Ten-minute tree

How do you render the colours and shapes of a late September maple? I thought the answer was to draw it finely in pen and then add some wash, but that didn’t work out. The paper in my sketchbook is too thin to take the loaded washes of colour — the garish reds and oranges that make it autumn — and the pen line did nothing to improve the sketch. So with only ten minutes left before I headed off to school, I threw the sketchbook aside and grabbed some good Arches 140 lb paper that I had in another book. This time I used no pen or pencil, just big washes of colour with a few branches added in at the end and I think it says “autumn tree” much better than my first try.


20 Comments on “Ten-minute tree”

  1. Paula says:

    Way to do it!


  2. Angie Macleod says:

    You are good! 🎨


  3. Jane Hannah says:

    Well! To be able to do this without the use of pen or pencil — bravo! The day that I will be able to do this, I think that I will celebrate -)


  4. The colors and capture alone are great, but the spontaneity is wonderfully obvious, which gives this tree the allusion of either exploding upwards, fluffing in the wind, or bursting with color change and full speed. Nicely done!


    • In my case Jason, spontaneity always equals being in a big rush. I think I should limit myself to ten minutes every day instead of labouring over things like I so often do. Or maybe I should ride the subway like you do. That would certainly keep things moving on the paper.


  5. dezabaleta says:



  6. Joanna says:

    I love all the colour!xx


  7. Ross says:

    Yep, looks just like a tree. It is probably a good thing that you were rushed because then you didn’t have the opportunity to fiddle with it.


  8. Veronica S. says:

    Same here. Yep, now it’s an autumn tree. Bravo … your better instincts took over. Good paper and quick strong color. And the skill to put it in all the right places!! Love the variety of values and cool/warm placement.


  9. Shu Olessya says:

    Thank you so much.


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