Project: Drawing Trees – Exercise: Sketching an individual tree (pine)


Conte pencils and charcoal. My preferred sketch as it has movement.

I feel happy! The sun is shining and I’ve been able to get outside to sketch and the light is lovely. And trees don’t have straight lines which is a bit of a relief after Townscapes.

I chose to sketch a big pine tree in our neighbour’s garden. I see this enormous tree which towers over our house every morning from our bedroom window. I’m not sure what kind of pine it is… I’ve tried to identify it but not yet succeeded. It has lost a few branches in storms and it has also lost  eight huge, unruly rooks nests. They flew out of the tree in the storms, one landed on our car and broke the windscreen which made for an interesting insurance claim. Things will be a little quieter than usual this spring now that the  rooks have been made homeless. I will miss them, noisy and messy though they are.

Soft pencil

Soft pencil

While this pine looks on first impressions like a  huge, very rigid tree it actually moves a lot. In high winds it waves its arms about in a seriously disconcerting way. Today there was a breeze which was making the smaller branches dance.

My sketches improved as a I progressed and got a better feel for both the overall outline and the detail.



This looks too tame, more like a plant than a magnificent tree


This gives a better sense of the trees great arms and movement





Pencil and charcoal


Charcoal and conte


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