Realistic Mountain Drawings in 4 Steps With Photoshop

Would you like to create realistic mountain drawings? This guide will show you an effective way to draw mountains by finding specific patterns common in rock landscapes and duplicating these textures from the ground up to create a range of unique cliff faces.

Mountains are powerful symbols that gives off a sense of grandeur in your drawing. For example, a single sharp peak can invoke a feeling of freezing solidarity where as a few mountain ranges on a orange sky can symbolize a peaceful open feel.

Keep this in mind: there is no one way to drawing mountains. It depends on your mood, your style, and what you know about rock variations. Some mountains are sharp while others are rounded. Some have striped layers while others have sandy textures.

However, by looking for these patterns, you can then build on it can slowly turn rock textures into mountains of a specific shape. Some understanding of how mountains are formed can also help a lot. This will add to the credibility of your drawing.

Sketching realistic mountain drawings

The first simple process in learning realistic mountain drawings simply involves blocking in a mountain range with a chalk brush. There is no general shape to follow other than a series of jagged triangles. You can also suggest a few trees in the distant foreground.

With the mountain range filled in, swap over to a smaller brush and begin working on the details. There should be shading on the side where light will not hit. Similarly, use lighter values around the peak and slopes to get more textures.

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What really makes the mountain come alive is manipulating and duplicating the existing textures. You can clone or duplicate the entire layer. From there, distort, merge, erasing the edges, etc. to create a seamless mountain range.

To give even more perspective, you can continue to add another mountain range in the back. In doing so, make sure to fade the colors to push these mountain ranges further into the background. For slope details, using the sharpen tool will change random brush strokes into snowy edges.

Patterns in realistic mountain drawing

Another method in knowing realistic mountain drawings is to try looking for patterns if it is too difficult to see form. Try using a simple gesture sketch first if this is the case. With random swirls and lines, see if you can find edges or shapes that can construct.

A bed of rocks will have many different forms that can come from these gesture lines. See if you can change these random gesture lines into a contour drawing bringing out the rock formations. Pay careful attention to any overlapping rocks.

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Once you have determined the outlines, fill in the rest of it with a simple neutral value. This will form the background color that you will draw light on because it is much easier to block in form using light than it is to worry about shading the shadows in.

Use a chalk brush to block in the light values. In doing so, you are forming extra textures as each dab of the brush stacks on one another. Eventually, the rock textures should come to life on its own without you even realizing it.

Texturing realistic mountain drawings

The previous example deals with forming patterns given a random sketch. In this section, try building form given a specific blocked shape. The first one is easy as most mountain ranges have hard edges that you can easily block in.

The second type would be more smooth edges. While the process is still the same, there is a bit more control as you may use different brush types. Using a soft headed brush will give you a smooth range of values than blocking and is something to consider for this type of texture.

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Building on smooth textures, some rock formations may additional features like moss or discoloration. The best method to represent these rocks is through the splatter brush. With each stroke, the brush will splatter the values to create a spotted pattern.

Lastly, stripped patterns are common as mountain ranges will have layers of rock being compressed over a very long period of time. These textures can be done simply by drawing long lines on a different layer and then merging it back to the original hard edged rock textures.

Detailing realistic mountain drawings

Mountain ranges come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and direction. The previous example shows how you can draw textures contained in a given shape. Expanding on that, you can do the same with direction.

The most common one are the angular ones. With a simple chalk brush or smudge tool with 100% pressure, smudge in a angle so it shows the rock textures slanting up. Adding different values can help create more textures.

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Cracks are a little bit harder to draw. Like volcanoes or meteor impacts, these require simply drawing jagged lines out from a central point. At the same time, draw circular cracks spiraling out from the epicenter to show pressure in stages.

Despite the complexity, horizontal rocks like canyons are easy to draw if you know how to duplicate the rock textures. It's much easier to duplicate sections of a rock than it is to draw every possibility. From there, just isolate and draw in shading to separate the canyon edges.

The same can be done for vertical mountains. As suggested, duplication is a very common process and one that will give you the most textures in a small amount of time. With these types, it's always a good idea to smooth out some of the edges.

Remember, to separate mountain ranges, always think of ways to fade it to the foreground or background using layers or other drawing tools. In conclusion, from smooth and hard textures, various mountain drawings can be made quite easily from a flat drawing with this process.