Landscape sketching is a great way to begin working directly from the landscape. It will help you to understand general principle about landscapes before attempting to work in paint (which can be a bit daunting!).

This lesson will explain how to progressively add masses of tone to your drawing. The aim will be to roughly block in the full range of value present in your sketch. Don’t worry about finding lots of details, we’ll be doing that in the following lesson.

Finding Masses of Tone

Using the major landmarks that you found at the end of the previous lesson, you can lightly sketch in the shapes of the major tonal masses. Don’t focus on what things are specifically, just group together any values in the images that are next to one another and similar. So, trees will usually group together in a mass (like in the video), the ground will and the sky will etc.

Once these shapes/masses have been lightly sketched in you can begin adding tone to them.

Building a Range of Values

Decide whether any part of the image will be entirely white and make sure to leave this blank for now. If you start to add tone to the whitest part of the image, your drawing will look too dim or grey and lose its luminosity.

I recommend that you start adding tone to the darkest parts of the image, in a general fashion, so slowly add tone to areas that will definitely be quite dark. In the video I added tone to the trees and ground at the same time. Don’t darken things too quickly, it is easier (and better for the paper) to progressively add tone until it gets dark enough, rather than make it really dark and then have to erase it. Try to look at the drawing as a whole compared to your reference, blur your eyes and flick them back and forth between the reference and your drawing to check whether or not the arrangement of tones seems to match.

Once you have shaded in the full range of tones and adjusted them so that they relate to one another correctly you have finished this stage of the drawing. The next lesson will cover neatening, and adding detail to the drawing.