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Davinder and Caroline Madaher 

Tropical Leaf Inspiration

Tropical Leaf Inspiration

Last weekend we went to the beautiful Belton House, a National Trust property in Lincolnshire. We were yet again inspired by the gardens and especially the tropical plants in the glass house.

If you have never visited Belton House and you have children, you won't be disappointed by your visit. There is plenty to keep them entertained, a huge Adventure play area, plenty of open space to take walks and run around, a beautiful house to explore. There is a lovely courtyard with a nice cafe and gift shops, along with our favourite second hand book shop where we always find some gems.

Here's the link to the website.


Tropical themes have been strong on the catwalks this season and in homeware interiors. We've been loving the designs using leaves and tropical themes, in fact Davinder has designed plenty for Sainsbury's this season.

When we visit a place like this we are a little snap happy with our camera's, in fact you can get great shots with your iPhone especially close up.

I thought these leaf images would make great inspiration for the kids to have a go at drawing tropical leaf pictures.

I loved the images in the recent John Lewis Magazine, showing the kids these images helped them to think about the leaves in a big scale. I pulled out lots of different predominantly green drawing tools. Crayons, pens, oil pastels. We love the Derwent range as they are sturdy and tend not to break when dropped several times, as is often the case with kids and crayons.

Here's the link to their online store.


I gave them a perfect square white cartridge paper to begin their design, and what they created was fantastic, in fact what they did I would be proud to frame on the wall.

By giving them some inspiration and a starting point, kids are able to roll with a theme and take on the challenge. Sometimes when faced with blank paper some children struggle to know what to draw, and will often copy their neighbour, but when given inspiration from another source, it really helps them to be creative for themselves. They get their confidence from the direction given to them.

They loved using the Derwent Oil pastels and smudging them up with their fingers.

I loved what Naomi created, and I can visualise this turned into a repeat pattern for a tropical dress or swimsuit. 

Ok I'll admit this was my leaf, well I had to sit and join in along with helping them. Its good to take part as a parent even if you feel like you don't have any drawing skills.

As we worked away we constantly praised each others work, and encourage the kids to keep going and not to scrap anything they feel unhappy with. Sometimes our mistakes can be turned into something better, so I always try to impress that on our kids.

I loved what Joshua did, and how he tried to create great leaf shapes. I think its clear that even at four years old you can respond to direction and follow inspiration from a particular source.

I loved Caleb's bold spiky leaf design and his finished design is really fun.

Its good to encourage kids with mixed media and to think about shading and mark making.

Caleb managed another design, Boys often tend to go a little faster, and if you have Boy's you will know their attention span is often much shorter with these types of projects, which is why its important to engage with them as they work away. If I'd not sat with them to draw I am almost certain Caleb would have only done one picture and be finished, but because I was sitting with them working on my own picture, the boys were happy to keep going. 

I hope this project inspires you to try something new with your kids, perhaps take a few holiday snaps and print them out for the kids to copy. or visit a garden centre and get inspired by all the plants.

Whatever you do remember its your time they want more than anything else, so when you get that holiday time this summer, switch off from work and enjoy your kids you deserve it, and they will love it.

Caroline x

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