Dibujo de la imaginación: dibuja un paisaje de fantasía en lápiz | Sam Gillett | Skillshare

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Drawing From Imagination: Sketch a Fantasy Landscape in Pen or Pencil

teacher avatar Sam Gillett, Pen // Pencil // Procreate

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Project Video


    • 3.

      On Landscapes and Emotion


    • 4.

      Point of View


    • 5.

      Composition: Finding a Focal Point


    • 6.

      Composition: Foreground, Midground, Background


    • 7.

      Telling Stories Through Shape


    • 8.

      What Should you Draw?


    • 9.

      Drawing Details


    • 10.

      Creating a Reference Board


    • 11.

      Drawing from References


    • 12.

      Concept Thumbnails


    • 13.

      Sketching a Final Drawing


    • 14.

      Adding Detail


    • 15.

      Shading and Light


    • 16.

      Revising and Tweaking your Drawing


    • 17.

      Next Steps


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About This Class

In this class you’ll learn to draw an imaginary landscape in pen or pencil with intentional details, a unique landscape and immersive lighting and composition.

Sketching and drawing allows us to explore places and tell visual stories through the lines we put on the page.  But often artists might feel unsure about how to draw fantasy landscapes without copying existing ones. 

This class is aimed at building your confidence in world-building, so you can create immersive, compelling and original scenes. These tips can be transferred into any style of art. 

You'll learn: 

  • Which vantage point suits your drawing and the story you're trying to tell
  • How to define a focal point
  • How immerse the viewer in your world through careful placement of details, pathways and natural features
  • How to balance imagination with real-world details
  • Where to find reference photos and how to integrate inspiration into your work
  • Why sketching "thumbnail drawings" will help you craft more polished drawings
  • The role of light and shading

While the class is aimed at drawing fantastical, imagine landscapes, it's also a way for you to polish up art skills that are transferrable to any medium. 

Ideas such as composition, lighting and intentional use of details carry over into any style of art and any subject matter. 

You'll have multiple chances to hone your world-building skills in this class. Along the way you'l get a chance to create: 

  • A Pinterest reference board (If you don't have Pinterest, don't worry).
  • Multiple bite-sized sketches of details to practice how they may look in your drawing.
  • Thumbnail sketches of your final piece.
  • A drawing of your very own fantastical landscape, complete with a building, environmental details and intentional design. 

This class is meant for those who have dabbled in drawing and sketching but find it difficult to draw places without photos or references to guide them. While I don't focus on drawing techniques -- such as shading or cross-hatching for example -- beginners are welcome too: this class is structured to provide artists of any level building blocks they can integrate into their practice. 

About Sam Gillett 

I’m an artist and Skillshare Top Teacher living in Ontario, Canada. My work explores hidden worlds drawn from unique perspectives, often emerging from my imagination. 

Alongside teaching on Skillshare, I sell my work online and enjoy working with private clients, publishing houses, music labels and more. 


Here’s a class on illustrating in colour: Mastering Colour: Simple Steps to Create Vivid Art

For a deep dive into adding more perspective into your drawings, check out my previous class: Introduction to Drawing in Perspective

For help deciding what to draw, check out the attached file on the right for a free download! 


Meet Your Teacher

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Sam Gillett

Pen // Pencil // Procreate

Top Teacher




 Hi! I’m Sam. I draw fantastical places (and some real ones too) in pen, pencil and with my Ipad. 

I started drawing when I was about 5, on family trips to England. 

Since then, I've been enraptured by fantastical architecture, hidden worlds and the shadow and light that makes up our world. 


In first year University, I transitioned in to creating detailed sketches that I posted on Instagram, and since then have been creating custom illustrations for lovely people and inspiring tattoo artists, musicians, clubs, publishing houses and engineering firms. 


You can check out my recent work on Instagram — or peruse my Etsy shop!

 <... See full profile

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1. Introduction : Art allows us to explore places, places that don't exist. But often artists might feel unsure about how to create new and fantastical worlds without just copying existing ones, stroke for stroke. In this class, you'll learn how to draw an imaginary landscape, complete with focal points, environmental details, and a composition that really immerses the viewer in your world, no matter what you choose to draw. Doing so will not only expand your imagination, but it'll add some valuable tools to your drawing toolbox, stuff that you can use for creating new worlds on the page, but also in any number of artistic endeavors. Hey, I'm Sam, I'm a pentatonic artist from Ontario, Canada. Whether I've been drawing for publishing houses, music labels, private clients, creating prints for Etsy, or creating content for Instagram and TikTok, drawing from my imagination has been a central part of my artistic practice. In this class, I'll guide you through my process of developing an imaginary place on the page step-by-step. We'll start by talking about focal points and composition. About how to guide the viewer into your drawing with pathways and clever design as well about how shapes can tell a story and evoke emotion. Then we'll talk about the details and how to use Pinterest for references and how to sketch those references to gain confidence in the shapes before you put them in your final drawing. Then I'll go over how I make concept thumbnails that will help you iron out the kinks and your composition and then we'll get to that final drawing. Lay it all out in pencil first, creating a skeleton of the imagined place before detailing in other elements that guide the eye deeper into your world and provide Easter eggs, clues that really aid in the telling of your visual story. This class is meant for artists of any level. The fundamentals of design here are so useful no matter where you choose to take your environmental sketching skills. This class doesn't focus too much on boring jargon or theory but instead will get you thinking about how art can tell a story through the lines that you lay on the page. When you draw an imaginary place, the story gets to be your own. If you're ready to get started, pick up a pen, grab some paper, and bring along your imagination. Let's get sketching. [MUSIC] 2. Project Video : [MUSIC] In this class, we'll start by discussing how key concepts such as composition, the role of light in buildings, and how to incorporate inspiration, how all those things go together to tell your visual story of your imagined place. There'll be multiple chances for you to try out these concepts in the first half of the course. Creating a Pinterest inspiration board, sketching details, and creating thumbnail sketches to keep your mind imagining imaginary worlds. The second half of the course, we'll be creating a fantastical location of your own. You can draw something similar to mine or makeup entirely your own creation. Well, I'm drawn to natural landscapes and more fantastical or medieval-inspired buildings. These tips can apply to sci-fi art, steampunk locales, and more. This class does not focus on color, just drawing with black and white mediums. Color is a building block you can add next and I've linked some great classes which focus on color and color theory in the class description. For this class, here are the supplies you'll need. You'll need some thicker paper to draw on and pens or pencils. I don't focus much on pen size or the kind of pencil, so don't worry about it too much. But I'm using a HB pencil for most of the class. For more recommendations check out the class description. But you can also use a tablet and stylist too using a program like Procreate. It will also be handy to have a phone or tablet nearby even if you're drawing on paper. That way you can easily access reference photos. One more thing, keep an eye out for the top tip banners that will pop up like this throughout the class. Those zero in on some of the most important information I think you should really keep in mind when you're drawing an imaginary place. Before we dive into the details, let's discuss how landscapes and locations tell a visual story. 3. On Landscapes and Emotion : What do you feel when you look up over a city or when you see the world open up from on top of a mountain like this? Landscapes in places are all about emotion. When you look over this landscape, you're likely emotionally influenced by the forest, the water, the calm location. That's why creating imaginary landscapes is so much fun and it's such a special challenge. You work within the world of the purely visual to evoke emotion and give the viewer clues as to the landscape and how we should feel about the place you're drawing. That's the bones of this class and I thought it might be useful to begin here. Let's explore this idea for a second. How observing landscapes and how they make us feel can help us build our own on the paper. First, keep in mind that landscapes work in tandem with the details and the man-made structures within it. The buildings, this lamp post, the signs, the fences, tell us how we should feel about a place and what is it for. But check out this landscape. If I sketch a cabin up here on this mountain, the mood changes. We might be struck by the isolation of it all. The tiny size of the cabin in comparison with this vast sweeping valley. Conversely, how does this cabin in the vacant desert feel? We infer different things about the buildings and the things within a drawing based on the surroundings. Where we are. Often big open spaces evoke mystery and magistery. Small enclosed spaces evoke com and comfort. But the landscapes in details within a piece all work together to tell the story of the drawing. That's the idea that we're going to use to our advantage today. In the next few lessons, I'll go over key things to keep in mind which can help tell your story. 4. Point of View : [MUSIC] In every piece of art, but especially fantastical or imagined art, your point of view matters. A point of view is where the viewer is in relation to the objects in the scene that you're drawing. It establishes the relationship we, the viewer has to the landscape, to the buildings and to the details within the imagined place. I'm going to break down the idea of vantage point it in two parts. First, it's going to be about how close or how far we are away from the main part of our drawing. I'm going to break down the idea of vantage point with the example of a house. First, if I'm going to draw the horizon line down here, generally gives us a lot of space to work with up here, and I'm going to draw this house very large and imposing. I'm sketching out this house. Now this would allow us to add a lot of details about the home itself, making it the real star of the show. We could add some trees behind here, and maybe some other environmental features, maybe a mountain in the background. But it really positions the house as the main part of this environment. In fact, to me, at least, it makes it look like the house is acting upon its environment. By that, I mean, since the house is centered, and we are so close to it, it's almost towering over top of us, it appears a little bit more imposing. It gives the house a little bit more power over its surroundings. Conversely, if I draw the horizon line up here, which makes it look like we are going to be looking down on the scene, and I'm drawing the same house from above. Perhaps it's much smaller in this drawing, but we can infer that it's the same size of house by the fact that there's one door, maybe there's a tiny little window. But the landscape expands or around the house. This would give us some great opportunity to draw the same thing I do in the last drawing. Maybe a huge mountain range, maybe a cliff making it look like it's cascading off the side and some other trees, the same trees that were visible here. But now at least I view the scene completely differently. As opposed to the last scene, I think it gives the landscape much more power over this focal point, over this house here. We can draw some little paths leading out from the house. But by positioning this house very small and positioning the other landscape elements around it with more detail, it allows us to explore the environment or say something about the house. Perhaps if we want to add more details around the environment or give the sense of scale or vastness I think this is a really effective angle to draw from. Lastly, one way that I really like to add immersion to my imaginary scenes is by drawing the drawing from a vantage point of someone on a path towards the focal point or towards the building that is going to anchor our scene. I'm going to draw the same house, but I'm going to try to draw it as if the horizon line is in the middle of the page. Now remember, the horizon line is eye level and so it's positioning is if there's a person walking right here or us, we are level with the house. I think this angle gives us some entry points because if I draw a path leading towards us, to me at least it makes it look like I could walk up the path and enter in the house from the front door. It's a very neutral or eye level vantage point. It's not towering over above us and we're not towering above it, it almost makes us feel like we're walking into this scene the way we normally would. Now we're talking about imaginary places so this house hopefully is going to be something a little bit more interesting than this. But that gives you an idea about how the vantage point intentionally places the viewer in your scene. By keeping an eye on that and doing it intentionally, I think you can achieve some really interesting effects. In the next lesson, we'll talk about the focus of your drawing focal points, and how we can know how to create the main point of our visual sentence. 5. Composition: Finding a Focal Point: [MUSIC] A focal point is the main part of the drawing. The most important thing that you really want to make sure the viewer doesn't miss. Then fantastical or imagined art, it becomes so much more important. For the purposes of this class, we'll use a building as our focal point. Here's a couple of methods to draw the viewer's eye towards that focal point, towards that main part of our imagined world. First, let's talk about the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds basically divides up your page into nine different boxes. In this concept is that our eyes are drawn to these points. By positioning the focal point, maybe I'm going to make a little castle here. On these main points we tend to look towards them. It's a really interesting way that you can draw interest towards these scenes. The focal point maybe is this castle here but if I want to draw another point of interest like a towering mountain behind it, I can make that peak or the center point on another of these points. Our eyes are drawn to them and by positioning these items on these axis, it's a really great way to draw attention to them. Now, another idea is spacing. Negative space, the white space in your drawing, the empty parts are really important and that's a really great way that you can create emphasis and draw the eye towards the focal point. I'm going to draw that same castle again. Then if we imagine that maybe this is a forest behind it, it's on the rule of thirds but I promise this is a different idea. There's going to be a forest and maybe a mountain range here. As you can tell, I'll draw the castle up here, there's white space behind it and there's also space in-between these other elements. We can almost block the castle off. It has its own room there and that can be a really effective way to create emphasis. Another example may be that same castle way down to the bottom of our page here. Maybe I'm drawing trees but the way that these trees are positioned, it really does draw the eye towards the center. I can do the same maybe if I'm drawing a big mountain up here and perhaps if I was going to add detail to this mountain I would fade it out as we get down towards the bottom. That little cushion of blank space around the castle really does give us a little bit more room to add emphasis without crowding it out. If I added detail all around here it would likely lose the castle amidst it. Whereas now I think there's more of an emphasis placed on the focal point, even if our eye is also drawn to this craggy peak up here. One of my favorite ways to create emphasis in focal points is by using pathways. Just like in real life when you're hiking mountains or hills or walking down a street, roads draw the eye, lines draw the eye. I'm going to talk about a couple of ways to do that. First, if I'm going to use our castle again because I just love castles as you can tell, I'm going to draw this castle up here on a hill and perhaps there's mountains around it, really into mountains these days in forests. Now, a literal pathway drawn down here I think directs the eye. We could imagine walking up here all the way to the castle. There's a directionality to this, it's going all the way up here. But you can also do this in maybe a little bit more of an abstract way and that's using details and aspects of the environment to draw the eye towards the castle. Not only could it be a physical pathway but even if there's no pathway there I could position things around the castle to draw our eye up there. Maybe I'm going to draw a rock down here or a tree that's stumped over. As you can see, these items create a directionality towards the castle. This tree points upwards. The lines on this rock point towards the castle and even this line which might be a treeline for instance directs our eye upwards towards the castle. Lastly, let's talk about how you can create emphasis on your focal point with light and shadow. Now, since we're not using color, this is a really great tool that we have in our toolbox. That's by casting the certain things in light in order to draw the eye to them. Let's talk about it in terms of this example. Perhaps I want to infer that there's another mountain over on this side that's casting a shadow this way. Perhaps I can shade in this forest and if you can imagine what that might look like, if it was darker you can see that the castle being in light on a black background or a darker shaded background really makes it pop a little more. In a much more I guess detailed level, say I wanted to create emphasis on this side of the castle, maybe there's a door here or a person walking up towards it. Even if this side of the landscape is in the sun, maybe I could create some interesting shadows on the castle itself, add some details here to draw the eye towards this contrast, our eyes are naturally drawn towards sharp contrast. By creating some nice shadows on your castle or putting it in the light around dark elements, it can really draw interest. 6. Composition: Foreground, Midground, Background : [MUSIC] Most works of art contains three key areas, the foreground, mid-ground, and background. In this lesson, I'll go over each of those and talk about how you can use those spaces within your drawing to both add interest, draw attention, and tell stories creating a relationship between the areas and the characters in details you place in each spot. To give you a visual example of foreground, mid-ground, and background, let's draw some more lines on the page. I'm going to draw three here fairly lightly but for our purposes, this can be the foreground, this can be the midground, and this can be the background. The first thing to keep in mind is how where you position the focal point or different elements of the drawing can tell you more of a story about the surrounding landscapes. Let's say for instance I'm drawing the castle way here in the background, up on a hill. If I want to draw a full environment, I need to still draw some details and some environmental elements in the foreground. Just like we talked about earlier with the idea of pathways, this also is it gives you an example or a great way to add some Easter eggs to the scene to add some detail and also contribute to the environmental storytelling that you are trying to achieve. Since the castles are in the background we have so much space to work with and that can often be a great way to add some further details that raise questions about the scene. Perhaps here I'm going to draw a sword and we wonder whose sword this is and why is it sticking out of our rock. Maybe in the mid-ground back here, I'm going to draw some banners drifting in the wind, a tattered a little bit. I'm still trying to draw interest towards the castle, but here I've included some environmental details around it. The foreground here is the part closest to us with the mid-ground occupying that shape of the scene in the background in the very back. This brings us to the second point, which is the foreground, mid-ground, and background is a great touchpoint for knowing how much detail and how large to make things in your scene. Well, a lot of the times these planes meld into each other and they're not as clear-cut as these shapes here. It gives us a visual reference and I know that this sword in the foreground is likely going to have more detail than these flags in the background or maybe trees that stretch up towards the castle. I find that if I fading out details as it gets closer towards the background, you can really add a sense of scale and space to your scene. However, likely I want to keep some detail on this castle or this focal point, even if it's a little bit further away from us to make sure that it still seems a inviting place or it still has a place of prominence. But let's talk about creating an unusual relationship between the planes. For example, I'm going to redraw that sketch I drew earlier with a little castle and I'm going to completely cut out the mid-ground and instead draw that massive mountain here. I think that creates a sense of emphasis on the castle, but it also creates a question in my mind, at least about the relationship from the castle to the larger landscape behind it. It directly brings the castle into conflict with the mountain back here because there's no distractions. There's not a mid-ground to soften the middle distance. Now there's nothing here. It's just the castle in the foreground, and the mountain in the background. To me, that creates a really dynamic relationship and causes me to question the role of the mountain back here. Now, remember this sounds similar to when we talked about vantage point and that's because it is. I think a lot of these tips meld together but I think by having them in your toolbox, maybe it'll help you remember in a different way, or maybe you connect with one tip focal point over another background, mid-ground, and foreground. But in the next lesson, we'll talk about details and shapes and shape language can help further tell the story of your imagined environment. 7. Telling Stories Through Shape : [MUSIC] While the way elements in our drawing are composed matter, the shape of those elements that matters too. With pencil or pen or any drawing utensil, shape is a really valuable tool in the toolbox because shapes tell us what we should think about different objects. Here is an example in lots of well-known fantasy landscapes. If I draw a tree, for instance, and I draw it with nice soft curves and soft bushy foliage, I think that that tree looks pretty inviting. But if I draw the same tree with scraggly branches and lots of right angles, I think to me that at least that looks a lot creepier. Yes, it has no leaves, so we don't really associate that with life, but I do think the shapes, and really do give a visual clue about the landscape or add an aura of mystery or maybe some discomfort. As well-known fantasy landscapes that have a lot of circles in them, and rolling hills often create a sense of comfort or home. I'm not sure why, but I do like those really soft organic shapes complimented maybe by a soft background, and compare that to jagged mountains. These arrow shapes really are a little bit more terrifying and have harsher lines, straight angles, and sharp points. Maybe we associate that with negative things or scary things because of knives or blades or something like that, and we see this in character design as well. I think a lot of the fantasy characters that we associate with fun or comedy usually are more round or have softer angles to them, whereas a lot of bad guys like in Despicable Me, for instance, or shaped like these harder or triangular shapes. I'm not a very good character drawer, but that gives you an idea. Basically, just keep that in mind too as you're drawing. That was soft, lyrical, or organic shapes, usually imposed com or comfort, harsh, jagged shapes fear. This next element of shape language would be scale or size. If you look back to this drawing when we talked about foreground and background, I think just like the idea of emphasis is created with a relationship between the foreground and background, there's also a relationship of size and scale here. The capsule is very small in comparison to the shape or the detail in the background. It imposes it over top. How do you feel about this castle as opposed to one that towers over the landscape? I think that there's the wider sides of the castle in the fact that it's large, it takes up more space on the page than the mountains in the background. Give it a sense of prominence of sturdiness. The bigger the focal point in relation to other objects around it, you can create a sense of importance or scale or solidity, or take that away. Maybe I want to create an imposing castle, but I want it to seem a little creepier. Well, I can go back to the shape language we just talked about, and maybe I can thin up this castle, make it a little bit more spindly, and then maybe add some arches that arch up towards the sky and make it look a little bit rickety and unsturdy. To me, at least this looks a little less sturdy, and this castle looks a little bit less trustworthy than the one before it. Not only does incorporate some nice sharp angles, but it just looks a little bit less structurally sound. When I want to make a castle look a little creepy as well, I can create some weird architectural elements that don't really make a lot of sense, and it jot out at strange angles. Now, we're going to take a short detour and talk about a pretty fundamental question. What do you want to draw in the first place? 8. What Should you Draw? : [MUSIC] No matter if you choose to draw exactly what I'm going to draw in this class, my hope is that afterwards you'll continue drawing imaginary places. The key question you might have every time before you pick up the pencil is, what are you going to draw? Well, I can't answer that for you, but I have, I guess, a few methods that I've found really useful when I'm a little stumped about how to even begin picturing the imaginary world I want to draw. First, it's thinking about inspiration, not just in vague terms like your favorite movie or your favorite video game, but specifically what about that world or what about those scenes inspires you because you don't want to copy what existing artists have done all the time. You want to copy the feeling that you get. I find that a really enjoyable and rewarding thing to do, but change is for everyone. If you're stumped, really think about the movies you love, the books you love, and what specifically inspires you about them. Another method I love to do is drawing fast and loose without thinking. This is really great if you put on some music or podcasts or if you have a movie going and you're not really thinking about the final product at all, you're just doing a light landscape gesture drawings on the paper. Lastly, I gave you a cheat sheet, so if you check the class description, there's a handy little sheet on there that has three columns, and when you combine the three columns in different ways, it gives you a different drawing prompts that you can turn it into a world. But now we're ready to hop onto details. 9. Drawing Details : When I am drawing or designing imaginary world, I always start with reference photos and the references that I incorporate into my work. I don't end there but I start there and here's why. Even though it sounds contradictory, because I'm drawing an imagined world, real-world references help me keep it on track and help keep the viewers immersed in the imagined place. For example, if I am attracted to nose architecture or Viking long ships or any sort of element like this. Knowing which details I have to get right is really important so then I can twist the ships or twist the castles or the huge halls to my own devices. Take for example the idea of a castle on a hill. If I don't know how the bricks look or how bricks were laid back in the real medieval times, I don't know how to draw my fantastical version of a castle. Even though you might not know exactly how a castle looks, often, you have an idea of how bricks should appear. If I draw those wrong, it really ruins the immersion. But if I get that right I can then twist the castle to my own purposes, make it spiral up into the sky or make it contain huge arches or other worldly elements. But it's based on real-world inspiration. The same applies to natural environments. Even if you want to draw a floating spaceship in the middle of a medieval valley. I know I'm all about the medieval. I just love that medieval time period. It can be helpful if I want to create a sense of immersion by studying how a village would be laid out. For example often thereby water or often they'll be roads leading in as well. If I'm drawing a steam punk village, I want to keep in mind about maybe some of the infrastructure elements. Is there a train leaving downtown or where does the sewage go? Some of these small little details can be so useful in adding immersion. In the next class, we'll put this idea to work. Creating a Pinterest reference board and sketching some details we can include in the final drawing. 10. Creating a Reference Board : [MUSIC] In this lesson, I'll show you my method for creating a Pinterest reference board. Then how I do sketches of details that I can reference when I'm drawing the final drawing. Let's dive in. The reason I love Pinterest is because it's so easier to find images, and it's also easy to save them without having to copy, paste, download. You can have them all in one spot. The first thing I need to do is create a new board. When I'm looking for reference photos or when I want to find out what I want to draw, I often will start with the background of the landscape that I'm going for. Even though I'm drawing a fantastical place, usually there's a real-world location that looks similar. In my mind that would be like the Scottish Highlands. If I'm starting with the background, I'm going to look up Scottish Highlands, and look for photos that both contain the natural elements that I find captivating, but also from an angle that I think I want to draw from. Now it's important when we're picking up these drawings, you never really want to draw the image exactly or if do, you want to contact the photographer, this is really useful for bringing the natural elements. Next, we want to talk about your focal point, about this main building that we're going to incorporate into the drawing. Whether that's a castle I'm going to draw, or a spaceship or a futuristic building, think about maybe a real-world location, a real-world object that might look similar or have similar qualities. I find the world of castles. There's so many fantastical castles, but there's some incredible real castles as well. I think you don't go far without running into an initial style, and I think this one's going to work well for me. Lastly, I'd like to look for some other environmental details. I can add some Easter eggs that I called them before to my drawing as well. I'm going to check out a bridge because I want to add a bridge in the foreground. I'm going to twist it to my own devices, but I want to find one that looks like it's a real place, and then I will change it up how I like it. I find this is pretty beautiful. Has some nice moss which I really love. Lastly, I find a texture, or a vegetation, or some sort of texture in your drawing is really useful to save as well. Again, I'm in a fantasy world here in a castle, so I'm looking for more of a natural texture. But even if you're drawing course on from Star Wars, for example, looking at skyscrapers can be a really useful way to add textures or elements into your drawing and getting a sense for how the lines in them might appear. Don't stop here and go through Pinterest and add more stuff to your board. Well, I only added a background or an environment, a building, and then some details and some textures. There's really endless possibilities for you to create a board of inspiration, a Pinterest mood board. Pause this video, create a Pinterest mood board, and then come back, and we'll go about sketching them. 11. Drawing from References : The second part of this lesson is going to be sketching some of these references. Because as I talked about bridges, castles, swords, all these imagined details that I want to put into my drawing, it can be helpful to have a chance to practice them before I'm confronting them on the page in a final imagined places drawing. Open up your sketch book or grab a blank piece of paper and let's get to work. Let's draw some of the references that you found on Pinterest or that you screenshoted on Google Images. It's important not to draw them directly. Sketching them is a lot different than drawing note-for-note the actual object. Be careful if you draw them too directly and post them online without credit. We don't want to be ripping off other artist's work or repurposing photos or other people's art for social media. This is more for our own purposes and we're going to use it in our final imagined places drawing where it'll be stylized in our own way. They should be quick and easy sketches done in small-scale, perhaps all on one page and different details you want to include. Maybe a door, maybe a castle, as I mentioned, or anything that really would aid in the creation of your world. Not only will this spark ideas about how it can look on the page, but this is the time you can practice any of the tricky shapes you might come across in these details. Because often these central details or architectural motifs might be the trickiest thing in your drawing to draw as well. Creating the sketch reference sheets is a great way to test out designs and elements before laying them on the page in your final drawing. Don't forget to post these in the class project page as well. I'd love to see what you found inspiring and what your little sketches look like. But remember, don't take too much time, try not to take more than five minutes. You just really want to sketch out the shape, getting a feel of what this might look like, and later on, we're going to start diving into the drawing itself. Now that you've pinned at least a few different details, environmental ideas or buildings that you might want to draw, it's time to create some thumbnail sketches of them. This is a great way to work on the shapes and practice, get your hand-eye coordination down before we can start implementing them into our final drawing. I found a really great way to ensure that I don't draw too long or too detailed, this is just to box in my drawing, creating a thumbnail sketch, which we'll also use in the next lesson. I'm maybe going to stick with three. Now, I'm going to draw the main element that I want to incorporate into my drawing in each box. For example here, I might just draw the river because I'm really interested in the reflection and the way that the stones meet the water here. Or here, I might just draw the bricks of the bridge because I know I could never come up with this bridge in real life. Or here, maybe just this main tower because that's the casual structure I want to put it in our main drawing. The key is to not take too long. Take maybe five minutes and just sketch in these details, get a feel for the shape, for the shadows, and for the scale. This is really great useful last step before we start sketching out concepts of the composition that we're going to draw in the page. Pause this video, take five minutes and draw three or four of the details that you've pinned. In the next class, we're going to talk about drawing from thumbnails, getting into the nitty-gritty of sketching out our final imagined scene. [MUSIC] 12. Concept Thumbnails : [MUSIC] I find when I'm confronted with a huge white page that I know I'm going to fill up with a drawing, and maybe frame, or sell, or give away, there's a certain amount of fear. I get a little tremble on my hand. I feel a little bit nervous, very excited, but definitely a little nervous. That's why I love to do little thumbnail sketches before I start because while sketching details and those detailed references that we talked about earlier, well that's valuable. It can be really helpful to sketch out thumbnails. Concept thumbnails are a really good way to get a feel for the final composition of your drawing. You can work out any kinks and draw really lightly and small without worrying about the details. You can imagine the details as you lay these concept thumbnails down on the page. Let's get into it. To start off drawing thumbnail sketches, you're going to do what we just did in the last lesson. Draw some smaller boxes, the same aspect ratio as your page, like the same general dimensions, just smaller. You can make them whatever size works with you, but I usually like them fairly small. The reason why I do these after I've drawn detail reference sketches is because now I have the details in mind and then imagine them in the landscape, in the composition without having to draw them in here. Instead here I'm focused on the general look of the drawing. You notice in my Pinterest board here, I have this lovely little rock formation, which I like. I like this more, the more I look at it and I really want to incorporate that, and so I want to sketch in that, and maybe the castle that I drew as well, but I'm not going to add detail. I want to sketch in the basic elements. Maybe some really light lines and maybe some background details like clouds and stuff like that. But this is to get an idea. If you're like me, at least if you know that this is the castle, these are the rocks, maybe this is the river and the bridge that I've pinned as well, your mind can fill in the blanks and you can maybe imagine what those details or what the shading or what it could look like even without having to draw them in very accurately. Now, we're going to do some of your own. I'd say maybe do three or four thumbnail sketches of the details and the environments that you've pinned in different layouts. These are going to be useful and we're going to pick one, and that's going to be our final sketch. The crazier, the better. The rougher and the sketchier the better. Sometimes my concept sketches or composition thumbnails are so rough and wild that I don't think someone would understand what they are if someone who wasn't me was looking at my art. Pause this class now and take five or 10 minutes and draw some really quick rough concept sketches. This is integral as we move on to the next part of this class, which is finishing up our own imaginary location. 13. Sketching a Final Drawing : In the same way that thumbnail sketches are a great way to practice composition without too much consequence before you commit to a drawing, sketching out your final drawing is a great way to do the same thing with details. We have the composition down pat, we know what we're going to draw. We also know what we're going to fill it with, what's going to be in our scene. Now we have to unite the two. Grab your final piece of paper. I'm just going to use a sketchbook 8.5 by 11 paper. It doesn't really matter what it is, could even be printer paper, but we're gonna get to work drawing out a final drawing. First, how do we choose which thumbnail sketch to bring onto the paper in a final drawing? Because we had to decide that first before we even start sketching out this final drawing. One tip that usually helps me decide which angle to draw from or which of my practice sketches to use is looking at the focal point and deciding which of these sketches allows me to draw the focal point like I want to. Usually that's the part of the drawing I'm most excited to draw, whether it's a castle or a skyscraper, or a blimp or a spaceship. Often when I'm sketching out these drawings, I'm gauging which angle feels right, and I'm imagining maybe how it would look with detail on it, even when I'm doing these rough sketches. I think, for example this sketch down here, it really attracts me because I like the way that it has a strong background. It's nicely composed with this on that rule of thirds on that lower axis. But the castle is close enough that I can still add some detail and add some points of interests and maybe some pads that lead us towards it. The good thing is that we're just drawing a drawing [LAUGHTER]. If you end up not liking it halfway, you can just grab a new piece of paper and start over again. This is a no pressure situation. I'm going to just focus on the most prominent lines first that I drew in this thumbnail sketch. I'm going to draw them really lightly here. That is the joy of sketching first with pencil. At this point I'm not really focused on any details. The main part that focal point is the thing we want to make sure we get right first in this sketch. I'm going to tackle this castle now and draw in just those prominent lines that I drew in that sketch. Along the way, I'm referring back to the thumbnail sketch to make sure that I'm getting the dimensions right, that's still fit the size that I sketched out at first. I often sketch out the vague shape of the focal point to make sure it is in proper dimensions here. This can always change later. I'm going to add that bridge. Again, just like when you're drawing the thumbnail sketches, it's alright to go over your lines multiple times. Now, I can refer back to some of the reference sketches I did as I sketch in some of the environmental details. Again, I'm not shading at this point, just trying to get their outlines right as I finish this drawing a little bit more. This is also since we didn't add these details in the concept sketches. This is also where you can really be intentional about how you're placing these details. You see here with these rocky crags that I'm doodling in, I wanted to create a line down towards this castle. This is like an arrow shape, as I talked about before, almost like a metaphorical pathway leading towards the castle, and I'm keeping that in mind as I sketch out the size and dimensions of these rocky crags. I'm also keeping in mind the story I want to tell about that castle. As I talked about earlier, the core of this class is visual storytelling, and in this case, I like the idea of having that neutral angle to make us feel we are walking towards it. An eyeline, the horizon line halfway up the page, as I mentioned. Again, you'll notice I'm not really sketching in textures because we'll do that in the next lesson as we add more details. At this point, I'm just trying to get the environment right and make sure that perspective is alright as well. This stage is especially important when you are including straight lines. I don't have many straight lines in this sketch, but if you're drawing a futuristic seen or even the size of the castle here, these are harder to get right, and I find when you're drawing really sketchy enlightened, loose, I've drawn this line probably about 10 times. To me it's not completely straight, but it's achieving the effect I want, and I achieve that by getting the median or the average of all the lines I've drawn. If that makes sense. Now, I'm not drawing in details, but I want to refer back to my reference sketch here as I draw this tower of the castle. I'm checking out how the perspective worked in that Neuschwanstein castle as I draw this cannulation part, and that poke lovely pointed roof. Then I'm referring back to that lovely Scottish highlands photo to make sure I'm capturing the outline of where I'm going to add detail and texture later. When you're sketching like this and when you're laying it down on the final paper, this is also a great way to mentally gauge the foreground, midground, and background and determine the amount of detail you're going to put in each one. If it helps you to even sketch out the lines like I did earlier, and write the letters in, so you have a visual cue. This will help you know how to fade it out because I mean, I'm really big fan of fading out backgrounds and making sure that the shapes behind the focal point are a little bit less detailed nor to make this stand out. This is also a good workaround because this rock formation, as you saw in the reference photos on my Pinterest board, is really detailed. I don't want to draw all those details. This allows me to skirt that [LAUGHTER]. In the next lesson when we do Lindy, those details, you'll see a little bit more what I mean. Next we're going to darken these lines and add more details to the details and details to the focal points and less details to the background. We're basically going to finish it up here. 14. Adding Detail : As we talked about the details that will give your drawing flavor. They can be anything from grass flowing in the wind to swords or helmets or people flying around or cars. This is where it's most helpful to use your Pinterest board and your references that we talked about earlier. Because now we're going to try to add in the details and flesh out the focal point and add some textures to this drawing. If you didn't have it handy before, I definitely suggest getting your Pinterest board or any of the screenshots that you sketched out in reference photos. You get that up now, you will need it for this part of the class where we talk about implementing the details in a little bit more detail. I'd also suggest giving your pencil a sharpen or maybe grabbing a finer pencil or a harder pencil nib. Again for some suggestions, check out the class description, but we're going to be adding details, so you want a little bit of a sharper point to work with. Not a big deal, but it would be a good idea. Now, we're going to start adding some details. We're not shading, we're just adding the lines at this point. It's still a little bit lighter. Then after this class, I'll give you a chance to darken in some of those details. I suggest starting with the focal point because that can give you a good gauge of determining the level of detail in other parts of your drawing. Specifically, how much detail you add to your focal point and where it is will tell you how much you need to fade out the background or how much detail you could add in other parts of the drawing to draw interest towards the focal point. Remember it's your world, so I'm not saying you have to copy your references directly. But as I mentioned, the part that inspires you or the part that feels right for the world you're trying to create, keeping an eye on that photo can really help you nail it. But as you can see, I'm transposing this to my own purposes. I'm not following it directly. I'm just copying some of these elements that otherwise I might not really remember exist. Such as the bottom of this crenelated tower. That's a really really cool architectural element that I might not think about otherwise. Also, in tricky perspectives like on the side of this tower, this is a really helpful way to get those right by having photos handy. These are some hard angles here and I'm guessing that whether you chose different photos of your drawing along with me, there are some difficult parts of your references and that's why this part of the drawing is so important. Also, keeping an eye on some of the textures as well that I could maybe add. I'm going a little bit heavier than I did on the other sketch because I can go back and darken in these lines later on. Once I had the focal point done and any other elements around it, I can start to go on to the environment itself. I find a really good way to start with this is just starting with the biggest areas of texture or detail. For me, this definitely the highlands seen up here. Again, I'm not shading at this point, but I want to add a little bit more detail to these rocks, and I'm following these craggy outlines that I see in this reference photo as well. This is really helpful when you're looking for other environmental details because this big hillside right here likely would have some of the same rocks that I see in the Scottish Highlands. I'm adding them in the same amount of detail at this point. But then later on, I'll be shading parts of them in depending on how close they are to us. It's funny. I find in sometimes in the reference photos when I'm sketching from detail, if they get a little bit pixelated when you zoom in and that can actually be a good thing because just like the pixels when we're drawing, we can't really hit every centimeter or every tiny little detail. Even though there are pixels, our eyes catch up on those details. Similarly, when you're drawing, even if you're not catching every tiny little detail, the point is to try to make or give an illusion of detail through the lines that you do draw. Now, we didn't get a reference photo for this, but I'm going to add a little off-kilter signpost, like the idea of guiding people into our scene a little bit more. I've realized also in this drawing of the bridge here that it contains some really nice vegetation references as well. Up here I know that I want to start with a little bit more detail in the foreground. I can sketch in some of these leaves. I think another really key point of drawing in details is answering questions that maybe your composition poses. For example, here, this castle has a bridge attached to it, and I never really thought about why while I was composing the sketch. Now I need to figure out what would be on this side. Is there another path I can draw or can I give the impression that this is castle's part of a larger network. I think a cool way to get both of this might be to add another path. I'm going to doodle in and I give the suggestion of another path going up in the forest. Then maybe up here I can draw another castle-type structure that's a little bit less detailed. To me at least just like we talked about in the previous lesson about the castle and the mountain behind it. I think by having this focal point, this is still the central part of the castle, but the path naturally guides your eye here, and then you're drawn up to this area. There's a relationship between these forms. I like how that adds some questions to the world. I wonder if you can do that in your own drawing? Is there an element that you implemented that you can expand on similarly to this bridge? Maybe for you that, I don't know, a tree that has been cut over or maybe there's the sword that you draw in the foreground. Can you add another clue in the background? That raises more questions or answers some of the questions that your visual story is asking. Don't be afraid at this point to look for more references. Just like I talked about your drawing and raising questions. Sometimes it raises questions about how to draw certain things as well. Because I think this flagstone texture is really interesting, so I'm going to add some flags stones here using that sketchy shape to guide me. Now, since this is starting in the foreground, I'm going to fade out these shapes and make them much smaller as they fade backwards. A good trick that really has helped me in the past is that if you draw some of these shapes just like leaves here in the foreground, with a little bit more detail, as you move back into the drawing, you can fade them out. Next, we'll highlight get it son and shading. 15. Shading and Light: [MUSIC] We're nearly done our imagined place, your best friend when you're trying to tell a story about an environment, light tells us so much about the mood, the time of day, and what we should feel about the place that we're looking at. For example if you want to draw a spooky scene, it's likely not going to be a very sunny scene and that changes the shadows. A lack of sun means a lack of harsh shadows, more consistent lighting but maybe darker backgrounds as well. Often we associate the sun with happiness or maybe more calm atmosphere and the shadows with maybe more mystery, more murkiness. Keep that in mind when you're adding shadows and lighting to your drawing. What time of day is it? What do we want to tell the viewer about how we should feel? One thing I really like experimenting with is seeing if my purpose for the time of day comes across, for example in this drawing, I'm drawing it in the morning. I want the sun cascading over the hills because this drawing is all about going on a journey. I want to infer that the people living in this cabin, I'm going to be traveling down the valley towards the sea, and at least to me, I associate the morning with setting out on an adventure or starting things in the morning. Whereas maybe if your drawing is about a campy castle on a hill, a sunset scene might be great because I often associate coming home with the evening of wrapping up business with coming back to maybe a roaring hearth in your fire, in the castle. With all this class, the key is being intentional. Thinking about what you want to achieve before you tackle your imaginary place in order to tell better visual stories as well, it's important to pick an angle for the sun. I often find it useful to X out where the sun may be, even if it's farther back outside the page to make sure I'm consistent with how I'm shading in the drawing. Keep in mind that if the sun is higher in the sky, it means it's near to noon. Whereas if it's lower, it'll cast longer shadows, especially that's important if you're thinking about a sunset scene. I'm in the mountains, and so I also want to be cognizant of the fact that if the sun is over here, these mountains are casting quite the shadow. I think that can add some nice emphasis to this castle. I'm going to go about starting to shade in this drawing, and I want to start lighter, especially when I'm shading it around the focal point because I don't want to muddy the waters. I'm also looking back at my reference photos during this process because I want to shade in a way that emphasizes the texture without taking away too much. I know that still maybe with the sun around there, it's 4:00 or 4: 30 in the afternoon and there'll be some sunspots on the other side of these mountains. But because I want to emphasize this castle, I'm going to pretend that there's a taller mountain just outside the frame here. Now, we don't talk about pencil technique that much in this class, but this is what you want to use the side of the pencil. I usually shade with straight lines and I'm keeping back of my palm on the page and moving my hand back and forth fairly quickly to achieve that nice, softer pencil approach. But this also applies when you're drawing with pen as well. It's a similar technique when we're talking about shading such as this. Now before we start to darken stuff in, I want to focus on the focal point. I'm keeping in mind it's a circular shape with the sun coming from over there. This is also a time when it's helpful to look for references that have the same light that you are achieving. Whether that's googling the similar shape or similar time of day. This can be really helpful to making sure that you're achieving the right shading. Especially when you're talking about shapes with angles such as a curved tower. One thing to keep in mind is that similar to details, light often gets blurrier the farther away it is from you, so even if this side of the mountain was in shadow, I still want to make this one far away a lot lighter. This enhances the sense of space and scale in your drawing. In the next class we're going to talk about revising and tweaking your drawing. We're nearly done. Now we can take a step back and see what we need to change or add or fix in your final drawing. 16. Revising and Tweaking your Drawing: [MUSIC] We've added some shadows and sun and shading. But as far as details go, there's probably some room to darken or maybe even room to add more emphasis in different areas. If you hold your drawing back and take a look at what you've created. Maybe there are some mistakes or maybe there are some areas that didn't quite work out. Let's take a step back, when you physically take a step back, hold your sketchbook at arm's length and check it out. Look at what you've drawn. This is the time when you can look for a few things. First, check for things you might have missed. For me, I can tell right off the bat that I completely neglected the river. I'm going to take out some reference photos of rivers and sketch this in a little bit more. Next, you want to check for your level of detail. Did you achieve the sense of scale that you wanted to? Does it feel like you're drawing has depth. A good checklist for that is going back to the lines we mentioned, the foreground, mid-ground, and background. Up here, I can see that I have some details here, but I don't like contain that many details back here. I'm going to add a few more gestures of shapes to add some elements of interest. Also checking back to this reference sketches that I've drawn and seeing that maybe I could add some cooler elements down here by the water to guide the eye and just add some more complexity to the scene. Lastly, you want to ask yourself, is your scene interesting enough? That might sound harsh, but it's a really great way I've found to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Are there shapes that you neglected to draw because they're too difficult? Are there elements within your drawing that feel like they could be explored more? Are there ways that you can make your composition? Ask a few more questions or tell a little bit more about the world that is being explored here. I think for me I see that I had the path up to this second building that's cloaked in shadow. But I can explore that more. I've talked a lot about bridges and I really liked the idea of drawing more bridges here. I wonder if I could even just add the silhouette of a bridge back here. It sounds very lame. We're talking about fantasy world to be excited about bridges, but I just find they add a lot of beauty to the landscape. To me at least, drawing bridges is a cool way to practice some complicated shapes like arcs and the way that stones are laid. I want to make sure that when I'm drawing this back here, I don't take away from the focal point too much and maybe I'm even verging on that here, but I think it adds some interest to the scene as well. One more thing, this is a good chance to darken in the shading, add maybe some more complicated shapes in the shading to give it some texture. Now that we're confident in the composition, we can just darken in what we have here. Now, as I mentioned a couple of times, I think this class gives you some tools that you can use as a jumping off point as you add color, characters. As you continue to maybe to draw the scene in different ways or explore a story in multiple frames. However, I think when I zoom out, we have a really great bonds of a concept or an environmental drawing here. Now you can finish it to whatever level of detail you want. But I just have one request is that you post this in the class project page. I'm so excited to see what you create and hopefully you are invigorated by the world that you've drawn as well. Maybe it'll cause you to ask questions about who lives there or the stories that could take place there. Hopefully it makes you want to explore it even more. Pretty sure if you can implement some of the tips I've talked about, it will make the audience or your viewers maybe captivated and maybe feel like they could walk into this environment as well. Even though we're done, we've taken a look, we've added some more stuff. I'd invite you to sit with your drawing for a little bit. I think I like the idea of trying to talk to my art, whether out loud or in my head and ask if there's anything else I can add to it. You don't want to overwork it. But often pieces of art will look done or feel done. The best art keeps you engaged, especially when you're creating worlds like this. Hopefully you're engaged in the process and you feel maybe there's more you can add. That's pretty much it. We have our completed drawing of an imaginary place. What's next? 17. Next Steps: [MUSIC] You made it, you completed an imaginary place. Through this class, we've gone over the building blocks of concept art and environmental design. We've talked about focal points and composition, drawing interests towards the main parts of your scene. We talked about lighting, shading, details, visual design and references, and getting inspiration. Keeping these concept in mind, I think will help your visual storytelling flourish as you move on to any medium, whether it's paint, watercolor, acrylic, oil, procreate digital brushes or anything. These building blocks are integral if you want to keep creating stories. I hope this class gave you a little bit more confidence to create places that don't exist, to follow your imagination and trust yourself along the artistic process. I'm excited to see the fantastical place that you created, so please don't forget to post it in the class project page. I want to see what you created and I want to hear a little bit about the place that you imagined. Bonus points if you can tell a little story about the location that you drew. Thank you so much for taking this class, I hope it's been helpful and happy drawing. I'm excited to see what imaginary places you explore next. [MUSIC]