Value Composition For Aerial Perspective

Value Sketching For This Situation Is Simple

What Is Aerial Perspective?

The effect of Aerial Perspective is also known as Atmospheric Perspective.  Undoubtedly, you have had a chance to look out over a landscape that stretches way off in the distance. You’ve likely noticed that distant hills seem lighter and less distinct, while also appearing to be blue.  The effect is caused by the mixure of elements, water vapor and dust particles that scatter light rays traveling from distant objects to your eye.

This effect is often described as Aerial or Atmospheric Perspective.  In reality, Aerial Perspective actually describes the system used by artists to interpret and simulate the atmospheric effect in paint on a two-dimensional surface.

Value Arrangement For Aerial Perspective

The effect of Aerial Perspective is that is makes objects in the distance look lighter in value while those in the foreground look darker in value.  The Value Composition for any scene with aerial perspective is easy to do. The key is to simplify the composition and apply three simplified values.  If you are unfamiliar with this idea, take a look at this tutorial which covers the simplest and most basic way to create a value composition for any landscape scene.

The value composition created in this lesson follows that same easy formula – three shapes, three values. In this case, the lightest value is in the background, the middle value occupies the mid-ground, and the darkest values are placed in the mid-ground.

Transferring the Drawing Layout

The downloadable layouts are done with heavy lines to make it easy to see and copy onto your watercolor paper. It is best not to draw the lines too heavy on your paper, especially in the sky, since there is a good chance the lines will show through the paint. It’s not a deal-breaker, but those heavy pencil lines are sometimes a distraction.

Materials Needed

    • Pencil, Paper and a copy of the Thumbnail drawing layout found in the download below

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Related Lessons

Simple Landscape With Aerial Perspective

The value composition sketch created in the lesson above is used as the basis for the painting in this lesson.

It is an easy painting lesson that uses two basic watercolor painting techniques – wet-into-wet and dry-into-wet.   So it’s a great lesson on basic watercolor painting as well. 

Using the effect of aerial perspective in landscape paintings is an easy way to create a sense of depth and distance. This is crucial for setting of the illusion of three dimensions on the 2D surface that is our paper. 

Try this short lesson and learn how really easy it is to create aerial perspective in your paintings.  

Value Sketching Lessons and Tutorials