how to draw a realistic tornado, draw realistic tornadoes

How to Draw a Realistic Tornado, Draw Realistic Tornadoes

Step 1.

Sketch the curve for the cloudy top of the tornado and diagonal line that represents its vortex. Lightly draw this with a No.2 or HB pencil. Make sure you draw it as seen in the picture.

Step 2.

Sketch lightly the two parallel red lines for the cloud mass over the horizon.

Step 3.

Now draw in the diagonal vertical red lines for wind direction of the clouds (this guides you to stroke in your clouds in the direction of the wind). At the horizon is the dark stretch of landmass. Represent this by drawing the last horizontal red line.

Step 4.

Now draw in the tornado's vortex.

Step 5.

Lightly sketch in the clouds at the top of the tornado. Draw in those little puffy, circular lines. Notice how those hanging clouds (maybe studs) are at the same slant as the vortex.

Step 6.

Observe where the next line of clouds go in relation to the guidelines. Draw in those squiggly lines. NOTE: You can exercise freedom in drawing this, but stay close to the slanted direction of those hilly lines.

Step 7.

Here is another fun part of the drawing. Draw in the two horizontal red lines for the two cloud bellies. Also add in your landmass, staying close to your guidelines. Don't forget those tiny power lines. Use squiggly lines in the slanted direction of the wind for the dirt and debri swirling at the base of this tornado.

Step 8.

I made this line drawing especially for you if you don't want to do the pencil shading and blending part. Otherwise, let us continue to the pencil drawing part.

Step 9.

Here is the outline done with a 0.7mm mechanical pencil. Look closely and see if your lines look something like this. You can erase if certain areas like the eyes or nose don't line up. Take you kneaded eraser and dab off the shadow outlines or dark lines with your kneaded eraser for a more realistic look as you shade. Shading transition from dark to light (or visa versa) should be smooth... no harsh lines. Be patient with this, it's not as complicated as you may think. As you do more pictures, this will come easier to you.

Step 10.

TOOLS! I'm introducing the grid. It's a great way to transfer the picture to an outline onto your paper with accuracy and speed. Draw the square grids on your ref picture printout (they could be one inch squares). Count how many in the column and row. Then you can use the same count of squares in your column and row. But the fun thing is you can scale your picture larger by doubling, tripling the square sizes. ***IMPORTANT: T-SQUARE and TRIANGLE makes straight lines or squares--great for doing the grids, even your diagonal and straight guidelines. Remember your mechanical pencil(s) at 0.7mm using HB or 2B. Your graphite pencils are great at 9B (black, bold, and smooth). Electric pencil sharpener, kneaded eraser, blending stumps/tools, and for easy highlights, white acrylic and paintbrush. Leaving that space blank to represent white is great too. Don't nod on me, now. Keep going because I've got some tid-bits on tornadoes in the upcoming step.

Step 11.

Click on this picture to check out information and a couple of other websites on tornadoes.

Step 12.

Special Effects! How in the world do you create those ominous clouds and tornado? The secret is in how you hold the pencil and the type of pencil's edge, which is explained in the following step. Look at the different effects in this step. Practice these strokes and see the difference.

Step 13.

The picture that goes with this step shows two different ways to hold your pencil to acquire certain effects. OVERHAND: Holding a sharpened pencil in normal writing form with fingers in the middle or near the lead gives you great control and thin/detailed strokes. UNDERHAND: Holding the pencil at a 45 degrees or near level to the table with end of pencil under your palm with pencil on the flat side, gives you large shading coverage. With the No.2 pencil, you have the exposed lead side to shade with. But for a wider swath, use that Cretacolor Monolith graphite pencil with no wood casing. The whole sharpened portion is all lead, like in the step's picture. Practice the toning values to help you with control.

Step 14.

CUBE, BALL, CONE, & CYLINDER -- These are shapes everywhere in nature. It helps to know how to shade, add texture, etc. Recognizing these shapes, simplifies the landscape or subject you're looking at. TONE, SHADING, SHADOW, & TEXTURE -- Tone is the actual color, shading is the part of object away from light, shadow is cast by the object, & texture is the rough, smooth, hilly, sharp, bushy, etc., feel or appearance of an object.

Step 15.

You can use your rubber kneaded eraser for reflective lights on the sides of the tornado's vortex, within the cloud formations catching lights of the sun, or to enhance the horizon. Remember that the reflective light area isn't pure white--it is at middle tone. Your blending tools add a smoother tone to your drawing...tissue or toilet paper adds even tones to large areas and lightens or picks up a lot of the pencil work. Blending stumps or tortillons blend smaller areas. And if you have enough graphite on them, you can render textures, lines, or small shaded areas. Cool, right? Yeah! We're rockin' and rollin' now! Let's get it on with the next step.

Step 16.

The picture here is a great exercise for value shading. I've got a little secret tip for you to make things easier. You can download this to your desktop. First click on the picture to have access to full size. By right clicking on your mouse, you can select "Save Image As." It should save to your desktop.

Step 17.

After printing out a number of the above template, practice shading in the values like this picture. You become familiar with this shading technique that gives you more control and confidence.

Step 18.

*TIP: Before I forget, I want to say this. For more realism and smooth transitional between the shadowed planes and highlights, I lighten the outlines so they'll be hardly visible. Now On with this step. This is the first start with the pastel application. If you do the whole picture in a pencil sketch, this is where you would sketch in small circles or lines to shade the areas. It would take hours upon hours to cover all that area with a pencil. I chose to shade with pastels. In a few strokes I've got area coverage. Applied medium to dark gray to the clouds and tornado. I added black to the landmass. Looks like a mess, but that's how a some beginning projects will appear. Keep patience with you and keep applying those layers of whites, grays & blacks. You'll have a great outcome.

Step 19.

Here I used my blending stump to "draw" in more lines and add more shading to clouds, tornado and landmass. I worked in circular motions on the side of my blending stump (underhand). I with the lined walls of the clouds, sometimes sweeping up the dirt & debris made from the tornado. I smoothed in the larger parts of the clouds with a tissue... in a circular motion. Then After that, I sprayed the picture with "Krylon Workable Fixatif" to adhere the pencil & pastel to the paper for a non-smudging and workable surface.

Step 20.

I sketched in more shading in tornado and clouds with my 9B graphite and 0.7mm mechanical pencils. I defined the shadowed cloud areas by looking at the reference picture closely. The sketching was done in circular and diagonal lines, staying close to the cloud & tornado slant.

Step 21.

I did this pencil blending separate so you can see the difference after the application. I used, of course, my blending stump. I was able to carry the graphite to smooth out lighter areas to appear darker. Graphite lines and smudges are not recognizable. Again, observe the difference.

Step 22.

Finally, the storm has passed over. I have finally FINISHED!!! With my white and light gray pastels I added more highlights to the clouds. And, yes, I darkened that bad baby of a tornado. They can be beautiful, but the are dangerous and cause fatalities. It's a mean thing. (***TIP: When applying those white highlights, sometimes they blend into the darker background not giving a stark white appearance, which is more realistic in this case!) Now our tornado "pops"! To help out with specific areas of highlights, tone, texture, etc., the next two following steps will show you.

Step 23.

Without highlights, your picture would have a flat appearance. Click on this picture to learn how to make your own picture POP out!

Step 24.

Click on this picture to see how Tone, Shading, Texture, and Reflective Light affects this tornado. The tornado normally rides on the edge of a storm cloud. That's why lots of time the sun can be seen behind it. Check out Wikipedia & those other websites for neat info on this phenomenon. I am closing out now. But you all have been wonderful and it has been a great pleasure to do this tutorial with you. Please fav, comment, and show your love here. And I will definitely reply back soon or eventually. Love, peace, happiness, success, and more beautiful days to ya! *hug* *blowkiss*

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Uploaded: July 14, 2012
Artist: Catlucker
Difficulty: Intermediate  Intermediate Skill Level
Steps: 24
Updated: July 14, 2012
P.O.V: Na
Favourited: 19 times
Artist comments

I have had nightmares about tornadoes since I was a child. Now I have the honor to do this tutorial called "How to Draw a Realistic Tornado. In one of my steps, I have more information about this phenomena with website links. But here's what I found in Wikipedia's vast knowledge on the subject by googling tornadoes. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as twisters or cyclones. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but they are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour (177 km/h), are about 250 feet (76 m) across, and travel a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating. The most extreme tornadoes can attain wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour (483 km/h), stretch more than two miles (3.2 km) across, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (more than 100 km). (Wikipedia Notes) I hope you enjoy this tutorial. Please fav, show your love, and comment. Thank you all. Peace and love to you.