How to

How to Draw Water


In this tutorial, we will explore the art of drawing water and learn how to depict different states of water, such as calm water and water with turbulence. Drawing water convincingly requires mastering the correct depiction of reflections based on the water’s state. By following the techniques and concepts discussed here, you will be able to create realistic water drawings. Although the instructions primarily focus on using pen and ink as the drawing medium, these techniques can be applied to other mediums as well.

Drawing Water: Basic Water Stroke

To begin, let’s introduce a simple horizontal wavy line that represents a water ripple. This water stroke, when combined with appropriate reflections, can be used to create realistic water drawings.

Drawing Water Ripple

Drawing Calm Water

Vertical lines are highly effective in drawing still reflections in calm water. The size and shape of the reflection should match the object being reflected. Remember to depict the reflection’s edges with clean and well-defined lines to indicate calm water.

Drawing Calm Water

Drawing Water’s Edge

When drawing water in the foreground, it is important to define the edge of the water, such as a river bank. Use vertical lines to indicate the water’s edge, and to create depth, increase the length of the vertical lines.

Drawing Water's Edge

Key Considerations for Drawing Reflections

Drawing reflections in water requires attention to detail. Here are three key points to remember:

  1. Only a part of an object is reflected in water as it moves away from the water’s edge.
  2. The angle of the object should be appropriately shown in the reflection.
  3. The visibility of the reflection decreases with the height of the object and the clarity of the water.

Drawing Reflection

Adding Turbulence to Water

To depict water with turbulence, use wavy horizontal lines to indicate the distortion of reflection caused by movement in the water. By adding more waves to the water stroke, you can emphasize the level of turbulence.

Adding Turbulence to Water

Drawing Falling Water

Falling water, such as a waterfall, can be indicated by using lines to represent the water’s downward flow. To draw a waterfall at a distance, this method is often sufficient. Additionally, the techniques mentioned earlier should be used to show the water continuing towards the viewer.

Drawing Falling Water

Drawing a Stream/River

To depict a stream or river, use flowing lines to indicate the flow of water in the desired direction. For a seamless step-by-step guide on how to draw a river, click [here](link to the tutorial).

Drawing a Stream/River

Drawing a Stream Through Woods

A stream flowing through woods creates a visually pleasing composition. To draw this, combine the techniques discussed earlier. For a detailed guide on how to draw a stream through the woods, click [here](link to the tutorial).

Drawing a Stream Through Woods

Drawing a Wave of Water

Adding a wave of water, such as a shoreline, can enhance any water landscape drawing. Pay attention to irregularities in the front of the wave to create a sense of realism. For a step-by-step guide on how to draw a shoreline, click [here](link to the tutorial).

Drawing a Wave of Water

Templates & Workbooks for Drawing Water

To practice drawing water, you can download PDF templates [here](link to the templates). For a more comprehensive guide on drawing water and pen and ink landscapes, consider exploring my pen and ink drawing workbooks, specifically Volume 4, which covers water drawing techniques in detail.


Drawing water requires attention to detail and an understanding of its different states. By following the techniques and concepts discussed in this tutorial, you can create realistic water drawings. Remember to practice regularly and have fun exploring the beauty of water in your artwork.


Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

Related Articles

Back to top button