Books on Drawing Trees, Pen and Ink, and Thinking

I have several books on drawing or pen and ink. There were a few gaps in my pen and ink library and I wanted a couple of books on trees anyway, and I wanted a book on perspective for awareness in general related to architecture.

We don’t have the money but I always seem order birthday books a few months early! I got some classic things because it seems to me that these books of the past are more comprehensive about the subject.

I bought these two because they provide some art history as well as drawing concepts. I like art history and comparing styles. These are reprints of books: The Artistic Anatomy of Trees from 1915, and Rendering in Pen and Ink from 1930. It’s interesting to spot the difference in language, the formality that we don’t have any more. The time spent in practice, observation, and contemplation is something we are losing that makes us better as humans, and helps us think.



I knew I wouldn’t have the patience for a complicated treatment of perspective. I start to blank out when rules get complicated, but the practicality of this book, and the common sense I saw in Perspective Made Easy during a preview of pages, made it interesting to me. Plus it was $9, plus it was written in 1939.


Adding once more to my small collection of Claudia Nice books, I bought Drawing & Painting Trees in the Landscape. She uses watercolour, some acrylic and oil, but mostly pen and ink with watercolour, and gradually I am seeing through practice, that this is what I like to do. I shall never be a painter because I like the boundaries of illustration, and painting within lines, the outline of forms. This is why I like architecture too, the alluring lines and the way they come together just beg to be drawn.


I thought I had all the books I wanted on sketchbooks and examples of other people’s sketchbooks but the danger of looking at book recommendations is that yet another book pops up. I often try to get inter-library loans for art or craft techniques, but now and then I see something that seems to have the comprehension I want, and this one had some art history in it, so I bought Sketch Book for the Artist.


I wanted to mention a couple of books I have read from the library. I am currently reading The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction by Pier Massimo Forni because I am tired of being distracted and fragmented in concentration and ability. It’s quite good and gives me ideas.


Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers, is a book I read last year and that Forni mentions in his book. I think both of these books are ones that must be re-read, to assimilate their ideas over time in several sessions. Is this because I can’t think any more, or because the principles are hard to examine? No, it’s because we are whooshed along in a tide of doing what everyone else does, and it takes time and reminders that there used to be another way of living, another way of using the human mind that did not involve winking out of the universe for four hours on the Internet, phone, or watching television aimlessly.


In many ways we are frantically dithering away our time, losing our ability to concentrate, research and reason, and these two books at least got me to say “Hey…..I want my life back!!!”

Which is why I wanted the art books too.


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4 Responses to Books on Drawing Trees, Pen and Ink, and Thinking

  1. Traci Darin says:

    Beautiful and incredibly insightful -as always.

    • JJ ColourArt says:

      Hi Traci! I have good days and bad days with regard to being insightful. I think these ideas are ones I’ve been paying more attention to lately, trying to get some ground under me.

  2. nowandzenn says:

    You are adding to my reading/inspiration list! I love trees – they are one of my favorite subjects coming, as they do, in an infinite number of shapes, sizes, and varieties. I love the books you shared in this post – I’m adding a few to my wishlist!

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