View Full Version : Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

01-11-2007, 12:49 AM
When Jay D asked me to instruct a landscape class here at Wetcanvas, I was excited for the opportunity. Over the past few years, I have visited here many times to use the Drawing 101 Classes and I am honored to contribute to them!

WHO AM I? An Introduction

For those of you who many not be familiar with me or my work – I am Diane Wright. In 2002, I picked up my art pencil again after 20+ years. I have a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the University of Northern Iowa. During this break, I devoted my time to my family and building a career. My children are now grown and it's now time for me to explore my arts again!! I live with my husband, Les, in the small town of Mitchellville, Iowa.

I work full time as an IT Manager and have a part-time art business. I keep busy doing commissions, selling artwork on my website www.dianewrightfineart.com, providing printing services for graphite artists and creating on-line tutorials. I am also looking into conducting local drawing workshops this summer.

This past year I was contracted by Walter Foster Publishing company to write a drawing instruction book. It is a tremendous opportunity that has been a great experience. The book is scheduled to be released in June 2007.

But that is enough about me!

Let's talk about drawing landscapes....

01-11-2007, 12:53 AM
Drawing Landscapes in Pencil??

Why would anyone want to draw landscapes in pencil? Aren’t they boring in black & white? My answer to that is an emphatic “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” The subject matter is endless and black & white imagery has a timeless quality to it. Landscapes can be just as dramatic as any other subject matter. Adding elements of atmosphere or dramatic weather conditions can add even more to them.

FIELD TRIP – A Trip through History in Landscape Artwork
Landscapes has been a subject matter for artists through out the past few centuries. Let’s take a field trip through some of the most influential artists:

Dutch Baroque Era - Johannes Vermeer

English Romantic Artist - John Constable

American Scene Painters
Ashcan School – New York City – Urbanscapes
Robert Henri
Edward Hopper

Hudson River School - dramatic landscape painting

Contemporary Realist - Andrew Wyeth


Here are just a few excellent graphite artists who use landscapes as subject matters. You may recognize a few of these artists….
Barbara Fedeler - www.olsonlarsen.com/artists.cfm?cmd=display&artist_id=714
Nolon Stacey - www.nolonstacey.com
Mike Sibley - www.sibleyfineart.com
Ryan Jacques - http://www.ryanjacque.com
Craig Carlson - http://www.ccarlsonart.com/wildlifeart2001/pencils/pencils.html

01-11-2007, 12:55 AM
Drawing Basics
I will be making some assumptions that you understand drawing basics. If you need some refreshers – please refer to previous Drawing 101 Classes. I will be explaining and demonstrating how drawing basics apply to landscapes as we go through this series of classes.

Goal of this Landscape Class Series

Many artists are intimidated with landscapes. I hear from many artists that they don’t know where to even start. Through this series of lessons, we are going to tackle each element of nature in a separate lesson.

We will explore each topic slowly, keep the lessons simple and through step-by-step instructions, we will learn how to draw each component of a landscape.

Here are the elements we are going to learn to draw:
Skies & Clouds
Composition and Putting it All Together

So let’s get started with our first lesson!!!

01-11-2007, 01:00 AM
Start by just looking up.

Ever since a fellow artist challenged me to include a sky in one of my drawings, I have been keeping my mind in the clouds. I am continually amazed at the beauty of just looking up in the sky! Over the past couple of years, I have been learning the importance of toning the sky and adding clouds as part of overall compositional improvement in my landscapes. I think I could spend hours and hours fiddling with each puff of white!

Start looking up to the sky and observe cloud formations. Take photos of clouds and you will be amazed at what you will start to “see”!

What’s the purpose of a sky?

Is it important to put a sky in? There isn’t any clouds in the sky so why should I shade it? I use to think this and if you visit my website, you will see many of my earlier works did not include a toned sky. For a long time I didn’t even “see” tone in the sky. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the impact of adding a toned sky to the overall landscape.

Here are some of the things a toned sky will do for your drawing:

1) Broadens the range of tones available in your drawing. The white of the paper can now represent the highlights only.
2) Creates uniformity to your drawing composition
3) Adds an additional sense of reality to your landscape.
4) Adds atmosphere and sets the ‘mood’ of the scene.

Here is a drawing done to illustrate the importance of a toned sky and why the sky/clouds should be considered in the overall compositional study of any landscape.

I have chosen to a very simple scene with a white barn. My only variable in the three drawings is the inclusion of a sky and clouds.

The first image is a drawing without a sky. The drawing is very stark and the sky (the white of the paper) is competing with the white of the barn.

The second image is much better by adding a toned sky. The white barn is now the focal point as the toned sky accentuates and brings the entire scene together much better.

The third image incorporates a toned sky as well as including clouds. The clouds add depth to the scene as the clouds recede into the distance. They also create a visual directional flow for the viewer. The clouds lead the eye through the drawing and add interest as well.

01-11-2007, 01:01 AM
Cloud Formations and Cloud Types

- Stratus - Wispy light clouds
- Cumulus – white puffy…cottony
- Dramatic – rain clouds - thunderheads
- Back lit clouds - sunsets


- Skies are lighter at the horizon and go darker as you go up the sky
- Clouds use perspective – smaller and tighter the farther in the distance they are
- Unless the sky is the central part of the drawing, light wispy or under-stated clouds work well
- Use clouds to lead the viewer through your landscape
- Clouds have form and are 3 dimensional – they just don’t have any lines are hard edges
- The more dramatic clouds – the darker the base tone should be (this allows more range of tones)

Drawing Materials:
This is a very specific list of the materials that I use. Substitutions can certainly be used. Experimentation and adjustments are expected to customize these techniques to your style of drawing.

- .5 mm Mechanical Pencils F and 2H lead
- Chamois
- Tortillion - small
- Blu-Tack
- White plastic eraser
- Small Ruler or T-square
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board
- Make-up brush

The following tutorial is available on my website and can be downloaded in .pdf format.

01-11-2007, 01:03 AM
4 Steps - Drawing a Sky with Clouds:


I use a loose-hold hand position when creating the cross-hatching. I find the just weight of the pencil on the paper will create pencil strokes that are light and consistent.

I cross-hatch 3 layers of graphite onto my paper using the F lead. The first layer is placed horizontal on the surface, the next two layers are diagonal.

01-11-2007, 01:05 AM

Using a chamois wrapped around my index finger, I blend the graphite smooth. Chamois with a firm, and even pressure. It may take several passes with the chamois to create a smooth even tone.

Be sure to blend over the edges of the drawing area as well as overlapping the buildings, trees and horizon areas. It is much easier to erase than to add a missed section later.

Avoid touching the surface of the paper with your fingers. It is at this point in the blending process that blemishes or finger prints will magically appear. If they appear, it is very difficult to fix (unless they happen to be in a cloud formation) and many times I just have to start over!

I will add 2 very light layers of crosshatching with 2H lead and blend with the chamois again. This creates a nice smooth finish. I trim the edges of the drawing using a t-square ruler and a plastic eraser.

01-11-2007, 01:07 AM

I use a mars plastic eraser with a chisel edge and erase my clouds into the sky. For light wispy clouds I use blu-tak and just drag it across the surface.

01-11-2007, 01:11 AM

Use a 2H lead pencil to layer in darker areas next to the whitest tops of the clouds. A tortillion is used to blend in and work in the details. By blending, lifting, erasing and layering in more graphite, the clouds emerge on the paper.

I soften the clouds by using the blu-tack. To make more dramatic clouds darken the background sky. This allows white cottony clouds to be more fully formed. Keep in mind that unless your drawing’s emphasis is the clouds, they should not compete with the rest of the landscape. They should be subtle and gently lead the viewer’s eye through the scene. Typically I use light wisps and hints of clouds in most of my landscapes.

I usually spend 5-8 hours just drawing the sky and cloud areas. PATIENCE is key in creating smooth skies.

Once you the basic technique of creating smooth tones and general cloud formations, the sky is the limit to all the possibilities and variations you can create. Every moment… every hour… every day…every season…the sky changes it’s mood and design, providing us with an unlimited resource of inspiration to our landscapes.

For a step-by-step demonstration of a landscape with dramatic clouds, visit my website works in progress:

My Mind is in the Clouds

Sunsets & Dusk Images

Here is a quick study (less than an hour) on clouds in the early evening just as the sun is thinking about setting. The clouds are backlit by the sun and are darker than the sky. The trees are mostly in shadow and most of the details are subdued. This is a small drawing only 4.5" x 7". The sky is a lighter tone than the clouds and is just a reverse of regular clouds.

Assignment 1:
Practice this step-by-step technique. Start with a small 5x7 area. It may take several tries to get a smooth even tone. Don’t give up! Post your practice attempts.

01-11-2007, 01:19 AM

Use your own photo reference, explore the wonderful Wetcanvas Image Library or use the image provided below. This one I picked from the WC library (taken by Coyotegal) for it’s beautiful cloud formations, it’s simple landscape, and the chance to use perspective in drawing the clouds as they recede into the distance.

Here is the link to the library image:


Turn your photo into a grayscale image. This will help you work through the values.

Post your reference photo and your work!!!

01-11-2007, 01:22 AM
Assignment 3:

Here is another challenge. Back-lit clouds. You may either use your own reference photos or I have included this one from the WC Library (taken by Redwood).

Again, I would turn the image to grayscale to help you determine the grayscale value ranges.


Post your reference photo and your work!

01-11-2007, 01:28 AM
I hope you enjoy this series of classes. There is nothing more exciting than to start looking around you and 'really start to see' the beauty of your surrounding landscape. Sharpening your skills of "Observation" is your best friend when it comes to drawing!

I'll be here to answer questions and offer suggestions as needed!!

A .pdf file of this tutorial is available on my website (at the bottom of the page) http://www.dianewrightfineart.com/drawing-sky-1.htm


01-11-2007, 01:44 AM
Wow, very well done Diane. I'm sorry I can't jump in here at the start of things. I'm in a large project mess at the moment. I hope to join in at a later date though. Looking forward to seeing more.


01-11-2007, 01:56 AM
Looks like fun already, will work on assignment and post in the afternoon. Really looking forward to this, Diane, glad to meet you.

01-11-2007, 02:28 AM
Hi Dianne :-) this class looks exciting!!! very thorough and well explained thankyou!!!
It couldnt have come at a better time as my back has given out and i have to take a break from my commissions and lie flat on my back.. but this will be something i can work on with a clip board im looking forward to getting started!!!!

01-11-2007, 03:46 AM
Wonderful tutorial, thank you so much for all the work this must have required. I hope to be able to have a go at this over the weekend.

This thread is certainly worthy of a five-star rating! :D

01-11-2007, 06:30 AM
ok this is harder than i thought lol..... im going to love this class though as landscapes so don't come natural to me lol....
i have never drawn with these grade pencils so im not sure if i did it dark enough..
hmm my main question so far is.. when you draw the clouds should you have a light source direction worked out?
ok here is my first attempt... i will def keep practicing tomorrow!!! i think i need lots of practice lol

01-11-2007, 07:17 AM
Well done for being the first! :clap: The sky looks nice and smooth. My guess would be that light source direction would be important; at least, that's what I've been told in watercolour class!

ok this is harder than i thought lol..... im going to love this class though as landscapes so don't come natural to me lol....
i have never drawn with these grade pencils so im not sure if i did it dark enough..
hmm my main question so far is.. when you draw the clouds should you have a light source direction worked out?
ok here is my first attempt... i will def keep practicing tomorrow!!! i think i need lots of practice lol

01-11-2007, 07:30 AM
Thanks Dave :) this has to be a first normally im lagging behind lol....
I had another go.. i am going to practice more tomorrow.. its getting late here now... but i think lots of practice is in order lol.... im so out of my element with no fur to draw anywhere lolhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Jan-2007/76807-cloud2.jpg

01-11-2007, 07:42 AM
Wonderful tutorial Diane. Thank you. :)

I couldn't resist playing a little with the first, even though I'm at work and it is on lined paper! lol I will start in earnest at home tonight or tomorrow.

01-11-2007, 08:11 AM
when you draw the clouds should you have a light source direction worked out?

Naomi - you are a quick study! Meaning you picked up on it very quickly!! These are excellent!! To answer your question...ABSOLUTELY!

The ones you have right now work beautifully as light wispy clouds. But as you start to create more dramatic clouds you will want to create more depth and dimensionality to them. In order to do that, a light source will be important as well as shaping and shading those puffs of white.


01-11-2007, 08:12 AM
Yay! The time is here!

Thanks Diane! Fantastic tutorial!:clap: :clap: :clap:

Here is a lil practice. I think I could use some more value variations. The original is a lil darker than this.

01-11-2007, 08:56 AM
Thanks Diane :-)... i will have a go at some ones with a defined light source tomorrow i have been wandering around your website very inspiring work!!

01-11-2007, 09:40 AM
Hi Dianne, I am in as well--AL, you get back in here!! I just signed up for the masters project as well but will work on this one this weekend. Nice work!

frieda L
01-11-2007, 10:45 AM
Oh my, I just got up, checking right away to see if the class was posted... and it is in full swing! It seems everyone is reenergized in the new year...
Diane, thank you sooo much, I have no idea where you find the time, it is so much appreciated.

01-11-2007, 10:56 AM
Hey Diane,

Good to see you here! That was a great tutorial. I'm knee deep in alligators just now so time is tight, but I will be giving this my attention when time permits. I always found landscapes in oils to be lots of fun and not terribly difficult for me ... portraits were impossible. Now that I'm working exclusively in graphite, portraits are coming very easily while landscapes elude me. Sigh. No shortage of things on the ToDo list ...


Mary Woodul
01-11-2007, 11:01 AM
Diane, this is a brilliant and wonderful tutorial! Thank you for doing this for the forum. At the moment I am in a mentors program that is taking up all of my concentration but if I find a way to do both I will definitely be here.

mike sibley
01-11-2007, 11:49 AM
Hi Diane,

I'm going to follow this with a great deal of interest. I've toned skies, I've suggested hints of wispy clouds, but I've just realised that I have never attempted a cloudy sky. Time to learn something new!

01-11-2007, 03:09 PM
Diane, thanks for a brilliant tutorial. I'm hoping to have something done for the weekend, I'll post it then. Thanks again :thumbsup:

01-11-2007, 04:35 PM
Naomi- I love your whispy clouds!

I just love your technique Diane. I am finishing this one up. I think to do a lil more lifting w/ the blu-tack yet and any other critiques would be appreciated.

01-11-2007, 04:39 PM
Judi, that is real cool

I haven't started yet, might have to wait until weekend


01-11-2007, 04:57 PM
Thank you for this thread and your clear instructions Diane :) I think I am a little out of my depth but am enjoying the lesson anyway. This is my work through step 3. I can see right away that the main cloud is stacked too upright, like a plate of pancakes :D but I hope to remedy that in step 4.
I had such trouble getting my image into the correct format for a download that along the way I seem to have the wrong crop of my work-
ah well! guess I'll correct that in my next reply too.

01-11-2007, 05:09 PM
Judi omg!! awesome clouds!!! did you only use the F grade and the 2H or did you use a softer lead?
i look forward to the finish of yours Ruth :-) as for me i am going to be working on mine today

01-11-2007, 05:23 PM
Here is my reference photo and my piece (only partly done). I stopped here because the area in the lower-central-left (where the rainfall is visible) makes my head spin. I'll do more work on it tomorrow.

01-11-2007, 05:29 PM
Judi - You are smokin'!!! :clap: This is absolutely beautiful. I have no suggestions for improvements and I might have to take some lessons from you!!!

Ruth - for the first try this is great. It takes a bit of practice to get those clouds looking right.

Alecto - You are doing fantastic. Your clouds are so dynamic!!

I am thrilled that you are all doing such a great job!


01-11-2007, 06:10 PM
Looking an booking in, see you later

01-11-2007, 06:17 PM
Here is my first practice. I didn't take too much time with my hatching and it didn't smooth out.


frieda L
01-11-2007, 06:32 PM
Judi and Alecto, incredible skies!!!
Ruth, you have an interesting cloud shape coming along!
Jeanne, hey, it's a cloud! I have always wished I could draw clouds and skies... and here we are!

hmm, a little intimidating, maybe, but oh so exciting to be able to paint alongside with the masters!!! Only on Wet Canvas...

All these clouds are so inspiring... actually we have a cloudy and rainy day here, which is very rare. Hasn't rained in months. That makes for a busy day in the gallery, no time for art, or for looking at the clouds. But just for the sake of checking into the class, here are two first exercises I managed to squeeze in... I will do many more, this is fun.

01-11-2007, 07:17 PM
Great tutorial Diane.. I wil start my assignments tonite;-))

01-11-2007, 10:35 PM
Thanks ladies!

Ruth-you are doing really well!

Alecto- awesome clouds!:clap: :thumbsup:

Jeanne-Good start!

Hi Frieda-looking really nice!

Naomi-actually for the dark one in post 30 I went a lil softer lead-2B-because it was sooo dark a ref.:o I ended up with over 9 sets of 3 way hatching. That alone took 2 hours. I will practice some more w/ clouds for a bg subject-though the dramatic one that is the main subject was a lot of fun!

01-11-2007, 10:45 PM
Great tutorial, Diane. I'm going to start looking up to the sky on sunny days & cloudy days, etc. to do more observing. The white of the paper competing with the sunlit building was interesting. I never thought of that before. I just assumed that meant it was a sunny day with out clouds.


Bill Linn
01-11-2007, 11:06 PM
Exercise 1.. Third time around :rolleyes:

Diane, thanks for teaching this class. We're learning already!


frieda L
01-12-2007, 12:34 AM
Bill, those are whispy clouds!

01-12-2007, 12:59 AM
hi everyone!!! man i am struggling with this landscape stuff lol.. i havent tried it before or using lighter leads... i have to admit i used a darker one for this pic until i just read judi's thread i didnt think about cross hatching more with the lighter grade.... another newy for me i havent done much cross hatching either!! hopefully i will be able to sit on my frustration lol because i know i will learn a lot from this class....
I am using a cheap paper as well because i didnt realise i only had a little arches left... i wonder if that makes it harder to go darker?....
lol im just looking for excuses!!!!!

Bill Linn
01-12-2007, 01:21 AM
Exercise 2.. Using the 5X7 sky from exercise 1

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2007/91502-exercise2r.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2007/91502-exercise2.jpg

01-12-2007, 02:59 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2007/84176-sunsetbwcrop.JPG http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2007/84176-bw_cloud_drawing.jpg

Bill I really like that tree picture. Did you get it from the RIL? It sure makes a difference with the clouds in the background.

01-12-2007, 10:58 AM

I just sent a note and don't think I hit the right key for it to send. (oops).

Thank you for the great tutorial you wrote. :clap: I'm going to review the beginning and work on it today and this weekend. I'm not sure if I can figure out how to post the results here (or if I'll want to <g>). There are so many accomplished/gifted artists here and I'm just beginning (and not-talented or gifted <g>) Oh well. That's okay. I like drawing and it's fun. So it doesn't matter yet.

Wanted to check in. Hope the group doesn't get a double message if so, sorry.

RileyLove/Shelley (EchoShelley)/Dt2

01-12-2007, 11:30 AM
Thank you Naomi, Alecto, Diane, Frieda, and Juli for your encouragement. There is some really beautiful work in the thread, I don't know how you all produce it so quickly. I am off now to tackle a little "detail" work - not sure when I will be back:)

Welcome to WetCanvas! Riley, you hit the right key to get here:) I have trouble with posting images too, but it is getting easier. There are some instructions on posting near the beginning of the Drawing and Sketching Forum that may be helpful to you. I'm enjoying the lessons and hope you do too.

Bill Linn
01-12-2007, 11:31 AM
Hi, everyone seems to be out of the gate at a startling pace! Great to see the "Magic."

"J".. The ref is from my collection of photos, my other hobby. (It seems to have taken a back seat since I found the pencil last September.) By the way, you've done quite nicely on your backlit piece, exercise 3, I believe. Keep it up!

01-12-2007, 01:15 PM
Bill just about everything in my life has taken a back seat since I found WC and that was in June. Can't see anything changing either. I love this site.

Great photo. I love the look of the tree, texture and shape. And the loneliness it projects.

About my backlit sky, thanks. I find it hard to follow a reference for the skies.

01-12-2007, 01:30 PM
Oh well, here goes....my first attempt.



01-12-2007, 02:07 PM
Here's my finished Assignment #3. Guess I have to go back and do the other two now. :angel:

01-12-2007, 05:20 PM
Rode from Florida to California and could not find a art store we could get into. Sooooo just going to practice on my canson sketch pad until I can get bristol smooth paper and pencils to do this class. Had to use a 2B pencil on these clouds.
I really like all the ones I have seen so far! :thumbsup:

01-12-2007, 06:04 PM
Diane, I have a question-is it Vellum or Smooth Bristol 300?


01-12-2007, 06:25 PM
This is great Diane, I hope to join in soon!
But I will keep reading and learning till I can!

01-12-2007, 07:24 PM
Diane, I have a question-is it Vellum or Smooth Bristol 300?

It's Smooth Bristol 300.

01-12-2007, 07:43 PM
Very nice tutorial Diane; I am going to give it a try. Thanks

01-12-2007, 08:04 PM
There are some amazing cloud formations here so far. Lovely work.

I've played a little and this is my test piece. Not on Bristol Smooth, which I regret as I hate the paper texture on this one. Its Strathmore Windpower Drawing paper. The piece is about 5 x 8

its interesting to draw and form clouds even though at first I sort of dreaded the concept. It looks much better in real life than this awful digital image. I need a photographer's light for the winter months! I'll try for a decent picture in daylight tomorrow.


01-12-2007, 08:11 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2007/65063-assignment_1.jpg here is my assignment one...i have such an awful time following directions...i even read them three times:p i had a terrible time with my h pencil ...so went back to a mech. pencil...and i know...its not white enough, because its overworked..it was suppose to be simple:o i tried dragging the blu tac...but it comes out wavy...etc..etc..i will try again Diane on assignment two...thank you...somehow i have a feeling all mine will be dark dark days:evil: tyree

frieda L
01-12-2007, 09:29 PM
I've been spinning clouds for two days... when I close my eyes I see... clouds!
Great skys guys!
hmm, who knows, I might do those skies for Anita just yet... I had no clue where to start.
will make a picture tomorrow in better light.

Bill Linn
01-12-2007, 09:45 PM
Nice finish Alecto. Those clouds must be from that nasty weather system you sent our way a couple days back! :)

01-12-2007, 10:42 PM
Wonerful lesson, Diane. I do need this. I found an F and HB pencil, which I have never used, as my hands aren't very strong. I usually start my drawings with 4B and get darker from there. I have Bienfang Bristol, no other information on the pad. For the first assignment, I had to do at least 8 layers of 3 kinds of cross-hatching, first alternating the F and HB, only getting to 2B for layer 7 to get any real color. The first image is a 1 inch sample of the 5" x 7" sky base, blown up to show detail - or not, as it may be. I adjusted the resolution in the scan but not the darkness. Then the sky base, last of all, the clouds. Still clumpy but better than some I have done. I did try to put a light source coming from the right. Note - there are some blotches on my scanner, so the base looks more blemished than in real life.

01-13-2007, 12:19 AM
Hi Diane,
Stepped into this class, because I really have problems with clouds, this looks like it could help me. I'll give it a shot, and post my results.
One question though,:confused: On Step 3- What is a "blu tak", please forgive me
for being ignorant. Thanks, looks like this may help, will start it tomarrow!
Take care...:clap:

Bill Linn
01-13-2007, 02:53 AM
Exercise 3... First try. Will work it some more..


01-13-2007, 08:10 AM
Phew!! Sorry I am late for class Diane. I always have trouble getting around this site. Oh well !! Here now!! I spent 2 hours looking at the artists' work at the beginning of your lesson and catching up on all the post reading. Everyone seems to be picking up very quickly on their clouds. Great job gang. :clap: I will probably not get to attempt any until tomorrow.
Once again...great tutorial Diane and thanks to Dot for helping me find my way :wave:

01-13-2007, 01:47 PM
Diane...this is a wonderful tutorial and thank you for doing it.

I can also see that it is a very popular one judging by the number of posts already and the rate at which assignments are being turned in.

Here is my attempt at the first assignment. I have tried to follow the instructions but I am not sure if I am getting the desired result. Will keep trying.


01-13-2007, 02:51 PM

Hi Tammy Jo,

You wanted to know what 'Blu tack' is. I have scanned in a picture of the packaging and some of the blu tack, and also enclosed a drawing which has blu tack top right corner.

It is originally used for sticking posters etc to walls without leaving marks, but has lots of uses - Mike Sibley British artist (see animal drawing section) has made it really popular here and over the world when his book came out and then his forum. Diane will be able to tell you more as to where you can get it, but we would be able to get it at a newsagent or general store in the stationary department.

In drawing it is used to erase mistakes like a putty rubber, but unlike a putty rubber you can also roll it into a 'sausage' shape' and when rolled over an area ie trees in the background, it will take up the graphite leaving a defined shape of the trees that instantly step back into the background. It is brilliant stuff.

Happy drawing

Dot :wave:



01-13-2007, 02:53 PM

You are welcome, hope you have fun here, reckon its as friendly as Mike's DrawingLinetoLife.


01-13-2007, 06:19 PM
Bill-That is wonderful work! Is the pic from your area? I like your lake scene a lot too!!

Shelley-I hope you do join in!

Dot-good work-and I really like the addition of the tree.

Alecto-Lovely and stormy!

Becky-really nice work!

Jeaneete-I think it looks good now-but hope you get the photo that portrays your work better.

Susan-looks great-but do you have a white plastic eraser?-that seems to help with the whites.

Connie-great piece! Your bg is soooo smooth!

Welcome Crystal!

Blah-long lost dear friend! So happy to have you back and really nice work!

I do not like this one as much as I liked my other. I am not happy with my transitions/smoothness-or lack there of. I think I am going to switch to clouds sunny day now.

01-13-2007, 06:29 PM
judi....i may have at one time owned a white eraser....but now theyre all gray and black....:lol: :p :evil: queen of the darks

01-13-2007, 06:34 PM
This a lot harder than it looked!!!

Here is my first assignment using a 9x6 piece of Smooth Bristol.

I have to share this rather embarrassing thought sequence....I only have HB and 2B leads for my mechanical pencils. But I have 4H, 2H, HB, 2B and 4B 2mm leads so I figured I would use the 2mm leads since I have a wider range. .... Completed the assignment using the HB 2mm lead.:o

Found this much harder than I had expected and am not real happy with the results even after several tries. I think it is too grainy. Tried chamois, tissue and felt for blending but none came out really smooth. The attached is the best of the lot using chamois. Maybe it is the graphite.:confused:


Bill Linn
01-13-2007, 08:36 PM
Judi: Thanks for the comment. And.. I like your dark, stormy looking clouds. I'm kind of like Joe, I can't seem to get the smoothness. Even went out and bought some chamois. I think my paper just has too much tooth.

Oh, yes, the reference photo I used is from a hiking trip with my grandson to a spot called Freeze-Out Ridge, it was July and there were snowdrifts on the north (shady) side of the ridge. That one lone cloud qualifies it I guess. :)

01-14-2007, 01:03 AM
Dot: Thanks for the info- on the blu tak, was out and about today, and stopped at a couple of stores, and found it. Going to try it out tomarrow, funny I had never heard or read about it before. Thanks!:clap:

01-14-2007, 02:23 AM
Judi...thank you for the welcome.

I agree with Joe, this is pretty tough. I am posting my second attempt at assignment1. I have darkened the background and tried to give some volume to the clouds keeping in mind that the clouds further away should be smaller and lighter in tone. At least that was what I tried to do :)


01-14-2007, 07:12 AM
Blue Tack is the silly putty of the art world only it lifts better! You will really get your mileage out of it. Also, check out our class on Negative Drawing by Mike Sibley--he is the Blue Tack Master.

01-14-2007, 07:41 AM
I can't keep up with you all!!! Great job everyone!

For those of you who are having trouble getting a smooth sky - try using felt. Use a firm pressure. It will sometimes smooth out areas that a chamois just can't quite do.

Joe - I find if I use any lead grade softer than F or HB, I struggle with the graininess too.

Dot - are you using mellotex or a really smooth paper? I'm thinking your background tone could be a bit darker. But I'm not sure how to recommend doing that if you are using a really smooth paper.

Another alternative is to use graphite powder and apply with a brush. Makes quick work of getting that initial layer down.


01-14-2007, 11:59 AM
Joe - I find if I use any lead grade softer than F or HB, I struggle with the graininess too.

Another alternative is to use graphite powder and apply with a brush. Makes quick work of getting that initial layer down.


Thanks Diane. For assignment 2 I am using 2H and 4H on smooth Bristol. At the moment I am working hard on that PATIENCE tip in your lesson. If this fails I may try the graphite powder but I am hesitant as my "graphite powder" is a 35 mm film cannister filled with the sharpening residue from some 4B and 6B woodless pencils which are obviously much softer than your recommneded F or HB.


01-14-2007, 01:51 PM
Joe - if it makes you feel any better, I spend about 8 hours working on skies in my landscapes.

I go over the areas with the chamois over and over and other again until they are smooth. You don't want to press too hard with the chamois otherwise you destroy the tooth of the paper and it gets slick.


01-14-2007, 03:40 PM
First try at this.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Jan-2007/88717-Cloud_drawing.jpg

01-14-2007, 04:02 PM
Wow...these cloud formations everyone has done are fantastic! I'm working on my second attempt. Diane, I found out first hand what you meant about the finger prints. My first drawing, after a long time on the layers of crosshatching, was horribly smudged. Just as you said, they came through during the smoothing process. I was much more careful with the second. I will hopefully be able to post my progress soon.

Thanks again for this class. These clouds really are harder than one might think!!!!


01-14-2007, 04:22 PM
I think it's time to stop on this one. They may not be the fluffiest clouds but to me they do look like clouds now that I've added some darks and done some blending. Used my homemade tortillon - it is a bit soft but I'll know to roll it tighter for the next one. I too got finger marks on my work but managed to lose most of them in the crop :D

01-14-2007, 06:04 PM
Hi Diane - sorry I'm late for class!! :eek: Here's my first attempt at some clouds.
Thanks for the tutorial - really appreciate it. I'll try and get the next part of the assignment done soon.

There sure are some fantastic skies being posted by everyone:clap:

01-14-2007, 06:21 PM
Hi everyone..
Here's the finish assignment 1.

The layering


The clouds formation


01-14-2007, 09:56 PM
Here is my 2nd assignment


01-14-2007, 10:00 PM
Well here is my attempt at clouds, I did puffy clouds intermixed with
wispy clouds. After working at it a couple hours. Had trouble scanning it,
had to change the format a bit for it to show up. I used the chamois, but the felt worked a little better. Thanks this was a great class, needed to learn this!!!!!:rolleyes: :clap: :clap: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Jan-2007/71359-classroomskiesclouds_001.jpg

01-14-2007, 10:02 PM
Can't see it well, here's the thumbnail, so sorry....:confused:

01-14-2007, 11:15 PM
Hi all,Must be getting better, sat in an arnchair today and able to sketch a little, must have been an hour. So here is my first attempt, think i will try another at least it doesn't look like a pekenise as it started out. cant sit at the "C" longer than 5 but tomorrow is another day.
Hopefully see you then and can catch up some more.
Keep smiling

01-15-2007, 06:24 AM
Hi All,
Great clouds so far from everbody.
Great lesson, Diane.
I'm still trying (this is gonna take a looong time for me).
I have some trouble with the hatching and create a smooth surface.
First I found out what Diane meant about those fingerprints. After a lot of hatching ... blending ... a whole field full of fingerprints.
Secondly, my wrisths (ehm?) don't like the hatching and smoothing, I must find a way to do this without the need of wearing my (wrist)braces the rest of the day (and a very angry therapist at the end of the month, already can hear her say "Why did you do that ?" LOL, my answer will be "I had to make a perfect smooth sky!").
My plan is to give the graphitepowder a go today, or try some softer pencils.
Well, still trying here, but I don't give up.

01-15-2007, 06:53 AM
I have some trouble with the hatching and create a smooth surface.
I'm keeping up with this class even though I haven't the time to participate just now.
I am wondering how you are holding the pencil when you crosshatch. If you are holding it upright you may be digging into the paper too deeply and the lines too hard making it difficult to blend out. I would hold the pencil underhand so it is nearly lying on the paper and use my elbow to move. That will give straighter lines and very light as you use very little pressure. The lines will also be wider so they will be easier to blend. Plus your wrist only must hold still. It takes some practice, but I think it would be the way to go.

Of course, it all depends on what kind of pencil you use. I use 2mm clutch pencils which lend themselves to this technique exceptionally well. Wooden pencils would need to have more wood cut away but would also work well. .5mm type mechanical pencils are too thin so they would not.

Food for thought anyway,

01-15-2007, 08:37 AM

You are very correct on the position that you hold the pencil in makes a difference. I use an under-hand, very loose hold of the pencil (holding the pencil at the back of the pencil), allowing the weight of the pencil to create the cross-hatch strokes. Working with a stiff arm and wrist also assists in this.

The pencils used is definitely a personal preference. I use .5 mechanical pencils and find they work wonderfully. I have tried using the clutch pencils and did not have as much success, but you find them to work exceptionally well. This is a perfect example of what might work for one individual may not work for another! Experimentation is always recommended.


01-15-2007, 10:20 AM
I use .5 mechanical pencils and find they work wonderfully.
I stand corrected. I would have thought a .5mm pencil would be too thin and fragile to use this way. Obviously you cannot press much at all for that reason, which forces you to be patient. By the same token, I'd think the 2mm size if shaped to a large and wide chisel would cover more area quickly and make blending much easier if used the same way.

Once I finish my current drawing I need to get to work on my website but eventually I intend to give this technique a try. In the meantime I've been reading your tutorials and checking things out on your website. I'm what you'd call a "professional" lurker. :p

Back to the shadows ...

01-15-2007, 10:46 AM
Joe - if it makes you feel any better, I spend about 8 hours working on skies in my landscapes.

I go over the areas with the chamois over and over and other again until they are smooth. You don't want to press too hard with the chamois otherwise you destroy the tooth of the paper and it gets slick.


First - Thank you for taking the time to share your talent and knowledge with us. The lesson is great! :thumbsup:

I have about 8 or so hours into Assignment 2 and it is starting to come around. I also discovered that the pieces of Bristol I am using are vellum not smooth. Is the difference great enough to account for some of some grainess?


frieda L
01-15-2007, 01:33 PM
I made some clouds last week and over the weekend, here they are...

an exercise

and the asignment... I used Dianes reference. At this point, I do not know how to make it better, my own critique would probably be that it lacks "life". It is 16 x 12, and irl the poles do look straight... I think.
Still cloudy here in the Baja, a rare treat... ordered specifically for this classhttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Jan-2007/22676-l102_lesson_9_exercise1_014.jpg

so glad there is a water class planned as well.... this was hard.

01-15-2007, 01:53 PM
Here is assignment 2. I kind of combined two reference pictures from the WC library. Those backlits look difficult, but what drama!!! Those are next.

Thanks again for these lessons, Diane!



01-15-2007, 02:25 PM
Assignment 2
Done on 9 x 6 inch piece of Vellum Bristol using H and 2H leads. This is about 10 hours work. Image is about 5 X 7 inch.

Still not great....but I think much better than assignment 1. :)

Dark spots are where I rested my hand on the paper instead of the slip sheet.:( Duh!


01-15-2007, 03:13 PM
One item about pencils - somewhere along the way, I learned that when you use a soft pencil, you have to finish with a layer of a harder pencil to fill in the holes in order to get a smooth finish. Can someone remember the reference?
I also found that the regular eraser will wear down on the sharp edge, but that a kitchen knife will renew that fairly well.
For assignment 2, this is supposed to be the Montana prairie reference. It developed much more individual personality than I would have liked. I have a hard time adjusting to thinking of negative space rather than drawing with a darker pencil.

Robin Neudorfer
01-15-2007, 03:20 PM
HI DIANE!!! What a wonderful lesson you have given here. I have been enjoying doing landscapes in a different fashion lately. Mine are from life, but if we have more glorious cloud formations I just may jump in here.
So glad to hear that your book is complete. That must be a relief.

01-15-2007, 06:02 PM
Hi Diane,

Yes, I'm using mellotex, and I see what you mean about darkening up. Mellotex has this problem. I think I will use the bristol board and try again, it is a bit more forgiving.

I haven't had much time over the weekend as I was trying to catch up on commissions, but hopefully I should get a shot one evening this week. It's now just about bedtime here, so will be saying nighty night in a mo.

Your class is great by the way, thank you. I see you gave a tip about using felt and or using powder. I think the felt might be good as I have the same problems with the chamios. Although I have washed it as Mike told us to in his book, there are some bits which just don't come out right and still seem to have that yuk about them that says they are no good. Other bits have hard bits through them and that makes them no use either. Maybe its where I'm buying them, but there is a range of quality here and a lot of it is no good even although you might pay more. So will have a look around for other ideas. I still like my tortillion though, but not so good for large areas.

I think I will go take some pictures of clouds tomorrow. We are having quite windy weather here at present, so the only problem will be keeping up with them :wink2:

A big hip, hip hooray for Diane and a great class :clap:


01-15-2007, 07:31 PM
One item about pencils - somewhere along the way, I learned that when you use a soft pencil, you have to finish with a layer of a harder pencil to fill in the holes in order to get a smooth finish. Can someone remember the reference?

Connie - I remember reading that either in Mike Sibley's lesson here or his book.


01-15-2007, 08:10 PM
Connie - Joe's correct! Mike's book is where I learned that tip from! It works wonders in creating deeper, richer tones.

In step one, I recommend using a 2H over the F to create a smoother finish.


01-16-2007, 10:57 AM
For assignment 3, I used a photo I took from my back porch this weekend. It has the romantic title "Sunrise over the Chicken Houses". I really had to work hard to get that much dark. The paper was getting slick and didn't like having any more layers added.

01-16-2007, 04:18 PM
Hi all
Here's another go, it looks better in the real. graphite on cartridge paper.
This is a photo and i wonder what is better, to scan or photo. Do get some reflection I believe from the graphite. Might help if i clean the glass.
Pleased with my progress as I am learning as I go.
Oh Diane, have you done any clouds from above, something I need to learn shortly. Must rest now see you later.

01-16-2007, 04:44 PM
Hi Les - nice soft-looking clouds and I see you remembered to make them darker near the top of the sky:) I'm wondering if I should try photographing these black and white drawings. I usually scan, but I've just scanned an assignment 3 (assignment 2 got lost is the shuffle :D ) and I didn't think it looked too bad IRL, but it looks terrible on the scan - shows all the grain on the paper. I'll have to do some more blending!
(Trouble with using the camera is that I have to go outside to get sufficient light, and at the moment we have snow on the ground)

01-16-2007, 06:18 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Jan-2007/65063-assignment_2.jpg here is assignment two...i cross hatched twice with mech .07 ..then a layer of graphite shavings..then used blu tak for grey clouds..electric eraser for whitest part...8 b to smooth dark area...this ones better then the assignment one...but everyone elses looks more like clouds...mine looks stylized as always...i bear down way to hard with the h pencils,,need practice....tyree

frieda L
01-16-2007, 06:34 PM
the more clouds I make, the harder it seems to be...
here is a start for assignment two... somehow I wonder if I am missing the whole point of this technique... I finally realize you can get some interesting values with the F and 2h pencils... nothing fluffy in my skies right now, though.
good job, everyone, lots of interesting clouds,yet all different.

01-16-2007, 09:21 PM
Thanks Ruth, yes tried to copy faithfully the tones. Funny how thr screen picture can be so differrent. Still a long way to go but as always perserverance pays so now to try the next one.
Oh I just thought, someone said somewhere to change the scan resolution for higher resolution, but I wouldnt know how. Wonder if you can do that in a graphics program? why not eh, where are you brains.

01-16-2007, 10:25 PM
Les - most scanners have some controls that can be changed. I find these work better than waiting until you are in the phpto program. Do you have the instruction manual? Desperation time. Actually I learned from my computer guru/daughter. If you send a ticket, she would be glad to help you.

01-17-2007, 01:07 AM
Cmwynn, yep, guess so but not grey haired idiot prove I fear, still twill be worth searching out that manual, Hmm last seen where? Would like to send a ticket, but & however, perhaps I should ask my 7yr old grandson for help.

Katherine T
01-17-2007, 03:58 AM
Hi Diane - I'm the tutor from Drawing 102 Class 3 on Sketching and I've been a bit busy with other arty things recently and haven't been back to the classroom for a bit. Imagine my surprise when I find the current class is on drawing skies and clouds - which is the theme of one of my current projects!!!:thumbsup::clap::clap::clap:

Canary Wharf Skies is a series of small works and occasional larger pieces which explore the endless variety of ways of portraying the sky in different seasons and at different times of day in one particular location (rather like Kevin McPherson's Reflections on a Pond series (http://www.kevinmacpherson.com/79/lp_746/skin_/pg_productdetail.html/sr_2)).

The series to date can be seen in my new small works gallery Canary Wharf Sky (http://www.pastelsandpencils.com/canary_wharf_sky.html) on my website. All of the works are 7" x 5" and are done in coloured pencil on Arches HP

I wondered whether people would like to what I've done so far - which essentially is drawing the sky that I can see from a window in my home. It's above Canary Wharf - hence the name Canary Wharf Skies. The gallery on my website will grow as the year passes. At present it has images ordered according to the time of day but I'm intending that this will eventually change to have them ordered by season.

Here are some images which I've already posted on the net so (you should see the file in which I keep the ones that never made it while I sorted out how to do clouds in coloured pencil!:rolleyes:).

Underneath each is the date and time of day which I'm portraying and this is linked to the relevant blog post on Making A Mark (http://makingmark.blogspot.com) if you're interested.

2nd January 2007: 7.55am

13th January 2006: 8.24am (http://makingmark.blogspot.com/2006/12/canary-wharf-sky-824am-13th-january.html)

6th December 2006: 3.47pm (http://makingmark.blogspot.com/2006/12/canary-wharf-sky-347pm-6th-december.html)

8th February 2006 4.51pm

18th November 2006: 4.52pm (http://makingmark.blogspot.com/2006/12/canary-wharf-sky-452pm-18th-november.html)

I'm finding that the most difficult thing is to get the values right - in terms of getting that 'glow' in the morning and afternoon - so practice in graphite comes highly recommended by me! And clouds very definitely have perspective!!!:rolleyes:

I look forward to coming back and seeing how you're all doing - I've seen some splendid clouds so far!

frieda L
01-17-2007, 09:51 AM
Katherine, thanks for sharing your splendid skies... my favorite is december 6, just incredible... and february 8, and all the others, actually.

01-17-2007, 11:48 AM
katherine...im with frieda..dec 6th is stunning....hey les..when you scan your photos you dont have a program you can go into that can edit them..to make your drawing darker or lighter...closer to what youve drawn???? as connie said the program comes with the scanner??? or am i getting confused on what you need????:confused: tyree:wave:

01-17-2007, 06:40 PM
Hey All-Glad to see everyone is above the clouds now and the sun is filtering thru! :D :clap: :clap:

Hi Katherine-So great to see you stranger! Looks like all is going well for you-splendid work!:clap: :clap:

I see you have your 5 star rating for your Class Diane:thumbsup: -WELL DESERVED--BRAVO!!!!:clap: :clap: :clap:

I didn't get my F and 2H leads for my mech pencil so I settled on the wood encased ones. I went for a lighyer cloud this time-and seems needs a lil more work in transitioning the values-naturally noted as I viewed on the monitor.:o :D

01-18-2007, 05:21 PM
Hi All - I am going to try to post two images in my reply. They are WIPs of a photograph by LMEighmy from the RIL. The first one is very grainy because I did not have a chamois or felt. The second one is after I phoned a friend who cut the felt feet off a stuffed door-stopper duck for me :D I have worked on the left side of the drawing with the felt and think it is already smoother and darker. I know I have to redo the whites. If anyone can see something that needs doing, I would be happy to hear about it before I get to the final stages. (This is assignment 3 - the backlit clouds. I was so interested in it that assignment 2 got bypassed, but I hope to go back to that eventually)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jan-2007/3715-cloudsbacklit.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jan-2007/3715-cloudslitcolor.jpg
p.s. realize I haven't shown the original LMEighty photograph - will have to back to the RIL to get it. Will post it a.s.a.p.

01-18-2007, 05:54 PM
Original photograph by LMEighmy.

01-18-2007, 08:25 PM
Here is my first upload to WC! The top is my first attept, which my husband and son didn't think looked like clouds at all and I was very disappoited that they couldn't even say it looked like a cloud as a first attempt:(
The second I just did and I went for smaller clouds this time. I didn't even ask them, I think it is good for only a second attempt:)
Please tell me what you think, I can take it:thumbsup:

frieda L
01-19-2007, 10:24 AM
Ruth, I love your back lit sky.You got it.
Leigh, I like your first one best, It has volume, I think you show the "thick" of the clouds, and I like the "disintegrating, but still cloudy" part you did as well. I find that hard to do.
I also did asignment 3 first... I will try to post no2 today.

01-19-2007, 01:20 PM
If anyone is looking for another backlight sky photo, slaterza has posted one in the Weekend Drawing Event that is spectacular.

01-19-2007, 03:21 PM
Hi Frieda - thank you for your kind comment :) I'm going to do a little more work on it to darken the darks and lighten the lights - and still try to keep the medium tones. I look forward to seeing your assignment 2.

Hi Leigh - I like your second attempt because it has more "sky" in it, which I think helps to define the clouds. Keep going, practice makes perfect for all of us :)

frieda L
01-19-2007, 03:35 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Jan-2007/22676-l102_lesson_9_exercise1_022.jpg for asignment 2, I used Dianas reference, I tried for light and fluffy. After I finished the rest of the landscape, I think it is probably all too light, barely there. I was also hoping to "blurr" the mountains on the left into the clouds. (On the picture at first I had a hard time seeing what was cloud, what was mountain, and I liked that)
good work, everyone...

01-19-2007, 06:34 PM
Thank you frieda and Ruth:) I'll keep practicing, got the next one started this morning:)

01-20-2007, 03:07 PM
Here is my first landscape, done with graphite powder, a 2H mechanical pencil and an eraser:) Loosely based on the ref in post 10 of this topic.

01-20-2007, 03:38 PM
I am so impressed by everyone's work here! I have been peaking in every day to see what's being posted and answering direct questions. But I apologize for not having time to actually sit down and post any comments!
I'm going to remedy that right now...

Jeanne - that is a great example of crosshatching with a little too heavy of a hand. It makes it difficult to smooth the lines if they are too heavy. Your second post is very very good!!! Love the sun behind the clouds and and rays radiating out. You have an interesting crosshatching pattern that is consistent throughout your drawing and actually adds interest to your scene. Nicely done!!

Naomi - beautiful beach scene with the sunset! You have wonderful use of tones throughout!

Bill - your landscapes are excellent. Incorporating the sky from one image to your tree scape worked very well.

Alecto - Nice finish to a tough image! Your thunderclouds and rain look fantastic!

Becky - I really like your clouds - you have subtle values in them and that makes them really look real!

Jeanette - You are getting some dramatic movement in those clouds. I could see smoothing out the upper portion of the sky to a more even tone - but that could be the paper you are using. I haven't tried the Windpower drawing paper yet - but then I am really hooked on the Bristol Smooth.

Tyree- What paper are you using? I have to agree with you that the sky is a tad bit dark. But an evening or dusk scene would look like this. The clouds have a wonderful rich texture to them and if I might suggest that a little more shading on the bottom of them - would make them more 3-d.

I've been spinning clouds for two days... when I close my eyes I see... clouds!
Frieda - that is exactly what I want to hear! BRAVO to you! I become obsessed with 'observing' and 'seeing' that there are times when that is all I see!!! But that's a good thing. That means you are mentally invisioning your subject matter.

With your second post - I can see you are really working to observe those wispy light clouds....great job!


01-20-2007, 03:50 PM
Connie, Joe & Blah - great sample clouds!!! :)

Judi - what can I say? Your clouds have to be the most dramatic. I can just envision the turmoil in those clouds. The dark center just brings so much depth.

Scrappie - I really like your clouds. These look like stratus clouds - the small tight clouds that create such interesting patterns. I'd like to see these in a landscape as they would really add depth since the clouds recede (get smaller) as they approach the horizon.

Ruth, Tammy Jo, Les & Lea - you are doing well with those samples!!

Chloe - Love the landscape. You did a nice job on the sun reflection into the water - good tones used throughout the scene.

Elizabeth - Love your scene with the kitty (I love cats!) You have nice movement in the clouds, the tones are smooth and just overall splendid scene!!

Joe - You are really concentrating on those clouds - and your efforts are paying off. You are getting some nice 3-dimensionality to your cloud formations. You might want to try felt or paper towels. They have a bit more abrasion and might be more effective on the vellum.

01-20-2007, 04:01 PM
Oh Diane, have you done any clouds from above

Les - do you mean like a view from an airplane? No I haven't. But I did get some awesome reference photos this fall when I flew to Las Vegas. I was tempted to use them for an assignment but not too many landscapes are drawn with "THAT" high of an aerial perspective! :) :) Judi's last post of clouds reminds me of clouds that are seen from that view....

good job, everyone, lots of interesting clouds,yet all different.

Frieda - I couldn't have said it better myself! I can see so many possibilities in landscapes and varieties and styles from all of these postings! What inspiration!!

Ruth - your last post (on page 8) with the back lit clouds is great! I can see the difference between the two and really like the softening of the second one.

Leigh - Keep working on those clouds and don't listen to the family members. They can be brutal and often inaccurate in their comments! With each posting I see you are doing BETTER!


01-20-2007, 04:07 PM
All of these posts have been great and I think everyone is learning from each other's efforts!

Some things to remember when drawing clouds -

They are 3-dimensional with a light source. Adding shading at the bottom and sides of a cloud will enhance that 3-dimensionality.

There are no sharp lines or edges in clouds. Soften the edges.

The movement and 'flow' of the clouds can enhance your landscape or it can compete with the rest of the scene. Consider this in the overall composition of your landscape.



frieda L
01-20-2007, 04:09 PM
this is one from my own reference, the morning after hurricane paul, in october, I went for an early drive, just to enjoy the clouds.
I think I am finished with the clouds,though I wonder if they are dark enough, but now I am very stuck. The cactus I could not resist trying, but the rest of the vegetation I have noooo clue. Maybe I will wait for a vegetation class, or maybe I will sacrifice the drawing as an exercise, which it is anyway.

Diane, I notice you just replied, thank you so much for your comments. Your tutoring is so much apreciated. so many artists who would otherwise be self educated, can now be "wet canvas educated" It's the best school, imo

01-20-2007, 04:30 PM
Frieda - What a beautiful photo and you are doing a splendid job. I think your clouds are just right. As you are drawing your cacti - think of them as cylinder's and there is a light source even though it is diffuse. I would suggest using a 2H or harder pencil and shade in the left half of each cacti branch, leaving the right side lighter to represent the sun hitting them. By using a harder pencil, you 'save' your detail, but just create a darker tone.

As for the the texture of the bramble bushes, that is tougher. I did a desert scene in my book and it was tough! This subject is outside the scope of this lesson, but you might want to read my tutorial on trees. Think of these bushes as the top of trees and use the texture that I describe. I hope it helps....otherwise we could continue this off-line (just email me) and I'd be happy to work with you.

BTW - we will be doing a lesson on drawing trees in a few weeks.


frieda L
01-20-2007, 05:03 PM
Diane, thank youfor your encouragement , and the tip for the cactus...
the cactus I really want to play with. As for the vegetation, I think I will wait till I am ready. Thank you for your offer to help me out of the class, you are so generous with your time. I do not mind waiting for the tree class, though, I need more cloud practise anyway... one step at a time.
Thanks, again.

01-20-2007, 06:50 PM
freida - you may want to check out the lesson Mike Sibley did here and use his negative drawing approach for the desert brush. I suggest this because I think you should finish that piece!!:thumbsup:

Assignment 3 using my own photo. A sunset from my back yard.

Used Canson drawing paper, H, 2H and HB leads for the sky and clouds.
Used felt to blend.
Used HB, 2B and 4B for the foreground trees and fronds.

In RL the image looks better than the post. I could not get a decent photo so I scanned it and still got some reflections in the foreground. Also my scanner is 8.5 by 11 so it cropped a bit of the image.


frieda L
01-20-2007, 07:37 PM
Joe, thank you, I want to finish my drawing, I will research the negative drawing class, and a few weeks researching plants and brush. After spending so much time on the clouds and the cactus (not yet), I want to step back and think first...:eek:
I love your clouds, very successful, and your palm leaf is better than the picture. Truly!!!!:clap: :clap:

01-20-2007, 10:19 PM
Hi there,

I've been working through the 101 classes but keeping an interested eye on this class. Today I was overcome and started on assignment 1. I've done three attempts. Comments and feedback welcome.

Question to Diane:
Why do you recommend using a 0.5mm mechanical pencil to cover a large area? What about using loose graphite powder? Or the side of a piece of charcol?


01-21-2007, 12:46 AM
Another alternative is to use graphite powder and apply with a brush. Makes quick work of getting that initial layer down.

So go ahead eyepaint:)
I did for one of mine:)

That quote if from post #76

01-21-2007, 09:33 AM
Why do you recommend using a 0.5mm mechanical pencil to cover a large area? What about using loose graphite powder? Or the side of a piece of charcol?

Thanks Leigh!

I prefer using a mechanical pencil just for the control. I have used graphite powder before and while it is quick, I just didn't feel like I had the control of the process. I couldn't create the subtle tonal changes with the powder.

I don't mix mediums, so I haven't tried charcoal.


01-21-2007, 11:26 AM
What I like about graphite powder is that I can start making clouds within a minute, so I get a lot more practice:) It is darker than working with the pencils though so you would either have to do a lot more erasing or have darker skies.

01-21-2007, 02:17 PM
Hi Leigh and Diane,

I forgot to mention that I did my cloud exercises with 2H and HB (instead of F) and I used an old t-shirt rag (instead of the chamois).

D'oh - I missed the post regarding doing it in loose graphite powder. I actually don't own any but the use for this excercise might just be enough to justify a trip to the art supply store, lol.

I might try the charcoal today, after I give assignment #2 a go. Since the weekly drawing thread will have a new assignment tomorrow I get today to work more on this :)

Have a good day,

01-21-2007, 02:52 PM
Since we are covering the surface and then erasing the clouds out of it would charcoal work? I don't think it erases very well.

01-21-2007, 04:11 PM
Hi All, I had a little trouble receiving my incoming mail. I [U]think[U] it's okay now, but am keeping my fingers crossed.

Thank you for your encouragement Diane :) I am learning so much from your classes and comments to myself and fellow "classmates".

Frieda - assignment 2 is looking good! I think you are brave to try the cactus scene, which also looks good.

Leigh - I like your landscape. Is the colour due to the materials you used, or the scan? I thought it was a nice effect. (I've been a member of WC! for about 4 years now and didn't realize until you mentioned it that each post in a thread has a number - duh :o )

Joe - I had to take a second look before I could tell which was your work and which was the photograph. (The photograph is of course your work too :) Must feel great to be able to draw from your own photographs). I'm with Frieda on your palm leaf.

Hope to be able to speed work up on assignments 2 and 3 now that my computer is back in commision.

p.s. Isn't "think" on the top line supposed to be underlined rather than flanked by two "U"s ?

01-21-2007, 04:14 PM
Leigh - I like your landscape. Is the colour due to the materials you used, or the scan?
It is the effects of the scan, I used Bristol paper, which is white.

01-21-2007, 11:16 PM
Thanks for taking the time Diane to post. I love your work also waiting on your book. :clap:

01-22-2007, 12:22 AM
Hi gang,

Here is my first attempt at assignment 2. I got so carried away with the clouds that I didn't leave enough room for the landscape part. Oops.


And someone in my house spotted a man in the clouds being pulled in three directions - can you see it? LOL.


p.s Yup - charcoal tones the paper really quickly but doesn't erase well :(

01-22-2007, 12:48 AM
Thanks Diane, I have managed to find a Stratmore Bristol Smooth pad. Going to give the clouds a try on that paper. Going to try and find a photo to work from tomorrow. Everone is doing a wonderful job in this class.

frieda L
01-22-2007, 10:32 AM
eyepaint, I like the screaming four legged, winged, long tailed monster that is carrrying you poor guy away,...as well as the swordfishy octopussy one!

01-22-2007, 11:52 AM
Frieda - I hadn't spotted the screaming winged thing until you pointed it out. LOL :) Thanks for the morning laugh!

frieda L
01-22-2007, 12:38 PM
you,ve got the start for an apocalypsy Hieronymus Bosch type work, "Last Judgment", :eek: quite disturbing, I saw it in Brussels in a museum years ago...
either that or you have to let your monsters drop their victim...:evil:
good clouds, though, if you can start seeing things in them:thumbsup:

01-22-2007, 01:32 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Jan-2007/65063-assignment_3.jpgThanks Diane for all your help and instructions...this is the back lit third assignment..i used 4h..f...and 3b and 6b on strathmore smooth bristol 300 series...everyone is doing a great job on these assignments!! tyree

bayside girl
01-22-2007, 02:02 PM
Hi :wave:
I'm new here and to drawing. Enjoying this site very much. There's so much to learn and do. It's a really great site. I've been working on the clouds this past week and would like to share what I've done. Any comments would be welcomed.



frieda L
01-22-2007, 02:31 PM
thank you for the little push to finish this piece, and sorry for being such a baby about this vegetation... I promised myself I there will be no holding back. It may have been a first, but so was the cactus, and so was the sky, before this class, and so was the water of the third assignment... it is a little pretentious to expect that I would know how to do this... so... here goes. I know it can be much improved.
off to do more clouds now.
thanks for looking, any critique as always very much apreciated.

frieda L
01-22-2007, 02:39 PM
Connie, nice job on both assignments, nice skies, and I also like the water you did!
tyree, very dramatic. Very tyree.

01-22-2007, 03:30 PM
frieda...thank you...i was hoping you might tell me what you saw in my clouds:p ...youve done a lovely job with this scene...a lonesome cowpoke would be neat to see in yours...tyree:wave:

01-22-2007, 03:51 PM
In the interests of removing the scary creatures from my clouds I have revisited the drawing with my eraser and my pencils. Fingers crossed that I haven't created yet another monster :)


Now that I've uploaded it I see a dancer leaping. Frieda, what do you see? :)


01-22-2007, 03:55 PM
ep...very very nice...i see an angel..in the upper right:D tyree:clap:

01-22-2007, 06:01 PM
Tyree - thanks :)

Here is my assignment 3. Do these look like back-lit clouds?



frieda L
01-22-2007, 06:23 PM
eyepaint, great job on the water.!
I spent the day fiddling with the cactus drawing, not sure whether it is an improvement or not, but at least the sky is lighter than the earth part.

01-22-2007, 06:49 PM
freida and Ruth - Thank you for the kind words!

eyepaint - Looks tlo me like the man became an angel :angel: (probably after the monsters got done with him. :D )

freida - You did a good job on the foliage!!:clap:

bayside girl - Only comment I could make is the standard...make the darks darker.:)

tyree - Very abstract looking!:cool:


frieda L
01-22-2007, 07:01 PM
ep...ah, I missed your update, the creatures you had were interesting, you were on to something there,.... :lol: but this one is less scary. Angelic clouds, all of them.:angel: Sweet.
Joe, thanks for the encouragement on the foliage...

01-22-2007, 10:02 PM
Hi Bayside--just checking in to make sure you made it to the class! Great job!

01-23-2007, 01:52 AM
Hi all, just a quick peek at what is going on. Havent posted for a while, been unable and not right yet tho improving. Still cnat manage to stay any time at the "C" as well.
All looking good and great to see the imput.

01-24-2007, 04:13 PM
Hi All - I went to the eye specialist on Monday for a check-up on my glaucoma. Got there just after 11 a.m. The doctor decided that I needed some laser surgery on my left eye and said they could fit me in that afternoon, so I didn't get home until 5.30 p.m. So there was another day gone! Such a lot of activity here in the meantime :)

EP I saw a turtle in your first drawing of the clouds. Since then I see it has walked out of your sky and left you with some really nice clouds :D

tyree Your clouds are really dramatic, with a hint of abstract art about them. I really like them.

Connie Welcome to WetCanvas! I think you have drawn some lovely delicate clouds.

frieda Great job on both the clouds and the cactus. I admire your complete landscape, it may be quite a while before I attempt one.

Les Good to see you popping in. Hope you will be feeling better soon, and able to post more clouds.

01-24-2007, 04:21 PM
Have put some final detail work into this assignment 3. Have also reposted (on the left in case you can't see any immediate difference:D ) the one before this for comparison. Am off to try assignment 2 now.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Jan-2007/3715-cloudslitcolor.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Jan-2007/3715-cloudslit20.jpg

01-24-2007, 04:48 PM
ruth...wow...what a day you had...these clouds are looking wonderful..great values...tyree:thumbsup:

01-24-2007, 05:01 PM
Ruth - What a trooper you are!!! :thumbsup: Make sure to give your eyes lots of rest and keep your drawing sessions short for a few days! Nice job on your clouds. These look wonderful!


01-25-2007, 01:01 AM
Good on you Ruth, look great. Assume the Laser treatment worked for you.
Slow recovery here, painfully slow much patience required.

01-25-2007, 02:53 PM
Thank you all for your positive comments :) Pleased that you noticed the different values tyree, I particularly tried to keep the middle values. I changed my scan of the original photo into gray scale, but printed it out in color because that gave a softer look and showed more shades of gray for me to work from.

Thank you for your kind advice Diane, Just did half an hour on assignment 2 this morning whilst I waited for a load of laundry in the machine.

I wont know whether the treatment worked Les until I go for a check-up in a month's time, as you know, treatments can be slow:)

Here is what I have done on assignment 2. I'm working from your photograph Diane as I couldn't find a different one that showed a full sky as well. I started at the bottom because it looked the easiest as far as placing objects on the paper. Only time will tell if I've left enough room for all the clouds at the top :D

01-25-2007, 08:11 PM
WOW, EVERYBODY!!! Great clouds! I was so inspired by the lesson and seeing all the assignments everyone did I just had to give it a try. Who knew making clouds could be so much fun?! Thanks for the great lessons, Diane! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Assignment #1 - it kind of got away on me...started off as just clouds...but then I kind of doodled and this this is what I ended up with :o I still need to make my darks darker. Both of these are done only with an HB lead...nead to get some other leads for my mechanical pencil. I have a bunch of drafting pencils with other leads, guess I have to dig them out.


Assignment #2 - which maybe should have been assignment #1? Any way here it is, didn't turn out that well. I was trying for a thunderhead, but I'll have to work on it some more.


01-26-2007, 09:52 AM
Ruth - Great start. Looks great already!!

Lori - Nice "doodle". Like the distant rain effect. Assign 2 is very dynamic! Very nice!!


01-28-2007, 08:57 PM
Well, here I am taking a break from the rocks lesson....had to give myself a bit of a rest....

Thanks for the supportive comments, Joe :)

Here is my assignment #3, back-lit clouds. Could still use some more darks...but done for now....off to tackle another rock or two :evil: I really have to find my scanner (moved and it's still packed somewhere), this taking photos of my work really throws the colour off.


01-29-2007, 11:08 AM
Hi Lori - Doing well on your clouds :) I like the depth you have shown in assignment 2. Good backlighting on assignment 3 - I had to put my sunglasses on!

01-29-2007, 11:13 AM
I just wanted to pop in for a second to let everyone know I've been watching and am hoping to get some time this week to review everyone's work!

Everyone's doing a great job!


01-29-2007, 09:23 PM
Think I'll take a break too. I l-o-v-e drawing clouds -- haven't bonded with the rocks yet:D I've done some more work on assignment 2, just have to do some work on the left side. (am including the start of this assignment for comparison). C & C welcome to prevent me going too far astray before I finish it.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Jan-2007/3715-cloudsassig2no1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Jan-2007/3715-cloudsassign2no2.jpg

01-30-2007, 10:02 AM
Oooo...very nice Ruth! I like how it's shaping up and I really feel the "big sky". Great job on creating depth.:thumbsup: your clouds look totally believable with the landscape.

01-30-2007, 05:12 PM
Thank you Lori :)

01-30-2007, 06:53 PM
Ruth - Very nice.:clap: I think you got this cloud lesson mastered.


01-30-2007, 07:30 PM
Lori - your thunderheads turned out great!!!:clap: It is difficult to develop nice bilous clouds with form and you have achieved that! I also like the second one - very turpulent and dramatic. Then in the very next post - you turn around and do an awesome job on majestic back-lit clouds!! VERY NICE!!!

Ruth - I am so impressed. The sky has such a smooth even tone to it and those clouds are just perfect! :clap: :clap:


02-03-2007, 01:16 AM
I'm back been hung up doing ROCKS I could do them for hours.


02-03-2007, 11:03 AM
scrappie - I really like how you captured the depth!!!:clap: :clap: :clap:


02-03-2007, 11:34 AM
Thanks Joe.

02-04-2007, 08:07 AM
Thank You Diana for showing us a way to the skies.:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) I have tried to use your method in this and thinks it works well.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Feb-2007/71908-clouds_2.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Feb-2007/71908-clouds_2_2.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Feb-2007/71908-clouds_2_3.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Feb-2007/71908-clouds_2_9.jpg

02-04-2007, 11:39 AM
scrappie...those are wonderful!!! karsten...beautifully done...tyree:clap:

02-04-2007, 01:16 PM
Scappie - Great sky, nice feeling of depth!:thumbsup:

Karsten - WOW! that looks amazing!!!! I do think your sky really adds to the overall piece:clap: :clap:

02-04-2007, 09:17 PM
Karsten Nice

02-12-2007, 06:03 PM
I thought I'd posted these, but they seem to have disappeared into the ether somewhere. I hope this isn't my internet connection going down again. I'd hoped to be able to join in with this class as it was running, but my connection at home went down for about 3 weeks! :eek:

Anyway, I've finally been able to do a couple of the exercises, so here they are:


02-13-2007, 05:14 PM
Welcome to the landscape lessons Dave. Exercises looking good :) Nice movement of the clouds in the second one. I see you have a good exercise in the "rocks" thread too. You'll have to be quick to sneak a "water" one in because I have a feeling we are going to start on the "trees" lesson soon. Hope your computer is up to the task!
(An ex-Englishwoman, now a Canadian)

02-13-2007, 06:04 PM
Thanks Ruth! I'll try to hurry, but that swan picture looks fiendishly difficult! Plus, I've got to cook a Valentine's dinner tomorrow night! :heart: :)

02-15-2007, 11:59 PM
Posted wrong class

02-28-2007, 11:16 PM
hi diane hope this is not too late ,. this is my atempt at the coulds , how do you go from this too the next stage?thanks jasmine

03-01-2007, 08:52 PM

It's not too late at all. These classes are on-going so anyone can join in at anytime.

The next step is to use your chamois or tortillion and smooth out the darker areas that you have applied. You want to create a nice smooth transition. You can also try wrapping the chamois around the tortillion to get into the smaller areas.

The tortillion and chamois have different affects. The chamois will remove a lot of the graphite whereas the tortillion does not. Experiment with both and see what you works the best for you.


03-01-2007, 11:53 PM
Thankyou Diane . sorry too ask this simple question but what is a torilinon ? is the cami the same thing you use too clean the car with ? and where did you get them from ? thankyou Diane . also Im using pencils derwent graphic , would I be better with the graphite ? thankyou again .:)

03-02-2007, 12:12 AM
ill try again . jasmine

03-02-2007, 12:15 AM
THis is very frustrating its harder than I emagined .

03-02-2007, 08:13 AM
Jasmine - that's better. You might need to use a lighter stroke the next time. Once you apply the graphite too heavily it is more difficult to smooth out.

Don't get discouraged...it took me quite a while to figure out how to get a smooth sky and then even longer to do it consistently! And I still mess up!

A tortillon (spelled correctly this time!) is paper wrapped very tightly. Here is a link to what they look like:


A chamois is what you wash your car with. You can purchase them at a hobby store or much cheaper in a car accessories department in Target, Walmart etc.

03-03-2007, 05:24 AM
Thankyou very much for that Diane . I guess im new too this so need time too be kind too myself lol .jasmine

03-03-2007, 09:43 AM

Patience is a virtue that artists need lots of. Patience with our skills as we develop them, patience with our artwork so we don't rush them but also patience with ourselves as we push to achieve new levels....


03-18-2007, 08:40 PM
This sketch is taken from life and photo back-up which is not available at this time. The sun was setting of the northwest coast of Zanzibar and the local fishermen were sailing to shore. I love the simplicity and the clouds. Comments and critiques are welcome--I want to do a series of my trip there and this is one I want to include. I have just started drawing in earnest after years of doodling and looking at everyone else's work! Bristol 67lb- and a 0.5mm mechanical pencil 2B

03-18-2007, 08:44 PM
Sorry here is my post--I am having some browser problems this evening!

03-18-2007, 08:45 PM

Once more with feeling!

03-19-2007, 03:49 PM
Joane - very nicely done. You might want to check for more waves in the water. Unless the water is glass smooth, there should be more waves. This will also create a bit more variation between the sky and water. Your tonal values are very good!!


03-19-2007, 05:55 PM
Thank your for viewing, Diane. Actually there was very little movement in the water--about the only "wave" was a very small ripple from the boat--not a very fast boat!! That is why the reflection of the boat in the photo was so pretty.
I see some areas I might work on for shadows of the clouds and filling in some of the lighter strokes-- Putting it on the computer does point out some of those things. Being on the forums here gives me something to strive for, for certain--your critiques and comments are very important to me.

03-19-2007, 07:40 PM
Actually there was very little movement in the water
I'm glad you pointed that out and shows that you've done a good job analyzing your reference photo!

The computer does an excellent job in helping pointing out weak areas. When viewing the drawing smaller on the screen, sometimes the errors just pop out at me!!!


04-07-2007, 03:22 PM
Hi Diane You do wonderfull lessons!!!!:thumbsup: :clap:

Well here I am procastinating doing the full leaf tree, but I want to do the full lanscape so have been doing other lessons to work towards that. Here is my assign #2 & 3 for clouds.

Please comment them.

I wanted to make the cummulous clouds fluffier and it just didn't come out.


untouched and not enhanced.


04-09-2007, 12:44 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Apr-2007/97398-clouds.jpg Hear is my second attempt at the clouds . what you think ?

04-09-2007, 01:30 AM
hi jasminerose

your clouds are great but maybe id you used the hole page you would get a better feel.

I divided my page and taped off the two sections that you see. Then I followed Diane's instructions to cover the whole area with the different angled crosshatching and the smudged it all together. then started using the eraser to take off some of the lead

or may be mark off your horizion line and do the same thing to the sky area???

as ever Peggy

05-21-2007, 04:56 AM
GOSH! :thumbsup: What a beauty!
Thanks Diane! Your thread save me .I love the clouds ,shape ,colors etc., like we all do ,I think. But how to do them ,thats was my big question over 35 year, or even more ,if I look my kindergarten artpieces!
Now I allmost understand clouds "soullife". But how to do reflections to water?
I erais,and erais ,but still I doesn`t have any results.
And ,yes ,the horisont is climbing up.I make this picture, just practice clouds.
THANK YOU !:clap: :clap:

05-08-2008, 09:03 PM
This is a great tutorial. I have been meaning to get good at drawing clouds. I am gonna bookmark this. I plan on in the summer, sitting outside for a day drawing clouds and this will help when I actually do that.

03-05-2012, 11:57 AM
long time ago...
Diane I love your tutorials. I'm working on a new drawing at this moment. The first time I draw a background. It's only the basiclayers. Hopefully you guys can help me :)

I'm going to read this thread again.

03-06-2012, 02:54 PM
Welcome back, Leonie :thumbsup:.
It is a bit early in the WIP to come with meaningful comments, but the start of a smooth foundation layer is already OK.

06-25-2012, 07:17 AM
I would love to do landscapes so have tried starting with clouds. I am sorry the photo is not very clear. Should I continue adding 2H around the top to make it stand out more? I really must get out and look at the sky more!! Thanks, Lyn

06-25-2012, 02:30 PM
Newkidontheblock - I think you've got the concept down....creating a smooth tonal sky and then lifting off (erasing) the graphite to create the clouds.

Now, to answer your question. It really depends on what you want to achieve in your drawing. Do you want a light sky with just wisps of clouds? Then I think you've got it.

If you want to build up more 3-dimensional cloud forms, then you'll want to do more contrast...using a darker sky, shading on the side of the clouds to build up the cottony formations.


06-26-2012, 07:03 AM
Thanks Diane. That is a nice surprise having your comments ;)

I tried to darken the sky a tad and the whispy clouds on the left I think are slightly more noticeable now. Having those layers building up seemed to make it easier to get darker too. Whilst I darkened the sky I am wondering how to darken the clouds to get them more stormy looking. It's been rainy all day here so couldnt get a good look at the 'real thing'. Now onto the 2nd piece.
Regards, Lyn

06-26-2012, 08:51 AM
Lyn - When you are darkening the areas around the clouds, be sure to blend the area into the background (otherwise, the result is a dark halo).

For stormy clouds, take a look at Barbaara's skies posted on 5/21/2007. You can see she shaded the bottom areas of the clouds, making them look like 'rain heavy'.

This tutorial is just a launching pad. There are lots of variations and techniques you can apply to clouds that can change the entire mood of a landscape. Backlit clouds, wispy, stormy, large cumulus, dramatic, the possibilities are endless.:)


07-15-2012, 02:18 AM
Here's my effort of an A4 sky with eucalypts in foreground (well I tried!!).http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Jul-2012/500681-mamatoes_and_mountains_by_macdragon.jpg
Mamatoes and mountains by mcdragon from reference library

This took quite a few hours.Could you please tell me where I could do better? Thankyou , Lyn

07-15-2012, 07:01 AM
Lyn- I think you did an excellent job! I dont have any suggestions For improvement.

You grouped the masses of clouds very well while still giving lots of detail. That is not an easy thing to do. There is lot's of dimension to these clouds. Well done:)


07-15-2012, 08:27 AM
Thanks so much Diane, although I really was not sure what I was doing. Now onto your next lesson. Lyn

09-05-2016, 03:15 PM
Please find my attempt at clouds! I am not happy with it. Would like to make the clouds more fluffy but it just isn't happening. Followed Diane's instruction with lots of blending. Only thing I didn't use was a tortillion.
Appreciate your input. Thank you.

09-06-2016, 03:28 AM
Made a few adjustments but still not the realistic look I would like!

Thank you.

09-06-2016, 04:58 AM
Rachael -
Don't be too hard on yourself :). I reckon you follow the lesson and so this is for the first assignment. This is practice, like scale playing in music. It is meant to gain the specific skills. Repeat it, drawing a circle freehand doesn't succeed the first time either.
I guess you missed out on the last step, going in again with the pencil, correcting the contour and internal shadows.
When going for "real" clouds - next assignment - make sure you see how few cloud types have wispy contours. Further, except for the highest cirrus clouds, they form at a certain temperature (height) so they have a "bottom". And don't underestimate the shadows.

Keep up the good work :thumbsup:

09-06-2016, 01:54 PM
Thank you Arnoud.
Going to take a photo and get started on assignment 2.

09-13-2016, 12:21 PM
Hey al! Hope everyone's enjoying these classes as much as I am. Its great that so many talented people are willing to give of their time and skill to help the less capable. Thank you all for all you do! Here is my first attempt at drawing clouds. I didn't have all the same supplies as the lesson called for, but I improvised with what I had, and for a first try I don't think its to bad...http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Sep-2016/1051342-clouds_first_effort.jpeg

09-13-2016, 05:02 PM
Good job for a first try, Tim :clap:
As an exploration of the technique it is well done. But I'd say it is a bit timid. Look at vintage B&W landscape photos, the skies have a lot more contrast.
"Don't be afraid of the dark" used to be a frequent advice in this forum.


09-14-2016, 12:06 AM
I'll get better at this, just had to start somewhere. I'm going to do 4-5 more of these before I go to the 2nd part of the assignment. Can ever get to much practice, especially when it comes to art, right?

09-14-2016, 07:41 AM

09-14-2016, 11:26 AM
well, here's 2 more tries at the clouds. Can't seem to get this. Need to keep at this till I can figure it out! I know these really stink, I seem to be going backwards, maybe I should work on my tree for a bit.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Sep-2016/1051342-clouds_2nd_try.jpeg :( Any advice would be much appreciated! thanks so much.

09-14-2016, 04:58 PM
Tim -
I cannot see what you do, but possibly it is in the blending. Blending - until a much used tortillion is saturated in graphite - is partly erasing. So you have to put down a darker layer of graphite than in the intended result. And remember - both drawing and blending - take it easy. Don't kill the tooth of the paper.

Practice makes perfect. Blending is a skill that does not come free.

09-14-2016, 06:38 PM
maybe I should try to use a better grade of paper. Think I'll give that a go! Thanks for your input, I'll try to get a couple more done soon, maybe tonight.

10-05-2016, 06:41 AM
Please find assignment 2. I find I work better on a scene that means something to me, so chose these castle remains which are on our land. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2016/1983860-DSCF0474.jpg
The castle does look a little darker on actual drawing. I would be grateful of general critique as well as that of clouds! Thank you. Rachael

10-05-2016, 07:12 AM
Thought top right darker cloud required something lighter behind/above it!!

I couldn't discern any clouds so used another scene for them.

Thank you!

10-05-2016, 04:35 PM
Very good job, Rachael :clap::clap:.

10-06-2016, 02:38 AM
Thank you Arnoud, I am becoming more than a little obsessed looking at clouds these days! :)