How to Draw and Paint Evergreen Trees


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The above is a good pencil drawing of an evergreen.

When I was a kid,  I worked hard, learning to draw the typical, holiday Christmas tree, painstakingly making both sides exactly alike [symetrical].


When it came time to paint evergreens for actual landscapes, my first challenge was  that of realizing that evergreens in the wild are far from symmetrical.

While evergreens do loosely follow the coloring book Christmas tree’s traingular structure, the branches are staggered and irregular.


The top is missing from the above drawing; yet, the the branches are drawn very realistically.  Evergreens in the wild are snaggle-toothed and scraggly.


Follow the steps below to draw a convincing Douglas Fir.d06



When drawing a wilderness scene, remember the following:

  • The evergreens will be of varying heights.   Part of this is because they are growing in the wild and they seed at different times; and part of this is due to the fact that some of the trees are farther away. [This is linear perspective.]


  • The farther away the trees, the shorter they will seem and the details become more and more blurry. [The blurrieness  is due to aerial perspective].aspens-against-the-evergreens-john-lautermilchcropped


  • Normally, sections of bare trunks and limbs are visible.
  • Not all branches are attached at the same angle. Some limbs seem to be almost horizontal; some cup upward; some cup downward.

douglas-fir-preview3  douglas-fir-preview3nophoto

  • The branches are sort of like sideways triangles.
  • The foliage is wider near the tree trunk.


  • When one branch is in front of another, it will seem lighter.  The front limbs cast shadows on the back ones
  • The tops of the branches are lighter [because they are nearer the sun]


  • The lightening of the tops is particularly obvious when there is snow on the branches.


Now that you have learned not to make Evergreens irregular, let’s reverse the process again and try some designs:



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