How to Draw a Forest


You can draw a lush forest scene with trees, foliage, leaves and plants in just a few steps. Refer to a photo, or enjoy the outdoors and draw from real life by setting up an easel near the edge of a forest. Draw different types of forests in a sketchbook, such as a redwood forest and a rain forest, for a variation on the types of foliage. Draw the basic shapes of the forest and then use your creativity to add the details you desire.

Things You'll Need

  • Forest photo
  • Drawing pencil
  • Drawing paper
  • Sketch the horizon line onto the drawing paper. The horizon line is an imaginary horizontal line that represents what you see at eye level. Drawing the horizon line will help you to determine depth perception of the other subject matter in the drawing.

  • Draw the tree trunks and branches. Refer to the horizon line to determine the placement of the trees in reference to the horizon line. Sketch an outline of the background trees and then the foreground trees. The background trees are the furthest away from you, appearing much smaller in size than the foreground trees. Draw the background tree trunks thin, then draw the trunks wider as they get closer, with the widest tree trunks being closest to you.

  • Draw the foliage on the trees. Just as the tree trunks become wider, the foliage will become larger in the foreground trees. You will also see more detail in foreground trees. Study the actual shapes of the leaves. Some tree leaf shapes include heart-shaped, oval-shaped, and long, elliptical and tapered.

  • Add detail to the tree trunks. More detail will be visible in the foreground trees. Study the bark of the trees, and sketch vertical lines to define the texture. Sketch irregular circles to define the knots in the wood.

  • Add detail to the foliage on the trees. Leave background foliage as simple outlines of leaf shapes. Add more details to foreground foliage such as the veins or spots on the leaves. Add more detail to define the actual edges of the leaves.

  • Shade the drawing, if desired. Color the shadows within the trees and foliage by pressing your pencil on the side, rubbing the graphite lightly to fill in areas. Color harder for dark areas of the tree trunks and leaves, applying lighter pressure for lighter highlighted areas. Leave lightest areas white.

  • Add texture to the ground. Sketch leaves, twigs and pine cones on the ground or any other objects you see. Sketch tree saplings or new plants growing on the ground. Sketch areas of texture in the soil by adding dots with the pencil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prepare your basic drawing on paper and embellish it later with colored pencils.
  • If you want to paint your drawing, replace paper with canvas.

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  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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