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Bonsai Drawing Series – Wisteria in Pastel

This instruction video shows you how I approach bonsai drawing in pastel. I start off with a sketch on black Canson pastel paper. I like using black because it act as a line as I progress with the drawing. To do the sketch I use a red pastel pencil. The layout of the sketch is important to define how the viewer will move their eye along the artwork. This generally starts at the intersection between the trunk of the tree and the soil. I like to start with a circular motion from there and into the foliage. I find laying out the detail is also important at this stage since it will dictate the texture.

When I complete the layout, it will give me a roadmap of how to proceed with the application of the pastel. When starting with the pastel I like using the darker colors first. This creates a base in which I can start to build my colors. I will lightly blend the color into the paper. To determine the colors that I will use in the motif, I have a set of color cards and compare these cards to the base colors. This helps save time since I don’t have to search through my large array of pastels. Once I determine the colors, I can then compare the pastels to the cards. You will see how I use the side of the drawing to look at how those colors look on the black paper. I enjoy applying the pastel around the object. The negative space defines the object (positive space). I can see how well they are working together at this stage. I love the way pastel lends itself to blending. I can create a soft light and ethereal background by rubbing the color transitions.

The rest of the time is finishing the work up to your satisfaction. I like to think of this as scratching the artwork until in itches no more

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Bonsai Drawing Series – Perspective

Perspective is the way we seeing things from our point of view.  This video discusses in detail how perspective, specifically ‘Linear Perspective’, influence our Bonsai Drawing and our Bonsai development. We begin with a fundamental understanding of one-point and two-point perspective. I show how of a horizon line and vanishing points originate from our point of view and how objects occupy our ‘Field of View’; i.e why objects look larger the closer they are to you. 

Applying perspective to our drawing gives the artist the technique for showing objects in space; I illustrate this using a Bonsai Pot.  When drawing a Bonsai Tree showing the pot accurately in space can give the drawing a sense of reality. The video also discusses in detail ‘Foreshortening’ and how that influences Bonsai Artist to develop Bonsai Trees with large bases and exaggerated taper. In addition, the concept of perspective also plays a role on how l we layout our Forest Plantings called ‘Saikei’.  The video finishes with a short demo on how I trim my forest plantings and how perspective influences my decision making.

Though perspective is conceptually “easy” to understand, practically it can be very difficult to apply.  My goal in this video is to remove some of that complication and provide a simple way of applying it to our drawing and bonsai development.