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trees

exploring the forms
 
tree forms

Trees are not flat!

If you simplify a tree form to the very basics - it comes down to a lollipop form: a round or conical form on a stick.

Each form has a highlighted side, a shadow side, and a drop shadow beneath it.

Keep this basic form in mind as you work - combined with the chosen direction of light - the overall form will look realistic.

GALLERY

tree drawing
tree drawing
tree
tree
tree
trees

STEPS

Tree structure: analyze what you see

tree trunks

Look at the tree trunk - is it straight or curved?

(Curved lines give more grace to the form, create more interest. You can interpret the subject as you're drawing - you are in charge!)

If the trunk is curved - is the top of the tree in the same axis as the bottom?
Visually connect them with a straight line.

tree parts

Analyze the branches and limbs.

Tree trunk is usually the thickest part (blue shape);

The limbs, that grow out of the trunk are thinner and shorter - (green shape);

The branches, that grow out of limbs - are even thinner (red shapes);

Finally, the twigs - they are the thinnest shapes (yellow).

tree parts
tree crown

Also, keep in mind that trees are not flat.

The limbs and branches grow in all directions - all 360 degrees.

tree forms

Each branch holds its own mass of leaves.

Each mass of leaves is its own 3-D form - with all attributes - shadows and highlights; it also casts a shadow onto other forms.

All the forms (big and small) are subjects to the same light source.

tree trunk

Don't forget the structure of the roots - they also have their shadow and highlighted sides, they cast drop shadows as well.

drawing steps

tree

Let's try this tree.

(Click on the image to enlarge)

tree shape

Observe the shape of the tree:

Define the height and the width of it.

Define the shape of the crown. How much space does the crown take?

tree trunks

Are the trunk and limbs straight or curved?

Do they go straight up or leaning?

leaves

Define the major leaf masses.

shadows

Where is the light coming from?

tree layout

tree

Mark the tree boundaries and proportions. Add the direction lines for the tree trunk(s).

tree crown

tree

Layout the front leaf forms. Define them.

shadows

tree

Silhouette-draw the back (dark) side of the leaf forms.

leaves

tree

Continue with the back side of the tree crown.

Now add texture and mid-values.

Sharpen the pencil and start shading with small strokes. Remember that you can control value with texture shading (more shading in the shaded areas, less shading in the areas that face the light source).

leaves texture

leaves and leaf forms

bark texture

tree bark

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