How to Draw a Tree: a peek at the process (Online art lesson #72)

Tree drawing is akin to tree hugging, but you get graphite, not bark, under your fingernails.  When drawing trees, you get to visually hug way up to the crown  and out to the ends of the smallest twigs.

This video was made at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia last week.  The model is the Wisdom Tree (so named by the Marines, not me!), an old willow oak at the edge of the Potomac River.  It’s difficult to see the pencil lines in the uploaded video, but I think you can still learn much about the process of how to draw a tree with the “move around and stay fluid” method.

The assignment is to draw a tree.  In this season, you will be able to focus on structure.

Please let me know how you like it.  Subscribers – remember to double click the post title to see the video.

 How to draw a tree, Lillian Kennedy -  tree drawing (

“The Wisdom Tree” at Quantico Marine Base.  8 x11 pencil drawing by  Lillian Kennedy

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5 Responses to How to Draw a Tree: a peek at the process (Online art lesson #72)

  1. Thank you for you for this wonderful lesson on your drawing process! I really enjoyed it! You will be happy to know that I have finally gone out and purchased a sketchbook and pencils to keep in my car for when I find I have to wait somewhere! I have been inspired to draw more…YAY, ME–LOL! …and I LOVE your odd sock handwarmers, and the pic of Hannah and Jonathan–they look great!

  2. Elsy Wilkins says:

    OH I couldn’t see the lines you were drawing. It might be my eyes or my monitor screen. I’ll try later when Jim can help me.
    Thank you Lillian. I still enjoyed the instruction, the chirping of the birds, the background voices, the planes flying and Hannah and Jonathan’s picture.

    • Lillian Kennedy says:

      Elsy – you’re right – the lines barely show if at all. Try tilting your screen to see if they will darken. Overall, the value has to be in seeing the finished drawing and watching the hand movements while hearing the tips.
      I don’t don’t if I can do better with the equipment that I have, but I’ve been thinking about the problem.

  3. Ann Hayes says:

    Lillian – The tree you drew is beautiful. I saw you begin twice and I saw you smear the drawing a bit but never a kneaded eraser. How is it possible to do such a drawing without the kneaded eraser? All admiration . . .


    • Lillian Kennedy says:

      Ann, I did use a kneaded eraser. I hadn’t noticed that it didn’t show in these clips. I cut the whole last part because it would have been too long and I know that I had talked about it later.

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