How to Draw Waves Splashing

Written by deborah walden
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How to Draw Waves Splashing
Splashing waves offer a dramatic subject for art. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Splashing waves provide a dazzling and dynamic opportunity for the artist. These rapidly moving subjects crash into numerous shades and colours. Sprays of liquid, foamy crests and iridescent texture make each wave unique. When drawing your wave, make sure to keep your lines loose and free-form. Do not bear down hard on your page to create hard, dark lines. Instead, use subtle shadows and patches of white to suggest the rolling motion of your subject.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Straight edge
  • Dark blue colour pencil
  • Aqua colour pencil
  • White colour pencil
  • Green colour pencil
  • Gray colour pencil
  • Brown colour pencil
  • Light blue colour pencil
  • Tan colour pencil

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  1. 1

    Use your straight edge to draw a long, light horizontal line about halfway across your page to create a horizon for your water.

  2. 2

    Lightly sketch an area of foam ascending above this horizontal line. Make large, rough circular formations to achieve the appearance of a spray of water. Extend this line of foam underneath the horizon line, closer to the bottom of the page. This creates a line of spray meeting the sand of a beach.

  3. 3

    Colour the water with the aqua colour pencil. Do not colour inside of the area of foam. Colour the area beneath the foam in tan and brown to create a beach.

  4. 4

    Lightly colour above the water and around the foam in light blue to create a sky. You cannot outline the foam with hard lines, so colouring a sky behind it will define this area of your waves.

  5. 5

    Colour in the underside of the foam above your horizon line with aqua colour pencil, applying pressure to create an intense area of colour. Shade over the area directly beneath this foam in dark blue to define an area of shadow.

  6. 6

    Lightly colour over the water on your horizon in soft strokes of brown and green. Use these colours sparingly because they add depth to your water but may overpower your ocean colours if overused.

  7. 7

    Draw over your water in long strokes of white, blending the blue, green and brown. Use horizontal strokes, and apply pressure to your pencil to intensify this effect. Shade inside your foam with light touches of grey, leaving large areas of white visible.

  8. 8

    Colour inside your foam with white, allowing the white pencil to blend small amounts of aqua into this area of your wave.

Tips and warnings

  • Study images of waves crashing before beginning your drawing. Observation is one of the most important parts of drawing.

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