How to draw skies


brief introduction

Hello, my name is Davis, today I am going to explain to you in the best possible way how to improve the drawing of the heavens for your illustrations. I will teach you that to draw skies you have to take into account three main things and I will be showing you in a practical way how to follow the three phases drawing a sunset using all the tools of Clip Studio Paint.

Explanatory video

Elements to draw skies

To start drawing skies we must take into account three main elements:

1. The schedule and color palette
2. The direction and shapes of the clouds
3. Auxiliary elements

The first would be to define the time of the scene to be drawn in order to define the color palette to use. Since it is obvious that a sky during the day is not the same as at night or one at sunset. For the example below I will use the sunset colors.

The second would be to define the direction and type of clouds. There are skies where we draw the clouds parallel to the horizon and sometimes we define a vanishing point.

And finally, we must add the auxiliary elements that add value to your drawing, things like stars, comets, small glitters, birds on the horizon, the moon and any extra elements that you think are necessary to add value to your drawing.

For the auxiliary elements I will use the following free brushes that you can download quickly and easily in Clip Studio.

Time to draw the sky for this scene

Today's task will be to draw the sky for this scene of a couple looking at each other from a distance. So let's get started.

PHASE 1: Define the schedule and color palette

For this drawing we are going to define that the scene takes place at sunset with a sky that goes from yellow to black through an orange color. Luckily Clip Studio Paint has already defined that palette in the "Gradient" tool. In that same tool, we click on the "Nightfall brightness" gradient as you see in the image.

Then we drag the "Gradient" tool from top to bottom pressing "Shift" so that the background gradient is perpendicular, which will result in the following image.

Phase 2: Define the direction of the clouds and their shapes.

We must draw a couple of sketches defining the direction and shapes of the clouds. On this occasion, use a direction focused on the center of the scene and a mix of the different types of clouds such as fluffy, small long ones, etc. For this scene my final sketch looks like the image below.

Now the next thing is to paint the clouds with the first layer of base colors. For this I recommend using the "Off-focus Watercolor" brush that is already installed in Clip Studio.

For greater comfort, paint the clouds using two layers so that it is more comfortable for you to paint the clouds that are on top of other clouds. Paint the clouds a lighter tone to the background color where it is, for example, if the clouds are above the orange part of the background, paint the clouds a yellow tone and so on with the others. After doing that your drawing will look more or less like the image below.

As the scene we are drawing is a sunset, our characters in the foreground should be against the light, therefore we will darken them with a layer with a black background and another for the brightness light, both layers will only affect the characters and plants use the "Snap to bottom layer" option.

Now what we have to do is give more volume to the clouds with different layers.

Layers A: They are the base color layers that we have already done.
Layers B: They are two layers that are drawn on top of each cloud. Each one a shade darker.
Layer C: Here we draw the little clouds.
Layer D: Here we draw the small lower glow silhouette of each cloud.

Phase 3: Add auxiliary elements

One of the extra elements is the stars. I did it using the following brush:

And to quickly draw a couple of comets and the magic effect with little star sparks use the following free brush.

In order for it to blend in with the color and textures of the clouds, apply a blend mode of "Dodge (Color)".

To give it a more romantic touch, add a floating leaves. Thanks to Clip Studio's "Decoration" tool it was easier since in the "Vegetation" sub-tool there is a brush called "Fallen leaves".

And finally, I applied a layer of very dark purple and gave it a combination mode "Subtract" to darken the dark tones more and highlight the light ones.

And after all the drawing of the sky for this scene would be this way.

I hope it has helped you. Any questions in the comments.


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