Landscape Learnin' / by J. Logan Carey

Starting to work on a webcomic for someone who isn't a very experienced illustrator leads to all sorts of interesting problems. Namely, I don't know how to draw landscapes! The backgrounds, the ground and sky that make up any given comic panel, well, I've never really drawn any of that stuff! 

I've always drawn figures and objects and even plants and animals, but sketching out entire environments has always seemed so overwhelming that I've never actually given it a shot. Well the time to start practicing is now. 

The first story in the Zodiac webcomic I'm working on will be "Gemini". This story takes place in a desert landscape following a small nomadic society who worship the twin constellation of Gemini as their deity. Deserts are beautiful. They're also roughly large chunks of similar colors, so they should be a good entry point into the wider world of illustrated environments. 

I decided to follow a YouTube tutorial on a cloudy sunset in Procreate on the iPad to test the app's capabilities and mine too.

For this I followed one of James Julier's many excellent YouTube tutorials. The end result was pretty meh, but the real key here is learning how to "paint" digitally. The video had some really good tips about lighting in clouds, sky, and horizons.

So, not the worse ever, but there's obviously a lot of learning to do here. Procreate is really versatile and I like how it's simplified visually so it's not as overwhelming to an amateur as something like Photoshop or Clip Studio Paint.

I used Mischief to make this next simple painting of some dunes. Mischief is an amazing digital sketchpad. The tools are dead simple to play with and the infinite canvas is a dream. I don't know of anyone really using it for professional stuff or webcomic type work, but if you know of any, send them my way as I'd love to check them out.

Now that I had a chance to play around, I really wanted to knock out the first panel of Gemini. It's important to finish something and start digging deeper into this. The whole project is a kind of a dare to myself to see if I can follow through and make some progress into illustrated work so now's the time to do it.

Here's the first finished panel of Gemini in the Zodiac webcomic...

Hope you like it. The text will come later. What's really going to be fun for Zodiac is that with 12 different short illustrated stories I can play with many different styles and mediums of art. The Procreate process video is on my Twitter if you want to see the whole thing come together. 

Here's to starting something new with whatever you have, wherever you are!