Project 17 (exercises 45, 46, 47) - Drawing trees

Exercise 45 - individual tree

I practised tree shapes and details from several different trees - mainly an oak and cypress (of some sort).

For the first image here I used a scribble block technique to indicate the masses of leaves, all with their distinct directions... adding more pressure and overlaying blocks to indicate the darker, more dense and shaded areas.

The second image of a tree also uses very basic blocks of pencil to indicate the light and dark sides of the trunk. With the tree / bush next to it suggestively added in with very little detail.

 

The studies of a Cypress tree (again in pencil) were sketched in different detail - firstly from afar with block detail, then closer - showing the direction of leaves on each branch, then close up to show how each set of leaves looked. These 3 sketches heled inform me as to how best draw the tree - which ended up being a mixture of all 3! I then did a detailed section of the trunk, using very loose pencil lines to indicate the texture.


This exercise has taught me the value of how doing sketches from different angles can help inform a drawing - for example drawing the close up of the leaves helped sketch the tree from a distance, almost like understanding how the tree is made up, makes it easier to draw... I guess this is why artists like George Stubbs spent years studying horses from the inside out to get a knowledge of how the work / move.

Exercise 46- larger study of a tree

For this larger study, I decided to draw a birch tree - with no leaves on. It was a beautiful cold day with blue sky, with the white of the branches reflecting in the sun.  I was attracted to this tree for the clean sharp lines and contrast of white / black (shadowed) branches against the blue sky.

 

I experimented with several different mediums (willow and pen shown here) until I settled on pen, because I felt the pen reflected the sharpness of tree better, and make it look more delicate than other mediums. I was afraid that I had just reverted back to what I knew best but I actually enjoyed he willow and think it gave a great effect - and maybe something I would use on a chunkier, more robust tree like an oak. I also couldn't help myself in using a watercolour wash - mainly because the sky was too beautiful to miss out, but also because it helped highlight the wonderful brightness of the branches facing the sun.



It has also made me realise how completely different trees are to each other, both in the way they look, and in the way they can be sketched - as in some trees are probably more suited to drawing very simple block outlines, where as others would be suited better with lots of sketchy lines.



My group of trees drawing was done in pencil and a graphite stick. I used the grey tone of a "B" pencil to draw the trees - using the pencil on it's side to get shading in, then added the leaves and grass with the black tone of the graphite stick. I like the way 2 mediums mixed add very different tones and marks - making the leaves on the trees clear amongst all the branches and background trees.

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