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tricky tricky tree

I've been drawing a lot of chestnut trees this year, but I thought I'd tackle a different sort of tree in Greenwich Park, and gosh, it was hard going. How can I capture the overall shape of the tree, the lights and darks, and the texture of the branches that makes it unique, all in a very limited time period? This tree rather eluded me, but hopefully I learned a few things while drawing it.



Here's the actual tree:



And I took a few snapshots while I was drawing it. I didn't really know where to start, after coming up with a basic shape, so I thought I'd try whittling away at some of the negative spaces. But it left the branches on top of the dark bits too light, and it almost looked like they had snow on them, which wasn't what I was trying to do. I started to get a bit cartoonish with the outlines of the branches right at the end, to try to capture the clumps of needles, and I'm not sure that was a good thing. *scratches head in puzzlement*



Drawing can be very frustrating. So after I finished, I treated myself to coffee at a new cafe called Heap's Sausages (I didn't have sausages but I did cave in and buy a raisin swirl pastry, heh.) That's the cafe on the right.