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Tips to drawing trees


Date: Sun Nov 04 2001 - 04:55:05 PST

In a message dated 11/03/2001 2:20:22 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> I take my elementary kids outside to look at trees if the weather is bad we
> look
> out the window. I draw tree examples on the board - how the branches grow
> etc.
> They still draw sticky trees with a circular shape over the top - some
> catch
> on and
> draw wonderful realistic but the ones that don;t I wonder what they are
> missing???
> How else can I explain it??? Roberta

Hi, Roberta! On the elementary school level I demo drawing trees by
beginning at the bottom. We talk about trees in the foreground appearing
larger, so the trees in the front of the picture might begin in the middle of
the trunk and the background trees begin at ground level, sized according to

The kids begin by splitting the two trunk lines into the "letter V". They
continue splitting each "V" into thinner and longer "V"s. If you want to, you
can call it the letter "Y"- as using the letter reference seems to work for
the little ones. I have a beautiful tree, almost up against my art room on
the second floor, which we refer to as The Art Room Tree. The kids study
its knarled and bumpy branches, so the Vs or Ys don't have to be smooth.
After the base is drawn, add leaves by drawing, painting, or sponging.

Here's another idea for birch trees which simulates the texture for bark. I
got this idea from a workshop a couple of years ago at our national
conference by the New Hampshire Art Educator of the year: Using a 2'"x3"
piece of cardboard, dip the 3" thin edge of one side into black tempera paint
or any black paint or ink. Drag the cardboard over your paper. Begin with
the width of your trunk. Continue adding branches in this manner, (again, I
stress the letter "Y" method), controlling the width smaller and smaller as
the trees grows higher. I did this lesson in 1st grade last fall and it was
quite a hit. After the black trunks and branches had dried, the kids sponged
on different colored leaves for gorgeous fall trees in the foreground,
background and middleground!

Hope this helps. Susan on Long Island (where the trees are now flaming with
gorgeous colors)