Cover by Destiny Lauritsen

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April 2011

April 2011 -- Wind



  • Artist Spotlight:
    Interview with Liiga Smilshkalne
  • EMG News:
    News for April
  • Wombat Droppings:
  • Behind the Art:
    Using Watercolor Pencils in a Finished Piece
  • Ask an Artist:
    Value in Illustration


  • Depicting Wind
  • Blowing Hot Air


  • Poem: Huffing and Puffing
  • Poem: Aria's Breath

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  • Depicting Wind
    by Jenny Heidewald

    What is wind? Wind is the fresh breeze upon a sunlit face, the lifter of kites, leaves and flower petals, the carrier of smoke and birds and even romantic thoughts...

    The Greeks thought that the winds were gods, whom they called the Anemoi, and assigned each direction its own name. There were Boreas, the north wind who brought cold winter blasts; Eurus, the east wind, bringer of warmth and rain; Notus, the south wind, bringer of summer rainstorms; and Zephyrus, the west wind, bringer of spring breezes. Boreas is often depicted as a puffy cloud head, blowing ferocious gusts of winter wind.

    In less romantic and more clinical terms, wind is air, or other particles, moving across the surface of a planet. Though the word "wind" is also used to refer to "solar wind" (the rush of particles and rays from the Sun) and even the movement of gaseous elements on other planets, in this case I refer to the movement of air through our Earth's atmosphere.

    Wind is created when warm and cool air masses move. When land or water heats up, it warms the air above it; since warm air is less dense, it rises, and the colder air rushes in to replace it, this is also called a convection current.

    Along coastlines, the sea breeze is generated by the land heating up faster than the water, the cool air from over the water rushes in to replace the warm air that is rising away from the land. At night the opposite occurs, the land cools faster, thus the cool air from the land rushes out to replace the warm air rising from the water.

    Another interesting phenomenon is called the thermal. This is a column of rising hot air caused by uneven heating, usually due to the terrain. Thermals are located in canyons; in cities, on hills; any place where one area is sunny and an area close by has a shadowed, cooler area. As the warm air rises, it is replaced by the nearby cool air, which eventually heats and rises as well. In the meantime, the air that had risen cools off and sinks back down, some to be caught up in the thermal again, repeating the cycle. Birds and human gliders take advantage of these rising currents in thermals to gain altitude with the least amount of effort.

    In 1805, in order to describe the speed of winds at sea, Sir Francis Beaufort, a British admiral, made a scale. In the years since its inception, this scale has been adapted for use on land, though it is more likely that your local weather reporter will just tell you how windy it will be in miles per hour (USA). For a good illustration of the Beaufort scale, visit here.

    How to Depict Wind

    Aside from such dramatic storms as a hurricane, tornado, or dust storm, we cannot see wind, so how does one show it in art? Simply by showing the effect it has on items in its path. The depiction of the results of moving air in an image adds a sense not only of motion, but also of depth and dimension, recognition that what is depicted in art does not happen in a vacuum, unless it is in outer space, which has no air anyway. Below I have listed some techniques you can use to render wind.

    Keep in mind that wind in general blows from one direction to the other. If you have someone's hair blowing in one direction, be sure to keep this in mind for any clothing or other items that would also be affected by said wind.


    Her hair is blown strongly one way, and her skirt the other! Even the flowers cannot make up their minds which way to go. It is as unsettling as drawing a character with their eyes pointed different directions.


    However, I must note here that the rules of nature can be broken for the sake of the muse, as in the case of magical floating hair.

    There are other ways to show windy conditions, such as lines to indicate movement. I always use a lighter blue, since when I think of wind I think of the sky. As you can see here, I gave the lines a bit of a curve, to indicate the mobile nature of wind.

    You can also add little curls to denote little wind eddies.

    For a gentler drifting, or a slight breeze, you can use stippled lines, something like what I have used in the next illustration to indicate the gentle, drifting fall of leaves.

    Smoke is an interesting thing to depict, this next illustration is a magic smoke, and shows how you can use a very slight breeze to add interest to your picture.

    There are times when it isn't wind in the traditional sense that is moving items of your characters clothing or hair. It could be perfectly calm out, but if your character jumps off a building, and they have a cloak, the cloak will likely catch air and unfurl. It isn't necessary that they be jumping off buildings to show this type of clothing and hair movement, just moving. It can be a slight, and gentle, or dramatic, aka: jumping off a building. Lighter fabrics, like veils, take little effort for the wind to move, while heavier fabrics generally need a strong breeze to show any noticeable movement.



    Extra super dramatic:

    In Closing

    I hope I have added to your arsenal of wind depiction techniques, now, go fly a kite! ;D

    Acknowledgements: Once again, I send out a huge thank you to my editor, and husband, Alexander D. Mitchell IV, who helped me out of the rough spot of "There is too much blank paper!" by giving me few ideas. In addition, I thank Ellen and Jennifer, for their patience with my procrastination!

    Eric Sloane's Weather Book

    Weather Watch, Wind, Causes and effects, by Philip Steele

    Jenny Heidewald is one of those self-taught artists that has been drawing since she was little; she remembers the exact moment she decided that she wanted to be an artist. Interestingly enough, it was while watching her mom draw the hand of God reaching from the clouds to His followers. Jenny was floored, it seemed to be magic, an image appearing out of nowhere. She thought, "I want
    to do THAT!" In addition to writing for EMG-zine, Jenny is a prolific artist who has worked in many mediums. Her current favorite technique is working with colored micron pens, and coloring either with watercolor or Photoshop. Jenny lives in Maryland with her husband. Please check out her Sketchfest, Portrait Adoption, Deviant Art, and Elfwood pages.

    Fantasy coloring books from Ellen Million Graphics Get a pre-made portrait, ready to go! A 48 hour creative jam for artists An e-zine for fantasy artists and writers A shared world adventure

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