How to draw Clouds

How to Draw Clouds – Choose Your Subject
cloud drawing reference photoH South, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The first step in drawing clouds is to choose the right subject. A deep blue sky give you good contrast to work with. When observing the sky, a viewfinder can help you to reduce the scene to a manageable size. Photographs are useful, as the sky changes so rapidly. Carefully observe the values in your sky, observe the highlights on the whitest clouds and note the shadows. Where can you see crisp, clear edges and where are the edges soft and blurry?
How to Draw Clouds – Blocking In
cloud drawing in progressH South, licensed to About.com, Inc.
We begin by boldly shading the areas of darkest blue with a 2B pencil. The whitest areas of cloud are reserved (kept white) with the shading of the sky brought up to the edges. Areas which will be softer cirrus cloud are shaded over, as the cloud will be lifted off with an eraser. This paper, a hard, hotpressed watercolor paper, has a clearly visible grain. For a smoother surface, choose a softer paper, such as Stonehenge.
How to Draw Clouds – Building Darks and Lifting Lights
cloud drawing shading in pencilH South, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Shading with a sharp B pencil builds up value in the darker areas of the drawing. Shade carefully up to the edges of very crisp areas of highlight. Shadows in the clouds are shaded, then a kneadable eraser used to soften edges. Once the values are well established, use sweeps of a clean kneadable eraser to lift out cirrus cloud.
How to Draw Clouds – Refining Details
cloud drawing in graphite pencilH South, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Eraser marks usually have a soft edge, which you can sharpen by lightly redrawing the ajacent dark values with a sharp pencil. You can also use a sharp corner of plastic eraser to ‘draw’ white lines, if the layer of graphite is not too thick. This sketch uses vigorous shading to maintain a sense of energy in the drawing. You can create a smoother, more realist surface by shading more finely (use a slightly harder pencil – B and 3B) on a softer paper – and using a great deal more patience and attention to detail! You can create a more dramatic surface by experimenting with strong, directional shading or hatching, with strong contrasts. Try using a torn paper stencil to keep white areas clear when using strong, hard-to-erase marks.