Two for the Price of One

TODAY’S SILLY SEARCH PROMPT WORDS: Transport, run, cruel, snow, tree.

Those words led Cheeky Monkey Mind and me to the spruce tree. I thought that a spruce was a species of pine, but actually there are differences between the two. Pine needles grow in clusters of two, three, or five. Spruce trees don’t have these clusters. The branches of spruce grow thick and dense. Pine branches are much sparser.

Like the pinecone and the pine I drew earlier this month, I expected today’s spruce tree to be relatively easy to draw. And when I went searching for photo references, I found two different scenes, each offering something a little different for me to try. I couldn’t decide between them, so I drew them both — and both proved challenging.

The first is a mountain scene. I chose it because I wanted to do another complete landscape scene, not just bits or pieces of a tree, its leaves, or its fruit. Mostly it was the mountains that appealed to me. I need practice shading in ink, and even though I drew and shaded the picture first in graphite, it still provided an opportunity for me to try a bit of ink-shading.

Inktober 11 - Spruce 1 (3)
Mountain Spruce – Graphite and Ink Drawing by Judith Kraus

In looking at it now, I realize how much more I could have done with this drawing. I focused mostly on the mountains with the trees becoming a bit of an illusion. I didn’t spend a lot of time on this because my mind was already racing ahead, thinking of the second spruce tree drawing I wanted to make.

Inktober 11 - Spruce 2 (3)
Spruce Forest – Ink Drawing by Judith Kraus

I fell in love with the reference photo because it showed such a different view of spruce. Instead of the long needles, we see the tall slender trunks. It’s a vastly different perspective from what we usually see, and I thought it would make an interesting drawing.

In the end, I was very disappointed. I did the drawing with a Pitt Artist pen that has a small brush tip, so it was almost more like painting than drawing. At first, I wanted to show the rough texture of the bark — somewhat like you see on the tree at the left. As I continued drawing/painting, though, I found it impossible to create that textured look. I began to think the drawing might look better with a stark contrast between black-and-white. So I went back and blackened all but a couple of the trunks. I saved two of them just to remind myself of what I could have done or should have done better. It spoils the black-and-white effect somewhat, but this is a learning experience for me, and I wanted to think of how the drawing might have looked had I done it differently.

Now, while I’m not all that pleased with either of today’s drawings, it still feels good to be moving along through the month of Inktober, trying different things, and — hopefully — improving my skills with ink.

CheekyTomorrow’s words? Oh, we have some goodies here.

  • Worried
  • Shattered
  • Whale
  • Dragon
  • Tree





  1. I cant really tell is this dont with pencil or pen I believe pen. And its actually pretty good. I will suggest if your just starting use pencil.. because you can erase and it’s not easy to do pen work. But once you get pencil sketching down packs pen will come easier.. like the man said above just keep at it.. but I do really like your work.

    Liked by 2 people

I'd Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s