What’s the key to paint­ing tree bark?

Emanuel War­bur­ton, Wales

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation Artist Q & A -

An­swer

Sara replies

Tree bark dif­fers from species to species so you need to de­cide what kind of tree you want to rep­re­sent. For this ex­am­ple I’ve selected the bark of an oak tree.

Oak bark is cov­ered by deep frac­tures that di­vide the sur­face into smaller, rougher ar­eas. Within these frac­tures there will be moss, dust or wood of a dif­fer­ent colour.

I start by se­lect­ing the right colour of the trunk. I avoid choos­ing a brown that’s too sat­u­rated. Once I’ve sketched my lights and shad­ows, I cre­ate a new layer where I trace the veins of the bark with a darker colour. I al­ways use hard-edged brushes with rough tex­tures. Then I cre­ate a new layer and add lighter ar­eas. As a fi­nal touch I paint traces of moss and knots to ac­cen­tu­ate the ir­reg­u­lar­ity of the whole tree.

The vein pat­tern that I trace has to fol­low the shape of the tree in a nat­u­ral way, so it shouldn’t look too tidy.

The key is sug­gest­ing the bark’s rough­ness. Pho­to­shop’s ba­sic sponge brushes are ideal.

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