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His etchings show little influence from Rembrandt, either in style or technique.Few original impressions exist; five etchings survive in only a single impression.Only five works from the 1660s have a, partially obscured, year next to his signature; none from the 1670s and 1680s have a date.All thirteen known Ruisdael etchings come from his early period, with the first one dated 1646. No etchings exist signed by his father, his uncle, or his fellow Haarlem landscapist Cornelis Vroom, who influenced his other work.Ruisdael's only registered pupil was Meindert Hobbema, one of several artists who painted figures in his landscapes.Hobbema's work has at times been confused with Ruisdael's.On June 17, 1657 he was baptized in Ankeveen, near Naarden.For a landscape artist, it seems Ruisdael travelled relatively little: to Blaricum, Egmond aan Zee, and Rhenen in the 1640s, with Nicolaes Berchem to Bentheim and Steinfurt just across the border in Germany in 1650, Archival records of the 17th century show the name "Jacobus Ruijsdael" on a list of Amsterdam doctors, albeit crossed out, with the added remark that he earned his medical degree on 15 October 1676 in Caen, northern France.

Ruisdael's work was in demand in the Dutch Republic during his lifetime.

By this time landscape paintings were as popular as history paintings in Dutch households, though at the time of Ruisdael's birth, history paintings appeared far more frequently.

This growth in popularity of landscapes continued throughout Ruisdael's career.

Wijnman showed that the person who died there was in fact Ruisdael's cousin, Jacob Salomonszoon. In a large sample of inventories between 16 the average price for a Ruisdael was 40 guilders, compared to an average of 19 guilders for all attributed paintings. 1646 to the early 1650s, when he was living in Haarlem, is characterised by simple motifs and careful and laborious study of nature: dunes, woods, and atmospheric effects.

By applying heavier paint than his predecessors, Ruisdael gave his foliage a rich quality, conveying a sense of sap flowing through branches and leaves.

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