Pr1-Ex3: Drawing Cloud Formations

clouds-bookFor this exercise I used photographs as a reference point. I did this as I’m trying to get a move on with the course work and co-ordinating weather conditions and getting myself and sketch gear to an appropriate location is time consuming. I tried to give the drawings a light airy feel as if I were watching the clouds moving over head being conscious not to make them to solid. Clouds and the sky is a subject I was really looking forward to tackling and I hope to make further studies from life at some point.

Mostly the photos where taken just yesterday night when the sky was filled with the most incredible cloud formation stretching over half of the sky. The sun was also heading down beyond these clouds so it lead to a breath taking light show.

I used charcoal, conte crayon with a putty rubber and oil pastel as the exercise asked. I also used HB pencil for one study and soft pastel for another.


HB A4 + Print out – I tried to make a colour print of this to use as reference. Printer must be out of colour ink as I got this black and white with a little of the image showing at the top and bottom of the page. I found it quite intriguing so filled in the rest of the cloud interested in the contradiction between human hand and machine processed image.


Oil Pastel A3


Oil Pastel A4 – More solid than the chalks and charcoal. can make nice clouds though. Will need practise t se If I can get them as airy as with the softer medium.


Charcoal A5 – Charcoal is loverly to use to get the form of the clouds. It can be made smooth like the sky or left fotage like which I think mimics the undulating surface of the cloud forms on this day really well.


Conte A5 – Gone off conte since I started using soft pastels which are more pleasing. However they come in nice easy to transport cases and would be grate for on location sketching.


A5 – Charcoal


Charcoal A5 – This is my favourite of the charcoal studies. The cloud form has such an abstract quality yet hopefully is still recognisable as clouds. I would like to do a series of large charcoal cloud drawings.


Soft Pastel A3 – This one was done from a different sires of photos taken on a bright sunny day with fluffy white clouds.


About Emma Perring

I am an artist working in mainly soft pastel at present.


  1. Great cloud studies – you are working hard! I esp like the pastel study, you’ve got a lovely texture and colour of the field in the foreground too. I think I’ll take a leaf out of your book and take some photos of clouds when I get the opportunity, in case I can’t find any when I want them. But a long way to go before then…😊

    • Hi Jane,
      Thanks v. much.
      I had a rear morning to myself so really got into the cloud drawings. Although I do prefer to work from life now it makes the process so much quicker planting myself at my desk and pulling up images on the Computer.
      Looks like you’ll be on the cloud in no time a your whizzing along! I’m playing catch up at present.
      I think your mark making exercise are very imaginative. Perhaps there’s a hidden Cy Twombly in you waiting to get out!

      • Hi Emma, my tutor set a date for assignment 1 submission which set me whizzing it’s true, there seemed to be a huge amount of project work to get through, so a bit of panic set in. However I’m calming down a bit now! Still worrying about the actual assignment and how long that might take me.
        Thanks for the nice mark making comment – gonna have a cup of tea and look up Cy Twombly now!😃

  2. irinasp

    Great studies, Emma! Looking forward to seeing more of your drawings, Irina

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