Okay, after my dissatisfaction with a forest I drew for Green Monk the other day I decided to study some forests by Jeff Smith and Claire Wendling and to see if I could get a better hang on this forest thing.
Here are my first few attempts:
He also does a good job of separating the background from the foreground by giving the foreground greater detail and dealing with negative space wisely and consistently. In other words if the gaps between trees are dark, masses in the foreground should be light. In the sketch below I tried to play with the reverse of that idea. Negative spaces are light and the background and foreground is darker. Kind of like a silhoutte. I could have done much more with value on the forest floor.
So I was kind of happy with these first three sketches, but I still felt like that they were a bit generic and that the forms were too flat. So this next sketch I wanted to make the forms stronger, and the designs more unique and interesting. I was pretty happy with how they turned out.
1. Think in terms of large general shapes including the mass of leaves.
2. Define the edges of the leaf masses with the details.
3. Give the masses organic form. Use detail and shadow to define how they wrap around and layer on top of one another.
4. Give the foreground more detail, the background less.
5. Be consistent with how you draw attention to the foreground and punch out negative shapes in the background.
6. Make the design interesting (like real nature).
I have more practice to do. The first couple of sketches look more and more primitive the longer I study them.
Oh yeah, I also drew this sketch last night: