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How to Draw a Mountain

Learn how to draw a mountain from artist Rebecca Schweiger in this Howcast drawing tutorial.


We'll focus on drawing a mountain. I've already prepared a landscape; this is a marsh with a wide and deep field of grass. We're going to focus on drawing mountains way in the background.

Mountains typically, when we see them in a drawing, are very far away from us. I'm going to take my pencil, and I'm just going to sketch in a mountain range. When drawing mountains, if they're in the distance, basically what you're going to do is with your pencil or pastel; you're going to draw a series of curving lines. Instead of it being a solid line, it's almost like you want to make your hand shake as you're doing it. If you think of a mountain, usually there are trees and all sorts of other living things in Earth on top of the mountain. It's typically never a perfectly straight line.

I'm going to take my pastel, and if these mountains are in fact way in the distance, I'm actually going to use a purple tone. I'm using the side of my pastel. In some places, I'm using the tip of my pastel. I'm not necessarily going for a super-realistic expression of this landscape. I'm really going for color, I'm going for feeling. As I'm drawing this for my own self, I'm wanting to draw something that's much more expressive.

I've added the purple; I'm going to rub it in slightly with my fingers. Sometimes I'm rubbing it in right on the paper, and sometimes I'm just dabbing at it. What I'm going to do is I'm going to lighten the area that's in front of it. If the area in front of it goes lighter, it will automatically push back the mountain range, which is darker. Depending on the mountains you're drawing, if they're way in the distance, they are going to tend to be one or two colors and darker. I'm going to add a touch of darker blue to these purple mountains. I'm using the pastel very quickly, just sketching it right in.

I'm going to draw another level of the mountain range with my pencil. I'm going right on top of the pastel with a 6B pencil, which is quite dark. I'm bringing back on top of the purple mountains that I just created in areas, just touches with my pencil. You're going to continue with your imagination, with your own sense of self-expression, and your own unique mark to create these ranges of mountains in the distance. They're squiggly lines, almost allowing your hands to shake slightly.

The last thing I'm going to do is I'm going to bring a touch of blue, the same blue that's in the forefront of this drawing. I want to show some blue sky, and that will really allow the colors of the mountains, which are now, there's some purples, and then there are some golden yellows. If I make the sky a different color, it will allow the mountains to really pop out. I'm going to bring in a touch of blue, and we'll shade that in, just rubbing the pastel through the paper. I'm going to add just a touch of white to lighten up the sky.

All the while as I'm doing this, most importantly, I'm expressing myself. I'm allowing myself to connect with the beauty of the landscape that I'm looking at, and I'm allowing my own unique personality and my own unique experiences to really affect the look of the drawing. No two drawings are the same; no two artists are going to draw the same. They're going to be most interesting if you can really bring your personality and your perspective into the drawing.

I'm still just using the side of the pastel, bringing in a little more blue to the top so that these mountain ranges will pop out. I'm going to just bring a touch of green into some of the mountaintops so that these gold and yellows and greens can shine through. You can use any colors you want. Add a little bit of a touch of hot pink, just for some contrast.

There you have a range of mountains.

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