My Fear of Trees...

One of the awesome things to come from my daily doodles are the commission drawings that I've been asked to do. My style has evolved over the years, but until recently, I hadn't really found a style that set me apart from the rest. So, the fact that people want to pay me to draw makes me feel a little guilty at times. How could I get paid to do something that I enjoy so much? Regardless, it's an awesome feeling and I'm flattered each time someone inquires about my art.

Jason Matthew Ross T-Shirt Design - By Jennifer Lynn Bishop

Jason Matthew Ross T-Shirt Design - By Jennifer Lynn Bishop

The Challenge is Presented...

Recently, a friend from high school, Jason Matthew Ross, commissioned me to create the above drawing for some t-shirts he was going to have printed and sell at his shows/concerts. Outside of art, music is my life, so of course I was excited to do it for him... until he described what he wanted... which was his name in a tree. "Oh dear", I thought, "How am I going to pull this one off?"

We all have our weaknesses, and I've always felt that drawing people, animals, and trees were mine. As much as it pains me to admit my weakness to the public, I want to be honest. Bringing life to a 2D piece of artwork can be quite a challenge. Just a dab of white in the retina of an eye can make a world of difference and bring life to a portrait. But trees? They scared me. So much detail! So many branches! How would his name "pop" with all of that going on? And for someone like me that strives for perfection and precision, a tree can be a nightmare.

Part of my Daily Doodle Challenge has been about trying new things and to not be afraid to draw something that I normally avoided out of fear of failure. This would definitely be one of those fears.

What I Remembered to Overcome My Fear...

  • Jason said that he liked my work. So he knows what I do! If he were looking for anything different, he would have gone somewhere else.
  • I don't have to draw it in any other style, but my own.
  • He gave me plenty of time! It's not like I couldn't have a few test runs. This wasn't being tattooed on someone (or was it?).
  • I'm good enough, I smart enough... errr... Sorry, I got a little too Stuart Smalley for a minute there.

The Process...

Once I reminded myself of those things, it made it a little easier to begin the process. I started by scouring the internet, looking at various trees. Looking at how the larger branches met the trunk and how the smaller ones branched from there. I explored various fonts, looking for something with some movement, but nothing too feminine... and also taking into account his style of Americana music. I decided to use a mix of my own handwriting and calligraphy to avoid any copyright infringement.

The trick with all of this would be creating a drawing that would highlight the tree, but also make his name the focal point. I won't bore you with all of my steps, but you get the gist! While I'm not sure I'm ready to draw another tree in the near future, I was pleased with how this one turned out. And if I run into a similar situation in the future, I know how to move past the fear and push on!