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Old 01-11-2007, 12:49 AM
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DianeWright DianeWright is offline
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Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

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....
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Last edited by DianeWright : 01-11-2007 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 01-11-2007, 12:53 AM
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A Bit of Art History

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
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:J..._Delft_001.jpg

English Romantic Artist - John Constable
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Constable

American Scene Painters
Ashcan School – New York City – Urbanscapes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashcan_School
Robert Henri
Edward Hopper

Hudson River School - dramatic landscape painting
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_River_school
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Cole

Contemporary Realist - Andrew Wyeth
http://www.andrew-wyeth-prints.com/inspirations.html

FIELD TRIP - Current GRAPHITE LANDSCAPE Artists:

Here are just a few excellent graphite artists who use landscapes as subject matters. You may recognize a few of these artists….
Barbara Fedeler - http://www.olsonlarsen.com/artists.c...&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/wildlifea...s/pencils.html
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Old 01-11-2007, 12:55 AM
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DianeWright DianeWright is offline
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Goals of Class

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
Rocks
Water
Trees
Composition and Putting it All Together

So let’s get started with our first lesson!!!
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Last edited by DianeWright : 01-11-2007 at 01:52 AM.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:00 AM
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Skies & Clouds

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.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:01 AM
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Supplies

Cloud Formations and Cloud Types

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

TIPS:

- 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

DOWNLOAD AVAILABLE:
The following tutorial is available on my website and can be downloaded in .pdf format.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:03 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

4 Steps - Drawing a Sky with Clouds:

STEP 1 - CROSS-HATCHING

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.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:05 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

STEP 2 - BLENDING

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.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:07 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

STEP 3 - LIFTING OUT THE CLOUDS

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.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:11 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

STEP 4 - DETAILING

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.
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Last edited by DianeWright : 01-11-2007 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:19 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

ASSIGNMENT 2:

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:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/show...name=coyotegal

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

Post your reference photo and your work!!!
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:22 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

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.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/show...s&name=redwood


Post your reference photo and your work!
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:28 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

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

Diane
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Last edited by DianeWright : 01-11-2007 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:44 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

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.

Peace,
AL
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:56 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

Looks like fun already, will work on assignment and post in the afternoon. Really looking forward to this, Diane, glad to meet you.
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:28 AM
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Re: Basic 102 - Class 9 - Skies & Clouds

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!!!!
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