It began as an observational drawing study of tree branches I brought into the classroom.
We discussed organic lines and texture and did some practice sketches.
The students had to follow this order when drawing:
-Make a 'map' of the branch (just sketch a light line to mark how the branch grew)
-Add value and texture.
I taught my students how to use charcoal pencils, create texture, and shading for this.
Everyone had to have the main part of the branch touch one side of the paper.
The leaves were painted with watercolor and were a study of warm analogous colors.
(If I do this project again I liked doing the leaves separate and attaching them last better than drawing them on the paper.)
Before the students painted the background I had them outline around the branch in white crayon. This created a boundary between the background and the branch which protected their charcoal drawn branches.
The backgrounds were painted with cool colors.
One of my brilliant students asked when we began the project if we could put them together to form one big tree. Fantastic idea! I said sure. When we completed the artwork we worked together to make large tree trunks and then I arranged the branches so that they linked together. We had three huge trees around the school. One I labeled with all the things the kids had learned.