Trees and Bushes

The lives of humankind have long been enriched by the trees of the earth. Few of us realize how much we depend upon the Iree. We use it for shade, and for protection against the elements. Wood is used for the building of houses and ships, in the manufacture of furniture, for the tanning of leather, for fuel, for medicine, and for the making of hundreds of other objects closely related to our daily lives. But our affection for trees goes further than the utilitarian. Trees are things of beauty and symbols of abundance, and most peoples have learned to use them to enhance their surroundings and thereby establish a close connection with nature. Trees are an inseparable part of human life.

Importance of Trees

Frees help to identify the setting of a building in a general way, since particular species are associated with definite parts of the country. Some grow only near

water, others in flat areas, while still others grow only in mountainous areas. To render a tree that cannot possibly grow on the site might invite embarrassing questions. It is wise to use the correct trees and draw them at least moderately well, particularly as regards shape and proportion. The client will be impressed with them and with the entire rendering.

The exact methods for drawing trees are discussed in the chapters on the various techniques, but before any method for rendering can be evolved or used, the structure of the tree itself must be thoroughly understood. The novice who does not understand the structure invariably produces a lollipop stick with a series of cotton balls stuck to it, and calls it a tree. The more experienced delineator constructs the entire framework of the tree first and then applies foliage to it, remembering that each foliage mass must be supported by a part of the tree structure. Also, the root system of a tree is as much a part of it as the portion above ground, and the trunk rises not only from the ground itself, but from a series of roots, some of which show aboveground, particularly in soil that has been eroded. To show these roots gradually disappearing into the ground is to indicate a well-supported tree.

The diameter and height of the trunk itself will vary according to the age and species of the tree. So will the type of structure. Some trees, such as the white willow, start to divide into large branches close to the ground; others, like the elm, begin to divide higher; while still others, like the Virginia pine, have one trunk for the entire height of the tree. The general shape of the tree also varies with the species. The poplar, for instance, fits into a high, narrow oval. Most oaks fit into a circle, while the apple tree fits into a low, flat oval. The general shape, outline, texture, branch arrangement, and bark are sufficient to identify the species. The rest wre leave with the botanist.

Obviously, a great deal of information about trees, particularly those in a given location, can be memorized. Those not often used are difficult to remember, however, and so it is well to accumulate a complete file of tree photographs and sketches for use in delineating buildings in areas outside your normal theater of operations.

Where possible, a set of photographs of trees on the site under consideration should be made. An owner who is fond of the trees and plans to keep them will expect to see them faithfully duplicated.

Basic Methods for Trees

Three basic methods are used for rendering trees, as follows:

1. Draw the structure of the tree alone, or with a few small bits of foliage.

2. Draw the tree structure, then apply foliage masses upon it, with parts of the tree structure showing in the spaces between the foliage masses.

3. Lightly draw t ho shape of the tree; paint the foliage in simple, relatively flat masses; then paint the trunks and a few branches to support the foliage. This method is applicable to ink and watercolor rendering only.

Most renderers agree that trees should be suggested by simple means. If a tree is believable in shape and structure, little else? needs to be done to make it three-dimensional. Therefore, the best ways to practice basic forms of trees are by drawing or painting them in silhouette (Figure 8.1) and by drawing their skeletons alone (Figure 8.2).

Some trees that the renderer should practice drawing and painting are listed below.

White oak

Red cedar

White oak

Alpine fir

Red cedar

White birch

Black walnut

Norway pine

Hickory

Willow

Draw Cessna 180 Black Silhouette

Norway pine

Hickory

Willow

Sugar maple

Yellow poplar

Weeping willow

Sugar maple

White oak

Yellow poplar

Weeping willow

Live oak

Honey locust

Long-leaf pine

Live oak

Honey locust

Long-leaf pine

Fig. 8.1 Trees in Silhouette.

Elm, American white — maximum height 180 feet

White oak — maximum height 150 feet

Black oak — maximum height 150 feet

Scarlet oak — maximum height 150 feet

Live oak — maximum height 60 feet

Beech — maximum height 120 feet

Architectural Rendering Trees

American white elm

Sketches American Elm

Long-leaf pine

Scarlet Oak Leaf

American white elm

Long-leaf pine

Willow

Sycamore Tree Skeleton

Fig. 8.2 Trees in Skeleton Form. Sycamore Limber pine

Maple

Architecture Trees

Lombardy poplar

White birch

Scarlet oak

Fig. 8.2 Trees in Skeleton Form. Sycamore Limber pine

Lombardy poplar

Maple

White birch

Scarlet oak

Shagbark hickory — maximum height 140 feet Black walnut

White pine — maximum height 250 feet

Limber pine

Willow

Poplar

Sycamore — maximum height 150 feet

White ash

Maple

White birch — maximum height 180 feet I )ogwood Black locust Red spruce

White spruce — maximum height 150 feet

Balsam fir—height 60 feet

White fir—height 275 feet

Eastern red cedar — maximum height 50 feet

Western red cedar — maximum height 200 feet

Palm

The rendering will benefit if these trees are painted in silhouette, using a small brush and a jar of dark showcard color or ink. The tree skeletons should be drawn with a sharp pencil. In drawing the skeleton remember that it needs to be correct not only in proportion but also structurally; that is, each branch must spring in a believable way from the trunk, each smaller branch must spring in turn from the larger branches, and a sufficient number of twigs must be shown to make the structure seem complete. A good general rule for determining the diameter of each branch is this: The sum total of the sectional area of all the branches at any point should be slightly less than the cross-sectional area of the trunk or branch from which they spring.

General Values of Trees

Dark trees should be used behind light building masses, light trees behind dark masses. Trees located in front of a dark building or tree masses are usually left light, while those located in front of a light surface are usually made dark.

Trees, Atmosphere, and Perspective

Remember that trees in a perspective will diminish in size according to their distance from the eye of the spectator. Those in the foreground will be large and the leaves may be quite detailed. Those in the mid-distance may be generalized and lighter, while those in the distance may consist of nothing more than flat planes with a few trunks and branches. The distant trees will be the lightest ones in the perspective.

Trees and Composition

Rarely is one tree used alone, because one tree, like one scale figure, has a lonesome appearance. It is best to usea number of trees relatively close together (Figure 8.3). After the charcoal study is made, it should be examined to make sure that the trees do not hide the design. This is a good time also to decide just how complete and textural the trees should be in order to complement and not compete with the architecture. They should be believable in size, shape, and location. Finally, all the trees and bushes except those most important in the composition should be eliminated. Also, make sure that one tree or tree mass is higher than all the rest, to establish a dominant note.

The textures of trunks and branches will vary with the kind of tree being shown, but if it is kept in mind that each portion of the tree structure is round in section, rendering it intelligently will be easy. The light source should be kept in

Fig. 8.3 Tree Groupings. Design for Office Building. (Architect: The Eggers Group. P.C., Architects and Planners )

Architecture Rendering

Fig. 8.3 Tree Groupings. Design for Office Building. (Architect: The Eggers Group. P.C., Architects and Planners )

Tree Rendering
Fig. 8.4 Details of Trees and Flowers.

mind. In sunlight, oven though the value of the tree itself may be dark, parts of the structure may be rendered as light as the paper itself. In shade and in shadow, the values may be very dark. It is permissible to take liberties in selecting the values of the structure throughout the tree, showing light branches against dark foliage masses, or dark branches and twigs against light foliage masses. Accents such as shadows, cast by branches or foliage upon branches and trunks below, should be drawn around the members upon which they fall, as shown in Figure 8.4.

Rendering Foliage

The actual method for rendering foliage in each medium is discussed in the appropriate chapter. Generally speaking, however, the foliage should not be applied until a correct structure has been drawn. Obviously, foliage may be placed only where it can be supported by branches or twigs.

Tree Shadows on the Ground

The shadow of a tree on the ground will, of course, depend upon the shape of the tree and the source of light. The length of the shadow can be determined if the tree height is known. Simply draw (in section) a ray of light from the top edge of the tree to the ground. The average tree is made up of spherical or partially spherical forms, and the shadow in turn is made up of intersecting ellipses and partial ellipses (Figure 8.5, sketch a). When these are constructed, it will be found that small light areas, irregular in shape, are left between the shadows of the small ellipses. When the intersecting elliptical shadows are joined, and the

Fig. 8.6 Tree Shadows used to Indicate Change in Level. Design of Snowcreek at Mammoth Lake. (Architect: Berkus-Group Architects. Renderer: Richard Yaco.)

shadow of the tree skeleton is made a part of the shadow, a believable shadow results (Figure 8.5, sketch b).

The casting of a tree shadow should be done with care; it must be quite foreshortened or it will appear not to "lie down" upon the ground. The value of the shadow upon the ground will vary with the material upon which it falls. A shadow will be darker on grass, for instance, than on a light path. Tree shadows are an important means of showing rises and falls in terrain, flights of steps, and other changes in level. See Figure 8.6. if shadows fall upon the building itself, they should not be deep in value, since deep shadows camouflage rather than express the form of the structure.

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