Drawing a Harbor Scene

Harbor Scene Drawings

1. Simplify the harbor scene—if there are 200 boats in the harbor, don't try to indicate 199 of them. Select a few that make an interesting pattern and forget the rest. It is also a good idea to draw a moveable object first. There is nothing more frustrating than to be half-finished with a harbor scene drawing and have the boats leave. The shacks, docks, and trees will always be around, but the fishermen have a habit of moving their boats at the wrong time.

In this harbor scene, an early morning fog had set in, so the artist decided to keep all his darks in the foreground, with a white sky and water and middle tones in the distant shore.

He laid-in the entire scene with a 4H pencil, and left out many boats that were moored in the harbor. With a 6H pencil, he indicated the distant shore line and left the tall fir trees as a silhouette. He lightened the pressure on the pencil as he moved to the waterline to give a graded value to this area. To indicate the trees, he used short strokes, and made a few darker so that they could be recognized as trees. He rendered the shadow side of the shacks in the distance with a 4H pencil. The window and the darks under the shacks are spotted with a 2H pencil. Notice that the value range in this area is from 9 to 7, using a 6H pencil to a 2H pencil.

2. The artist indicated all the darks with a 2B pencil, including the dark house, the space between the poles in the pier, and the reflection in the water. Using an HB pencil, he put in all the middle tones of the pier, and with the same pencil, he used horizontal strokes to put in the foreground mud. He applied more pressure closer to the base of the pier, to make the base of the pole blend with the mud. The roof, the side of the left shack, the other shack, and the boats, were all rendered with a 2H pencil. The strokes on the boats are vertical, following the shape of the hull. The range of values in this area are from 7 to 4, using 2H to 2B pencils.

Harbour Pencil Drawing

3. The artist drew in the foreground grass and boat with HB and 4B pencils. He wanted this area to be dark with little detail. He added the rope from the pole to the boat so Ihe pole would not" ean out of the drawing. He ther p:aced the gulls in the sky with a 2H pencil. The values in the foreground are from 4 to 1. using HB to 4B pencils.


A. The area under the pier can become very confusing. If the value deference of the ooles and the darks between them is not too great, the pier will hold together as a unit. The artist put in all the darks first with a 2B pencil. Notice that the strokes are short and occasionally change direction. II isn't necessary to have sharp edges on the poles—you can let your edges be ragged.

B. Once all the darks were indicated, the artist filled in the poles with an HB pencil. These lines go righl over the darks he put in with the 2B pencil. Keep this area loose: don'l have sharp edges or w do value changes

Pencil Scenary

In A., you see why the reflection of a pole that is straight in the water should be at least as long as the pole itself.

If the pole is leaning toward you, B., the reflection will be much longer than the pole appears to you.

Disturbed Reflections

F, When the water is disturbed, it makes a series of hills and valleys. The sky is reflected in the hollows. This breaks up the solid form and makes the reflection longer (opposite page).

In A., you see why the reflection of a pole that is straight in the water should be at least as long as the pole itself.

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