How to Draw a Decaying Trunk

In this tutorial I will show how to draw a decaying trunk. Such trunks have great character and once you understand the simple steps below, you will be able to draw one in no time. They are ideally suited for drawing with pen and can be attempted by anybody. Use the template provided at the end to attempt one.

Step 1: Draw the Outline:

Start by drawing an outline as shown below. Notice that trunk is in ‘pieces’ due to its age. This will become more clear in later drawings. Use the template provided at the end if you are not comfortable drawing outline initially.

Step 2: Darken the Inside and Mark Tapers

A decaying trunk is usually hollow and part of it is visible in the drawing. This is indicated by darkening the hollow part as shown below. I have used parallel lines (hatching), but you can use other strokes (dots, ticks) or even markers for this.

Another important aspect is long flowing tapered crevices that are used to indicate age of the trunk. They are indicated as shown below. Notice how they are oriented in the direction of trunk with pleasing asymmetrical distribution.

Step 3: Darken the Tapered Crevices

Tapered flowing crevices are darkened next. This starts to bring out the feel of trunk.

Step 4: Add Bark Stroke

Bark stroke is next added to texture trunk. This stroke is discussed in detail in drawing trunk tutorial.

Edges of sections are also irregularly darkened to separate them. There is a change in tone from left to right of each section to give it form. This is discussed in detail in trunk tutorial.

Step 5: Darken the Hollow Part and Finish

Hollow part and inside of roots area is further darkened as this provides a nice contrast to the drawing.

Small exposed roots are textured using irregular tapered crevices as discussed in this tutorial on drawing old roots. Grass and wild flowers are used to ground the decaying trunk and give it a finished feel.

This completes this tutorial on how to draw a decaying trunk. Limitless variations on this can be done from imagination. More examples are further discussed in my vol 1&2 pen and ink drawing workbook. By using such tapered crevices and bark stroke, you can also draw old tree stump.

Hope you liked this tutorial and it inspired you to pick up a pen and draw such trunks with age and character. Feel free to reach out to me for any help and suggestion.

Happy Drawing,


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