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Lesson 6 from: Learn to Draw: Landscape

Amy Wynne

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Lesson Info

6. Scale

Next Lesson: Outro

Lesson Info


So there's many different ways to make images larger. Offsite, landscape images that you collect on location often are small and portable but when you get to the studio, either by using photographs of the scene you were at or by little drawings you've done. You get back to the studio, and you might think, or to home and you might think How am I going to make this larger? I love this image, it's so beautiful it's almost just you want it to be large. So, one device I use is a projector. And you might think, oh a projector well that would be cheating but it's actually not. Artists, for centuries, have used various ways of projecting imagery to make them larger and also to reproduce them. So, I have a basic projector set up in the studio and I'm taking this beautiful cloud photograph and I projected it on my wall. Behind this projection I have some paper and currently what I'm doingis I'm , I have the projection here on the wall. I'm projecting it onto paper and I'm actually going to show ...

you a really amazing technique called the reductive technique, which is usually done with charcoal on white paper and basically what I've done here is I've started to (scratching on paper) lay charcoal down on the entire sheet of paper before I actually make any drawn marks. So I'm going to continue to do that all the way out to the end and basically, when we talk about reductive, reduction. This type of drawing is going to take away the dark charcoal, where the lights in the drawing are. So the lights in the clouds will actually be erased away with a couple different materials in order to reveal how luminous they are. So you can go pretty dark with this, the thing is you wanna make sure you're using vine charcoal and not compressed charcoal. Vine charcoal is super lightweight, like you can, there's barely any weight to it at all and it's really easy to erase. Compressed charcoal on the other hand is really, really dark, which is very beautiful but definitely a little bit harder to get rid of. So, I'm gunna just, I feel like this is covered pretty well. And my next step with this is I'm going to, now I've got this projection going so I can actually take my charcoal and, right on top of the projection, I can start start to trace it. Just tracing around the basic shapes, keeping the line organic, I don't wanna trace it with a really hard edge or a really dark line because these clouds don't have a harsh edge or dark lines, they're just very light and fluffy clouds. So I'm gunna trace these out, just getting the basic shape of what's going on in the clouds. Now clouds are an organic shape so, I mean, I find what's really liberating with landscape drawing and especially, like, drawing clouds and things that people can't say, well I know that cloud didn't look exactly like that so I think you did it wrong. Like you can just relax and sort of be playful with them and find their boundaries. I'm going to ignore the power lines, although I actually kind of love drawing power lines but for this it's really about drawing clouds. In this setup, and down here there's a little blue coming through. Yeah. So I'm just trying to get the basic boundaries of these cloud shapes. Okay. So, I've got the projection pretty well outlined so I'm now gunna turn the projection off. (clicks) And I can still see the outline I need here and I also have this image to work from as well so that I can kind of go back and forth between my photograph and my enlarged projection. Now here's where the reductive technique gets really beautiful. I'm gunna be using a shammy cloth, which is really like something you might buff your car with. A little piece of it, I've cut a small piece, because if I had a really large piece and I went to do what I'm about to do, it might rub away a lot of the charcoal where I don't want it rubbed away, so I've got a small piece of this, I'm gunna keep my charcoal in my had because I may have to do a little bit of adding in of dark. But I'm also gunna have, um, an eraser, because that will allow me to bring out the really light lights. So, now we're gunna reduce the charcoal, the amount of charcoal that there is on the paper to reveal the lights. So, in this image, some of the brightest brights are up along the edge of the cloud. So that's right along this, sort of, organic line that I made here. So I'm not gunna touch the sky because the sky is really one of my darkest darks. If anything I might add to that. But what I am gunna do with this little piece of shammy cloth, I'm gunna actually like wrap it around my finger. This is sort of like finger painting in a way and I'm gunna come into my lightest areas and I'm just gunna start to pull away the pigment. Now look at how the pigment starts to attach itself to the shammy cloth. You see that? It gets very dirty. This is not a clean technique so wear black. Um, and you're gunna come in and it's, it's erasing but it's doing it in a really soft fashion and I'm actually going right up to the edge, to that drawn edge that I made and I'm pulling away, pulling away the lights as best I can and I'm coming up to here. I'm just going to go all the way along the ridge here. (scratching) You can get really light lights with it and then you can kinda transition to mid tones but this is super luminous up here. Now at a certain point when you're using the shammy cloth if you feel like it's not really pulling the pigment off anymore it's probably because it's really dirty. So you can just shift it on your finger and you can reveal a clean area again and then come in and see how much lighter it gets. So you wanna keep moving it and shifting it and if it ends up being like super dark you can just cut a new piece of it to work with it. (scratching) And here. And if you get to a point where you're thinking this is looking pretty good but I'd like it to be even lighter what you can do is go in with an eraser and in some of your lightest lights look at this, I can get all the way back down to the paper tone in these areas. So I can come in and really bump up the light in some of these areas and it gets super shimmery and beautiful. But you don't want to use the edge of the eraser as drawing tool like to make lines. Especially with a motif like this. Just wanna kinda come in and you really start to feel like the light is starting to fall on top of these clouds and you can make some really beautiful effects. Combining erasure with an eraser and working with the shammy cloth. And again, notice how I've really left the sky to be dark and if I hadn't done that darkness there then that illumination wouldn't be as dramatic. So using a projector to create this sort of larger image on the wall. I like working on the wall, if you have open wall space even in an apartment you could totally do this. Covering the paper with charcoal, vine charcoal, going in with a projector, you can get very inexpensive like, simple projectors these days and you could project it as large as you want. The other thing I do with a projector is sometimes I'll not, I won't necessarily know how big I want the image to be, but if you project at the wall and pull the projector away from the wall to make the image big and push the projector towards the wall to make it smaller, you'll probably have sort of an, I usually have this ah-ha moment where I'm like, ah, that's the size I need it. That's sort of how I felt with this image. So working with a projector, working with a reductive technique can make beautiful larger atmospheric drawings.

Ratings and Reviews

Diane Boland

Amy is an excellent at teaching in a clear and concise way and getting exactly to the point. A good brief introduction to get you started in landscape drawing. I'm not sure it was exactly as I expected but the information presented is important for any beginner. Class was fairly brief but I still need to learn to put what I see down. My tree looks nothing like hers. This is where i need help next and was not really covered. I could easily take more of her classes if she had them.

a Creativelive Student

I cannot understand the few people who were critical of this class. She gives dozens of excellent ideas for the beginning landscape artist. Especially helpful was the explanation and use of the viewfinder to focus your drawing. Five stars fom me to her. Thank you! Extremely helpful and inspirational.


Good tips on relaxing and enjoying the outdoors before you begin drawing. Great course.

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