When doing digital illustrations for a project I am continually asked about how much of the drawing was actually modeled versus the amount that was painted in Photoshop. So I put together a bit of a tutorial from a recent sketch for a park project I helped design this past year.
Generally, as you will see from the tutorial, I like to model only what is necessary. Kurt Fromm describes it as creating a “stage set”. I place enough information in the model to give me visual cues from which to paint from as I am much more comfortable painting and drawing than clicking a mouse for hours at a time. Most often I will create a simple SketchUp or Rhino model, export into Cinema 4D to render, and then into Photoshop for painting.
In the particular case of this drawing, time was limited so I simply painted over some quickly exported SketchUp views. I feel this tutorial will help show that you simply do not need expensive complicated software to create quick loose illustrations that will explain an idea in a concise professional manner. Tools needed: I use a 21″ Cintiq for painting…but a simple Intuos tablet would also work, SketchUp, Photoshop…and, well a computer, of course.
Yes… this was my starting point and as you can see the model is a very simple stepped terrain with just a few elements added for scale. I placed this on an 11 x 17 at 300 dpi in Photoshop and began to paint.
Then, using photographs I had taken from one of Iowa’s many prairies, I created a texture along the ground plane. I think it is important to develop a library of reference images, that includes textures and entourage elements, so you have them ready at your disposal for drawings and graphics.
Here I have added foreground plants and rocks again from a photographic source. I always make sure to simplify any photographic sources I incorporate by applying filters. Otherwise you end up with some very odd juxtapositions…photoreal vs non-photoreal.
Final image after vignetting.
Hopefully you found this tutorial helpful and can start to turn your simple exported SketchUp views into great drawings that tell a story and help describe your ideas. If this was helpful I will continue to post more. Let me know of any thoughts or questions and thanks for taking a look. Keep drawing!!Published in