The sky is the background of every landscape. Usually you can replace it with a white background, directing attention to more important elements of the picture. However, sometimes clouds or sun can make a scene more attractive and interesting.
In this tutorial I will show you how to draw these "background elements": a cloud, a sunny sky, and a starry sky.
What You Will Need
- Some sheets of paper
- Hard pencil (HB)
- Medium soft pencil (2B)
- Soft pencil (5B or lower)
- Cotton swab/blending stump
- White gel pen (only for the starry sky)
You can read more about these tools in the introduction to How to Draw Trees.
1. How to Draw a Cloud
Use a hard pencil to sketch the shape of a cloud very lightly, drawing a few intersecting ovals in various sizes.
Draw a ragged outline of the cloud going around the shape suggested by the ovals.
Tilt your pencil to draw with a side of it. Drag it all around the cloud, covering the background with gray. Don't push too hard, and try to create uniform strokes.
Use your blending tool (cotton swab, blending stump, finger wrapped in a tissue) to blend the strokes. Try not to ruin the general outline of the cloud.
Take a softer pencil and repeat the previous two steps. Again, don't press too hard—you can't blend something that has been pushed deep into the paper!
Take an eraser, make sure it's clean ("erase" a spare piece of paper to remove dirty parts), and carefully "draw" ragged parts of the cloud. To keep them white, clean the eraser from time to time or rotate it to use a cleaner corner.
Take the softest pencil and add some darker strokes right behind the outline. Blend it as well.
Take a hard pencil and sketch the outline of the shadow area.
Shade the shadow area, tilting the pencil.
Blend the shadow, trying to stay within the outlines of the cloud.
Add small shadows in the light area...
... and blend them.
Take the eraser and use it to make the border between light and shadow clearer.
If it gets too clear, you can always blend it:
Take the softest pencil and use it to make the outline more striking.
2. Draw a Sunny Sky
Use a hard pencil to draw a very subtle outline of the sun. It doesn't need to be a perfect circle.
Tilt the pencil to darken the sky around.
Blend it as described in the previous section.
If the blending process distorted the outline of the sun, use the eraser to clean it.
Use the eraser to "draw" the bright parts of the clouds around.
Take a softer pencil and darken the sky around the clouds and sun. Leave a lighter band around the sun.
Darken the middle part of the clouds as well, staying away from the borders.
Darken the sky some more, using a softer pencil if necessary.
Make the sky even darker, but only at a distance from the sun.
Use the eraser to "draw" the outline of the clouds.
Use the softest pencil to increase the contrast by adding some dark.
3. Draw a Starry Sky
Darken the sky, tilting your hard pencil.
Blend it as explained before.
Take a softer pencil and darken the sky part by part.
You can leave some brightness in the middle to simulate the Milky Way.
Take the softest pencil and draw the outline of the mountains (or trees—something to show us the scale).
Fill the foreground shape with the darkest shade you can achieve (keep in mind that graphite reflections can only be removed later in post-production).
Take the eraser and "draw" the stars here and there.
Take the white gel pen and draw a single dot inside every star. This will make them look as if they're glowing.
Add more stars all around.
Did you like this tutorial? Check out others from the How to Draw Nature series:
Do you want to make your drawings look great when digitized? Try these: