The first step--pencil drawing (very simple and loose) of the subject. Use your eraser. Just get the basic shapes into the paper. Here it's the terra-cotta pot, center stem and branches.
Here I have started coloring the terra-cotta with a variety of brown, tan and orange pencils. My paper was more textured than I wanted (or is good) and the soft pencil lines didn't smoosh together as I would like. Try for a smooth card stock if you try this at home. I think I bought the pencil set at Staples. So, this is easy to supply.
Here is the pot filled in. I over-color in layers of different pencil tones. You'll notice the little sun drawn up in the top left corner. I put that there to remind me of where the light (sun) is so all the shadows will be on the opposite side. There is nothing more annoying (to the viewer of your art) than scattered darks without purpose. I also added the stem. A dark line on the right and a lighter pencil color on the left. A simple way to give the line volume.
Here is a sample of the stem line. The dark on the right, the lighter brown on the left. I started adding the needles.
Here is a diagram of needle placement. Start at bottom and then sort of shoot your pencil upward to make a needle. Look at your "model" (a little tree from the greenhouse or a branch from your Christmas Tree) and notice how the needles grow. Around the branch in a spiral. So try and replicate that, but simpler (less) and space them out so you can go back and use another color of green (or two) to add depth. The lighter color adds sparkle.
As you can see in this close up of the needles, I have lighter colored pencil marks closer to the little pencil "sun" and darker needles where the "sun don't shine" as much. The stem also needs needles so remember to add them. At the very bottom you can see one spear shaped leaf. This is the original "baby" leaf for this little Norfolk pine. I colored it as I did the stem. One side (right) darker than the left (light) to give the little leaf some shape and volume.
This is a very forgiving project. Oh- I filled in the pot with "dirt" of various darker browns. Leaving little white spaces for the perlite that is in the mix I use. In other years, I collected mosses to top the soil and that made the picture interesting. I think I used three different mosses I found in the woods.
In general, a very good artistic tip is to use, one, three or five of anything. Odd numbers. So if you only find one kind of moss--fine. But don't use two. Try and find a third one. Odd numbers "read" better to the human EYE. This is true of bouquets and perennial beds also. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 etc. ( it may even be true of children and husbands (1, 3, 5)) In the drawing above - only one baby leaf--but generally baby (seed) leaves come in two.
Now, go find some smooth card stock, sharpen any colored pencils you have, get a plain lead pencil, an eraser ( I like the white ones) and then find a "model". Like I said--a snippet off the Christmas tree. Roll your shoulders. Relax. Draw. Color. You can do it. Just like Kindergarten. If it's awful? Turn the paper over and start again. Each time we try--we learn from the previous mistakes.
When I make a series of 10 of these, all the same tree, I can see where I learned from the first ones. Where I goofed. What worked. Same with those Doodle Trees. As the work progressed they got better. The first one (like babies and husbands) is the most difficult. (smile)