No Man´s Sky – Procedural generated video game as a creative tool you didn´t expect.

For today a topic that many will perhaps find surprinsing. Particularly those who couldn´t care less about videogames or don´t even know this one exists.
This post is mostly for those people and not for anyone who already loves the game, or hates it with igual passion. It does not matter.
This post today is for the aspiring illustrator out there because strangely enough there is something particulary interesting about a Playstation game called No Man´s Sky which has been out there for a while and is now about to receive a giant content update.
If you like to play video games and you particularly love to paint or draw I would recommend you buy this.


No Man´s Sky is a game you don´t need to even play to have fun and learn with it. If this seems weird, let me tell you that one of the things you can do in this simulated universe with bilions of planets to explore is to take photographs virtually as you would do with any real camera pointing it to scenes , plants or animals you want to photograph and so you can do the same.
Why is this important for illustration?


Well either if you´re a beginner or a professional illustrator, you´ll find soon enough that actually playing with the NMS virtual camera becomes extremely useful to practice visual shots and visual compositions. You can even work around the “natural light” of each sun to plan your images. The way the game simulates real vast worlds is also extremely useful for those who are still learning about perspective in illustration to get a good glimpse of how the different layers of atmosphere, perspective or scale are important factors for a person to paint a landscape.


You can learn more about it and about what I mean if you read the “About me” section on my new No Man´s Sky site, so go take a look.

I´ve taken so much “virtual photos” on so many worlds that I arrived at the need to create a place to archive them. Because No Man´s Sky has such a range of colors many of those images became extremely useful to plan the color compositions on my own original illustrations and so having those images around is always useful to me.
Also there are so many people out there sharing images of this “Virtual Galaxy” that I thought there was no reason why I shouldn´t share mine also.


No Man´s Sky is essentially a walking simulator. You can hike around the alien planets with the same freedom of movement as we do on real life. For me as a hiker in real life finding a game like NMS was a dream come true as it´s also very relaxing.
No Man´s Sky is perfect for those who are totally fed up with war games, or violent videogame stuff.


There´s action in NMS but only if you want to play that angle. You can just walk around the worlds, admiring the vistas, be a scientist discovering new species or a trader minning materials and selling them in space stations. There´s also a story if you want to follow and regular missions, but that is only if you want to play it as a regular game. If you just want to use NMS to relax and admire the vistas you can do just that too and that´s one of the most appealing things on this virtual universe where you can do anything you want and while in between you can also learn a thing or two about visual composition if you play around with the NMS photo camera. 😉

You can buy it for PS4 HERE and for XBOX HERE.


I apologise for the lack of updates on this blog but when I´m silent that means I´ve been busy and so as most stuff I do needs to be kept confidential for some time for contractual reasons this means I tend to only have old work to post here for a while. 😉


“MONUMENTS OF MARS : TERRAFORMING TECH – GAIA 2” – Illustration / Concept Artwork – Making Of / Step-by-Step creative breakdown.


“MONUMENTS OF MARS : TERRAFORMING TECH – GAIA 2” – Illustration / Concept Artwork – Making Of / Step-by-Step creative breakdown.

And here´s the step-by-step for this one. This pic started when I mirrored one of the sides from the illustration I did last time and then I got this idea. Started to paint on top of the original painting modifying stuff as I went along and so the end result was something like this:













I have 2 more recent Mars pic you might care to take a look.


Click here to see the step-by-step making of for the one above.


Click here to see the step-by-step making of for the one above too.

People keep asking where I get the idea for my pics. Well, I read a lot. Reading books makes you use your imagination and so I have a lot of practice in imaginining stuff. If you want to learn how to draw, read books, ( not picture books, but novels ) as that will make you imagine stuff a lot and so when it comes to drawing being able to visualize something in your mind is very important.
Also on inspiration, when it comes to Mars in particularly  I have my own interest on the subject for decades now and in particularly the Cydonia/Face on Mars controversy so I have a ton of inspiration material from that too. Also I´ve listened to the Art Bell talk radio show for ages when he still was on the air and so there´s no short of ideas from that too.

If you like Art Bell, there´s a great alternative to his show that you may not know about it. It´s called “THE UNEXPLAINED.TV” hosted by the British journalist Howard Hughes and it´s the next best thing to Bell you ever eard, as this guy is as good as he was when Art did his radio show. The site has already a ton of fascinating interviews on podcast that will fire your imagination too. I listen to that a lot when I´m painting; this pic was done listening to one of his old Mars shows.


If you liked this, you might want to check out these tutorial links below too:

Learn to draw landscapes / Perspective tutorial

0 INTRO ” A matter of perspective” :
Lesson 1 “Little House on the Grid” :
Lesson 2 “Going 3D” :
Lesson 3 “Scenery takes shape” :
Lesson 4 “Planes & Viewpoints” :
Lesson 5 “Fluffy clouds in the sky” :
Lesson 6 “Endless Worlds“:


Drawing Tutorial / “FINDING NEMO”

Drawing Tutorial / “TITANIC DRY DOC”


Video Tutorial (PT Version)



If you are a potential illustration client, if you are looking for an affordable children book artist , board-game illustrator, card game artist, concept illustrator or need a freelance artist to work no a pod project even ( I do not descriminate print on demand for sure; I love it ); do not forget to take a look at my illustration portfolio (Fantasy or Childrens Book art ) and I´m always available to discuss future work.
If you have a dream, no matter what your budget is don´t hesitate to contact me and let´s see what we can do.





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


“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








Drawing Tutorial – Part Four – “Planes & viewpoints”


“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







Drawing Tutorial – Part One – “Little house on the grid”


“Little house on the grid”

Ok, perspective…don´t cringe now.
It goes like this. No matter where you look at in nature or all around you you can always pull some imaginary straight lines from inside a central point of a feature you´re looking at.
And the only way to pull dozens of imaginary lines in your direction that don´t overlap each other is to give them diferent angles.

The degree of each angle does not matter now but it´s useful that you make sure you imagine the lines on your left to have the same inclination as the ones you pull on the right, just so that you can have a nice grid and not make a mess right at the foundation of what you´re going to use to grow a scenery out of it.
As you have to make sure these lines do not overlap naturaly as you spread them from a single point to the side they create that sense of 3D space because they endup occupying all the ground area of your pic.

So far so good, right ? You´ve created a little house on the horizon, you´ve pulled those imaginary lines on the ground and all the 3D effect is looking good.
But what happens if you want to add another house on the side ? Do you use the same lines you pulled from the central little house ?
And why did you pull those lines in the first place ?!
Well, more on this ahead, but for now you just place another house on the side right on top of the horizon and pull more lines from it.

You start by pulling a straight line right from underneath as you did on the original house, and then keep pulling lines to its sides.
This creates another grid that overlaps the original one. Don´t worry, this is what you want, only you don´t just know it yet.
Notice those original horizontal lines parallel to the horizon wich make the original green grid ? The closer to you, the bigger the spaces between them and as you have those you don´t need to create more to represent the floor.

Those central points on each feature from where you are pulling those imaginary lines, are what´s usualy called “vanishing points” and they´re one of the most important things you need to focus on when you´re creating a landscape, perhaps to illustrate a childrenbook or rendering a simple view.
A complex scenery can end up having dozens of individual vanishing points as each feature you want to put on the scenery needs those points (and their guide-lines) to be correctely placed on a 3D ground while relating well to the other scenery elements you have.
Are you cringing now ? It´s not that dificult. 😉

Look at my little house there. This is the most simple way to have a landscape. Ok, it´s not that impressive, but even with only the house and the guide lines, you already have a 3D space that people will imediatly recognize.

And all this without even adding anything else to the scenery. Anyone looks at this and imagines a house, the ground area and sky.

Then again, raise the horizon level and you get plenty more of ground area to fill in later.

The angle of the pulled imaginary lines from the vanishing point also determines the angle in wich the viewer is seeing your scenery.
If i had placed those pulled lines in a more tigh angle to the central one right from underneath the house the floor would look much more inclined that it is now.

If you don´t get what i´m saying, try to pull some lines with diferent inclination to see the illusion effect you get.

In this case i´ve spread those lines in a more wide angle across the canvas and so my ground area became less inclinated than the one from the other example above independently of the fact that this is the version with the horizon placed up.

The angle in wich you pull the imaginary lines from each vanishing point determines the illusion of looking down in a balanced way or creates the effect of a really high straightforward drop.

Experiment with pulling those lines from an object and try to create all sorts of grids yourselves to get a more realistic idea of what i´m trying to explain here. 😉

And of course this is the version with lots of sky area to fill in.
How do you fill in that area in a realistic way ?
Oh, yes, once again…perspective and vanishing points and some new imaginary grids to place things in. Mostly clouds.

More on this later, at the right time.


Back – “Intro

Next – “Going 3D







Drawing Tutorial – How to draw landscapes or background scenery – INTRO


How to draw landscapes or background scenery – INTRO

Fear of the great outdoors ?
It´s a matter of perspective, you know. 😉

Want to know how to draw landscapes or background scenery ?
Looking for online drawing lessons on how to draw scenery backgrounds ?

If you browse most amateur drawing galleries on the web it won´t take much time before you notice that one of the things where people have the most dificulty when rendering a drawing is adding a background.
Particulary a landscape or scenery background.
Not many try, and most of those who are brave enough end up stuck somewhere.


There are thousands of drawings on those galeries but most of the time people stick to drawing characters only and rarely we see an amateur illustration with a great landscape complementing a figure, much less we find many landscape-only drawings around. Why ? Because people tend to think creating a scenery is very difficult due to the dreaded fear of perspective.


So let me show you how you can avoid all that and let you know how to draw, perhaps that imaginary children book landscape you always wanted to do but never thought you had the talent.
Stick with me, but be warned this is going to be a long and detailed series of posts. 😉



Are you looking at me ?…

You cannot escape it. No matter where you look you´ll find perspective staring back at you. The big difference between people who know how to render that on a paper and those like you who probably don´t, is that most of you don´t even notice perspective happening all around you in your ordinary life. Things were always there and they always will be, and of course you know if an object is far from you, it looks smaller and seems bigger the closer you get to it. But then things get more complicated.

If you´re looking straight at an object in the distance, (let´s say a house), and that house is right in front of you, when you walk straightforward towards it, the house gets larger as you get closer but its facade generally still has the same shape, you saw in the distance, only bigger. And generally the horizon line gets lower.

The problem starts when you get too close to the facade of the house. As you get near the house you see that the lines of its shape change at your eyes, the details increase and you get more choices where to look at.
You notice that, not only you can look at the house straightforward but as you are smaller in height to the architecture, you can even look up to it and see even more features revealed…by the perspective.
The same perspective that changes relatively to the observer as you move along in relation to an observable feature.
Note that now you can look up at the roof and see new lines that pull that shape of the roof behind the house into an unseen vanishing point and that enables you to look under that roof in this example. Same 3D effect on the window.


If you want to create a cool landscape first of all you should start by deciding what type of view you are going to use, because once the process starts you can make some serious errors in your drawing if you try to correct or change that type of view later on.

So first, imagine that you´re inside your paper and decide if you´re going to look at your landscape illustration from below, from above or straight at it.
Maybe you´re at the bottom of a castle tower looking up, or flying above the clouds looking down. Or maybe you´re on plain looking straightforward at a farm house.
Essentially you have to choose your view and be the eyes of the person wich will look at your scenery when it´s completed.

You can create something at eye level where all the vanishing points (more on this ahead) are located at eye level and where the amount of sky and ground area is more or less the same like you see on the pic below.

You might decide you´re actualy looking down at your landscape and so the lower you look at, the less sky area you can see as the horizon line in your sketching goes higher almost to the top of the canvas.

This is what gives the first illusion you´re looking down. As you see more of the ground than of the sky as it happens in reality.

If you´re into radical drawing experiences, you can even eliminate the sky area totaly and create a pic where people are really, really looking down, but i wouldn´t advise it if you´re just beginning.

Having a horizon line to place your vanishing guiding points is not only useful but trully mandatory if you know nothing about creating a scenery.

And of course, if you´re going to do something with a vast scale looking up, maybe a fantasy illustration where the sky is the main element, the more you look up the less ground you see and the more sky area you have to work on.

Notice that independent of the fact that you look up, down or straight ahead if you place an object at the horizon you can still be looking straight at it at the same time if you choose to make it so.
Once again, this has to do with perspective.

Keep on reading.

Next –  Little House on the Grid