Nature.... oh boy nature. How the hell do we draw nature? It's just so complex and so random. Its impossible to draw something that's so random, right? You just draw it randomly and hope for the best.... Tutorial over.
.... Just kidding! Thats not how we roll here. Believe it or not things in nature are not random, they are very ordered, patterned, and deliberate. Nature is not perfect, but it tries to be and we can use that to our advantage when drawing.
Before we start, it's vital that you spend some time looking at whatever natural thing you want to draw. Everything has its on unique traits. Proportions, patterns, size, these are all things that vary, and depending on the variation will make the difference between a house cat and leopard. And an oak tree from a birch tree. This tutorial is going to focus on helping you identify the patterns that occur in nature.
Lets start with a tree:
Trees, by and large, grow in a repeating pattern. Things influence the pattern such as sunlight (as all trees grow towards the sun), storms, disease, and what other creatures might do to it in it's life time. But it TRIES to grow in the same repeating pattern.
Above i have a particular patterned shape. lets see how many times it repeats....
As you can see that fork shape repeats consistently throughout the tree, and it looks like it continues to the smallest twigs. (i didn't highlight all of them as i didn't want the image to become a clusterfluff of colored lines.) But do you see how that fork shape repeats at the end of nearly every branch?
Lets look at another tree example....
This one is a little tough because the silhouette is messing with my depth perception and you can't see the ground so I'm not sure how many trees I'm actually looking at here. But you can still see the pattern:
That forking "Y" shape repeats over and over and over and over and over again. Smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller until you reach the tiniest twigs.
Drawing trees doesn't seem so hard now does it?
Lets look at something a little tougher, like animals.
Most large animals are built nearly the same way: Head, body. 4 limsbs. Feet and/or hands. Looking at pictures of these animals I know you can work out the specifics... but what about animals that have stripes, or spots? Do we just draw random dots and lines on them? Nope! Just like the tree there is a specific pattern to them.
Lets look at a Zebra:
Until I actually looked at this picture, I thought a Zebra's Stripes were just vertically up and down across the whole body..... then i looked closely at this picture and noticed the pattern. Do you see it?
Half way in the Zebra's body, the stripes switch from being vertical to being horizontal. It blew my mind. But that's what I'm talking about. Identifying the patterns you see in nature will help you draw them on your page.
Lets look at an animal with a bit more of complex pattern on their coat.... A Jaguar.
This one might blow your mind. How the crap are you going to figure out the pattern to these spots? They just look like they're random all over the body, right?... well no, not really
Look carefully they're actually arranged VERY orderly....
Well look at what we have here... Could it be the spots are arranged in a near perfect grid? The grid stretches around the body almost like a wire frame you'd see in a CG model. In each one of those squares is a Jaguar Spot. Now much like the tree, it isn't PERFECT, one square has two spots in it. Another spot lays right on a line. But Its VERY close. Close enough so that you can use it the next time you have to draw such an animal.
I could go on and on forever. Just like past tutorials, we're just going to scratch the surface here, and let you dive in deeper. But this technique can be found in EVERYTHING you see in nature, Not just living things either. Rocks, landscapes, clouds, Everything from the smallest atom, to the largest galaxy is organized and ordered in a specific pattern. If you want to draw it, you just need to identify the pattern and reproduce it.
I hope this helps!
If there is something you'd like me to do a tutorial on, I'd be happy to! You just have to tell me what you'd like to see! Leave me a comment here, or email
me and I'll get it up on my blog schedule!
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