Tuesday, February 26, 2013


2/26/13 Ultra Black ink, Platinum Carbon ink wash, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
From my car parked at the Sand Point Metropolitan Market, I looked closely at a tree across the street, and even from that distance, I could see that it was full of buds. Yesterday when the sun came out, it almost seemed like spring could be on its way, but I don’t want to jinx it by talking about it. Instead, I’ll mention that I once read in a drawing instruction book that sketching trees in winter is better training than when they are in full foliage because you can see their shapes so much more clearly. (Or to put it another way, you can’t hide behind blobs that you call “leaves.”)

This sketch made me think that it might be time to replace cars with trees as my new sketching nemesis. (Based on the recent Urban Sketchers Flickr thread on this topic, trees are the sketching nemesis of at least a couple of fellow sketchers.) Not that I’ve conquered cars – far from it – but I told myself two months ago that I would sketch a car a week until I either improved or got tired of it. I am now exhausted of cars.

To keep myself honest, I’ll say it out loud here: Trees are my new sketching nemesis. I’ll sketch a tree a week until my sketches improve or I get tired of it, whichever comes first. (Maybe by then, the trees will have leaves!)


  1. I'm with you there. I've intended to spend time this winter practicing trees from a book and from some on-line tutorials.

  2. In the winter you can get a better view of the "bones" of a tree. I've always thought that I should do some tree studies because I'm not so great at the shape of different trees. You did a great job on the twisty, gnarly look to this one!


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