Draw Simple, Interesting Trees | Jana Raninis | Skillshare

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Draw Simple, Interesting Trees

teacher avatar Jana Raninis, watercolorist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Start Simple - Coniferous Tree

    • 4. Start Simple - Deciduous Tree I.

    • 5. Start Simple - Deciduous Tree II.

    • 6. Make It Interesting - Coniferous Trees

    • 7. Make It Interesting - Deciduous Trees

    • 8. Special Project - Your Favorite Tree

    • 9. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Trees are wonderful objects to draw and paint, one can never get bored by them because they are out there in so many shapes and kinds! And this class is all about trees.

It is the first one of two classes about trees (second one featuring watercolors), and in this class we are going to create first simple, and then a bit more advanced drawings of different tree types, just to make ourselves familiar with them. We are only going to be using regular pencil and any kind of paper you have at home, you do not need anything special.

This class is suitable for beginners who would like to learn how to turn simple geometric shapes into more realistic trees, and also for those of you who are – just like me – always happy to draw a new, interesting tree.


Music used in the class comes from bensound.com

Reference photos are downloaded from pixabay.com and pexels.com

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jana Raninis



Hello, I'm Jana.

I live in Slovakia - a small lovely country in the very heart of Europe. I have studied Arts years ago, and since I was a little child, a set of paints or crayons was the best present anyone could give me. But then life happened and I found myself doing a corporate job instead of illustrating children's books. However, it does not mean I gave up on painting and drawing - not at all.

In fact, it is pretty much how I spend my evenings, my free days or even lunch breaks sometimes.

I just love it! Especially watercolor. One of my art teachers once told me I would eventually end up with acrylics, because watercolor is just too unpredictable and the mistakes are too hard to correct. Well, she couldn't be more wrong :).

I am here today to share my p... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello friends, it's Yana and Arabic with another class. I wanted to make a class about drawing watercolor trees. But then I decided that maybe we should start with drawing these trees first and only then add a little bit more texture and color. So there will be two classes. First one is this one where we are going to draw for simple. And then I will have been more advanced 3s. And then there will be another one. And in that class we are going to turn these drawings into watercolor painting. So they're here with me guys. This topic is very special for me just because I love trees Everly do. And anywhere I go, I look for interesting trees. I take photos of them and then I draw them at home. And sometimes I even miss out on other things going on around me just because I'm busy looking at this militaries around me. So yeah, I know it sounds crazy, but everybody has something right? The first thing I do when I have like long phone call or when I just wanted to draw something and I don't have any special idea. I even have this teeny tiny sketchbook always at hand, just in case I want to draw myself a salutary. So yeah. But put in my craziness side, threes are part of almost any landscapes. So if you do some tips and tricks, how to draw several types of conifers and deciduous trees. This class is for you feel free to join me. This class is also suitable for complete beginners and also those of you who may be able to live to explore more shapes and types of trees and how to draw them. And of course, there will be a special project. We will come to that. But first things first, let's take a look on the materials we are going to be using today. 2. Materials: I wanted to start my trees related class, withdrawn. Instead of jumping right into the watercolor. For one reason, for someone who is not used to do a freeze, it's easier to start with a pencil. Adder can be erased. There is much more control over the strokes. Then when using a brush, once we master the shapes of several three types, we will move to your watercolors to add shapes, textures, and color. But there will be separate session for that. So stay tuned in case you're interested. So for today, I have here just regular pencil and some piece of white paper, especially about these grabbed anything you have at hand, you can draw width and all. I also have a kneaded eraser here. I prefer this kind of eraser because it's just a working better for me. And it's not creating smudges even when it gets older. And that's pretty much it. We can move some drawing. 3. Start Simple - Coniferous Tree: I bet that you remember this. When I was still in kindergarten or elementary school and the teacher told, asked to draw some trees. This is what most of us came up with. You if it looks like some kid has thrown it. But when you think about it in terms of shapes is not so bad. And the city is 3, has a visible trunk and branches creating the crown. And the crown or has usually round shape. Coniferous three has to this pointy cone shape. Sometimes with these sections like the branches, sometimes just the simple cone shape. And this is where we will start today. We are going to take this simple shapes and turn them into something a little bit more realistic. I'm going to start with this coniferous three. You can draw along with me or watch the video and then draw at your own pace. Let's take our pencil and paper and draw the simplest shape that kid would draw. Everyone can do that. Okay, it looks good. And now let's look at a photo of such tree. I have one for you here. See this is a lovely looking three, nice cone shape. This is what I imagined. If someone says conifer, and you can see that the shape is pretty similar to what do we have here. Also these trees in the background. They are like the textbook pine trees. So let's take our simple shape and turn it into the three in the photo. What I do first is to suggest where the trunk is. I don't want any dark lines. The trunk will be hidden behind the branches. But just having thin lines helped me orientate when drawing. I also sketch the branches here and there. Now I always start from the top and I make it nice and pointing. Just like in the picture. I draw the small zigzag for the needles. And I'm following the line I drew for the simple shape. Now as I come to the first branch, I changed the direction of zigzags little bit. I go outwards a bit to emphasize that the branch, and then I return back to the original line or maybe even inside the shape. You can see that also in the photo. As I go lower to the bottom of the tree, I still oscillate around the original line, but I go out and in as the branches follow. And now I came to the bottom. So I just zigzag my way to the right side of the tree. Now I go up again, pick up where I left it on the top. And the same way as before, I zigzag, I create these branches sticking up until I meet the bottom part. It looks pretty good already, but it's a little bit flat because there is nothing inside the tree we do so to make it a little bit more 3D looking, Let's also add some needles and branches to the front of the tree. You can basically follow those branches we already created on the side and pull that line inside the tree and also draw new branches and the middle. See how those branches all Point app, just like those on the sides. This kind of conifer I call a happy pine tree. Because of those branches pointing up. Later we are going to draw a set pine tree as well. And that it has ranches pointing down. And it really looks at a little bit, says to me. But before that let me just draw a nice small trunk here. And to ground it a little bit. I like to do that. And that's one good-looking three, what do you say? So you can see that simple kindergarten pine tree can be turned into something much sophisticated. And all it takes is a little bit of zigzagging. 4. Start Simple - Deciduous Tree I.: Drawing the deciduous tree is similar. We start with this simple shape, just a circle and two lines for the trunk. And from there we will come to a nice maybe an old tree. We will start with learning how to draw a naked tree, a tree without leaves, similar to what we did before. We're going to sketch a skeleton of the 21st, as I call it. This one will be very simple. A central line of the trunk and following the highest branch, and then, uh, some more lines for the rest of the branches. Now what's turned into three? When drawing this kind of three, I always start with the trunk. What we have here is just some straight lines. Module trunks are not that straight usual. They are a bit wider on the bottom and DEI goals thinner as you go up. So I just adjust these lines to that. Now see how the branches are connected to the trunk. It's not a sharp like this, is more fluid and organic like this. Let's throw our first branches that way. Also bear in mind that your branches are getting gradually thinner as you go from there starts to their end. And the same idea about the trunk. It goes thinner and thinner. So every time you finish a branch made the trunk thinner until it's just another branch. Nice. See, I'm inside a circle. Now this is pretty simple skeleton of the tree. We need to add more smaller branches. The smaller branches grow out of the big branches we already have. So I am just going to randomly draw them some shorter, some longer, some thicker and thinner. Don't make all of them go all the way to the circle. I mean, to the helping line. Make some of them shorter. We want it to look natural. You can also attach some more small branches to the trunk itself. If you think it would help to look. Good thing about trees is that they are very forgiving, subject to draw as they are out there in so many different shapes and proportions. And I give you a good tip here to prevent the creating smudges with your palm is the dual. Use a piece of plain paper and put it under your hand. I often forget about this and then I end up with smudges all over the drawing. Can I just hate it? Also, I would like to say that these photos I have here are just an inspiration. It is just a hint of how several types of trees look about the proportions and basic shapes. And I'm not going to worry if my drawing is not exactly copying the reference photo. That's not the purpose of this class. This is just a practice. But if you want to get a bit cleaner, look, go through to erase the helping lines. 5. Start Simple - Deciduous Tree II.: Now let's try similar kind of three, but with foliage. This one is easier because most of the branches are hidden in the leafs. I start again with a circle and two lines for the crown and the trunk. And again, I roughly sketch the skeleton of the tree. And as before, I draw the trunk first, heaven and wider at the bottom. When I draw a tree with leaves, even with really rich foliage, I still like to have some of the bottom branches visible. It looks much more that away. So I'm going to do it now. I draw two or three of the lower branches, but just as they are attached to the trunk and a little bit more, not the whole band just developes because the rest is in the leaves. And now I'm going to draw the crown of the tree. I'm drawing this kind of strokes to mimic the leaves. Nothing complicated, similar to what we did for the pine tree, but rounded. And I start at the top of the tree and as I go lower, I oscillate around the circle so that the crown looks natural. When I come to the branch, I simply draw the leaves around. So it looks like the branch disappears in them. The same for the trunk and other branch. You can erase those helping lines withdrawal and again, to make the tree look more realistic, draw some leaves also in the middle of the crown. You can see that I picked the already existing idea of branch covered by leaves and pull it inside the shape, just as I did for the conifer before. And it's done. I just have to ground it, Sorry. Just throw in a piece of ground and maybe some grass. Lovely. 6. Make It Interesting - Coniferous Trees: Trees are not always just straight Drang and round crown are perfectly cone-shaped pine tree. There's much more to them and that's what makes them interesting. In this part of the class, we will draw three different types for both conifers and deciduous trees. And I'm going to use the same technique to outline the three shape as before. So I will sketch where the trunk branches and the leaves go. And that will help me to navigate to the Drawing. I mentioned that setTime three before how I call these entries with branches pointing down. Let's try that 1 first. I'm going to, I'm doing the same as before. I just follow the branch lines downwards. I will also make the visible part of the trunk a bit higher. Say this is different kind of coding for now. And there are also trees like this, tall and having the branches on, on top, most of the trunk is visible. Let's try again. I sketch the shape of the crown and then how the trunk and branches go. And then I zigzagged around these helping guidelines in and out of the original shape. And of course, the trunk, tall and elegant. And our county for number three is even more interesting. This lovely pattern going on Iraq with twisted strands and rather handbook round looking like a bowl side three, you will need to draw the trunk and branches exactly how you see it in the photo, is just to give you an idea of how the pine tree can look, I am drawing a random line for trunk and branches and sketch the area where the crown would be. And now I'm making the trunk a bit thicker. I emphasize those twists and bumps because that makes the three beautiful. And I add some more baby branches and then those clusters of needles. And here I have a lovely now pine tree growing on some inaccessible mountain top. 7. Make It Interesting - Deciduous Trees: Now let's move to the city of stories. I have as well three examples here of various types of trees. And this one is a poplar tree. So you can see right away that the shape of the pauper ground is different. It's rather oval. Okay, now some branches to guide us. Here we go. And let's draw this lovely, rich greenery. Pop up drunk. Sometimes a whole covered in leaves, just like you see it in our picture. And you can draw it that way. And now let's play with this crown a little bit. You can see that some of the branches are visible. So we can also included in our drawing. That's just very simple. No stress. And cause the gap around these visible branches with a cluster of leaves. Nice work guys. Next step, something really beautiful. I just love all of your strange-looking 3's like this one. And this one is without leaves. We can really play around with its branches. There's a lot of them, but let's start simple. It seems like there are two major branches growing out of enormous trunk, almost like two trunks. So I'm drawing the tallest one and the shorter one and now smaller ones. The one on the right side and the other one on left side. Now I sketch the crown shape. It seems like there are two. The big one shaped like a mushroom almost and small one grown out of that tallest branch. Okay, here's our sketch and now I want to start with the trunk, the lowest part of the tree. And this one is really huge. And I move to those tellers branches. And then to those on sides. I just want to have the shape ready before I start with the details. Okay, I'm happy with this. So let's draw more of the branches and move from the biggest to the thinnest. That will help me to keep my shape right. You can adjust the branches as you go. Maybe some of them be wider or taller. Okay. One thing, you do not need to go branch by branch, exactly. Just how you see it in the photo. Once you have this shape and those biggest branches, then you just add more and more small tweaks and branches just where you like to see them. Okay, now, I move to the top part of the tree that is the tallest branch and small branches going out of it. Again, I first draw the bigger wrenches and I continue with the small ones. At this point, I do not look at the reference photo anymore. I just have fun and play with this small twigs and branches. You can always change anything you don't like the match. And it seems my three is finished. And I think it's quite interesting. What do you think? Okay, this is the last one. So bear with me guys. Now let's draw again some three little leaves. And this one looks nice. See how interesting this branches in the middle part of the three are, and how the crown of the tree has this half circle shape. So I started again with sketch in my trunk and crown. Very simple. Now add some more branches, good. And we can turn this simple sketch into a nice drawing. I start with the trunk. Again. You can just outline the trunk. And if you want to make it dark like I did, too afraid to do it. Now that I have my trunk and visible branches, then I can move to the crown. And I do the same as in the first exercise, small babies strokes to mimic the foliage. We do not want to perform Dualism here. We are not drawing believed by leaf. And as before, let's add some more volume to the crown by drawing few layers of leaves into it. Plug-in. That's it for the exercise guys. Now if you're ready, let's move to the special project. 8. Special Project - Your Favorite Tree: For this special project, we are going to draw our favorite three. Well, you can go out for a walk and take a photo of your favorites 3, or just any interesting tree in your neighborhood and enjoy it. But if you want to stay in your cozy homes, feel free to choose any reference photo from the project section, or just find some nice picture online and get inspired. I have my photo here. It's an internal, so the tree is naked, but at least we can see is interesting shape. So I'm going to draw my tree and you guys through your own, or even this one if you like it. And here it is. And I think it's nice. But you know what? I cannot wait to turn it into watercolor painting. So if you want to try it to stay tuned for the next class, we are going to play with these new lovely shapes of trees we explore today and give them more color and texture. 9. Final Thoughts: Thank you guys for being here with me today. I hope you had fun. I certainly did. If you want to Apple their projects in the project section, please do so. I will be happy to see your drawings and also, please leave your feedback and check my other classes here on Skillshare. See you next time. Take care.