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Old 01-17-2006, 02:09 PM
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DBSullivan DBSullivan is offline
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Foliage Tutorial - Part 4




Drawing Foliage in Ink
using the "Scrtibple" technique

Part 4
_____________________



Welcome to part four of my foliage tutorial series.


In case you missed them:

Drawing Foliage in Ink - Part 1

Drawing Foliage in Ink - Part 2

Drawing Foliage in Ink - Part 3





Introduction
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In part 4, I will show you how to draw a full background tree using the techniques I discussed in parts 1 through 3. Most trees can be simplified as a mass of bushes attached to a stem structure. Obviously, the closer you get to a tree the less this is evident, but for our purpose, I'd like you to maintain that frame of reference.

This time, I've decided to use a reference photo, but not in the traditional sense. I am only using it as a basis for my tree, not to duplicate it! I'll be using the basic shape of the crown, the trunk, and the branches, as well as different elements of the foliage.

I chose a simple, run-of-the-mill tree for this example because it's the type of tree you'll most likely come across in your experiences. It was by design that I didn't choose a reference image of a beautiful, lush tree with deep rich shadows because that's what we're going to attempt to create from an ordinary example.

Whether you're creating a drawing for prints, doing a commission, or just having some fun.. it's not necessary, in most cases, to make an exact replication of background trees. In fact, one of the "secret ingredients" I use to achieve my foliage is to use artistic license to beautify what I see in real life.

I'm sure there will be (or may already have been) certain occasions in your life when you and your camera were faced with a beautiful, picturesque scene of perhaps, an old stone building, a waterfall, a sunset, etc. And right there, smack dab in the middle of the scene is a big, unsightly, ill-shaped tree. This happens to me quite frequently when I venture out to take pictures for one of my architectural commissions. I'll pull up to a beautiful colonial house and it never seems to fail that the front yard will proudly display one of the ugliest trees I'd ever care to encounter! Over the years, I've discovered that the owners of the house never seem to mind that my artistic version of their home includes a tree that was "spruced up" (get it?... tree.. spruced up.... okay, never mind!)

Remember, that although the entire tree is being drawn, it is still considered part of the background. There will be times when a tree is the focal point of your drawing, in which case, more attention to detail would be used. But for now, be an artist, be creative, and have fun!


Here are a few cropped examples of some drawings I did of several local historical buildings (to market as prints), shown next to the actual reference photos to give you an idea of how much I convert actual trees & bushes into more aesthetic & appealing ones.






In this image, you can see that my hill filled with lush plant life is actually an unsightly "weed patch". Among other things, I also cleaned up the tree on top of the hill and eliminated the little one behind the section of bridge.





In this drawing, I gave the large tree more density and enhanced the depth by creating dramatic highlights and shadows. The tree on the left (in my drawing) was a replacement for the several smaller ones in the reference photo.





As you can see in this example, I not only drew the trees differently, but I actually removed one of them and changed their positioning to suit my purpose.


The interesting thing is that many people (who are intimately familiar with this area) have seen these prints, and not one of them has yet to make any sort of comment about it not being geographically "correct". In fact, quite the contrary.. everyone seems to tell me how much they like my trees!




_____________________


Important: Don't forget the one basic rule that I adhere to when drawing foliage.. don't rush!


**********************************

Note: If at all possible, please post in progression.. I would be interested in seeing the different results in stages.
This isn't a requirement, it's only a request. I don't want to hinder any potential posts.


**********************************



Materials
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I used a "00" (.30) Koh-i-noor Rapidograph pen on hot press illustration board.




Techniques Used
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For an explanation on these techniques, please see part one.







Image Size
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The actual size of my completed tree is 3 1/2" tall x 2 3/4" wide.

It doesn't matter what size you draw your tree, but it would be best to keep it somewhat small (less than 5"). It's also important that you center your drawing and give it a large border; we may just be adding something to this later on.





Drawing a Simple Background tree
_____________________


I decided to approach things a bit differently this time by providing the final result before I begin. I thought it would be beneficial for you to see the destination before I give you directions on how to get there.



Here is the reference photo:





As I mentioned, this tree is not the prettiest example. The entire crown is out of balance, the outer edge is uneven and ragged, and there's a large "hole" in the crown on the right side. Generally speaking, this is not an image I'd want hanging on my wall.




_______________________




...and here is a preview of my final "repaired" version:





Now, you may be thinking, "that doesn't really look like the reference photo". And I agree. However, like my examples in the introduction, this would make a very nice replacement.

I used the general shape of the tree in the reference, but added some overhang to the sides and evened out the edges giving it a more symmetrical look. I also decided to plant this on flat ground as opposed to the hill in the photo, and darken the trunk and it's branches; there are many times when I "import" another tree into a drawing, so it's a good idea to practice changing the surroundings to suit your needs.

Another difference being the limbs extending from the trunk; the ref image shows six or seven little branches, while I drew it as two extensions from the main trunk. Remember.. this is a background tree and not intended to be the focal point of the drawing. It's best to keep things simple and avoid getting caught up in too much specific detail. Had I drawn all of those little branches, it would've created an excessively dark area which would've stood out and/or dictated the darks in the rest of the drawing.




_______________________




.. and here's how I did it:


To begin, I draw a loose pencil sketch beginning with the predominent shape of the trunk, the larger limbs and the crown (canopy) to form a basic outline of the entire tree. I then create rough sketches of "overlapping mini bushes" to define it's shape; this method is very similar to drawing overlapping puffy clouds.





the image above was digitally enhanced for easier viewing; my pencil lines aren't actually this dark.


_______________________





Using the overhead light source dictated by the reference photo, I begin the inking the same way I did previously in parts 1 & 2 with the bushes; I form the entire outline using a line of broken scribble. I then use solid lines to draw the trunk and the branches, and finally, a broken scribble is used to establish/define the clusters of foliage. These clusters will ultimately change in shape as the drawing progresses. This step is simply to provide a starting point.







_______________________





One of the best ways to liven up a boring tree and add a bit of realism is to expose some of the branches through the foliage. Even though they can't be seen in the reference, you would certainly get a view of these "inside branches" if you walked to a different area and viewed the tree from a different angle. It's not your fault that the tree was planted in the wrong direction.







I added a few branches starting at the top of the large clusters at the base of the crown. Be careful you don't get out of hand and add too many branches; this is one of those times when "less is more". I will be adding additional branches later on as I develop the crown.





_______________________





If you are just starting out in ink, perhaps coming from a graphite/pastel/colored pencil background, you've been conditioned to work in a certain order such as left to right, and top to bottom. Mostly this was essential for the specific medium, to keep your hand from dragging through the completed areas. Many graphite artists work an entire area to completion, then move on and never go back over that area again.

I suggest that you forget this train of thought, at least for the time being while creating foliage in ink. Instead of trying to complete a single area to completion, you should focus on the entire "whole" of the crown and bring it to life slowly. If you try to finish each cluster on it's own, you'll wind up with individual "bushes" as opposed to foliage clusters that meld together.

My next step is to create the first layer of texture throughout the crown while maintaining the clusters and the "caves".


Here is a preview of the result of the next step.






_______________________





And here's how I did it:


It's important to remember that "inside branches" can be seen because there's a hole in the foliage. It's like a little cave that opens up a view to the skeletal structure within. Therefore, the light source is affected, and in most cases, there will be a dark shadow prevailing. Using a broken scribble, I establish these dark areas surrounding the exposed branches starting at the top of the cluster that forms the opening. The dark area under the base of the crown where the trunk is exposed is fairly standard with most light sources, overhead or otherwise.






I use the same method as I move up to the next row of clusters. I add an even layer of broken scribble to better define the top edge of the clusters below. This is preliminary and will be blended in later on.




_______________________





I then add an even layer of broken scribble to the clusters starting at the bottom of each one (farthest from the light source) allowing a bit of negative space at the top (closest to the light source). I normally leave the trunk unfinished during this process; it's best to wait until you have some foliage established.






_______________________





I continue throughout the crown, filling in the clusters with broken scribble, making sure I maintain the negative space. Don't forget how important it is to not add too much ink too soon; it's always easier to add it than it is to remove it. This is a playful step, one to get creative. You're actually shaping the tree the way you want it. I even began adding smaller clusters to the outer edge of the crown.








_______________________




Once my darks are established, I complete each cluster, being careful to keep a separation between them, just as I did with the background trees/bushes in part 3. I use a combination of stipple and broken scribble to work the lighter areas.








_______________________



Here is the completed first layer which forms the entire crown of the tree. I used a pure stipple within the negative space of the predominant clusters in the center to bring them into the foreground and provide realism. I will continue to re-work these clusters as I go.









_______________________


Due to the limitation of images allowed, I had to continue in my next post.
...please scroll down to proceed.




Last edited by DBSullivan : 01-17-2006 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 01-17-2006, 02:12 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4



continued from above
_______________________



I'd like to take a quick break from the foliage tutorial to provide you with a...

Trunk/Branch Lesson.



Every tree, of course, has a trunk and branches, and I felt it would be inappropriate to ignore them here. Keep in mind that this is a background tree drawn 3 1/2" in height, therefore trunk detail should be kept to a minimum. In fact, this step should take no more than a minute or so to complete. The idea is to merely add the illusion of outer bark.


note: There are many different methods of rendering trunks/branches and I encourage you to explore a variety of techniques to find the one that suits your particular style and/or the particular type of tree you're drawing at the time.






Here is an example of a trunk drawn at aprox. 1 1/4" tall, proportional to the one in my tree.




_______________________






I start (almost) all of my tree trunks the same way, by first filling the entire area with hand drawn contour lines.
It was my intention to create slightly squiggly lines instead of straight lines.




_______________________





Here is a progression of the steps I used to create my dark trunk. Keep in mind that, depending on the circumstances, all three of these examples could be considered complete.



fig 3a - I added a single line (in between the existing lines) on the left side of the trunk and the branches to suggest a light source which comes from the right. (althoughthe light source is almost overhead, it's still coming somewhat from the right)

fig 3b - I added elongated Xs crossing the contour lines, creating a darker, rougher look.

fig 3c - I darkened the left side and added some contrast by drawing some hatched lines; I started at the left edge, using a 45 degree downstroke.



As always, I suggest that you use scrap paper to experiment before you start inking your original.




_______________________


...now back to the foliage tutorial.

_______________________





Using the above steps (or a variation of them), I added some bark to my naked trunk & branches.





You'll also notice that I also added a few more exposed branches to create more balance. Again, I added them starting at the top of the next tier of clusters.




_______________________







Once the trunk & the branches are darkened, I begin to add shadows to the "caves" that expose the inner branches.




_______________________




This is the point where I go back over the entire crown to add more texture to the foliage. It's difficult for me to provide specific actions for this step because this is the creative process I previously mentioned. I work the entire area almost simultaneously, adding broken scribble/stipple to create shadows, texture, and little clusters here and there to fill out the tree a bit more. I also darkened the entire bottom left area of the overall crown to satisfy my light source.



Here are the stages progressively showing the areas I worked:








_______________________







And here is the result of the final layer. I'd like to point out that the predominant clusters (formed with negative space) are "blocking the view" of the branches.





_______________________




I complete the tree by giving the outer edges some definition using stipple. This is another creative process that doesn't need to follow the same specific outline as in the ref photo.






And here is my final result.
The only thing missing is something to ground it.. perhaps some grass.

Hmmm.. that gives me an idea!


_______________________


I hope you enjoyed part four.
Please feel free to post your efforts and/or any questions you may have.


Continue on to - Part 5 - Adding Basic Grass to your Drawings
__________________
Dave........."My pursuit of perfection is not intended to lead me to perfection, but to simply get me as far away as possible from imperfection."



Last edited by Jakeally : 05-03-2006 at 04:14 AM.
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Old 01-17-2006, 03:37 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

Dave,

Wow, this is fantastic!

I'll be back....!


Thank you so much,

Alison2
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Old 01-17-2006, 04:07 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

You rock, Dave.

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Old 01-17-2006, 05:27 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

Yipppeeeee . . . been waiting for this!!!
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:23 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

Amazing amount of work you've put in to this tutorial...thanks very much!
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:34 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

I'm so excited, I just can't hide it!!

Thank you for another brilliant tutorial - I've also been wating for this.

Off to tree.
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:09 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

Dave - Amazing. This is really worth the wait. Your presentation is great and very professional. This is an excellent addition to the future P & I instruction manual. (Put me on the waiting list for this tome.) Beautiful work. Can't wait to give it a go. - Marc
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Old 01-18-2006, 04:17 AM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

Thanks Dave ... you are an absolute star
Fantastic tutorial again.
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:22 AM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

Fantastic Tutorial Dave -- you never fail to amaze with your talents and great easy-to-follow instructions. I am itching to start penning the Tree, and once the health issues at home begin to improve, I hope I can get the chance to at least get going.
I do hope these Tutorials will go to Print in an Art Magazine Dave, as they are an invaluable Resource for all Artists, not only Inkers. I have always loved penning bushes and trees, but I can tell you that I am tending to look at them through your eyes now, and mine are looking so much better, and far more exciting to render.

Val.
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Old 01-18-2006, 01:10 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

Dave, you really should put these tutorials in a book. You have a straight forward way of explaining things and your illustrations are fantastic.
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Old 01-18-2006, 01:18 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

While I am, for the most part a lurker, these tutorials have helped me beyond measure. I have had the HARDEST time finding any instruction in P&I in particular, and art in general. I have wanted to take a class, but have not found one to sigh up for. ANY ARTISTS IN MINNEAPOLIS?!?!?!?!??!?! Lets get together for coffee!

Thank you Dave. Your work has really benifited my progress.

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Old 01-18-2006, 03:24 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

Hi Gang! Thanks for the wonderful comments! You all make me realize that the amount of time I spent on this was very worth while!


Alison - Yep... it's time to get to work, young lady! lol

Monica - Thanks! (cool emoticon, too.. I saved that one!)

CJ - I certainly hope it was worth the wait!

Dave - Thanks, buddy! I appreciate the acknowledgement.. it did take some time to do!

Paula - Oh come on, now.. why don't you tell me how you really feel!

Marc - Thanks so much! I'll definitely save you one of the first copies of that "manual". (just have to produce it first )

Chris - Thank you! You're an absolute dear!

Val - Goodness! Thanks for the wonderful compliment! I'm glad you're getting so much out of these. And you'd better be careful about seeing things through my eyes.. I'm a bit nearsighted with slight astigmatism in my right eye!

Charissa - Thanks for the boost! One of my priorities is to persue Artists' Magazine. I think (at this point in time) that might be a more realistic option than producing a book. After all, I have a hard enough time marketing my art.

Ray - Thanks so much for posting! I'm glad I'm able to help you. Please don't be shy about posting your attempts at this. You'll get the benefit of feedback from myself as well as from a few others here. We're all here to learn and share.. veterans and newbies alike! btw - I visited your blog and your comments are very enlightening (and very well written).. especially "nothing ever happens"... Good stuff!!!
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Old 01-18-2006, 04:24 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

What is good about all these tuterals is that they can be applied to imagined places and not just working off photos......
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Old 01-18-2006, 04:35 PM
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Re: Foliage Tutorial - Part 4

Thank you Dave!

You humble me. I will attempt to get some photos of my endeavors.

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