The very first things I learned to model were trees! I found some tutorials on Youtube for making low poly trees in Blender, and they're the foundation for all my working knowledge and my workflow.
Trees have a special place in my little artistic heart. When I was trying to improve my drawing skills in middle school, I would draw trees constantly, on everything. They're very forgiving to make, I think. Once you learn how branches should generally connect to the trunk for a certain tree type, you're fucking set. Any mistakes in drawing can become the texture of the trunk... Gesture drawings with trees are the most amazing thing. And it's so meditative - in modeling as well: just extrude, rotate, scale over and over again, like pulling out pieces of clay... It's sort of magical. And, really, once you know how to do that, you can model almost anything.
Around February, it would take me hours and hours and stretch out over days to make trees as I learned the interface and a good workflow and a sort of 3D artistic eye... Now it's more like minutes.
So I wanted to push myself grow some more! I decided to try to make a shit ton of leaves with group instances to make it a lil more realistic... What a nightmare.
I was so adamant about doing it in one day, and I really should not have. It took 8 hours, in almost one sitting. And my hierarchy is atrocious, oh my god. Please believe I am not exaggerating when I tell you there's over 100 branches in the hierarchy. I don't want to screenshot it to show you because it would take 5 to show everything.
I am a bit annoyed at myself, though. I focused so much on the leaves and branches that I kind of fucked up the trunk. I forgot how trees actually look, and the next day I decided to actually look out my window... There was all the reference I needed that I did not use!
But I think I'll leave it as is. It has character, and I've grown very affectionate toward it. It depicts my growth well, both as an artist and a person. And it contributes a nice energy to my scene.