Cloud formations and tone

Project 2 Landscape

Exercise 1: Cloud formations and tone

I wasn’t sure where to start with this, so I started by looking at a couple of books on techniques for drawing them.

Drawing Nature by Stanley Maltzman had a whole chapter dedicated to clouds, looking at types of clouds and techniques for drawing them or for using clouds to break up a landscape.

Types of clouds include:

  • Cirrus
  • Altocumulus
  • Stratocumulus
  • Cumulus
  • Cumulonimbus

Maltzman also mentioned a couple of other terms for clouds in artwork:

  • Incidental clouds” which are “shapes you can add to your sky to save an otherwise drab landscape” (Maltzman, 1995:76).
  • Dramatic clouds” which are used to create drama in a picture (Maltzman, 1995:78).
  • Clouds as center of interest” is where a combination of clouds and a low horizon is used to create an atmospheric look (Maltzman, 1995:80).

I then tried a range of different materials to do some quick sketches:


Derwent Sketching, 4B


Derwent Tinted Charcoal Pencils (shades: Natural, Ocean Drop and Mountain Blue)


HB Papermate Non-Stop Pencil


WHSmith Coloured Pencils


Chalk Pastels




Chalk Pastels, blended with water


Maltzman, S. (1995) Drawing Nature. Ohio: North Light Books.

Harrison, H. (ed.) (2008) The Landscape Artist’s Drawing Bible. London: Quarto Publishing.


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