Sketching Trees - exercise 1

June 8, 2017


The brief: Find a tree that interests you... do around 4 preliminary drawings, keep building up on the basis of previous sketches.

• Draw a simple outline of the overall shape.

• Draw basic shapes in outline or shaded areas that describe how the foliage forms in different masses around the tree.

• Draw outlines of the trunk and main branches that you can see.

• Draw with lots of scribbled outlines or shade roughly to try and indicate something of the texture of the foliage.

I'm very slow, but decided just accept this as me and hope I get a bit faster as I gain more confidence and practice.

Here are the sketches so far. Following advice from my tutor, I'm not trying to follow the brief to the letter, but rather allowing my interest to lead me as well as asking what exactly the brief is wanting us to learn or understand. I was interested in how different trees grow, the different foliage shapes, and overall outlines that form from both the species and the immediate environment or human intervention.


 Above, these sketches in black fine-liner and black biro.


 Above: biro and then charcoal.

 Biro again. I spent some time drawing an old oak which stands alone above a hedgerow, and then moved to where I could see groups of trees in the distance in vivid sunlight, so I could catch overall outline shapes and areas of strong shadow. Again all in biro.

There are lots of crows here and they sit like undertakers in black tailcoats on the dead branches which stick up like dead-men's fingers from the living oak underneath. 


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