Volume 2. Chapter 3. Composition

Draw a leaf

The veins give a leaf its organizational force. A leaf is two-dimensional arrayed in three-dimensions. It has an orientation and shares a pattern with other leaves on its tree. Vein are analogous to lines. Surfaces analogous to form and color. The process of drawing replicates growth.

Draw a tree

A tree trunk is articulated in roots below the ground and branches above. Each branch is articulated in stems, leaves, blossoms, and fruits. The articulation of the parts reflects the articulation of the whole. The genetic code of the root is the genetic code of the branch and of the vein of the leaf.

Lines of force

Capillaries are lines from roots of a tree to the pores of its leaves. These carry the life of the tree. When you draw a tree your line is charged where it branches and where it resists branching.


Every leaf is not the same, the pattern of branches is not entirely regular, though a general pattern persists stubbornly against rocks and storms.

Line and plane

As a leaf grows its veins extend to support new surface. The linear supports the planar. The plane is inertia and softness the line is force, articulation, particularlty, movement.


In nature, veins convey force and movement; edges convey limits. In nature, edges are not demarcated with veins, but we draw lines: saw-toothed, serrate, scalloped, dentate, sinuate, fringed, or fretted.

Arithmetic sequences

Nature follows arithmetic sequences. The spiral of a nautilus follows the Fibonacci; the array of a palm leaf, the sequence of tree branches, the whorl of a pine cone, cloves in a head of garlic. When you understand the manner in which natural forces radiate, you can replicate their beauty.