Thursday, January 29, 2015

Easy Drawing Method s for Bonsai Projects

by Michael Rusnak
Finished drawing--Option A

Despite the cold January weather, Dan Tullius brought his “A” game to the meeting where he showed a small group of ACBS members a clean and easy way to draw and plan future bonsai projects. He commented that you do not have to be an accomplished artist to follow this method.  You only have to an idea or be able to visualize how you want the tree to develop. 

Using photographs of two possible fronts of shimpaku nursery stock, he laid tracing paper over each photograph, where easily map possible trunk and main branching options for a bonsai, as well as options for an apex. After adding some half ovals to represent foliage pads along the main branches and a pot, the drawing presented a glimpse at how the bonsai might appear after a few growing seasons. He noted that for planning purposes, you can simply use large geometric or cloud shapes to represent foliage areas. 

Completing the exercise from two different fronts, it could be seen how this easy design aid might help in making decisions about the tree before any large branches are removed. Dan emphasized that you didn't have to be proficient artist to create such planning drawings. The photographs insures accurate proportions and locations of the main branches in the plan drawings. The sequence below show two possible designs, both quickly done for this shimpaku juniper.

In addition to the tracing method, Dan did some freehand sketches of member's pre-bonsai plants. For these too he used simple lines for trunks along with oval, cloud-like shapes to represent foliage pads. He came up with this possible semi cascade design for the azalea. Dan's finished sketch of this azalea is seen at right.

Check out this video clip from the presentation.  It will give you an idea of this quick and easy planning method:

As an introduction to his presentation, Dan shared these two free- hand drawings created by the famous bonsai artist John Naka in 1991 during a visit to the Cleveland Bonsai Club

Dan noted that a planning sketch does not have to be elaborate. Naka's sketches are basic, with simple lines to represent both trunk and foliage, yet they serve the purpose of design. The two trees Dan had at the time are no longer in his collection.
Drawing by John Naka, 1991
Drawing by John Naka, 1991

No comments:

Post a Comment