Landscape Drawing Basics: How to Draw Mountains, Trees & More

Landscape Drawing Basics

A landscape drawing is a formidable artist’s tool for many reasons. For starters, drawing landscapes is an enjoyable process because you can be out in nature and enjoying its sounds and sights. Painters will often create preparatory landscape drawings before beginning a painting in order to work out issues of composition and visual interest. But learning how to draw landscape features such as trees, mountains, or beaches allows you to become familiar with how to deal with issues of texture, light and shadow, and proportion, all of which are cornerstones of strong artistic practice.

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How to Draw Landscapes

With so much interest in plein air painting these days, it’s easy to overlook how important drawing skills can be to the landscape artist. Many students want to get right into applying paint without first making a drawing of their subject. This makes as much sense as jumping in a car and entering a highway with no idea of where one is going and no idea of how to get there. While I sympathize with excitement and impatience, without considerable practice drawing the landscape, the student never learns how to see the landscape.

Fundamentally, drawing is both a way of seeing and a way of knowing a subject. If you can draw it, then you own it. It is in your visual library. But the act and art of drawing goes much deeper than a mere recording process. For the artist, drawing is how we know the world. It is an expression of life and evidence of what we find relevant and recognize as beautiful.

See also: 11 Steps to Improve Your Landscape Drawings

Top landscape drawing artists

Georges Seurat: It’s a name associated with pointillism and painting for obvious reasons, but did you know Seurat was also a master with the conte crayon?

Claudia Nice: The world-renowned art instructor specializes in outdoor scenery in pen, ink and watercolor. See her lesson on how to draw trees over at Artists Network and you’ll understand what makes her so special.


how to draw landscapes

Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner

landscape drawing basics

Landscape Drawing Basics

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.