Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nine Trees

Hi, it's Deborah. My family and I are moving from Maryland to Texas this summer. So, before we go, we decided to take a vacation road trip to see some things in the area we did not want to miss. It was fabulous! I decided this would be a great opportunity for a literal "sketchbook challenge." With our Into the Woods theme in mind, I set out to draw a tree in my small moleskine each day of our trip.

Here is my first tree. I've been thinking about graphic design and clean lines. This is a fun interpretation, I think.

The next day I got a tiny bit more realistic, but not much. I love dots! Such an easy way to add dainty, interesting details.

As you can see from my notation, this sketch was drawn while sitting on the porch of our cabin in Shenandoah National Park, so I was happy to take inspiration from all the trees around me.

Here's a snapshot looking out over the Shenandoah Valley. Stunning, right?

This is a quick contour drawing of an old dead tree near the picnic table where we had lunch.

This one is quite Christmas-tree-y, don't you think?

My kids both loved this one. I drew it after a day of white water rafting (the swirly bits) and a tree canopy tour. The tour included seven zip lines (the seven lines in the trunk).

Very simple... just repeated lines and shapes.

This one is my least successful, I think. But, that's part of doing an "every day" project. Some turn out better than others.

Here is the last day. It may be my favorite, I loved thinking of the tree as the negative space and filling in the background.

Are you traveling this summer? If so, I'd encourage you to try an easy project like this. The simple structure is enough to keep you motivated and the theme is full of potential. I hope you'll share your sketches with our Flickr group.

I'll leave you with this picture of my son Benjamin, literally "in the woods!"


  1. I really enjoyed seeing the variety of ways you drew the trees!

  2. Great post, Deborah. So sorry that you're leaving MD. You will be missed!

  3. You are so right about some being better than others with a daily project like this. Maybe that's the big take-away. Be comfortable with the ebbs and flows of our own work. I especially like your dead tree contour drawing, the symbolic swirly tree, and the negative space tree. All are very different and intriguing in their own ways.

  4. Enjoyed your drawings, what fun!!

  5. Fantastic! Loved the romp through your Journal and through the woods! Your little guy is adorable! Safe Journeys!

  6. My favorite is the sixth one!!! lovely pictures!!!

  7. Thanks for sharing this. I love trees, looking and noticing and sketching. But I never thought about making a tree vacation sketchbook. What a good idea! Inspiring :-))

  8. Wow your trees look really cute!

  9. Love all these tree sketches Deborah - what a great way to approach the theme by drawing one every day in a different style.