Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Atmospheric Perspective

Pencils Types

Atmospheric Perspective Speed Painting

What is Atmospheric (or Aerial) Perspective

"Aerial Perspective is the visual effect of light when passing through an atmosphere. The purpose of using aerial perspective is to give our drawings depth and reality, whether they are based on a real place or from our imaginations. " (Susan Tschantz)

Da Vinci's Mona Lisa shows one of the earliest examples of this. Leonardo was credited as the first artist to explore this phenomenon and achieve its effects in this painting. His name for this was "perspective of disappearance".

Making Our Own Mountains
--I have been assigning this project for years but I have found anther instructor doing the same thing (somewhat) who has written down the process. I am showing her process below under "toning".

(From Susan Tschantz, for


Lightly cover the paper with an even medium tone. While not difficult, this does take time. You want to do this by using the point of your pencil (like the value charts), and lightly rubbing in one direction, turning or rotating the pencil in your hand to keep the point. Take your time. You do not want any strokes or directional lines, but a smooth, even tone. Avoid blending and rubbing to try and achieve this, as this will work the graphite/charcoal into the paper and make it hard to lift.


Paper Size: 9"x12" with a 1-inch border.
Number of Mountains: 5
Shape of your Mountains: Organic, triangles. Look outside for real examples. See my example on the board (but don't copy!!).
Values and Depth: Each mountain must have its own value with the darkest one in front (it cannot be black). Each successive mountain must get lighter, with the lightest one in the "back". Each mountain will overlap the next one. Depth is the outcome when you showing overlapping and when the value lightens with each mountain.
Technique: Much like your 8-step value charts, go slowly to produce "flat" mountain values without noticeable streaks or lines. This will require a skillful and slow approach.
Problems that could happen: Smudges--avoid these by covering part of your drawing with a sheet of clean paper or a small piece of paper towel.

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