Nature -> trees and branches

There are many interesting trees all around the world like Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree from California, Baobab Trees from Madagascar, Wind-Swept Trees from New Zealand, Socotra Dragon Tree which I chose to draw for this tutorial and much more…

Here I have a photo from one of my trips was to Ibiza. I had thought trees are quite interesting there.

trees in ibiza sp.jpg
Ibiza, 2013

I am familiar with pepper, olive and palm trees, they are from my childhood. Now I live in Poland where trees are so high and thin.
The highest I have ever seen was about 55 meters in Poland (Bialowieza National Park) then I googled, there are trees over 110 meters in California (wohoho, can ask for a few cms for myself :p)

I suggest you google these trees:

Sunland Tree with veery big trunks from Africa; The Sisters Olive Trees of Noah; The Great Banyan Tree reminds me of Medusa somehow; Jomon Sugi; Ginkgo Tree has so nice leaves; Big Banyan; Tree of Life from Bahrain with branches almost touching the ground; The Ying Ke Pine; Methuselah Tree has kind of a rotating strange trunk; Thimmamma Marrimanu; see the roots of The Bodhi Tree; Ballyconnel Yew, what kind of a trunk has that Fortingall Yew -quite strange- just like Florencecourt Yew; Queen Elizabeth Oak; The Olive Tree of Vouves and so on…

How to draw branches is about the way you consider that branches joint the trunk from back, front and sides. Main big ones separate into 2 thinner branches maybe more and those separated ones separate into even smaller branches.

Here I have some tree drawings based on architectural projects:

2In architectural projects trees are generally designed pieces to identify green areas or to make the project look better; different styles of architects different trees. Like the one above, with a perfect circular cut, a little symbolic.

10Another cut pieces

9A strange dry one above.

11Dry trees; one with a thick trunk, one with thin.

14The frontal one in the middle has thicker lines and covers the two others a little bit.

5No details in here, just outlines.

4Outline of a pine

3Some parts are naked to show branches


1Some parts are dense, some nondetailed, we have the dimensional perception.

6Some dots, circles and circle likes

7Only a scribble which describes a pine tree.

12Cactus drawing with dimensional effect partly.

8As you see that one is only a bunch of short lines. Pay attention the way (let’s say) big leaves fall in a curly way, or archy.

architecture tree drawingsFor all of them, I used 0.1 and 0.05 black pens. 0.1 for the trunk, 0.05 for branches.

And now here I have something to draw which is Socotra Dragon Tree:

Socotra_dragon_tree.jpgQuite interesting tree in my opinion, I haven’t seen anything like this before.

Especially branches look so chaotic, but they do just before we examine the tree and start drawing ^^

Socotra_dragon_tree proportions

First let’s examine its proportions which are like 3 equal sizes like that up green part, blue branches and the brown trunk.

I had mentioned you about foreshortening perspective like how you do according to your eye; from where you are looking at the ‘thing’. If you will look at the tree from above the trunk will be the shortest on paper. In this photo, it is like somewhere from the middle or a little bit down.

Socotra_dragon_tree back and forth

I divided the photo into 4 like the green top part, branches, trunk and surroundings (the rest).

There are 2 main branches from its trunk and you can see the blue part is on the front and brown is at the back which is like the big back branch supports/carries the back part we see a little.

socotra dragon tree drawing
Right click and open in a new tab to enlarge the image

Here I did it slightly with an HB sketching pencil before draw it over with a pen.

The first step is the main construction, borders of those green needle-like leaves and branches; and where I place the tree on paper.

The second step is how branches spread from the 2 big branches; from that center to the edges. The third frame is going on the branch drawing.

The last frame is the texture on the trunk.

socotra dragon tree drawing 2Let’s go over those lines with a pen. For the trunk, I used a 0.1 tip black pen, 0.05 for branches.

socotra dragon tree drawing 3In the first frame above I did the top part with short lines; well, I don’t suggest that. Later I tried to break that regular look.
Those needle-like leaves are like, aww how to describe it -like open peacock tails one next to other that is next to other- remember their centers are those branches.

In the second frame there are more of those leaf bunches, but in here we don’t see their joints to the branches.

Fill the whole area with short lines in different directions.

socotra dragon tree drawing 4I filled the gaps between branches with scribbling because leaves cover that back part and some little gaps still remain between those leaves -also those with darkening it is easier to percept the branches. Contrast.


fine line socotra dragon tree drawing.jpg

Fine line Socotra Dragon tree drawing, done!

I hope you enjoyed and the post was hopeful for you. I am looking forward to seeing your tree drawings and/or your childhood trees/drawing stories. It’d be so nice to hear from you.
Happy sketching!

Source of the photograph of tree:

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