Meticulous Patterns Bring Harmony to Salma Price-Nell’s Inky Drawings of Trees — Colossal

September 22, 2023 - Art


#Salma Price-Nell

September 21, 2023

Grace Ebert

a black and white rendering of a tree with large base and tiered canopy

“Tree of Duality.” All images © Salma Price-Nell, shared with permission

Salma Price-Nell gravitates toward patterns, harnessing their aesthetic and metaphorical properties through ink drawings. Currently based in the U.K., the Cape Malay illustrator painstakingly renders wispy willow tendrils, gnarled trunks, and wide, sloping canopies with delicate crosshatching and linework.

She tells Colossal that her interest in natural motifs—and those found in trees, in particular—was born from mediation and a realization that everything is connected. “All matter is made from the same elements, and although every individual thing is a different composition of those substances, we are all results of a sequence of patterns that have formed and been refined over time, billions of years of time,” she shares. “These patterns have established our laws of physics and many invisible laws that we are bound to.”

Price-Nell’s practice reflects these ideas as she draws small, recurring forms like individual leaves or the crinkles in tree bark to form larger scenes. She finds peace and calm in this slow, repetitive process, and the resulting works reflect what the illustrator most admires about her subject matter. “Trees seem to have developed some of the most harmonious and admirable traits during the course of their evolution,” she says. “Of course, I am not a tree and can never be one, but I can aspire to be more resilient, generous, nurturing, independent, patient, present, grounded, secure, humble, balanced, nonjudgemental, peaceful, graceful.”

Shop prints and originals on Price-Nell’s site, and head to Instagram for a glimpse into her meditative process.


a black and white drawn willow tree with wipsy tendrils


a close up of willow tendrils and knotted bark

Detail of “Willow”

A rendering of orange gilled mushrooms on green bark rests against a wall

“Velvet Shank Mushrooms”

a black and white rendering of a tree with a large canopy

“Tree of Presence”

three trunks wind into a canopy a black and white rendering

“The Charmed Tree”

a white gloved hand holds a drawing of a tree with a round piece of ground below


a watercolor rendering of a tree with red doorway near its base

“Mystic Japanese Camphor Tree”

a white gloved hand holds a rendering of a small brown mushroom

“Lucky Mushroom”

#Salma Price-Nell


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