We’ll begin with several general tips that will help you draw any type of landscape.

Even if all you draw is a branch on a tree, the horizon line, or a nearby group of stones, you’ve still made a start.

No matter what your subject, your medium or style, or the size of your artwork, composition is a key ingredient. It doesn’t matter whether you compose by intuition, use the Rule of Thirds, or some other tool. If the composition is off or unbalanced, the finished art work will also look off or unbalanced.

The horizon is about one third of the way up the composition, so the composition is not cut in half horizontally.

Turn your drawing and reference photo upside down. This change in view will help you more accurately see what’s in the reference photo. Believe it or not, it also will help you draw better.

Spring II, Colored Pencil on Sanded Pastel Paper The Sentinel, Colored Pencil on Paper

Landscapes can be complex and many are. All we have to do is look at some of the breathtaking landscapes painted by the Masters and others.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m focusing on landscape drawing this month, so if there’s a topic you’d like me to address, leave a comment below or send me an email.

Read How to Create a Colored Pencil Landscape Under Drawing on EmptyEasel.

If you need further evidence, take a look at works by landscape artists such as Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and JMW Turner, to name just three.

This image has been cropped so that the tree is at an ideal location for the rule of thirds. The tracks lead your eye into the composition and to the tree. So do the trees on the horizon, and the clouds.

You don’t have to get every branch on every tree exactly the way it appears in real life to draw a believable landscape. Unless your goal is hyper-realism (in which viewers can’t tell the difference between your reference photo and your drawing), all you really need to get right is the “character” of the tree.

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But colored pencils are also great for capturing the landscape. Yes, it takes more time, but don’t let that stop you if you really want to try your hand at drawing a landscape. Remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated!

Don’t try to wing it and draw a landscape from memory. If you want to learn how to draw landscapes, draw from life when you can, or from reference photos like those I’ve shared here.

Use your imagination, drawing skills, and accurate values to make any subject a vista!

Again, not true. Anyone can draw a landscape! If all you do is sketch the view from your front porch or out your living room window, that’s a landscape in some form.

And that’s sometimes the hardest part about any artistic endeavor!

What’s more, Blue Spruce trees look different from White Pines and they’re both different from Jack Pines and Lodge Pole Pines. That doesn’t even begin to consider all the different hardwoods.

Landscapes can be complicated enough without also trying to learn a new drawing method.

If you’ve benefited from the tutorials, lessons, and drawing challenges on this blog, I hope you’ll consider helping provide the same opportunities to others.

This blog is supported in part by the generous donations of people like you. People who have been encouraged to pick up or return to art, who have achieved their artistic goals or who have been encouraged to stay the course of their artistic calling by the lessons, courses, and free content on this blog.

The ideal subject is one that catches your eye and holds your attention. The character of the subject has a lot to do with that.

This is not the only way to design a composition, but it is an easy way.

For example, pine trees look different from hardwood trees. Even at a distance you can tell them apart.

When the drawing is complete, go over it one more time to make any adjustments that might be necessary.

I’m not going to argue that some mediums are better suited for landscapes than others. Wet media such as oils, acrylics, and watercolors are excellent for quick studies, and finished paintings of landscapes.

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For example, if you want to draw drift wood, don’t choose a piece of driftwood that’s ordinary. Look for something unique.

Water is similar. You don’t have to get every detail correct in order to draw water.

Don’t sell yourself short, like I used to do. Give landscape drawing a try. You might just be surprised at the results.

But you do need to accurately draw the character of the things in your landscape. Look for overall shapes. If it helps. think of the parts of the landscape as abstract shapes (especially helpful with water.)

Use your favorite drawing methods with your first landscape. When you’ve drawn enough landscapes to be comfortable with them (three or four, maybe), then you can start trying different methods.

Try this. Take your pencils and a pad of paper and go outside (or sit in front of a window.) Sketch whatever part of a landscape you can see. Don’t try to make a finished drawing. Just sketch and have fun.

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This month, I’m going to share tips on how to draw landscapes with colored pencil. If you have a particular question or topic you’d like to learn about, send me an email.

CategoriesColored Pencil, How to Draw Landscapes TagsColored Pencil, Colored Pencil Tips, How to Draw Landscapes Post navigation

Blatantly not true! Just look at these two landscapes, drawn with my own hand. One painterly, and one more detailed.

There’s a lot to draw even with simple landscapes. Try working one small area at a time, moving from one to the next as you get close to completion. Even if all you do is finish an area the size of a postage stamp each day, you’ll see clear progress and that will keep you motivated and moving forward.

The best advice I can give anyone who wants to start drawing landscapes is to start with a small drawing. That’s what I did. My first dedicated landscape drawing was only 5 x 7.  It was large enough to draw a decent amount of detail, but small enough that I was able to finish it over the course of two weeks or less. That was a major encouragement!

First, let’s dispel a couple of myths about landscape drawing and landscapes in general.

But they don’t have to be. The plain truth is that you can draw a stunning landscape focusing on a single tree, rock, or path.

578x460 color pencil landscape drawing
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