A Story of Trees

Sometimes I get bored with the my sketches and need a change. I got inspired from the Urban Sketchers Live show on Sunday, featuring Oliver Holleor from Austria and Stephanie Bower from Seattle. Oliver was a scientist-turned illustrator, and his work is just fun, engaging, inspiring, and done much more loosely. He often tells stories with his illustrations, which I love! You can see more of his work on his website (http://oliverhoeller.com/) and on Instagram.

I am a storyteller and decided to try and work more stories into my sketches. I think that will take more time and intention, and Oliver suggests that you draw what interests you and work other elements on the same page and tie it all together. Easier said than done, but I’m up to the challenge.

So… today I went to Lake Elmo Preserve, a lovely area with rolling hills, woods, marshes, campsites, lakes, boating, archery, you get the point. A great place to get away into nature, which I love. As I started walking one of the trails, I noticed a makeshift dock where I think people put in canoes. I could see it several feet away and noticed two Canada geese sitting on their haunches enjoying the morning sun. A forested area was nearby, and I noticed a bunch of cut logs. I sat on one and sketched the geese by the lake.


As I sat and sketched, a few people walked by, I don’t know if they even saw me. I was in a cluster of logs, listening to birds, and enjoying my time. As I looked around me, I decided to tell a story. I first drew the logs themselves… beautiful trees that were no more… As I sat, I saw a woodpecker up in a tree, rapping with his bill, and I wondered if someday, there would be no more trees for him to peck at…


I sketched and sketched, and then saw a couple walking down the trail. The man swung a water bottle by his side, the woman was in a dress. They neared the muddy part of the trail, because I heard her say, “Ew, it smells like poop!”, so I quickly added them in my sketch. They weren’t gone very long and then came back along the trail. He was on his cell phone, talking in a very British accent. He ended his call and they stood talking, about what, I don’t know, but she said something about not changing “my relationship status”, so that was interesting. They wandered off. I looked up into the brilliant blue sky to the towering birches above, and marveled at their white branches, so I added that to the sketch.


Finally, I decided to move on, but as I went up the trail, I noticed a tree with a pink piece of tape or something tied to it. I didn’t know if it was a tag to cut it down, or a tag to keep it, so I added it in the sketch.


So… my sketch tells a bit of a story, a story about the trees, some people, and my observations. It was a great place to start!




Leave a Reply