The Key to Great Landscape Drawings

The Key to Great Landscape Drawings

Creating Landscape Art Can Seem Daunting

Busy landscapes are often chock full of details that you want to get just right. But you don’t have to fill your page with a ton of compositional elements.

You can produce impactful landscape art by just keeping a single principle in mind. Best of all, you can apply it to a variety of media. See how, with simple planning, you can draw the same landscape in graphite, charcoal, and ink.

To Produce Easy Landscape Drawings, Just Remember This One Thing: Determine a Focus for Your Art

When starting your landscape drawing, select a single subject in your composition, ideally something in the foreground, to focus on.

That’s not to say include just one thing in your drawing, but choose one plant, building or anything about the scene that strikes your fancy. In doing this, you will have something for the rest of your drawing to relate to, and it will ensure that the scale of the landscape is correct.

Step 1: Once You’ve Decided on the Single Subject You’ll Focus on, Draw It on the Page First

Then, begin to fill in the space around it. In my landscape drawing, I picked Joshua trees in the foreground for the focus point.

After sketching them in pencil, I considered how they related to the rocks behind them. How big was the rock compared to the stalk? How many rocks fit between the right side of the tree and the edge of the page? These are all questions you’ll want to ask as you layout your drawing.

At this point, just sketch the outlines of objects on the pages. Shading will come later.

Step 2: Simplify as You Draw.

Landscape Drawing Tutorial

As you draw, look at the landscape with an editor’s eye. To simplify your drawing, you’ll want to edit some things out, like that stray bush or the distracting telephone line. These things can make your composition seem muddled.

When you’re first starting out with landscape drawing, it’s best to distill it to its essential parts. That way, you can work on create an engaging drawing and then add other, more complicated compositional elements once you’re more comfortable with drawing landscapes.

Step 3: Once You’ve Sketched Your Composition, Add Details and Begin Shading.

Landscape Drawing Tutorial
After you’ve used your editor’s eye and drawn the outlines of things in your composition, it’s time to start shading.

Begin, again, with the star of your drawing — adding the details you see and shading the accordingly. Then, move on to the other parts of the composition. They will have less overall detail than the focus of your drawing, but details nonetheless. Finish your landscape drawing with the background.

Landscape Drawing Tutorial

Using that same process, you can apply it to other media. Depending on what you select, each medium will look slightly different.