Composing Trees

The planning phase of this Princess Bride drawing has taken longer than any other drawing I’ve done and the planning continued today with composing trees.

Trees are wonderful for composition because they come in every shape, size, color or value you need. Plus you can bend them any way you need to fit your motive.

I ended up pulling a ton of images from stock photo sites which were full of perfectly exposed forests of beautiful trees. Then from those photos I picked out the trees that I wanted to use and placed them where I wanted.

It’s important to note that even though trees are very malleable you still need to draw them accurately or they will look like random sticks or limp spaghetti.

Princess Bride drawing

Previous Princess Bride Drawing Posts


The normal 15 minute warm-up in graphite.


Modeled Drawing

The modeled drawing exercise from The Natural Way to Draw has been one that I’ve not followed perfectly for a while. Not today, I recommitted to the exercise and tried to feel the form with my charcoal.

Modeled Clothed Drawing

Daily Composition and Sketch

The figure I drew for my composition today is from my growing bank of images of normal people doing normal things. I first drew this guy sitting on the subway from my memory then I went back over the graphite with ink while looking at the image and noting what I’d gotten wrong.

I know that exercises like this, where feedback is almost instantaneous, is essential to growing in any skill. But you don’t have to take my word for it. The science is well documented in Peak by Anders Ericsson.

daily composition and sketch

What went well, what was awesome! Celebrate It!

I had a wonderful time finding lots of images and composing trees from my Princess Bride drawing.

What needs work? What did you learn?

I’m still working on oscillating correctly throughout my day.

How am I going to Optimize moving forward?

When I plan my day in the morning try and stick to it.

Session Details