In this picture, the tree overlaps the house. The tree looks as if it is on top of the house. You can’t see all of the house because the tree is in the way. This means the tree is closer to you. That’s overlapping.
The trees overlap the building, so the trees are closer to you than the building.
In this picture, you have lots of overlapping.
Drawing a Landscape
We haven’t talked about the stuff up in the sky (the sun, birds, clouds, airplanes and such). That’s because they have almost nothing to do with what is in the foreground, middleground or background. In fact, if something is in the air, it can sometimes be hard to tell exactly where it is. Is an airplane far away because it looks small, or is it just a very small airplane that is close to you?
There's a simple reason for why we find it hard to tell where things are in the sky: we don't live there. Since we live on the ground, our senses are trained to figure out the ground. If we were birds, we'd likely have a very good sense of where things were up in the air.
Confusion about where things are in the sky is one of the main reasons why people see UFOs. So, since it’s hard to tell where anything is in the sky, we don’t count things in the sky as being part of the foreground, middleground or background.
Overlapping is when one thing seems to cover up another thing, even just a little. When this happens, the thing that looks like it is on top is the thing that’s closest to you.
The lamppost overlaps the sculpture, which makes the lamppost closer to you than the building, the trees or the sculpture.
The sculpture overlaps the building, but it also overlaps the trees a little bit, so the sculpture is closer to you than the building or the trees.
There is also other overlapping going on, which helps us figure out where everything in the picture is.
Lots of overlapping here, too.
Where is the girl with the umbrella in this picture? You would say she is in the foreground because she looks bigger than the other people (except her boyfriend). She is also closer to the bottom of the page than the other people.
But she also overlaps everything else. Her umbrella overlaps the people, so her umbrella is closer to you than the people. She, in turn, overlaps her umbrella, at least the back part of it, so she is closer to you than the back part of the umbrella. If you look closely, you’ll see that part of the umbrella overlaps her, which makes that part of the umbrella closer to you than her. A neat way to show she is actually under the umbrella.
There. Now that we’ve talked about how a landscape is put together, how about a quick lesson in how to draw one?
This quick lesson is about how to draw a landscape. It is not about drawing the things in the landscape. Remember, the things in the landscape aren't the point. Landscapes are about how big you draw something for where it is and how you use overlapping. We can learn later how to draw the things you put here.
The first thing to do is draw the horizon. The horizon is a line that separates the sky from the ground. Figure out where you want the horizon to be (it’s up to you) and draw it going all the way across your paper.
That’s pretty much it except for some clean-up.
Make sure that you erase where the horizon seems to go right through things in your picture. When I drew the tree in the foreground, I made it go from the bottom of the page all the way off the top of the page. The horizon was going right through the middle. This is no problem as long as I remember to erase that part of the horizon that goes through my tree. The same goes for the other things the horizon cuts through.
Next, draw something in the foreground. It doesn’t matter what it is. In this case, I drew a tree.
Since the tree is in the foreground, close to me, it should be drawn pretty big. This tree is so big, the top of it goes right off the top of the page.
Since the tree is in the foreground, the bottom of the tree should be near the bottom of the page.
Now, draw some stuff in the background. Here I drew five more trees and two houses.
Since these things are in the background, they look smaller than the stuff in the middleground or foreground.
Since these things are in the background, the bottoms of them are all the way up by the horizon.
To make the picture even more realistic, try putting in some overlapping. See how the house over on the right side is overlapped by a tree? See how some of those trees on the right overlap each other?
Look at the road where it turns and goes back to the background. Notice how it gets smaller the farther back it goes? That’s my road obeying the basic rule of a landscape: The farther back something is, the smaller it looks.
Now, draw some stuff in the middleground. Here I drew another tree and a car on a road.
Since the tree is in the middleground, it looks smaller than the tree in the foreground. The road and the car also look middle-sized, but also the right size for the trees I have already drawn.
Since the tree and the car are in the middleground, the bottoms of them are in the middle between the foreground and the horizon.
To make the picture even more realistic, try putting in some overlapping. See how the car is overlapped a lot by the tree in the foreground? See how the front of the car overlaps the tree in the middleground? See how the tree in the foreground overlaps the top of the tree in the middleground?
You’ve gone over a lot about how to put together a landscape. Here is a quick review.
is the part of the picture that is close to you. The stuff in the foreground
1) looks big because it’s close to you
2) is closer to the bottom of the page
3) overlaps everything else in the picture
is the part of the picture that is back by the horizon. The stuff in the background
1) looks small because it is far away
2) is all the way up by the horizon
3) is overlapped by everything else in the picture
is the part of the picture that is in the middle between the foreground and the horizon. The stuff in the middleground
1) looks middle-sized
2) is in the middle between the foreground and the horizon
3) overlaps everything in the background, but is overlapped by the foreground stuff