How do you create depth in art? Lee Hammond has the answers for portraying distance in landscape drawings and paintings.
A Tip For Creating Depth in Art
When drawing or painting landscapes, you always want to work back to front, starting with the sky first. Many beginners want to get right in there and draw the subject first, but that’s not affective. By perfecting the background first, things can then be applied and overlapped. You NEVER want to draw something in and then try to put the background in later, around it. It will show.
In landscapes, things become lighter in color and less detailed as they go further away. As you can see in my buffalo drawing, the further back you go, the more pale it becomes. The darkness of the buffalo in the foreground then creates contrast, and makes them look closer to you. I love the sense of depth in this drawing!
The is a painting (at right) I recently did in an acrylic landscape class I taught. It was to teach these very principles of depth and distance. If you look closely, you can see how I applied the paint in gradual horizontal layers, starting with the sky, and then working down into the many atmospheric layers. This painting really shows the depth and power of that horizontal application.