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Landscape Drawing Tutorial

Part Four -“ Planes & Viewpoints

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

These are the three planes you need to represent when creating a landscape.
You will never have a really tiny 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 on the horizon as the background, then the two ones with the tree in the middle ground, and finally, we follow the guidelines. We´ve added two new ones and a new tree generated from simple shapes now located outside the canvas and extracted as before.

Continuing from where we left off in the last part, this brings us to another essential aspect of creating a sound and dynamic scenery or landscape background.

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

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

Usually, there´s more space for the foreground in my fantasy illustrations than I give it here in this pic, but I have a reason for making it like this for now.

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

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 guidelines 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, let’s stick with the basics and so… let’s spread some more trees around inside our landscape.
Notice I always try to respect the scale of each element depending on whether 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.

Placing elements in the 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 in your landscape, and the viewer’s mind 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 an excellent 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 excellent scenery. I use that method for my fantasy landscape illustrations.

Usually, I make the foreground area more prominent, but in this example, I wanted to show you something. If the foreground was more extensive, we could have filled it with entirely new foreground houses and trees, almost repeating what´s already done in the 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. Mainly 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.