Drawing Tutorial – Part Seven – “A change of view”

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“A change of view”


Let me give you another example. This time a view looking slightly up from the ground into the sky.

This type o framing is great if you want to create vast cloudy skies or beautiful sunsets as it pulls much of the attention to the sky and uses the ground features mainly to give the open sky its scale.

Have you figured out how did i created this one ?
Can you see the guide-lines here with your mind ?

Here they are.
As you can see, now there´s a difference in the grid that builds the sky. I´m pulling that one from a focal vanishing point completely outside of my canvas.

When you do this, it allows for a more open angle to build the sky as it makes it parallel to the ground and helps to simulate even wider distances.

Notice that because the house on middle ground now overlaps the background area of the sky, the shapes that define the roof above and bellow follow the guide-lines that make the sky pointing from its off-canvas vanishing point. This is what simulates that feel that you´re looking up. If your main lines on a scenery are the ones that make the sky, follow them to build each object that rises from the ground which in this case is lower.

In this example the guide-lines from the ground grid are not even that important.

And what about placing another feature in it ?

Let´s say a tree right as the center piece of the landscape.

In this case is just made of a shape, but as the whole picture is based on how the scenery is framed and you already have the house clouds and sky to give you that visual information that you´re looking up at the sky we don´t even need to add details to the tree shape or even give it depth to make the picture work as you can see, because your mind assumes right away that when you look at the top of the tree you´re seeing it from under the top leafs. This is because the whole picture is framed looking up.

But… If we would add details to the tree and wanted to give it a real 3D sculptured feel…
Yes there´s another type of imaginary grid to follow as now we want to work on the details of the tree and those details also have to follow their own version of vanishing points.

I´m not going into an in-depth explanation here as this will be part of a future illustration or drawing tutorial, but for now check out these new grids.

Why the two grids ? – I hear you asking.
Because basically in this picture you can look right in front of you, you can look down and you can look up. Not counting left and right.

Because this tree is actually very close to us, the middle ground of this scenery has to remain static at your eye level, because when you´re close to a an object and look slightly up or down your view doesn´t change radically. It´s only when you pull your head back to look up, that the perspective changes and so its the same with this scenery. As the top of the tree is placed overllaping the bit of the scenery located right up in the sky “when you look up” to look at the leafs there´s a new vanishing point right above your eye level, from where the branches and leafs pull their depth and volume.
The same goes for the ground grid.

But all this is for another tutorial ahead. I hope you´ve enjoyed this one and if you came here looking for how to draw lessons or tutorials on illustration you got to this point having learned what you were searching for.
I´ve been creating fantasy landscapes as part of my freelance illustration work for more than 15 years now and so i´m planning to reveal all my tips & tricks about how i do my children book style illustrations to everyone who cares to read about my techniques. Comeback soon, if you enjoyed this one, as i´ll try to post a new one every week at least.

Although i did this images in Photoshop to get a more graphic look, this is how I plan and execute my own landscapes which are traditionally created in watercolors, acrylics and color pencils only, (with sometimes a touch of digital to correct a color or blend a sky more to my satisfaction).

END OF PERSPECTIVE TUTORIAL

 

Back to the beginning – “Intro

Back to 1 – “Little House on the Grid

Back to 2 – “Going 3D

Back to 3 – “Scenery Takes Shape

Back to 4 – “Planes & Viewpoints

Back to 5 – “Fluffy Clouds in the Sky

Back to 6 – “Endless Worlds

 

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CONTACT

 

 

Drawing Tutorial – Part Six – “Endless worlds”

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“Endless worlds”


Remember i told you that the size of an element or scenery feature you draw at the horizon line determines the scale of any landscape ?
Take a look at what happened when I removed the original little house from the horizon, took off a bunch of trees and the two additional houses of the background plane.

Suddenly the space in my landscape became huge ! Now the picture creates the illusion that there really is a vast distance between the two original houses and the horizon line.
And I didn´t even made any changes to where the horizon line is. It´s still at the same place as it is on the original scenery of the above picture !
To create that sense of distance, I´ve also added a shape of a mountain and an ocean. By the way the fact that the ocean has that little curve right up top near the base of the mountain also adds to the scale of the pic. 😉

As for the vanishing points, they´re still the same as in the original landscape.

So you can see that the key to create a cool scenery and vary the size of a landscape illustration is nothing more than a combination between a good placement of its landscape features in relation to pre-defined vanishing points for each object pointing from the horizon line and the size you choose for each object; when you place it in an order: background-middle ground-foreground.

It seems complicated, but practice and in time you´ll become like me and you won´t need to even draw any guide-lines the same way I don´t do it anymore.
Every time I look at a landscape now or I have one in my imagination my mind creates all those grids and i don´t need to draw them to build my scenery. I just place the elements.
And so can you. At first you´ll need to plan the grids visually, but then it will become second nature just to imagine them. 😉

Another thing. Don´t worry about drawing lots of details in each landscape element you create as you go along.
A good landscape is more like a good collection of less detailed features than a space filled with not so many elements but overly detailed.

When you begin, try to design a landscape in its basic shape structure, then you can start adding details later to those elements that really need to be detailed.
A good landscape has always some key elements that pull the viewer´s attention and sometimes you can even use those features to distract the viewer from looking at some of your mistakes in the drawing. 😉

If you have a pic, filled with detailed key elements they get lost and your scenery, as much pretty it can be becomes bland and dull, because it´s the little and carefully placed touches that give it life.
Not a huge amount of great technical details.
So keep it simple, specially in the beggining.

This is a finished version of the alternate scenery. I probably exagerate about the size of the big tree that stretches from the middle ground overlapping the background area, but this is just to show you, how you can build scale using different sizes of objects.

If I added details to the big tree and also gave it some depth and 3D feel i could make this element feel less intrusive but this is a subject for another tutorial wich i´ll be posting as soon as I can finish it. 😉

So, basically this is how you can create a nice looking scenery using the generic horizon line at eye level.
If you elevated the green hill with the big tree at the foreground you could even actualy change the view a bit, from slightly looking down into a more straightforward view, so you see there´s lots you can play with not only with perspective and guide-lines but also how you place elements on the view planes.

 

Back to the beginning – “Intro

Back to 1 – “Little House on the Grid

Back to 2 – “Going 3D

Back to 3 – “Scenery Takes Shape

Back to 4 – “Planes & Viewpoints

Back to 5 – “Fluffy Clouds in the Sky

Next – “A change of view

 

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luisperesillustrator@gmail.com

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CONTACT

 

 

Drawing Tutorial – Part Five – “Fluffy clouds in the sky”

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“Fluffy clouds in the sky”


What´s up with those clouds? Where are they coming from ?
How are they positioned if it´s not from that center grid that is used for the sky ? And why not ?
Is there something wrong with that grid ?

Not really. In fact when you get experience in creating landscapes, imaginary grids like this can help you position some of the horizontal aspects of elements in the sky like these clouds here.

I know they are a bit tilted but if their base was following the horizontal lines on this grid the effect would be ok too. In this case most of the effect is on the variation in the size of the shapes and on their location.

This grid could also help positioning details in the actual clouds, like shadows or bright areas, but it´s not time to go into this sort of details yet, so for the moment, let just pretend this is a completely wrong grid to place clouds on this pic.

In fact, using a grid like this which is focusing only on a single vanishing point centered at the middle of your canvas can bring some serious problems for the beginners.

Because i´m writing this tutorial particularly to help those people who know nothing or have very small knowledge about this type o scenery drawing, for the moment i do not recommend you try to place cloud elements on a grid like this.

Mainly because, if you´re been following my instructions, i can bet ,you would surely be trying to draw and place clouds the same way we created the volume for the houses and you probably would come out with a result like this. Lots of flat shapes in weird angles.

Which is not exactly…a natural way of presenting a sky…unless you´re looking for a cool cartoon design.

To avoid having a typical cartoon effect like this in your scenery there´s a good solution.
Like i said before, the key to create a vast and dynamic scenery is not to have all your elements focused on one single vanishing point and instead you should use several vanishing points to place your elements.
Only making sure that they relate in angle to the guide-line you defined as the horizon line for your landscape.

A good example of this is how you should create a grid to place you clouds.
Forget about this grid, wich was good to define the basics of your 3D space for the ground area but that´s it.
If you want to design a landscape that does not look static and instead has its own life and dynamics you cannot stick to design everything around a single vanishing point like this.

Nature has tons of diferent focus viewpoints, so try to diversify the ones you use when creating your scenery. 😉

What you need for the sky are clouds that can open up your scenery even more.
A good way to do this, is to choose a vanishing point to the side and pull an imaginary grid from it.

Tip: A very important element in a landscape is also the way nature affects a scenery and so in this case, having some wind blowing from one direction affects the heading of the clouds in the sky as it happens in nature.
The idea with this sky grid is to create that sense of motion up above and so that´s the reason the horizontal lines in it are tilted.

Tilting an horizon is always a good way of adding a sense of “motion” to a landscape and in this case the fact that the clouds have their base aligned to the horizontal tilted lines of the grid, creates that illusion and makes for the perfect contrast with the “solid stillness” of the ground area.

More on clouds on another tutorial ahead. 😉

Have you noticed ?
The scenery is completed. We now have a simple background with depth and dimension and also some cloud movement feel to give it life and we did all this without even adding any sort of details.
It was all done….with shapes and… perspective !!! Go figure ! 😉
What do you mean it´s not complete ?
Ok, to finish things off, lets add some green for the ground and some blue gradient to the sky. Why a gradient to the sky ?

Take a look at the sky above you. Its color is always darker above your head and gets lighter as it nears the horizon. So anytime you want to add depth with color to a landscape, creating a gradient sky is always a good start.
More on colors in a future drawing tutorial and on how you can even use color to replace detailed elements of an illustration.

Ah, but we´re not finished yet…come back !

 

Back to the beginning – “Intro

Back to 1 – “Little House on the Grid

Back to 2 – “Going 3D

Back to 3 – “Scenery Takes Shape

Back to 4 – “Planes & Viewpoints

Next – “Endless worlds

 

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CONTACT

 

 

 

Drawing Tutorial – Part Four – “Planes & viewpoints”

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“Planes & viewpoints”


Which brings us into another very important aspect of creating a good and dynamic scenery or landscape background.

Let´s talk about planes.
And i´m not talking about airplanes, but simply of the natural divisions that you can identify all around you when you contemplate a beautiful view in nature.

No matter where you look, and the vaster the view is you can always divide a scenery into mainly three different planes of view:
– Background
– Middle Ground
– Foreground

Usualy there´s more space for the foreground in my fantasy illustrations than i give it here on this pic but i have a reason for make it like this for now.

When you contemplate a view, you´ll notice that objects that are faraway are all about the same scale. The same goes for the ones that are located in the middle area of the scenery and finally for the ones that are closer to your position.

These are the three planes you need to represent when creating a landscape.
You will never have a really tinny house the size of the one you can see in the distance next to the house near you as that is an impossibility.
Nevertheless many people make the mistake of representing that when trying to create a landscape.

In our example, you have the little house in the horizon as the background, then the two ones with the tree in the middle ground and finally, we follow the guide-lines and we´ve added two new ones and a new tree generated from simple shapes now located outside the canvas and extracted as before.

Usually i make the foreground area bigger, but in this example, i wanted to show you something. If the foreground was bigger we could have filled it with the complete new foreground houses and tree and that would be almost repeating what it´s already done in middle ground.

What i want to show you now, is that, although you have to define an imaginary border for each of your planes and stick to the relative scale of the objects you place inside each of them, you don´t need to respect the top border at all to achieve a technically valid scenery. Particularly when adding foreground scenery elements.

In fact, as long as you respect the scale of the elements you place as foreground pieces of your scenery you can overlap those “secondary borders” of the middle ground and background planes.

Placing elements in a foreground is a great way to give scale to a scenery.
You don´t even have to draw the complete objects for people to identify because you already have similar ones present at your landscape and the mind of the viewer will make that association.

In this example the trees and branches of the foreground are nothing but flat shapes, but you can see they already create a good effect even without volume, simply because the scenery already has depth because of the 3D shape of the houses and so…this is highly subjective, but you can play with this level of details when you place landscape features.

You don´t always have to draw details in everything you place on a scenery.
To avoid the risk of overcrowding your landscape, if you balance between detailed elements and less detailed ones you can still create cool scenery. I use that method for my fantasy landscape illustrations.

Of course, you can also add depth to an element like a tree, more or less the same way you did with the houses.
You see, each tree also has its own grids and guide-lines as well as vanishing points they have to respect inside the landscape and those can also help you to add volume to a tree. More on future tutorials about this. 😉

For now lets stick with the basics and so…lets spread some more trees around inside our landscape.
Notice i always try to respect the scale of each element depending if i´m placing it on the background, middle ground or foreground.
You can also place some big trees to add scale but don´t overdo it. Try to respect the scale of a level plane inside your scenery.

Getting back to the clouds…
You have noticed that they don´t exactly follow a grid pointing into the original little house vanishing point in the center, right ?…

 

Back to the beginning – “Intro

Back to 1 – “Little House on the Grid

Back to 2 – “Going 3D

Back to 3 – “Scenery Takes Shape

Next – “Fluffy clouds in the sky

 

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CONTACT

 

 

Drawing Tutorial – Part Three – “Scenery takes shape”

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“Scenery takes shape”


We have some clouds, lets add another house to the scenery.
Let´s keep it simple, and make another structure facing us, only from the other side of our view.

So, to begin once again we imagine another vanishing point on the horizon and pull some imaginary lines.
Remember the angle of those lines starting from the center of the vanishing point determines the ilusion of where the viewer is observing the landscape.

In this case we try to give them more or less the same angle we´ve used to create the original house, otherwise we risk building a new one with the wrong perspective.

There´s ways to avoid those common errors but for the beginners out there, let´s stick with the simple version for now. 😉

Now we build another house. Once again, starting from the basic facade shape, we extract new lines and create faces wich give depth to the house.

As you can see, once again the faces follow the same angle as the guide-lines. Parallel to the roof shape.

Notice that in both houses you´re only able to see one side of the roof. That is what you would see in real life if the houses were located as they are in the drawing related to the observer.

That view as you can guess is determined by these guide-lines. The same which are all around you in real life but that you never think about as you look at things.

You see that something is up or down but you never think about why you perceive it like that.

One of the biggest errors that people make when trying to render a landscape such as this, is trying to show both sides of the roofs. This is mostly, because they know those roof-sides exist and so, most people feel they have to show them, otherwise the viewer would think there was something wrong with the drawing. Big mistake.

You should only render what the viewer would see in reality and never what you know it´s there behind something.
You would need a view that it would be impossible for you to render properly, simply because you have to follow the grids generated by the vanishing points.

We now have added a little tree to scenery. As you can see it doesn´t have much volume and because of that, in this example it can be placed anywhere as long you respect its size relatively to the distance.
Smaller when faraway – Bigger when close to the viewer.

It´s time to give the scenery some real scale and that is why the tree is now here.
As for the original little house it´s now back to show that you can make an horizon look as far as you want just by adjusting the size of an element you place at that horizon level.

Now that the little house is back, suddenly the landscape does not look as wide as it seemed without it, does it ?
If that original little house was even bigger your ground area would look even smaller.

So, first very important tip: – the vastness of a landscape can be increased or diminished by the size of the objects you place on the horizon. The further that object goes away from its real scale the vast your landscape will feel. The closer it comes to its real size the smaller and unrealistic your scenery will look, particulary if you already have some well placed elements as we now have with the two houses and the tree almost at foreground.

 

Back to the beginning – “Intro

Back to 1 – “Little House on the Grid

Back to 2 – “Going 3D

Next – “Planes & Viewpoints