Realistic Tree Drawing Guide Across Seasons
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 11 min read


  1. Prepare your drawing tools
  2. Study the tree structures
  3. Draw a basic tree structure
  4. Add details for a spring tree
  5. Draw a summer tree
  6. Illustrate an autumn tree
  7. Portray a winter tree
  8. Practice drawing bark textures
  9. How to draw tree leaves
  10. Final touches and shading

Imagine this: you're sitting in the park, the sun shining and birds chirping overhead, as the trees sway gently in the breeze. You reach into your bag, pull out your sketchbook, and start to draw. But, something doesn't quite look right. How do you capture the lush green leaves of summer, the fiery hues of autumn, the stark beauty of winter, or the fresh bloom of spring? Well, that's where we come in. Let's dive into our guide on how to draw a realistic tree in different seasons.

Prepare Your Drawing Tools

Before we embark on our tree drawing journey, let's first make sure we have the right tools in hand. Trust me, having the right tools can make all the difference and help you get that realistic look you're after. Here's what you need:

  1. Pencil: A good old HB pencil will do just fine for your initial sketch. This will help you draw the basic structure of the tree without worrying about details at this stage.
  2. Eraser: Mistakes happen—let's make sure we can get rid of them easily. A kneaded eraser is great for removing pencil marks without leaving smudges.
  3. Pencil sharpener: A sharp pencil can help you add in those fine details that bring your tree to life, so keep a sharpener handy.
  4. Colored pencils or pastels: This is where the magic happens. Depending on the season you're drawing, you'll need a range of colors. Greens for spring and summer, oranges and reds for autumn, and blues and greys for winter.
  5. Sketchbook or drawing paper: A sketchbook or a good quality drawing paper is a must. The thicker the paper, the better it will hold up under the pressure of your pencil or pastel.

Now that you've got your tools ready, let's move on to the fun part: learning how to draw a realistic tree in different seasons. I promise, it's not as hard as it seems. With a little practice, you'll be creating beautiful, realistic trees in no time. So, grab your sketchbook and let's get started!

Study the Tree Structures

Have you ever stopped to really look at a tree? Not just a quick glance, but a real, in-depth study? Before we start on how to draw a realistic tree in different seasons, this is the perfect place to begin. Understanding what you're drawing is half the battle won.

Start by looking at the tree trunk. It's not just a straight line, is it? It's thick at the bottom, thinner at the top, and maybe there are some curve lines here and there. The bark isn’t smooth either—there are ridges, cracks, and patterns. These tiny details are what make a tree look real in a drawing.

Next, let's move to the branches. Notice how they grow out from the trunk, some straight, some twisted, some thin, some thick. They aren't all the same length or thickness and they don't all grow in the same direction either. Observing these variations will help you recreate them in your drawing.

Now, let's look at the leaves. In the spring and summer, they're a vibrant green, each one a little different from the next. In the autumn, they turn into a riot of oranges, reds, and yellows. In the winter, most trees lose their leaves, leaving behind a stark silhouette against the sky. Noticing the shape, color, and arrangement of leaves will help you draw them more realistically.

Finally, pay attention to the light and shadow. The way light falls on a tree can dramatically change how it looks. On a sunny day, you'll see bright highlights and deep shadows. On an overcast day, the light is more diffused, with softer shadows. This understanding of light and shadow will help you add depth and realism to your tree drawing.

So, before you pick up your pencil, spend some time observing different trees. Sketch them if you can, or take photos for reference. This preparatory work might seem tedious, but I assure you, it's an important step in learning how to draw a realistic tree in different seasons.

Draw a Basic Tree Structure

Alright, let's get down to business. We've studied our tree structures, we've taken notes, and now it's time to bring it all together. But hold on, don't jump right into drawing a tree in all its seasonal glory. Let's start with a basic tree structure first. Trust me, it's easier that way.

Start by drawing the trunk. Remember it's thicker at the bottom and gets thinner as it goes up. Use light strokes at this point; these lines are just guides. We'll add the details later.

Next, draw the branches. Start from where they sprout from the trunk and extend outwards. Again, remember that branches are not uniform—they can be straight or twisted, thick or thin, long or short. Add as many as you like but keep it balanced.

Now, let's fill in the canopy. This is the area covered by the leaves and it can be as dense or as sparse as you want it to be. For now, just draw a rough outline. We'll fill in the leaves later.

Finally, add the roots at the base of the trunk. They can be visible above the ground or hidden, depending on the type of tree you're drawing.

And there you have it—a basic tree structure! It doesn't look like much now, but we'll add the details in the next steps. And remember, practice makes perfect. So, keep drawing basic tree structures until you're comfortable with it. Then, we'll move on to learning how to draw a realistic tree in different seasons.

Add Details for a Spring Tree

Now that we have our basic tree structure, let's bring it to life. And what better way to start than with spring—the season of new beginnings, when everything in nature is fresh and vibrant. Let's see how to draw a realistic tree in the spring season.

First, let's talk about leaves. In spring, leaves are young and bright green. They're not fully developed yet, so they might be smaller and less dense than in summer. You can represent this by drawing small, scattered clusters of leaves on your tree branches. But remember, don't color them in just yet—we'll do that later.

Next, let's add some blossoms. Many trees bloom in spring, so adding flowers can give your tree a real spring feel. Draw a few small circles or ovals on the branches for the buds, and some larger ones for the open flowers. Again, don't worry about the details—we're just sketching the basic shapes.

Finally, let's not forget about the grass and the sky. In spring, the grass is lush and the sky is clear. So, add a few strokes at the base of the tree for the grass, and leave some space above the tree for the sky.

There you go! You've just learned how to draw a realistic tree in spring. But don't stop here—keep practicing until you've got it down. And remember, every tree is unique, so feel free to experiment with different shapes and sizes of leaves and flowers. Happy drawing!

Draw a Summer Tree

Now that we've mastered how to draw a realistic tree in its spring glory, let's move on to summer. Ahh, summer! A time when trees are at their fullest, brimming with lush foliage. So how do we capture this in our drawing?

To begin with, let's focus on the leaves. Unlike spring, summer leaves are fully grown, larger, and denser. So, fill in your tree with more clusters of leaves, making sure they're bigger and closer together than in your spring tree. This will give your tree a rich, full appearance, just like a real summer tree.

Next, we'll adjust the color. Summer leaves are a deeper, darker green than spring leaves. So when you're ready to add color, go for a darker shade. But hold your horses! We're not there yet—first, we need to finish our sketch.

Another characteristic of summer trees is the presence of fruits or seeds. Depending on the type of tree you're drawing, you might want to add some apples, cherries, or acorns. Just draw small circles or ovals where you want the fruits to be.

And there you have it! You've just learned how to draw a realistic tree in summer. Remember, the key to a great summer tree is the fullness of the leaves and the addition of fruits or seeds. So keep practicing, and soon you'll be creating summer trees that would make Mother Nature proud!

Illustrate an Autumn Tree

Waving goodbye to summer, let's march into the season of color—autumn. If you thought drawing a summer tree was fun, wait until you learn how to draw a realistic tree in autumn. It's going to be a riot of colors!

Start by shedding some of the leaves from your tree. Yep, you heard it right! Autumn is a time when trees start losing their leaves, so make sure to draw some leaves falling or lying on the ground. And don't forget to leave some bare branches here and there. This will make your tree look real and natural.

Now, let's talk color. Autumn is all about hues—reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. When you're adding color to your tree, make sure to incorporate these shades. Mix them up, use them side by side, and don't be afraid to experiment. The more colors you use, the more vibrant and realistic your autumn tree will look.

And there you have it—the steps on how to draw a realistic tree in autumn. Remember, the key to an amazing autumn tree lies in the colors and the fallen leaves. So grab your drawing tools and let your creativity loose. With a bit of practice, you'll be creating autumn trees that are a feast for the eyes!

Portray a Winter Tree

Now, let's step into the chill of winter. Drawing a winter tree may seem like a daunting task, but it's actually a fun challenge. So, how to draw a realistic tree in winter? Let's find out!

Start with the basic structure of the tree, but this time, imagine it without any leaves. That's right, winter trees are mostly bare. So, your focus will be on the branches and the trunk. Be sure to draw the branches in various angles and thicknesses to give your tree a natural look.

Next, it's time for the magic of winter—snow. To depict this, add white patches on the branches and the ground. It's important to remember that snow doesn't cover the tree evenly. It piles up in some areas more than others, so keep that in mind when adding your snow patches.

Finally, add some shadows to your winter tree. This will not only give your tree a three-dimensional effect but also create the illusion of a low winter sun. Use a darker shade for this, and remember, the shadow will be on the opposite side of your light source.

With these tips, drawing a realistic winter tree should be a breeze. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep drawing until you're happy with your tree. Happy drawing!

Practice Drawing Bark Textures

Let's move onto one of the key elements that can really bring your tree to life — the bark texture. No matter what season you're drawing for, the bark remains a constant. So, let's learn how to draw a realistic bark texture.

Firstly, you should know that bark isn't just lines on a tree. If you look closely, you'll see it has a unique pattern, almost like a fingerprint. Some trees have smooth bark, others have rough, peeling surfaces. So, spend a little time observing different trees and their barks before you start drawing.

Start by lightly sketching vertical lines along the trunk and branches. Remember, these lines shouldn't be straight or evenly spaced. Nature isn't perfect, and that's the beauty of it. Some lines will be closer together, others will be further apart. Some lines will be deeper, others will be shallow.

Next, add some horizontal lines or cracks to your bark. These shouldn't be too uniform either. The idea is to create a pattern that looks random yet realistic. To make the bark appear rough or aged, you can add knots or patches of missing bark.

Finally, use shading to add depth to your bark. Darker areas will appear deeper, giving your bark a three-dimensional look.

Remember, drawing a realistic bark texture takes practice. So, be patient with yourself and keep trying until you're satisfied with the result. The more you practice, the better you'll become at capturing the unique texture and character of tree bark. Happy sketching!

How to Draw Tree Leaves

Alright, now that we've mastered drawing realistic bark textures, let's tackle another vital part of our tree — the leaves. Drawing leaves might seem daunting at first, especially when you're aiming for a realistic look. But don't worry, I'll guide you through it.

First off, it's important to remember that leaves aren't just green blobs on the end of branches. They have structure, and they differ from tree to tree. Some leaves are round, some are pointy, and others have intricate shapes. So, before you start drawing, take a moment to observe different types of leaves.

Now, onto the drawing part. Start by sketching the basic shape of the leaf. It's okay if it doesn't look perfect right away. You can always refine it later on. Once you've got the basic shape down, you can add the veins. These often start at the base of the leaf and branch out towards the edges.

Next, let's add some depth to our leaves. You can do this by adding shading. Remember, leaves aren't flat. They curve and fold, creating areas of light and shadow. So, pay attention to where the light hits your tree and where it casts shadows. This will make your leaves look more realistic.

Finally, don't forget to add some variation. In nature, not all leaves are the same. Some might be slightly damaged, others might be a different color. Adding these little details can truly elevate your drawing.

There you have it! Now you know how to draw realistic tree leaves. Keep practicing, and before you know it, you'll be drawing leaves with ease. The key to mastering how to draw a realistic tree in different seasons is to understand and accurately depict its individual parts, such as leaves. So keep at it, and soon drawing trees will be a breeze!

Final Touches and Shading

Now that we've tackled the tree's structure, bark, and leaves, it's time to bring it all together with some final touches and shading. These last steps can make a significant difference in how realistic your tree drawing looks.

Firstly, let's talk about shading. Shading is like the secret sauce that can take your drawing from flat to three-dimensional. But remember, shading isn't random. Light has a source, and shadows will fall accordingly. So, decide where your light is coming from and shade opposite to it. The parts of the tree that are further from the light will be darker.

Shading isn't just about making things darker, though. It's also about creating the illusion of texture. The tree bark will have a different texture from the leaves. So, change up your shading techniques. For example, use loose lines for the leaves to give them a soft, feathery look. For the bark, use tighter, rougher lines to create a rugged texture.

Now, let's move on to the final touches. These are the little things that can breathe life into your tree. Maybe it's a bird perched on a branch, a squirrel scampering up the trunk, or a fallen leaf on the ground. These details can add a sense of story and realism to your drawing.

And there you have it! These are my tips for adding final touches and shading to your tree drawing. With practice and attention to detail, you'll soon master how to draw a realistic tree in different seasons. So, grab your drawing tools and let your creativity flow!

If you enjoyed our "Realistic Tree Drawing Guide Across Seasons" and want to enhance your drawing skills further, we recommend checking out the workshop 'A Drawing for a Painting' by David Shepherd. In this workshop, you will learn valuable techniques to create detailed and captivating drawings that can be transformed into beautiful paintings. Elevate your artistry in both mediums and create stunning masterpieces!