"Four Seasons": Winter. Learn Form and Structure by Drawing Trees

——   Created by Yana Knight

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Course
7
Lessons
42m
Lesson time
beginner
Skill level

More about this course

About This Class

A silence surrounding two bursts of activity, winter offers us a chance to study nature unlike any other season. It is in winter that trees take off their clothes, and we are left with a magnificent array of nude models, a naked forest of forms revealing their personalities. It's as if nature, knowing humans' weakness for the nude form, tricks us into coming to see its deepest secrets, with nothing to hide, no performance to put on, and no need for one. All you have to do is be willing to come and observe, be willing to receive, stay patient, and nature will reveal its secrets.

Think of it as a live drawing class with a nude model.This is not a snowy landscape type of class. Like in all parts of these "Four seasons" series, here we'll be looking at some fundamental elements of art and of life in general: this time at structure. Element as fundamental as the seasons themselves. And as all important things should be approached, we look at our subject in a fun, lighthearted way. 

First, I'll take you on a walk through the forest in search of our models. We'll peer through the naked trunks as far as the eye can see, we'll raise our heads up and look right down beneath our feet, and see just how much life there is in places where we never normally look. We'll look at how to see and capture the personality of a tree, told by its bare spine and bones. Is it humble, majestic, lonely, sad, fragile, powerful? We'll see how parts of the tree tell us its story and how relate to each other.

As we learn by doing, we'll continue our exploration on paper. Here we'll explore some ways to draw trees by looking at its gesture, direction, branches, trunk, contour as well as by drawing what isn't. All with supplies as simple as a pencil and a cheap sketchbook.

The main goal of this class is to observe and train your eye, hand and heart so that you have a better understanding of structures in nature, which will help you when you have bigger pieces to work on. By focusing on those "lower level" (meaning fundamental) skills, you're getting equipped with a new way of seeing, a new way of approaching nature drawing and painting which will show through in your future work. And you might get to know your previously unnoticed trees so well that you'll end up making some life-long friends! 

Sometimes to cross new frontiers you just need to take a walk, it might lead you to places you never knew existed. Curious? Join me in this class and let's find out.

The course project

It's simple, share any of your studies with us! What did you observe, discover, what caught your attention? What tree personalities did you come across? 

This can be full trees or parts of their structure, branches, trunk, branch patterns -- anything you find interesting.

By the way, you can make them as small as thumbnails if you find working in a bigger size too much or if it's too cold to stay out! 

Submit your "field notes": any sketches, studies, thumbnails, even notes and explanations if you find that it helps to get your ideas or observations across. I can't wait to see your results!

7 Lessons

0:00:49
Welcome
free preview
0:04:45
Let's take a walk
free preview
0:09:42
Tree personality, gesture, direction
0:06:06
Drawing the contour
0:09:33
Drawing ... not tree
0:09:57
Let's draw a branch
0:01:23
Congrats and project ideas
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Class benefits

  • Certificate of Completion
  • 30 day satisfaction guarantee
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  • Project included
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  • 42m of on-demand video
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About the instructor

A multidisciplinary artist and educator living and working in Brussels, Belgium. My work is in the collection of the Museum of Spontaneous Art in Brussels, the Russian Cultural Centre of Belgium and has been featured in the Dutch Design Week. I'm an associate member at the NYC Society of Illustrators and …

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