How To Draw A Tree

You want to know how to draw a tree because you are great nature lover. It is very good. We often forget about how trees are essentially important for our survival on the planet.

If you are learning how to draw landscapes or nature in general then drawing trees will be an indispensable skill.

I will show you a few simple examples of the process of drawing a tree with a pencil.

Basically if you learn this process, which is deceptively simple, you can draw any tree you like regardless on shape or size.

Before you start to draw a tree it is good to know a few simple facts about structure of a tree. I made this simple sketch in order to understand better the Tree Structure.

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Knowing about tree structure will help you tremendously while you observe a tree (real or photo) as the object of your drawing.

Draw A Tree Step By Step


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This is a standard type of a leaf tree. You can find similar trees in any forest or park around you.

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Draw the ground line first. That will be the starting point from where the trunk is coming out from the ground.

Keep in mind when you draw a tree that branches of (especially) leaf trees tend to grow more upward than to the sides, as it is with coniferous trees.

Begin to draw from the trunk upward. Thickness of the trunk would determine the size of the tree.

Observe carefully how the branches are growing upward and copy them into your sketchbook. This is the initial sketch, so please make only weak and gentle pencil lines.

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Draw a contour of the tree crown. Use your creativity here and, decide what shape of crown your tree will have.

It is basically round but not too even. Often branches are popping out from the crown.

Mind the total balance and proportion with the trunk and branches.

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Draw wavy irregular contours of the leaves on the branches. Here too, use your creativity. You can copy my drawing and make it better. Lower part of crown is always slightly darker than the top which comes into direct contact with the sunlight. Remember that, when you draw a tree.

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Darken the lower part of crown. Do it gradually, make only weak strokes first. Draw shade under the tree.

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You can do some final touch now. Draw the trunk a bit darker. With the tip of your pencil draw sharper contour outline.

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This tree is very similar to the previous. The crown expands more to the sides

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The process of the tree drawing is the very same as above. Draw the ground line, the trunk and a couple of branches.

Notice the branches here, as if they would creep up toward the sky. They are so eager to reach high out there. Can you see and feel that?

When you draw plants or animals or any living thing, it is good if you can sense how that living object feels at the moment.

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Shape of the crown is a little edgy. Crown expands to the both sides. This is one of the examples of how shape of the crown determines the impression of the whole tree.

When you draw a tree, always watch out for this important feature. It is quite simple in fact, you only have to consciously train yourself to see it.

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By irregular (still) weak pencil strokes draw the leaves. It will look like a bundle of shades but it is OK.

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Darken the trunk and the branches. Gradually put more shade irregularly here and there on the parts of crown.

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Finally, draw shade under the tree and make a final contour of the crown.

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This is a coniferous tree example. It resembles to a huge Cedar Tree. Let’s imagine that this is an old tree.

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Draw the ground line. By weak pencil line indicate the center of the trunk and its height. That center line – a kind of axis – will be your guideline.

It is very easy to get “derailed” from the correct proportion balance while you are totally absorbed into your drawing. Such guideline then helps a lot.

Make an approximate outline contour sketch of the crown. Be creative a little here; draw your own shape while keeping the basic conical character.

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Now when you have ready the thick trunk – which is also conical – draw a couple of branches here and there. Draw them all by weak pencil lines.

When you draw a tree, especially a coniferous one, notice that many of them usually have one long and high trunk that looks like a flagpole.

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Now decide which branches will remain visible and which will be covered inside the crown.

So go ahead and do it.

Hold the pencil loose and tilted and lightly shade the entire crown, all in the same color tone.

Then draw darker spots here and there in the area of crown.

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Darken a bit more the trunk and the branches. Draw a sharper contour outline around the crown. Draw shade under the tree and you’re done.

Find some ideas about sketching trees on my friend Kerry’s website

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