Eyeball Tree Helix


This started out as something really cool I scribbled out into a sketchbook years ago. Since then, it became the first thing I've drawn on canvas (with charcoal pencils). It's been something I've drawn that I feel really proud of how it turns out. Up until now I had not even added it to my digital portfolio.

So, to fix that problem and simultaneously break my dry spell of contributions to NG, I refined the concept of the eyeball tree to what you see here! I hope you enjoy it enough to get it tattooed on your skin forever :D Vote 5!

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Wow this is a pretty sick design. Although to be honest I feel as though the tree's design looking more realistic would of defiantly made it a stronger piece. The top of the tree and the leaves is what sort of throws it off in my opinion.
Compared to some of your other works, it seems it could even still be in the concept stage. I'd love to see it developed more.


I literally can't keep my eyes off it (pun intended). I think you did a great job with this piece, and the fact you drew it with charcoal pencils and had it redrawn so that it could be put up on the portal is in itself a daunting task.
So, let's see! (Okay, I'll stop)

The tree itself is very detailed, with the individual leaves being shown clearly without any gaps or breaks, yet all of them can be seen without any being hidden almost fully behind the other. The varying colors show a single light source, probably from the top left corner, as leaves are brightest there and follow a gradient color to the right where it is a little darker.

The trunk of the tree, and the branches are all drawn very nicely, each of them wrapping the lower half on all parts of the eyeball, almost as if to show the blood vessels at the back of the eye, and the progression of a tree to an eye. (Is there some sort of subtle meaning here that I don't get, the conversion of energy from a tree which eventually passes to an eye?) The branches are mostly the same color, but some parts are colored abnormally, as if to show mutation, and the roots the "blood vessels" of the eye. Good job, I always found drawing a tree difficult.

The vitreous humor of the eye is faintly tinted with red on a normal white, presumably to show signs of life and/or strain. The rest of the eye is drawn nicely, but there's a, kind of "problem" with the cornea. I wouldn't exactly call it a problem per se, since I've found that this is entirely normal in eyes, but it's odd because this isn't what I normally see in eye diagrams. The "problem": the cornea's transparent, with a slight outline. Again, this ain't a problem, but it's just odd to me. The lens of the eye's also good, except if you're aiming for a touch of realism like you did with the cornea, then wouldn't the lens also be transparent? Just saying.

The background could use some work though, as others pointed out -- it's just a gradient background fading to black from white. Perhaps a skybox to just show that the eyeball tree helix is "floating" in the air? Or how about a cross-section of the soil, with the eye "planted" deep in the soil? There are many combinations to choose from, but this...rather dull background isn't one of the good ones, I must say.

All in all, a good piece of art, although I don't think I'd like it enough to get it tattooed onto my skin forever, like XsakuX said. Either way, a brilliant way to come back from your hiatus, and I hope you have many more dry spells, so that we can see more art like this :P

~~ Summary ~~

~~ Good points ~~
1) Nice detailing of tree, eye
2) Subtle detailing of leaves & branches
3) Nice touch of realism in the drawing

~~ Bad points ~~
1) Dull background
2) [If aiming for realism] Lens should be transparent
3) [If not aiming for realism] Cornea's a bit strange

[Review Request Club]

Phobotech responds:

I'm glad you really like it, eye have a ball with reviews this positive!...okay that was terrible...

The lightsource is indeed from the top left corner, and I wish I had reinforced that by shading the eyeball accordingly.

I suppose the meaning behind it is combining two perspectives of life into one...the organic breathing life with plant life, and by making it a giant eyeball, it sort of humanizes this peculiar, other-worldly tree. Mutation is definitely implied, but it was wrought more from clean slated creativity than it was meant to state a point.

The fact that it looks downward could be that it's looking upon us from above (a parody of God) or that it's looking inward into the planet (a parody of Mother Earth), but in all actuality, it's just something neat that I thought up that came to me in a moment of sobriety, perfected in non-sobriety, and drawn here half and half. It turned out looking pretty good, and I leave it open to interpretation; if you look for it you'll find it.

Hell, to make things even more confusing, I hid two faces in this. One made entirely out of leaves, and separately, two triangles to emulate eyes looking out from the leaves.

In the coloring process, I tried making faint red cracks and tiny networks of veins running about the white of the eye to emote strain or dryness. But after 3 tries it never came out right, so I gave up and left it to a simple red underline to the root to give it that illusion of life you speak of. I'm still happy that detail didn't go unnoticed.

The black outline is a comic-booky habit of mine inherit in almost all of my artwork, in any future iterations, I'll try harder to disclude black lines in things that are supposed to be transparent.

Yeah, the gradient was a last minute addition so it wasn't just a white background. Future recreations will have added complexity in the environment.

The tattoo comment, to clarify, was from a singular friend who enjoyed the charcoal canvas iteration so much he wants it tattooed. I threw that into the author's comments as a tribute to him :D

I greatly appreciate the detailed review! Thanks very much!

This thing caught my eye right away in the forum:]

For starters, I love everything about this piece (But I have a soft spot for abstract art)

Although I don't love it enough to get it tattooed into my skin... I do really love this concept. The idea of the trees forming a helix, which also connects to the eye; brilliant. Artistically speaking this picture could be a metaphor for many different things, but I'll spare you from my thoughts there xD.

I don't know what else to say, except that this is a great piece of artwork!
Amazing work Phobotech!


-Review Request Club-

Phobotech responds:

I'd love to hear what it symbolizes to you, I find a lot in it myself. :D I'm proud that you found a connection with it, and enthralled that you enjoy it! Thanks very much for the praise.


This picture looks really cool. The tree alone would be worthy for the art portal (I like how detailed the leaves are!), but the addition of the eyeball gives the image almost a surrealistic touch. I like how the roots are connected to the eyeball. Really looks like there is an ocular muscle connected to the eyeball.

The background could use some work, though. Maybe the tree would look better in a different environment. The grey background takes away too much from the main object, I think. I mean, Magritte's "The Son of Man" wouldn't look so great if the man was standing in front of a grayish background, right?

{ Review Request Club }

Phobotech responds:

I agree the background and overall environment needs revision. Thanks for the review!


Well I found this to be a slight bit strange but it reminded me of the Sirens from Hercules as well actually since when they made the eyeball vanish it looked like the little hairs were a tree for a moment.

The background here is a simple gradient which is nice to know.

The eye ball gives off a feel of a tear getting ready to fall from it as the green iris part looks a bit thicker than the rest of the eye giving a feel of something growing in the person's mind that makes them feel a bit hurt on the inside for one reason or another.

The tree looks very nice and I like the shading on the limbs too giving a more realistic look to it. The leaves on the top are very nice looking and the little detailed shading makes me feel you put a lot of time into it.

Overall, very awesome and abstract piece, nicely done.

Review Request Club

Phobotech responds:

Aren't Sirens flying beasts that lure sailors with an entrancing song to their death among the rocks where they feast on their drowned bodies? I'm sorry, but I fail to see the connection between Sirens and this D:

Though I had thought of including a single tear drop converging on the center of the lens, what you see in the white dome above the iris is the lens. Still, it's a very high compliment to me if this artwork creates an emotional response, so thank you very much.

I did spend quite some time on this, so I appreciate the observation. Thanks for the review as well

Credits & Info

4.55 / 5.00

Aug 6, 2011
11:33 AM EDT
Fine Art
File Info
1300 x 1300 px
249.3 KB

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