Quick Tip to Paint Fullness in a Tree Canopy

Paint fullness in the tree canopies of your artwork.

This quick tip will help you paint volume in tree foliage for more roundness in your work.

tree photo with paint fullness domes

From Flat to Rounded Fullness

There are times when viewing my paintings that I think the trees appear more flat than round. So I need to remember while I’m painting, to think in a way that will help me convey fullness in the canopy of trees. Today I want to share a simple tip of how we can get fullness in a tree canopy.

tree photo with large canopy

  • Envisioning The Round

    A method that can help us have fullness in our trees is to think of trees as broken up into leaf clusters of large, medium and small size irregular domes.

  • Think Large Dome:

    Think of the entire tree canopy first of all as a dome. Even as we brake the tree down into smaller clusters, we want the total tree to have the look of roundness. This is why we start with one large dome.

Tree photo with large dome

  • Values To The Domes :

    That dome would have a light side, a medium side, and a shadow side, even though we can see light breaking through various areas. But if we think of it in the dome form, it will make it simpler for us. See the whole tree as having light, middle, and dark sides.

tree photo with roundness values to the dome

  • Think Medium Domes:

    We also want to recognize that the tree has clusters of leaves that are medium-size domes which branch out of the large dome, such as the three shown in the image below. When we think of it that way, we still want to have a light side, middle side, and shadow side. This will help us paint fullness at this scale of the tree.

    Tree photo with medium domes

  • Think Small Domes:

    We have to go down to the next size of domes, as well, to realize that there are smaller clusters of leaves. These branch out of the medium size clusters. I’ll only show a few here, for the smaller clusters can be many. Each of these small dome cluster of leaves must also have a light side, a medium side, and a dark side. If we envision the tree in this manner, we’ll have a better chance of painting fullness in the total, overall tree.

    Tree photo with medium and small domes

tree photo with small domes

  • The Tree Trunk and Branches

    Let’s also view the trunk of the tree as being a cylinder that has a light side, a medium side, and a dark side. And all the branches that go out into the leaf clusters as cylinders of various sizes that have a light side, a medium side, and a dark side.

    tree trunk photo with roundness cylinder

Quick Recap to Paint Fullness

Envision the entire tree canopy as a big dome with three values to give a sense of roundness. Then out of the big dome are medium size leaf clusters that become domes with their values. Out of the medium size domes are the small cluster domes that catch the light, the medium, and the dark. Now we can paint fullness in our trees by keeping this simple concept in mind.

tree photo with all size domes and cylinder

  • Group the Leaves:

    Try not to paint leaf after leaf after leaf, but do them as blocks of shapes; groupings that will give the light, medium, and dark values. Then have a few individual leaves appear at the edge of the groupings. This simulates the look of lots of leaves without drawing or painting every one of them.

  • Irregularity:

    Be careful not to get a dome shape appearance in the artwork. We still want irregularity in the look of the tree canopy.

The dome concept is to help us remember how we can give values of light, middle, and shadow tones, to paint fullness in the tree canopy. Check out my related video post “How To Paint Roundness In Even Light” for additional tips and tutorials.

Hope it works for you! Try it out and let me know how you did!