Birch Tree Pencil Project 8th Grade

Here is an example of using different pencils and pencil strokes to create a dimensional looking object with texture and shading. I found this drawing I did in 1983 and thought it would be a good example to study. In addition to the pencils themselves, I used paper stumps and erasers to arrive at this human skull drawing. Zoom in on this drawing to study the use of line strokes and various pencil softness values to accomplish what is needed. Paul Simone

Here is a six step lesson you can follow in order to experiment with using different value pencils as well as shading with repeated lines to create many values and shapes. This is the first lesson page for you to use as an example to follow on your own paper. Pencil value numbers are suggestions only. If you use lighter value pencils to start with, do not press into the paper making physical indentions or they will forever be seen when softer pencils move over them. You cannot erase an impression in the paper. Experiment with many pencil hardnesses. You’ll find yourself sharpening the soft pencil leads (B) much more than the hard ones (H).

Below is the second step in this six part drawing lesson. You will slowly build the birch tree through the use of many lines made with varying pencil values. It is necessary to sharpen your pencils often to make sharp marks on the paper. An electric sharpener is recommended due to its speed and precise point making. I’m currently using an X-ACTO ‘POWERHOUSE’®. Notice the curved lines on the small branches – they follow what would be the surface bark of the branch. You must visualize this surface as if you’re drawing on it; I call this ‘modeling’.

Below is the third step in this six step lesson. The birch tree is starting to take on a dimensional shape because of the use of hard and soft pencil values carefully placed. Notice already from which side the light is coming.

Below is the fourth step of creating this birch tree and our soft pencils are bringing it to life. With darker pencil lines on the left and some blank paper space on the right, our tree starts looking curved and textured. Go slow and enjoy the ‘modeling’ process you are performing.

Below is step five of this lesson and the tree looks like it should. The branches look like you could grab them and the bark has a texture you can almost feel. All the birch tree needs now is to be put into an atmosphere of sorts. How would you do that?

Below is the final step in this six step lesson and the birch tree is residing in an atmosphere of sorts, giving it even more dimensionality. I didn’t overdo the background shading in order to keep the focus on the birch tree. Notice the dark background (soft pencil) on the lighter side of the tree, and the light background (harder pencil) on the darker side of the tree. This optically intensifies the tree’s shading (modeling) to the eye; or should I say to the mind.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 at 2:59 pm and is filed under Weekly News. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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