If you have been following me for a while, you probably know how much I love drawing trees! When I don’t know what to draw, that’s what I do. Probably because there isn’t a perfect and unique way to draw a tree, I find it really relaxing and satisfying. So, this post is going to be about trees drawing tutorials!
I will be talking about the most important things to know when you want to draw trees, some simple rules that can help you make it easier, with a lot of step by step illustrations and also videos of the drawing process.
As I said for the mountains drawing post, learning how to draw trees is also a great way to learn how to implement lights and shadows into your drawings. You won’t need any ruler, only you, a pencil and a paper! You can download the free PDF about trees drawing tutorials here! Aaaaand.. let’s start!
Important things to know about trees drawing
– The first thing I want you to know is that there isn’t straight lines in nature and there are million of ways to draw trees. Feel free to draw however you want!!
– Learn how to observe, look at the differents shapes and structures, look at the different foliages. Experiment by drawing textures of leaves and trunk of a variety of trees.
– Begin drawing from the top down, connecting smaller branches to larger ones. Observe the angles at which the smaller branches connect to each other and to the major trunk. Make sure to enlarge the trunk as you descend.
– Understand the general idea of the structure of a tree. The trunk is always thicker. It is thick towards the bottom and the roots, and narrows closer to a point toward the top. The same thing with the branches. They are thicker toward the base and narrower towards the tip. Each one of the main branches gets a few branches of their own, but smaller. If you have a general idea of the structural composition of a tree, you will be able to draw any tree you want!
– Since most trees aren’t perfectly symmetrical, alternate some of the branches or leave gaps between them.
– Shadings is (again) SO important in order to give a sense of believable form and three- dimensionality. Contrast between highlights and shadows is crucial for a drawing to stand out. Otherwise this will lead to a flat drawing with no depth.
With shading, the magical illusion of three-dimensional reality appears on your drawing paper. This is why the placement of the light source affects every aspect of an artwork.
– I don’t know if I really need to write this one but there is no point drawing every single leaf as we see it. This will take forever to draw all of them anyway!
– Keep your hand loose and relaxed as you work in order to make a more realistic-looking tree.
– You don’t have to make everything detailed. Add details mainly on the areas you want to focus on.
– Take a sketchbook and go for a walk. Observe the trees you pass and try to sketch them quickly. This way it will become intuitive for you. You can also use photo references from internet if you prefer to stay at home.
Trees Drawing Tutorials
1 – I usually start with the trunk. If you want to make a tall and wide tree like an oak, draw a larger trunk.
Then, draw several large branches that extend from the trunk. Position them on both side of it.
Look at real trees and observe the structures of the branches. You will never find any straight branch and notice that the branches get thinner as they move away from the trunk.
Vary the sizes of the branches so they look more natural. You can make them as straight or curved as you like.
3 – Shade the trunk and branches of the tree. You can use a darker pencil to create shadings. Don’t hesitate to add some textures to it. This will make the tree look more realistic.
If you’re drawing a tree from real life, pay attention with where the light and shadows shift.
4 – Keep working on the foliage until you feel it complete.
Remember that the tree has also branches coming towards and going away from you as well as the ones you see either side and in the centre as well. Don’t forget to draw those, if you don’t want to make your drawing look flat.
5 – Make small, gentle movements that represent clusters of leaves instead of drawing individual leaves. This will make your tree appear more natural.
Tip: Keep a loose grip on the pencil. This will help you relax and not think too much about making perfect lines.
6 – Now, it’s the shading part!
When shading, keep in mind where the sun is coming from: areas facing the sun should be lighter then the areas facing away from it.
Hold your pencil so it’s almost horizontal when the tip touches the paper. Make some of the leafy areas darker to show depth within the tree.
Pine Trees Drawing Tutorials
1 – Again, I start drawing the trunk of the tree. Pine trees have (usually) straighter trunks than other trees.
2 – Draw the shapes of the branches. The upper the branches are, the smaller they are, giving a triangular shape to the overall shape of the tree.
3 – I filled the trunk and branches. I made it a little too dark, But of course, you can also draw it with less shadow.
4 – To give it a 3d look (more realistic), draw random branches going up and down, with different level of shadow and brightness.
Trees drawings with different shapes
The goal is not to copy the examples I am showing here but to understand the composition of a tree, then the drawing process that will help you draw realistic trees. Try following these steps and examples and then go outside and draw, apply these techniques to a diversity of tree shapes you see. The best way to learn how to draw trees is to draw lots of trees!
That is all for the trees drawing tutorials! I hope this post will help you make wonderful trees illustrations! You can ask me anything or you can check out my other drawings post here! If you want more art and architecture content, I like to share on my Instagram also!
Do not forget to download the free trees drawing tutorials PDF here!