palm tree drawing

Palm Tree Drawing – A Tropical Tree Sketch for Beginner Artists

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Palm trees are very distinct in their structure, making them very different from other types of trees. Palm trees are often associated with more tropical environments, however, they are quite versatile and can be used in various landscapes and artworks. Learning how to draw a palm tree is also a unique exercise that challenges your sense of depth and how to create dimension. With a palm tree drawing, we will learn a very interesting process of creating a realistic representation of a tree through the use of linework. This easy palm tree drawing will help you understand how to utilize the layering process to create a realistic and three-dimensional quality within a tree.



Step-by-Step Guide on Drawing a Palm Tree

We will start this tutorial on how to draw a palm tree with some basic sketching, where we shape the palm tree in its most fundamental shape. We can then start to lightly sketch in some general details to help understand the placement of various features for our palm tree sketch. From there, we will proceed by working with color to define the structure of various leaves.. Lastly, we will refine the artwork by adding more colored layers to the various details, working with a lot of lines for the pal leaf drawing process. We will take our time with the palm leaf drawing part, building layers of various greens to achieve both the light and darker quality of leaves in our palm tree drawing. One we have ourselves prepared with the right materials, we can now benign the process on how to draw a palm tree.

how to draw a palm tree


Step 1: Shaping the Palm Tree

We want to start by creating a light palm tree sketch, working out the general shape of the leaves and the trunk of the tree.

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A good suggestion is to work with a reference image throughout your plant tree drawing process. As we proceed, we can form our leaves in a more banana leaf-like shape, to help us understand the form of the palm leaves as they fall.

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We want to allow these leaves to flow in various directions, this is where the leaves will change in scale depending on which ones sit in the foreground and background.

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We can also start adding in some light shading, to help us understand how light interacts with the structure of the tree.

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Naturally, the base of three is quite shadowed as the palm tree casts a shadow over the trunk. We want to bear in mind that there will be shadowed and highlighted areas of the palm tree.

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We can then lightly erase our palm tree sketch, leaving behind some ghost lines to assist us in refining the shape of the various features.


Step 2: Refining the Shape of the Palm Tree

We can now work on refining the shape of the palm tree with more distinct linework to bring more shape to the different features.

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We want to capture the structure of the narrow trunk and the bulbous structure from which the leaves sprout. This structure has little protruding structures, which we can draw as little rectangular shapes. Try to imagine how the leaves will be shadowed on their underside and illuminated on the top of the structure. This will also show you how the leaves become lighter as they shift outwardly, therefore being more exposed to the light.

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Take your time with shaping the palm tree sketch, getting comfortable with how the leaves flow and how shadows will be present in certain areas. Again, consider looking at a reference of a palm tree to assist you with your drawing.

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Step 3: Adding Colored Details to the Palm Tree

We can now start working in some color into the different features. Starting with the more simple trunk feature, we can start building up tonal values of browns.

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We can also add in some distinct darker areas to define shadow formation. Another good idea is to make one side slightly lighter to suggest a direction from which the light source is present.

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Now that we have the shape of the different leaves, we can start working with those guidelines as we add lines to define the leaflets on each palm leaf.

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We can also start working on some brown linework to bring more shape to the branch structure at the base of the leaves at the top of the trunk.

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You can also start working in some lighter brown colors on the lighter side of the trunk. Try to work with a spectrum of browns to maintain a wood-like quality in the color of the trunk. Try to work with darker green lines, slowly drawing in leaflets within each palm leaf shape. Try to work with the outline of the banana leaf shape to scale your leaflets for each leaf.

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We can also start to work with lighter green colors to define highlighted moments on the leaves, this will start to define an illuminated quality within the palm leaves.

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We want to keep the darker areas predominantly near the base of the leaves, where they all group and connect to the tree trunk. We can then start to work in a lighter green layer on top of the darker strokes to create layers and quality of light exposure on some leaves.

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Step 4: Refining the Leaves With Linework

We want to start building up layers of green coloration into the different leaves within the palm tree sketch. The idea is to be conscious of how they will be more exposed to a light source the more they flow outwardly from the center of the tree.

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That being said, we can also be strategic with darker and lighter greens to create a sense of depth between trees in the background and trees in the foreground. This means we can have some palms darker than others to suggest three-dimensionality in the structure. As we continue and see how they build up, we can start to work in these lighter green leaflet lines that are present in the foreground. By layering these lighter green lines on the darker greens in the background, we emphasize the quality of three-dimensionality.

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We can also add some abstract lines and strokes of orange in the center of the palm tree to represent the fruits that are generally in the center of a palm tree.

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We will see that the more lines we add are quite an abstract structure, which gives us a lot of freedom. We can start to be loose with our linework, having moments of refined leaves to balance out the abstract quality.

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Naturally, the more lines we build up, they start to merge, but we can then have moments of leaves that are distinct to maintain a realistic quality. This is especially important for the leaves that extend outwardly and are more visible along the edges of the tree.

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Slowly take your time working on these different leaves in the tree, building up these layers of lines one at a time within each palm leaf drawing.


Step 5: Adding Distinct Details

This is where we can be strategic with distinct details, adding specific linework to the structure of the exposed leaves along the edges. This is where we make sure that we capture the shape of the leaflets in each palm leaf.

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We can also do this with lighter green marks on the leaves that extend into the foreground of the palm tree drawing. Also, try to maintain a sense of the banana leaf shape as you add in these finer details.

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We can also add some highlights to the geometric branch structure at the base of the leaves near the top of the trunk. We can keep these details loose without too much detail, by adding simple light strokes.

palm leaf drawing

As you add in these details fairly loosely, you will see how the tree will look realistically with these details contextualized collectively.

easy palm tree drawing

Most importantly, work on the layering of the green leaves, as you add in both dark and lighter strokes for the leaflets. This will slowly add more dimension to the structure of these leaves and how they sit on top of each other.

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You can also add some detailed linework to give more texture to the trunk of the palm tree. And that it is it, a palm tree drawing done with a simple and digestible drawing process.

how to draw a palm tree



Tips and Tricks to Remember

  • Shape the palm tree drawing with a light sketch. Take your time to shape your palm tree sketch, capturing the proportions as best you can.
  • Take your time with the palm leaves. Slowly shape the palm leaf drawing process through the use of linework to capture their form correctly.
  • Slowly build up your colors through layers. Be loose with various greens, shifting between darker and lighter applications of light green lines.
  • Consider a light source direction for lighter and darker leaves. You want to keep your lighter greens predominantly on one side to maintain uniformity in the interaction with a light source.

palm tree drawing


Palm tree drawings are quite simple, once you realize that you can be quite loose with the application of lines to represent palm leaves. The idea is to work by adding lines on top of one another, slowly building these layers to create the impression of a palm leaf. You can be more abstract in the dense areas of leaves where they group, and more specific with the shape of lines in the leaves that are more exposed.



Frequently Asked Questions


How to Color Leaves in a Palm Tree Drawing?

The colors of a palm tree vary, however, in this tutorial, we will look at a more tropical representation with vibrant greens. It’s important to understand that as you add in linework with different greens, you are conscious of the direction from which the light source is present. This will allow us to add lighter greens and yellows to represent those highlighted leaves that extend into the more exposed areas, where the light source may interact with them. We can then, on the opposite side of the tree, add in darker green leaflets that establish more shadowed areas and darker parts of the leaves that are less exposed to a light source. After that, it is about slowly building up these layers with the light source in mind as a way of navigating the placement of these different colored strokes.


How to Draw Palm Leaves?

A palm leaf drawing is more simple than it appears and could be considered the same as a spine drawing. What is meant by this is that a palm tree has a center structure called a petiole that flows into the rachis, like a spine. It then has connecting leaflets that are quite thin and become pointed near their tips. We can draw these features quite linearly, with strokes that depict the leaflets. The idea is to draw the center structures (petioles) in various arched directions flowing from the top of the tree. From there, it’s about building layers of these leaflets through the application of linework. We can layer these lines with different colored greens, slowly creating density, which results in a palm leaf drawing.


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