I want to thank those of you who stopped by the city of Eugene, Summer in the City event. I had a great time sketching and seeing lots of different artists and styles.
Meanwhile, I recently returned from a vacation to the Redwoods in Northern California. Although it is only about 5 hrs. from where I live, I have not visited the giant trees since I was a kid. These quiet, tall giants grow dense & thick in the beautiful forests near the coast, and are a peaceful reminder of how big things can get if we leave them alone.
Coloring a Redwood Forest
Today I wanted to show you a quick drawing of the redwoods, and how I colored this simple, quiet scene. We have one tree in front, with a few trees behind, in the distance.
The overall tone of this image will be greens and browns, but remember, things in the distance have more blue, so I went ahead and colored everything behind the front tree with B41 and then colored tree trunks with C1. I'm not worrying too much if I go over the lines, since blue is a base color for green.
Next, I added a base tone of E31 to all trunks, front and back. The back trunks dimmed immediately from the layer of blue. The foreground trunk remained pure, but too vibrant, so I added W3 to neutralize it a bit, then streaked in E47 and hints of E04. The pink of the E04 helps make the front tree warmer.
To make the trunk appear rounded, I darkened the edges of the trunk more than the middle. Also notice, that you can begin to see shadows from the foliage on the trunk.
Next, I add the base tones on any green areas. First, I started with a base of YG11 on anything on the ground. Notice how the gray immediately tones down the YG11 in the background areas. Next, I added YG63 to any of the branches above. You'll notice that the YG63 on the front tree is brighter than the YG63 on the back trees. Again, it is because of the blue base. I added a bit more YG41 to any areas on the back trees that seemed too vibrant.
Without shadows, the foliage looks strange and flat. The last step in any of my works is to come back in and finish up my shadows. At this point, I darken the foliage on the front tree with YG97 and blend it in with YG63 and YG67. I added hints of YG11 to brighten up the strongest highlights.
The foliage on the ground was darkened with YG63, G85, and YG11.
Last, I added hints of trees even farther back. I lightly drew in some lines with a regular pencil then lightly brushed in E31 for trunks. For the foliage, I took the B41 and used tip-to-tip blending to lightly add touches of YG63 for the upper branches. Overall, I am pleased with how well this simple sketch came out. You can easily see the depth in the forest, and the strong contrast on the front tree really heightens the perception of depth for the whole picture.
Notice also that I did not leave any areas white. I did this on purpose. In this image, I wanted to really show the quiet, bold, stillness. This is to be a peaceful, resting image, not focusing on vibrant life. By eliminating white, I cut my levels of contrast for the whole picture. Instantly, the image feels calmer. For an example of how the picture changes when I add white, you need to jump to the tutorial on the Copic Blog. On that post, you can also download a free blank image of the redwoods to color on your own, so check it out!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope this inspires you to go color (or hug) a tree today.