Sometimes when drawing, and particularly if you are a beginner, it is difficult not to get caught up in trying to create a "perfect" replica of your subject. But remember, art is subjective. When you draw, you are creating your own personal interpretation. Whilst some choose to depict their subject as realistically as possible, like a photograph, this isn't your only option. Most of the fun of drawing and art is being able to exercise your personal artistic license to create your art how you want.

To demonstrate this, we have a challenge for you. Have a go at drawing this tree:

We want to see everyone’s versions of this same tree to really demonstrate how creative everyone is, and how we all interpret this same image differently.

Remember, it isn’t always necessary to spend hours on a drawing. Sometimes a quick sketch can be just as effective. 

To get started, Vicky Thompson (Senior Learning & Engagement Officer), Heather Thomas (Head of Learning & Engagement), and Sarah Evans (Senior Marketing & Communications Officer), all had a go. Take a look at their trees and read how and why they drew them this way.

Vicky, Senior Learning & Engagement Officer: 

The only equipment I used for my tree were a 2B pencil, a 6B pencil and a rubber. I started out by marking out the trunk of the tree, the top of the grass, and the shadow's shape. When I looked at the tree I saw that there were glimpses of darkness amongst the blossoms, so I wanted to try to draw these glimpses of twigs in amongst the leaves. (I decided I didn’t want my tree to be in blossom - I wanted it to be in full leaf. Mostly because I thought it would be difficult to draw white blossoms in just pencil!) 

I started with my 2B pencil by shading the trunk using simple up and down shading, layering it up to make it the darkest thing in the drawing. Then I sketched in some branches in the tree to map out the shape. I used my 6B pencil to gently draw swirls and spirals in decreasing size, from the centre of the tree to the tips of the branches. This created a textured leaf effect. I used the rubber and my finger to blend the swirls to make it look more naturalTo finish, I added a few extra darker patches, to really reflect the glimpses of dark branches amongst the leaves. Finally, I shaded the grass and the shadow, blending with my finger.

Heather Thomas, Head of Learning & Engagement:

I knew I had a white pen for the blossom on this tree and so decided that I should make the background colourful/darker for it to stand out. I started by layering up two colours of paper for the foreground and background. Then, I painted some dark shading in watercolours I had to hand, on the foreground behind the tree.  

Using a brown felt tip, I mapped out the tree structure and then used the scribbling technique mentioned in last week’s blog on Shading Techniques with the white pen to create the blossom. Lastly, I used a black biro to create a little more shading on the base of the tree and the branches.

Sarah Evans, Senior Marketing & Communications Officer:

Usually when I'm drawing a portrait or figure, or something with a distinctive shape, I'll start by mapping out the space using a pencil. When drawing trees, this isn't so important, because their shapes, sizes and proportions vary so much, it doesn't have to look exactly the same to still be recognisable. So there's a lot of room for error - or "creative license", as some of us prefer to call it!

My illustrative drawing style means I always use black fineliner pens to create different patterns and shapes, not dissimilar to those you'll find over on our Zentangles blog. In most instances, I start by drawing the tree trunk. I find it really fun to create different patterns for different textures and tones in the bark, and replicate those in my drawings. This works really well for trees with really thick trunks and not many leaves. But with a much heavier focus on the blossoms over the trunk, this tree was not my "usual type"!

Whenever I'm put out of my comfort zone, I resort to my fail-safe method of drawing without looking at the paper - and then I'm safe in the comfort of knowing "it's not my fault" if it looks rubbish! I do find this is a really freeing and effective technique when practicing particularly line drawings (rather than drawing using colours, tones and shading). I roughly sketched in the lines of the tree trunk and branches, before doodling in rows of blossoms in squiggles over the page, in the same directions. I kept going until I was happy with the blossom's coverage. It's always fine to use the image as a guide, rather than drawing every single blossom as it appears! 

Share your finished tree artworks with us on socials, or in the comments below.