"Can you teach me how to paint trees?" That's a question I am asked a lot.
The simple answer is, “Yes, of course I can!”. And since I love to teach, I created this page to do that for you.
But before we continue, let’s do a little housekeeping to get you set up for success.
First, you will need to use a line drawing for the trees on this page. You will use the line drawing to help lay out your tree design.
You will find this very useful. Plus, it makes the learning experience even more enjoyable.
So, I have a line drawing for you to use when following this tutorial on how to paint trees. And… there’s more…
Ever wondered what brushes to use when painting trees?
I also have a free Paint Brush Guide for you. I created this guide to get you off to a great start. After all, you can't paint trees with the wrong brushes.
So… before we begin the first lesson let’s go get your line drawing and brush guide.
I’ll wait for you here.
Here we go... let me show you how to paint trees. Right now. I know you can do it. I guarantee it.
It’s easier than you think. All you need to do, is master a few special techniques. I know them and, I’ll be happy to share them with you.
When you follow my instructions, you’ll be painting trees in no time.
As I demonstrate, there are many ways of painting a tree. Different brushes and techniques help in creating different kinds of trees. And the style in which you paint, will also influence how that tree will look.
I’ll teach you how to paint 4 different trees here on this page. I have step-by-step tutorials for you below. All you have to do is read on. You’ll be painting trees in no time.
Let’s start with a simple evergreen tree using a Flat brush.
Load a Flat brush with green paint. Blend it on your palette and then
use the chisel of the brush to create the trunk. Clean the brush and
Sideload your brush and blend it on your palette.
Place the corner of the brush down at the tip to create the top of the tree. Now drop the clean side of the brush down and apply the paint horizontally from side to side. Re-load the brush with paint as needed.
Being able to sideload your brush properly is key to doing this properly.
Here is the progression of steps as your tree comes to life.
This is a very simple technique that delivers great results. I know you can learn how to do this.
It's time to apply finishing touches to suggest snow. This time I’ve side loaded the brush in white. This is a technique that is really worth getting right.
It's time for a change and a new lesson. Let's learn how to paint trees with the Angle Bristle Brush. This brush is also known as a Foliage Brush.
The Angle Bristle brush creates wonderful texture when used in an up and down pouncing motion. We refer to this pouncing motion as “stippling”.
Let's start by drawing a pyramid shape with a straight line down the middle. The line in the middle represents the trunk of the tree.
Your first step is to put the brush in water to plump up the bristles
of the brush. A 10 minute soak will do the trick. Blot it well.
Getting the exact right amount of moisture is important.
Now load the brush with dark green paint, pounce the bristles on your palette until you see there’s nice texture.
From the base of the tree...
To the very tip... this tree is ready for snow.
And here are the finishing touches that bring it all together. I know you can do this.
Ta Da... You have completed this tree!
Here’s a fun way to learn how to paint trees using the Round Brush. This folk art tree is made up of comma strokes.
You'll need a line drawing for this tree. I have supplied one below so you can trace out the design. We’ll paint this tree starting at the wide base and then work our way up to the treetop.
In order to paint this tree you’ll have to turn your surface upside down. To get the best effect with this tree, you have to paint the brush strokes in a specific order.
I show you the exact order in the Line Drawing. So, if you haven't already done so... Click here to get your Line Drawing.
Load a round brush with dark green. Then remove the paint from the tip using the edge of your palette.
Now, load the very tip of the brush into White. Tap the brush on your palette to re-shape the tip.
I have a video course for these trees and 3 others as well. In the video you look right over my shoulder as I paint. You get to enjoy a perfect view of what I do.
I provide close-up details to really let you see how it's done... Step-by-Step. And you can replay it as much as you need to master each step.
The Comma Stroke is a great technique that you'll use time and time again.
Place the brush tip down, apply pressure and pull the stroke toward the middle of the tree while releasing the pressure. You should see a nice streaky blend of green and white.
Repeat these strokes in the order I provided in the line drawing. Don't forget to reload the brush for each individual stroke.
I know you are going to enjoy painting this tree.
Unfortunately, there is only so much I can explain in writing. I really hope I covered it enough for you to get great results. Because who doesn't want great results?
Ready to move on?
And now we’ll learn how to paint trees in a slightly more realistic way. In this demonstration I used a Flat brush.
You will find a pattern for this tree in the free line drawing download.
Trace on the pattern for the bare tree. Use a #1 Liner brush to paint the tree with a dark brown.
Let’s make some easy pine needles, shall we? We’ll start by double-loading the flat brush. Load one side into dark green and the other into White.
Double-loading is another neat technique that many painters fail to get right. And getting it right makes all the difference.
Position the chisel of the brush with the green side touching the branch and the white side pointing out. Start at the base of the branch. Press the brush down leaving a chisel imprint.
Move up the branch and as you near the tip, pivot the angle of the brush so that the tip tapers. Make your way down the other side.
I know this technique is a little tricky, but the results are amazing.
Now is the time to put the finishing touches on the tree. This is where it really comes alive.
So, that's it. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to paint trees. I know I enjoyed sharing it with you.
If you're interested in enjoying the experience of painting with me in my studio, check out my video course. It's as close to being in my studio as you can get. That's without actually being there of course.
The video course is bursting with additional details. In addition, it has detailed instructions for even more trees.
And, if you're not clear on something... I guarantee the video course will explain it better than I can here.
Thanks for taking the time to paint with me. It has been my pleasure to help you learn how to paint trees.
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