Forest Styles

This tutorial is a little less of a traditional tutorial and more a way to show you the effects of different styles. This time we’ll take a look at how you can draw different kinds of forests. You can use these techniques to differentiate between the different kinds of forests in your world.

Disclaimer: In this article I talk about trees. However, I am by no means a tree-scientist. If you wish to acquire in-depth information, visit your local tree-scientist.

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Step 1: Coniferous or Pine Forest

Coniferous forests are found between 30-75 degrees latitude north and south of the equator for earth-like worlds. These forests consist of pointy trees with pointy leaves. Imagine them like cones pointing upward. Instead of round shapes like we used in the Forest tutorial we’ll work with more angular shapes.

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Step 2: Deciduous Forests

Deciduous forests are found between 30-60 degrees latitude north and south of the equator for earth-like worlds. These forests drop their leaves on innocent adventurers during autumn. These trees are very ‘bush-y’. Use round, cloud-like shapes to draw these trees.

As you can see I have also added a little detail around the tree line. I drew a solid black stroke underneath the viewer facing trees and then used an eraser to cut out the tree trunks. This adds some detail to the trees and gives the impression of a very dark and dense forest.

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Step 3: Jungles

Tropical jungles are found around the equator for earth-like worlds. These are dense forests full of (dangerous) wildlife. Drawing jungles can be very similar to drawing deciduous forests, except with some palm trees and leaves thrown in the mix.

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Step 4: Kingdom Come

Finally I want to share an example from my all-time favorite maps: the ones from Kingdom Come: Deliverance. I want to use this, not particularly to illustrate a specific style, but rather as an example of how I developed mine. There are dozens of different ways to draw forests, mountains and icons. When you see a style that you like, try to find out what you like about it. Once you find that out, try to copy it until you get comfortable with it. Then you can start playing with it until it becomes your own thing.