Techniques For Showing Heavy Snow

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This is the same tree as in A but with a heavy snow. I proceeded as before with a 2B graphite pencil to sketch in the trunk and limbs, but this time I left more white space to indicate the heavier snow. Notice that I've included snow on the trunk of the tree. When you have a heavy snow, blowing wind produces this kind of buildup. The dark shading was done with a 6B graphite pencil.

Drawing D, containing the same elements as drawing B, shows the difference between a light snow and a heavy snow. The background, which was darker before, is now lighter to show that the woods have been sprinkled with white snow. The limbs have more snow on them, and their undersides are a little lighter in value to show reflected light from the snow. Notice the buildup of snow on the bark and at the base of the old pine. The trunk was made darker for design impact and to show that it is wet and is darker when you have heavy snow. A few lines in front of the tree, and the drawing is completed. I used Rives BFK paper with 2B and 4B charcoal pencils.

Tree Snow DrawingPencil Drawing For Completion

Step 1

This is a rough indication to help guide me in the placement of elements in the drawing. There's no sense putting in the foreground trees until the sky is finished, as they would only disappear as I model the clouds.


Preliminary sketch

This sketch was done on a piece of vellum layout paper. A 2B and a 4B charcoal pencil and a piece of soft vine charcoal were my drawing tools. These preliminary studies will get your thoughts down on paper, so you can develop a satisfactory composition before starting to work on your finished drawing. As I neared completion, I realized that I needed more snow on the left side. A piece of white pastel enabled me to create snow to my satisfaction.

Step 2

I sketched the clouds in with a piece of soft vine charcoal. Then I blended with the stomp until I had the suggestion I was looking for. This was sprayed very lightly with workable fixative. When dry, a B Wolffs pencil, which is a carbon-based pencil, was used to emphasize the cloud shapes. The fresh, black pencil applied on top of the stomped charcoal base made an interesting texture. At this stage, the patterns of the snow and land were indicated.

Heavy Stomp Texture

Step 3

I begin to build up the land shapes. Every so often, with a fine point on my pencil, I make some small vertical lines where the land meets the snow. The lines should be irregular, of different sizes and go past the land shape into the snow. This gives the appearance of weeds or shrubs sticking up through the snow. Use a B pencil to work the background trees and parts of the landscape, alternating with a 2B or a 4B pencil to acquire the values you need. I work the background lighter before adding foreground trees and land shapes. This way, I layer elements. The darks in the foreground cover the lighter background values, which gives the picture perspective.

Snow Drawing

Step 4

Notice the changes that occurred from the preliminary sketch to this finished drawing. The sky is basically the same except for the addition of some frolicking crows. The landscape was changed to include more snow between the land shapes, and some snow was added to the trees with white gouache. Basically, the positioning of the trees is fairly close to my original conception.

A word of caution: When placing flying birds in your landscape, do not overdo. Incorporate them with the overall design so they don't look like an afterthought.

Drawing Snow Covered Mountains Drawing Snow Covered Mountains

It is not necessary to include every limb of the trees; the vertical lines spotted around give the appearance of many trees on a snow-covered mountain.

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