To Tell the Truth

I’ve enjoyed Inktober, but I’ll be perfectly honest here. I’ll be glad when it’s over. Although Cheeky Monkey Mind and I have a species of tree listed for each remaining day of the month, it’s getting harder and harder to find the right idea and the right approach for each drawing.

1200px-Grizzly_Giant_Mariposa_GroveTake today’s prompt words — burn, fall, gift, ride, tree — and look at the giant redwoods or sequoia trees to which we were led. Magnificent trees, indeed, trees so big  you can actually ride through them in cars. I’m guessing that’s how we got here.

I could have drawn one of the trees, but how many times this month have I made a drawing of a single tree? I could have drawn a grove of sequoias, but haven’t I done groves of tall trees already? More than once, in fact.

What about drawing the needle-like leaves? Been there, drawn that. And, no, Cheeky Monkey, I’m not falling for that ploy about how simple it would be to draw one of the cones!

I scrolled through dozens of reference photos, wondering how I could make a drawing that would be a little bit different, not merely a repetition of something I’ve already done. I considered the actual seeds from the seed pods, but then another photo caught my eye.

It was a photograph of a small redwood tree stump, meaning, in other words, a huge, gigantic stump with lots of interesting detail. The original reference photo is filled with background — lots of bushes, trees, and branches. I took the photo and simplified it somewhat. I wanted some background, but as I worked, I watched what I was doing, and when the drawing reached this stage, I was happy with it. I had just enough background, I thought. Not too little, but not too much. What do you think?

Inktober 28 - Redwood (2)
Redwood Stump — Ink drawing by Judith Kraus

Unlike most of my other drawings this month, this one was done entirely in pen. I’ve been using many different ink pens in my daily drawing practice, and I’ve discovered that as much as I enjoy my Pitt Artist pens, I’m equally happy just grabbing a regular old ballpoint pen out of our pen-and-pencil holder. This entire drawing was done with one of the inexpensive pens my husband’s workplace hands out.

I like a lot about this drawing. There are a few places where I wasn’t happy with my ink strokes, but overall I feel pleased and proud at what I accomplished with that cheap little ballpoint.

The drawing took a bit of time. I actually started it last night, worked on it for quite a while, then put it aside and finished it up this morning. With all the delicate detail, it was an opportunity for me to go into that meditative place and just enjoy making marks.

But, to tell the truth again, I’m finally getting tired — very tired — of drawing trees. I love trees, and I’m getting better at drawing them. All the same, I’m ready to stop drawing trees and move on to something else! The reason my tree drawings have improved is that not only have I drawn trees throughout Inktober, but my practice sessions — in both ink and graphite — have focused on trees. I’ve drawn tree trunks, tree branches, fallen logs, and branches on the ground. I’ve drawn, I’ve textured, I’ve shaded, and I think the improvements I’ve made are evident in my Inktober drawings. Still, enough is enough.

Three days remain. Three more trees, branches, leaves, seed pods, or whatever else I can come up with! And then it will be done. I’ve had fun with Cheeky Monkey and our silly searches, and I’ve enjoyed Inktober, but just as I eagerly counted the days until the event began, I’m even more eagerly now counting the days until Inktober comes to an end.


  • Surprise
  • United
  • Double
  • Injured
  • Tree




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