With the outline and the central veins done on the leaves, I now needed to fill them in using split stitch shading.
To try and give a naturalistic look, I'm working the shading from the centre, around the veins, to the edge, rather than from top to bottom or side to side, say. To start, I added stitches in the darker shade, 1411, in the centres of the largest leaves:
I then added a band of shading thread with one strand on 1411 and one of 1410 around this, and in the centres of the remaining leaves:
And in close-up:
Finally, I filled in the rest with the lighter shade, 1410:
And again in close-up:
I tried to keep the angle of the stitches radiating outwards, to try and give a sense of shape to each leaf – hopefully this makes it look a little more life-like.
I'm making this sound so easy, and I suppose the process is pretty straightforward, but there's a lot of work in these leaves! Still, I'm making good process - the next sheet is the last one for the bottom panel.