Just a little more than two years ago, one of the first things I tried to sketch was a tree. Low and behold, it actually turned out quite decent, so I was hooked! All one needs to draw a tree is to look at a tree and then put what one sees on paper. I realized I could do that (anyone can, really), thus began this scratchmade journey of drawing and painting.
I've shared my love of winter trees before, and it's still true that trees in their dormant state are my favorites to study. So when it came time for our first High Country Nature Sketcher's meeting, my inclination was to begin with trees.
After a brief learning session, those who were willing to brave the near freezing weather trotted off to sketch trees. And when the sketches came rolling in, I was floored. These brave souls, many who were baptized into nature sketching that very day, looked at a tree better than me!
It's so much fun to explore how trees grow, and since every single leaf, twig, and tree is an individual work of art, I'll never grow tired of sketching trees. That's a good thing, because I'm a nature sketcher, and trees are everywhere in nature! But I've also sketched my fair share of pinecones, branches, lichen, leaves, acorns, and other tree sort of things.
Below is a small collection of the many trees I have sketched or painted the past two years. You may have seen some of these images before, because many of them are found throughout my blog and sketchbook. The first photo is the very first tree I ever sketched, just a few days after I began an art journal. I had no idea what I was doing! (Click on any of the photos to enlarge.)
Today, I invite you to stare at trees. You really don't need any sort of knowledge to be a good tree watcher, but I guarantee that when you start really looking at trees, you're going to start wondering. And that's fantastic!
I'm in the process of expanding my teaching notes from the HCNS session into a tree study and sketching resource that will be available for download. (The line art illustration is one of the sections from my teaching notes.) I want to offer this because understanding a bit about trees— their structures and growth patterns and more— can help you be a better nature sketcher. You won't just be looking; you'll be observing. And observation is what grants one the pleasure of knowing trees.
And once you know trees, you can draw or paint any tree on the planet. It's that simple!