Ruskin, John
The elements of drawing: in three letters to beginners — London, 1857

Page: 28
DOI Page: Citation link:
License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
1 cm

the elements of drawing. [letter i.

exercise yi.

Choose any tree that you think pretty, which is
nearly bare of leaves, and which you can see against
the sky, or against a pale wall, or other light ground :
it must not be against strong light, or you will find
the looking at it hurt your eyes; nor must it be in
sunshine, or you will be puzzled by the lights on the
boughs. But the tree must be in shade; and the sky
blue, or grey, or dull white. A wholly grey or rainy
day is the best for this practice.

You will see that all the boughs of the tree are
dark against the sky. Consider them as so many
dark rivers, to be laid down in a map with absolute
accuracy; and, without the least thought about the
roundness of the stems, map them all out in flat
shade, scrawling them in with pencil, just as you did
the limbs of your letters ; then correct and alter them,
rubbing out and out again, never minding how much
your paper is dirtied (only not destroying its surface),
until every bough is exactly, or as near as your utmost
loading ...