Drawing Tutorial : “TITANIC : Dry dock” – Making of


Here´s the step-by-step process from another of my illustrations. It´s more or less self-explanatory as a drawing tutorial so I hope everyone understands the several creative choices I went through from start to finish to create what I call my “TITANIC : DRY DOCK. Another one I had in my mind for sometime and so I just went for it when the inspiration was right.


If you have any questions about this creative process let me know and I´ll do my best to guide you into your own creations.



If you are a potential illustration client, 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 Three – “Scenery takes shape”


“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