How should I handle perspective when showing a character looking up inside a forest?
Abe Croma, Canada
Careful planning is key to illustrating any scene with complex perspective. Start by plotting your vanishing point and creating a quick perspective grid to guide your sketch. I’ve drawn my grid by hand, but there are plenty of plugins, and perspective tools and brushes to help you with this task, depending on your art program. If you’re painting a particularly organic scene, such as a forest or cliff face, remember to not follow your perspective lines too strictly.
In scenes from a worm’s-eye view, the person’s foreshortening will be dramatic; if you struggle with this kind of anatomy, use references when sketching out your character in such a scene. Another effective way of expressing distance in a landscape is using a technique called ambient perspective. Here, the further away something is the more washed out it becomes: the hue and value become closer to your general fill light (usually the same colour as your sky) until they’re indistinguishable.
We can use this technique in our painting by gradually layering a lighter value over the tops of the tree trunks and our forest canopy (the most distant point in our image). This makes our trees look fantastically tall.
Use a Soft brush to build up layers
of ambient light and create distance in your painting, then exaggerate this to make objects
appear impossibly large.
Plan out your scene by creating perspective guidelines before you start sketching. Keep your trees looking natural by using references and avoiding straight lines.