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How To Draw A Hawaiian Palm Tree Scene On Graph Paper

Updated on April 15, 2017

Graph drawing enables the artist to focus on precisely one aspect of the sketch at a time. People of all artist abilities use the graph method for drawing, but this tool is especially useful to novices who want to focus on learning how to draw things by hand. Today people can use computer programs to create images that look like hand drawings, but there is something to be said about actually drawing something with your own hands. The lines on the graph can be completely concealed with a medium such as markers, or a medium such as colored pencils can be used to allow the graph to show through. For this drawing, I decided to use colored pencils because I like how I can sharpen these to a fine tip, and I wanted to give the drawing the look of gazing through a window with a grid pattern on it.

A drew a picture of a Hawaiian palm tree scene using the graph method.  I used colored pencils to try to cover up the graph, but some of it showed through and gives the illustration an interesting effect.
A drew a picture of a Hawaiian palm tree scene using the graph method. I used colored pencils to try to cover up the graph, but some of it showed through and gives the illustration an interesting effect. | Source

Above is a photograph of what my finished drawing looks like framed, but you can see the steps below that I used to achieve this drawing.

Make a graph on your drawing paper and over the reference photograph.
Make a graph on your drawing paper and over the reference photograph. | Source

The first step for creating the graph for your sketch is to put a graph over the reference photograph. I placed the photograph in a transparent photo album page, and then used a permanent marker to draw lines over it. The photograph is 4 by 6 inches (10 by 15 centimeters) and the sketch paper is 8 by 10 inches (20 by 20 centimeters). Thus, when creating the sketch of the palm trees I am enlarging these by about 50% from the size of the photograph, which exemplifies how the graph drawing method is good for enlarging anything. You could always use a computer program or a projector to draw something perfectly to scale, but there is just something fun about sketching by hand.

I began the sketch by focusing on one box on the graph.
I began the sketch by focusing on one box on the graph. | Source

First I begin sketching out the palm trees on the graph.

I sketch more details on the palm leaves as I examine the reference photograph.

Here I am sketching on more of the palm leaves.
Here I am sketching on more of the palm leaves. | Source

I continue added the individual leaves to the palm fronds in the sketch.

Here the palm tree in the foreground is beginning to take shape, and I am beginning to add the palm trees in the background.
Here the palm tree in the foreground is beginning to take shape, and I am beginning to add the palm trees in the background. | Source

After I have finished drawing the focal point tree than I begin sketch the trees that appear smaller because these are in the distance.

Trees in the distance are being sketched in.
Trees in the distance are being sketched in. | Source

I also sketch in the bushes surrounding this palm tree scene.

The palm trees I am drawing in the distance are becoming a bit more distinct in this phase of the sketch.
The palm trees I am drawing in the distance are becoming a bit more distinct in this phase of the sketch. | Source

I keep sketching and adding more detail to the scene.

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Eventually I reach a point where I am happy with the details of the sketch, and I will be ready to color it in with the colored pencils.

I begin to color in the palm fronds of the focal point tree.
I begin to color in the palm fronds of the focal point tree. | Source

In this stage of the sketch I begin to color in the palm fronds of the focal point palm tree. Using colored pencil will not completely cover up the graph, but I decided it will give the impression of looking through a window that had a graph on it

Coloring in more of the main palm tree's fronds.
Coloring in more of the main palm tree's fronds. | Source

I used a variation of light and dark green colored pencils with colored in the palm fronds of the focal point tree, which helps to give its leaves some dimension.

More palm trees and bushes have been colored in.
More palm trees and bushes have been colored in. | Source

In this phase of the sketch I am coloring in more of the surrounding palm trees and bushes.

Beginning to color in the trunks of the palm trees.
Beginning to color in the trunks of the palm trees. | Source

In this phase of the drawing I am beginning to color in the trunks of the palm trees with several different shades of brown colored pencils.

Now I am coloring in the grass surrounding the bushes and the palm trees.
Now I am coloring in the grass surrounding the bushes and the palm trees. | Source

I am using a green colored pencil to color in the grass around the palm trees and bushes in this Hawaiian palm tree scene.

Coloring in the blue sky.
Coloring in the blue sky. | Source

I decided to jump ahead to coloring in the sky and to come back to coloring in the grass a bit later.

Continuing to shade in the sky.
Continuing to shade in the sky. | Source

In the photo above I am continuing to shade in the sky with a blue colored pencil.

In the video above I am still adding details to the palm tree drawing.

The sky has been completely shaded in.
The sky has been completely shaded in. | Source

In this phase of the sketch a blue colored pencil was used to color in the blue sky portion, and white and blue oil pastels used to create the effect of the clouds.

Above is a video of the completed colored pencil drawing of the palm tree sketch.

The Hawaiian palm tree scene is now framed.
The Hawaiian palm tree scene is now framed. | Source

I purchased a basic wood frame to hang and display my Hawaiian palm tree drawing on the wall.

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