You Have to Give Nature a Helping Hand
Nature isn’t always pretty. Trees, hills, sky — they come in all shapes, colors and sizes, and some of those are definitely NOT painting worthy … at least not until the artist gets a hold of them. Then it is up to us to put a spin on these elements and make them our own.
Johannes Vloothuis is on the same page, and here you will find his tips on how to draw trees from his DVD, The Complete Essentials of Painting Trees. With this video resource and the insights in this post, you’ll be creating landscape elements that are as eye appealing as your next painting deserves! Enjoy!
Be a Shape Collector
Nature doesn’t often give us pleasing artistic shapes. If you’re interested in landscape art and drawing trees, it’s a good idea to have a collection of artistic and abstract tree shapes in a library. An artist needs to be a shape collector. Your sense of aesthetics, to determine an attractive shape, should be innate.
What constitutes an abstract shape for a tree?
1. Draw an imaginary line down the middle and compare both sides. Each side should be different.
2. The shape should not end up symmetrical by being too circular or oval.
3. The contour line should have lost and found edges.
4. There should be color variances within the shape.
5. There should be indentations and protrusions to give a three-dimensional effect.
6. When grouped together, all the negative spaces that form between the trees should be different.
Circle or Oval
Which of the two shapes below is the more appealing, the circle or the oval?
I hope you voted for the oval because that’s the right answer! Why? Because it has a different height than width.
If a tree shape fits inside a circle, no matter how realistically you render it, the shape will not be attractive. Tree drawings look better if their foliage is oval rather than circular.
The same applies to a square format versus a rectangular format. If a waterfall or a rock fits inside a square, the abstract design is compromised. You would want to change the anatomy of a waterfall and stretch it to fit in a rectangle rather than a square.
The bottom line is that it’s not what you do inside the shape that makes the symbol look good. It’s the shape per se. The key is in making the overall shape appealing. Details within the boundaries of the shape are less important.