Drawing Realistic Clouds
Posted by archidrawing on January 18, 2011
Drawing realistic clouds using cotton wool and torn paper requires a 4B (or more) graphite pencil and, if we make a colored sky, blue pencil or blue pastel (this one rubs better). We need a piece of cotton wool or anything to blend with and some paper that we have to torn it such way to obtain concave and convex edges. When drawing a realistic cloud, one of the main rules is that we should have no lines; so I let the pencil down when I reach the part with the sky and clouds of a drawing. We only need the pencil in hatching 2 spots of color somewhere on a paper: a dark grey one (with the graphite pencil) and a blue one, in order to rub a piece of cotton over the dark grey spot and another piece of cotton over the blue spot to print the color on the cotton wool. Another rule is to keep the shades of the cloud and the architectural building in correspondence with the sun’s position and before starting to draw the cloud try to think about the shape and position of the cloud on the drawing. That’s the main action we must perform in order to fight against the tendency to give it a basical shape. You will never see a cloud that has a perfectly elliptical outline. Depending on the altitude we are located at and the sun’s position, the reflection of the light rays can be seen more or less. For example if the sun is located behind the cloud and we have to raise our head to see this cloud, it’s color will be a constant dark grey except the edges which are lighter. If the sun is not behind the cloud we will see more light contrasts on the cloud because the light comes from aside. There are more things we must consider when we start to draw clouds, such as the type of cloud we want to draw: cirrus, cirrocumulus, cirrostratus, altocumulus, altostratus, stratocumulus, stratus, nimbostratus, cumulus, cumulonimbus…However, cumulus clouds are the most and visible clouds so I only draw that type. Another mention is that the sky is getting lighter in the distance. These things can be analyzed by simply watching photos of clouds.
Back to the technique i use, I will write down the steps i follow when drawing clouds:
1 ) use a photo in which are some clouds to study them
2 ) make the dark grey and blue spots
3 ) grab 2 pieces of cotton wool: one for dark grey and one for blue
4 ) rub each piece of cotton over it’s corresponding spot to take the color on the cotton wool
5 ) torn pieces of paper: several for the dark grey and several for blue
6 ) plan the cloud’s position and shape in order to avoid the accidental connections to the already drawn elements
7 ) rub the blue cotton over the edge of the blue torn paper to obtain the shape of the cloud planned at point 6
8 ) rub the dark grey cotton to describe the shaded zones of the cloud (be careful on the proportion of the contrasts)
Check out this video I made to show you exactly how I draw clouds. There are three drawings. Each of them is made in approx. 10-14 minutes.