Shadow Tracing

The aim of this book is to get you outside and absorbing the beauty of the natural world. And shadow tracing is as peaceful and satisfying an activity as you could do on a sunny afternoon in a woodland glade. But luckily, it is also one of those activities that you can do in a park, at a bus stop or even sitting at your desk at work (providing you’ve got a window nearby).

Find a small tree, a bush, a flower or a stick which is casting a shadow and lay a piece of white paper down on the ground or your lap so that the shadow is lying fully on your paper. Now trace around the edges of the shadow, examining its nooks and crannies, and making sure to trace every detail.

On a winter’s afternoon you could bring a long roll of paper and trace out a whole tree; on a hot summer’s day you’ll find tracing wildflowers wildly satisfying. If you do happen to be sitting at a desk all day, you could trace the same plant at three or four different times of the day to see how the changing light affects your drawing.

The meditative effect of focusing on the small details of your tracing will keep your mind as still as it is when you’re doing adult colouring, but with the added gratification of producing something that looks like a genuine piece of art when you’ve finished. And don’t worry if your boss catches you drawing at your desk – you can give it to her in a frame tomorrow and all will be right with the world.

This text is extracted from my forthcoming book, 100 Things to do in the Forest. Full details of the book can be found on Laurence King’s website. The text remains copyright of Jennifer Davis and Laurence King and may not be reprinted without permission. The hand drawn images are copyright Eleanor Taylor and Laurence King and may not be reused without permission. Pre-orders of the book are available on Amazon UK and Amazon in the USA.

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