How To Draw a Tree?

The Ultimate list of resources for how to draw a tree with pencil, pen, colored pencil, art markers, watercolor, acrylic painting, oil painting and more

Looking for how to draw a tree? I’ve found the best resources on the web based on your choice of medium as well as what type of tree you want to draw!

I’ve included online step-by-step tutorials and instructional videos that I felt were particularly helpful. Bookmark, pin, share or save for later!

If you want to learn how to draw a tree, you should first recognize each of its elements.

A tree is composed of a bole/trunk, crown, branches, twigs and foliage. Understanding these basic elements will allow you to decide what you might want to embellish or omit.

Before we get to the list of resources, we listed the elements to consider when drawing. See how creative you can get!

FUN FACT: A tree in Athens, Georgia actually legally owns itself after its owner deeded to the tree’s ownership out of love for great oak trees.
Crazy, right?

ELEMENTS TO CONSIDER FOR DRAWING A TREE

TRUNK/BOLE

The trunk, or bole, of a tree refers to the main wooden axis of a tree.

Thickness – How thick is your trunk? This can depend on the type of tree you want to draw.
Bark– Does the bark have a rough or smooth texture? What color is it? Brown?  Green? Maybe rainbow-colored?! Did you know that tree barks can actually be rainbow like this Eucalyptus tree found in Hawaii?
Roots – Are the roots visible above ground?
Height – How tall does the trunk extend before the crown starts?

CROWN

The crown is the tree’s foliage (branches, leaves, etc.) growing from the trunk.

Height – How much of the tree is composed of the tree’s foliage? Does the foliage start closer to the ground resulting in a shorter visible stump?
Thickness – How thick is the crown? Does it have a stronger horizontal presence (like a weeping willow) or is the crown tall and slender/

BRANCHES

A branch is a main extension of the tree trunk.

Thickness – Does your tree have thin or thick branches?
Number – Are there only a few branches or is your tree full of multiple branches)

TWIGS 

Twigs are an extension of the branches.

Thickness – Does your tree have thin or thick twigs? Twigs are usually thinner than its branches.
Number – Are there only a few twigs on each branch or multiple?

LEAVES

Leaves are an appendage of the tree’s twigs. See this post for how to draw leaves.

Color – What color are the leaves? This might depend on the season.
Shape – Are they round? Long? Sharp or smooth edges?
Size – Are they small leaves? Large?
Number – Are there numerous leaves or is your tree barren?
Leaves – Are there leaves on these branches? What type of leaves?

OTHER

Depending on the season, your tree can have many other features.

Flowers – Does your tree sprout any flowers? What type? Are there a lot or a few?
Fruits – Are there any fruits growing from the tree? Are there a lot or a few?
Seeds – Are there visible seeds on your tree (i.e. pinecones)?

LIST OF RESOURCES

PENCIL & PEN

ONLINE GUIDES

Beginner (Easy)
How to Draw Trees with 2 Simple Methods (Craftsy) –  A quick guide on drawing 2 types of  trees
How to Draw Trees without Leaves (HttpDesign) – Quick and easy!
How to Draw Trees with Pencil (ArtInstructionBlog)-  Includes 5 exercises to improve your skills

Intermediate (Moderate) 
How to Draw a Detailed Tree (WikiHow)- A quick step-by-step guide with gifs!
How to Draw Trees (HappyFamilyArt) – Includes 7 types of trees
How to Draw Trees (HowtoDrawandPaint)- A moderately text-heavy guide
How to Draw a Realistic Tree (SketchbookNation)- A good step-by-step with pics and video
How to Draw a Realistic Tree (Craftsy)- An 8-step guide with minimal text and large photos
How to Draw an Oak Tree (DrawingHowtoDraw)- A 14-step guide including video

Advanced (Hard)
How to Draw a Realistic Tree  (TheVirtualInstructor)- Includes video
How to Draw Trees (EnvatoTuts)- Includes oak, pine, and weeping willow

VIDEOS

How to Draw an Oak Tree (CircleLineArtSchool)- A narrated video on drawing an oak tree (4:30)
How to Draw a Tree without Leaves (DoodleDrawArt)- Easy doodle instruction of trees (5:10)
How to Draw a Tree in Pen & Ink (Shoo Rayner)- Drawing a tree using pens (9:26)
8 Different Ways to Draw a Tree (Marius Renz)- 8 different ways to quickly draw a tree (1:50)
Drawing a Realistic Tree (TheVirtualInstructor)- Detailed instruction on realistic trees (11:54)
How to Draw a Tree in Pen & Ink (Alphonso Dunn)-  Great instruction on 6 different trees (11:16)


COLORED PENCILS & MARKERS

ONLINE GUIDES

How to Draw a Tree with Colored Pencils (TheVirtualInstructor)- Includes an instructional video
Step-by-Step Coloring of a Tree (MakeItCrafty) – Nice visual on coloring a tree on a card

VIDEOS

How to Draw a Tree with Markers (Mike Lin)- A demonstration using Chartpak markers (6:12)
How to Color Foliage (Annie’s Craft Videos)- Coloring tree foliage with Copic markers (5:00)
How to Draw a Young Oak Tree (Imagination Intl)- Using Copic markers for tree leaves (3:18)
How to Draw a Tree (TheVirtualInstructor) – Using polychromos colored pencils (10:09)
Drawing Snowy Pines (eHow) – Drawing snowy pines with colored pencils (3:53)
How to Draw Bonsai Trees (Albert Casado) – Coloring bonsai trees with copics (3:49)



WATERCOLOR

ONLINE GUIDES

How to Use Blotting Technique for Trees (Susie Short)- A short guide using blotting techniques
Creating Texture of Tree Bark (Susie Short)- A short guide focusing on tree bark
5 Different Techniques for Trees (The Painted Prism)- Uses a variety of watercolor techniques
How to Paint Trees (The Virtual Instructor)- A guide on 3 different trees with video
How to Paint Trees (The Postman’s Knock)- A tutorial using the splatter technique
How to Paint Watercolor Trees (A Piece of Rainbow) – Painting an autumn tree

VIDEOS

Watercolor Tree Study – Basic Shapes (MoWC) – A watercolor tree study of basic shapes (8:56)
Watercolor Tree Study – Detailed Shapes (MoWC) – A watercolor study of detailed shapes (10:20)
How to Paint Trees with Watercolor (The Virtual Instructor)- Tutorial of 3 different trees (11:30)
How to Paint a Cherry Tree (FineArtTips) – Uses the watercolor splatting technique (3:13)
How to Paint Winter and Fall Trees (Angela Fehr) – Tutorial on both winter and fall trees (26:22)
How to Paint a Tree (Art Academy) – Tutorial for a vibrant green tree with no instruction (15:13)


ACRYLIC & OIL PAINTING

ONLINE GUIDES

How to Paint Trees in Acrylics (Craftsy) – A quick step-by-step guide for acrylic paint

VIDEOS

Easy Acrylic Trees (Angela Anderson) – A tutorial of modern Impressionist-style trees (36:32)
How to Paint a Tree (Shaun Ryan) – A time-lapse with acrylics with text instructions (7:49)
Black and White Trees (Angela Anderson) – A tutorial for black and white trees (18:42)
How to Paint a Tree (Ryan O’Rourke) – A time-lapse with acrylics with audio instructions (10:25)
How to Paint a Fir Tree (AboutMe) – An instructional video with oil painting techniques (6:07)


OTHER MEDIUMS

VIDEOS

How to Draw Trees with Charcoal (The Virtual Instructor) – Demo with charcoal (14:00)
How to Draw Palm Trees with Airbrushing (CakesSuppliesPlus) – Airbrushing on cakes (7:46)
How to Draw Trees with Pastels (DrawingStack) – Quick time lapse using pastels (5:02)

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