Exercise Sketching an individual tree
I made four preliminary thumbnail studies of a tree in pencil.
I made an A4 study of a tree on a white-painted magazine page in blue ink.
I made another study of this tree on an envelope with ink and brush. This is a hawthorn tree.
First I made a pencil drawing on A3 paper. It is a line drawing of a young cherry tree. I tried to capture the delicacy of the tree, because it has a narrow trunk and very fine branches which are almost invisible, with tiny little leaves.
Below is another A3 study of the same tree, this time using more expressive lines to draw the leaves. I think the expressive lines capture the way the leaves quiver and move in the breeze. I added a wash of colour, which means that the lines don’t stand out very well. I think it would be worth trying with black ink or oil pastel, rather than pencil.
Exercise: Larger study of an individual tree
At first I made a large pencil study of an individual tree, which took around ninety minutes to two hours. I thought this drawing was successful for observing the lines and forms of my tree, as well as the light and dark areas in the foliage. I did not think my pencil drawing really captured the presence of this huge, awe inspiring tree. Partly it just did not look three dimensional as I would like.
After completing this exercise I decided to return to it with a range of different media to see if I could observe different characteristics of my tree. I think it is an oak tree, it has a “solid massive presence” as the exercise describes. So below are some drawings which I approached in more experimental ways.
I made a collage of different papers to draw my tree. I also developed ideas of how to draw the clusters of leaves as they hung on the branches.
I made a drawing using oil pastels, pencils, pencil crayons, inks and watercolours. I worked on these drawings more quickly than the pencil drawing, and I think it helps to observe the movement of the leaves. Layering different media definitely helps to describe the
Exercise: Study of several trees
Preliminary studies of several trees.
Below is my oil pastel and pencil crayon A3 study of several trees. It was supposed to take one to two hours, but this took three hours. I think I should try again to draw one in an hour and a half, see how that turns out.
This study was meant to have a point of interest; I chose the round area of light in the central background, but I have not been able to make it the obvious focal point. In reality this is quite a dark view, with light leaking through the leaves. I have tried to demonstrate this by drawing the leaves closer together in the darker areas, and further apart in the lighter areas. This works in a visually interesting way, but does not recreate the scene which I could see.
I used mixed media because I thought that would work well to show the trees and the foliage. I think this scene might be better drawn in soft pastels.
I am not sure this was a successful drawing, but I am pleased with it because when you look into it for a few minutes your eyes are led around by all the groups of marks and colours, so it is an interesting image.
I think I have been successful in drawing contrasts of light and shade, the forms of trees, mass, lines, texture and colour.
How many different tree types have you drawn?
I have drawn a hawthorn, a cherry tree and a group of trees which included a silver birch and an oak tree, as well as fir trees and some other trees which I don’t recognise.
What techniques did you use to distinguish each type?
To draw the hawthorn tree I used a scratchy movement, as well as a circular motion with my hand to try to represent the crinkled puffiness of the foliage.
For the cherry tree, at first I used smaller marks which were individually separate from each other in the same way you could see on the tree. Then later I added some groups of oval type shapes which were made without taking the pen off to convey that the leaves were close together and over lapping.
With other trees I used dashes and dots which were different size and shape depending on the type of tree.
What did you do to convey the mass of foliage?
With oil pastels I made lots of dots and dashes very close together to convey branches full of leaves, but this was not entirely effective. With ink and brush I made multiple strokes to show leaves on the branches. Other methods I used are as above.
How did you handle light on the trees? Was it successful?
I tried drawing light falling through the trees, but it was not perfect. I plan to continue my examination of how to draw this. I made other drawings of light on the trees themselves by adjusting the colour or tone, and this was effective.
Did you manage to select and simplify? Look at your drawings and make notes on how you did this, and what could you do better?
I think I have selected and simplified. In my first drawings I had drawn different individual elements of the trees, outlines and silhouettes etcetera. Focusing on the shapes of leaves and branches. In my drawing of several trees I looked at the way the leaves all looked together, rather than looking at each individual leaf.