In this post I will describe how to draw pine trees (needle foliage) with pen and ink. Pine trees, or coniferous trees in general are great addition to any scenery. They are relatively easy to draw as their foliage needs a simple stroke and can be drawn in variety of shapes and sizes to suite any setting. In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw needle like foliage of evergreens and coupled with tutorial on drawing tree trunk, you will have the requisite information to practice and draw complete pine trees.
To draw a believable foliage, you need to accomplish following 2 things:
- Give foliage volume and depth
- Give foliage a feel of softness and openness
#1 above is done using variation in tone of foliage to indicate shadows in the foliage which gives impression of depth and hence volume. For #2, never use a hard line that runs perpendicular to foliage mark to indicate shape of foliage or in edges.
There are many ways of drawing pine, or coniferous trees in general. I will present some techniques here but these are by no means exhaustive and you will develop your own techniques as you practice and learn from this tutorial and by observing other drawings.
There are two basic approaches to drawing pine trees. In the first ‘dense’ approach, above a certain height of tree trunk, needles fully cover and hide the underlying branches. This gives the perception of dense foliage. In second ‘branch’ approach, underlying branches are drawn and then foliage ‘attached’ to it.
Basic Steps for Dense Needle Foliage:
Use more needle stroke to make the centre darker and edges lighter. This gives depth to the tree.
Following are additional examples using the same steps. By varying the foliage intensity and using different foliage shape, different pine trees can be drawn.
Another option is to create layers of light and dark tone to indicate layers of needle foliage as shown below. This gives more depth to the pine tree.
Technique for Drawing Branch Foliage:
In the above pine trees, there is no explicit indication of branch structure. Another option is to draw branch structure and draw needle foliage on them. Observe the following important point for drawing a branch foliage:
Drawing a Pine Tree with Branches:
Here branch structure on the main trunk is drawn first and then foliage added to the branches as shown below. Use the steps shown above to create foliage for a branch.
By changing the angle, shape and size of branches, different looking coniferous trees can be drawn. To make it more interesting, overlapping branches can be added as shown below.
Following are some more examples. Click to see detail.
Drawing Landscapes with Pine Trees:
Very pleasing landscapes can be drawn by combining pine trees with other elements. Following are some of landscapes with pine trees. Learn to draw such a drawing step by step.
Drawing a Receding Landscape:
In a receding landscape pine trees are drawn at smaller sizes as they move away from the viewer to bring out the sense of distance as the following drawing shows. Learn to draw a receding landscape with pine trees step by step.
Drawing Snow Covered Pine Trees:
Snow Covered pine trees are main elements in a winter landscape. They can be drawn using the same strokes we learned earlier but leaving some white to indicate snow. Learn to draw snow covered pine trees step by step.
Templates & Workbooks:
Click here to download PDF with templates and finished drawings used in this tutorial. Better yet, vol 3 of my pen and ink drawing workbooks covers drawing pine trees in detail with additional techniques and compositions based on pine trees. Try it today and see how enjoyable it is to learn to draw pen and ink landscapes.
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You can find many video demonstrations of techniques discussed above at my YouTube channel.
Following are some of my drawings where I have used coniferous trees.
This completes the tutorial. Remember to practice often and feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
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