Clouds As Center Of Interest

The Colored Pencil Course

Ebook On Drawing Pencil Portraits

Get Instant Access

To create pictures with clouds as your center of interest, use a low horizon. This helps give you maximum display room for your clouds and less distraction if you include a landscape. Clouds that display strong contrast, motion, different patterns and shapes, perspective, or the atmospheric condition of the day will all create a strong center of interest.

Tumultuous Storm Clouds

Clouds as Center of Interest

The challenge here was how to capture the tumultuous storm clouds in all their excitement. There is so much activity with the clouds in constant motion; the best approach is to pick out a general pattern and simplify.

With a 2B charcoal pencil on a piece of 4-ply, 100 percent rag museum board, I lightly sketched the cloud shapes, the background and the foreground. I used a 4B to apply tone to the storm clouds, going a little heavier around the edges. I added additional tone to the clouds with a 6B charcoal pencil, modeling until I was satisfied with the shapes. Then with a damp bristle brush, I modeled the clouds some more.

To capture the rain shower, I dragged a semidry brush down from the cloud. I finished the background and foreground, keeping them simple.

Nature Sketch Background

Clouds as Center of Interest

The problem I had to work out in this sketch was to include some landscape but not have it interfere with the center of interest —the clouds.

The composition was lightly sketched on a sheet of 2-ply Strathmore bristol with a 2B charcoal pencil. The background tone was added with a 4B charcoal pencil, then stomped to even it out. Wherever there were white clouds, I stomped just past the outline I originally indicated. This allowed me to keep an even tone for the sky. (You can always come back with the kneaded eraser to pick out whites where needed.)

After reshaping the white clouds, dark clouds and shadows were added with soft vine charcoal. I used an uneven stroke to create texture. The mountain was shaded with a 2B charcoal; the trees were added with a 4B pencil and soft vine charcoal.

Drawing Clouds With Charcoal
November Snow, 6"x 9", charcoal and graphite pencils on Strathmore Alexis paper.
Drawings Done Charcoal Tone



Snow has always been one of my favorite drawing subjects. When you go out to do winter sketching, look for a pattern such as a plowed field, or shapes like rolling hills to create a design. Avoid making simply a photo-like picture; your composition should go beyond a photographic imitation. Create abstract shapes with landscape elements such as fields, trees, houses and winding roads. These shapes are easier to recognize in winter landscapes and will enrich your drawing with better design.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Easy Step-By-Step Lessons How Would You Like To Teach Yourself Some Of The Powerful Basic Techniques Of Pencil Drawing With Our Step-by-Step Tutorial. Learn the ABC of Pencil Drawing From the Experts.

Get My Free Ebook


  • Jill Troiano
    How to draw storm clouds with a pencil?
    8 years ago
  • ghenet
    How to draw clouds with charcoal?
    7 years ago
  • kyla
    How to draw snow on white paper?
    4 years ago
  • alberto
    How to draw snow in charcoal?
    3 years ago
  • sakari
    How to draw. realistic snow?
    3 years ago

Post a comment