Child’s Play

Remember the trees we drew when we were children? You know… where we first drew two straight lines going up and down and then topped it off with a big, round ball of leaves?

Tree-700Later, when our drawing skills advanced a little, we literally branched out, as in this illustration from a Kid’s Art site tutorial.

To be honest, even as an adult, I’ve drawn a lot of trees like this, especially when I first began learning. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve developed my skills enough to create more realistic-looking trees.

I think, too, that my tree-drawing ability has improved a lot over the past month. Between Inktober and my regular drawing practice, my trees no longer look quite so childish.

Today’s tree is an exception. It looks a lot like a “childhood tree” and that’s exactly how I wanted it to look.

Our prompt words — surprise, united, double, injured, tree — led Cheeky Monkey Mind and me to the oleander. Is it a shrub? Is it a tree? Take your pick. It can be either/or because it’s actually both.

OleanderOleander is an ornamental shrub that will grow into a tree. It has beautiful flowers, but all parts of the plant are highly toxic to both humans and animals.

Among the toxic elements this plant contains are cardiac glycosides, saponins, digitoxigenin, oleandrin, oleondroside, nerioside, and more.

These poisons are found in all parts of the plant and are toxic whether the plants are dried or green. Ingestion of any part of the oleander plant can lead to serious illness and possibly death. In other words, don’t mess with the oleanders.

oleander-treeThere’s certainly nothing fun about a dangerous plant, but when I looked at photographs of oleander trees, they reminded me of those simple little trees I used to draw.

Maybe you see them differently, but I saw trunks topped with a ball of leaves. And I knew at once that I wanted to re-create a simple child’s tree, only in a slightly more grown-up fashion.

Here’s what I came up with.

Inktober 29 - Oleander 2 (2)
Child’s Play — Oleander Drawing by Judith Kraus

Even though I knew what I wanted to do, it wasn’t quite as easy as I’d expected. It took me three tries before I got the effect I wanted. Then, for a bit of contrast, I added the jagged lines for the background.

So, a silly search led to a silly drawing, and I had fun with it.


  • Wreck
  • Found
  • Jolt
  • Catch
  • Tree





    1. Every tree is different, and sometimes it’s hard for me to really see the structure. I know it’s there, but I can’t always get it right in my drawings. Doing this in a “childish” way helped me focus a little more on creating the structure, I think.


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