Drawing Tutorial – Part Five – “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 wich 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 particulary 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.

Wich 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 ilusion and makes for the perfect contrast with the “solid stilness” 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 gratient 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 !

Next – “Endless worlds

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