Pen and Ink Drawing: Composition Themes with Trees

As with Trunk compositions, the main point of consideration in different composition themes with trees is the amount of distance covered and the density of trees. By changing the distance covered and the volume/density of trees used, landscapes with different feel can be drawn. Different techniques for drawing tree foliage is covered in depth in the ‘foliage’ tutorial.

Keep in mind that following are just some of the ways of drawing landscapes with trees. After you understand the core concepts, use them to create your own themes.

Theme 1: Landscape goes out into the distance with few scattered trees

Theme 2: Group of Receding Trees go out into the distance

Theme 3: Wooded Area with group of trees

Theme 4: Close view of a tree or 2 with other elements close by

Theme 1: Covering Long Distance with few scattered trees

In this composition, distant horizon line is put first and few scattered trees recede to it. A distant tree line or similar element is used to rest the eyes at distant horizon.

Video Demonstration (Demo 9).:Scribble’ stroke for drawing Tree Foliage

Pen and Ink Tutorials: Drawing Trees

As discussed in tree foliage tutorial, many different techniques can be used for drawing tree foliage which gives different feel to the drawing. In the following demonstration, use of ‘Parallel Lines’ to create tree foliage is demonstrated. This is a great simple technique to draw trees quickly and effectively and so spend some time studying it. Technique to draw more interesting receding plains is also covered in the demonstration.

Video Demonstration (Demo 15): Parallel Lines for Drawing Tree Foliage

Pen and Ink tutorials : Trees

Following is another demonstration on the same theme.

Video Demonstration (Demo 18):

Pen and Ink Tutorials : Drawing Trees

Theme 2: Group of Receding Trees go out into the distance

In this theme, group of trees recede into the distance. The main difference between this theme and theme above is that this composition gives more of a wooded feel as there are more trees.

Video Demonstration (Demo 22): Receding Trees

Pen and Ink Tutorials drawing trees


Following is another video demonstration on the same theme. This demonstration also shows how to draw an outcrop.

Video Demonstration (Demo 23): Receding trees with an outcrop

en and Ink Tutorials drawing trees

In the above demonstrations, the view of receding trees is from the ground. Another composition is to draw the view from the top in which case receding view of top of tree foliage is visible. This is demonstrated below.

Video Demonstration (Demo 21): Trees receding viewed from top

Pen and Ink Tutorials :Drawing Trees

Theme 3: Wooded Area with group of trees

This theme is similar to theme above expect that view of trees is from a distance. This gives a feel of wooded area at a distance.

Video Demonstration (Demo 24): Trees at a distance

Pen and Ink Tutorials: Drawing Trees

Same approach can be used with Pine Trees with Needles as shown below.

Video Demonstration (Demo 25): Pine Trees

Pen and Ink Tutorials: Drawing Trees

Here is another demonstration where scribble stroke is used to create tree foliage. This is a different technique where individual tree foliage is not created as in earlier demonstrations. Instead, foliage for all trees is laid down initially using scribble stroke and then tones adjusted to bring out feel for individual trees.

Video Demonstration (Demo 32): Scribble Stroke to create Wooded Feel

Pen and Ink Tutorial: Trees

This is a very versatile theme and very quick, attractive drawings can be done using this approach.

Theme 4: A close view of tree or 2 with other elements close by

The focus of this theme is on one or 2 main trees that lies at the centre of composition. In theme 1, the focus in on bringing out the feel of distance covered and let viewer’s eyes travel the landscape. In this theme, the intent is for the viewer to focus on few main trees that usually don’t recede. Additional elements close to the trees provide additional focal points.

In the following demonstration, how to draw airy foliage with branches showing through is demonstrated.

Video Demonstration (Demo 30): Airy Foliage with ‘leaf’ Stroke

Pen and Ink Tutorial: Drawing Trees

In the following demonstration, technique to draw foliage of a tree up close is demonstrated. This tree is the main focal point of this composition.

Video Demonstration (Demo 31): Tree up close

Pen and Ink Tutorials: Drawing Trees

This should give you a good understanding of how different compositions can be done using trees and the techniques involved. Try some now and practice often.


Have fun,


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