Weekend Work – 2 week Collaboration with Fellow Illustrators

On Saturday the 30th of January I and Rebecca Oliver commenced our group’s 3D NATURE VS TECHNOLOGY tree together. The rest of the group were unable to attend due to other commitments but were set the collective task of completing 10 illustrated leaves each based on our theme to be later attached to our tree.

Together we enjoyed following the groups collaborated plan and the insight obtained from our mock up piece.

The groups collaborated plan that we were following during the development of the tree that took place on Saturday.
We followed the insight that we had gained from this resourceful mock up experience.

The group’s number one priority and goal for the day was to complete a brief 3D tree formation.

The other parts from the plan including the electrical wires and illustrated leaves are elements that follow as additional features to the trees formation which needs to be addressed after we are firstly content with the structure and aesthetic of our tree.


Throughout the making of our 3D tree we regularly took short trips outside into nature and collected our required twigs and dynamic branches from the university grounds which was fun and refreshing.
This was a recycled cardboard tube that was originally the packaging of a poster that I had printed from Tesco. In this new life we had given the tube, we had asserted it with a new role as the body and core foundational base of our tree to develop onto. We used scissors and scalpels to cautiously carve the hole into its side for the trees womb. We also used a recycled square shape of cardboard (originally the backing of my mirror) to use as a sturdy ground to further support the structure. We used the hot glue from a glue gun to secure the tube to the cardboard ground.
We used the weaving and tying of garden wire to secure the twigs in place to the cardboard body. Rebecca’s experience in wire work particularly showed through. Rebecca’s blog: https://undergradillustratorart.wordpress.com/
Tightly wrapping, tying and securing the twigs to the cardboard body using the surprisingly strong garden wire. Rebecca’s blog: https://undergradillustratorart.wordpress.com/
Rebecca skilfully attaching the twigs to the base using garden wire. Rebecca’s blog: https://undergradillustratorart.wordpress.com/
Rebecca skilfully attaching the twigs to the base using garden wire. Rebecca’s blog: https://undergradillustratorart.wordpress.com/
Rebecca skilfully attaching the twigs to the base using garden wire. Rebecca’s blog: https://undergradillustratorart.wordpress.com/
Filling and concealing away that cardboard base progressively to create a natural tree form aesthetic.
We used my new more simple and efficient method proposed for the baby on a stick support feature. We simply recycled the lid of the cardboard poster tube and trimmed around the lids once wider edges for it to then be carefully lowered down the inside of the tube and placed in the right position. I pushed a stick through the lids centre as a prop for the baby to be secured onto for its elevated look within the homely womb. The lid effect also gave the womb a ground surface for us to decorate with the pink and red tissue papers in the later development stage of the project.
The baby support prop inside the womb space.
We recycled an identical plastic white lid that was from the opposite end of the tube to be trimmed and carefully wedged down the inside of the tube to function as a roof for the womb and also as a base support for the finishing bouquet of branches to be placed into the hollow inside top of the tube.
The poster tubes converted cardboard hollow space with a ground. This is to be used as a container for the dynamic branches we intend to place inside it to fill out the tree top space.
Rebecca skilfully attaching the twigs to the base using garden wire. Rebecca’s blog: https://undergradillustratorart.wordpress.com/
We worked our way up the body of the tube compacting the twigs securely together making sure to conceal the cardboard tube base as we went along. When the bottom of the tree was concealed we worked our way to the middle section of the tree and then finally the explosive and dynamic tree top.
Towards the top of the tubing we had our branches point outwards to create that natural tree top form.
It was easy for us to wedge in twigs where there was space in the wires constraints.
We did decide to trim down the cardboard tubing using a scalpel as it stood too tall and prominent in the trees structure towards the top.
The wire was interesting and looked natural in its vein/plant root like movements and organic aesthetic.
The back of our developing tree project, this is when we had started to fill in the middle and top section of the tree.
We were careful not to let the twigs block the entrance of the womb as we wanted it to be clearly visible.

The sticks proved not that awkward to work with as a material for what we were doing with them in this project as we didn’t have to intervene with their natural form but use it to our advantage.

HAZARD: We did have to be careful to not to get our eyes poked out by all the branches sticking out.

Here you can see where we trimmed down the tubing so it worked better with the trees form as it was far too prominent before.
To hide the sight of the cardboard tube that we used as the core body for this tree I used stuffing’s of dried grasses to give the tree more of a naturalistic lively aesthetic. We also placed Rebecca’s illustrated baby using the phone on acetate piece balanced just outside the womb to get an idea of what it looks like with the tree. Rebecca’s use of the white pen makes the baby illustration really stand out, effectively catching the eye and drawing in its viewers. We didn’t want to attach the baby to the stick prop yet as we had to decorate the womb which we agreed we’d complete on Monday together with the team. Rebecca’s blog: https://undergradillustratorart.wordpress.com/
Some of the twigs did come loose as we carried it over to the little photography set up that we prepared using white A1 sheets of papers.
Mine and Rebecca’s collaborative work from Saturday January the 30th. Rebecca’s blog: https://undergradillustratorart.wordpress.com/
I remember thinking at first that the tube that Rebecca wanted to use as the exact height of the tree would be far too tall and extravagant. I was so glad by the end of the day that we didn’t cut it to the size I proposed which was at half point of the tube. As it would’ve been too short and stumpy that would of had an unnatural form leading to a horrible lack of elegance to it. It’s definitely and attention grabber with its size and dynamic branch work pointing out explosively in all directions from its tree top.
From taking regular step backs from the piece to observe and scrutinise the work from today. We were able to establish through discussion points of improvement for example the securing of the loose branches around the trunk, more evening out and more packing in of dynamic branches for the tree top as I felt that it was developing outwards fluidity from either side of the tree but missing the middle and upwards dynamic explosion of branches. We also established that we need to use more twigs to build a thicker base using further layering for improved support of the tree. As we wanted to avoid the tree being top heavy it had to have that anchoring weighted bottom.

We used thick dry brushes to sweep away all the debris on the cardboard ground before taking the photographs to tidy it up.

We can see here there are still gaps in the trees base to be later filled in with twigs.
We were both definitely proud of what we had achieved together on this day. The piece is a stunning, interesting and attention grabbing representation of a tree created from mostly recycled materials.
We can see here the twigs that need tucking in and securing to meet our desired tree form. The trunk is also a little narrow so we discussed how we would next week layer it up with more twigs.
The stuffing definitely gave it a life of its own.

It feels great knowing that our 3D tree structure is made from mostly recycled materials. Re-inventing the role of materials is so creative, rewarding and fun. 


  • Recycled poster tube.
  • Recycled branches.
  • Recycled twigs.
  • Recycled cardboard backing to mirror.
  • Dried grass.
  • Glue
  • Garden wire.
  • Acetate.


  • Scissors.
  • Scalpels.
  • Glue gun.
  • Pens.
  • Dried thick brush.

My friend and Illustrator:

Rebecca Oliver’s Blog: https://undergradillustratorart.wordpress.com/


Author: ellosweetmellon

I am 21 years old and I live in Cardif. My dream is to be a great illustrator that can sell and exhibit my work with pride.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s