Drawing realistic leaves and trees is accomplished in three general steps, which begins with outlining general shapes and structures, then creating depth using light and dark tones, and finishing with creating dark shadows and giving the drawing an overall tone. Drawing leaves and trees, as with many other objects, is accomplished by focusing first on the large picture, then filling in the smaller details to create a lively, multi dimensional image.
Artists can begin drawing leaves and trees from a physical outdoor setting, from a photograph or even from the imagination. Regardless of where the image comes from, artists begin the drawing process by measuring important parameters, such as the height and width of the tree and its leaves. Trees typically fall into one of two general types, which is that of a lollipop on a stick or a triangle on a stick. These shapes possess different areas of shadow and light that artists must take into consideration. After outlining the basic shape of the tree or leaf, artists then use pencils to accentuate light and dark areas, keeping in mind that even the lightest dark areas should be made darker than the darkest light areas. Lastly, artists create dramatic shading and make figures three-dimensional by highlighting the darkest shadows.