How to Draw Tree Trunks – Pen and Ink Drawings by Rahul Jain
We’ll learn how to draw tree trunks with pen and ink in this tutorial.
Suggesting Bark Texture:
The goal of pen and ink drawing is to create a suggestion of a specific texture that our minds interprets appropriately. To do this effectively, we don’t have to draw the texture in great detail; instead, we use strokes that convey the appropriate feel most effectively. Here’s a very simple and effective stroke for drawing and suggesting bark texture.
Tree trunks can be made more impressive by adding texture and depth, such as crevices and edge roughness, using tapered dark wood, and by properly grounding them with grass to give the impression that they are firmly planted on the ground.
Giving Roundness to Trunk:
Different compositions that can be done with trunks as the main element are discussed here. The same technique discussed above can be used to draw trunks of various sizes until a certain minimal size is reached.
Other Strokes to Texture Bark:
Tapered dark can be used to indicate bark as shown below, and other techniques are discussed in my workbook on how to apply bark to a tree.
Drawing trunk with more bark details:
The goal is to give a general feel for bark by using appropriate strokes; as the trunk gets closer to the viewer, more details about bark shape and texture must be shown; this can be accomplished by using different shapes for bark pieces and different strokes for shading.
Drawing a Ridged Bark:
This method is useful for depicting old trunks with rough ridged bark, and ridges are given prominence and indicated to draw trunk in this technique. You can watch a video demonstration of this technique on my YouTube channel here.
Drawing a Young or Far Away Trunk using 2 tone:
To bring out the roundness of the trunk, 3 tones (dark, middle, and light) that vary across the trunk are usually used. Because the size of the trunk decreases with distance due to perspective, 2 tone shading is used for far out trunks and 3 tone shading is used for close up trunks.
Thoughts on Relative Shading of Trunk:
Experimentation and practice are the keys to improving in pen and ink drawing. To draw a specific species of tree, you must study the shape and texture of its bark and experiment with different pen marks/strokes.
Templates & Workbooks:
From our easy pen drawings page, click here to download a PDF with examples of how to draw trees.
Compositions with Video Demonstrations:
The focus of this tutorial was on learning to draw and texture trunks. The next step is to learn how trunks can be used together to create simple pleasing compositions. This is done here, along with links to video demonstrations on my YouTube channel. Try to study how trunks are done if you see one in a drawing.
What kind of paint do you use on tree trunks?
Only use white latex paint, preferably interior grades; while exterior latex paint can be used, it may increase the risk of tree damage. Oil-based paints should never be used because they are toxic to the trunk.
What is the most beautiful tree?
Here are some of the world’s most beautiful trees.
- General Sherman Sequoia tree.
- Angel Oak tree.
- The Trees of Dead Vlei.
- Dragon blood tree.
- Pando Tree.
- Baobab trees in Madagascar.
- Japanese Maple in Portland, Oregon.