How to draw a tree trunk texture

Tips for Drawing Tree Trunk Bark Textures

Sometimes I learn (the hard way!) that teaching *everything* at once might not be the smartest idea. I’ve shown how to make tree trunks a bunch of times…but most of the time there’s a fox, clouds, grass, leaves….all kinds of elements to squeeze into a tutorial. But….this new format for me is giving me space to REALLY be helpful for you to learn!

Today’s for sure one of those cases – instead of worrying about all the other details, I’ve focused just on tree bark. You can of course apply that to lots of other projects, and on the blog I’ve linked a few older tutorials you can try it out with if you don’t want to just make blocks of bark like I did.


Watch the video below or click HERE to see it on YouTube.

This is the plethora of colors used – don’t worry as much about which color to try as thinking about if you need a dark, medium, or light – and whether you want the wood to be more red, or more yellow, or more neutral. That will get you a lot farther along in figuring out your color choices than just following exactly what was done with these crazy test samples.

The wood in the top right made me think about so many videos I’ve done before – I’ve seen lots of folks see my marker skip all over and end up creating dashed lines for the bark. That’s where I realized I needed to do something focusing clearly on the bark so my marker technique didn’t get in the way.

The grey bark is really zoomed in – or if you’re drawing tree bark with really big chunks of raised bark. Every tree is different, so remember that Google is your friend! Scale the texture to fit the size of the tree you’re creating.

Birch bark peels off differently than other trees – it’s in bands horizontally around the trunk, causing the dark spots to be horizontal rather than vertical.

Putting a tree into context is really where the rubber meets the road. It’s rare (or never at all?) that a tree is seen against a white background – adding any color, whether light or dark, makes a huge difference. I hope the journey of this tree helped show just how many layers and changes it might take to get to this stage!

A few tree/wood tutorials

I promised a couple extra tutorials – in case you wanted a little more info!

Simpler in pen and ink with a watercolor wash:

A tree in perspective – with snow

A light colored fence…



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How to Draw Tree Trunks With Pen and Ink

In this tutorial we will learn to draw tree trunks using pen and ink. There are many ways of drawing tree trunks and I will explain few of the simple techniques here.

To believably draw a tree trunk, two things need to be accomplished:

  1. Show the roundness of the trunk.
  2. Show the bark texture.

Roundness is indicated by darkening one side of the trunk more than the other. Bark texture is indicated by using pen marks that imitate bark shape and texture.

Drawing an effective outline of tree trunk is also very important as without an effective outline, any texturing will not bring out the desired effect. Drawing outline of individual trunk and landscapes based on trunks is discussed in detail here.

Suggesting Bark Texture:

It is very important to understand that in pen and ink drawing, the goal is to use pen strokes to create a suggestion of specific texture that our mind interprets accordingly. To do this effectively, we don’t have to draw the texture in great detail but use the stokes that convey the appropriate feel most effectively. Following is a very simple and effective stroke for drawing and suggesting bark texture. The stroke consists of slightly wandering line along the length of trunk which conveys a feel of bark grooves.

As you can see in step 2 above, just by adding few lines suggesting bark grooves, an effective feel of bark  is conveyed. It is not necessary to make extensive use of the stroke but always strike to convey the right feel with as few strokes as possible.

Finishing Trunk:

Adding some crevices and edge roughness using tapered dark makes the trunk more believable. A trunk should also be grounded using grass appropriately.

Giving Roundness to Trunk:

As shown above, adding more stroke to one side from step 2 to step 3 to make it more dark brings out the roundness of the trunk. This is because on any rounded object light falls unevenly and there is different level of darkness or ‘tone’ on its surface. Direction of light on the object determines how the level of darkness varies, but for a trunk it is usually best to make 1/3 left side darkest, with 1/3 in the middle facing the viewer in middle tone and 1/3 on the right lightest. This assumes that Sun is shining from the right with the right side lit the brightest. Level of darkness to use is a matter of personal taste but usually using darker tones gives the trunk an old feel. Experiment with different levels to see what you prefer.

Trunks are often receding in a landscape and become smaller with distance. Same technique discussed above can be used to draw trunks of different sizes till a certain minimal size. Below this size, the stroke can’t properly be done and we switch to ‘2 tone technique’ discussed later.

Different compositions that can be done with trunks as the main element is discussed here.

Adding Character to Trunk:

Techniques to add character to a trunk are discussed in detail in vol 1&2 workbook in my workbook series. Here I will give an overview of them. We saw earlier use of tapered dark to bring out the feel of bark. Shape, size and layout of such tapered darks can be use to further add character to a trunk as shown below.

Surface irregularities, like a tree knot can be added as well. In addition, longer flowing bark lines can be used to create crevices that are flowing and when used with interesting tree trunk shapes, they add great character to them. Following are some examples of trunks that use these techniques. These techniques are illustrated in step by step manner in my workbook.

Decaying trunk is very fun to do with pen and ink as limitless variations on it can be done from imagination. Following is an example. Click on it to learn how to draw a decaying trunk step by step.

Other Strokes to Texture Bark:

The stroke shown above is the simplest to use to texture trunk and you should practice and get comfortable with it in the beginning. There are many other strokes that can be used as well. Tapered dark can itself be used to indicate bark as shown below. Depending on their use, age and character can be imparted to the trunk. Additional techniques are discussed in my workbook.

Grounding a Trunk:

It is very important to ground a trunk with grass or any other ground cover. More information on drawing grass and other ground cover can be found here.

Drawing trunk with more bark details:

In the approach discussed above, the aim is to give a general feel of bark through use of appropriate stroke. But as the trunk gets closer to the viewer, more details regarding bark shape and texture need to be shown. For this, the general technique is to first draw outline of bark ‘pieces’ and then texture them individually. By using different shape for bark pieces and different stroke for shading, different feel for bark can be obtained. Individual bark shading is again darkened in one end to give it appearance of roundness and depth.

Following is another example. Click on the drawing to see detail.

Experiment with different shapes of bark outline and pen strokes for texturing to see how it affects overall texture. Consult my workbook for more information. You can watch video demonstrations of drawing bark details on my YouTube channel here.

Drawing Bark Close Up:

Drawing close up of bark is really fun and countless variations can be easily done from imagination. Following is an example. Learn to draw bark close up step by step.

Drawing a Ridged Bark:

In the above techniques, the trunk is not ridged, i.e. it doesn’t have exposed form. Old trunks usually have ‘ridges’ and in this technique, ridges are given prominence and indicated to draw trunk. This method is useful for depicting old trunks with rough ridged bark.

By using different shape and sizes of ridges, different texture is obtained. here is another example.

You can watch video demonstration of this technique on my YouTube channel here.

Drawing a deeply grooved bark:

Here, the focus is on deep crevices in some barks. Deep crevices are explicitly indicated in this method to give effect of very rough texture for bark.

You can find video demonstration of this technique on my YouTube channel here.

Drawing a Young or Far Away Trunk using 2 tone:

As we saw before, usually 3 tones (dark, middle and light) that vary across the trunk are used to bring out the roundness of trunk. But if the size of trunk is too small (when it is a very young sapling or a trunk that is very far away) then three tones can’t be properly drawn in it. In this case, middle tone is eliminated and two tones (dark and light) is used to convey trunk volume as shown below.

It is very important to darken one side in a zagged manner to give some impression of bark roughness as shown in close up below.

Following are some additional examples of 2 tone shading.

As the trees move farther out from the viewer in a scene, they become progressively smaller with less details visible.  Use appropriate technique to draw trunk based on their size.

Following’ trunk study’ shows use of different techniques discussed. Notice how bark details are shown in trunks up close and 2 tone shading is used for far out trunk. Size of trunk decreases with distance due to perspective.

Thoughts on Relative Shading of Trunk:

As we saw above, 1/3 of trunk should be darkest and 1/3 lightest with the 1/3 in between to give it illusion of roundness. What constitutes ‘dark’ may though be matter of individual taste. Following shows 2 drawings with the one on left lot less darker than the one on right. I prefer bold contrasts in my drawings and hence would probably go for the shading in the right drawing, but you may have a different opinion. Play with the level of dark you use in your drawings and see what fancies you. Experimentation and Practice are key to improving in pen and ink drawing.

Also experiment with using different marks for the bark texture. To draw a particular species of tree, you need to study the shape and texture of its bark and experiment with different pen marks/strokes to capture it on paper.  Following is an example of birch tree.

Drawing Tree Roots:

Using same techniques, exposed roots of an old tree as shown below can be drawn. They are very fun to do and can be easily done from imagination. Click here to learn how to draw an old root step by step.

An Old Root

Drawing an Old Stump:

An old tree stump is another fun drawing with pen and ink using the bark stroke and tapered crevices we saw earlier. Learn to draw an old stump step by step.

Templates & Workbooks:

Click here to download PDF with templates and finished drawings to practice drawing tree trunks. You can also find many more examples of tree trunks in Mini Landscapes that you can further use to practice. Better yet, vol 1&2 of my pen and ink drawing workbook series discusses these techniques in detail with hands on exercises.

Compositions with Video Demonstrations:

In this tutorial, the focus was on learning to draw and texture trunks. 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. Following are some examples of how I have done it in some of my drawings.

Winters Passage I My Heaven My Refuge A Blessed Night

This completes this tutorial on drawing tree trunks. If you liked the content, do consider small donation to help me develop more of such content. I would love to hear from you any suggestions for new content or thoughts on improving the tutorials. Do feel free to reach out to me if you need any help or clarification.

Have Fun,


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How to draw a tree: 35 options for every taste

May 20, 2021LikbezDo it yourself

Create simple images with markers, paints, pencils and pastels.



How to draw a tree with a black marker or felt-tip pen

Frame: DrawinGeek / YouTube

What you need

  • Paper;
  • black marker or felt pen.

How to Draw

Draw a zigzag horizontal line to represent grass. Draw two vertical curved lines. From above, between the parts, make several arcs. Get a trunk with branches.

Frame: DrawinGeek / YouTube

Above the arcs, draw two cloud-like shapes. Behind the figures, make three more, but larger. This is a crown.

Frame: DrawinGeek / YouTube

Show the texture of the bark on the trunk. To do this, draw a lot of curved lines. Also mark several arcs nested inside each other.

Frame: DrawinGeek / YouTube

The full version of the master class can be viewed here:

Other options

An easy way for beginners:

Here they show how to portray cherries:

If you want to draw a realistic tree:

Even a child will cope with this tree:

An unusual tree pattern with roots:

if you are going to draw a cartoon tree with eyes:

This tutorial shows how to draw two palm trees:

A fun drawing that is easy to repeat:

How to draw a tree with colored markers or felt-tip pens

Frame: Like ART / YouTube

What you need

  • Paper;
  • colored markers or markers;
  • black liner (optional).

How to Draw

Draw two vertical curved lines with a black marker pen or marker. This is a stem. Mark the branches from above with segments. You can use a liner at this stage if you wish.

Frame: Like ART / YouTube

Draw a rounded crown with an uneven outline. Mark wavy segments above the branches.

Frame: Like ART / YouTube

Color the barrel with a light brown marker or felt pen. To show the shadows and texture of the bark, you need a shade slightly darker than the previous one.

Frame: Like ART / YouTube

Make large dark green spots on the crown, leaving some free space. Fill in the empty areas with a light green color.

Frame: Like ART / YouTube

Outline the grass under the tree. With a black liner or felt-tip pen, draw a series of wavy segments on the crown. Emphasize the shadows on the trunk and branches.

Frame: Like ART / YouTube

Details - in the video:

What other options are there

A simple drawing of an apple tree:

Master class for those who want to depict an autumn tree:

9008 902 paints Frame: PENCILS AND PAINTS / YouTube

What you need

  • Paper;
  • simple pencil;
  • wide brush;
  • gouache;
  • palette;
  • water jar;
  • fine brush.

How to draw

Draw a long line to show the horizon. Mark the trunk with two vertical lines. It should be narrower at the top than at the bottom.


Draw a V-shaped branch with sharp tips. Add small branches of different sizes. Draw the roots going into the ground - they resemble curved triangles.


On a palette, mix white gouache with a small amount of blue paint. Paint over the background with a wide brush, being careful not to touch the tree. Add white and pale yellow spots to the leaf. So the drawing will look more interesting.


Using a thin brush, cover the wood with brown paint. Then add some black to it and apply the resulting color to the branches on the left. Make light brown and yellow strokes on the trunk and roots.


Use broad strokes to mark the green leaves. Try not to overlap the entire branches: then the image will look more realistic. Mix gouache with some yellow and white paint. This shade should also be placed on the crown.


Draw thin brown branches on top of the leaves. Make the space below the horizon line light green. Use a more saturated shade to draw individual blades of grass. Outline a black shadow on the trunk on the right.


The full version of the lesson with artist's comments can be viewed here:

What other options are there

A method for those who want to draw a landscape with a tree:

Master class on drawing a realistic tree with detailed comments of the artist:

Here they show how to portray a birch watercolor:

And here - how to designate flowers with simple spray:

simple drawing of flowering wood with gouache gouache :

Draw a tree in spring, summer, autumn and winter at the same time:

Here they show how to draw a tree using pointillism technique:

Landscape with several realistic trees:

Even a child can do this drawing:

How to draw a tree with crayons

Frame: Rio Art Club / YouTube


  • colored pencils.
  • How to Draw

    Mark two vertical curved lines with a brown pencil. Get a palm tree trunk. Make horizontal strokes along the entire length of the part. This is how you define the texture of the bark.

    Frame: Rio Art Club / YouTube

    Shade the trunk so that it is darker on the left than on the right. Draw a few short lines at the base. Draw green fruits of different sizes. They are oval in shape.

    Frame: Rio Art Club / YouTube

    Color in the fruits. To set the direction of growth of the branches, outline curved lines. On the sides of each, make a lot of short dark green strokes. Place them as close to each other as possible. Add a light green tint to the leaves.

    Frame: Rio Art Club / YouTube

    Use green and black lines to represent the ground below the picture. So it will not seem that the palm tree is floating in the air.

    Shot: Rio Art Club / YouTube

    See the entire painting process here:

    What other options are there

    View of the redwoods from below:

    A fascinating drawing that is not easy to repeat:

    Here the artist shows how to draw a realistic tree in 40 minutes:

    Try drawing a baobab with pencils on black paper:

    How to draw a tree with pastels

    Frame: Tiku Art / YouTube

    What you need

    • Paper;
    • simple pencil;
    • oil pastel.

    How to draw

    With a simple pencil, mark a horizontal line at the bottom of the sheet. From it, release two broken vertical lines upwards. Get a tree trunk.

    Frame: Tiku Art / YouTube

    Draw four massive branches. They are widened at the base, and sharper closer to the tips. In the example, the parts have creases. This makes the drawing realistic. Add small branches directed in different directions.

    Frame: Tiku Art / YouTube

    Shade the trunk and branches on the right with brown pastel - this will show the shadow. Beige chalk is suitable for the left side of the picture.

    Frame: Tiku Art / YouTube

    Make dark green spots on the branches, consisting of many small dots. Add a light shade around the edges.

    Frame: Tiku Art / YouTube

    To indicate the texture of the bark, draw small lines on the trunk and branches with a simple pencil. If desired, you can draw several arcs nested inside each other. Sketch the grass at the base of the tree.

    Frame: Tiku Art / YouTube

    Nuances - in the video:

    What other options are there

    Another easy way to draw a realistic tree:

    Dry pastel is required for this image:

    This instruction will help to portray baobabs:

    Master class on drawing autumn wood with oil pastel:

    This drawing will be easily repeated by experienced artists:

    Read also 🧐 9000

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  • How to draw snowdrops: 17 options for every taste
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  • How to draw an owl: 21 easy ways
  • how to draw wood, metal and fabric - Gamedev on DTF

    Korean artist and teacher Zzatang explains step by step how to create a realistic texture of three materials.


    Zzatang shows the process on the cylinders, as the same figures help to better see the difference in the texture of the materials. If you practice with other materials on your own, also try to choose the same shapes for them.

    Article is a retelling of this video.


    The first step is to draw three identical cylinders. When drawing the fabric, imagine that it covers the cylinder.

    We paint the cylinders in the color corresponding to the selected material.

    Determine the direction of the light, where will be its source. In our case, the light falls at an angle and from above. It will be a little more difficult with fabric: unlike wood and metal, it is soft and more susceptible to environmental influences. If the wind blows or the fabric covers any object, the material will deform - different folds will begin to form. In our case, the fabric is distributed over the surface of the object and falls down. Because of this, the image of the object under the material is also simplified.

    Please note that the cut color of the tree will differ from the color of the bark, so the cut surface should be given a lighter shade.

    The next step is shadows. But before that, mark the zones of light on the folds of the fabric.

    Since we're drawing cylinders, shadows should be on both sides of the shapes. In the case of fabric, the shadow will follow the lines of folds and other irregularities, since it is softer and more elastic. The difference between wood and metal is not so significant: these two materials are thick and dense, which means that the shadows will be approximately the same.

    We make the tone of the materials more expressive, adding gradations. We have added two additional "tone steps" to the shadow of the tree, and that's enough for now. Metal reflects more light than wood, so it should have more shadows and light itself, which means more shades.

    Add a soft gradient to the top of the cylinders.


    Find references for the kind of tree you want to draw. The tree bark itself has different patterns, so don't be afraid to make "wrong lines", just refer to the refs for more believability. The texture on the cut is also “unpretentious”, the main thing to remember is that these are layers that grow on top of each other in a circle (the layers are round, but not even).

    Now let's add a gradient to the main part of the shape to make a soft and realistic transition between the hues and shadows that are on the sides.

    Next add bumps and textures to create a more realistic tree:

    We do the same with the cut. Remember that the top part should be lighter than the side part, so the bumps themselves should be lighter there.

    And for more credibility, add a shadow on the sides with an even darker brown color, and gently pass in the center with a lighter shade.


    Smooth out the borders of the shades on the sides of the cylinder.

    Use a soft blur to make borders even more invisible and smoother gradations.

    Using a slightly darker color, draw soft lines along the sides of the shape.

    Next, draw a soft line in the center with a lighter color. This will create highlights that give the material a smooth feel.

    Use the gradient again on the top of the cylinder to make the shadow more pronounced.

    Add a few simple details at the top - highlights to indicate the round shape of the cylinder.

    Then smooth out the added elements.

    Objects next to the metal cylinder will be slightly reflected in it, so use the "eyedropper" to carefully apply paint on the sides.

    Unlike wood, which has a slightly uneven and rough surface, metal has smooth, but darker shades and bright highlights.


    Fabric is very different from wood, which has a rough texture, and metal, which has a smooth texture and reflects a lot of light. Therefore, the drawing process will vary.

    Gently soften the transition of color and shadow. Blend their boundaries.

    The amount of highlights depends on what kind of fabric you are depicting. Imagine that we are working with a simple cotton material. Due to the fact that the light falls from the side, the central part of the cylinder will be brighter.

    Take the darkest color in the fabric's color scheme and use it to define its borders. Apply it to the drawing instead of the lines of the original sketch. If the color of the line is very different from the main color of the fabric, the pattern will look flat.

    On a new layer, gently loosen the border between the top and sides of the fabric on the cylinder.

    To make the border even more inconspicuous and the fabric more realistic, take a light shade and paint over the entire border line in place of the light parts of the folds.


    Once again, let's see how the drawing of the three materials differs.

    1. Wood has a fairly wide range of color and tone.

    A wood texture is inserted between the borders, so that they smoothly flow from one to the other. If you want to achieve the greatest smoothness, then add grain to the borders of the colors.

    2. In metal, the blurring of the borders of tones occurs in several small stages.

    Light and dark areas are then applied and softened to make the surface smooth.

    Learn more