Like his father, the younger Van de Velde designed everything from nature, and his compositions are distinguished by a more elegant and tasteful arrangement of his objects, than is to be found in the productions of any other painter of marines. His vessels are designed with the greatest accuracy, and from the improvements which had been made in ship-building, they are of a more graceful and pleasing form than those of his predecessors; the cordage and rigging are finished with a delicacy, and at the same time with a freedom almost without example; his small figures are drawn with remarkable correctness, and touched with the greatest spirit. In his calms the sky is sunny, and brilliant, and every object is reflected in the glassy smoothness of the water, with a luminous transparency peculiar to himself. In his fresh breezes and squalls, the swell and curl of the waves is delineated with a truth and fidelity which could only be derived from the most attentive and accurate study of nature; in his storms, tempests, and hurricanes, the tremendous conflict of the elements and the horrors of shipwreck are represented with a truthfulness that strikes the beholder with terror.

The works of the younger Van de Velde are very numerous, and the greater part of them are in England, where Houbraken says they were so highly esteemed that they were eagerly sought after in Holland, and purchased at high prices to transport to London; so that they are rarely to be met with in his native country. Smith, in his Catalogue raisonné, vol. vi. and Supplement, describes about three hundred and thirty pictures by him, the value of which has increased amazingly, as may be seen by a few examples. The two marines now in the Earl of Ellesmere's collection, one a View of the Entrance to the Texel, sold in 1766 for £80, now valued at £1,000; the other sold in 1765 for £84, now valued at £500. A Sea-View, formerly in the collection of Sir Robert Peel, sold in 1772 for only £31; brought in 1828, £300. The Departure of Charles II. from Holland in 1660, sold in 1781 for £82; it brought recently, at public sale, £800. A View off the Coast of Holland sold in 1816 for £144; it brought, in Sir Simon Clarke's sale in 1840, £1,029. A View on the Sea-Shore, 16 inches by 12, sold in 1726 for £9, and in 1835 for £108. The picture known as Le Coup de Canon, sold in 1786 for £52, in 1790 for only £36, but in 1844 it brought 1,380 guineas.

The drawings, and especially the sketches and studies of the younger Van de Velde are very numerous, and prove the indefatigable pains he took in designing his vessels, their appurtenances, and the ordonnance of his compositions. His sketches are executed in black lead only; his more finished drawings with the pencil or pen, and shaded with India ink. He executed these with wonderful facility; it is recorded that he was so rapid in his sketching, that he frequently filled a quire of paper in an evening. Stanley says that during the years 1778 and 1780, about 8,000 of his drawings were sold in London at public auction. Some of his choicest drawings in India ink brought, at the sale of M. Goll de Frankenstein at Amsterdam, in 1833, and at that of the late Baron Verstolk de Soelen, in the same city in 1847, prices varying from £27 up to £144 each. He inherited his father's drawings, and all these seem now to be attributed to him.