Why Drawing Landscapes is so popular 

Why Drawing Landscapes is so popular

Ever since the dawn of man have loved sketching meadows, woods, and mountains. They’re not just beautiful but also great to improve our skillet.

The rise of the landscape

Yet, it took a while for Landscape art to take its rightful place among the elite of subjects. At some points in history, such as during the Renaissance, portraits, religious and historical topics were more popular, with landscapes only taking on a supporting role. But over time, artists everywhere realized that nature is one of the most amazing, most worthy, and indeed, most challenging subjects. Meadows, forests, and mountains are every bit as important to art as Bacchus meeting Ariadne. While the idea of nature being a worthy subject developed slowly over time, the Impressionists, with their love for capturing the stunning beauty of the outdoors, sealed the deal and lifted the issue to the heights it has remained ever since.

The pleasure of giving up control

There are many benefits to drawing landscapes. First and foremost, there’s the Impressionist’s number one point for moving their easels outdoors: natural light. Unlike a controlled studio atmosphere, in which you can choose the angle, brightness, and color of the light, out and about, you aren’t the one calling the shots; nature is. There is just something magical about how the sun suddenly appears from behind a cloud and hits a lush canopy of leaves to make the forest floor seem to dance. Time of day and weather significantly influence how the same scene appears, from bright and cheerful to dark and eerie. It’s a lot of fun to play around with different approaches and let the outside conditions be your guide.

Variety

Another reason everyone occasionally takes their sketchbook and ventures into the great unknown is the vast number of subjects to draw. Nature is such that everywhere you look, there will be something else extremely photogenic to discover. Even a single subject will have dozens of great angles for you to choose from. Did you find a pretty meadow that might do for some quick sketches? It’ll probably look amazing at eye level, from above, down on the ground, close-up, from the right, the left, you name it. Since the dawn of man, we have loved sketching meadows, woods, and mountains. They’re not just beautiful but also great to improve our skillet.

The rise of the landscape

Yet, it took a while for Landscape art to take its rightful place among st the elite of subjects. At some points in history, such as during the Renaissance, portraits, religious and historical topics were more popular, with landscapes only taking on a supporting role. But over time, artists everywhere realized that nature is one of the most unique, most worthy, and challenging subjects. Meadows, forests, and mountains are every bit as important to art as Bacchus meeting Ariadne. While the idea of nature being a worthy subject developed slowly over time, the Impressionists, with their love for capturing the stunning beauty of the outdoors, sealed the deal and lifted the issue to the heights it has remained ever since.

                                                         

The pleasure of giving up control

There are many benefits to drawing landscapes. First and foremost, there’s the Impressionist’s number one point for moving their easels outdoors: natural light. Unlike a controlled studio atmosphere, in which you can choose the angle, brightness, and color of the light, out and about, you aren’t the one calling the shots; nature is there is just something magical about how the sun suddenly appears from behind a cloud and hits a lush canopy of leaves to make the forest floor seem to dance time of day and weather significantly influence how the same scene appears, from bright and cheerful to dark and eerie. It’s a lot of fun to play around with different approaches and let the outside conditions be your guide.

Textures and patterns everywhere

Do you know what all those great angles have in common? A lot of super exciting textures. The outdoors is full of different organisms and non-living things, many with unique, amazing patterns. There are smooth, shiny leaves, rough, gritty rocks, and delicate, velvety flowers everywhere you look. If you take a good look at it, tree bark has as fascinating a texture as the underside of a mushroom or a simple stretch of cracked, dry soil. It’s a great practice to sketch these often irregular shapes and patterns. It won’t be easy at first, but if you keep trying, you’ll become good at it in no time, and it’ll make your drawings so much richer and more enjoyable

                                                 

Learning to suggest

Due to nature’s variety, you’ll also notice that many views can be somewhat busy. There are different trees, flowers, bushes, and rocks everywhere you look. There are clouds, ripples in the water, bees buzzing around. It’s impossible to draw every single detail, nor should that ever be your goal (for sketching at least). Instead, one of the most important lessons you will learn when drawing landscapes is to simplify. Having to hint at detail without actually drawing it is a skill in its own right and takes a lot of practice. For some tips and exercises to help you get started, look at my article How to simplify your Drawings.

Learning to let it go

Artificial objects, especially in modern times, are incredibly uniform and neat. Being surrounded by such order all day, we have become used to it and often, even subconsciously, try to recreate it in our drawings. But in most cases, a less perfectionist approach is much more appealing. Asymmetry is what adds interest; irregularities bring life to a drawing. And nature can teach us both. There are few straight lines in nature. No two things ever look the same, so you’ll be practically forced to create unique, fascinating drawings full of character. Pop by my article 7 great Exercises to improve your Landscape Drawing Skills for an exercise that’s great to get some practice with this.

Freedom of composition

As I’ve mentioned above, nature isn’t uniform. In every view, a lot is going in, with differently shaped and arranged plants, rocks, bodies of water, what have you have. Because of that, you have a lot more freedom with your composition. In most cases, you can pretty much edit it however way you like. You can move components around, change their shape, make them more or less prominent, and your viewers will never know (unless they happen to know the original subject very well). For more tips for a good landscape, the composition looks at my article 19 expert Tips for creating stunning Landscape Sketches.

Mind-body and soul

Finally, there are the health benefits of spending time in and with nature. Being outdoors is proven to relieve stress, boost your immune system and improve your well being as a whole. Fresh air is great for your lungs; chirping birds and rustling leaves will do wonders for anxiety. Even studies link spending time outdoors with enhanced creativity, so that’s just perfect for you and your drawing skills.

No list like this without mentioning everyone’s favorite artist, good old Vincent van Goth. His talent for bringing any scene to life with accessible, vivid strokes is unparalleled. This hill view is just bursting with movement and creativity, even though the subject is literally “just” a few rocks and trees. Van Goth used mainly a red pen to create the strokes. Stipples and cross-hatching are simple on their own but merge into a vastly exciting landscape. If you’re interested in drawing rocks and mountains, you can read my article How to Draw Rocks and Mountains in a quick Landscape Sketch.

This sketch is between drawing and painting due to the use of brushes instead of pens, but its beauty and simplicity earn it a place in this list either way. Chinese artist Shen Zhou used brushes and ink to create these elegant lines and stipples that are incredibly soothing yet at the same time full of life and spirituality. The irregular and natural shapes of the trees and especially the slightly blurry brushwork for the foliage create a wind-swept effect where you can almost hear it rustling through the leaves.

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