How To Draw a Desert Landscape: The Backside of the San Bernardino Mountains

Today I finished sketching my desert landscape of the San Bernardino Mountains.  Some people prefer sketching in charcoals, but I enjoy drawing out pictures with a plain number two writing pencil.  These are cheap and plentiful in my art supply, and I do not feel bad if I have to erase my markings, or sharpen my pencil frequently.  Yes I love budget crafting and art materials, and I truly believe the most beautiful art can be created when you are inspired, not necessarily because you purchased the most expensive supplies.  Illustration drawing consists of laying out all of the details of your sketch in pencils, and then filling it in with colored pencils.  Botanical drawings of plants in the desert can have scientific value if you are looking to classify the flora and fauna of the region, but I simply enjoy looking at, and drawing the beautiful vistas of the San Bernardino Mountains.  Create your own desert landscape by taking a digital picture, and then go home and begin to sketch.

Desert Landscape Designs

Here is my completed sketch of desert landscape on the backside of the San Bernardino Mountains.
Here is my completed sketch of desert landscape on the backside of the San Bernardino Mountains.
Here is the original photograph that inspired my desert landscape drawing of the San Bernardino Mountains.
Here is the original photograph that inspired my desert landscape drawing of the San Bernardino Mountains.

Step One: Begin Sketching Out The Details of the Drawing

Use a photograph of the desert landscape to begin sketching out the details of the drawing.
Use a photograph of the desert landscape to begin sketching out the details of the drawing.

Drawing landscape designs is a creative and economical way to create art for the walls of your home. As you can see in this photograph of the backside of the San Bernardino Mountains there is no clean horizon line in the distance, which has to do with my having taken the picture on a high pnnacle looking down in altitude. The back side of the San Bernardino Mountains is a high desert mountainous environment with chaparral bushes, yucca, and many hills. There are few flat valleys here, and as such the horizon line will not be as clean. To focus on the large boulders and bushes in the foreground and made the mountains in the way distance mostly barren. The mountains directly in front of this will have a few more details, but the majority of details are reserved for the center and the foreground of this scene.

Step Two: Adding Bushes and Boulders

Sketch in the boulders, smaller rocks, and bushes of the landscape.
Sketch in the boulders, smaller rocks, and bushes of the landscape.

Here I continued to add the bushes, boulders, and the smaller rocks of the landscape. In this drawing I sporadically added details as I went along, and one nice thing about sketching as opposed to painting is that you can put it aside, and work on it whenever you have a little bit of spare time.

Step Three: Keep Your Eyes On The Photograph, But Feel Free To Improvise

Keep your eyes on the photograph as you sketch.
Keep your eyes on the photograph as you sketch.

Keep your eyes on the photograph as you sketch the desert landscape, but feel free to improvise.  For instance, a peculiar shaped boulder that is in one part of the photograph might look more interesting in another part of the the drawing.  Use your artistic license and the essence of the photograph to create boulders in places where they might not have been.

Step Four: Add Details In The Distance

Add the details of bushes in the distance.
Add the details of bushes in the distance.

Begin to add the details of small bushes and boulders in the distance, but keep in mind these will be smaller than the ones in the foreground.  This is because things look smaller when they are far away, even if these objects are monster truck size boulders.

Step Five: Most of The Details Have Been Added

Here most of the details have been added, consisting of the chaparral bushes and the boulders.
Here most of the details have been added, consisting of the chaparral bushes and the boulders.

I continued to add chaparral brush and boulders until all of the desert landscape was filled in. Eventually the entire sketch of the scenery will be filled to capacity, and then comes time for adding the colored pencils.

Step Six: Begin Shading In The Sky

Here I began to shade in the sky will a brilliant blue colored pencil.
Here I began to shade in the sky will a brilliant blue colored pencil.

Coloring in the sky on a desert landscape drawing is the beginning of making your illustration come to life.  A deep blue sky with puffy white clouds is very inviting and alluring, and takes you back to the day when you captured the photograph with your camera.  Remember what you felt on that day as you glimpsed at the sky, and the desert landscape in the distance.  Be one with the page as you shade in the sky of illustration.

Step Seven: Color In The Boulders And The Brush

I used various shades of colored pencils to color in the boulders, and the brush.
I used various shades of colored pencils to color in the boulders, and the brush.

I used various shades of colored pencils to bring my desert landscape illustration to life.  Layering colors upon each other makes for interesting textures and hues.

Step Eight: The Completed Desert Landscape

The completed desert landscape drawing showcases the beauty of the backside of the San Bernardino Mountains.
The completed desert landscape drawing showcases the beauty of the backside of the San Bernardino Mountains.

The completed desert landscape showcases the beauty of the backside of the San Bernardino Mountains.  I enjoy drawing and coloring this picture, and as you can see from the photo and video below it looks quite nice on my wall.  Creating your own art work for the walls of your home is an ideal way to decorate on a budget.

The desert landscape looks quite nice in a picture frame on my wall.
The desert landscape looks quite nice in a picture frame on my wall.

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Comments 12 comments

white atlantic profile image

white atlantic 6 years ago from INDIA

nice topic.....


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

That's a wonderful drawing and I like the step-by-step technique you described too !. Thank you


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for a great hub describing it step-by-step.


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Wow! nice. Great job of instructions...and I love the finished product on the wall.


darkinside profile image

darkinside 6 years ago

really great..


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Appreciate all of the comments!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

Nicely directed project SweetiePie. Showing your economical approach to art projects is inspiring and makes one want to buy some drawing utensils and paper and get to it! Who new such beauty lurked about on the backside of the SB mountains! Thanks for a well thought out guide to a fun and creative art project! Your finished work is very nice. Thank you for the hub.

~Always choose love~

K9


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Lovely hub, and good photos. Thank you, Sweetie Pie.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia

SweetPie a great hub! You live in a very different type of terrain to what I am used to seeing. I love the way you have created 'depth of field' with your foreground boulders.

Thumbs up and beautiful :-)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

K9Keystrokes,

I am the national budget crafting examiner, so I am dedicated to creating art and décor on the budget. Thanks for the lovely comments.

Paradise7,

Thanks for your lovely comments.

Aguvulpes,

The Pinnacles on the backside of the San Bernardino Mountains are a very unusual place, even for the San Bernardino Mountains, which have many trees in other spots. I love the large boulders out there, and these finally inspired a piece of artwork. Thanks for your nice comments :).


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 8 months ago from US

I haven't seen this one, thank you. You got a neat how to - step by step guide there.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 months ago from Southern California, USA Author

I appreciate your comments Prettydarkhorse!

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