How to draw trees with soft pastels | Jekaterina Kotelnikova | Skillshare

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How to draw trees with soft pastels

teacher avatar Jekaterina Kotelnikova, Artist & Language Tutor

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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

    • 1.

      How to draw trees with soft pastels Intro


    • 2.

      How to sketch a simple tree with soft pastels


    • 3.

      How to draw a painterly tree with soft pastels


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About This Class

Learn to draw trees with soft pastels. In this class, we will draw two sketches of the same tree, a quick sketch & a more painterly detailed sketch.

Download the reference photo in the class materials & follow along! :)

Meet Your Teacher

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Jekaterina Kotelnikova

Artist & Language Tutor


Hi there! I'm Kate and I am an artist and an illustrator (and a mom of a wonderful 5-year-old). I live and work in Jelgava, Latvia. 

When I was very young I went to art school but did not finish it as I got really tired of everyone telling me what 'the right way' to do things is. I believe that in art there is no right or wrong :)

I returned to drawing and then painting after I started having problems with my health. Right after I gave birth to my daughter I was in pain 24/7 for over a year and a half when I was finally diagnozed with fibromyalgia (for those of you who are lucky enough not to know what that is, it's an illness that makes your nerves transmit paint which is not there). 

I run my YouTube art channel, Patreon, my little online art school... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. How to draw trees with soft pastels Intro: Hi there, my name is. Get them Adele. I am a self-taught artist and welcome to this class, where we will be drawing a beautiful treatments are pastels. I will show you two easy ways how to draw a tree. That's our best Alice. One very sketchy, fast way to actually add creased your composition. And the other one or more painterly, more detailed approach to actually how to create trees in your landscapes. So let's begin. 2. How to sketch a simple tree with soft pastels: Hey, guys, in distant Auriol, I wanted to show you how to draw trees with south pastels. So it's pretty simple once you get the idea off, Actually, how to do it. I always used to struggle with drawing trees. It was like my nemesis. But now I want to show you how I go about drawing trees. So I'm using canceled batons Paper. This is this move side, and I'm using this light kind of Beiji color yellowish color. So it gives me sunny mood to my painting. And here are some colors that I'm gonna be using. So it's mostly, um, yellowish greens for the lights and brown some darker blues and blues for the sky and also some darker greens. So I'm gonna be using my lights warm and my dark school. So let's start. I have my reference in front of me and I have this big sheet. So I want to make a couple of studies of trees this sheet. So the first tree that I want to draw and it has a beautiful sunlight on it, and the first thing that I see is how the branches are kind of clumping together in parts and weaken. Sketch it out with pencil or pastel pencil, or we can just go and draw the shape with the pastels. So for this 1st 1 I will go and sketch out the Let's move it here because we can see it. There we go. So I'm going to sketch out the tree. I want to talk. If I approximately the space, I'm looking at the shape again. It's a tree. It's not a portrait. Um, it doesn't have to be perfect to have pastel here pastoralism military. It's OK. It's not the identical tree that we're drawing. So this is our tree. This is the main shape, and I'm looking at these branches. So I see there's a dark area here, a dark area under the branches here, Here also here. Come between. I'm looking at those darkest areas now. This is the easiest way to drop a tree, and I'm just taking a fast tell. So let's see what colors I have here. This is kind of ah, warmish rain. And then I have this cooler, darker green. So I'm gonna go in with my darks first, and I'm going to add those darks in marks on this pastel I'm using up on the side and I'm going into those dark areas and I'm creating the silhouette of the tree. Sorry. So and I'm looking where its darkest. I'm reading the most pastel again here. I'm kind of reading these abstract strokes with my presto. You can see already. It starts to resemble tree constantly rotating my hand so that I create these different looking strokes and marks on the paper here. It's quite dark at the bottom. Here, there's goes, this branch goes out, and also this area has more darkness. Stewart. Now I'm gonna take this green that is lighter and warmer, and I'm going to add this green to wear my white start, but not to cover all the paper. So I want the paper to be actually the latest color off my tree going in places that I'm preaching that So what of the tree? So this technique, it works well for sketches going into this darker green and adding it where this kind of mid tone is again here writing it. So I'm kind of creating this transition from this dark green into the light of the paper. So as we will have the sky. I'm going to correct my Sylar with the sky color. This is, uh, even lighter blue active. We can go in and creates this sky around the tree and here in between, I cannot delights into the tree. So where the sky shines through the branches, but and I'm gonna go back to my darks Intensified those darks likely so that we can have the shape of those branches forming. So I'm treating each clump off branches as an individual shape looking at those shapes. Now I'm gonna go back to my blue at that sky color here, the bottle, and then we have the grass on the horizon. And now I can add this is a dark brown going out that shot on to the trunk, and I'm going to, uh, a dark green over the top because it will have a lot of Korea coming from the tree. Um, as the latest reflected him from the grass and hearing can add more of these branches inside. I see them and again I'm gonna adult them down, but with my green. So this is one way. This is, like the simplest way of actually sketching a tree, then we can go in a bit more, have a more painterly approach, and we can add more colors to our treat. 3. How to draw a painterly tree with soft pastels: So I'm gonna use the same reference and I'm going to start with this guy this time, so I'm gonna take So in this one, we used very limited colors. This is a dark green just to dull down the ground it Sorry, I don't know what's wrong with my from today. So here first, I'm going to start by, um, drawing the silhouette of the treat with my sky color. I'm gonna clean fast, Al, just so that it's clean. Don't brag greens into the sky. So I'm gonna go around the tree trunk tree shape and I'm going to draw the shape of the tree already with my balloon so you can see already creates the silhouette. And the first thing that our brain actually reads is the silhouette. So leaving space for that tree trunk and I'm going in and looking where those come with spots of blue are just adding those adding blue is going to let your tree seem more light is going to add more here into the tree. Gonna add a bit of the Stucker blues. Well, just to think this is the darker blue, we can see it Well, yes. So just to make it more complicated. The color looks more interesting. Nothing was her blue. We can blend the sky color if you would like, just likely, very much just lending it out. Created this mother sky color and they're moving always in the same direction and linger six adults office sense of movement into our treat even though that it's a kind of a static object. So you will see now what? I mean when we start adding the leaves now I'm looking at my darkest trade. Spend again. I'm gonna take my start green. I'm going to start with this midtown value, the one that used here for the darks. And I'm going to start creating those marks. And if we want, we can create the marks in one direction only, and it's gonna create that beautiful kind of movement. So if we move the only in one direction that I'm moving lapping with my blues here as well , some creating those darkest areas and here the trunk usually the sun is shining from about. So you will see the bottom part of the tree is the darkest here yet and the inside als and I'm always moving in the same direction. I just wanted to create this market painterly feel to this tree, looking at the shapes, always looking at shapes and overlapping with the blue. Here, there's more darkness. Now I'm gonna go with this more yellowish green that I have is this one here. They also have this of grassy. You're agreeing as well to working in between these two. And I'm gonna go and create those leaves, the ones that I see in the light areas. So here I'm letting very few paper shine through, unlike industry again, overlapping with the blue and creating. I'm not separating the sky from the tree. I'm always overlapping. That's what we did this guy first so that we can overlook that. See you of the tree actually standing in front of the sky. So this guy's kind of background, these screens So here a bit in here, this side is going to have more like hitting it that even here, I'm gonna use this grassy your green to add more colors in our leaves, and I'm gonna use it in between these two colors, so I'm using it in between the dark and the very light color. You can see how immediately, but that's sparkle. So it's also quite warm, this color and it taps that feel of sunshine hitting to treat breaking up. But the's berks with this color and it mixes in the colors that we have already on the paper and creates a beautiful color. Because if we would have used this one on a tone, this one here, it would have looked to right green. But this year, now what I'm gonna do is I'm going to add Where's my like yellow? Here we go. I have this very light, um, yellow. I think I'm gonna go just a character. So with this bright color, I'm going to have that kick to my leaves and create a new, even more dramatic lighting even brighter Sun e again. So sorry. I know what's wrong with my Croce and I'm adding it on Lee at the tips of the leaves here where the sun is hitting them the greatest. Also some of them here going to have it. So there we go. I'm gonna go back into my blues and I'm going to but back those little here's bits in between the branches. So our treat looks more airy, doesn't look heavy. Um, as a shape going in, creating these holes of their picky through again, we can go back in and correct the shape of our tree from outside here are gonna one of those brings in the branches. And now to increase the dramatic lighting, I'm gonna go in with this right blue, and I'm going to add those darks where I see the light, this guy shining through my tree. I'm going to have this blue over the top of my Marine, and it's going to create that illusion of depth even more as it's a cooler color receipts. And it also gives us the color of the sky kind of bouncing in the branches of the treat. So and now to pass over again with this lighter color can create, he's leaving strokes. Here we have the blue lacking the Blue Bowl or here in this area, adding fluency that it's necessary to blend in not very bright yellow that we put in for the rest of the tree and again with this with the darkest green that I have. Let's go over in those darkest areas, so it's always back and forth between different colors When these colors mix on the big burly creed Appearance oven treat So there we go Now we need to do the trunk and I'm gonna use mine Dark brown receipt Almost all of the trunk in the shadow Going gentleness green over the top And here again this sky color What I see that I don't have enough blue Just a friend of married treatment Background Here we confound the grass and on the grass To show the sunlight hitting the tree We can add this cooler shadow I'm going to use this the same blue that we used on the tree And then I'm gonna add the bone over top of it Just slightly basil burb of my green Just made to the progress There we go So it creates that shadow off the tree and it's cooler and it has the same colors that we have in the tree as well. So the grasses kind of merges together. Um, greats, picture that kind of That's a good together. And here I'm gonna just a bit the bit off a very pale color just to show that this is very similar to the color of the paper just gonna put it back into the trunk just to show that there's a break in the leaves where the sun sunlight actually manages to trying through and so just bet on the grass to create more. So trying to feeling now we can do is also we can slightly hold this out in one direction to create that I feel of leaves and created. But the movement in the tree and dragging always from one side don't leave just very likely trying to keep the texture but just to smudge it just a bit so that our tree creates this beautiful kind of feel of diagonal movement of the sunlight hitting the train, going through the treat. This is what I wanted to achieve on and go back in here too much, drive it out too much, sticks out too much. And now what I want to do is I want to have those branches and I'm gonna use first dark bring and in places where I really needed I will use some browns as well. We don't need to draw every single branch. I just need to show the result of the tree. And I'm gonna use just a bit of that brown and some of the balloons to cool it down a bit, Agreed that stronger contrast. And here I'm gonna correct the shape of this trunk, but pulling down the blue color and just but some things over here so that the trunk doesn't stick out that much. So there you go. We have a tree, the I hope looks like a tree. And it has this beautiful day agonal movement to really like how this looks in paintings. And I hope you found this Detroit all useful. So here is a simple tree demonstration of how to actually use it and sketches. If you're doing a very quick sketch in the landscape, for example, somewhere outside on the field and here we have the tree just gonna have more blue You just covered that is more painterly. And that could look very beautiful.