Book review: 20 ways to draw a tree


I recently found a copy of this book in one of my favourite local bookshops here in Amsterdam, the ABC. The cover tells you that it is a ‘sketchbook for artists, designers and doodlers’ and the beautiful illustrations inside are by Eloise Renouf. The book is a collection of 900 of her drawings, divided over 45 subjects such as ‘shells’, ‘acorns’ and ‘winter trees’. There is plenty of space left on each spread to add your own drawings and that is exactly what this book is inviting you to do. I’ve just gotten started on the feathers page, as you can see below (the acorns are all by Eloise). What I like about the book is that it encourages you to be inspired by the drawings that are already there and then add your own twist to it.

Drawing lessons were part of our high school curriculum and I signed up for an extracurricular drawing class in college as well. However I never fully enjoyed it. In fact, I dropped that extracurricular drawing class almost right after it started. The reason was that all these classes focused on the technical part of drawing – i.e. making a realistic portrait, capturing a difficult texture – rather than the creative, finding-your-own-style part of drawing. Of course there is nothing wrong with learning the technical side of it, in fact I think it is useful. But to me it really wasn’t motivating to have a teacher tell me that my fifth layer of shading could be more consistent (true story).

So the result of that was that for a long time I stopped drawing all together. I became more comfortable creating my designs just on the computer. However this summer I’ve started drawing again and I’ve also tried out different hand-lettering techniques. I’m now seriously enjoying drawing and I’ve taken this book and my sketchbooks with me everywhere I go. So yay for drawing and if you think you would also like to draw in a book like this but for some reason don’t like trees, please know that you have other options: