Friday, 22 November 2013

Check and Log: Drawing Trees

How many different tree types have you drawn?

I think I've drawn about 18 different types of tree but I'm not entirely sure as some of them were quite distant and I didn't identify what they were.

What techniques did you use to distinguish each type?

I looked at the overall shapes of the trees and then I also looks at the texture and density of the foliage to decide what sort of marks to make to suggest it. For example, long flowing shapes for willow beaches and more abrupt straight jagged marks on pines. 

What did you do to convey the mass of foliage?

It was winter, so many of the trees I drew had very sparse or no foliage. On the evergreens I tried to mark in the basic shape of the mass of foliage and the put marks for shading and texture in the shaded areas. On my larger study of several trees I just put a suggestion of foliage with patches and splatters of colour. I did not include any detail on the foliage  there. On the olive trees I really struggled with the foliage because it consists one very small lives which are much lighter in tone than the shaded trunks beneath them. I tried just to give a suggestion of the texture of the foliage with a few marks but drew very little in this area. I let the shading on the trunk below the foliage delineate the outline of the mass of foliage but was careful not to get to detailed and outline the foliage itself.

How did you handle light on the trees? Was it successful?

In some of the smaller sketches I used erasure of charcoal on illuminated ares. One of the biggest challenges I came across in this project was sunlight shining through the branches of the trees on the study of several trees. I tried may different experiments in trying to tackle this but it still wasn't entirely successful. 

Did you manage to elect and simplify? Look at your drawings and make notes on how you did this, and what could you do better?

Initially I did not select and simplify enough when drawing close up views of my garden trees in pencil. I tried to include too much detail of the foliage. I found it much easier to simplify when drawing distant trees in charcoal. When drawing the skeletons of winter trees I initially tried to include too many of the branches but I did manage to be more selective about this on the larger study. When drawing the olive trees I got drawn in to the texture of the trunks and tended to neglect the overall shape of the trees. I have improved my selectivity on the whole over the course of this project but there is still room for improvement. I find simplification especially difficult when I am drawing a tree that is very close to me. It si still very tempting to try to draw the details of every leaf and twig.

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