Pr3-Ex1: Sketching an Individual Tree

trees-headI have skipped the townscape project and moved on to drawing trees project because I’m in wonder at the autumn livery of all the trees right now. I fear if I wait any longer I will just be left with their skeletons and nice to practice the leafy bits too. I will be returning to townscape after the trees.

For individual tree I have chosen one magnificent oak which grows along a hedgerow separating arable fields. its positioning means as the sun drops every day starting around 3ish and moving though to sunset at 4.30 now it is the winter months. The lowering sun lights up this tree in glorious shades of bronze and gold. So this is why this tree is my muse for this exercise.

I took a load of photographs from slightly varying angles. I view the tree from across an arable field so it is aprox a football pitch length away. I took the snaps so that even though the weather is volatile at this time of year I would have some reference material to work from.

I did venture out to draw from life. I used pencils and charcoal. Even though the sun was out I had not bargained on my drawing spot being so windy and icy. Twice I chased papers as they flew off across the grass. I used my arms to pin down either side of the sketchbooks to stop the pages billowing. Not  the best drawing position. After an hour I felt frost bite setting in to my fingers (this may be an exaggeration!) So I gave up and hurried home for a nice cup of tee. The drawings I produced are not grate by do have a certain energy to them due to the conditions which I quite like.

I had already made some ink and pen drawings for this exercise so the ones from life where an add on. I feel a little disappointed in my self they are so poor. You have to take your hat of to the old masters who produced such incredible drawings whilst braving the elements. I must get out and draw more in the spring.


Oak tree drawn from freezing field


Oak tree drawn from freezing field

tree4 tree3


About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter


  1. Beautiful Emma, the autumn colours are so inspiring, but I feel sorry for you out in the cold while I’m tucked up indoors doing still life! I specially like the second (black and white) page too – you’ve got the form of the trees, which is very hard to do. How did you do that? You might find on the Facebook group called OCA Sketchbooks, Aylish Giamei’s sketchbook studies of trees interesting too – she’s used an amazing variety of techniques & media. By the way, it’s a nice group of people – informal chat about sketching – be nice to see you there.

    • Hi Jane,
      Thanks for heads up about the face book page I’ll defiantly be popping in to have a look.
      Thanks for saying I’v got the form right as I was thinking they were still a bit flat looking so nice to hear.
      As for how I did it, the exercise gives useful prompts to find the over all shape, then the different leaf masses, then individual details such as branches etc.. Most helpful as I have always felt a little daunted by the thought of drawing trees. Got a detailed large tree study next which should be fun.
      See you in the face book some time soon. 🙂

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