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Landscape Drawing Tutorial

Part Five -“ Fluffy Clouds in the Sky

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

They are a bit tilted, but if their base followed the horizontal lines on this grid, the effect would be okay, too. In this case, most of the effect is on the variation in the size of the shapes and their location.

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

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?

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?
To finish things off, let’s 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, creating a gradient sky is always a good start when you want to add color to a landscape.

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!

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

Tip: A crucial 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 a 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 in another tutorial ahead.

To avoid having a typical cartoon effect like this in your scenery, there´s a good solution.
As I said before, the key to creating a vast and dynamic scenery is not to focus all your elements on one vanishing point. Instead, you should use several vanishing points to place your elements.
Only make sure that they relate in angle to the guideline you defined as the horizon line for your landscape.

An excellent example of this is how you should create a grid to place your clouds.
Forget about this grid, which was suitable for defining 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 designing everything around a single vanishing point like this.

Nature has many different focus viewpoints, so try to diversify the ones you use when creating your scenery.

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

Because I´m writing this tutorial particularly to help those people who know nothing or have very little knowledge about this type of 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 indeed 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.

This is not precisely…a natural way of presenting a sky…unless you´re looking for an excellent cartoon design.