The humble Pine Cone can be troublesome to draw, so I thought I’d pass along some tips that work for me.
1. Before I start, I like to place the cone on my paper and add tick marks to indicate the extremities. It’s very easy for your lines to drift and without some boundaries; your cone might end up distorted with odd proportions.
2. I wouldn’t recommend trying to handhold the cone in your free hand. Your arm will naturally sway and those shifts will throw you off as your eye darts back and forth from the page. I think the best way is to raise the pine cone to your eye level. I keep a variety of tins around just for this purpose. It’s also a good excuse for buying snack foods!
3. Pay attention to the direction that the scales wrap around the cone. You need to get this part right. It’s very similar to a spiral staircase.
4. When it comes to the drawing stage, I like to start at the top and work my way downwards. I’ll concentrate on a single scale and draw it accurately before moving on to the adjoining scale. What you’re doing is connecting one precisely drawn bit to the next...this is a different approach than the normal practice of roughing in your subject and tightening up as you go along. I find it’s easier to keep track of which scale I’m working on when I’m not distracted by roughly drawn line-work.
5. Once you’ve reached the end, it’s a good idea to step back and make some side by side comparisons. Hold up your drawing to the actual pine cone...if nothing jumps out that needs fixing, go ahead and complete the drawing however you see fit. I just worked it up with pen & ink, but you might want to keep it strictly as a line study or perhaps add a little shading.