How to draw a Christmas tree step by step
Get into the festive mood by learning how to draw a Christmas tree with Charlotte Kinson's step-by-step-guide
Tis the season for merriness and cheer, so what better way to celebrate the festivities than by learning how to draw a Christmas tree! Drawing a Christmas tree requires patience and repetition, but if you follow our basic steps, you’ll be able to create your very own, festive tree, without the trouble of searching high and low for the perfect tree or covering the floor of your home in pesky pine needles. These illustrations make great additions to Christmas cards for your friends and family, so once you’ve mastered these techniques you can get cracking with your own designs and create some beautiful, personalised gifts for the holidays.
For our Christmas tree drawing, we’ll be decking it out with all the fun stuff, including tinsel, baubles, and a star tree topper. If you’d like something a bit more traditional and stripped down, you can skip these steps and instead add extra branches for a more natural tree, but we simply can’t resist those decorations!
Drawing a Christmas tree seems like a daunting task – there’s so much detail, and if you’ve not had practise drawing trees before it can be a little intimidating, but by breaking down the tree to its bare bones, we can build it up from there – you’ll be surprised at how fantastic your tree looks by the end of it, and you’ll wonder why you ever worried in the first place! Imagine a tree long after Christmas is over, when the pines have all fallen off and you have a skinny, stripped-down skeleton – that’s how we’ll be starting our tree, gradually adding more branches and layers until it’s looking full and fluffy.
A few useful tips for your Christmas tree drawing before we begin – to really capture the look of the pines and branches, you’ll want to make sure your pencils are super sharp; you may find you need to sharpen them a few times whilst working on the drawing as the amount of detail and shading you’re adding will wear them down pretty quickly, so always keep an eye on how they’re looking as you work. Once you start adding more and more branches to your tree, you’ll notice they start to overlap onto one another – don’t be alarmed, this will help your tree look full and bushy! Once you’ve added the shading towards the end of drawing your tree, you might find that some areas look a little messy; use your eraser to fix any errant mistakes or smudges including any visible lines from the earlier outline. You can also use a lighter pencil, freshly sharpened, to go over some of the edges and help neaten them up.
Looking for more art tutorials? Check out our how to draw Santa, how to draw a dog, how to draw a tree step by step and ink drawing for beginners guides.
Here are some recommended drawing materials to help you create your Christmas tree drawing…
- Buy Derwent soft graphite pencils (set of 12) from Amazon for £8.93
- Buy the Winsor & Newton medium putty rubber from Amazon for £2.19
- Buy the Frisk A4 cartridge paper pad from Amazon for £6.55
- Buy the Staedtler double hole pencil sharpener from Amazon for £3.23
Looking for more art supplies? Check out our guides to the best drawing tablets for beginners, best watercolour paints and best acrylic paints.
Now you’ve got your drawing supplies, read on to learn how to draw a Christmas tree step by step…
How to draw a Christmas tree the easy way
You Will Need
- A sheet of paper or card, we recommend something study with decent thickness so you can pack in lots of shadows and detail
- Graphite pencil set, we’re using 2B through to 8B so we can get a range of shadows
- Eraser or putty rubber
- A pencil sharpener
First, we’re going to build the basic framework of our tree, using simple lines to plot out the shape. For these first five steps, use a lighter pencil, such as a 2B, or draw very soft lines, as we’ll be going over these in more details later. To begin with, we’ll be drawing a cross-like shape; start with one long vertical line that will represent the height of your tree. Then add a smaller horizontal line crossing over it, about ¾ of the way down. The height and width of your tree will be determined by these two lines, so choose the length of your lines based on how wide or tall you would like your tree to look.
Next, we’ll be creating a triangle shape to use as a guideline for our tree structure. Draw a line from the left of the horizontal line up to the centre of the vertical line, then mirror on the opposite side, creating a sharp cone shape. Next, draw a curved line from one side of the horizontal line to the other. If you can, try to leave a little bit of the vertical line poking out from the bottom end of the tree, this will come in handy in the next step.
Now, we’ll be adding the pot that our tree sits in. Remember where we left that section of the horizontal line poking through our triangle? Use that to help guide where the centre of your pot should be – it should be wider at the top and narrower at the bottom, try to create a similar curve at the base of the pot as you’ve done for the base of your tree shape. This will help create depth and a three-dimensional look to your Christmas tree.
We’ve created our basic tree structure, so now it’s time to start adding branches. Don’t worry too much if your branches aren’t fully symmetrical across the board, if you spot any gaps as we start adding more detail, we can fill these in as we go. For now, let’s start with the basic framework of our branches by drawing lines coming out from the centre of the tree. At the top of your tree the branches will point slightly upwards, but as we get a little closer to the centre, these will become more horizontal, before tipping downwards as we move further down the tree. We’ve drawn some lines from the very centre of the tree out to the edge, as well as adding a few shorter branches from other areas within the triangle as this will help the tree look fuller.
Time to add some decorations! If you’d like to give your tree tinsel like we have, we’ve added these as long, worm-like shapes wrapping around the gaps between our branches. When tinsel is wrapped around a tree, it usually drapes from one side to another as it curves around it, so with every alternating strip of tinsel, it should be curving in opposite directions. Now is also a good time to plot out where you’d like any baubles to be, draw some small circles just below some of your branches, leave a little room for where the string attaching them to the branches will hang. Finally, add the basic shape of your tree topper – we’re going with a classic star shape for ours.
Now we’ll be building out our branches and adding detail to our tree, so it’s best to switch to a darker pencil or a firmer technique from here. Christmas trees have branches coming out from the centre before then branching off themselves. There’s no set number of branches you’ll need to add to your existing skeleton, have a play with different quantities and see what you like best. We recommend adding branches that get longer as you get closer to the base of the tree as it widens. Make the lines of the tree you’ve already drawn more defined, the central branches will be darker and thicker, getting thinner and lighter at the tips. Try to avoid drawing too many branches over your tinsel, although the occasional one falling across it will add to the realism – keep your baubles clear as we’ll be adding shading to them later.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to start adding those bristly outer pines to your branches, with more angled lines coming out of the branch from either side. Do this for all the branches and soon enough your tree will start looking nice and bushy. Now is a good time to look at the shape and formation of your tree – we’ve left gaps for where our tinsel and baubles will go, but can you spot any other gaps on your tree that look a little out of place? If so, you can add more branches to help fill out those gaps to create a fuller form.
Your tree should be looking perfectly seasonal now, so it’s time to add some final touches to really bring it to life with the decorations. You’ll notice some patches between the branches of your tree, grab a light pencil (we’ll be using a 2B) to add some shading to fill in these areas. You can also add some of this lighter shading to the branches at the edge of your tree to make it look really fluffy!
You want your tinsel to look fuzzy at the edges, so add some soft zig-zag lines to create the outer shape, adding some light shading in the centre to give the illusion of depth. Add a simple thin line from each of the baubles to a branch for the string, then add shading to the baubles to make them pop. If this is your first-time adding shading to a sphere, try to follow the motion of a ‘C’ shape, starting darker on one side of the circle and getting lighter as you reach the centre, leaving a small gap on the other side. Add some shadows to the edge of your star shape – we’ve added a set of lines coming from the centre of our star joining at the points.
Finally, add some shading to the pot at the base of your tree – we’ve kept this as one shade, adding darker tones where the bottom branches of the tree hang as well as at the edges of the pot before getting gradually lighter. If you want to add more style to your pot, you can include shapes like stripes or polka dots instead.
And there you have it, your very own Christmas tree, ready to be surrounded by presents delivered by a jolly bearded fellow! We hope you enjoyed learning how to draw a Christmas tree step by step. The same technique can be applied to create Christmas trees using other methods – why not bring more trees to life in colour using paint, pens or colouring pencils?