Can you help me achieve depth in a sparse environment?
Chesney Loafless, US
In this image I want to show the sparse rocky desert homeland of a hunter who stalks passing caravans or spaceships that have crash-landed. Usually, you can add several depth cues to your image, such as placing the same man-made objects in various distances to show differences in scale, or adding strong perspective lines with roads or building. Because the rock desert is an organic environment I can only apply aerial perspective and the main principles of human perception.
The key for creating successful aerial perspective is to break up your painting into as many space segments as possible. Then, once you’ve decided on the main colour scheme of your foreground, slowly blend it into the colour of the sky at the horizon line. Applying a slight gradient from a darker to a lighter tone towards the sun also helps. Try adding an extra level of subtle haze or dust closer to the ground.
You can separate your space segments further with the amount of detailing you choose to use. The aerial perspective not only unifies the values, but also flattens out the shapes. Introducing more textural details and contrast to your foreground will help it feel closer to the viewer.
In addition to the aerial perspective on the ground level, you can also try adding perspective cues to your sky and clouds. Use more blurry edges to objects that are close to the camera and more compressed shapes with harder edges for elements in the distance. Adding gradients to the sky towards the sun and painting your clouds with more saturated colours in the foreground will both help to give an extra level of depth to your illustration.
Apply more details and harder edges to your clouds towards your horizon. More contrast in the foreground also helps. Use scale reference to strengthen depth. Add perspective clues to your sky and differentiate your space segments consciously.