For many, cherry blossom trees (or a sakura tree) in bloom are one of the most beautiful things in spring. Thus, it is not surprising that the cherry blossom tree is a popular model for drawings or paintings.
In this article, we will draw a cherry blossom tree together step by step using colored pencils. To follow this tutorial, besides colored pencils, we need a hard pencil (H2 or H4, an HB will do in a pinch) for the sketch. If you have never drawn a tree before or want to brush up on some basics, take a look at the tree drawing tutorial in advance.
Let’s start by defining the trunk and branches in a sketch. For my drawing, I took inspiration from bonsai trees, which is why the trunk is curved in shape.
Depending on your needs, you can also define the crown of the tree in this step. It will later be formed by the many small flowers. For my drawing, I choose not to do this because I’m not sure yet how exactly I want to shape the tree crown.
While drawing, you can add more branches.
Since we are drawing a whole tree, we should not even think about drawing every single cherry blossom. Rather, we draw the cherry blossoms in the form of small, isolated clusters of strokes. We can also draw them as circles.
It’s best to work our way from the light to the dark colors. Always pay attention to which branches are in the foreground and which branches are in the background.
Once we are happy with a spot, we can add some green leaves. I would recommend drawing the dark brown branches only when you are sure what the neighboring spots look like. To make the branches look more natural, you can let them peek out between the cherry blossoms.
In the beginning, the drawing may look a little strange. But if you continue to draw and the tree crown becomes fuller, it will look much more realistic.
For the branches and trunk, I use a dark brown colored pencil, an HB pencil, and a precision eraser.
We can draw the branches below the blossoms darker if we want since the blossoms cast shadows on them. But, the further away the branches are from the tree top, the lighter we can draw them. Before we shade the branches and trunk with the HB pencil, we can color everything with the brown pencil.
Depending on where the light source is in our drawing, we determine the location of the missing shadows.
In my drawing, the light is coming from above. I trace all the lower areas of the branches with the HB pencil to set shadows. I then use the precision eraser to remove a little color along the upper edges of the branches.
I take a similar approach with the tree trunk: This alternating use of pencil and eraser is fun and adds a lot of texture to the trunk.
This last step is optional because the drawing of the cherry blossom tree also looks great without a background.
For my drawing, I decide to use a very subtle background. It consists of simple mountains drawn in shades of gray that get lighter and lighter toward the back. This way the tree doesn’t stand in nothingness, but the background doesn’t distract from it either.