If you like to draw landscapes, sooner or later you will have to deal with the drawing of rocks and mountains. If you want to learn how to draw mountains, you will love this 5-step guide.
- HB Pencil
- 2B or 4B pencil
- Kneaded eraser
- Drawing paper
How to draw mountains: The step by step tutorial
1. Draw the horizon line and organize the image
Determine the horizon line. First, you should draw the horizon line. This is the line where the mountains meet the sky. This line separates the background from the middle ground. All you have to do is outline the mountain ridge.
Work from the back to the front to avoid overlapping of lines.
Another line shows the transition from the middle ground to the foreground, which is essential to represent the atmospheric perspective later on correctly.
The further away the mountains are, the more reduced their shapes are, and the weaker their outlines become.
2. Divide each peak into two main planes
Divide the mountains into two planes to create the illusion of volume and depth. You can do this by drawing one side of the mountain brighter and one side darker. Shade the darkest areas to create a contrast between the peaks of the mountain ridges.
Photographs can be an excellent reference for understanding the interplay of light and dark in a mountainscape. If you’re drawing from a reference, it’s best if the photographs convey a lot of information. More specifically, perspective features, lighting, and contrast are three of the elements that a good template should provide.
Hint: On sites like Unsplash.com, you can download royalty-free images for free. Numerous mountain photos are ideal for use as a reference.
3. Determine the distance and textures
Note that each surface has a unique line direction when drawing mountains. You can shade particularly distinctive peaks with cross-hatching, for example. Three to four layers of strokes in offset directions are appropriate to mark the darkest areas. Lighter areas, such as the mountainside facing the light source, can be shaded with straightforward hatching.
Less prominent peaks can be drawn with two or three layers of cross-hatching.
The same approach applies to the use of value gradings. The mountains close to the observe should be darker and more detailed than the peaks further in the background. This way, you can suggest the atmospheric perspective.
In our case, we have emphasized the prominent peaks in the center of the image with sharper outlines and darker shading.
The highest peaks in the left half of the image are not less distinctive, but we suggest their greater distance from the viewer with weaker shading and looser outlines.
4. How to draw mountains: Add details to the scene
If you want to draw mountains, you should not abandon details like trees, fences, animals or lakes. In the realistic drawing, these details are not only used to make the motif look more exciting, but also to emphasize the already suggested distances between the mountains and the viewer.
Trees that are closer to the viewer are drawn with darker pencils and with greater accuracy than the mountains that are in the middle or even in the background. Proportion, value (brightness/darkness), and degree of detail of the details decide on the logical distances between pictures.
5. Make refinements
Once you have drawn the details of the mountain motif, you should check once again on whether the picture elements harmonize with each other. Make small adjustments if necessary. Any inaccuracies should be corrected, and final details should be added until you are satisfied with your mountain drawing.
Note: Make sure that you do not abandon your entire concept in this touch-up phase, but limit yourself to correcting small inaccuracies.