Step-by-step: Advice for illustrating a forest
1I block out the general values, bearing in mind where I want my focal point. I use a textured Soft- edged brush to create an organic-looking underpainting to work upon, which helps create the randomness you see in nature. Keeping the colours simple helps to focus on the values.
2Still staying relatively loose, I start to define some of the bigger shapes in the image such as the overall foreground silhouette, mid- ground and background. At this point I’m deciding what contours to give the trees, to create an interesting rhythm and avoid too much repetition.
3I add some colour variation by using a Color Balance layer to create cooler tones in the shadows and warmer colours in the highlights. I also pick out some smaller shapes within my scene and use the Lasso tool to develop sharper edges in the focal point, to help draw the eye.