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How to Sketch Water

Ever wondered how to sketch water?. It's not difficult at all, you know? These are some tips that will hopefully help you out when sketching outdoors.

Generally the dark areas of an object reflected in water appear slightly grayed and the light areas a bit darker, because water has a neutralizing effect on all reflected color.

The amount of neutralization varies according lo the intensity of the source of light. It will be more for a dull gray sky than for a bright blue one.

On an absolutely still day the reflection will be mirror-like.

Any breeze that blows, however slight, will cause wavelets that break and distort the shape of the reflection.

If this slight breeze turns into a strong wind the surface of the water is so broken that the ripples become surging waves, completely destroying the reflection.

Simple Example on How to Sketch Water

How to Sketch Water
How to draw water

In the above examples, the top drawing shows how to sketch water on a still day.

The bottom drawing shows how to sketch water on a day affected by wind.

Other things to watch out for when sketching water are:

  • Notice the sky when you are painting a lake, a river, or any inland water. The color of the sky will generally determine the color of the water.
  • When painting the reflections of trees, paint the foliage first and then the branches.
  • Notice the line of light that is generally seen at the base of the immediate reflections of river banks, shorelines, and even the edges of puddles.
  • A body of water varies in color from the immediate foreground to the distant horizon. Its color is affected by the amount and quality of light it receives from its depth, its shallow areas, the sky, prevailing winds, and reflections of its surroundings.
  • By using more medium than usual when painting with oil, a more fluid stroke is attended. This is helpful in giving a more liquid look to the water.
  • Keep in mind the rules of perspective when rendering ripples or wavelets, which should become deeper as the)come nearer to you.
  • When painting water breaking or swirling over rocks,notice how the greenish cast of the water and the foam accents the reddish tinge of the projecting rocks.
  • When painting a rocky coastline, make frequent use of the palette knife for depicting the rocks.
  • The knife helps to achieve the rugged textural quality of the rock.
  • Keep the undertones warm, working up to the local color.

More Sketching Articles:

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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