Lesson 7: Putting It All Together

December 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm

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640_2Christmas Tree2

This week the lesson consists of two video demonstrations drawing a Christmas Tree. The first version was completed with some measured setup, ink lines and then watercolour. For the second version watercolour pencils were used for lines before the paint was applied.

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PDF Handout

SkN Foundations 07 Putting it all together

Putting it all together

Foundations 07:01 Putting it all together from Liz Steel on Vimeo.

Version 1

Accuracy and setup:

  • The first considerations were how much of the scene to sketch and how accurate it needed to be. I wanted to include the context of the tree but not get distracted by the details of the surroundings. I thought it was important to convey a sense of the scale of the tree – it is 5 storeys high!
  • In regards to accuracy, the important aspects were 1. the relationship to people and the surrounding buildings, 2. the overall shape of the tree and 3. the location of the ribbon wrapping around the tree. I was less concerned about the exact location of every ornament; I would have loved to get those all 100% correct, but Martin Place was far too busy and noisy for me to be in the calm state needed for such careful measuring.
  • My setup was limited to getting those 3 aspects in place, but as soon as I started fussing, I abandoned the setup and started with the ink.
  • At the scale and pace I was working, there was no way that I would even attempt to draw those star shaped decorations accurately so I chose instead to simply suggest their shape.

Edges vs Shapes vs Volumes:

  • This sketch is based primarily on feeling the edges.
  • I abstracted the tree into a series of green shapes: I wasn’t thinking about every branch but rather created texture within these shapes to suggest the branches.
  • I didn’t construct any volumes but simply drew the shapes and edges as I saw them. However in hindsight, if I have considered the tree as a cone, my lines for the ribbon might have had a little more curvature to them.

Version 2

With no intention to include any context, and without any standards for accuracy I was able to just go for it. I was responding instinctively to my subject matter – no thinking, no planning, just doing!

Videos of Full Demos

For those that are interested I have included unedited copies of the two demos (with no sound)

Foundations 07: 02 Full Demo1 from Liz Steel on Vimeo.

Foundations 07: 03 Full Demo2 from Liz Steel on Vimeo.

For you to do this week:

Concept to absorb

We have looked at a lot of different approaches in the first 6 lessons. What are the two that interest you the most?

I think that the most important part of doing a new course is what you do with it afterwards; how you personalise the new ideas to suit the way you work. So, spend some time thinking about how you could incorporate these two aspects into your work.
640_sChristmas Tree collection

Indoors/Outdoors prompt

Draw something seasonal.
It does not have to be something with a Christmas theme (I know some of you do not celebrate it) – draw anything that explains why this time of year is special for you eg. for me is going to the beach and listening to the cricket on the radio!

There is no specific technique to be used this week – go back to your normal way of working and see what is different.

Share your work

Please upload your assignments to the Flickr group and include your thoughts about the process not just the end result.


If you are not part of the Flickr group and have posted your work in another location online (eg. a blog) please share a link to your work in the comment section below.

Please add any comments or questions for this weeks lesson below:

(this is the only place for comments for this week’s lesson )

Lesson Clarifications

(to prevent people from asking the same questions, the following points are important clarifications of this week’s lesson and will be updated during the week)

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