Learn to Draw

Learn to Draw Techniques and Lessons - 1 -

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Learn to Draw Landscapes

Learning to draw is about observing.  You have to look at the world around you.  The people, the plants, the buildings, roads, rivers, trees…  You have, no doubt, begun developing as an artist by focusing on one subject at a time.  And, that’s one of the best ways to master techniques.  Drawing landscapes is a good way to begin incorporating multiple techniques and drawing multiple subjects.  Regardless of whether you live in an urban setting or the countryside, you will find these tips useful as you practice drawing landscapes.  For this, you will just need whatever type of pencils you are most comfortable with, an eraser and a sketchpad.

First of all, you will want to establish your horizon line.  How much of the sky can you see from where you are drawing?  If you see very little sky, place your horizon line higher on the page.  If you see a lot of sky, place it midway or lower on the page.  This will enable you to accurately depict the division of space in the scene and landscape you are drawing.  As you continue learning to draw, feel free to explore altering the placement of the horizon line to allow you to develop more detail of either the land or the sky as you see fit.  

If you’ve established your horizon on the page, next you should really study the perspective that your drawing will incorporate.  If you have not learned to draw perspective, you may want to take some time looking at drawings of landscapes to familiarize yourself with this concept.  To put it briefly, perspective is the principle that objects seem smaller and closer together in the distance as lines converge. To correctly depict perspective in your landscapes, you will need to adjust what you’re drawing as it gets further from you.

Just as objects seem to grow smaller in the distance, their tone and value grows lighter as well.  Obviously, this will vary depending on weather and the quality of the air.  This is where the observation skills you are acquiring will serve you well.  This technique may seem more demanding than some of the others but it is very important.  A good landscape drawing will incorporate this characteristic and, as you continue learning to draw, you will naturally begin including it with little thought.  

Finally, keep the most detail and the most contrast in the foreground.  This is the area that a viewer in your place would be seeing most clearly and your landscape should reflect that.  In landscape drawing, you want to make the scene lifelike for the viewer, not static and flat.  While you are incorporating tone, depth, perspective and attention to the horizon line, you are creating a way for the eventual people viewing your artwork to enter the world you saw.  And, your particular way of viewing it is priceless.  The more you practice and the more skilled you become as you are learning to draw, the more you will be able to bring your world to life on the page.  If you would like to learn more about drawing landscapes, a site such as drawing lessons can help you take your art even further.

Drawing Tutorials

I want to help you experience the JOY of drawing. I’ve spent so many years of my life finding the easiest possible techniques and principles that have helped me experience so much fulfillment.

Here are a few I’d like to share with you right now.


Shading is a beautiful quality to most drawings. It describes the lighting, surface, and local value of objects. To understand the effect that lighting has on forms and how to accurately depict it here are a few points.

Light Source

First there is a light source. This can be very bright and concentrated(spot light) or it can be diffuse and powerful(overcast day). Either way it will have a unique effect on the objects illuminated by it.


Objects have various textures, and surface gloss. From chrome bumpers(reflective) to black chalk boards(matte). When objects carry these qualities they will appear differently under lighting situations.

Shadows Shadows define the direction of the lighting. Usually sitting at a cut to the direction of the light. Like the way the moon has a light side that sits in the cradle of the dark side. there are also two different types of shadows. There are core shadows and cast shadows.

Cast Shadows Cast shadows are created by an object getting in front of the path of light, then casting a shadow onto an object beneath it. These are characterized by a hard edge, and sharp contrast onto the objects it casts upon.

Core Shadow A core shadow is one that exists on the object where the objects surface turns away from the lighting source. These are characterized by a gradual darkening to the shadow shape. Simply adjusting the shadow edges to fit these two types will give a strong suggestion of three dimension and light source direction.

Highlights Highlights are interesting. They will follow the observer view around the room and sit on corners of an object’s form.

Form Light Form light is the gradient that an object displays all the way from the core shadow up to the apex of lightness facing directly perpendicular to the light source. A quick tip is to keep the transition from the core shadow to the halftones very subtle. This will ensure the illusion of eye popping three D form will energy from your paper and pencil.

Penumbra There’s also a penumbra area. This is when a cast shadow has light bounce into it from another source and it lightens the cast shadows.

Reflected Light Reflected light is light that will bounce off an illuminated surface into a core shadow. This will often appear as a hot spot of color. Careful not to allow these to compete with the regular form light, otherwise it may hollow out the drawing.

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