The Best Way to Draw a Tree in Inkscape

Just when you think Inkscape has a tool for everything, you come across a tool that literally builds a tree from scratch. Let’s take a look at this awesome extension.

Step 1

You’ll find this feature in Extensions > Render > Random Tree. Go ahead and select that and you’ll see a dialog box like the one below. The only two settings are Initial size and Minimum size. I set those to 100 and 4 respectively.

Since these are completely random, I kept checking and unchecking Live preview until I got a tree I was happy with.

random tree extension

Step 2

Here’s the totally random tree I ended up using. Looks cool already, doesn’t it?

inkscape rendered tree

Step 3

Now we’re going to add a big Stroke of about 40px to give it a leaf-like look. Make sure the Join is set to Miter to keep it nice and jagged. And of course, I gave it a nice green Stroke color as well.

add a stroke

Step 4

Since there’s so much detail here, it’s probably running pretty slow. Make sure you select your tree and head up to Path > Stroke to Path. This will convert this into a much more simple shape.

color the tree

Step 5

Now we need to chop some wood! Just grab the Pen tool and draw a shape that we’ll use to roughly separate the leaves from the trunk.

divide the parts

Step 6

Select both the tree and the shape you just drew and use Path > Division. You should end up with something that looks like the tree below. Go ahead and give that trunk a brown color.

path divide inkscape

Step 7

Unfortunately, that leaves our leaves looking particularly bad on the bottom. To fix this, let’s just copy and paste the leaf bunch and flip it vertically.

duplicate leaves

Step 8

Then you’ll need to tinker with positioning a bit to get it to look just right. After all, your tree will look entirely different from mine.

Optionally, you can select both leaf objects and do a Path > Union to merge them.

place leaves on the tree

Step 9

Then, I copied the entire tree top and flipped it horizontally, shrunk it, rotated a bit, and gave it a slightly darker green color. You’ll see below that it adds some depth.

add some shading

Step 10

For even more depth, I wanted to add a shadow to the tree trunk. To do this, I copied the tree top and tree trunk and gave the tree top a black fill with a 50% opacity. Leave the tree trunk in position as we’ll be clipping it for a proper shadow.

Now, make sure the tree trunk it on top of the shadow, select them both, and head up to Object > Clip > Set.

create a shadow

Step 11

You’ll end up with a small, perfectly cut shadow to place over your trunk. I used Align and Distribute to center it vertically, and to align to the top of the original tree trunk.

position trunk shadow

Step 12

Just to add some finishing touches, I added some ground and sky. Looks pretty darn good, doesn’t it?

draw a tree in inkscape

And We’re Done!

This is such a unique feature in Inkscape, I couldn’t resist sharing this. I’ve been using Inkscape for years and I just found this fun little gem – it truly does draw a great tree! Go ahead and give this a try, because the possibilities of a randomly generated tree are endless. Thanks for reading!

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