How to draw a tree 

Tree drawing in short video

How to draw a tree in a easy way – 10 steps guide!

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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Tree drawing in color tip #2

  1. Let’s mark the tree trunk

First we need to mark the base of the branches and the trunk. To do this, we will draw two main vertical lines in the middle of the sheet of paper. From them we will make branches for branches stretching upwards, but in the next stage. 

tree trunk

  1. The contours of the main branches

Try to make the contours of the branches a little at different distances from each other, so that you do not get a strict symmetry, which is almost never in nature.

tree branches

  1. Add small twigs to the picture.

Next, from these basic branches of twigs you need to make many other branches, of which there are many on any tree. These future twigs will have leaves drawn on them.

tree twigs

  1. Let’s finally draw the whole tree, except for the leaves.

On preliminary contours we will outline the real sizes of the trunk and branches. To do this, circle the main line with two other lines, but not so flat, because the surface of the tree is flat only on the trunk. Draw a lot of bundles on the trunk, they will be branches turned to us. This is very often forgotten, and the drawing of the tree turns out to be flat. In the next step, we will determine the size of the leaves of our tree and circle the counter for the future crown.

tree twigs more

  1. We draw the leaves of the tree

Drawing the leaves of a tree is not as difficult as it takes. Firstly, they are small, and secondly, there are a lot of them and if possible you should draw each leaf separately. To draw the leaves quickly, draw small elongated ovals, just make sure that they do not go too far beyond the general contour of the tree. Draw them by the position of the branches and do not leave any gaps between them.

6. Drawing the tree with a pencil

If you will draw only with a simple pencil, add some more small details, shade the trunk of the tree, remove the extra stroke from the drawing. And for the black and white drawing of the tree to be more picturesque, you need to add some small details surrounding the tree. For example, draw the grass next to it, dark strokes depict a shadow from the tree’s crown, etc.

7. Drawing the trees with paints



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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 structure of the tree bark most often is a crack

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 fractal principle of the hierarchy of tree 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.

How to draw pine tree


  • The trunk of the pine is straight. However, there are pine trees with a trunk that curves at the top and has a “stocky” character. Often there are ship pines with the crown at the top of the tree, and the trunk is straight and high.
  • The bark of this tree is red, which becomes much darker as it gets closer to the ground, turning into gray-brown. In the middle of the trunk, the pine bark resembles a flaky, scaly structure. Closer to the ground, it chunks and forms a dense cracking layer.
  • The crown of young pines has a triangular, conical shape. But the crown of mature trees is already more rounded.
  • Branches of perennial old pines can be winding and crooked. As a rule, pine branches are not very upward looking. To a greater extent, they point away from the trunk.
  • Pine needles are longer than spruce needles. That is why they create a feeling of a fluffy crown, which should be displayed by graphic means, or by pictorial techniques, if it is not a drawing, but a painting. It is necessary to use a textured stroke or appropriate strokes in painting. Each branch has light and shadow, so the artist should think about how to draw the volume of individual branches in the total mass of the crown.

How to draw spruce tree


  • Spruce and pine – have much in common, but they are different trees, with their own features. For example, if the trunk of a spruce is as straight as that of a pine, the nature of the branches will already be different from that of pine branches. The branches of a spruce are slightly curved upwards. In the lower tiers, the old branches are lowered down and resemble “paws”.
  • Spruce needles are shorter than pine branches, so the overall crown texture of this tree will be different from that of a pine tree.
  • The spruce crown is shaped like a triangle or a cone and consists of tiers.
  • When an artist paints a landscape, he paints the trees in volume. To do this, you need to follow how the whole tree is illuminated and how individual branches or tiers of branches are illuminated. For example, going inside the crown, the spruce “paw” plunges into the shadows. From the outside, it can remain light because more daylight falls on it.
  • The color of the spruce needles is dark and saturated. Therefore, both individual spruce trees and the whole spruce forest will differ in color from other tree species.

How to draw an oak


  • The oak trunk is powerful. In old trees at the base it can reach a large diameter. But in dry areas, oaks can be less stocky, similar to slim young oaks.
  • The branches and trunk of the oak are winding and brown.
  • The shape of the leaves is wavy. Therefore, the overall appearance of the leaves will be “bony-curly”.
  • The bark is rough and dense.
  • The color of the leaf is dark green, saturated.
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How to Draw Tree Leaves

Tree leaves are the simplest and most beautiful decoration of our planet. Only we pay attention to it only in late autumn, when the leaves change their usual green color to gold, creating an extraordinary carnival of autumn colors and shades of nature. All leaves are unique and beautiful in their own way, but still maple leaves stand out among other leaves in size and shape. So let’s try to draw maple leaves, or rather one leaf, in this lesson. But it is enough to learn how to draw one leaf to draw a whole “bouquet” of leaves. By the way, colored maple leaves, drawn on paper, can be a stylish and bright decoration of your room. As always, the drawing will be done in stages, first we will draw the outline of the sheet with a simple pencil, and then paint with paints or colored pencils.


  1. Let’s do the initial leave veins markup.


Draw a horizontal line and from it draw with a pencil one vertical line in the center and one oblique line on each side. Do not draw a line by means of a ruler, in the nature there are no leaves having correct geometrical forms. 


  1. To basic veins we add small ones


At this stage, you need to draw fine streaks at random, following a certain symmetry. Note the horizontal vein of the leaf, with fewer branches. In general, if you draw leaves in summer or autumn, take a few maple leaves in the park and carefully examine their structure. If you draw them “from nature”, the drawing of the leaves will be very realistic. 


  1. Maple leaf shape


It is not difficult to circle the drawn veins in one continuous line, not necessarily copying my drawing. The main thing is to draw sharp corners on the edges and make visible spaces between the parts of the leaf. Usually the leaves are solid, with barely noticeable breaks, and maple leaves consist of as if several segments. This is how they differ from the leaves of other trees.


  1. Drawing of a maple leaf in detail


Draw the nodes for the main leaf veins. The thickness of the stem for all leaves must be noticeably thicker than the veins at the base. Finish drawing the lower contour of the leaf  shape and proceed to the next step.


  1. How to draw the leaves. The final step.


You can see that it is not difficult to draw the leaves. It is important to draw small details correctly and to draw the shape accurately so that the sheet in your drawing does not look oblique or crooked. Add as many fine touches to the drawing as possible and you can paint the resulting maple leaf drawing with paints or coloured pencils.


  1. It is better to paint leaves with coloured pencils.


I always make shadows with a pencil in the last step of the drawing. You don’t have to do it, especially since the drawing of leaves will look great if you paint them with colored pencils. You can, of course, paint them, but it’s very difficult not to have experience in saving small details and not “paint” them. To make the leaf not look lonely, draw next to it a few more, a little smaller, at the same time give them any shade of autumn paints of falling leaves.