Am I on the ball, or what?!
Here's my book report Jay. Now, to work on the lesson 8 tree, then draw the project for this one.
Book Report for Lesson 9
by Deborah Leger
Title: Drawing Trees, Step by Step
North Light Books
Hardcover, 127 pages
An in-depth book, dedicated to studying, understanding and drawing trees in their various environments. It is wonderfully illustrated with many examples. At the end, there are several examples of drawings with colour added.
In the first chapter
, Maltzman discusses the basics of getting started - graphite and charcoal, paper, erasers, sharpening your pencils and/or sticks, fixatives and tortillions. He gives several examples of how different densities of pencils and charcoal work on different types of paper.
I love his statement of “there are no hard-and-fast rules, and that is what will make your artwork more interesting and unique!”
He goes on, still in the first chapter, to give some good info on working en plein air and some of the equipment one might need such as umbrellas, easels and seats. There are also two pages dedicated to holding your pencil properly, with examples of the same tree drawn in the underhand position and in the writing position.
In the second chapter
, Maltzman discusses How Trees Grow. This section is completely illustrated, as is the entire book, with his own sketches and drawings, which makes it much more interesting than seeing photographs of trees. He states “as you study trees, you can’t help but marvel at what a wonderful feat of engineering you are looking at”, a statement that captivates me as much as trees do. (I must have been either a tree or a happy tree-dweller in a different life!)
Maltzman explains how trees grow like telescopes and goes on to explain how to create a balanced form using this theory. He discusses the importance of contour drawing if you happen to find yourself overcome when capturing the likeness of your tree. There is excellent information and drawings of trunks and roots, shapes of trees, one or multiple main trunks, boughs and branches. How foliage grows is touched on, as well as saplings, older trees and guest plants growing on trunks.
The third chapter
is on Drawing Individual Trees. Maltzman believes that walking around, touching, smelling, sitting under your tree and closely studying it will greatly contribute to your work - in short, become a part of the tree. I love that.
He illustrates how to start drawing your tree and then moves to many different varieties of trees, each one complete with one or more drawings. Some of these varieties include apple, cherry - black and sweet, black walnut, oak, white oak, red oak, white willow, maple, spruce, white pine, birches, aspen and sycamore. Sketching, values, details and negative space are all explained.
The fourth chapter
is all about Drawing Forests and Tree Groups. Pages are dedicated to drawing tree groups, drawing distant woods, drawing backlit woods and drawing woodlands and reflections. Winter woods, heavy woods, forest clearings, coming out of the woods and drawing trees in fields are all well discussed and very well illustrated.
This book is such a treat if only to look at all the beautiful drawings of trees!
The fifth chapter
is all about Observing Nature’s Details. There are many fine examples of many kinds of tree bark and how to draw them. Knotholes, foliage, leaves - living and dead, lichen, fungus, spiderwebs and mushrooms, as well as forest debris are all well-covered and illustrated. Many of the illustrations are in the working process. Maltzman takes great care to show “how” to do the drawings. I find nothing more exasperating than a book filled with completed drawings and scant explanations, leaving the reader to puzzle over the how’s and why’s. You don’t have this problem with Stanley Maltzman’s books. He is a great teacher.
is titled Enhancing Compositions with Trees. He discusses, and goes on to show, how adding a tree or a group of trees can add such excitement to your drawing. He touches on perspective in this chapter and gives some good information on composition. Centering, repetition and monotony are all well discussed. Limiting your scene to create drama is demonstrated, as well as negative/positive space. Maltzman shows how he draws a dramatic composition, step by step, which is very interesting to see. He also explains the importance of thumbnails to select a format and how there are such limitless possibilities for the same drawings.
In the final chapter, chapter seven
, all that has been learned is put together, as well as adding colour. Before you get to all the eye candy, you get some tips on drawing from photographs. Then you are wonderfully treated to drawings with watercolour added, charcoal / pastel, charcoal / sanguine / pencils on coloured paper, charcoal / gouache. Many show some of the incomplete stages of that drawing / painting. While many in this chapter have colour added, I also love the pencil and/or charcoal drawings with no colour added.
I think this book is a very important addition to any how-to library because of it’s in-depth teachings and explanations. In any books I acquire, I always look for those in which the author has taken the time to answer the why’s and how’s. In this book, Stanley Maltzman takes that time and wonderfully explains and illustrates the subject at hand - trees. It’s a very thorough book. It’s also very important to me because I love trees so much and want to learn to really *really* draw trees.
All in all, this is one of my favourite books and one that I would never part with. Now, to just find the time to apply his teachings!