To some, the barren, bony frames of deciduous trees can be a melancholic feature of Winter. By the time we’re halfway through July, I’m inclined to agree. Grey upon grey gets depressing after a while. Grey sky. Grey trees. Grey buildings… Hey wasn’t that building bright yellow just a couple of months back? Damnit. Winter just strips the life and colour out of everything.

But there’s a window of time – before the grey haze settles like an unwelcome weight against one’s chest- when Winter is beautiful. When it’s not yet cold enough to merit 15 layers of thermal underwear. When the early morning frosts are more novelty than nuisance. And when there are still enough amber-leaved trees to give striking contrast to the grey-against-grey.

We’re nearly two weeks into Winter, and I’m in love with the season. So far. (Bear in mind, I’m kidding myself that it’s still Autumn. Give me another month and I’ll be lamenting summer.)

It’s the tree skeletons I find particularly appealing. The way their branches arch upwards towards the sky; grasping hungrily for every last ray of sunlight. While those that still boast ochre-coloured leaves capture the light like dryad fire; never burning or consuming, yet radiating warmth all the same. I’m fascinated by the moss and lichens that attempt to dress their poor naked forms; creeping along their aging limbs like a… a…

Oh, I’ve run out of super-lame prose. Which is just as well as I was close to dry-retching on my own attempt at writing it. But you get the drill, right?

There has been more than one occasion this week where I’ve caught myself prattling on about naked trees and autumn leaves to whomever is unfortunate enough to be trapped in conversation with me. Sadly, it was the same person on at least three of those occasions. And while a part of my brain cried ‘really Kelly? This is all you can think of to talk about right now? Do you want her to think you’re MAD?!’ I found a small measure of comfort in the fact that this person has known me for 15 years. Thus, she already knows I’m quite mad.

Having decided graphic design gives me artistic licence to be as obsessed with trees as I darn-well like, I’ve snapped pics of several woody skeletons this week. All in the name of “design inspiration” of course. Not because I have an obsessive personality type or anything…

autumn trees

I passed this tree on my way home, and then had to return with my camera. I must look kinda weird, standing on roadsides, photographing branches and bark…


autumn design inspiration

Not actually sure why I put a watermark on this. Not like anyone’s gonna want to steal off with my crappy tree.


This afternoon I finished off a set of pre-made Facebook graphics inspired by my current tree obsession. The set includes a timeline cover with matching profile pic (with customisable text), app covers and a promo graphic (to be supplied blank). It’s now up for sale in the store.

autumn fall premade facebook graphics




Stay tuned for more in the way of trees. I fear I’m not over this fixation yet. (If someone would like to pay me to shut up about trees and work on a completely different design project, please… Be my guest. My paying guest.)

As well as a great opportunity to dust off the DSLR and photograph the kids chasing each other amid the last of the autumn Liquid Amber((for the record, I thought these were maple trees, but as google revealed, they’re Liquid Amber. It’s the spikey nuts that gave them away. ;))) leaves this afternoon, I lugged home a collection of leaves to photograph and convert into Photoshop textures and brushes.

autumn leaves

autumn leaves


I think Autumn is my favourite season, if for no other reason than that I love the way the leaves change colour as they get ready to fall. There’s something about the rich reds and, when you turn them over, antiqued tan of Liquid Amber trees in particular that I find incredibly compelling. And look at the luscious yellow of that Ginko! Sure, the leaf-litter would all become a bit much to deal with after a while… But I wish these beautiful trees were in our backyard. (The fact that they’re available at our local park will have to suffice!)

Meanwhile, a photo of my daughter sitting on a tree stump, making dinosaur impersonations, inspired me to create for her a set of leafy fairy wings in Photoshop:


Liquid Amber leaf wings created in photoshop new zealand Liquidamber leaf (not to be confused with Maple, as it turns out..)



In hindsight, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, making fairy wings. If it’s not dinosaurs she’s obsessing over, it’s dragons. Think I’ll be whipping up some reptilian wings tonight. And perhaps I’ll post a tutorial here to go with it. (Of course, don’t hold your breath on that one.)