When you look at a forest, you see big and small trees, wide and thin trees. There are also numerous pine trees and trees that do not shed all their leaves. This means the forest is denser in some areas and thinner in others, providing an environment of various shapes to include in your drawing. A forest without foliage seems to be dozing, but it is very much alive and full of happenings.
Start your drawing as indicated by the sketch at the top. This is your guide, your thinking. You do not have to adhere to this sketch —you can change, move, eliminate if you feel it will im prove your picture. In other words, be flexible.
Then, as shown in the middle third of the sketch, draw the dense part of the forest. Vary your darks and lights to give the appearance of heavy and light areas of woods. Be aware of the tops of the trees, which receive the most light and have the finer branches. Do not create hard edges. Keep them soft by gently pressing on the tops of the trees with your kneaded eraser to lift off some of the graphite.
Along the bottom, carry some of the strokes downward past the mass of tone to give the appearance of many trees and of greater depth.
Finally, as shown in the bottom third, add the remainder of your forest without foliage. Place some trees a little farther forward, away from the background mass, to give the impression of depth. Even though the trees are loosely rendered, there is a suggestion of maples, oaks and birches. The thin, white lines for the birches were created by impressing strokes with a stylus (metal in-scriber). When you run the lead pencil over that particular area, the pencil will skip over the indentation you made, leaving white paper. The sweeping strokes in the foreground were made with a wide carpenter's pencil.
It is important to convey a feeling of depth, rather than a flat plane, in your landscape drawing. One way to achieve this feeling is by using trees to create perspective and excitement.
The small drawing of the wooded area, at top, portrays this feeling of depth. By varying the thickness of the trees and gradually adding heavier and darker trees as you move forward out of the woods, you create an atmosphere, which is further enhanced by adding the two larger trees in the immediate foreground.
Another means of creating perspective with trees is illustrated with the tree-lined road at right. Notice that the trees get smaller as they recede, and both the tops and the trunks are angled to the horizon line, which gives nice, simple, one-point perspective.
Placing large, detailed tree shapes in front and gradually diminishing the sizes and the detail of the trees as they recede will give you the feeling of deep space. The tree-covered mountain range also creates perspective, but notice that even along the ridges, tree shapes arc still apparent. By spotting some small trees around, we add to the appearance of vastness and depth. Be careful, though, not to get carried away indicating small trees. Detail is lost as trees recede.
trees help form a line leading to the left. The stronger shadows in the grass do the same. Your eye travels down to the foremost tree. It may jump to the two smaller trees on the left for a minute, but it comes right back to that first tree. This drawing was done with graphite pencil on 2-ply Strath-more bristol.
The landscape drawing above, called Friends, is a good example of how the use of perspective with trees helps to create the center of interest in a composition. The positioning of the trees moves your eye to the center of interest, which is the foremost tree in the group. The taller tree on the right and the next smaller
Trees do not sit on top of the ground. Instead, they extend upward from a vast root system beneath the surface. To convincingly draw tree trunks as if they are anchored and growing out of the ground, your main concerns should be the contour of your tree and the place where the tree is growing. Is it in a grassy field? Bare earthy ground, or forest floor? If your tree is growing in a grassy or weedy area, show some of the grass hiding part of the trunk or have a few blades of grass growing up in front of the trunk. As illustrated by the two small trees above, you can place light blades of grass against a dark tree trunk or vice versa.
Another way to show the tree in the ground is to continue the oval shape of the tree, but do not make it perfectly round. Leave a little irregularity, such as earth or small stones showing. It will look more natural.
Drawing the exposed roots of a tree can be very interesting because of their varied shapes. Look at the two large trunks with roots: Notice that some are short and enter the ground abruptly, and others seem to snake around before going into the earth. Also, see how debris like leaves and twigs get caught around the roots. Details like these help show where the tree is growing; they tell a story and create interest. Most of the leaves were made by removing tone with a kneaded eraser and then coming back in with the pencil to accent some of the shapes.
Was this article helpful?