Featured Artwork: Drawing of a Tree in Fall
For the month of November I proudly present Drawing of a Tree in Fall. Autumn in all its vibrant color splendor…There must be a reason these are called the “warm” tones, they sure do warm the heart no? Wanting to take full advantage of this time of year, fall being my favorite season….I took some pictures of nearby trees with my smartphone.
Not to digress too much, but there has been a serious drought lately where I live which has been causing the leaves to drop that much faster, so I had to be expeditious with my photo taking. I certainly don’t have the market cornered on arboriculture; I just wanted some snapshots of these beauties to be able to immortalize one of them in a vector illustration.
Drawing of a Tree in Fall: My Process
I worked in Corel Draw and used a few of my photos to go by. I won’t lie to you – some things are harder to draw than others. Some objects, like an apple, can gain dimension and depth by use of the mesh tool, but what about things like animals, which can be furry or scaly, and things like trees and bushes, which are made up of numerous clusters of leaves? That is because the former are single objects and the latter are full of a zillion contiguous objects. You can attempt to draw something like a bird using closed paths and have the best color palette, but he ends up looking so , well, flat. Because birds have feathers, yanno? The same thing goes with trees. So how did I get around this?
Simple – I rasterized the tree including the trunk; I left the background sky and grass alone. Then I applied the Noise filter. In graphic arts, “Noise” is another term that represents the addition of various color pixels to enhance or modify an image. It is a tool used in Photoshop a great deal. You can control the depth and density of the filter to your liking using the Preview window. In the case of this drawing of autumn leaves I just wanted it to “pop” a little more and look realistic.
Not wanting to give away too much of the secret sauce, but the final capper was a drop shadow for the finished tree since it’s a sunny day here as you can see. And no nature scene is complete without a few random flying birds.
How to Draw Tree Leaves Like a Boss
If you are using a program like Corel Draw, Inkscape, or Illustrator, these tips apply. The best way to draw tree leaves is to draw them in clusters, for the obvious reason that they are numerous and it may take an eternity 🙂
1. I made clusters different sizes and cloned them a few times so they would not be monotonous, or look too much like they were cut and pasted. Then I chose the “No Outline” option which is best to be subtle and let the pretty colors blend into one another.
2. I applied gradients of varying red/orange/brown shades, sometimes a dark green to add undertones. I have seen at least one tree with autumn colors so brilliant it could be mistaken for the burning bush in the Old Testament, but most of the time there’s a color transition going on for days at a stretch so it is best to add brown and green undertones. The standard marquis/oval shape is easy to master; if you are going for the fancy multi-point leaves, remember at a distance they won’t be as obvious.
3. Drawing a few free-floating individual leaves is recommended to add interest; you can clone a few of them too. The selection tool lets you rotate them a little so they won’t look like they are floating in the same direction.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this drawing of a tree in fall, I am only scratching the surface of what it takes to draw tree leaves and other challenging objects in nature. If I ever do attempt to draw autumn trees again, I’ll experiment with different filters, as I acquired quite the photo album of tree pictures!