The Friendship Tree

Last year I sold a Mind Drawing titled, The Wait of Indecision, at the Yakkerboo Art Show.

I posted a picture on Facebook, where it was seen by my friend, a fellow member of the Pakenham Camera Club who also writes under the name, Langley Porter. Let’s call him LP for short.

LP asked me if I ever do commissions. Yes, I replied and told him about Knowing Vincent, a 900 x 600 mm photo montage that was photographed and used for the cover art on a book with the same title, by Marian Spires. That picture was created using parts of the 36 self-portraits painted by Vincent van Gogh.
Apart from a meet up at McCafe, all my communication with LP was through Facebook. He told me he liked my style, with lots of fine detail and faces and other things hidden within the picture. Then he asked if I would be interested in creating a drawing that incorporated his list of specific icons within it.

He sent a rough penciled sketch to indicate the sort of thing he had in mind and we discussed the icons at length. I liked the sound of his project and his reason for wanting to have it made.

He and his wife were commissioning it for his writing buddy. To take her mind off a worrying health issue they wished to present her with a detailed drawing of the world they write about.

Here is their description:

The Friendship Tree

There is a place in us all, where the child resides. For some, youth is abandoned as a fanciful dream that fades as we grow old, whilst for others, the imaginings of the child remain until our last day of existence.

The ‘Friendship Tree’ is a part of one such dream. It is a place where stories are born from the imaginings of two writers, Langley Porter and Angelica Donellan, stories that were inspired by the reading of a book, ‘The Little Prince’. The ‘Tree’ is a place where children climb and grownups are asked to park their judgements at the door. It is a place of friendships that are based on trust, integrity and honesty, things that the pure child finds natural, and the things that as we grow old, we let pass in favour of our complicated needs.

When you look into the mirror, ask yourself, how old am I? Then ask yourself again, and if you find the child inside, then come climb with us in the ‘Friendship Tree’.

Our writings can be found at
Enjoy them as we have enjoyed writing them, and let us know what you think.

When I draw I work straight into archival quality paper using black ink, typically with a 0.1 pen (as a draftsman I used to draw with a similar pen before using Auto-cad).

I discovered this was not a brilliant approach for a commission of this nature. Complete communication was the key. I made three attempts before getting it right. (On reflection, that was quite fitting, given the significance of the number three in stories.)

The first draft had a horizontal horizon (as one might expect), however; it was not appropriate here, as I discovered in the bookshop at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) when on an excursion to Tasmania. The Little Prince came from a planet that was so small he could walk across it any time of day to see the sunset – so the horizon had to be rounded.

In the second draft I had positioned the ivory tower in the foreground, when it really belonged further back, as it had not been an uplifting part of the journey.

At this point I resorted to tracing the main elements in pencil to ensure their correct placement. I showed it to LP (via Facebook messaging) before applying the ink.


A benefit of having the second draft was being able to use it to check the colours before applying the watercolour paint.


Stay tuned for further adventures of the Friendship Tree in future posts.


2 thoughts on “The Friendship Tree

  1. Yes Jenni. You captured all the elements in their fine detail and the result was a story in its own right. Thank you for your work and for this blog piece that sums it all up nicely. LP 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Thank-you, LP. I really enjoyed our collaboration to enable me to produce a Mind Drawing that ticked all the boxes in your brief. It was important to me that there were no parts that didn’t fit your writing world. I wanted PT to be able to engage with the picture with a sense of familiarity.

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