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Figure 13 2

The convincing representation of plants in freehand drawing places great demands on the draftsman's power of observation.

We can only state the most important principles of drawing in nature, and this should be practiced as often as possible

First and foremost, we must draw: in other words, avoid slavish copying, embroidering, the influence of excessive romanticism or graphics or of a precious insistence on accuracy and "true-to-life" reproduction. Drawings done in nature should concentrate on plants and their surroundings only Finally, we are once again drawing lines, surfaces, and solid bodies.

All plants possess a structural skeleton which is developed according to a logical "unfolding"' sys tem In trees, for example, it is perfectly possible to start drawing from the middle outward. The over all image is best grasped if the structural skeleton which also carries the sap is closely observed and memorized.

Branch

Figure 13 3

Trunks, branches, twigs, blades, etc.. generally grow and develop along forking lines, i.e., main axis, primary side axis, secondary side axis, and so forth. When drawing plants we also must observe and evaluate the various main and secondary dimensions—this will familiarize us with the proportions (length, height, width, depth) and spaces.

Countless forms of branches, twigs, leaves, blossoms. and fruits should never make our drawings

Branch

Pattern

Profile Outline

Pattern

Profile Outline

From this it follows that you must think about the relative value of what you see (main features and secondary information) and about the type of representation that is most appropriate, whether contour, line, surface, or hatching

Under no circumstances should the results of your efforts look unfamiliar, since you are, after all, drawing well-known natural phenomena

Everything we have so far written regarding perspective, detail, shade, and cast shadow obviously applies to the selection of plant subjects.

too superficial nor too fussy in detail. Garlands and sprays that look too similar in a drawing will not be true to nature and will seem unnatural (Fig. 13.3).

From this it follows that you must think about the relative value of what you see (main features and secondary information) and about the type of representation that is most appropriate, whether contour, line, surface, or hatching

Under no circumstances should the results of your efforts look unfamiliar, since you are, after all, drawing well-known natural phenomena

Everything we have so far written regarding perspective, detail, shade, and cast shadow obviously applies to the selection of plant subjects.

Herbaceous Plants and Climbers

Proximity and distance play an important part in plant drawing and compel us to simplify depth illustrations, i.e., to pick out typical, characteristic parts and highlight them in the drawing. It is essential not to ruin a freehand drawing by using too many graphical tricks or naive symbols.

With these plants we see more the individual leaves rather than the underlying branches and "supply lines," and so they constitute an apparently haphazard surface.

Nevertheless it is worth studying the direction of the leaf axes and the position of leaf surfaces to discover that there are indeed certain uniformities in practically every scene, something that can be of great help to the draftsman.

Grasses

Lines are typical symbols for grass. As a rule, fewer arid thinner lines should be drawn than actually exist in nature. The eye of the spectator who has not seen the original will subsequently optically multiply the lines, complete the picture, and interpret the overall context.

Figure 13.6

Simplification and Symbols

Constraints of scale and time necessitate a certain degree of simplification in plant drawing, even when incorporated into architectural views or when drawing landscaped areas, gardens, etc., and here we are faced with the eternal struggle between graphic language and artistic representation. One method that has crept into use in recent years consists in indicating trees simply as plain circles {white discs instead of trees). While it may be graphically acceptable to show small plants as circles or bushes as curves in architectural eleva tions, drawing flowers as crosses and bushes as triangles means that we are getting far away from the true natural scene.

Nevertheless it is sometimes necessary to make exceptions, especially when dealing with an extremely small scale. Vegetation can then be shown in the manner used in Figure 18.21 (p. 149), for instance.

Generally speaking, however, it is better to draw actual outlines and structures, and lines should not cross each other arbitrarily; after all, branches that grow together with others at their ends simply do not exist in nature, and from this we can conclude that all intersecting lines are ugly and unnatural. The lines we draw should always have a minimum of space between them so that the impression of crossing lines does not even arise.

One special type of cross-connection is permitted however: cross-linking through bifurcation.

Principle of Crosslinking

Bifurcation Principle

Bifurcation Principle

Principle of Crosslinking

Figure 13.7

Trees

There is no harm in reiterating some basic criteria: typical features are central axis and symmetry on all sides at roots, trunk, and crown, with many ramifications The tree trunk has the greatest thickness compared with main branches and twigs. The diameter of the various branches must decrease with increased branching.

Leaves get smaller toward branch and spray tips because they are younger. Wind and weather naturally have a major influence on the form. Isolated trees must try to attain a closed form with a more "aerodynamic" outline to protect them against the wind, and so there will be few branches projecting much beyond their profile. The topmost branches frequently point heavenward while the lower branches grow almost horizontally or droop slightly. The weeping willow with its pendant branches is one of the exceptions With many trees the lower limit of the crown ends at eye level.

Our drawing will turn out very differently depending on the type of tree, the season, distance, and lighting. In winter when the leaves have fallen we have an excellent opportunity to study and draw the tree's structural elements.

Fast- and slow growing trees differ substantially in trunk and branch lengths, growth form, and ramifications.

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