I started making needles for the branches that will surround the cone. Lots of needles. It finally made sense to me to make myself several templates to trace rather than draw each needle individually. Several, so that not all the needles would be exactly the same—a little variation in bend mostly. I got a bunch cut out and they looked like green beans laying on my cutting table.
I once made a small, postcard-sized piece that was green beans. It was for a magazine article, but I digress.