“A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.” ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Scientifically, sunset describes “the daily disappearance of the Sun below the horizon as a result of Earth's rotation.” Culturally, however, this frequent phenomena holds much deeper meaning
Various ancient religions held that the sun was a god, pulled across the sky each day in a great celestial chariot. The setting of the sun indicated the god’s passage through the underworld. Some religions, such as the worship of Amun-Ra in ancient Egypt, included rituals meant to awaken or revive the sun from its daily death. This idea still resonates in the metaphorical application of “sunset” to the later years of one’s life.
Today, sunsets are often featured in works of art. They are also a favorite subject of photography. Beach sunsets, such as the one featured in this drawing tutorial, are used to represent vacations, relaxation, the tropics, and ample monetary funds.
Would you like to draw your very own sunset? Doing so is easy with the help of this simple, step-by-step drawing tutorial. All you will need is a pencil and a piece of paper. You may also wish to employ crayons, colored pencils, markers, or paints to vividly shade your finished sunset.
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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Sunset
1. Begin by drawing a straight, horizontal line. This line is called the horizon line. The horizon is the point at which the ground or water meets the sky.
2. Begin drawing the mountainous islands on one side of the picture. To do so, draw a curved, bumpy line from the side of your paper to the middle of the horizon line.
3. Draw another island on the opposite side, again using a curved, bumpy line.
4. Draw the sun. Enclose a circle using a long, curved line. Notice that since the sun is setting, part of it is hidden by the horizon line.
5. Draw the sun’s reflection on the water. To do this, draw a series of straight, curved, and zigzag lines to shade an upside down triangle shape beneath the sun.
6. Begin to draw a palm tree emerging from one of the islands. Extend two curved lines from the island across the sun, allowing the lines to meet in a point. This forms the trunk of the tree.
7. Draw leaves, or fronds, on the palm tree. From the tip of the trunk, extend several short, curved lines in pairs. Allow each pair to meet in a sharp point.
8. Continue drawing palm fronds, using two curved lines that meet in a sharp point for each. Do so until the entire crown, or leafy portion, of the tree has been enclosed.
9. Add final details to your drawing. Draw curved, wavy lines at an angle across the water to indicate waves. Draw a few birds flying across the sun. Each bird can consist of a simple line – a curved, loosely “M” shaped line with a downward point. This line serves as a simple reflection of the shape of a bird in flight.
10. Color your sunset drawing. Note that in our example, the islands, tree, and birds are shadowy, backlit by the sun. Finally, don’t forget to add sunset colors such as yellow, pink, purple, and blue to the water, indicating a reflection of the sky.
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