Painting a Few Trees to Produce a Forest

So, let's paint some trees.

1. Create a new layer and paint a tree trunk using the Captured Bristle variant in the Acrylics category and a darker greenish color. Rotate the canvas to make drawing the trunk easier if necessary. Do not paint form—no light or shadow on the trunk at this time.

2. Draw branches at almost right angles. Keep things simple as in Figure 4.5.

3. Using the same brush in various sizes, gradually add more branches and lighter colors until the trunk looks more three-dimensional. Don't worry about the ragged and rough edges. We'll clean up the edges of the trunk and branches later with the Eraser (Figure 4.6).

Figure 4.5 The beginnings ofthe tree trunk painted with the Captured Bristle Acrylic brush

Figure 4.5 The beginnings ofthe tree trunk painted with the Captured Bristle Acrylic brush

Figure 4.6 More branches and some lighter colors are added to the tree trunk.

Draw a few more trees on different layers. A quick way to accomplish the task is to do the following:

4. Copy an existing tree.

5. Paste it into a new layer, flip the tree horizontally, erase some of the existing branches and paint on new ones, or cut existing branches, paste them into a new layer, transform them in different ways, and then combine the branches with the original layer.

While using the same tree as the basis for additional trees speeds the process, there is the danger that all the trees will look remarkably similar. Make sure that you paint some variation within each tree.

The number of trees that you create is completely a personal choice. Usually you will want at least four or five trees, or you will notice too much repeating of individual tree elements. For example, if you have a knothole in your original tree and create only a few variants, you will notice an unrealistic pattern created by the knothole repeating itself. In this instance, I have created seven trees, each on a different layer. Figure 4.7 shows all seven of the trees that I created from the single original tree.

Figure 4.7 The first seven trees created for the fantasy forest

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

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