I discovered Bruno Munari’s book Drawing a Tree a few years ago in a museum giftshop. I’ve always been attracted to artists who jump fences and Munari was truly equestrian in this regard. (Ditto: Isamu Noguchi—another favourite of mine.)
Munari passed away in 1998 at the age of 91. He worked in painting, sculpture, film, industrial design, graphics. He did his share of writing (including some poetry) and was also known for his research on games, childhood and creativity.
There is something about Munari that always makes me smile. Maybe it’s my geeky love of old textbooks. Maybe it’s just the simple, beautiful way he puts things. For example: “When drawing a tree, always remember that every branch is more slender than the one that came before. Also note that the trunk splits into two branches, then those branches split in two, then those in two, and so on, and so on, until you have a full tree, be it straight, squiggly, curved up, curved down, or bent sideways by the wind.”
My sons did these tree drawings this afternoon. They didn’t quite follow Munari’s instructions but they drew from an actual cherry tree outside our house. (The first day of March and there are tiny buds…)