Is the thought of drawing natural looking landscapes nothing short of a nightmare?
Looking for a better way to create realistic landscapes in colored pencil?
I’ve been using colored pencils for fine art for many years, and one of the most difficult things I’ve ever tried to draw are natural looking landscapes. Balancing color, value, hard and soft edges, and all the rest is like juggling plates. Get one thing wrong, and the drawing suffers.
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of things to make drawing a landscape easier, and have narrowed my favorite techniques down to three: using a same-color under drawing (direct drawing,) using an umber under drawing, and using a complementary under drawing. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Over the years, I’ve written a number of articles for this blog and elsewhere dealing with landscapes. So today I’d like to share some of the best articles from here and from EmptyEasel.
Drawing Natural Looking Landscapes (13 Must Read Articles)
General Landscape Drawing Tips
Getting landscape greens right is one of the more difficult parts of drawing a natural looking landscape. For years, my greens either looked neon or all the same.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. This article describes two methods for drawing more realistic landscapes with the tools you already have. They’re not the only methods, but they have produced the best results for me.
Looking for overall tips for drawing landscapes with colored pencil? This post is for you!
You’ll also learn about a few common myths about drawing landscapes, and get basic tips on selecting a subject, composing your drawing, and more. A great article if you’re thinking about drawing your first landscape.
Specific Landscape Drawing Tips
What’s a landscape without a sky?
This article walks you step-by-step through the process of drawing a clear, blue sky. Includes tips on color selection, layering, and burnishing for smooth color and value gradations. Basic tips also help you choose the right colors for any type of blue sky.
This step-by-step tutorial describes my method of drawing the deep greens of summer. Learn how to use the direct method of drawing to draw natural looking summer landscapes, how to layer colors to create natural looking landscape greens, and more.
Drawing green grass is one thing.
How do you draw grass that’s starting to fade, and shift from the greens of summer to the browns of autumn?
See step-by-step how to combine greens and earth tones to capture the end of summer look for your next landscape drawing.
Learn to draw brown autumn grass in eight easy steps. It’s also a great article if you want to add accents of tall grass to your next landscape drawing.
Even if you aren’t planning on drawing an autumn landscape, this demonstration is a good drawing exercise!
One of the neatest things about drawing landscapes is the endless variety of atmospheric conditions. Rain. Snow. Storms. Wind.
This one-part tutorial shows you one way to draw a foggy morning. The method uses the texture of the paper and a process of laying down and lifting color to create patches of fog.
Full Length Landscape Drawing Tutorial
Drawing landscapes with colored pencil can take a long time. One way to speed up the process is by combining water soluble colored pencils with traditional colored pencils.
This post is the first in a series of four posts detailing drawing a landscape using water soluble colored pencils for the under drawing, then finishing with traditional colored pencils.
Other posts in the series are:
A Landscape Drawing Tutorial on EmptyEasel
I’ve also written about drawing natural landscapes for EmptyEasel. In fact, my first two articles many years ago was a step-by-step tutorial showing how I used the umber under drawing method to draw a landscape.
An umber under drawing can be the perfect foundation for a natural looking landscape of any time or in any season.
But how do you get started, and how do you know which colors to use for the under painting? Or doesn’t it matter?
This post includes tips on method and color selection in addition to walking you through the drawing process one step at a time.
Of course, once the under drawing is finished, you have to add color.
Part 2 of the tutorial walks you through the glazing process, and includes specific information on the colors I used, and tips for keep those greens from getting out of control.
If you’re a dedicated landscape artist, there’s much more about drawing natural looking landscapes on this blog and on EmptyEasel. Search for landscape drawing articles and read to your heart’s content!
These thirteen will get the rest of us started on the road to drawing better landscapes. I hope you enjoy them.