Pr4-Ex2: Large Study of Individual Tree


  • A3 sketchbook page
  • F,HB,6B,8B pencils

The drawing took me approximately 3 hours during two sittings. I stuck with the same tree as I wanted to have a go at it using pencils. I thought carefully about the different tones which I built up by identifying lightest and darkest points which I marked in then focussed on mid tones. I stopped sooner than I thought I would as I felt I was starting to lose the shape of the leaf masses particularly in the centre of the tree. I identified the right side was in more shade and the left side a lot lighter over all as the sun was low in the sky and lighting this area of the tree. I produced a foliage texture with wiggly line and dashes which works well enough.

I would like to try this exercise again in the future but this time be braver and keep working the darks. There is not as much dark mass in the drawing as there was in reality, especially on the right side. Saying that its not far off.

It is a shame the leaf mass high light areas and holes between leaf masses reviling sky are not distinguishable. As an instant impression of a tree on first look it works and the light direction is clear I feel. In further I must try a different value for sky area and lightest high light. I was a bit timid and decided to leave the high lights white as I did not want them to recede and lose form. In future I must try either sky or leafs a little darker.

I shaded a mottling effect on trunk and some branches which I am pleased with and think works well to indicate light specked through the leafs. Lastly I drew the town in the back ground across the arable fields with light pencil marks to suggested arial perspective.


Building a tree – Finding the darkest areas. In this case mostly branches and twigs which can look black against light bright sky and shadowed by thick leaf masses.


Building a Tree – Using wiggles and squiggles with different pencils and pressures to build up tone/form in the leaf masses. Hopefully these trick the eye and mind into seeing individual leafs.


Building a tree – Decided to stop here. Has it lost some of the leaf mass so clear in the last drawing? Should I have shaded the sky to differentiate with the lighter masses even though I’m sure the sky was the lightest area?


Here’s one I made earlier – This double page A3 sketch book tree drawing in charcoal shows the same tree made on location. It was a very cold and windy day so I drew as quick as possible whilst trying to strop the pages from blowing open with my elbows.


About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter

One comment

  1. I think your trees are beautifully drawn and I love the last charcoal drawing – rather Van Gogh esque I think !

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