• Heida Rafnsdottir

On trees and shape design

Trees make a challenging as well as a fun subject for shape studies. Because they are so organic and kind of all over the place, simplifying their shape can be hard. I tend to get lost in details.... all these leaves and so many branches! Also they are so beautiful that sometimes I get lost just browsing references online. I really love trees and forests. Growing up in Iceland, in an almost totally treeless fishing village, I used to daydream about neighboring countries where trees grew in abundance. I even used to dream of having fruit and nut trees....and sometimes still do!🌲🌳

Sketches of fir and pine trees
Fir trees variations

Shape design and shape language are extremely important in concept art and visual development. Whether it is the silhouette of a character, architecture or a landscape, the shape has to read right and well before color or any details. Shape tells a huge part of a story and influences how we feel about what we are looking at. I didn't know this for a long time and realizing this changed a lot in my understanding of design thinking.


Sketches of oak tree shapes
Oak variations

I've been struggling with this subject for a long time. Only now I've started seeing major improvements and have better understanding of shape and shape design. It has taken lots and lots of sketching, trials and errors. But that is the only way to learn, isn't it?


It is easy to fall into the trap of comparing your skill level to other artists, I know I shouldn't but sometimes forget myself and stumble. Doing that usually brings me down. I love looking at the works of other artists but I aim to do it to appreciate their work and get inspired, not to compare myself to them. The only artist you should compare yourself to, is yourself. Comparing your skill today to what it was in the past is the best way to estimate your progression.


Thank you for checking in🤗

Until next time, be safe and carry on dreaming ❤

Heida


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