How to Draw Clouds with Pen

How to Draw Clouds with Pen
How to Draw Clouds with Pen

Whether you're a complete novice at drawing or have experience as an artist, you'll have to learn how to draw clouds. I mean, you don't expect to draw landscapes and leave out the clouds. Do you? Clouds invite depth and form into your sketch, making your piece look lively. If you are new to this craft, I'll be giving you tips that you can use to make the exercise easier for you.

Remember that there are a few things you have to consider before drawing your clouds so you can achieve perfection. Here is a read with all the necessary information about drawing clouds using a pen.

How to Draw Realistic Clouds with a Pen

Scale and Size of Clouds
Scale and Size of Clouds

Drawing clouds is a repetitive yet simple exercise. You may have to consider a few external aspects that will dictate how you shade the clouds, but other than that, you'll have an easy time. If you take a good look at an image of clouds or the reals ones out in the sky, you'll notice a particular pattern.

Clouds seem to take the shape of the letter ‘m' or a half-circle. So, when you're drawing your clouds, you can use either of these analogies to help you achieve perfect and realistic clouds.

The secret to producing real looking clouds is to alternate between small sizes and bigger ones as you draw. Remember, clouds have an incomplete circle-like shape, so you can overlap one cloud over the other to create a dramatic effect. Now, if you are still a rookie, you can draw a light sketch of the clouds to give you an overlay of what you need to.

Once this is up, you can trace the pencil using your pen and then add effects to your drawing. Now you have a sketch of the clouds, but you want to shade your picture to give it a realistic feel. Before that, you need to know the direction the sun is shining from. This will determine what side of the clouds you will shade.

Let's assume the sun is shining from the right side of the drawing. You'll cast a shadow on the left side of the clouds. Again, you can create a sketch over the place you will shade. Remember that you can only shade a small section on the clouds, especially if you want to depict a bright but cloudy evening.

If you're drawing on A4 sized paper, consider shading 1cm away from the edge of each left side of the cloud. The margin of shading varies depending on the size of the clouds. Increase or decrease the size of the shade as per your liking.

Use the hatching technique to create shadows on the clouds. It is easy and produces excellent results. However, you can also opt to use contours, considering that the clouds are curved. This would have better results.

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How to Draw the Sky with a Pen

Now that your clouds are up, you want to complete the drawing by adding the sky to the clouds. There are two cool ways that you can do this. However, your choice of the sky will affect the type of clouds you choose to draw.

Draw Empty Space Between the Clouds

Draw Clouds with Linear Marks
Draw Clouds with Linear Marks

The first option is to leave small spaces in between the clouds. You can draw a field with grass and flowers, then sketch little clouds to fill the sky. However, you have to space the clouds enough to create an illusion of the sky.

Shade the Empty Spaces

Another way to draw the sky using a pen is to use the hatching technique. You have to leave the clouds unshaded in this option if you want to achieve that contrast between the clouds and the sky. Draw your clouds regularly, but use thicker lines to accentuate the appearance of the clouds.

You can populate the sky sparsely with clouds so that you have enough space to shade. Use the hatching technique all over the clear spaces. Even so, use light strokes so that there is a contrast between the cloud's edges and the sky.

Creating Pen and Ink Drawings of Clouds

When you want to draw clouds, use the letter ‘m' technique. However, alternate between small letter ‘m' curves and bigger ones. The aim is to create a replica of the real thing. If you are not an expert in drawing, you can check out sketches of clouds for inspiration.

Novice artists find it hard to draw effortlessly using a pen. Therefore, you're allowed to create a light draft of your drawing and trace over the sketch using a pen to achieve bold lines. Check out this video [] to help you understand how to draw clouds effortlessly.

Draw the Background Sky with a Pen

Pens cannot create fine details like pencils. However, you can play around with several shading techniques that favor pens to create a background sky. First, identify the space you want to place your clouds.

Create an outline of the outermost clouds on your drawing so that you do not overstep the boundaries. Now, you can shade the remaining space that you have set aside for the sky. You can use a variety of techniques, including hatching, stippling, or cross-hatching.

If you choose to use the cross-hatching method, you have to give the paper time to dry before you continue crisscrossing lines over your sky space. And if you opt for stippling, keep the color darker on the forefront, then reduce the shade's intensity as you move towards the horizon.

Final Words

You have to pay close attention to your techniques to get the best results when you want to draw clouds using a pen. Note that the cross-hatching method can damage the paper if you apply too much pressure as you draw or don't allow it to dry before you continue crisscrossing over the page.

Creating a light sketch of the drawing can help you have an overview of the entire picture. So, do not shy away from creating one. Finally, ensure that your pen has enough ink before you start drawing.


Ian Walsh is the creator and author of and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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How to Draw Clouds with Pen