Tree of Life (Freehand Graphic)

xristopher bland tree of life 2Some while ago, my partner’s niece was visiting from Vancouver, and after looking through some of the graphics I’d done, she asked me how I was at drawing trees. In reply, I think I mumbled something like “I don’t know” and shrugged my shoulders, not because I was uninterested but because I’d never actually drawn a tree before. The thought remained with me for a while after the visit, and one day while noodling around with some concept sketches, I began drawing the first of several long flowing lines that would become stylized branch clusters. I struggled with the drawing for a while. The trunk portion came easily, but each time I worked at rounding out the top, the drawing seemed to be missing something. And that’s when that little voice piped right up inside my head and said, “Why not put a bird in it. Birds love to live in trees,” and that was the spark. Sketching in my rendition of a crow’s head, I worked lines back from that, flowing them into tree lines and blending and inking until it was done.

This is my first pass at coloring the image and layering it with texture, all set against a backdrop of (appropriately) a crow feather. The version set with text (below) is the image as I’ll submit it for a Photoshop assignment at Conestoga College–the creation of a CD cover with an album title and band name. I chose “Tree of Life” as the first name that came to me, as well as the sub-title “Nothing Is Ever As It Seems” as just something that seems true about life. Xrisville isn’t a fictitious name, but not a band. As a first pass, I think the image works as a good color test, but I’ll more than likely reset the original drawing and play with it again. In my first pass, I was going for autumn colors and, in the process, I think it came out looking a bit like a turkey.

xristopher bland tree of life music cd project cover 2


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