Sketch Colour Drawing

by Julie Carlisle

The desert experience is so enchanting with sun-baked hills, prickly plants and rock formations where you can truly see the evidence of time. In addition, having native lizards and birds around while I sketch a desert landscape … stacked in layers of colored rock is a treasured time.

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With that being said, sometimes you just have to work from photos that you brought back from the trail. So, let’s recreate this Nevada desert scene step by step in a stylized way with a black ink pen and watercolor paint.

For example Sketch with Olive color you need to pass Red: 128, Green: 128 and Blue: 0. This additonal option may take more time to draw your sketch as compared to the Black & White color sketch. Additional Options. Sketchpad: Free online drawing application for all ages. Create digital artwork to share online and export to popular image formats JPEG, PNG, SVG, and PDF. Aug 24, 2018 - Explore Jane Johnson's board 'Sketch-drawings!' , followed by 5676 people on Pinterest. See more ideas about coloring pages, coloring books, colouring pages.

Step 1. Sketch with Free-Form Lines

I suggest that we get daring and start with a black ink pen. You need to find the kind of ink pen that does not smear when you get the ink wet. Test it out on paper first by allowing the ink to dry and then paint some water over it. I am going to begin by drawing on a 9 x 12 inch watercolor paper in the same proportion as my photo.

Change Sketch Color Solidworks Drawing

Throwing down some free-flowing lines in a bold direction with a black pen has a kind of liberating effect on you. You know you are going forward, and there is no going back! Don’t be nervous, you can always get another paper if you don’t like how it is going.

1a. Choose the Divisional Line

Although it is exciting to draw freely, we will need to have a bit of restraint and choose the lines that we need first to capture the landscape. The most important divisional line would be the horizon line. This line that divides the sky and the landscape will also divide your sketch into two halves on paper. In this sample photo there is a large rock formation on the left, which contains important lines for this sketch as well.

So, start with the horizon line and begin drawing it with your eyes on the photo at the same time as you sketch it on the paper, looking back and forth constantly. Continue using this method of drawing and looking at the same time with the big rocks on the left.

1b. Directional Lines

The directional lines of this dry desert riverbed lead all the way back to the horizon. For this particular scene, the vertical-bound lines are very important as they lead the viewer’s eye all the way to the point where the rocks meet the mountain on the horizon. That pretty much describes how you draw the lines as well. While following the lines in the photo with your eyes, flow your pen down the page with nice curves. It is ok if they are not exact; it’s the flow and freshness that really matters.

1c. Secondary Directional Lines

On the right side, we can see some directional lines in the rock but they are not as prominent so we can call them secondary directional lines. Therefore, they can be sketched in a little bit lighter (or you may paint them in later).

1d. Contour Lines

These Contour Lines are a great way to illustrate the form of the rocks while adding interest with the curved lines. They are called Contour Lines because they literally follow the contour of the rocks, in this case showing off the layers of rock. Again, we don’t want to draw each and every line in black pen. Group a few contour lines together and then move down to sketch some more together. The gaps will be filled in with paint later. Continue throughout your sketch with this method.

Step 2. Clouds and Sky using the Wet-on-Wet Painting Method

Wet-on-Wet painting is the act of putting wet paint onto wet paper. This method involves painting the area with water first, and then adding paint to it. Brush sizes can vary from #4 to #8.

I find this to be another free-flowing way of creating and it can also be a little daring. In other words, you will be relying on gravity and the way that paint interacts with water to fill in the sky and clouds. It is quite fun to allow the paint to make forms on it’s own with a little bit of direction from you. Also, like all watercolor painting, it does require some drying time.

Sketch Pen Colour Drawing

Step 3. Landscape Forms using the Wet-on-Dry Painting Method

The Wet-on Dry Method of watercolor painting involves using wet paint on dry paper. The paint is much more controlled by the brush with this method.

Sketch Colour Drawing Tool

3a. Highlights and Midtones

In order to keep this desert scene very contrasty and animated I am going to go with bright colors like yellow and orange. Mix a little yellow paint with some water and slide your brush across the tops of the rocks, around the contour lines and down the stripes of the riverbed. This will give the effect of the sun shining down on the Highlights.

For the Midtones in the rocks choose a medium brown, add some red to it and mix with a little water. Fill this color into the darker shadow areas of the rocks, Additionally; add some stripes of the midtone color into the dry riverbed. Choose a different brown to add color to the mountains and the shadows under the shrubs.

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3b. Pop the Color, when you sketch a desert landscape

Desert rocks in Nevada radiate natural orange and red hues. To emphasize these colors mix up a nice orange with a brushful of water keeping it bright. If the orange looks a bit too neon you can mix a tiny touch of blue or brown into it to tone it down a bit.

Generously brush the orange into the rock formation on the right. Paint around the yellow and shadow areas only overlapping a little bit here and there. It is ok to have some of the white paper showing through. Keep your brushstrokes fresh and only go over the areas once. This method of quick painting is perfect to use on location as you will be able to finish the sketch in a couple of hours, even with drying time.

Now, add some water to the orange paint to wash it out a little and begin to fill in some colored stripes to the dry riverbed and the desert floor on the right.

3c. Use Thicker Paint in the Shadows

Mix some dark brown paint with a brushful of water and using a small brush (like a #3 or #4) begin filling in the shadow areas. Concentrate mainly of the deepest shadows and crevices. Try to go with the flow and let the paint dry before going over it again. Use a smaller brush to follow the contour lines and add some shadows into the mountains.

Add a few dots with the brush for texture here and there. Also, add some green into the shrubs and add a little bit into the background scene just to balance the color on the page.

Step 4. Final Details for Sketch a Desert Landscape

Sketch Colour Drawing Easy

For the last touches, I ended up putting some patterned lines of dots across the hills in the back and also into the shrubs in front. The clouds needed a bit more drama, so I painted in some metallic grey just to make them look more like rain clouds.


Takeaways from ‘Sketch a Desert Landscape’:

1. Drawing free-flowing lines in black ink is inspiring.
2. The Horizon Line is the first step in landscape sketching.
3. Wet-in-Wet watercolor painting lets the paint work for you.

Sketch Colour Drawing Game

4. Wet-on-Dry watercolor painting gives you control of the paint.
Sketch Colour Drawing
5. Using bright colors keeps your sketch fresh and interesting.

Download the printable PDF Now! “Sketch a Desert Landscape” for only $3

Change Sketch Colour Solidworks Drawing

It is always a pleasure to sketch the desert, I am glad you could join me. Follow me on instagram to find out when new lessons post at: juliesketchincolor.

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All artwork and lessons copyright© Julie Carlisle