Gotta plan for the “final” shape, or do you prune where the inspiration takes you?
@scotte1, It’s usually folly to try and make a tree grow into a shape completely different from one they don’t have in their natural unmolested state. Trees occasionally make decisions to shut off growth hormones to a branch in spite of one’s efforts to direct energy to specific branches. So you have this long term interaction where you’re trying to direct growth and proportion by pruning branches and cutting buds but the tree sometimes has other ideas and you have to go with the flow. With many species Bonsai also uses wiring to shape branches and create the illusion of age, like these branches on a Chinese Elm I’ve been working on for the last few years.