How to Draw a River

Last week we learned how to draw a waterfall and this week we will stay with water and learn how to quickly draw a river. It is again quite easy to do once few simple techniques are understood. So grab a pen and paper and follow along and enjoy discovering your creative side.

Step 1: Draw River/Stream Outline

Draw a tapered shape of river as shown below as it is visually interesting.

Step 2: Draw River Bank

Depending on the location of viewer, usually, one bank of river is visible. Draw it by using vertical parallel lines to define the depth of the river bank.

 Step 3: Draw Water

Water can be indicated using few simple flowing lines as shown below. Make the lines follow the contour of river.

Step 4; Draw Foliage

It is visually interesting to have something by river’s edge that is reflected in water. A simple foliage works very well. It can be drawn using a combination of scribble for foliage and tapered darks for trunks. Vol 5. of my pen and ink workbook discusses drawing foliage in details.

Step 5: Draw Reflection

Proper reflection in water is very important to bring out the feel of water. It can be drawn using horizontal lines as shown below. 

Draw reflection of foliage in water using the above technique.

Step 6: Finish with Other Elements

To bring a finished feel, other elements like ground cover, distant tree line, stones, sky etc. can be added.

draw a river

Following is a more involved drawing incorporating river. Once you practice and are comfortable drawing a simple rive like above, you can attempt such drawing.

Click on the image below to see detailed steps on how to draw the river above.


This finishes this tutorial on drawing a river. Hopefully it inspired you to try these simple pen and ink drawings and find how relaxing, enjoyable and easy these are to do.  Use the template to practice. My tutorials provide more information on drawing other elements of nature used above. My Pen and ink Workbooks are also a great way to learn drawing pen and ink landscapes. 

Drawing is always more fun as a social activity. Do feel free to share this with others and also on your social media.

Happy Drawing,


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Interested in learning to draw pen and ink landscapes? Try my workbooks...You won't find an easier way to be successful at this wonderful activity. Check out their FREE Previews

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