How to draw a tree 

How to draw a tree in a easy way

Pic. 1. First you need to draw the base of the tree – its trunk. Our tree will look like an oak tree because of its powerful trunk:

Pic 2. Straight lines will draw the general shape of leaves and branches. The tree will have a fluffy shape, but slightly stretched at the sides:

Pic 3. We will divide the plant into fragments to make it easier to draw a shadow and to convey the structure of the tree:

Pic 4. Now let’s draw the branches that will look out from under the leaves. Do not make them too many to look artificial. The farther the branches are from the trunk, the thinner they will be:

Pic 5. Let’s draw the edges of the branches with wavy lines because the leaves are not evenly arranged. This way, the tree will look more fluffy:

Pic 6. We start to apply the strokes, thus defining the darkest places on the branches. We do the strokes in an inclined manner:

Pic 7. Then we continue to draw a shadow. The direction of the strokes can be changed for a more voluminous view, but do not get too carried away:

Pic 8. Now we draw the trunk and the branches of the tree. They will be the darkest in the picture. Let’s apply the strokes both horizontally and vertically:

Pic 9. Now we go back to the leaves and branches again, continuing to lay a shadow on them. The upper part will be much lighter than the lower one because the tree is depicted at noon when the sun is at its peak:

Pic 10. We add contrast to the drawing. You can use a soft pencil for this. We finalize the illustration and its details. The drawing is ready!


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How to draw a tree – expert guide!

To learn how to draw tree, you need to understand several principles that will help to see patterns in the structure of trees. The diagrams and figures below allow you to see all this clearly. And then you need to observe nature and regularly make sketches. Only by constantly practicing drawing can one acquire the necessary skills. So, what principles do you need to understand to learn how to draw trees?

Teaching yourself how to draw a tree is so easy. Making it a realistic one does not need much effort but needs a lot of concentration especially for beginners. Drawing could be as simple or as difficult as you make it. It is a very good past time where you can express what you fee using a piece of paper and a pencil. Practice is the best way to achieve perfection. Having a wide stock knowledge about trees would surely help you picture out what a tree really looks like, its details and etc. You may follow the steps elaborated below to learn the most convenient way of drawing a tree, you will need papers, pencils, and coloring materials if you want.

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1. The cylindrical shape of the trunk and branches of a tree.

Sketch first the general shape of your tree trunk which will be the base. Draw two lines that are parallel with each other and let them bend a little at opposite sides. Just like having first the close parentheses followed by the open one.

The cylindrical shape of the trunk and branches of a tree.
The tree trunk is based on a cylindrical shape. Therefore, when the artist draws the bark, behind the texture of the bark, you need to see the volume of the trunk. This means that it will be lit unevenly. That is, on the one hand is light, and on the other is shadow. Light can be in the middle of the “cylinder”, and on its sides, respectively, is a shadow. The same applies to branches. But because of their small thickness, chiaroscuro will be little noticeable. Therefore, artists use this technique: a branch is written in one color, and its edge is emphasized with dark paint. The underline gives the impression of a shadow and the branches appear voluminous.

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2. The structure of the tree bark most often is a crack.

The cylindrical shape of the trunk and branches of a tree.

The structure of the bark in most trees is a crack in the surface layer of the trunk. Cracking and coarse, this layer becomes thicker and coarser over the years. Each individual “tubercle” of the cortex has an illuminated and shadow side. But looking at a tree, we do not see such details, but perceive the image as a whole. Therefore, the artist does not draw every “cinnamon”, but conveys the texture with a stroke similar to bark. For example, you can use a “clumsy” stroke with different line thicknesses. In this case, the area of the cortex located in the shade will be darker.

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3. The shape of the trunk and branches. The direction of the branches.

Start drawing the main branches then followed by the main twigs which will serve as your guide on how thick your leaves will look like. Outline the branches to emphasize.

The shape of the trunk and branches. The direction of the branches.


Draw the small twigs that will branch off of larger ones.

Each tree species has its own characteristics. For example, the nature of the bends of the trunk and branches. Oak branches are more winding and clumsy. The pine trunk is mostly straight. The willow trunk can branch into several trunks, forming a “slingshot”. Many large willow branches have the same character. Therefore, when drawing a tree, you need to be observant and see various structural features.

In addition, there is another aspect that many people forget about. Often, novice artists draw branches to the left and right of the trunk, forgetting that the branches still grow forward and backward, surrounding the trunk from all sides. If the branch grows forward, then it will block the trunk and other branches. Thus, plans are formed in the tree drawing: first, second, third … The branches of the first plan will cover the branches of the second plan, etc.

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4. The fractal principle of the hierarchy of tree branches.


The shape of the trunk and branches. The direction of the branches.


A fractal is a repeating self-similarity. If you carefully observe the trees, you can see how small and large branches, as well as the trunk, are similar to each other. Indeed, the crown of a tree consists of a hierarchy of branches: very small, small, medium, large, very large and the tree trunk itself. They are based on the same form. It was as if they took one branch and made many copies of it larger and larger. Knowing this principle, drawing a tree will be much easier.

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5. The trunk of a tree is not visible everywhere: it either appears or hides in foliage.

The trunk of a tree is not visible everywhere: it either appears or hides in foliage.

Add clump shapes of leaves Draw each uniquely to make it more real. Outline the whole leafy part rather than doing it one by one for an artist does not go too much on one-by-one style but an artist prioritizes the emphasis.

Put some shadings to emphasize the texture. Add some color if you want. Then there you have it!

6. Chiaroscuro on the whole crown of the tree as a whole.

Chiaroscuro on the whole crown of the tree as a whole.


The whole mass of branches and leaves of a tree without the lower part of the trunk is called a crown. She has volume. That is, on all this mass as a whole there is light, partial shade, shadow and reflex. For example, often sunlight falls on the crown from above. This means that the top of the tree will be lighter than its lower part. However, the crown of the tree consists of clusters of foliage between which there are gaps through which the sky or the shadowy interior of the crown is visible. These clusters themselves or groups of branches are also illuminated by sunlight in different ways. So the crown of the tree will not be depicted in the figure as a solid silhouette. Therefore, we come to the study of the following important principle.

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7. Imitation of foliage by hatching.

Imitation of foliage by hatching.

In the previous schematic drawings, the trees look “cartoony” and simplistic. In this picture, the tree needs to be depicted realistically. To do this, pay attention to the technique of execution. Hatching can be very different depending on the depicted surface. It should convey the “materiality” of the depicted object. In our case, this is the foliage of a tree. And the artist does not need to draw thousands of individual leaflets on a tree. You just need to shade it so that you get the impression of foliage. But how to hatch a tree to get realistic and vibrant?

The secret is that the touch can create the illusion of foliage. That is, the nature of the lines will be similar to the nature of the leaves. In the above figure, you can see three types of hatching corresponding to three types of leaves – maple leaves, oak leaves, willow leaves. In one case, the line is “scratchy”, in the other “clumsy,” in the third – the lines are more oblong. But these are just examples. You can come up with your own kind of stroke. Here you need to connect imagination and not think in a stereotyped way. For the bark of a tree, another stroke should be thought up, for a third grass, etc. In this respect, I can only give such advice: the picture looks spectacular when the thickness of the line changes. That is, you need to work with the blunt and sharp tip of the pencil lead. Therefore, inventing your own hatching, you can take this moment into account.

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8. Gleams in the mass of foliage.

Gleams in the mass of foliage.


The crown of the tree is not monolithic and, as I wrote above, consists of branches and leaves, united in groups. Consequently, gaps will be formed between these groups, through which the sky or the inner, shadowy part of the tree can shine through.

It would seem simple. But, just here, for beginning artists, a problem arises in drawing trees. The fact is that these beginners do not depict these gaps between the foliage masses, but between the individual leaves, and they draw them the same in size. The result is a painting in which the viewer sees a tree whose silhouette looks “cartoony” and unnatural. In nature, gaps in the foliage are located at different distances from each other. The gaps themselves are also everywhere different in size. But such a pattern is due not only to nature, but also to the laws of composition. In the visual arts there is the concept of rhythm. As well as in music, by the way. If the artist arranges objects at the same distance from each other, then the depicted view looks boring and not natural. If the artist changes the location, size, tone or color, then the painting becomes dynamic and natural. Thus, a rhythm is created in painting.

Imagine that we are writing a dark green silhouette of a tree against the sky. This silhouette is dotted with “dots”, which are gaps in the tree through which the sky can be seen. So, these points need to be made different in size and at different distances from each other. Large, small, medium … Between small groups of branches, between large clusters of foliage, between individual leaflets of a tree, etc.

Therefore, the crown of the tree will not look like a continuous mass of foliage, but as a loose structure penetrated by branches and having gaps between clusters of foliage.

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10. Non-template approach in the image of a tree

how to draw best treepaint tree


In order to understand how to apply the above theory in practice, I bring two of my drawings of trees. In the first, maple is depicted, and in the second – oak. Try to follow the nine principles outlined above in these figures. Immediately make a reservation that there are different types of drawings: linear, tonal, quick sketches and many hours of detailed drawings. These drawings of maple and oak are quick sketches. And in such sketches, artists do not draw everything. Therefore, somewhere you can find some deviations from what you read above. It can be clearly seen here that I did not use the template approach, but was guided precisely by the principles, reflecting on how to best apply them. Therefore, in conclusion, I add that the artist must add creativity, fantasy and intuition to theoretical knowledge. Then the picture will be more expressive and devoid of the uniformity of the template approach.

Drawing a tree is just a simple and easy way. There are still many tips that will help you draw a tree. Add more on its texture and colors . Keep in mind that an original creation is better than a copied one. You may also refer to a model like photos, books and magazines that will be your basis or you can go outdoors and find a place where you can closely look at a tree and make it as your pattern. Above are the easiest and fastest ways yet more realistic tips on how to draw a tree.