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Step by Step Instructions to Draw a Tree

Pragya T Mar 13, 2020
Learning to draw trees is fun and easy. Mentioned in this story are stepwise instructions on drawing a tree...
Drawing trees is not that difficult. However, it is an important part of nature drawing and those who want to learn it, first need to know how to draw a tree. There are hundreds of different types of trees. Hence, each type of tree drawing needs to be approached differently. 
There are some trees which are big, and need to be drawn in detail. While there are some trees, which can be drawn without much details like conifers or coconut trees. Hence, observe the tree for a few minutes first and then start drawing it.
However, to make it easier, here are three steps that will help you learn how to draw trees. Remember these steps, and you will be able to draw any tree. But, only with a lot of practice will you be able to draw these trees beautifully.

Drawing a Tree Step-by-Step

Here is drawing trees explained with pictures. There are various ways to draw a tree. Many techniques and mediums are used to draw a tree. But, if you wish to draw a detailed drawing of a single tree, then here is a technique that you can follow.

Step #1

The first step is to capture the form of the tree. So, whichever tree you want to draw, first observe it. You can take a picture of a tree for drawing, or choose an existent tree near you. If you are choosing a live tree, then make sure you are sitting at eye level to it, and at a comfortable distance from it.
This is for getting a good angle of the tree and good visual size of the tree. Then observe the tree, see the flow of it. Observation is an important sketching tip. So, observe - how its roots are? How its trunk leans? From where all the branches come out?
Observe the main branches and the sub-branches. Also, observe the foliage and the details on the tree. However, when drawing trees don't go for too much details, but just capture the form and add some details to define the tree. If you want you can add depth to it by shading.
After you are done observing it, start drawing the shape of the tree using forms. Use a light pencil or draw with very less pressure on the pencil, because the form should serve just as guideline. In the picture below, for the visible roots, trunk, main and sub-branches draw the forms using cylinders.
Place cylinders one upon the other, this helps to break the form and draw the tree in proportion. If you want, you can draw light circles for the foliage.

Step #2

Now, the next step is to outline the shape of the tree. So, with a sharp pencil tip start outlining the shape of the tree. Outline the trunk and roots, the foliage. If you want you can add few shape details like some bump or hollow in the tree.

Step #3

This step basically involves adding details and depth to the tree. Look at the difference between the second and last sketch. 
See how the details on the trunk have been added, how the bump on the tree at the lowermost branch has been sketched, and how a hollow depth at the base of the tree is added. For this step, first add some details. Again keep this simple, with minimum use of lines.
Then use the pencil to do the shading. The inside the foliage is shaded darker, and the shading on the foliage and trunk is kept lighter. When shading first, you need to consider the source of light. The light in this sketch is coming from the top right, hence the top right side of the tree is not much shaded, while the bottom left is densely shaded.
This gives a depth to the tree. So, first consider a source of light on an imaginary tree sketch, or observe the source of light on the real tree or picture. Then start the shading.
There are various ways to do shading, when drawing trees. In this sketch square patches are used for shading. However, you can do shading any way you like. You can use various pencil techniques for shading. Some techniques are hatching, which is shown in the sketch, then there is hatching with tilted pencil, cross-hatching, patches, stippling, etc.
Once you know how to draw simple sketches of trees, you might want to sketch trees in detail by showing their leaves and details on the trunk. This will help you give more character to the tree. Here are some types of leaves which you can use for future reference.
Here is a sketch of coconut palm trees. These trees are easiest to draw, all you have to do is look at the angle of the trunk, draw it tapering, and then draw large leaves falling down from a center point.
These are also pretty easy to draw trees. 
They are cone shaped trees. Make sure you pay attention to shading to bring out the depth between the leaves of the conifer tree.
Here are four drawings which show four seasons - summer, spring, autumn, and winter. You can do such drawings to represent change in seasons.
Along with showing changes in the tree you can also show few elements changing in the surrounding to add more meaning to the sketch.
This was all about drawing trees. So, choose a nice tree and good angle to view it. Sit in a cool shaded area, observe the tree for few minutes and then follow the steps to draw the tree neatly. Good luck!