Draw a Doodle Style Snowy Forest in Procreate
In this article we’re going to use Procreate to draw a simple snow covered forest scene with a sunset background. I think that forests are magical and if we add both snow and a sunset, even more so! This project is very straight forward, and suitable for beginners who are just getting the hang of Procreate.
We’re going to use a couple of brushes which are presets in Procreate and one brush set which is downloadable from Creative Fabrica. Alongside the brush set, we’re also going to use some tree images, both of these things are linked below.
You’ll see that the tree images included in the downloadable are the tall, thin type of pine trees which you see in Northern Scandinavia – they’re also known as Lappish Pine. We’d recommend downloading the files and saving to your iPad’s camera roll ready for when we import them to our canvas. It’s also a good idea to download and import the Winter Forest Brush Set before we start as well. You can also use your own tree images or brushes, as long as they have branches and you’re able to add snow to them.
So, let’s get started. Create a new canvas by tapping on the + in the top right hand corner of your Procreate gallery page.
How to Draw a Snowy Forest in Procreate
The first brush we’ll use is Monoline, you can find this in the Brush Library under the Calligraphy category.
Choose a peachy pink shade, and draw a line around about halfway up, from one side of the canvas to the other. Hold your pencil on the screen to ensure the line snaps straight.
In the Brush Library, select Soft Brush from the Airbrushing section.
With your brush size at around 20%, and opacity set to 100%, draw a straight line across the page, directly on top of our original Monoline one. If you haven’t already worked it out, this is going to be the basis of our sunset.
Repeat this step with a yellow shade.
And then finally, repeat again with a light blue, but fill in the whole top section of the sky.
Now, let’s blend them together! Open the Adjustments menu (the button which looks like a magic wand) and tap on Gaussian Blur.
You’ll see a percentage appear along the top of your canvas, slide your pencil to the right to increase this number. The higher the percentage, the more blur and the more your colours will blend together. Let’s blend ours to around 20%.
Add a new layer, and then select your Monoline brush again (in the Calligraphy section).
In a darker shade, draw a line along the bottom of the sunset – the same way we created the original peach line.
We’re going to add a little background to our creation now. Using your Winter Forest Brush Set, select the option named Christmas Tree Brushes 1.
On another new layer, begin stamping this brush along the horizon in a white, or very light grey shade. These trees don’t have to be in a straight line, as we want them to appear like a dense forest in the background of our main design. Experiment with your brush size so that you have a variation of trees, we don’t want them to be uniform.
Keep going until you are about half way along the horizon.
Tip: when adding or creating new elements to any project, always work on a new layer. This means that you can easily undo any mistakes or make changes, without affecting your previous work.
Add a new layer, and in the Winter Forest Brush Set, select Mountain Brushes 2.
Using the same technique as you did for the trees, stamp the mountain brush along the rest of the horizon – experiment with sizes to give an uneven effect.
Our mountains are already textured and slightly opaque, so let’s replicate this effect on the trees. Tap on the layer containing your trees, and then on the N next to the layer check box. Select the option Soft Light.
You’ll see that this makes your trees look faded – this will help them look more like they’re in the distance and slightly hazy.
Now, open the Actions menu (the one which looks like a wrench, on the top left hand side of the screen) and select Insert a photo. Choose one of the pine trees from the Nordic Pine Tree downloadable set. I’m going to use the first one in the set as it’s slightly more “twiggy”.
Once your tree has appeared on the canvas (it’ll automatically import onto it’s own layer), create a new layer above this and select the Monoline brush.
Using a white shade, and a brush size of around 30% (you may need to play around with the brush size, we don’t want it to be too bulky but also not too sparse!), draw rough lines over the branches like below. This is a really easy way of creating a snow effect.
Fill up the whole tree.
Open the layers panel, and swipe right on both the tree image and the snow, and then tap Group.
Tap on the group, and rename this Tree 1.
Open the Actions menu, and again insert the same image.
Add a new layer, and repeat the steps of adding the snow. The reason we’re doing it twice, is so that our snow doesn’t appear too uniform when we come to create our forest.
Group your second tree and snow together, and name the group Tree 2.
Ok, so let’s start creating our dense, Lapland-like forest. On Tree 1’s group, swipe left and then tap duplicate.
Drag your duplicated Tree 1 to the top of the layers list.
Use the transform tools to resize your duplicated Tree 1, and position it to the left hand side of your canvas – you can overlap the edges if you like.
Repeat this step by duplicating Tree 1 and Tree 2 randomly, as to ensure we don’t have uniform trees. When you duplicate either Tree 1 or Tree 2, remember to always drag the new group to the top of the layers list. This way, we ensure that we know where our originals are.
Tip: if you duplicate already duplicated images, sometimes they lose quality along the way. It’s best to always duplicate your original element or image.
Keep doing this until you get around two thirds of the way across your canvas. Leave a space, and then fill in a little at the right hand side.
Open the Actions menu, and Insert a photo. Select the original tree image.
Use the transform tools to make the tree bigger, and place it in the gap you’ve left. Ensure Uniform is selected or your tree may distort.
Create a new layer, and using the Monoline brush, draw snow on this new tree. Make your brush a little smaller as we want the snow to appear more intricate, with it being in the foreground.
Fill the whole tree with snow and then group your tree image layer and the snow layer together. I’m going to rename this group Big Tree – just so that I don’t get confused!
If you have any gaps around your big tree, you can duplicate Tree 1 or Tree 2 to fill them in a little.
Another thing we can do to make the trees appear less uniform is to rotate them. Select a few of your trees at random, and using the transform tool, tap Flip Vertical from the menu along the bottom of the screen. This will flip your trees so that they point the opposite way.
Next let’s add a little bit of texture which we’ll see through the gaps in the trees. Select your layer which contains the bottom half of the canvas’ background.
In your Winter Forest Brush Set, select Snowdrift Texture 2.
Paint this all over the background, behind the trees. This will give an effect of a snow covered forest floor.
Our next part of the project is a little tricky, and it’s optional. As our image is of a sunset, we can add a little pink hue to the treetops, you can stop here though if you wish, and the project should look something like the below.
If you want to try this step, go to your Procreate gallery page, swipe left on your project and tap duplicate.
We’re doing this as we need to merge some layers, and we don’t want to lose the ability to edit our original artwork.
So, open up your first group containing a tree. There should be two layers within each group, the black tree and the white snow on the top. Drag the layer containing the snow out of the group, and then up to the top of the layers panel.
Once you’ve dragged all of the snow layers to the top, group them together.
You might also want to tidy up your tree layers like below, it’s fine if you don’t though as it won’t affect the project.
Please note that in the screenshot I also didn’t include the snow from my Big Tree, but I changed my mind later on and included it, so you should do this too.
On the group which contains all of your snow, tap on it and then select Flatten. This will merge all of the layers together; and this is why we duplicated our entire project, just to save us from any errors or if we want to go back and make amendments later on.
Create a new layer, ensuring that it’s placed above the snow layer. Tap on the new layer and select Clipping Mask. This will ensure that anything we draw will only appear on parts which already contain something.
Tap on the Selection tool, and ensuring Freehand is selected, draw a wiggly shape across the tops of the trees. It can be as big or small as you like, and should not be exact.
Ensure a light peachy pink tone is selected, and then tap on Colour Fill. Next, tap on Feather and increase the percentage until you see the colour take an ombre effect.
Ok, so we’re all done. This project is relatively quick and a doodle style, it’s not meant to look overly realistic but there is so much scope to make this your own, and play around with colours, brushes and elements.
Let us know how you get on in the comments, and what your favourite Winter destination is!