Step by Step: Drawing a Tree with Pen and Ink – I

Spring is starting to come in my neck of woods and the sight of trees coming back to life with new growth is always inspiring and beautiful. In this post I will show how spring trees, with their new foliage can be easily drawn. Using these generic techniques, any tree can easily drawn. Observe shape of different trees you come across and try capturing them with techniques presented below.

Step 1: Layout initial foliage

Most important aspect of a tree in spring is its new foliage that is coming out. Use open loops and other marks like shown below to depict it. Also lay the foliage out in the desired shape of tree. Leave some white in between to make the overall shape and distribution interesting. For more on drawing foliage, you can check my free tutorial as well.


Step 2: Add Branches

Next add trunk and branches to fit the foliage. This are no rules around it. Just use your creativity to give a pleasing and plausible distribution of branches. Also make sure a branch doesn’t stand in isolation. There needs to be foliage around a branch’s end point.


Step 3: Texture Trunk and Branches

Trunk and branches can be textured using bark stroke and 2 tone technique that I have also covered extensively in vol1-2 of my pen and ink drawing workbooks and in other step by step drawing posts. Notice how by just darkening one side of trunk and branches irregularly, a feeling of their form is established.

Step 4: Adjust Foliage

Sometimes after adding branches, foliage need to be adjusted, especially at the end point of a branch. In the drawing above, the branch on the left side is ending abruptly with no foliage there to indicate transition. Usually, the foliage should be made a bit dense at the end point of a branch so that the branch hides behind that foliage. This is done below by adding more foliage stroke.

Step 5: Finish:

In the drawing above, the foliage is ending abruptly at the top. It is always more pleasing to make a gradual transition with foliage getting     thinner to the top. This is done below. Again, there are no rules around it. The goal in the end is to make the drawing pleasing and plausible and lot of this comes from practice and observing the nature around you. I have also added more branches to add visual appeal. Also ground the tree by drawing grass and wild flowers on the ground.


You can find much more information on drawing tree in my FREE Tutorial and also in my pen and ink drawing workbooks. Such trees can be combined with other elements that I have covered on other step by step drawing posts and in my workbooks to create pleasing pen and ink landscapes.

Hopefully you liked the post and if so do let me know and any suggestions for improvement. Feel free to share this with others and in your social media.

Happy Drawing,


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