Hey guys, in this tutorial I'm gonna talk about some tips on how to draw trees and forests in various settings and seasons. these forest illustrations are beautiful by themselve but they are often used as a background to a character so I'll also talk about which forest setting narrates what kind of atmosphere and story so that you know which season of forest you can use to convey the story of your character.


Woodlands are land covered with trees and are little open than forests so when drawing trees in a woodland let the trees have enough open space between them to let sunlight through and have limited shade. And between these trees we will draw the grassland .Which lets us paint in a beautiful color palette of green trees and sunlight.

Woodland trees usually have long trees like pine and oak trees.

This kind of forest is the best setting if you're drawing a character who resides in forest . Or to draw a character who is on an adventure because of the sunny climate and jungle kind of atmosphere it's perfect for an adventure type of illustration
To give you an example : I am gonna draw a Woodland forest filled with trees and a character who is on an adventure.

I am going to start off by using a sky gradient to fill in the canvas. Then from the middle down half of the canvas I'll color or green for grassland.

Let's draw the trunks first. As I said , Woodland trees have scattered trees so leave some space between these trunks.
Don't just draw straight lines give them a little shape and draw them crooked, give the trunks some bumps and texture in the sides.

Now let's move onto drawing branches. Most common mistake people make while drawing trees is to draw the branches like a straight line which is wrong. Branches start off thick with a ring-like shape. Middle way through they have some ups and down and eventually they thin out at the end.
remember to draw these branches away from the tree trunk since branches split and grow to get more sunlight so they scatter away from the trunk.

another tip I would give is that when drawing the place where the branch is attached to tree, draw it with a curvy flow to it which makes a tree drawing better and do not draw it completely sharp cornered.

Branches that reside at the bottom thicker. while they are thinner at the top due to gravity. If you just draw a sudden thick branch on top of the tree it will look odd.

Trunks have some textures which are usually broken fragments also known as flaking in vertical lines. These are very important details in a tree without it the trunks will look like a stick. but drawing these flakes on every tree would be time consuming instead of using this brush.

Using this brush which I downloaded from the CSP asset store we can draw a whole tree trunk with just these brushes.

But if you want a brush that has the flaking to apply on your own drawn tree . We can use the same brush.
For that , create a new layer above the trunks and clip it to the layer below. Now using this brush just drag it through your trees. Once done.

Go to (menu)edit > convert brightness to opacity. This will eliminate the white color leaving us with only the flaking.

Now let's move to drawing the leaves.
You can always draw leaves in different ways according to your style, some like to draw every individual leaf but some like to draw shapes of a bunch of leaves together in a stylized way. I like to draw them stylized so my tutorial will also be based on that .

If you are a beginner, it is better to draw a sketch bunch of leaves in a basic shape instead of just going in and drawing.

Let's talk about how to color the trees. Usually, trees have three tones of colors. The core shadow which resides at the bottom and creates depth. The midtone which has the color darker than the one above it. Lastly the top layer which has a lighter tone.

This concept of coloring can be applied to most types of the tree leaves. This are just basic color If you want you can two more colors like blue which works as a beautiful color for shadows, and you apply another contrast or reflective color on the top layer of the trees. Don't complicate it with more 4-5 colors and try to keep it simple.

And this is exactly how I'm gonna color my trees. I usually like to draw my core shadow behind the tree branches and draw the mid and light tone above the tree.
I will repeat the same process for the rest of the trees.

remember that you don't have to draw the leaves exactly how it is in real life. They can be messy , have a unique form to them.

And this is how we draw Woodland trees. As a final step I'm going to add some light to make it overall look more interesting . Place your character and we're done.

And this the final illustration



Evergreen forest also known as rainforest due to its high amount of rain the forest gets every year. Evergreen forests are denser than woodland so when drawing trees try to put them closer together and being a rainforest and raining throughout the year, the inner/ground level of the rainforests are darker, humid and moist because of no sunlight seeking when drawing the ground level of a rainforest make sure we have not much light and rather a dark/ blue atmosphere.

Rain forest being the home for so many trees we can draw a bunch of varieties of trees in our illustration. Like the palm and Brazil nut trees.

Rainforest being rainy most of the time, it is a perfect atmosphere to draw a character in distress or in deep sorrow like for example: I'm drawing a rainforest with an active rain and two characters who just lost one of their comrades.

Starting off by a blue sky and a green grassland.

For this illustration I'm gonna draw palm trees.

Palm trees have thin but strong and tall trunks. As I said rainforests are denser so draw these trunks closer together.

And their roots are visible which are grabbing onto the ground. One tip I would give to make any tree drawing from good to better is to draw the visible roots.
Tree roots have a lot of texture to them and are visually interesting and add more realism.

Roots are very easy to draw. Think of them like snakes going inside the ground. While drawing the roots always imagine them as a 3d cylindrical object and as a final detail add some lines.

Palm trunks have a unique texture to their specific species but commonly palm trunks have horizontal lines to them.

Let's move on to the palm tree leaves also known as fronds. Fronds have this long bean-like shape to them.

Older fronds are longer and often are sagged down while the new fronds are lighter, smaller and stand upright. While the middle ones have a beautiful bend to them.

To color these palm leaves we're going to apply the same concept as what we did for the leaves on the Woodland trees.

And finally by adding the rain and our character two characters our rainforest illustration is done.

We can also use the rainforest to create a bit of the horror scenario because as i said due to the rain and no sunlight evergreens are humid and moist , dark especially on the level and more than often we can see fog which creates this spooky uneasiness perfect to draw a mythical creature waiting to hunt down anyone.

Or we can twist this narrative of the rainforest being filled with sorrow and horror and create a lighthearted illustration where the character seems to enjoy the rain and appreciate the beauty of nature.



An autumn forest is a bliss of colors. A season where we can witness tree leaves changing their color from green to yellow to reddish brown, eventually shedding. So, let's just say the illustration is gonna be warm and pretty. Autumn is often symbolized as seasons of change or how to let go as leaves no longer cling to their branches. trees just let it go. Completing the circle of life.

Remember that you can draw an autumn tree fully leafed or you can draw them in the process of shedding since they will shed the leaves completely by the time winter arrives.

Or we can draw the trees with both yellows and green leaves to show them transitioning.

Drawing autumn trees in a morning setting will bring the pretty yellow color of the leaves because it will have a contrast with the blue sky which makes the yellow leaves to be seen clear.

Drawing it on the sunset setting will really bring out the warm and a sentimental atmosphere as the sky is also a yellowish orange which will reflect on the yellow leaves and give it an extra glow.

This is the perfect season of trees to depict your character, especially if your character had a character growth or if they are finally moving forward and letting go of their past or we can even symbolize a character's death.

To give you an example: I will draw an autumn forest in a sunset setting with a character riding a bike.

For this illustration I have chosen a top angle. From this angle it will be hard to see any tree trunks due to mushy leaves but we can see some of the branches.

For the leaves I'm using this brush. Using a dark color I'm gonna use the brush to get the better silhouette and I'll create a layer above and clip it to the layer below . Now I can color it without worrying about creating an odd silhouette.

I'm gonna use the same brush and add the yellow and red colors until I get my desired look.

Once down using the same brush I'm drawing some shades on the ground by creating a new layer and setting it's blending mode to multiply.

Finally, after adding my character, I'm done. There are not many tips to be given here since these trees share the same characteristics as the Woodland trees except the color palette.



We can draw two types of trees when it comes to winter 1. The trees that have shed their leaves completely to save water and energy 2. The evergreen trees that don't shed [ for example: the Christmas pine trees]

We can use the winter illustration to depict the loneliness / coldness of a character especially when we draw an individual character lurking in this cold forest.

With this if you can draw the forest with no active snowfall to depict a silent loneliness of the character and push this narrative it's better to draw trees that have shredded their leaves.

A heavy snowfall can be used to represent a sadder narrative of the character being cold, lonely and the weather tormenting him more.
In this scenario remember to draw more snow in the trees in direction the of the snowfall because a lot of snow will be collected there

But we can also twist the narrative by drawing a winter forest in a morning setting because in this cold toned forest we can add a saturated warmth of the sunlight peeking through the trees. When we look at this you will get a calm and warmth of happiness and by placing two characters who are playing snow fight, we can push that narrative. In this type of scenario, it is better to draw the trees that do not shed.

To give an example : I'm gonna draw a forest in winter with a sunlight setting and two characters playing and the forest being filled with pine trees.

The TRUNKS of the pine trees are needle like they start thick and end every thin .

As for their branches the bottom to middle of the tree have these droopy branches. While the top ones are upright.

Pine tree branches grow like needles and the leaves are similar to needles too but when drawing them from far it is fine to draw the overall form and reduce the details.

Overall a pine tree looks like a cone put on eachother.

While drawing the leaves try to maintain the curvy form of the leaves which are unique to them. We're going to draw the leaves with the same color tone concept as we did in woodland trees.
and draw the leaves bushy and a lot of them around the trunk because most of the time pine tree leaves are so luscious that they entirely cover the tree trunk.

And due to their thick overall leaves a lot of snow built up on them . Don't just draw a line of snow which makes it look not natural and clean. Draw them like clumps of them being built up so some places the snow will less some places especially thicker leafed area will have big clumps of snow.

And finally after adding my character the illustration is done.



Cherry blossom is when we see beautiful baby pink/ white colored flowers on the trees. Cherry blossom forest is one of the most beautiful scenarios you can ever draw. Cherry blossom trees in a forest cannot be seen in every tree. So it is okay if we draw the flowered trees and regular green trees together.In that case drawing your cherry blossom tree in the middle and setting the other green trees in the background would really help to bring out the beauty of the cherry blossom tree and especially if the tree is drawn giant it will also it a magical element. Or else you can definitely draw a forest full of cherry blossom trees which is fine too.

As for a character depiction, a cherry blossom can represent love because of its beautiful pink blossom it can create this romantic environment for your characters who are in love.

To give you an example : I'm gonna draw a giant cherry blossom tree in the middle with other trees around and two characters holding hands.

Giant trees are usually also old trees and to show that characteristic we are going to start off with a wide base of ground through which we are gonna draw a lot of thick roots. Remember what we learnt before, think of them as roots like snakes or 3d cylinders. Adding these curve lines will really help that cylinder narrative.

Moving on to the trunk . We are gonna give the trunk a little bent to show the sagging which can represent old age and strength in trees.

If we look at any pictures of branches of cherry blossom trees they usually have long branches scattered from their trunks .
Remember that branches grow away from trunks to get more sunlight.

Cherry blossoms up close have these amazing details to it but while drawing it from far it is almost impossible or very hard to draw every single flower instead when you look at reference pics of a cherry blossom the flowers from far look like dots. And that's how we're gonna draw our flowers with dots.

And as a last tip when drawing giant trees, it will not look visually huge unless you give an element to let the audience to compare. In this case I'm going to draw my characters holding hands and they are going to be tiny. This way the audience will compare and know how huge the tree is.




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