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How to draw water - Page 4 of 4 - Draw Like A Pro


How to draw water

Underwater views

Many an artist has been attracted by the magical aspect of underwater scenes. Doing justice to this submarine environment is a fine exercise and challenge.

Since water in itself has no colour, it is “perceived” by the way the light is filtered and the subject organised. But there is one thing which can mark the division between air and water: he folds of the water’s surface which, so to speak, attach the daylight to the “ceiling”.

Apart from these curly effects – make sure they are very light – the water must grow darker as you descend towards the depths, and by “depths” I mean the thickness of the water, in any direction. If you are depicting a sea bed of clear sand, the sand will be he lightest surface except for the sun’s reflection on the surface.

Make sure that any animals or humans move realistically in such an environment. People don’t run underwater, they progress slowly! So make a point of rendering slow and silent movements.


Rocks come in an infinite variety of shapes and sizes and their presence beside the water is a never-ending source of wonder. Their surface may be soft and polished by the water or rendered jagged and harsh by the elements.

Depending on their situation, rocks can assume extraordinary forms and sizes. Use your framing window? to find the most pleasing composition. Notice how rocks can attract the sun and cast deep shadows. Their mineral structure can often be glimpsed through different-coloured layers or through cuts showing the erosion wrought by time.

Seek out these accidents and forces of nature and build up your drawing around them. If possible, collect a few rock samples as you walk along the seashore.

What is the point of the samples? Well, they possess an interesting property. Naturally, they provide a model of the rock’s colour, but more to the point their structure is very often the same as that of the rock itself. In other words they are sometimes veritable miniature rocks, and this is really what I’m driving at.

You see, if you’ve collected a sufficient amount of samples, if you’ve chosen them well and if you’ve had the bright idea of taking some sand as well, you’ll be able to carry out an extremely enjoyable task – the construction of an infinite number of scale models of landscapes!

Spread out the sand on a tray or a large board (a plate would be too small). Take the pebbles one at a time and lay them out as naturally as possible. It’s a good idea to close one eye and imagine the result.

Almost before you know it, you will have an entirely realistic landscape which, once seen in an appropriate frame, will give an impression of imposing rocks. It will be easy to make out the cracks, shadows and strata, in short to create extraordinarily lifelike coastlines.

This is an excellent drawing lesson in getting used to changing your scale of reference. Naturally, it cannot altogether replace the “real thing” but it is certainly not to be sneered at, if only to see your friends racking their brains as they try to locate your landscape!

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