My waterfall environment looks a mess. Do you have any tips that I can follow?
Andrei Hannigan, US
the golden rule for painting convincing moving water is watching the direction of your brush strokes. this applies to rivers, seascapes and waterfalls alike. make sure you’re painting in long strokes that follow the direction your water is travelling. this helps to convey speed and motion blur – and can even be used as a composition tool to lead the eye of the viewer to the focal point of your image.
i use hard brushes to emphasise this effect, which is especially exaggerated on a waterfall. this gives a nice contrast to the soft, billowing edges of the mist at the bottom of the waterfall. make sure you keep this rule in mind when using Smudge tools and Blend modes, too.
waterfalls offer a good opportunity to experiment with a variety of textured brushes, benefiting particularly from splatter and traditional-style brushes as the water transitions from its smooth state upstream, to a rough cascade as it breaks on rocks in freefall before collapsing into a fine spray on the river below. the more powerful the waterfall, the more mist and spray is produced as it collides with the ground.
Focusing on motion and texture, I create a dramatic waterfall environment.