6. Drawing backgrounds ① Houses

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This section will detail how to draw backgrounds.

While drawing the dragon I have been adding to the background bit by bit. Once the dragon was mostly done, I started to finish the background too.

For clarity’s sake, in this series I will explain how I draw each part separately. In reality, the entire image is drawn step by step, and as a result, several parts and layers other than the explained parts may be explained out of order.


[1] Adding motifs

Background motifs are an important aspect of a drawing as well. To add depth to the image’s world, think of the objects that need to be drawn.


(1) I decided to draw the buildings of a burning city.

As the background is mostly hidden by the dragon, I decided to compose the image by adding buildings to the foreground.

▲The background “base” layer before finishing. The dragon is hidden.


(2) First, I add a new layer in the “background” layer folder in the [Layer] palette, and I draw the houses crushed by the dragon in the red area shown below.


(3) The dragon’s weight is conveyed by showing houses being flattened like paper.


(4) Collapsed buildings, telephone poles and telephone cables are added.

The buildings and telephone poles are in front of the dragon, so I make a layer folder named “front_parts” on top of the dragon, and I add a “pillar” layer (the telephone poles) and “bill” layer (the buildings).


[2] Drawing houses

The background is beginning to take shape. We now go into details.


(1) As drawing each roof tile by hand is laborious, the roof is drawn by copying and pasting elements.

I add a new layer to the “background” layer folder and draw a single tile. When drawing, the lighting of the tiles is carefully matched with that of the immediate environment.


(2) I copy the tile layer using the [Layer] menu → [Duplicate Layer], and move it to line up with the original tile.

Once the position is set, the duplicated layer and the original layer are merged via the [Layer] menu → [Merge with layer below] (Shortcut: [Ctrl]+[E]).


(3) The merged tiles are copied and joined again, until the roof is finished.


(4) The tiled roof eventually looks like this.


[POINT]

This method of repeating patterns can also be done by using a pattern brush instead of copy & pasting layers.

By duplicating a brush like the [Decoration] tool → [Clothing] → [Pearl] and registering the image material to the [Brush shape] category → [Brush tip] in the [Tool Property] palette, repeating patterns can be drawn easily.

Read the following TIPS article to learn how to register images as image materials and brush tips.


(5) The created roof is transformed/moved using the [Edit] menu → [Transform] → [Scale up/Scale down/Rotate].


(6) [Edit] menu → [Transform] → [Mesh Transformation] is selected. This displays grid-like guides.


After increasing the vertical and horizontal lattice points in the [Tool Property] palette, I move the handles (by dragging the intersections) to match the sketch below.


I lower the roof’s opacity to see the sketch below to make adjustments easier when transforming or moving parts.


(7) After transforming, brush strokes are added to a new layer to break the roof.

When doing so, multiple layers with different blending modes such as [Overlay] (dark colors become darker, and light colors become lighter) and [Color dodge] are used to add shadows and light.


(8) The layers for the roof that have been created up to this point are duplicated and merged.

Refer back to Point 3 in lesson 2 to learn how to duplicate and merge multiple layers.


The duplicated roof layer is transformed and moved to look like “a building collapsed and a section of the roof collapsed”.


(9) Adjustments are added, and the broken roof is finished.

In the next lesson, I will draw the other background objects (telephone poles, buildings).

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