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Learn to draw

Drawing and painting trees

Part II

In the past lesson I brought out the basic structure in drawing and painting trees. For a good tree to be featured as the main subject of a picture you must know how to produce a realistic looking bark.

Fig 1: Oak tree, Willow tree

A point to remember, with trees, is to draw one side in shadow, with markings more detailed than the opposite side. This helps to create depth and shape. If you use the same way of depicting the bark for the whole trunk, it will look flat. Make one side lighter with less detail. The willow tree is another common tree which is fine to draw. The bark lines go around the trunk and are smooth compared to those of the oak.

The oak tree often drawn or painted by artists, is nice to sketch. The bark is composed of rough, deep ridges, with many cracks and crannies. These trees have, sometimes twisted branches. The two different types of trees shown on Fig 1.

Fig 2 and Fig 3: How to suggest foliage

However, to draw a tree accurately, you need to know how to obtain the detail effects of bark, branches and foliage. What problems must you solve? First ask yourself what shape the tree is. Is it round, tall or spread out? What do the leaves look like? Are they fine, broad, pointed or odd shaped? What is the bark like? Smooth, craggy, ridged, ringed, ringed or what?

Observe and study carefully how to depict foliage trunk and branches. Notice how dark shadows help to give the trees depth and form. Fig 2 and 3 illustrates how to make your foliage. The trees were shaded after they were drawn, with light, short strokes with pen and ink and were cross-hatched to give deep shadows.

In all cases when you're painting trunks and branches, start from the base of the tree and work up. Each species of tree has its own characteristic silhouette or basic profile. Branch structure is different too. 'Y' fashin oak branches in an erratic sickle shape while the willow often have a 'V' where the branch joins the trunk, as illustrated in Fig 1.

Fig 4: Shows how a group of trees by the lakeside. A simple wash drawing without any detials

It's important that you get into the habit of looking at trees analytically with these points in mind before you even get your brush out. I'm often asked, Do I paint the foliage first and add the trunk and branches afterwards, or paint the trunk and branches first and add the leaves afterwards?

Look at the tree first and decide which is the more dominant. Fig 4 shows how a group of trees by the lake side.

A simple wash drawing without any details and using three colour, ultra marine blue, burnt sienna and Hookers green. Brushes used Nos 2,3 and 8 sable hair with 250 gms Kent drawing paper.

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