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Capturing Weather

Drawing Nature

Artists can use lines, textures, and shades to describe weather.

Grade Level




Big Idea/Theme

Artists can describe weather using different drawing techniques.

Essential Question

How can artist’s draw weather patterns?

  • Slide Deck
  • Teaching Tools

Materials and Tools

  • White paper — 3 sheets
  • Pencil 


Artists love to use different lines when they draw!

Lines can show movement, create details, ​and describe textures. ​

In this lesson, you will learn how to: 

  • Identify and draw different types of lines​
  • Use a pencil to create dark, medium, and light shades​
  • Create drawings that describe various types of weather


Step 1:

Here are some different ​types of lines.

Can you name and draw any other types of lines?​

Step 2:

Lines can also show texture, or how something feels.  ​

​Look at the drawings below.​ Can you find something ​that looks: ​

  • Smooth​?
  • Spiky​?
  • Soft​?
  • Prickly​?
  • Fuzzy​?
  • Furry?​

​What lines did these artists use to create these textures?​

Step 3:

Artists use shading to show areas of light and dark, and to make their drawings appear ​three-dimensional. ​

​Practice drawing different shades with your pencil by applying different amounts of pressure: the harder you press with your pencil, the darker your line will be. ​

​Try making dark, medium, and light shades. ​

​You can use the side and the tip of your pencil to make shades. ​

​Try blending your lines with your finger!​

Step 4:

Now let’s begin drawing different types of lines and shades.​

​Fold your paper in half.​

​Make it smaller by​ folding it in half again. ​

Then, fold it one more time and open it up.

It will look like this when you are done:

Step 5:

In each box, show these types of weather using only lines and shades.

​Imagine that you are looking up and drawing what you see in the sky. ​

​Try to fill the whole rectangle.​

​Remember: you are ​not drawing a picture of the weather, you are using line, shade, and texture ​to describe the type ​of weather.

Remember to just use different types of lines, textures, and shades to show the weather.

Whoops, not like this!

Yes, like this!

This artist thought about what the sky might look like on a windy day. They used spiral lines and wavy lines to describe the wind.


Line Chart

Here is a print by the artist Utagawa Hiroshige. He enjoyed showing different types of weather in his work. ​

What kind of weather do ​you see? ​

​What kinds of lines did Hiroshige use to show that kind of weather?

The Tanabata Festival, from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 1857, Utagawa Hiroshige,​ Metropolitan Museum of Art.​

Here is another print by Utagawa Hiroshige. 

What kind of weather do ​you see?

What kinds of lines did Hiroshige use to show that kind of weather?​

Sudden Shower over Shin-Ōhashi Bridge and Atake (Ōhashi Atake no yūdachi), ​from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (Meisho Edo hyakkei), 1857, ​Utagawa Hiroshige,​ Metropolitan Museum of Art. ​

What type of lines did artist George Elbert Burr use to describe a storm in this drawing?​

Untitled (transfer drawing for Storm near Timberline), 1922, George Elbert Burr, Smithsonian Museum.

Here are links to some more examples of artists who used linestextures, and shades to describe weather: ​

Vincent Van Gogh

Charles Burchfield

​What lines and shades did they use to show weather?


Capturing Weather: Drawing Nature
​Written by Belinda Blum, Artist Instructor​

Studio in a School NYC Team
Andrea Burgay, Associate Director
Julie Applebaum, Senior Director
Hasna Muhammad, Ed.D., Chair, Board of Directors, Studio in a School Association
Alison Scott-Williams, President, Studio in a School NYC

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