During a recent trip to the beach I decided to practice sketching the ocean waves. As I was sitting in a beach chair soaking up the sun I got a little bored after a while so I took out my sketch pad and pencil. I try to bring my sketch pad along with me whenever I happen to be going out because you never know when you have a few minutes to do a quick sketch. This particular sketch I took my time and really tried to catch the waves as they were breaking along the shoreline. I find it quite challenging to draw something that is constantly moving like ocean waves. The waves were coming in quickly and there was a stiff breeze.
I was watching this boy riding the waves in with a small boogie board. He was quite young and was having a hard time keeping his balance in the choppy waves. I decided to work on the ocean waves first in this pencil sketch and add the boy later on.
Sketching Ocean Waves
After laying in the basic lines of the waves I studied the values of the incoming waves. The darkest value seemed to be just under the breaking white foam at the top of each wave. I continued sketching the ocean waves and blended areas of the graphite with my finger. When I was happy with the drawing I sketched in the boy riding the waves. I made the figure the darkest value against the lightest value so it would be the focal point. This is a good plan when you want your focal point to stand out. Use the darkest value against the lightest and your eye will tend to go to that area of the sketch first.