Trees and rocks

How tall is a tree? What color is a rock? These may sound like silly questions, but they have thrown themselves in my face as I build my model railroad. In the process, I’ve discovered a couple of facts that confirm what Chris Fehl taught me in a drawing workshop that I described ten months ago: when I think I can’t draw, the truth is that I’m not seeing. Here are the facts:

  1. Trees are tall. Yeah, I know, that’s obvious. But until I got out and really looked at trees that are next to houses, I never truly realized that most of them tower over the houses. Trees on model railroads don’t look right because they aren’t tall enough. (On the other hand, the viewer’s eye is at a different level when standing on a street compared to looking at a model railroad.)
  2. Rocks are some undescribable combo of gray and brown. I can’t yet figure out how to make them look realistic, but it quickly became clear that I needed to look closely at actual rocks.

My goal is to make rocks that look like this model. But before I build more terrain and scenery, I need to see the real world. The modeled must precede the model.

Categories: Model Railroading, Teaching & Learning