To begin any environment drawing, we need to start with some composition rules. The example I have pictured is the rule of the thirds, one of the most popular. These composition rules, if stuck too, will make your drawing pleasing on the eye; stray too far and your image may look odd! This rule is quite simple, the lines are your guidelines , draw your main objects close to or on these lines (in particular on the circles)! It doesn’t have to be exact, or every line has something on it but it is a general guideline so as not to have your objects floating in space with no order.
Now on to more swampy business. The first thing to remember about a swamp is it’s very wet and this reflects on the environment! Whatever the type of swamp you are looking for spooky or bursting with life, it’s important to keep this theme rolling with all the trees and foliage you put in there. As well as your colour scheme if you are also adding colour to your drawing! Here is a colour wheel of greens and browns that you can use if you are a digital artist
Here I will demonstrate how to draw a dark-swamp. The first step, as mentioned above is to plan where your dominating figures will be remembering the rule of thirds. The dominating figures in this drawing are the trees! You must also remember to include trees in the foreground, mid-ground and background. At this stage, that involves drawing thinner trunks as they are further away. This will give your picture depth and ensure it is not just one dimensional. In this example I have drawn semi-spooky trees which are gnarled and not straight.
This demonstrates my layout against the rule of thirds!
I have decided to raise my trees out of the water on island platforms to create more of a fantasy scene rather than realistic. I have drawn a feathered floor line to show grass is growing, you can add plants and flowers to this section too if you wish. Always remembering that swamps are very humid environments and only certain types of fauna will grow! Some plants you may be interested in drawing are demonstrated in the image (Fern and Orchids).
ere I have added the rocks that make the base of the islands. You can make these as high, or low as you want. Don’t forget to make them bumpy, with small outcrops.
The water is the most important section of your swamp, it changes it from an average forest to a swamp. For a normal swamp you may want to add some lily-pads and other water-dwelling plantlife. For a more spooky environment add a thick sludge-like water with little bubbles! As mentioned above, this depends on the type of swamp you are aiming for. I have drawn thick gloopy water. Characterised by tendril-like sludge marks within the water along with lots of bubbles. Make sure to draw tide marks around each island.
For a normal swamp you may want to add some lily-pads and other water-dwelling plantlife
Add details to the rocks and islands. Refer back to step 5 for ideas of what plants you can add to the islands to give them more details. Here I have just added some grass bushes and rocks for simplicity.
Some plants that grow in such humid environments are ferns and orchids. Here is a simple step through of how to draw them!
The next step is to add details to your trees, swamp have large mossy residues hanging off the branches. This can be used to create a spooky scene too. See below steps for further information on trees!
Here are some examples of trees to include in your scene. Quite often, the bottom of the trees are vine-like spreading out quite wide at the base. Also, due to the wet environment many trees grow their roots out of the water as well as sections snapping off and sticking out of the water. If you are going for a spooky scene, be sure to add gnarled twisting trees to the mix. I have used twisting shapes to create the bark of the trees, this keeps to the gnarled effect. Using straight lines for the bark as disp, less-spooky effect.
Here is the details added to the trees. I used twisting branches to make them appear old and spooky!
Finally, add some trees in the far background. These trees help fill your drawing in without leaving large blank spaces. These trees are too far away to recognise any detail, and should be shaded in to give shadows when colouring in.
Here is the finished object, I used the same lineart and coloured it in digitally. It is the same colour scheme as displayed above