Looking at a waterfall brings feelings of pure joy and wonder. You may find yourself wondering, “How can I capture the beauty of a waterfall landscape in a drawing?” Drawing a waterfall may seem challenging, but with a basic outline and step-by-step shading process, you can create your own stunning waterfall drawing. Even if you are a beginner at drawing, this tutorial is perfect for you. So, grab a pencil and let’s get started!
Using a Reference Photo for Inspiration
To begin, it’s helpful to have a reference photo of a waterfall landscape. This photo will guide you throughout the drawing process. In this tutorial, we will use a photo of the breathtaking Iguazu Falls in South America, on the border of Argentina and Brazil. This photo captures the grandeur and beauty of the falls.
Before we dive into the drawing, let’s gather the materials you’ll need. Here’s a list of the materials used in this tutorial:
- HB, 2B, and 4B graphite pencils
- 8” by 10” drawing paper (90 lb., medium rough surface)
- Kneaded eraser
Don’t worry if you don’t have all these materials. You can still create a beautiful waterfall drawing with just a regular pencil and eraser. If you want to purchase these materials, they can be found at your local art store or through the provided affiliate links.
Drawing the Waterfall Landscape
Now that we have our reference photo and materials ready, let’s start drawing the waterfall landscape.
Sketching the Outline and Top Trees
Using an HB pencil, sketch a basic outline of the landscape. Start with a sloping zigzag line near the top of the paper to represent the upper part of the waterfall. Then, draw two almost parallel lines coming down to represent the sides of the waterfall. Add squiggly lines under the right cliff to create the appearance of it jutting out. Sketch the outline of the upper trees and bushes.
You can also replace the waterfall on the left side with a tree, as we did in this tutorial.
Drawing the Sky and Top Trees
For the sky, you can leave it clear like in the reference photo. If you prefer a cloudier sky, you can refer to another tutorial on drawing clouds.
To draw the foliage, use the side of a 2B pencil to create patches of shading within the masses of trees and bushes. Remember, we don’t need to draw every single leaf and detail. Suggest the leaves by making small marks within the shaded areas. Draw a few branches poking out between the leafy clusters.
Continue this process for the rest of the foliage near the top of the waterfall, gradually transitioning from darker to lighter patches of shading.
Finishing the Top Trees
To complete the trees and bushes along the top of the cliff, establish the shadow areas of the foliage using a 2B pencil. Add a darker layer of graphite over some spots for contrast. Gradually add short markings for leaves, moving from the darker to the lighter areas. Draw visible branches to give the trees and bushes more definition.
Drawing the Landscape to the Waterfall’s Left
Now, let’s focus on drawing the landscape to the left of the waterfall.
Begin by creating a rocky texture on the cliff using a combination of light and dark values. Draw lines and shapes to resemble a rugged cliff. Apply darker tones within the shapes and along cracks and grooves. Create a gradual transition from darker to lighter areas.
Draw the bottom foliage of the left cliff using the same techniques as before. Sketch abstract shapes to form the leaf clusters, and add short markings to suggest the leaves. Draw an outline for a boulder at the base of the cliff using curved lines. Apply dark and light tones to the rock to create texture.
Drawing the Left Tree
Replace the waterfall on the far left with a tree. Shade the dark patches between the clusters of leaves to identify them. Sketch indications of leaves within the darker areas, gradually moving to lighter areas. Draw branches within the leaf clusters to add detail. Create contrast between the tree and the cliff by using a kneaded eraser to lighten the clusters along the edge of the tree and applying shading over the cliff. Complete the tree by drawing a small piece of land at the base.
Drawing the Waterfall and Water Beneath
Now, let’s move to the focal point of our drawing – the waterfall.
Using an HB pencil, gently draw lines curving over the edge of the cliff to represent the waterfall. Add more lines within the waterfall, curving and varying thickness to create volume and thickness. Shade the cliff along the left edge of the waterfall for contrast. Add small spots in the water to show separation as it falls.
To draw the water beneath the waterfall, use thin sideways shapes to indicate ripples. Shade the spaces between the shapes, creating a ripple effect. Use a kneaded eraser to lighten and define the ripples as needed.
Drawing the Landscape to the Waterfall’s Right
To complete the drawing, focus on the landscape to the right of the waterfall.
Draw the right cliff by identifying darker areas and sketching vertical lines and triangle shapes. Shade the cliff using a combination of light and dark values, creating texture and depth. Add details and grooves to further enhance the rocky surface.
Draw the bottom foliage of the right cliff using the same techniques as before. Sketch abstract shapes to form leaf clusters and add short markings to suggest the leaves. Draw branches within the foliage for added detail.
Adding Foreground and Final Details
To finish the drawing, add rocks and plants in the foreground. Sketch rocks with rough, light tones and varying directions. Draw irregular patches of shading to indicate plants and add shadow tones to create depth. Add thin grass between the rocks for added realism.
Finally, review your drawing and make any finishing touches. Add contrast to the shadows of the cliffs for more depth. Add smaller rocks, ripples, and details in the water. Enhance the texture of the right cliff. And if needed, add a few sprigs of thin grass.
Recap and Keep Practicing
Congratulations! You’ve completed a stunning waterfall landscape drawing. Take a moment to admire your creation and compare it to the reference photo. Remember, practice is key. Try drawing more waterfalls from real life or other reference photos. The beauty of landscapes is that you can adjust and modify them while still capturing their essence.
Keep practicing and enjoy the beauty of your waterfall drawings!
Tutorial inspired by: How to Draw a Waterfall in a Beautiful Landscape
Content by an experienced and passionate artist with over 15 years of drawing experience.