I wanted to take a moment to share part of a Master Class lesson featuring the sketches of Isaac Levitan. As you know I am a big fan of landscape painting. Most likely because most of my past illustrations had a landscape in the background.
I usually painted a portrait on the book cover of the main character with a landscape as the back drop.
This particular video below analyzes how Isaac Levitan takes his viewers on a journey though his landscape sketch. He almost always takes the viewer on a journey through his scene via a lead in of some sort. In this case it’s the footprints in the snow.
He then uses contrast in tandem with hard edges to lead the viewer to various parts of the landscape sketch. Levitan uses a nice compliment of hard and soft edges to control where the viewer looks first second and third. He also uses a balance of hard and soft edges to create a foreground and background.
Lastly Levitan certainly understood the power of shape. A lot of artists get too caught up with texture leaving powerful shapes out of their landscape sketches. Do your best to use a light, middle tone and dark shape somewhere in your scene.
The next time you set out to compose a landscape use all of these techniques to your advantage. Use contrast, edges, as well as shape to take the viewer of your imagery through a cool little journey.
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