This blog is a bit of an experiment. It is a condensed tutorial that supplements the YouTube video. This blog contains the pattern, reference image, and the rules or guidelines for creating the grove of maple trees. I provide a few photos to help convey the message, but it doesn’t contain near the number of photo a regular tutorial does.
So please read the blog, watch the video, and let me know what you think about this format. The reason I’m asking is that this format was so much easier to create. I’m considering using this type of format in all of my tutorials going forward.
SKILL LEVEL: 1
- Writing tip
- Pattern (enlarge or shrink as needed) Maple Tree pattern
ABOUT THE TREE
I’m using an image from Jim Harter’s book of Plants. The book is filled with line drawings. I think this type of image is perfect for pyrography projects like this where you want the basics of an object, but don’t want too much detail. Plus there is color or gradients shading to deal with, so I think for some this type of reference material is great for those who don’t have lots of experience. Amazon link to the book: Plants Book
By the way, while I provide links to products on Amazon that I use I do not receive compensation of any form if you choose to buy them. The links are just for convenience.
From the brightened image I created a super simplistic version of the maple tree. Notice how I did not try to include all of the little stray branches that stick out past the edges of the clusters. I didn’t want an exact replica of the tree. Instead I wanted a very basic pattern that breaks the tree down into small easy to work on sections.
Circular motion means that I am literally burning tiny circles. The circles are open, so the underlying wood shows through.
The circles are connected and this creates chains of tiny circles. I let the chains meander around the cluster I’m working on.
The maple trees for this demo are small; each tree is around 1 1/2 inches tall (3.8 cm). My shaders were create circles that were too large, so I used the writer pen tip.
This photo shows a distance tree I put in artwork featuring a horse in a pasture. The tree is considerable larger than the maple trees I created for this tutorial. Because of that I was able to use a shader pen tip.
RULES or GUIDELINES
Yellow = highlight. Dark tan = shadows.
By making the side clusters a bit darker than the front, it will help create a 3D appearance. An important aspect of this is to make sure to darken the side clusters where they touch the front cluster. This will provide the necessary contrast to help push the front cluster to the foreground.
Yellow = highlight. Dark tan = shadows. Light tan = highlights that aren’t as bright as the yellow. Brown = shadows that are darker than the dark tan shadows.
Yellow = highlight. Dark tan = shadows. Light tan = highlights that aren’t as bright as the yellow. Brown = shadows that are darker than the dark tan shadows. Dark brown = areas in deep shadows and they should be the darkest areas on the tree.
Each cluster should be burned individually. Front clusters first and then add the filler or back clusters. I tend to fill the cluster with circular motion. Then I re-burn over it using circular motion to add color variation and give it shape.
ADDING FOREGROUND TREES
ADDING BACKGROUND TREES
All background trees should be placed further back or slightly higher than the foreground trees. The spot where the tree trunk touches the ground should never be on the same horizontal line as trees in the foreground.
Then burn in the tree using the rules from foreground trees, but make sure that the background tree is slightly darker. This is especially important along the places where the background tree “touches” the tree in front of it.
A yellow arrow is pointing to a light area on a foreground tree. When I burned in the background tree I made sure to burn it dark enough to provide contrast along the edge of the foreground tree. This helps the foreground tree stand out and gives depth to the grove.
ADDING MORE TREES
Also BEFORE you burn in a new background tree evaluate its placement and size in relationship to the existing trees. When I started burning in this tree I realized it was too tall compared to the trees in front, so I didn’t burn in all of the clusters that I had traced onto the board.
Notice how I make sure the right side of the background trees are darker than the left side of the trees in front of them. This provides contrast so each tree stands out. Please keep in mind that the contrast does not need to be extreme. The more distant the trees are the harder it becomes to tell individual trees apart.
With the last two trees on the left I chose to burn in the far left one first. The reason is that to me this tree was closer in the foreground, and you should always work from front to back. So trees in the front get burned in before trees further back.
- Note where the light is coming from. Or pick a spot for the light source.
- The side of the tree closest to the light source will be lighter in color than the opposite side of the tree.
- The above applies to each cluster on the tree
- The top of the tree will lighter than the bottom.
- Again, the above applies to each cluster on the tree.
- Work front to back. This applies to the whole trees and to individual clusters on a tree.
- The above is especially important with whole trees. The background trees are filler, so we don’t see all of their branches like we do with the front trees.
- Burn in the front trees first.
- Add a few trees and burn them in. Continue this process until you have as many trees you want.
- Burn leafy branches that stick out past the edges of the cluster trace lines.
- Side clusters should be slightly darker than front clusters.
- Back clusters should be darker than the side clusters.
- When working on side and back clusters avoid burning over clusters in front of them.
- The above applies to whole trees. When burning in trees in the background, burn them so they are slightly darker than the ones in front. Plus avoid burning over the trees in the front.
- When adding new trees, offset them from existing trees.
- Make sure your trees are similar in size. Some variation is okay, but it looks off if you have a tree that sticks too far above the others.
That is it for this blog. What do you think of my little experiment? Is having a condensed blog better or worse than a full tutorial type of blog? Leave a comment and let me know.
Jun 30, 2020
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