For many artists, the outdoors is an unending source of inspiration. While some prefer to fill their canvases with colorful bouquets of flowers, others may prefer the majestic beauty of a tall tree. For those that are just beginning their creative journey, however, learning how to draw a tree can appear to be a daunting task. No need to worry. Like any new subject, the key is to take it one step at a time.
With so many beautiful varieties of trees, it can be hard to choose a good starting off point. Here, we will learn how to draw three basic types of trees: an oak tree, pine tree, and palm tree. Ready to grow your art skills? Then grab your drawing supplies and some paper—it's time to draw some trees!
Learn How to Draw Trees Step by Step
How to Draw an Oak Tree
Oak trees are often considered the “standard tree” in illustration for their classic shape.
- To begin, you can draw a horizontal line to demarcate the ground. Then, sketch a thick, rectangular-shaped trunk that flares out at the base. Return your attention to the top of the tree trunk, and use your pencil to create numerous branches that spider in different directions. Continue doing so until you have growth in all directions.
- Next, add large circles to the bare branches of the oak tree. This will be the base for how we draw the foliage, so feel free to overlap the shapes.
- Once you have added circles all around the oak tree, it is time to transform them into a more organic shape. Simply go over the previous sketch with a loose, squiggly line that indicates lush foliage. Remember to “cut out” a few holes in the oak tree's greenery where the branches can peak through.
- In the final step, you can erase any branches that are hidden by leaves until you have a clean outline. Afterward, feel free to add texture to the drawing to give it a sense of dimension. An easy way to do this is to use hatching and stippling. When you've added your last details, you can either leave the drawing in pencil or go over the linework with a favorite pen for a striking black and white illustration.
How to Draw a Pine Tree
No sketch of the mountains is complete without at least one pine tree.
- Start by drawing a loose line at an incline to indicate a rugged terrain. From there, draw a tall and thin tree trunk.
- Next, add several stick-like branches to the trunk. The ones at the top should angle towards the sky, whereas the ones towards the middle should extend straight out.
- Now that we've laid the foundation, use your pencil to draw wiggly shapes around the stick-like branches. The key here is to emulate the fullness of pine needles without having to use too much texture.
- Finally, you can erase any initial guidelines. It's up to you whether you leave your sketch as is, or go over it in ink. Filling the drawing in with black will emphasize the pine tree's distinct shape, especially from afar.
How to Draw a Palm Tree
Just as pine trees are synonymous with wintertime and mountains, palm trees bring to mind warm climates and relaxing vacations.
- To begin, you can draw a straight horizontal line to indicate the ground. From there, sketch a half-circle base and a smaller circle on top of it. Then, draw a long, thin trunk that is topped by a wide rectangle.
- Next, you can erase the guidelines within the shape you just created so that it looks somewhat like a lamppost. At the top of the tree trunk, draw a circle and mark the center with an “x.” Use this as a point to begin sketching large diamond-shaped leaves.
- Continue adding large leaves to the palm tree until you've achieved a sense of fullness. Remember to layer your leaves to create a sense of dimensionality.
- After you've completed your basic palm tree sketch, it is time to add some details. On the thinner part of the tree trunk, use your pencil or pen to draw horizontal lines which are divided like bricks. Then, add stippling and half-circle shapes to the flared base and top of the tree. Lastly, you can return your attention to the leaves by adding a centerline to each one as well as numerous hatch marks. Go over the sketch in pen to emphasize your meticulous linework.
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