Here you can download paper models to help you learn or teach how to foreshorten leaves and flowers. If you are an individual learning to draw, download the “leaf-flower set”. If you are a teacher, download the “leaf set” and the “flower set”. These are pages with multiples of each model to reduce paper waste. Cut the leaf model to the edge of the illustration. Cut the flower model out as a disk, cutting from petal tip to petal tip (not following the flower edge between the petals. Once you have cut out the flower disk, make a single second cut between two petals, straight to the center point of the circle (vertex).
To use the models, close one eye and hold the models at eye level. Rotate the models and observe how the perceived proportions of length and width change. Also notice how the angles of the tip of the leaf, veins, and negative spaces between petals change. To take the leaf model to another level, turn it over and trace the vein lines with a pencil on the back side. Then curl the leaf model gently. Observe the shapes and angles when you can see both the top and the bottom of the leaf. Once you understand how the widths and lengths of the petals change as you rotate the flower model, you are ready to study cone-shaped flowers. Turn the flower model over and trace the petal shapes on the back of the paper. Then overlap two of the petals to form a cone. Now observe how the proportions of the petals change as you rotate the cone (again with one eye closed and the model at eye level). If you study this model, you will develop an intuitive understanding of how to foreshorten flowers.
Using paper models to teach and understand leaf and flower foreshortening is a very effective way to learn and teach. I have developed and refined this system through teaching classes and experimentation. I give my permission to use these materials to any teacher who would like to use them. Please give an acknowledgment where appropriate and let your students know about other learning resources on this site.