Everyone knows apples are red….

Everyone knows apples are red....

Well, I don’t have much to show for another week, except a child’s drawing of a tree with some pomegranates on it. See, here’s the thing — I draw animals. Or beasties. Or animal-beasties. Meat-things, with heat and heft and tooth and claw and few, if any, easily-detachable body parts.

Then we come to the trees.

Your basic carnivorous mammal looks a certain way — four proper legs and two proper eyes and the head on the front and the tail on the back, covered in furry earth tones that get lighter toward the tummy. Your basic primate or songbird will look nothing like this, but there are always some basic analogues. If you’re trying to figure out which part of the dog is the knee, you can stand on your toes and work backward from there. Spread out your fingers to draw bat wings, press them together for birds’. Wings go on top, legs on the bottom, horns at the front and tails at the end.

Trees seem to laugh at such boundaries by refusing to have a set size, shape, or number of limbs. If anything from an anole to an antelope were wandering around with its innards scooped out, missing half its face, and/or with offspring in various stages of development budding awkwardly out from its ankles, you would probably assume you were on the set of one of the many delightful post-apocalyptic nightmare programs that have become increasingly popular as of late. Sure, there are animals out there that can grow back missing bits or duplicate themselves or both, but few so dramatically and not-grotesquely as your average plant. Birds molt and mammals hibernate, but to do both simultaneously would seem a little excessive outside kingdom Plantae. A deciduous tree that doesn’t have at least four different seasonal outfits is bound to be laughed out of town by its neighbors. Raising a puppy in a small flowerpot will not result in a healthy but attractively gnarled, miniature dog.

Basically, what I’m saying here is, trees are confusing and weird and while I like them alright as a concept, I cannot understand how to draw them so I’m just going to have to stick with “brown log with single picturesque knot, assorted oval-shaped leaves, and levitating red fruits” in the long-standing childhood tradition. There’s an underlying rhythm to them, I’m sure, but I’m just not feeling it. As you can see, I couldn’t even get the basic “swoop” of the trunk right in the first go, so now there’s an odd little ghost-trunk sneaking out from behind it. With animals I can just play it by ear until the thing looks right (speaking of which, Mr. Beastie’s feet need some remedial attention), but I wash my hands of trees.

Hm. I actually intended to say something about my colored pencils this week, but apparently my arboreal nervous breakdown took precedence. Ah well, maybe next time.


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