A forest trail, a snowy slop, a deep green mountain range. I’m sure you’ve seen many beautiful pictures of at least one of these landscapes, whether it was on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. We are fascinated with the beauty of nature and why shouldn’t we be? Nature is the world’s purest, and oldest form of art—art, created by the hand of God. Nature inspires us to create. We take photos of the earth’s natural formations and we try to capture the silent beauty in our art.
That’s why today we will be drawing one of my favorite things in nature—mountains. There’s just something so majestic about them.
You will need:
One regular 2B pencil
At least 3 shades of green color pencils(dark, medium, light)
3 shades of blue color pencils(dark, medium, light)
3 shades of gray color pencils(dark, medium, light)
A white color pencil
A dark brown color pencil
A light brown color pencil
A yellow, or yellow/green color pencil
The Prismacolor Premier set of 72 color pencils (that is what I used, but if you don’t have them, you can just try and find the colors listed above in any set of colored pencils.)
I took this photo from the top of the Peaks of Otter in Virginia, not far from where I live. In the fall season, this view is absolutely gorgeous, but drawing mountains with multicolored leaves would be much more difficult. So, we will get started with this beautiful landscape!
The first thing you want to do when drawing a landscape with colored pencils is sketch an outline of everything that you’re going to be drawing. Today you’ll start with the rocks and bushes in the foreground, then you’ll sketch the outlines of all the mountains. It would also be a good idea to draw in some guidelines where the cloud shadows fall on top of the mountains.
Now that we have the sketch done, we can jump right into the colors. Take the darkest blue you can find (I used a navy blue) and begin shading the darkest parts of the mountain—leaving spaces where the light breaks though the clouds. Right away you can see that the closest mountain has the darkest shadow, so that’s where you’re going to use the most pressure. The shadows on the mountains behind it are going to be the same color, but you’re going to press down lighter on your pencil. Try and add your dark blue color to anywhere on the mountain that looks like it needs a dark shadow. If you need to differentiate one mountain from another, be sure to leave a gap in your shading that shows that change.
Next, you will need your darkest green, a medium blue, and a medium green (or pure green). With your darkest green, overlay the areas where you already established the shadows with your navy blue. Try to vary your pressure to get different intensities of the color your using. Take your medium green and overlay the dark green you just did and use this green to add texture to the mountains.
Use the medium blue to lightly fill in the mountains furthest away from the viewer, then use the medium green and repeat the same process. Darken in the shaded areas with your navy blue as needed. To make the mountains appear to have trees on them, rather than just green hills—take your dark greens/blues, and use a circular or almost scribbling motion in your darkest areas. Then take your medium green and repeat that process over the whole mountain range, leaving white spaces as needed to define one mountain from another. Next, go over the mountains furthest from the viewer with your light blue.
This next step is fairly easy, and all you need is your light green and your lightest blue. With your lightest green, overly all the other coloring you did on the mountains closest to you. Press hard on your light green to get the best effect. As you get closer to the mountains in the background, press lighter on the pencil the further back you go. Then take your light blue and press hard as you color in the background mountains, and add some blue into the foreground mountains as well. This will make it look like the green fades into the blue.
Awesome! You’ve now completed the hardest part of the drawing. Now that the mountains are done, we can move onto the sky.
Take your medium blue, and lay it in near the top of your drawing with medium pressure. Work your way down to the middle of the portion of sky, decreasing your pressure as you work downward. Make sure you leave the places where you want clouds to be blank. Next, take your lightest blue and work down to just above the mountain range—decreasing your pressure on the pencil as before. Do not let the blue come right down to the mountains. Next, take your white, and press hard as you fill the entire sky in with white. White pencils are good blenders, and the space you left between the sky and the mountains should fill up with a very light blue as the white pulls some of the color from the top to the bottom.
Use a very light gray to add shadows to the clouds, so they’re not just blank white puffballs. Where you add shading is up to interpretation—you can follow the photo directly, or use your imagination. Use your white to fill in the clouds and blend the light gray.
Let’s move on to the bushes. As we did with the mountains, we’re going to begin with the darkest parts of the bushes. In case you’re wondering why we start with the darkest areas first—it is because you can see where the light areas need to be if you already have the base done first.
Take your navy blue and color in the shadows of the bush. Move your pencil in circular motions, almost like you’re creating hundreds of tiny little “o”s. Remember to leave white space where the rocks are going to go. Next, take your darkest green and go over top of the blue you already put down, still moving your pencil in that circular motion. This is called texturing and it makes the bushes appear to have leaves. With your dark green, find shadows that aren’t quite as dark as the places you put blue, and create some depth in those places. In the large amount of white space left above your shadows, feel free to lightly sketch tiny circles to add the leafy effect.
Now, take your light green pencil, moving in circular motions in the white areas remaining. Don’t worry about leaving white spaces in between the “leaves”. If you need to darken some areas, feel free to use your dark green and navy blue as desired. Up until this point, you’ve been using circular motions to fill in the bushes—now, I want you to take a yellow green pencil (yellow will suffice as well) and press hard as you fill in the entire line of bushes. Go over every part with the yellow color, even the darkest areas. If you need to darken some areas after you’ve done this, feel free to do so.
You’ve completed your sky, bushes, and mountain, so we’re almost done with the drawing now! All that is left are the rocks, and this is the easiest part. When looking at the stones, you can see that there are several shades of gray, brown, and even some tans in them. There are several spots of color, and they have a nice texture to them.
With a medium gray, find your darkest spots of color, and scribble a little bit of that into the rocks. Yes, I did say scribble, just make sure you’re not pressing down too hard on your pencil. Find other colors in the rocks, browns, darker grays, light browns, and scribble those in as well. Leave white space, but just add spots of color where it seems needed. When one rock meets another, use a darker pencil to shade the rock’s outline.
You may notice that I don’t tell you to follow the photo very strictly. That is because art is going to look different for each individual. Art is open to interpretation, so you’re doing great!
The final step is coloring in the whole space of rocks with a very light gray, and a tan color. Go over everything you’ve already colored for the rocks, and darken some of your darker spots if they lighten up too much.
Now, take a step back and look! You have drawn a landscape with colored pencils! Great work!
Hailey Woerner is a young author following her dreams. She is one of those…introverted types, if you will. She finds her passion in writing, drawing, singing, and serving on her highschool worship team. Some have called her creative, intuitive, quiet, gentle, and graceful, though sometimes hot-headed. She lives in the wonderful state of VA with her family of seven, and loves watching the seasons change over the mountains. You can often find her sitting alone, thinking up new ways to tell an old tale, or creating tunes for a new song she has written, but she always welcomes conversation to those who come up to her! Just watch yourself, or she might find some way to work you into her next novel. You can follow her on her blog, Facebook and on Deviant Art.