Study of Several Trees
Ink on Paper - A3
Study of Several Trees - Silver Birches
Fine Liner on Paper - A4
How many different tree types have you drawn?
I am definitely no expert on trees but I’ve definitely had a go at drawing quite a few different types, oak, elm and birches at least.
What techniques did you use to distinguish each type?
I was not really focusing on analyzing the type of tree I was drawing but more on the individual tree itself and the way it had adapted to its own environment. To achieve this I concentrated on its own particular characteristics i.e. the shape and direction of its branches and sometimes detailing some of the leaves, this acts like a fingerprint to identify the type of tree it is.
What did you do to convey the mass of foliage?
Once I had plotted out the basic shape of the tree and all its elements, I would identify how the branches interact with the foliage, how bits clumped together and the direction they went in. I did a bit of experimentation but I found that being loose with the detail works best, just enough to give an impression of the foliage. I think this works best because when viewing a tree you do not register all the leaves and twigs individually, you tend to think of it as one united object.
I used very simple marks in the fine liner drawing of the birches, slightly messy marks because the foliage seemed to scribble its way around the trees.
How did you handle the light on the trees? Was it successful?
In the individual tree drawings once I had described enough of the rough details, I shaded with the intention of seeing the entire tree as one object. This allowed me to keep similar levels of light and dark continuing through the entire drawing, so the darkest points stayed as the darkest points without getting lost. I also attempted to capture the way the light shone through the clumps of foliage in places, almost glittering amongst the greenery, by concentrating on the details.
In the group of trees I produced in ink there is a much starker contrast because of the media, although less subtle this did allow me to maintain a consistent level easily. In the fine-liner drawing of the birches, the second colour of the green sort of acted as a mid-tone in places.
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?
After finishing this project I can conclude that knowing what to select and what to simplify is really quite tricky, include too much and it will make for an uncomfortable drawing, too little and the piece will seem unfinished, wanting more.
In the study of the oak tree and the elm tree in the second exercise I think I did this quite successfully, I spent a lot of time picking out the important details to include and eliminating those elements that seemed less important. In the group studies I think I may have simplified possibly too much in places, though I am very happy with the texture the ink was able to convey.
Overall I think I have done quite well in this project I am pleased with the results and I have definitely enjoyed working through it. Trees are still one of my favourite subjects and I shall no doubt return to them in the not too distant future.