Monday, June 6, 2011

Portrait of Joel - Textures: Trees

The rough, gnarled tree required a loose and flamboyant treatment as far as pencil strokes are concerned. Scribbles, swirls and short, sharp flicks of the pencil help to create the craggy ridges of the bark. Often, it takes me a little while to get my rhythm with textures such as these. When I begin, I am too careful, focusing too much on detail and the result is somewhat plasticky. Gradually, I loosen up, feel the flow of the subject matter and my strokes become a lot more expressive. This is a fun process. To see an impression of the tree emerge from imprecise and fluid rendering is exciting as the end result is often a happy accident, and the freedom involved with such loose applications of colour can be quite liberating.

This is where I will leave the tree, at this stage. Though the bark appears a little red for my liking and the depth of colour needs to be intensified, I will move on to the concrete and the rest of the background. The reason for this is that I will be able to judge colour and tone more accurately when I can see the tree in the context of its background. Also, focusing on one area for long periods is not the best use of time. It generally results in going around in circles or over-doing a section. I find it is much quicker to touch up the entire portrait, near the end of the project, than to persevere in the pursuit of perfection as each section is completed.

Here is a close-up of the tree, so far. Seeing it on the computer, gives a different perspective than when I view it on my drawing table. I'm no longer too close to see the flaws and, already, I can see only too clearly what needs to be done in the way of shadows. Realism is improved enormously once the shadows are correctly rendered, so I will probably attend to that need before I do move on to the rest of the picture.


  1. Wow, that tree's texture look quite lifelike, even though you haven't yet coloured it properly. Is it hard to get the barky look?

  2. I love watching the progression of your work, Vicky! Your work is very detailed. The tree, the folds in Joel's clothes and his expression fascinate me!

  3. Thank you, Immy, for your feedback.

    It isn't really hard to get the bark look, though you have to have the confidence to loosen up and experiment until you hit upon the right approach for that particular texture. With rough textures, it isn't so much of a risk because you don't have to be as precise as with smooth surfaces - they already look messy. xx

  4. Thank you for stopping by, Mary! I was so happy to get your comment:)

    I find it really helpful to have feedback and it's just so encouraging to have interested visitors:)

  5. Hi mum.
    I like the portrait of Joel.

    love from Melanie xo xo

  6. I am constantly amazed at how much drawing and writing have in common. I like to move onto the next part of the story and then come back and make modifications instead of trying to get each section perfect as I go. Yes, it is easier to see where modifications are needed by viewing a work as a whole.

    I am still fascinated by your developing drawing. It is appearing as if by magic!

  7. Thank you, Melanie - I appreciate your comment:)

    Sue, you're right - it is like writing. I guess it's the same with any creative process - it's a union with the Creator which requires careful cooperation on our part. Not quite so easy as it sounds, is it?;D


Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate your comments and feedback. Vicky