Having fun drawing trees


Wow! That is very beautiful.

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Maki. did you use a photo reference for this - all the twist and turns of the tree limbs? Or is this your imagination? They look real - lovely colors.

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Thank you Ginny :beers:

Hi Judy, thank you for your comment. I used a photo reference which I myself took some years ago. In Miyazaki prefecture in Japan, we have a lot of very wild trees like this. I think Okinawa is the best place to find big and ancient trees though. :smiley:
This is the reference photo I used:

Thank you Maki. It is a very lovely, majestic looking tree with a lot of character and a lot of “parasitic growth?” along with the “arthritic” knots - can a tree have arthritis?Emoji



Very detailed Maki! :grinning: Lovely! :+1:

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Just beautiful. Love it

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Thank you, glad to hear that you love this work :cat:

Thank you, it took me 4 days to complete this work(it’s A4, not a big piece at all… :sweat_drops:) because of all the details. But I think it paid off :beers:

WOW! do I love the detail in this.

I love HOW accurate this picture IS!

OOC, how long did it take to make a pic like this? it seems like it would take hours…

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Love the softness in that work. The moss looks like velvet and the branches have a beautiful glow.

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Thank you for your kind comment, Josee! :pancakes:

Thank you for your comment and question, Jason. It took me 4 days, not hours :wink:

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I need to have MORE patience in my drawing

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At the risk of proving myself as ignorant as I am, what medium and paper did you use for this? It’s absolutely stunning!

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Hi Mark, thank you for your comment and question.
It is a soft pastel drawing and you can find the medium and paper I used at amazon.

■soft pastel:

Thank you Maki - I had a box of Faber Castell soft pastels delivered the other day. Now I can’t wait to get started with them!

I’m not sure my work will ever be to your standard though… :smiley:

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Good luck with your attempt at pastel works!

If you’re going to work on something similar to this particular subject, you can check the critique on this piece to know how to go further and create something which surpasses this one:


Also, please feel free to use the photo reference I’ve uploaded here for your pastel drawing if you like. I read the topic you created titled How do I find direction/inspiration?, and if the wild trees inspire you to draw something, trying drawing this piece might bring light to your two concerns as well.
You have the photo reference, you also have a pastel work as a sample. But once you try drawing the same subject using the same medium and the same reference photo, you will find your work is never be the same as mine. That’s where your creativity will naturally emerge. In my understanding, creativity is not something you try to squeeze out. Once you do so, your works will become something deceptive. Creativity is something much more subtle and something which starts working out of necessity. My recommendation is to force yourself to deal with some set theme for your drawings like you had “required subjects” at schools. For example, since we’re now in the topic page dealing with wild trees, try to force you to draw a series of wild trees drawings, consisting of, say 3 to 5 for starters. Then, first, you will perhaps need to develop your own ideas on wild trees to create a meaningful series, like, “why am I attracted to wild trees?”, “specifically what kind of wild trees do I know in my neighborhood?” etc., etc., then you will perhaps find a clear purpose of creating a particular series of works. This choice per se is part of your creativity. Your may find your most important purpose in describing the details of each one of the trees as accurately as possible. Or you may find it more interesting to focus on the shapes of a variety of different trees. Or you may feel like drawing a wild tree next to a bonsai plant to emphasize the fierceness of a naturally grown tree. Trees are such a common subject for any sort of artworks, but the way you approach the subject, how you want to “cook” it, that’s where your creativity most strongly shines. Once you decide on your approach, then you will move on to reference photo preparation, medium selection, composition idea development and so and so, and your creativity is involved throughout the process. And then the finished series of wild trees drawings can be seen as an integrated form of your creativity. I don’t think it is useful to talk about creativity before you actually have created tons of (at least tens, hopefully hundreds)your original works. Creativity is not something even yourself is always aware of its existence, but something shows itself when you face some issues that you must solve in real life. So if you want to feel that you have your own creativity, all you can do is to give yourself a challenge, a homework. In the process of trying to solve each one of the small issues you face, you will realise that you actually have had some creativity. When you find some particular issues which you cannot find any solutions to, that’s where you start developing a new type of creativity. You may develop it by learning from other people’s approaches, or you may find some smart bypasses instead of finding a direct solution. The trial-and-error experiences not only improve your skills but also help to make your approaches more flexible, which eventually leads to the enhancement of your creativity.

Regarding mediums/techniques, I recommend that you try to draw the same subject using several different techniques/mediums and think about which result makes you feel happiest. I happened to draw this piece in soft pastels, but I am pretty sure that this image will be something gorgeous in a ballpoint pen as well, which is my current main medium. But this is only if you somehow believe that the choice is necessary, I mean, if you can master a variety of techniques using different mediums, then basically all you have to think about is which medium will work better for which subject. As to the subjects, I myself use some image sharing sites to routinely look for my inspiration sources. I have a collection of images from Pinterest and Instagram which inspire me to try drawing for myself in the future. I think this approach is easy and useful for the most people.

Hope this helps! :cat:


Maki - thank you for your extremely detailed and super helpful reply.

I understand your point about not forcing creativity. I guess, being relatively new to this, I’m a little overwhelmed by the possibilities, the options. It’s almost endless! That, I suppose is actually the allure and what I shoould be excited, not anxious about.

I’m going to spend time today following your excellent advice, and am excited to get started (new pastels await!).

Again, I can’t thank you enough for your encouraging words. Thank you!

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