How to Draw a Waterfall // Procreate Tutorial

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Learn to draw in Procreate using this detailed tutorial about how to draw a waterfall! With a rainbow! (You gotta have the rainbow). Start with a basic sketch and follow along as we slowly add details and texture. Create watercolor wash textures using my latest brush set: Wash & Dry Watercolor toolkit. This video is a great way to get familiar with that set. Be sure to watch the video above and check out the written step-by-step instructions below. 

Brushes used in this TUTORIAL

This waterfall was drawn using brushes from my Wash & Dry Watercolor Toolkit. These brushes are great form making colorful and dynamic textures that mimic the look of watercolor washes.

Start with a sketch

Plan out the composition by drawing a rough initial sketch. Use the DRY SKETCHER brush for your sketch. Here is a link to the reference photo that inspired my drawing. When drawing a scene, think of the elements in terms of background, foreground, and subject. For this piece, I have the sky and cliffs as my background, in the foreground are large hills or boulders, and the subject (the main focal point of the piece) is the waterfall, rainbow, and tiny person. Making the person very small gives the waterfall a sense of scale. The rainbow also acts as a leading line, drawing the viewer’s eye to the person.

Color Blocking

Once you plan out where everything goes, start planning out your basic color by color blocking. To draw these shapes, I used the CRISP SHAPER brush. The sky, cliffs, ground and hills/boulders are all on separate layers. Draw these shapes using roughly the colors you’ll want to use in the final artwork, but don’t worry about committing to color now. The colors will look different when we add texture and shading in the next steps. Use the Color Drop feature to quickly fill shapes with color. 

Paint in the waterfall with a dry brush

Add the beginnings of the waterfall shape. A dry brush will be there perfect texture for falling water, so let’s use the BROOM BRISTLES brush. This brush is pressure sensitive, so the harder you press down with your Apple Pencil, the more dense your brush strokes will be. Use a lighter touch towards the top of the cliffs. Also draw in the rainbow using the WASH DETAILER brush. Draw an arc for each of the rainbow colors, overlapping each color slightly. You can turn off your sketch at this point.

Adding the Wash Textures

To create wash textures using the Wash & Dry Watercolor Toolkit, select one of your layers and turn on Alpha Lock. Select the color of the shape on that layer, and then use the Hue, Saturation, Brightness adjustment to turn the brightness all the way up to make the shape pure white. You can think of this like creating a blank canvas within that shape in which to paint your watercolor wash. Chose one of the 4 wash textures brushes. For the cliffs layer, I used the STONE WASH brush. Paint over the whole shape without lifting your pencil to make your first wash layer. Repeat with another layer. Continue to repeat until you reach the desired color saturation and darkness. You can even layer in different hues for a dynamic, multi-tonal wash. 

Add Detail with Shading and Highlights

Layer on more brush strokes with the same wash brush to darken areas of the drawing to add shading. Darken near the bottom of the mounds of earth in the foreground (or maybe they’re bushes?) and shadows on the ground as well. The SOAKING WASH brush is great for adding soft shading. Darken behind the waterfall. Use the same brush to add jagged shapes to the cliffside to give the impression of rugged terrain. Add highlights to the tops of the shapes and the top of the cliff edge using the COLOR LIFTER brush. Also add similar detail to the bushes.

Add more drama to the waterfall

On a new layer directly underneath the waterfall layer, use the WASH DETAILER brush to add some strokes depicting rushing water. Use the WATER WASH brush to make clouds of mist near the bottom of the waterfall. Use the BROOM BRISTLES brush to fill in the waterfall texture a bit more. Turn on Alpha Lock on the waterfall layer. Choose a very light blue and use BROOM BRISTLES DARK to add more texture to that layer. 

Final Details

Zoom in and draw the little hiker person using the HEAVY WASH LINER brush. Use the color black to make the person look like it is in silhouette. Give the person cast shadow using the WASH DETAILER brush. Use the COLOR LIFTER to add some more highlights overall to the piece.  

The Final Artwork

Brushes used in this TUTORIAL

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