Hand Drawing Tutorial: How to Draw Tree Groups

Monday is here and it’s time for another Hand Drawing Tutorial! This time, we’ll look at drawing tree groups.

When drawing groups of trees, it’s important to understand the level of detail you want to apply to a such a drawing. That depends on the distance of the trees from the viewer. We perceive the trees up close as single trees, even if they’re in a group. More remote trees however, we percieve as coherent volumes. The more distant the trees, the greater this effect. Trees far away are percieved only as flat layers.

This effect is especially visible in case of drawing wooded hills. Although the hill is covered in trees, we don’t draw single trees when drawing hills, since we percieve the trees as a single body in shape of a hill. When drawing hills, I usually hatch the hill with a vertical hatch, which makes it more flat and abstract. Although it’s covered in different trees I draw it as a single shape. This makes the element of interest – for example the church on top of the hill, stand out.

Let’s look at the steps of drawing a tree group. First draw the outline of the whole group. We always perceive tree groups as single volumes so it’s important to define their shape. Second, add detail depending on how far away the group is. If the trees are close, I usually add some branches and hints of single tree canopies. In the end I use a oblique hatch to emphasize the volume of the tree group.

The second way to draw a tree group is to draw the habitus with the branches of the trees. If you observe a tree group in winter without leaves, you can notice that the branches somehow merge as if they would all belong to a single tree. First draw the tree trunks and then smaller and smaller branches, all the way up to the smallest twigs on the edge of the habitus. This kind of drawing reveals a tree group in a more analytical way and can also tell us the species of the trees in the group. 

Related article: Hand Drawing Tutorial: How to Draw a Tree

Linescapes is a project focused on exploring drawing techniques for recording and analyzing landscapes. It also tries to promote hand-drawing in landscape architecture.

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