and left side and finally the front leaf. If one curves the side leaves to the start at the back center leaf one can produce a bud-like leaf.
  3. This effect is created by rotating the brush in small quick circles. One can create some interesting results that can look like vegetables such as lettuce.
  4. These strokes are long and grass-like or long leaf-like strokes.
  5. Because of the low values, by dabbing the brush quickly and lightly up and down one can create either bush-like leaves or grass effects or tree leaf effects.

A Third Technique

For this technique, I set the settings all to 100 except I set the brush Size to 50, and set Head tracking to Fixed angle so I could set Thickness to a value of 1. In all examples except #2 I set the Rotation to zero (0) while in #2 I set the Rotation = 45.


This technique uses the Oil Brush and with the thickness set to 1 one can create some very realistic leaves. The technique is to draw down at the angle of the rotation, then move to the right (or left) and down and then back to midline. (Examples: #1, #3, #7}.

One can also start up following the rotation, then move left or right and up and then back into the midline as in example #4. Example #5 just draws up and to the right or left to create a half-moon shape and then repeat only going down and to the right or left to create a round leaf.

Example #6 uses the quick circular brush strokes to create the lettuce-like effect. Example #7 mainly draws down almost to the rotation degree to create the grass-like and longer leaf effect.

In example #3, one will often have trailers as is seen at the bottom of that leaf. Though I did not do so for the illustration, one then can use the Art Eraser to remove the unwanted section rather than undoing it and redoing it. I did use the Art Eraser in example #2 to sharpen the tip area of the leaf.


Some Tips and Comments

Take some time to develop your technique to draw leaf-like effects. The more one practices the more one can create some very realistic looking leaves. Also, the techniques used to draw leaves are the same stroke techniques, for the most part, one will use in drawing flower petals.

Also, keep in mind that one can use the Art Eraser, or the Undo feature to remove unwanted parts of the object drawn. Also, these leaves are based upon a multi-colored mix to get the varied coloring effects of the leaves. One could use a more solid color and then vary the color to give the leaf definition.

Now, as we move on to drawing flower petals, you will see that similar stroking is used, just that we use a different color mixture. In the examples to follow, I am only going to comment on the stroking and not on the mixing of paints as that process is often one of preference and experimentation.


A Daisy

Looking at a daisy from above is created by drawing from the tip to the center. I found drawing petals at 12 o'clock, 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock first and then filling between them was the easiest for me. However one could just draw the petals from outside to the center and go around in a circle. I ended the painting by placing the brush in the center and made a circle for the bud. One could use a different color for the center bud.


A Tulip

Create the back petal first by doing a two stroke, top to bottom (right side, then left side) to get the center line. Then create the left or right petal as a two stroke for outside to bottom. In this case I curved the left and right so the tip of the petal was pointing toward the back petal. However, one could have the tip pointing away from the center to give a more open petal flower.

The final petal is the front petal again as a two-stroke process. Drawing the front petal last gives the flower a slightly more dimensional appearance. I also enhanced this one by drawing a green stem and leaves.


Another Daisy

In this example I started with the bottom layer of petals as they would be the longest. After doing one circle of petals I did a second set of petals but shorter than the first and trying to paint them between the bottom petals. I did a third circle of shorter petals. I then touched up some petals to make sure their tips where sharp. The center was done with a darker color and done by dabbing. The values for the Oil Brush were all at maximum with a brush Size of about 30.


Final Example

The flower was drawn using a small brush and making 'Y' and 'X' strokes. I used two different shades of the color, doing the darker color first and the lighter color second.

The picture was created in parts using layers for various sections. I drew the stem first as a guide, then the purple flowers, then the leaves, and then by lowering all values and dabbing created the grass and then over the grass made grass blades. I then did the sky and finally added a sun which I smudged into the picture.

A final technique I used is to use the Art Eraser set with Thickness = 1 and Size = 200 and very quickly and lightly drawing over the canvas in one stroke right to left (or left to right) to lighten areas. I did this for the sky and the grass.


Final Comments

One key which I have said many a time is to just practice, practice and practice as well as experiment, experiment and experiment. Also, look at leaves and flowers and flower petals. Have them in mind as you practice drawing. Use different brush sizes and values to see the different effects possible.

There actually is no end to the possibilities. This tutorial gives you some idea of the techniques that might be used for painting foliage and flowers.