How to Draw Palm Leaves

Here at Mission: Palm Trees

Palm lovers can get the info needed to ease their concerns. While enjoying our articles & having fun without unneeded shoptalk lingo & tiring research.

Our How to Draw Palm Leaves guide will easily teach you by step step methods. Even if you have little drawing experience.

Because so many love the aura of palm trees? They evoke warm, comforting feelings of tropical beaches and delightful summer vacations. If you've ever wanted to capture that essence on paper, you've come to the right place.

I myself have experience in drawing, even professionally, in a "former life" 🤔 But it's been my hobby since childhood. I took some classes, via mail courses & one at an art school. Then in my 30s & 40s, I became a sign painter.

I'll work my experience into your lessons, to help you with some good fundamentals. Finishing with a satisfying drawing of palm tree leaves.

Will you then get into more creativity in your palm drawings? We hope this How to Draw Palm Leaves tutorial will spur that on!

A teenage is sketching a feather palm frond, sitting at a table with a supply of pencilsLearning how to draw palm tree fronds.

Beginning Needs for Drawing Palm Leaves

Initial planning is the best way to go. Do you already have any of the required things? Or something that would be valid to substitute for effective artwork?

Let's begin what is normally recommended for getting into pencil drawing.

FTC Disclosure: If you purchase via a link/ ad on this site, we may earn a small royalty. There's no added cost to you. Thanks much for any looks/ orders! Details>

Drawing Supplies You'll Need

Let's first evaluate and then gather needed materials. You'll normally need these specific items while you're learning how to draw palm leaves. They're pretty basic, actually.

Drawing Pencils

It's helpful to at least have a few of varying Shades of Drawing Pencils. Shades are created by the hardness or softness of the graphite. Soft shades make darker artwork, hard shades produce lighter areas in drawings.

Drawing pencils are labeled accordingly. They typically run from the hardest at 9H, to the softest at 9B. Midrange pencils are (from hard to soft) H, F, HB & B. Those 4 pencils can do the job adequately for most simple drawing needs.

However, you can choose among all the grades. If you'd like to do that, I'd suggest getting these three: 4H, HB  & 5B. The exact center of the hard to soft graphite grades is HB. If you only want to have one drawing pencil, HB is the one to go with.

Sometimes they come in Drawing Pencil Kits with ranges of hardness/softness. But you can always purchase individual drawing pencils at an art supply store.

Drawing Pencil hardness going up the stepsStepping Up From Soft to Hard - Which is Suitable for Your Palm Frond Drawing?

Drawing Paper

Your paper is important, since you don't want your pencil point causing holes or rips as you work. You'll also think of the paper's texture, which is somewhat important.

Let's consider your drawing experience, for choosing the Best Paper for Your Artwork.

If you're an absolute Beginner, then it's good to start with a Practice Drawing Pad. That would be relatively heavy paper, likely labeled somewhere between 50 to 70 lbs (22-31 kg). For getting used to accuracy in drawing, a Slightly Rough Paper surface is also recommended.

Created Artwork on Paper for Beginners or the More Experienced:

As a beginner, when you're done and satisfied with your practice, it's time to move along to finished work. For those experienced with pencil drawing, here's where you can jump right in! 

We recommend even Heavier Paper for Artwork. That should be between 70 to 80 lbs (31-36 kg). Even heavier if you're really going for a polished, pro look to your completed drawing.

Now that you're ready to work on your achieved drawing, definitely switch to smooth paper. Although it doesn't hurt either way, to use smooth paper throughout.

Erasers

The best overall type for correcting errors (what? there will possibly be errors! 😲) is to obtain a Kneaded Eraser. They do not cause smudging or dust.

  • A kneaded eraser can lift graphite off from your paper. The eraser will be dirty afterwards, but then just "knead" it around - mushing the dirty areas into the clean. For good reuse.
  • Sometimes for creative effect, they're used to purposely smudge areas of a pencil drawing.
  • They also can be molded to just hit into specific areas.

If you're just dabbling for drawing palm parts, This Kind of Eraser may suffice. I often use this very one for larger areas, then sometimes clean up with the kneaded. I'm happy with it.

Assorted Best Drawing Supplies

Have a Model

Palm tree with feather leavesLeaves of a Feather Palm - Model This
Fan Palm with its leavesLeaves of a Fan Palm - Model This

Have a picture of a palm leaf to view as you're drawing. If you have access to one, a real palm frond in front of you would be wonderful.

Are you ready to create your own simple piece of palm art? Let's get started!

Understanding Your Drawing Model

First, let's understand the basic Structure of a Palm Leaf. To draw one, think of your intention: will it be a feather frond, or a fan frond. As that will make a difference.

Fan leaves typically have a pretty thick stem (a petiole). Starting at the palm's trunk up to the attachment to the leaf.

Feather leaves have a long stem (petiole) arising from the trunk. Which at some point shows leaflets arranged on either side of the stem (then called the rachis).

Keep your chosen palm frond in mind as you draw. Think about its structure.

Begin Learning How to Draw Palm Leaves

Step One

Begin by Drawing the Stem.

This is the support for your palm leaf.

  • Make a long, slightly curved line in the middle of your paper. Then make another similar line flanking the first.
  • As you get toward its end, taper it, so it gets smaller in width toward the end forming a point.
  • At its beginning, the thicker end, enclose it there with a line arcing inward.
Explanation for a pencil drawing of a palm leaf stem

Step Two

Draw the Frond Blade

The blade is the expanded section of the frond. What people usually think of as The Leaf. Feather leaves look quite different from a fan leaf. Draw your lines lightly at this stage. As you go along, you'll likely erase & adjust.

Drawing Feather Leaves

Let's add leaflets. Start from a few inches down from the top of your stem.

Palm tree feather frondsView Finished Feather Leaves for Modeling
  • Starting there, with light strokes, draw a line outwards, making it curve a little.
  • Draw the leaf's other side, beginning at the same starting point. Make the line curve out the opposite way.
  • Then bring it back in to attach at the end of the first line. 
instruction to draw a leaflet on a feather palm

CONTINUE WITH MORE

Repeat this process, by continuing to add leaflets the same way. Drawing on both sides of the rachis, working your way down.

Palm leaves are not perfectly symmetrical, so don't worry if your leaflets are not identical. This variation makes them look more natural.

demonstrating how to add feather leaflets to complete a frond

ADD SOME DETAILS

Draw several small parallel lines along the length of the leaflets. Representing veins involved in leaf nourishment. This gives your palm leaf a realistic texture.

diagram of a palm leaflet showing the veins

Optional:

For a realistic look, let's refine the edges of your leaflets. Palm leaves often have serrated edges. Erase the straight edges of your leaflets, replacing them with small leaf edge zigzag patterns. Do small areas at a time.

This adds a satisfying level of detail to your drawing.

poster shows fronds and the type of palm they grow on

Drawing Fan Leaves

Fan palm tree leaves have segments of varying depths into the blade.

Palm tree fan frondsView Finished Fan Leaves for Modeling

You can start with drawing a large circular line. Very light, because you'll be changing it.

Start drawing the stem (petiole) from near the center of the circle, curving the line slightly. Draw it outward, past the circle's edge. Then draw the line that's the stem's opposite side. Gradually make the stem a little wider as you exit the circle.

Inside the circle close the stem with an arced line.

Adding a Stem to a Circle to create a Fan Palm Leaf

Most fan species have divided edges called segments. They can vary in length.

Approximately midway out from the center, begin sketching narrow, tapering triangular shapes. Ending with a point near your circle's edge. To begin creating segments.

Making zigzag lines to form segments of a fan palm leaf

Now the circle's lines between the points can be erased. The circle's outer area will turn into a zig-zagged shape.

Then add a few light parallel lines, for veins, as explained for feather fronds.

Erasing fan palm areas to effect the zigzags

Step Three

Let's add some depth. Using a darker pencil, shade the areas between your lengthwise vein lines.  Here's help for Understanding Shading Techniques.

Swoop your pencil strokes from the petiole or rachis toward the leaflet/segment tip.

Potted feather palm treeObserve the shading on this feather palm.
Pencil drawing of a fan palm treeObserve the shading on this fan palm.

For both feather & fan leaves, you have a choice of several shadings:

  • Draw darker shaded lines, leaving some intermittent white areas. Or shade it in completely.
  • Use a harder pencil to create shades of gray in multiple areas.
  • Using variable lighter strokes, shade in the entire stem - imitate the method you used as a kid for crayons in coloring books.

You can also do a mix/match for any of the above. Thinking of realism, shading gives your drawing a three-dimensional effect. To enhance the artsy appearance of the leaves.

PRACTICING & FINISHING

The tutorial "drawings" here were created with Paint. We're thinking you're doing much better than that, so far! By using drawing pencils.

Now that you know how to draw palm leaves, isn't it time to try to draw a whole palm tree? You'd begin by drawing the palm's trunk. And then attach feather or fan leaves, as you're now good at that! 🤗 Drawing multiple palm leaves sprouting from around the trunk's top.

It's not as hard as it might seem. Give it a shot, With This Drawing Assistance>

There you have it! You've learned how to draw palm leaves, step by step. Remember, practice makes perfect! Even if your first few attempts don't turn out exactly as you'd hoped. Keep practicing, and soon you'll be able to create beautiful palm leaves. 


Takeaways for How to Draw Palm Leaves

Drawing is a wonderful way to relax and express your creativity. It's a simple, traditional pastime that can bring a lot of satisfaction. Plus, it's always fun to learn something new, isn't it?

When you become sufficiently proficient, your palm tree drawings can decorate your home, be turned into gifts, or used for homemade greeting cards.

Whatever you decide, you'll enjoy knowing how to draw palm leaves. It's your own personal accomplishment. After all, there's something incredibly engaging about creating your own piece of art.

Happy drawing!


You might like these