How to Draw a Cliff

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"Can't... hold... on... much... longer!"
- Cliff Hanger, "The Adventures of Cliff Hanger," Between the Lions

A cliff is a very steep slope, often consisting of a vertical rock face. Cliffs can form as a result of earthquakes or erosion. Cliffs are most often found in mountainous areas, on the coast, or along rivers. Other terms for cliffs include precipice, escarpment, outcrop, and canyon.

Cliffs play an integral role in many elements of popular culture, as exemplified by the children's television character quoted above. Another example lies with the Looney Tunes characters Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner. Wile E. often fell from cliffs such as the one in this drawing guide in the pursuit of his prey.

Cliffs can also be a place of refuge or a challenge that must be overcome. This can be seen in many American westerns or in Disney's animated film, Dinosaur.

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

Did you know? The Trango Towers in Pakistan are the tallest cliffs in the world. The summit of Great Trango Tower is at 6,286 meters, or 20,623 feet. Each year, expeditions enter the area for rock climbing.

Other famous cliffs include the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland; those near Sortavala, Russia; the Matengai of Japan's Oki Islands; the north shore of Isfjord, Norway; the Grand Canyon in the United States; Sam Ford Fjord, Canada; and the Kaliakra cape rocks, Pirin Mountain, and Vratsata gorge of Bulgaria.

There are even some famous cliffs in outer space, most notably the 20 kilometer (12.4 mile) high Verona Rupes on one of the moons of the planet Uranus.

Would you like to draw a cartoon that takes place near a cliff setting? This easy, step-by-step cartoon landscape drawing guide is here to show you how.

All you will need is a pen, pencil, marker, or crayon and a sheet of paper. You may also wish to color your finished drawing.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Fall Scenery, Sunset, and Desert.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Cliff

How to Draw Cliff: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing a curved line. This forms the top of the first cliff.

How to Draw Cliff: Step 2

2. Draw a series of curved lines, completing the top of the first cliff.

How to Draw Cliff: Step 3

3. Draw another curved line, allowing the top of the cliff to overlap it. This forms the side of the cliff face.

How to Draw Cliff: Step 4

4. Draw another wavy, curved line, this time connecting the edge of the cliff with the bottom of the cliff face. The cliff face should be triangular in shape.

How to Draw Cliff: Step 5

5. Texture the cliff face. Draw curved lines running down from the top of the cliff and up from the side of the cliff face. At the base of the lines, shade small triangles.

How to Draw Cliff: Step 6

6. Use wavy, curved lines to outline the triangular shape of the second cliff.

How to Draw Cliff: Step 7

7. Draw a wavy, curved line downward from the top of the second cliff, forming the second cliff face.

How to Draw Cliff: Step 8

8. Draw curved lines downward from the top of the cliff and upward from its bottom, texturing the cliff face. Shade small triangles at the base of each line. Draw a curved line between the two cliffs, indicating the mountainous horizon.

How to Draw Cliff: Step 9

9. Use a series of large and small "U" shaped lines to create a line of fluffy clouds in the sky. Then, draw irregular rounded shapes, large and small, to indicate rocks scattered about the cliffs.

How to Draw Cliff: Step 10

Color your cliff and canyon setting. Cliffs such as these are often brown or reddish in color. One notable exception is the White Cliffs of Dover in England. They owe their unusual appearance to the presence of chalk in the rocks.

Populate the scene with animals and characters of your choice.

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

The Complete Cliff Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Cliff

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