A Birch Springs Back to Life

After a couple of months in cold weather, this birch tree showed signs of life.  It is always nice and heartwarming to see fresh green buds appearing on an otherwise bald tree.  I guess this is why springtime is always associated with the hope of a new beginning in life.


Just like my cherry blossom, this drawing was done in two stages.  First, I drew the bare tree and then added on the buds and new leaves.

Here is the detailed drawing of the bud and new leaves,


and a couple of new leaves on a twig.



Blooming Cherry Blossom

Every year, between the end of March and the beginning of May thousands of people go to Japan to experience Hanami (translated as ‘flower viewing’), commonly known as the Cherry Blossom Festival.  Around this time, there are spectacular views of cherry blossoms all around the country.  And if you happen to be in Japan or are about to go there, you can check one of the forecasts and guides to these places.  But for those who are not so fortunate, hopefully you can enjoy this drawing 😉



This drawing took quite some time to complete and was done in two stages.  The first stage involved drawing the bare tree, which was based on a photo I took during winter.  The second stage involved drawing different tones and shapes of leaves and flowers, then combining them together to form bunches, and then placing these bunches all over the tree.  Below are close-ups of two of the bunches.

The species of cherry blossom which is the subject of this drawing is called Kanzan. Unlike most other cherry blossom species, each Kanzan flower contains between 20-50 petals.  This makes the drawing a bit challenging, so I only drew around 10 petals for each flower, not including the middle part which contains the stigma and stamens.  Here are more detailed drawings of the flower,




and the leaves.




Among all of the spring blooms, tulips are my favourite.  There are a lot of varieties and colours of tulips, as they have been cultivated for a long time since the 10th century. If you love tulips, you might find the story of our obsession with tulips during the Tulip mania period in the 17th century rather interesting.  



Like all the other flowers, I drew each petal of the tulip flower separately.  For each petal, I use two curves with different colour tones and clipped one of them into the other.  This is to produce the shine effects on the petal.  I also use blurring and gradient tools to blend the two tones together.


For the petal shown above, I first drew the first curve with a darker pink tone in the shape as intended. Then, I drew another another curve with a lighter pink tone, position it on the left half of the first curve, then clipped it into the first curve.  In Affinity Designer, this is achieved by placing the second curve inside the first curve on the Layers panel. As a result, the shape of the first curve is retained, and the part of the second curve that does not overlap with the first curve is clipped away.