Sketchbook: RFA Lesson 2 Homework

Today’s obstacle: Landscapes!


Rapid Fire Art: The adventure continues. If you want to learn how to sketch, or learn how to improve your existing skills, click here to explore the whole site. I have no affiliation with this site other than being an enthusiastic supporter.

In our last episode, I was learning how to draw objects the Darlene Nguyen way. I went from “no way, not going to even try drawing objects” to “and, another one done” in minutes. It’s that easy! Really!

She gives homework every week, and since I just joined in I am doing the Lesson 2 homework in its entirety. I started doing it yesterday.

Today’s obstacle: Landscapes!

But first, emboldened by my triumphs with simple object sketching, I decided to be brave and try something more complex (relatively speaking): A hand-held lacrosse (or something) toy I have on my desk for some reason.



Next, my eraser box:



I didn’t darken the lines, to keep everything loose. I was more interested in capturing a reasonable facsimile rather than committing to dark lines and so forth.

The next assignment (2 of 2) was to draw 3 scenes. I went to the former (now FreeImages) and searched for “landscapes”. I found three scenes in short order to rough up, I mean, in:




My quick takes:


I have the worst time with perspective and relative positioning, especially when working from photographs. Part of the problem in this instance was my propensity to just haul off and draw whatever instead of sticking to the script. So after doing these quickies, I decided to take a step back and be more faithful to the instructions with another scene:


This time, I drew shapes to represent the objects in the scene (the cliff walls, boulder field):


Note that I ran off of the “page” in order to get the angles as correct as possible.

Once the scene was sufficiently sketched in, I decided to go over it with colored pencil:


Note that I erased out the excess lines.

As I did this exercise, I was thinking back to the olden times, which in this case are defined as “pre-photographic”. If someone explored some new terrain, they could either paint a word picture (which results in El Dorado) or an actual picture, which might have been found in a travel journal, such as the travels of Lewis and Clark.

This was my inspiration. Rather than try to draw a photo-real picture of the real photo, I wanted to rough in the general idea and alert others in the Old World that there were cliffs and boulders somewhere.

Furthermore and so on, I flipped to a new page and tried my hand at sketching a full-page scene, as per this photo:


Here’s the rough cut:


See what I mean about relative positioning? This is definitely going to give “the general idea” but will not end up being a 1:1 copy of the photo. Shrug.

Colored pencil tiiiiime:


Not terrible!

I’ll keep messing around with the fundamentals (namely, actually using them). Regardless of my opinion about the end results this really is a major step forward for me.

How about you? Are you intrigued by these examples and want to try it for yourself?


If you argue for your limitations,
you get to keep them.


Author: Ethan Johnson

Words like silent raindrops.

One thought on “Sketchbook: RFA Lesson 2 Homework”

  1. This was such a pleasure to read, Ethan! It’s great to see you putting the exercises into action and I absolutely love the way you wrote this post, showing your progress and reference images along the way.
    I’m blown away by your sketches! I love the style very much (especially the cliff and barn sketch.) I literally can’t stop staring at the barn sketch. The line thickness you used for elements in the background bring out the flowers in the foreground beautifully! You’ve got a lot of talent and I honestly can’t wait to see your progress following the upcoming lessons!
    Keep up the great work and thank you so much for the mention 🙂


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