How To Draw A Tree

‘How to draw a tree?’ is a question that I get asked often, online an offline, so I decided to make this tutorial here.  I made 7 drawings of various trees with step by step instructions.  I hope you all find it helpful!

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For me drawing trees is all about branches and the crown, and fining a balance that you are happy with.  There are many amazing artists, books and tutorials out there all about drawing trees.  For example, THIS BOOK is very good, and my kids and I enjoyed it in the past.

This tutorial is my take on drawing trees.  For these drawings I used a regular sketching pencil, though the same principal applies to other mediums as well.  I also adjusted all the sketches in Gimp 2 so that they are more visible, so there will be a slight variation between the photos.


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Alright, here is tree number one.  I call this one “Tree # 1”.  🙂

How To Draw A Tree: Tree # 1

How to draw a tree tutorial

I start with a line and the general shape that I would like the crown to be.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Then I add a few lines to indicate the main branches.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Make the trunk thicker.  It is thick towards the bottom and the roots, and narrows closer to a point toward the top.

How to draw a tree tutorial

The same thing with the branches. They are thicker toward the base and narrower towards the tip.  Easy-peasy.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Now each one of the main branches gets a few branches of their own, but smaller and added a squiggle on the bottom to indicate a bit of grass.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Even more smaller branches splitting off from the bigger ones.  I also pick an spot where the sunshine is coming from.  I also shade the trunk a bit, using long straight lines.

How to draw a tree tutorial
Putting my pencil sideways, I shade in the area in the crown where the leaves are.  I am going in a sort of irregular pattern of peaks and troughs.

How to draw a tree tutorial

I finish shading the crown area.

How to draw a tree tutorial

I keep working on the crown, now by adding some layers, and outlines. I also erased the line that was giving me the initial crown shape idea.  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.

How to draw a tree tutorial

And keep working on the crown.  Just doodling away until you feel your tree crown is complete.

How to draw a tree tutorial

I decided that the tree shouldn’t just hang in the air, so I gave it more grass, and shaded in the background.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Even more shadows in and around the tree.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Then I went all out and decided I am going to use my eraser and add some sun rays coming out of the corner.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Even further, I got eraser happy and made more rays coming out through the tree and on the ground below it.  Tree # 1 is all done!!!

Tree # 2:  The Seascape Tree.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

As before, I drew the line and the crown, but this tree is being bent by the wind, so the tree will be bending down a bit.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

I add the hill, and make the trunk thicker.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

I extend the trunk shape up.  As before, it’s thicker towards the bottom, and comes to a point on top.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Add some main branches.  Because the wind is blowing, many of the branches are leaning to the right.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Keep adding branches, so far all leaning to the right.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Here is more branches.  Here is the thing about the branches.  The thick, main branches are stronger, so they will not be as affected by the wind, but the smaller branches will all point in the direction of the wind.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

I shade the trunk a bit and added some roots to the hill.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Alright, now leaves are squiggly lines drawn with the side of my pencil.  Some of them are flying off, so more small squiggles.  I also add a horizon line: where the water meets the sky and some grass on the hill.

How to draw a tree tutorial

I added some clouds, shaded the water, drew a sand line, and some tall grass on the hill.  The tall grass is also leaning in the winds direction.  I also darkened some of the leaves a bit.


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Tree # 3: Pine Tree:

How to draw a tree tutorial

As before, I start with a trunk.

How to draw a tree tutorial

I add a small triangular shape on top with straight lines all moving to the top.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Add more triangular lines on top of one another.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Keep adding the branches with needles to about half way, and then sketch a few empty branches.  Thicken the trunk.  Add a shadow to the tree.

Tree # 4: Umbrella Tree

How to draw a tree tutorial

This tree was especially fun to draw.  I started to draw it by drawing the ovals for the leaf parts.  I decided on four, but if you want more, that would be quite awesome too! Then I added some squiggly lines coming down to the same area for the tree trunk.

How to draw a tree tutorial

I added more lines to create thicker trunk branches, added more branches going out to the ‘umbrellas’ and added a few empty branches as well.

How to draw a tree tutorial

I added more details to the trunk, made more squiggly branches, and added some shading to the ‘umbrella’ portions.

How to draw a tree tutorial

A bit of grass, and some textures on the ‘umbrellas’, also make the ‘umbrella’ textures thicker on the bottom and thinner on top.

Tree # 5: The Bushy Tree:

How to draw a tree tutorial

This tree is more of a bush.  All the branches are coming out from the bottom, and growing to about the same size.  I start with five main branches.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Make the branches thicker, and add some more small branches.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Even more small branches, making the bush thicker and thicker.

How to draw a tree tutorial

With the side of my pencil I added some shadow to where the leaves are going to be.

How to draw a tree tutorial

I added some more detailed leaves, but they could also be berries, or flowers, or what ever else you would like.

Here is the Tree # 6, Or The Little Tree:

How to draw a tree tutorial

Too often kids (and adults) draw trees which ends in a stump, and has a semi round crown on top of it.  Here I start by doing that, and then work on it some more.
How to draw a tree tutorial

I erased the stump line and gave the tree a few branches, but instead of doing the way I did the above trees, I ended them half way and will cover them up with leaves.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Define the leaf areas in the foreground, and add some branches coming up behind them, also a few roots.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Shade the trunk a bit, and then start shading the leaves that are towards the back.

How to draw a tree tutorial

Do a bit more shading, and add some grass.

Tree # 7: The First Tree.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

This was the first tree I actually drew, and I wasn’t too thrilled about it, but here it is anyway.  I start as before, a line for the trunk, and a circular shape for the crown.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Lines for the few main branches.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Make the trunk thicker, and give it some roots.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Make the main branches thicker as well.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Split off some branches from the main branches.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Add even more branches.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

Shade the trunk with straight lines. Decide on where the sun will be and add shadows to the areas facing away from the sun.

How To Draw A Tree Tutorial

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even add shadows that the branches are casting on the rest of the tree.  Actually, at this point, I really liked what this tree was coming out like, and maybe I should have kept it as a winter tree…

How to draw a tree tutorial

…but no, I had to go and add squiggly lines to indicate leaves.

How to draw a tree tutorial

I kept working on the leaves, occasionally using my eraser to add highlights, until I was somewhat happy with it.

One more little thing I noticed is that I needed to give myself extra space.  I would usually run out of space for the tree much quicker then I thought I would.

There you go! My trees are all done.  Now go and practice some trees of your own! Play around, and draw some amazing trees!


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