Home assignment:




Photo Reference

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You will be drawing a tree from a photo reference provided. Choose a logical orientation of your paper: horizontal or vertical. Using your pencil, draw the tree as you see it on the photo - as close to the image as possible. Feel free to use your eraser as needed.

The best way to recreate this image is by drawing the negative shapes around the branches and between branches. “Negative shapes” are the spaces that you see between branches. Draw the largest areas first, to make composing more manageable, before addressing the details. You can ignore the leaves and background information and just draw the edges of the branches by means of the negative shapes.

Drawing a real tree, compared to drawing a tree from imagination, requires more thinking. Try to understand which way each branch is turning on the image, and turn it the same way in your drawing - by means of concentric circles, just as you did in class.

To take your drawing further than what we did in class, add shadows. Shadows are created by making an area darker, and to make an area darker in your drawing, you'll add more pencil lines. In the areas of shadows, draw additional ‘hugging’ concentric lines to emphasize the volume and create the impression of roundness, shown below. Keep your “C’s” and “backward C’s” rounded, not narrow (those narrow C’s tend to “flatten” the rounded shapes).

Create shadows on your branches by adding more hugging lines

If your drawing does not look exactly like the tree on the image, it is OK, - trees come in all shapes and sizes. The most important thing is to express the direction of the branches correctly and add shading.

Your signature is the last touch: it indicates that the drawing is finished.


On the completed drawing, color the negative spaces between and around branches (use either colored pencil, marker, watercolor, or tempera), leaving the tree white, the color of the paper. Adding color will turn your drawing into “mixed media”, giving it a more refined appearance.

Take a snapshot when finished!

Artist Examples

"Bible" by Albrecht Dürer
"Inferno Canto 5" by Gustave Doré
"Street in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer" by Vincent van Gogh

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Group Photos

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