Drawing Trees Like a XIXth Century Artist | Elwira Pawlikowska | Skillshare

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Drawing Trees Like a XIXth Century Artist

teacher avatar Elwira Pawlikowska, Illustrator / Designer at Grim Dream

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. 01 intro

    • 2. 02 References

    • 3. 03 bark

    • 4. 04 Trunk

    • 5. 05 no leaves

    • 6. 06 leaves

    • 7. 07 coniferous

    • 8. 08 color sample

    • 9. 09 summary

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About This Class

Hello everyone!

In this class, an illustrator and concept designer Elwira Pawlikowska will guide you how to draw romantic, vintage trees.


Don’t worry, it’s not another “how-to-draw-boring-trees” course :) 

It’s all about weird, moody trees presented in an oldschool style. 

This class should give you an inspiring and refreshing view on a seemingly trivial subject and help you to focus on aspects that may have been unnoticed before.

We will focus on unusual trees: extremely old, bend by the wind, struck by lightning, etc.


We will begin with bark textures and parts of trees and finish with a whole, atmospheric illustration.

This class is dedicated to:

  • Aspiring (and more advanced) illustrators
  • Traditional (and even digital) artists
  • Drawing hobbyists and fans of vintage style

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Elwira Pawlikowska

Illustrator / Designer at Grim Dream


Hi there! I'm Elwira - an illustrator and concept designer based in Stockholm. After getting master's degree in Architecture I started GRIM DREAM - a brand focused on hand-drawn illustrations in an old school, vintage style. I cooperate with game companies, book publishers, and musicians.

I find my inspirations in works of Old Masters, fantasy books, heavy, melodic music and long walks in the woods. My favorite themes are related to steampunk, middle ages, and architecture in general.

In 2017 I got silver "A' Design Award" for concept designs of Rampage System.

Here, on Skillshare, I'm sharing my knowledge and experience I gained during my university studies and my professional career related to designing and drawing architectural objects.

Feel free t... See full profile

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1. 01 intro: - My name is Advil, a public of Scott and I'm a traditional illustrator and concept designer. I have been always inspired by works off 19th century artists. They are a wonderful combination of a realistic style, precision and exaggeration. In size and form, you can find their beauty mixed with mystery and darkness. This class should give you an inspiring and refreshing view off a seemingly trivial subject and help you to focus on that aspect. That may have been unnoticed before. We'll focus on unusual trees. We will begin withdrawing various bark textures and parts off trees and finish with a whole at most forage illustration. So I hope that you won't get bored. I hope to see you in this class. 2. 02 References: the first step in learning how to draw a trace ease observation. The best option would be walking through the old forest and looking carefully on trees in Reald three D to get the feel of it. But it's in the 21st century. Not everyone can enjoy the luxury off living in the vicinity of the forest. Besides, even smaller number off people have a photographic memory, so the Step two can be helpful anyway. Collecting preferences. It could be quite cool and inspiring. If you could draw an object, you discovered yourself somewhere in the forest and maybe enhance it a little bit in your drawing. But you can also view hundreds off awesome photos placed on the Internet, paying attention to differences between bark textures, forms, uncles of inclination off branches, leaves, etcetera, off course. It tree is unique, and some of them have really ought shapes. But still they keep some features typical for their species. I would join general trees, which don't belong to any specific species, looking like some are cattle victories. It decreases the level off offense ity off a scene. Our vented trees should be weathered somehow, for example, bent and twisted by the wind. It struck by lightning fruits, purchasing from the ground and winding around drugs. Always at some drama, enormous old trees stimulates the imagination they went through and have seen a lot Coconuts on the trunk and broken branches are warmly welcome. Creepers and bracket Phone Gay indicates complexity and personality of nature. Very romantic. All of these given impression that there is some dramatic history reflected in the shape of the tree. If we're talking about references, we just have to become familiar with works off some awesome romantic artists. 3. 03 bark: to warm us up. We can begin with details, and textures is being said in the previous video. Every tree species has a characteristic bark pattern. I'm not able to discuss all of them, and you are probably not able to listen about them all. So I present here just a few examples to explain some important matters. Embarks features depth and width off cracks, if there are any. Beach and Thorne beam, for example, are characterized by smoke. Park occasionally cracked in the case of older trees, the direction off crooks the size of divisions on the bark, for example, the bark off a spruce, his smaller divisions than the pine. Now let's play with some extras, such as arboreal mushrooms or most. 4. 04 Trunk: time for my favorite joing subject from my childhood. This lesson is about rotten trunks and tree struck by lightning at first glance and all threatened trunk seems to be a subject for a five minutes join. But it's a wonderful exercise, enjoying textures and almost abstract forms. Even if the tree itself is, then it's still a part of nature. It can be overgrown with most, and other plants don't reach the textures. Birth of a trunk can be covered by barrack remains, which in turn can be most here and there on the naked part. Off the trunk, we can see traces off bark beetles. Cracks will emphasize the impression off K and at some drama for the scene, rush on the growth, especially off firms. It's perfectly in old, mysterious dark forests in a vintage stein. A true struck by lightning is, however, much more than the former can be sharp and dramatic Onley. Some parts of branches can be left is the more dedicate parts could be burned or just fell off a short time after the striking. A huge part off the trunk can be naked, covered on Lee with an almost the creative pattern the rest of the shrunken be covered with bark remains. The lightning trace awakes the imagination and helps to build the story around the drawing . 5. 05 no leaves: finally, the whole tree, another big fun off drawing from reference photos. But in the case of trees, it can really help to capture the form correctly. Unless you're already fluent in drawing them and no characteristic features off various species, it's important to keep in mind that many tree species are very high in the old age with a common mistake. Is joining them too small as Scott Spine, living in its natural environment, can be easily as high as 30 40 meters. Oaks can be also a sayest 40 meters. If we would use a human reverence, we could put almost 23 medium high man vertically on themselves to achieve this height. Such measurements are hard to capture, so another mistake is drawing a tree crone, which isn't wide enough again. A few numerical data chrome sweet. Another feature characterizing tree species is the head it, which the branches are located. In the case of ox branches are located relatively low. In the case of birches, they are located relatively high. I felt that an oak with branches bending under their own weight can be a quite epic subject , showing a precise outline with lines off the same thickness is not the best idea. The upper lines outlining branches can be much more delicate, even partially invisible, as they will be lightened with a sunlight. Also, branch tips can be John in a very delicate way. Joining the bark texture can be tempting, but it's better to capture the whole form off the tree first. Once it's done, we can indicate the direction off barks pattern and the most important events of branches, the trees taking more specific shape. Now Inter Warning Branch is the tricky part. Is having control on shadowing A. Some branches cast shadows on the other. There is no point in showing bark texture on the whole tree. The truth is even a human. I cannot capture all the details off such a huge object, so it's even more natural to devote more attention. Toe only some specific area romantic artists knew exactly went to let go and admit that the joint is actually finished, even if some parts of it were almost untouched. 6. 06 leaves: is, I already have a drawing, often oak. I'll start this lesson by adding Cleaves. Normally, if we were far enough from the oak to see the whole tree, we wouldn't be able to see exact shape off the leaves, which is quite good. As we aren't able to draw every single leave, it's better to present them as a group of very short, slightly curved lines, almost like in the case off pointillism. But with short lines instead off, that's I would prefer to avoid drawing a solid cloud like shape. Separate lines gathered in more or less concentrated groups look much more convincing. After all, they should be figure stronger and more concentrated in the shadowed parts and very dedicate in the upper parts. Some of these branches can be left without leaves. It shows the interesting structure off branches and makes zealotry special. Somehow, another example of a living tree can be a barge treat. Let's start with a quick outline off a trunk. Right now, it looks like in whichever leafy tree the upper part congee only slightly indicated. Eventually it will be covered with leaves. I just draw some short lines and dots indicating that leaves will replace somewhere here. I felt that twinge considered them a little. This leaves are quite small and group in chains like forms holding on very thin and flexible tweaks. However, we want to be able to see them. Clearly. Lines are more concentrated in the shadow parts. It seems like a laborious work, and it actually is so we can put more effort in some areas. On Lee suggest leaves with a few dots in the other areas, like here on the top of the tree. A little bit more patients with leaves, and we can draw the trunk. We have to transform and animals tree trunk into an interesting old birch tree, protruding growths through bark without grove's most stripes. And I like patterns typical for Burch's. Labour is shading, and they're thinking to the dates. Cracks are especially clearly visible in the bottom part of the trunk. Most can be quite fluffy. Remember about the light direction. We can add more tweaks, some off them without leaves. Seems like the birch tree is finished. The next video is devoted to process and pines from northern forests 7. 07 coniferous: Let's start with a delicate outline, often interesting shape of a pines trunk. I chose a crook, a symmetrical form. As you can see, the lines are rather dashed, continues an outline. Off tree needles can be down with short, separate lines, just like in the case, off the oak from the previous lesson, some branches and tweaks can be left bald. The more bold tweaks for the more mysterious and atmospheric that drawing is. Don't worry about exaggeration. In the case of romantic vintage drawings, it's almost impossible. Finally, textures. I remember about adding a crack in the month. I'm more focused on the shadows. Areas, as those lighten, can be practically white, which means almost not John O. We should leave some areas almost unpatched. Tow. Avoid an impression, often overwhelming and tiring. Throwing some understatements and intentionally unfinished fragments create a nostalgic atmosphere, but maybe our at some more textures to make the tree look older and more weather. Really root bark should be Joan with Iraq. This thing lines. Needles can be Joan with very short lines or even that's concentrated in shadowed areas. Hundreds off lines. Nobody said it was easy. Well, actually, from the technical point of view. It is quite easy, but it requires a lot off patients and maybe some good music to make time pass. Let's say that the pine is finished justice. Usually we can start with the general outline. Spruce tends to have a straight trunk with some short broken branches. In the bottom part, needles appear a little bit higher. In contrast, toe pines this process. Needles don't form cloud like shapes. The first layer of textures. Try to capture the right pattern off bar with the second layer of textures emphasizing the play of light and shadows and so injured by inch we can proceed. Lighted areas can look as if they were over exposed. It results in interesting contrasts and saves time. In the next video, you will see the making off a watercolor illustration presenting a wild, dark forest in a vintage romantic style. 8. 08 color sample: it's time to sum up every think we've learned up to this point while making a quite complex illustration in a vintage stein. Such an illustration could be every think from a glade in an ancient forest with an enormous oak in the middle to trees dramatically clinging to rocky clips. Two for gotten ruins, for example, from ancient or medieval times. Overground nature. I decided to incline towards the third option, namely, I captured here ruin gate to a mysterious overgrown gardens. My goal was to squeeze in world image northern trunks, trees covered with most mushrooms, broken branches, protruding crudes, she specially devoid of bark and even trees reflecting in the water. Branches can be twisted in a fantastic, a little bit exaggerated manner. It's quiet being attraction. Textures are very important here. Bargain older trees like on these roads and trunks, is more distinct room. Luckily, the big ground could be less. Sepia is a very vintage color, so I'll cover the paper with very diluted water color paint. The foreground will be made very precisely. It can take a few hours, but the final result should be worth our efforts. I'm not going to cover each square millimeter with the pain. Some blank areas created. Nostalgic movement stimulate the imagination, often observer once again, if you haven't checked, works off under Only or Roberts, you should really do that. They were masters of seemingly unfinished showings. The purpose of this video isn't not teach how to paint with watercolors, but not to inspire you to design your own vintage style illustration. Anyway, I'll tell a few words about taking aspect. Some of you may want that why I started with the foreground instead of the background. For me, it's actually easier to get the right balance between light and dark years. That way, I also still have quite a lot of energy and patients in the beginning. So it's not such a bad idea to focus on the most important fragments. South can help us to create an impression, often old molded paper. Even if the main subject here is a national poorest, some sculptures should add a little bit of restoring to the scene. - Let's say it's done 9. 09 summary: - I hope that this course was valuable for you. Maybe you will become more attentive to the awesomeness of nature interested in vintage artists and romanticism. Or maybe you will be more inspired and encouraged to drawing. As always, feel free to contact me with questions and remarks. You can leave a comment below or send me an email.