When I sit on my front porch I contemplate the wall of trees beyond the field of hay across the street. I am determined to learn how to render that intimidating wall of green foliage.  My eye perceives the subtle nuances of form, color and value yet I have not been able to express those nuances well with either pencil, pen or paint.

I keep trying.

A treasured drawing book

My current obsession is improving my ability to render with a fountain pen.  I generally use my pen for a contour sketch that I follow with washes of watercolor.  The process is enjoyable and I find the results quite satisfying.  When drawing gets to be too much fun I generally try tackling something that will push me further and earn me further skills to reach a new level of painting and drawing that I find equally as enjoyable.  Rendering in ink fills that criteria.  I pulled a well-loved book from my shelf in hopes that it will suggest a new approach, a variation on what I have already tried and failed at when it comes to cross hatching.

Changing line direction when moving from tree to tree

I often miss seeing the obvious solutions.  My difficulty has been to show the delineation between trees while keeping the values close without outlining the edges of each tree.  Zeichenschule fur Begabta Leute is a drawing book I picked up while living in Germany in 1969.   It appears to have been written by Professor Gerhard Gollwitzer though the copyright is 1964 and belongs to Otto Maier Verlag Ravensburg.  It was published in 1966.

In the book I found a drawing of a wall of trees.  Gollwitzer did not cross hatch.  Instead, he changed the direction of the lines he used with each tree mass.  The first two attempts are shown above.  On the top drawing you can see where I attempted to correct a shape by cross hatching, hoping it wouldn’t be obvious.  Of course, it is.  The cross hatched appears heavy and static to me whereas the trees in the other areas look as if their branches can easily dance in the wind, leaves fluttered by gentle breezes.

My second attempt takes the technique a tiny step further.  I think this might work well for me.

Sketch lightly with pencil to indicate basic shape and position of trees.  Inked using  Noodler’s Fountain Pen filled with Noodler’s Whaleman Sepia.