How to Draw realistic Mountains || Step by Step

The three most important things to consider, when drawing mountains is the atmospheric perspective (meaning everything, that is farther away will have a lighter value), clear edges (you have to separate the individual planes by clear defined edges) and finally you need to clearly separate the areas that are hit by light and the ones, that are hit by light.

So, when you follow this step by step guide keep these three things in mind!

What do I need for this guide?

You will need a soft graphite pen. The best is a 5B or 6B. But you can use any pen, that you can achieve a huge varients in tone value.

You will also need an eraser, I always recommend a kneadable eraser because they are very clean when you use them but really any eraser is just fine.

Finally, you will need a piece of paper, that you can draw on obviously. I recommend sketch paper but any thicker paper is ok except normal copy paper! Don´t use regular copy paper.

Step1: Let´s Draw the General Form of the Mountain.

So let´s start off with the basic form of the Mountains.

Don´t be afraid of using some reference pictures and take your time, until you are sure, that you have interesting looking forms.

There is a wide variety of mountains that all have different forms and silhouettes so depending on what kind of mountains you want to draw you can draw different lines to establish different forms.

Step 2: Roughing in the Light and Shadow Shapes.

Now look at your reference and try and copy the forms of the areas, that are hit by light and the formes of the areas, that are cast in shadow.

Look very closely at your reference when you draw these lines because they will, later on, dictate how realistic your mountains will look after shading.

And don´t make these lines to dark, they are guidelines for the light and shadow areas, they will be erased later on.

Depending on the way your mountains are shaped so either smooth or very jagged (like these mountains) the shapes of the shadows and light areas will change as well.

Don´t make these areas too small. Try to combine them to make big general shapes, as these shapes will look more realistic than too many small areas.

Step 3: Shading the Mountain

Now you can start by rendering the mountain.

Keep your lines in the direction of the mountain site, this will give the mountain some interesting and believable texture.

Remember the atmospheric perspective! the mountains in the distance are shaded in a very very light tone and the closer the mountains get to the “viewer” the darker they get. But don´t make then too dark either.

Only shade the shadow areas and keep the light areas either blank or in a very light tone.

The mountains in the back will have a very little tonal separation between their light and shadow sites.

All my lines are following the direction of the mountainsides to make the form look more directional.

Step 4: More Rendering!

Continue filling in the shadow areas and lightly darken the light sites.

Keep the edges sharp and well separated. NO SMUDGING!

If you smudge the areas too much it will lose the sharp separation between the shadow and the light area and the mountains will look weird.

Just do that for the rest of the drawing and be careful not to accidentally move your hand over your drawing as this will smudge it.

Just put a piece of paper over the areas, you already rendered to protect your drawing.

You did it!

And with this, you are done. You drew some Mountains!

Don´t be discouraged if your first attempt didn´t turn out as good as you would have liked it to be. The most important thing is not giving up!

As long as you keep on drawing and you keep on exercising, then you will continue to learn and you will get better really fast!

If you liked this guide you can check some other guides from me like drawing a realistic tree or how to draw eyes.

I have also released a very detailed guide on drawing a rose in three different art styles.

So draw on and until next time.