How to Draw Trees book

I stumbled across a fantastic book in Farnham’s Phyllis Tuckwell charity shop last week. It’s called How to Draw Trees by Frederick J Garner and covers how to draw shrubs, trees and landscapes.

Old How to Draw Trees book cover

How to Draw Trees no.3 cover

“Trees have distinctive forms and shapes just as are found in humans – animals and birds. In drawing the human first we first must know the basic form or shape then after we know that and are able to draw it we can put on any kind of adornment. The same things is basic in drawing trees…”

I was actually looking for some old book pages to cut up when I found this gem. I was a bit distracted so quickly flicked through a couple of pages and it was only £1 so I bought it. Whilst walking home I had a proper look at the illustrations inside and realised I had to keep it, especially as it was written by someone with the same surname as me!

Some of the illustrations reminded me of my Granddad’s drawings. When I was little we’d visit my Grandparents on a Saturday and sometimes my Granddad and I would sit down and draw together. Quite often I’d ask him to show me how to draw something and I’d watch him draw. One thing I have a strong memory of are his drawings of palm trees. Inside this book was a double page spread page on just that.

Palm tree drawings

The whole book feels like an artists sketchbook with it’s off-white matte pages, paper outer covers and many sketches. Probably more-so now it’s old and some of the pages have scuffed corners. When I touch the pages it feels like I should have graphite and charcoal coming off on my fingers.

Sketches of trees

It contains some really beautiful lettering.

The word 'tree' illustrated in the style of bark

I love his use of bright, flat colour with monochrome illustrations over the top.

Black and white sketches on a red background

The typography style and tone make you feel like you are being taught by someone you know rather than a how-to book.

Hand written drawings instructions

Pencil drawing of a tree

I love all the characters hidden around the pages, reinforcing the mantra of “Make many sketches from nature”.

Character illustrations

The more I flicked through the pages, the more of them I found…

Can you help me date this book?

I’m having trouble pinning down an exact year but from the information I’ve found so far it might be 1970. Do you know when this version of How to Draw Trees was published? If you do, please drop me a comment below. Thank you!

Publication details

  • Title: How to Draw Trees
  • No. 3 in the Walter T. Foster series of drawing books
  • Author: Frederick J Garner
  • Publisher: Walter Foster Publishing
  • Publication date: Unknown. Can you help me date this book?
  • Made and printed in Great Britain by Greycaines, Watford
  • Catalogue address: Foster Art Service Inc, Box 456, Laguna Beach, California
  • Number of pages: 40
  • Book size: 10 1/2 x 14 inches

5 Comments

  1. Hello,
    I found a copy of the same book. Although I do not know the exact date that it was published, there are some clues that can narrow down the time frame. For starters Hawaii is not on the map of trees of the United States on pages 20-21. Hawaii didn’t become a state until 1959. Additionally, there is no zip code for Forster Art Service, Inc. Zip codes where not introduced in the United States until 1963. Judging by the clothing of the characters drawn and there other clues provided, I believe this book was published some time between 1955 and 1958.

    Let me know if this helps.

    Thank you,

    Deborah

  2. Thanks so much for your thorough detective work Deborah! Some great observations 🙂

  3. Jeanine Roquet

    I also have a copy of this beautiful book on drawing trees. When I looked up the artist, it was noted this book was written in 1948. I would assume that is the approx. publishing date. It was his first art book. He died in the early 1960’s, I believe.

    It’s a beautiful book!
    Enjoy.
    Jeanine

  4. Sandra Guyer

    I found a copy of the book in my fathers belongings and was also wondering the date. It is a beutiful book and looks like it was bought yesterday.

  5. I bought this book used online from an Amazon dealer earlier this year. I noticed that the cover on yours is different than mine, but everything else is the same. Since I couldn’t find a publication date on my book, I found a copy of the book again on Amazon with the same cover design as is on my book. There could be different publication dates if it was printed more than once (which it appears to have been). My copy was supposed to have been printed in 1960. I hope this helps.

    Paperback
    Publisher: Walter T. Foster; Edition and printing Not Stated edition (1960)
    ASIN: B000KK27UQ
    Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 10.1 x 0.3 inches

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