Exercise : Sketching an individual Tree : OCA p 98
I decided to try sketching several trees so that I would get a feel for their different shapes and characteristics and that would enable me to decide what type of tree to draw for the exercise.
Here are some of my initial sketches:
I used charcoal pencil, graphite, ink and soft charcoal for the various images above then I did my 4 preliminary sketches, ready for my final drawing:
Larger study of a Tree : OCA p 99
Fig 7 : My 4-part sketch shows firstly the outline of the tree, secondly which branches I could see through the leaf cloud, thirdly the tonal areas and finally the bark on a branch and trunk. These all helped me in the final drawing by familiarising me with the tree before I started.
Fig : A weeping birch in a graveyard in Denmark is the tree I chose for this sketch. I’ve used pencil (4B and 6B) and I have tried to be faithful to the light and shade within the branches. The sun was high and just behind the tree. I added the bushes where they contrasted (and I enjoyed the mark-making for them) but faded the picture out where the box hedges around the gravestones were, not to detract from the main focus of attention.
Study of Several Trees : OCA p 100
The image below (Fig 9) was completed in chalk pastels on coloured sugar paper. I chose that medium because I felt it would best show off the autumn leaves. I’m pleased with the outcome though I realise in hindsight I have used pastels a couple of times before and perhaps a different medium would have shown a variety of skills.
The trees looked dramatic against the pale sky and I have highlighted this. They almost seem alive and about to pounce. On the whole I was pleased with this study.
Check and Log
- I’ve drawn more than eleven tree types
- I used various marks, thicknesses of pen / pencil / charcoal to distinguish each type, concentrating on the ‘feel’ of the tree
- foliage masses have been created with various marks, shapes and density
- I handled light in the trees by creating heavier masses in the darker areas to leave white paper showing through for light
- I have certainly selected each tree from a landscape of other trees and kept them simple by not over-detailing. Mostly I’m happy with my efforts but perhaps I have over-simplified by not creating a landscape behind the tree.