top of page
Tell Me About Trees

Drawing and illustrating trees sounds like a rather simple task.  That is until you ask yourself what kind of tree do you plan on illustrating?  What are your choices?  What time of year is it?


Below you will see an illustration of a tree during winter.  Please note that illustrations or cartoons can be used to market and sell products and or services.  In this case it was used to sell advertising in a magazine.

As an artist you can choose from thousands of different kinds of trees.  But to capture the feeling of stark, cold, loneliness as well as illustrate snow on all the limbs I needed a tree that looses its leaves in Autumn and is barren of all leaves during the cold of winter.


So what kind of tree did I choose for this illustration?


This is where a little research and studying comes in.  For the purposes of this lesson plan I'm simply going to give you a quick overview about trees.  


First of all you should know that trees are divided into two categories:

1)  Deciduous                                      2)   Coniferous


Deciduous Trees:  are better known as broadleaf trees because of their leaves.  They have larger wider leaves as compared to coniferous trees and tend to drop their leaves during Autumn.


There are hundreds of Deciduous Trees to choose from.  Red Maple, Hickory, Sycamore, Cottonwood, Chinese Elm, White Birch, Magnolia, Holly , Sassafras and many more.  Just remember to do your homework.  Only certain types of trees survive high altitude.  Others only do well in swamp lands.  And fewer less can weather desert heat and little or no water.


Examples: 1)  You would never see a giant Water Oak Tree growing in a desert setting.

                    2)  You would never see a palm tree growing high up in the Rocky Mountains or the Sierra Nevada's.



Coniferous Trees:  These trees are also known as evergreen trees.  Leaves of these trees remain green all year long and only drop the old leaves.  These trees are strong and resistant to different climatic conditions.  Most of these types of trees are softwood.



The largest trees in the world are Coniferous:  Examples:  Giant Sequoia


Some of the oldest trees on earth are Coniferous:  Example:  Bristlecone Pine


The following are a few of the most known: Western hemlock, Lodgepole Pine, Red Pine, Northern Cedar, Douglas Fir, Cypress, and Ponderosa Pine.



OK, this should give you  great jumping off point when drawing an illustrating trees.

The main thing is do your research before you begin your artistic creation.


10- Things you should be thinking about before you include trees in your artistic creation:


1)   Location: Where on earth: is the setting of your artistic work?

2)  Altitude:  Lowland swamps?  Rocky Mountain High?  Desert dry hot?

3)  Time of Year:  Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall?

4)  Weather Conditions- Sunny, Windy, Rainy, Snowy?

5)  Type ofTree:  Deciduous or Coniferous?

6)  Of the hundred of different kind of trees- your tree choices

7)   Research what your tree choices look like.

8)   Finally- How you intend to Illustrate your tree choices

          a)  What does the tree trunk look like?

          b)  What do the tree limbs look like?

          c)   What do the leaves look like?

9)  The rest is up to you.  How detailed or little detail is up to you the artist.


10) Remember, artists interpret what they see then create their artstic creation based upon their one unique visual interpretation.



Example of Tree Research
Giant Sequoia Redwood

Sequoia sempervirens

Common names include Coast Redwood, Coastal Redwood and California Redwood


It is an evergreen and Coniferous type tree.


It is know for being the tallest living tree on earth, reaching up to 379 feet or 115.3 meters in height.


Many reach a diameter of 29.2 feet or 8.9 meters.


These trees are also amoung the oldest living things on Earth.


One way to look at these trees here on the left is they sprouted out of the ground during the Reign of Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire.


These trees live  between 1,200 and 1,800 years

Bristlecone Pine

This is one of three species of pine trees and a Coniferous type of tree.  While all pine trees live very long lives the Bristlecone Pine is the longest living life forms on earth.  There are Bristlecone Pine that are over 5000 years old.


Another way you can look at this photograph to the right is that this little tree sprung out into the sunlight about 400 years before the Egyptians started work on the great pyramids of Giza.


While Bristlecone Pines have managed to survive over 5000 years, many are dying because of man-made caused carbon based pollution.  

bottom of page