Sunsets and Sunrises in Art and Illustration

Norman Mills Price (1877 - 1951) boat with sunset

Natalie awoke the next morning to bright sun and clear air, to the gentle movement of her bedroom curtains, to the patterned dancing of the light on the floor; she lay quietly, appreciating the morning in the clear uncomplicated movement vouchsafed occasionally before consciousness returned. Then, with the darkening of the sunlight, the sudden coldness of the day, she was awake and, before perceiving clearly why, she buried her head in the pillow and said, half-aloud, ‘No, please no’.

from Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

ANALYSIS

In this passage, all as brightness and cleanliness, the “gentle” movements as the curtains sway in the breeze, light from the sun creating pattern on the floor, reflects the room’s atmosphere as one misaligned with Natalie’s emotions. The space may feel welcoming and still, and the terms Jackson selects to describe this morning after are alarmingly pleasant. Yet, as the passage continues, a sudden jolt from the established comfort moves the room to darkness and coldness. Like storm clouds obstructing sunlight, the room changes its atmosphere. Natalie’s waking up is the moment when which the room changes: Not only does the girl wake up from her dreams, crossing the divide from the unconscious to conscious, but she also begins to encounter the precipitating moment of trauma. There are no doors for Natalie after this trauma, an inability to exit or enter into a space that is not somehow associated with control or defined roles. Her desire for a cleansed and hollow home, ready to be filled in and cared for manifests in the dorm room setting, a space where Natalie attempts to control her surroundings.

“Homespun” Horror: Shirley Jackson’s Domestic Doubling by Hannah Phillips
Julian Walbridge Rix (1850 - 1903) Sunset in Yosemite
Julian Walbridge Rix (1850 – 1903) Sunset in Yosemite
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Aurora In Art

Aurora are works of art in their own right. Of course artists have been reproducing aurora in paintings and illustration since it was possible. Below are some examples of aurora in art, including various media. It’s interesting to see how the aurora can even be reproduced using woodcut.

Frederic Edwin Church (American), Aurora Borealis, 1865, 56x83, 1911.4.1, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Frederic Edwin Church (American), Aurora Borealis, 1865, 56×83, 1911.4.1, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Alexander Leydenfrost (1888 - 1961) 1940s illustration
Alexander Leydenfrost (1888 – 1961) 1940s illustration
Edward Whymper (British mountaineer and illustrator, London, 1840 - Chamonix, 1911), Aurora Borealis, color woodcut, with watercolor
Edward Whymper (British mountaineer and illustrator, London, 1840 – Chamonix, 1911), Aurora Borealis, color woodcut, with watercolor
Northern Lights by Meyers Konv-Lexicon, 1870
Northern Lights by Meyers Konv-Lexicon, 1870
'Aurora Borealis' Woodcut print by Finnish artist Aukusti Tuhko. 1937
‘Aurora Borealis’ Woodcut print by Finnish artist Aukusti Tuhko. 1937
Aurora Borealis in High Latitudes. from the book William MacKenzie’s National Encyclopedia (1891), a colored illustration of the beautiful polar lights in the night sky
Aurora Borealis in High Latitudes. from the book William MacKenzie’s National Encyclopedia (1891), a colored illustration of the beautiful polar lights in the night sky
Authors & illustrators Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, Ingri Parin d'Aulaire, 1972
Authors & illustrators Edgar Parin d’Aulaire, Ingri Parin d’Aulaire, 1972
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A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams Analysis

A Woggle of Witches is a picture book written and illustrated by American storyteller Adrienne (“Dean”) Adams in 1971. In total, Adams wrote six of her own books; mostly they illustrated for other writers.

Adrienne Adams was a prolific illustrator through the 1960s and beyond, and a two-time winner of a Caldecott Medal (1960 and 1962). Adams was born in Arkansas in 1906 and grew up in Oklahoma. They studied in Missouri.

Adrienne Adams worked with tempera, gouache, watercolor, and colored pencils. Black is a distinguishing and important part of her palette, the colour which basically told the whole story.. Unlike many illustrators, Adams handled the chromatic separation, regarded for being a mundane but necessary process. Adams was as particular about the printed process as Beatrix Potter, and acknowledged that what came out in print was always a gamble.
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Owl At Home by Arnold Lobel Analysis

Owl At Home is a 1975 picture book written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel. The book comprises five very short early reader stories about a kind, anxious and lonely owl. These owl stories, along with the frog and toad stories come from the second phase of Lobel’s creative career, in which he tapped into his own emotions and acknowledged he was writing “adult stories, slightly disguised as children’s stories”.

In the classroom, Lobel’s picture book would make a good companion to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “To The Moon“. Owl At Home would also make a good introduction to discussions about the theme of loneliness, present in a great many works.

Owl lives by himself in a regular Western-style dream house (with the upstairs, the hearth, and everything you’d expect to see in a picture book dream house). Although published in the 1970s, there’s nothing 70s about this dream house — there are 1800s/early 1900s details, such as the candle beside the bed. (There doesn’t seem to be electricity.) Picture books set in this era feel atemporal to a modern audience. I’m not sure if this house is in fact inside a tree, because we don’t get an establishing shot.

Owl at Home (1975) black and white
Owl at Home (1975) black and white
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Illustrating Rain, Droplets and Rainclouds

round droplet from Midnight Feast
round droplet from Midnight Feast

On one page of Midnight Feast I decided early on that I had to have a tear drop falling onto a plate. I didn’t really consider how I was going to do this without owning animation software — so far I’ve not been convinced that highly animated story apps tell a better story than ‘semi-animated’ ones like ours. But this really had to be animated.

When I looked up slo-mo videos of droplets falling — thanks, Interwebs! — I found that the way a droplet falls and splashes is completely different to what I’d imagined. When I showed Dan my animation, based closely on the video, he said it didn’t look realistic. I assured him it was ‘realistic’, but the real problem was, it wasn’t believable, so we modified reality a little and ended up with a stop-motion kind of effect which isn’t perfect but quite cool nonetheless. (I’m always amazed when my animation works at all.)

This raised an important point for me, which is as true of drawing as of animation: There is a difference between accurate and convincing. It applies to stories equally.

I’m reminded of the droplet because I just happened upon this: A Hand-Cranked Automaton That Mimics the Effect of a Raindrop Hitting Water.

Nature truly is amazing.

Felix-Buhot-French-1847-1898-Rain-and-Umbrella-c.1875-Etching
Felix Buhot (French, 1847-1898) Rain and Umbrella c.1875, Etching. Dark lines, which match the vertical hatching of the objects in the illustration. It’s not clear what is rain and what depicts the walls of the buildings. Weather and buildings unite.
Martin Lewis (1881 - 1962) 1931 illustration Rainy Day In Queens
Martin Lewis (1881 – 1962) 1931 illustration Rainy Day In Queens

The convention by which the motion of drops of water is represented by elongating them into a shape they never actually have in the real world appears in the picture of Peter jumping into the watering can. Yet interestingly, while this teardrop shape is like a backward arrow, we know the movement is away from the point only because we know the convention; Peter is himself a teardrop shape in this picture, but we assume he is entering the watering can, not leaving it—that he heads in the direction his body is pointed toward.

Perry Nodelman, Words About Pictures
Vintage Shell Project
Vintage Shell Project
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Wait Till The Moon Is Full by Wise Brown and Williams Analysis

Wait Till the Moon Is Full is a 1948 picture book written by Margaret Wise Brown with pictures by Garth Williams. The story has carnivalesque elements, a gentle utopian storyline and a well-drawn mother figure, who is safe and warm but who also joins her son in his imaginative play.

This picture book is a perfect going-to-bed story because of its poetic elements. For this reason it has been produced as an audio play. It works even without illustrations.

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The Half-Skinned Steer by Annie Proulx Short Story Analysis

“The Half-Skinned Steer” by Annie Proulx is, as said by Mary Lee Settle “as real as a pickup truck, as ominous as a fairy tale.”

Animals make an appearance in a lot of the story submissions we receive. Bunnies are maimed and killed. Dogs behave mischievously. Alligators threaten to attack. The truth is, many short story writers include animals in their tales, for different reasons. Many times, in our contests for emerging writers, an author will use a mangled or dead animal as a (seemingly) direct symbol for the loss of innocence, a dysfunctional family dynamic, or the end of a relationship. In other cases, the animal is not a direct symbol but merely a story element that interacts in a pleasing way with the rest of the narrative structure. Animals can add a level of tension or mystery to a story, they can drive the plot, or they can simply add texture. Though they can (often) be cute, animals are powerful presences in a story, and it’s interesting to consider the many different ways that they add to tales by contemporary writers.

The Masters Review

Contains spoilers, as usual.

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What Colour Is Your Sun?

Polish illustrator Zdzisław Witwicki, (1921-2019) rabbit sun

Different cultures view the sun differently. Ask a Western child to draw the sun and they will draw it yellow. Ask a Japanese child to draw the sun and they will draw it red.

Our closest star is ‘actually’ white. I grew up in New Zealand and I drew it yellow. But when I lived as an exchange student in Japan, I noticed the sky really ‘is’ red. It’s fully red. American children also colour the sun yellow.

(The sunflower must have been named by someone who thinks the sun is yellow.)

However, it doesn’t always look bright red in Japan, and it doesn’t always look bright yellow in my Western home countries, either. In photos it appears most often as white. Part of our understanding of ‘an object’s actual colour’ is acculturation. We grow up learning that the sun is a certain colour.

David Khaikin (David Haykin Давид Хайкин) , Russian (1927-2008)

Part of learning to illustrate is learning to really see. Wherever you come from in the world, suns, skies, road surfaces, and of course human skins, come in all different colours.

The sun in A Sound of Taiyoo Organ is very similar to the sun as depicted in this Russian picture book.

Russian sun picturebook

Below is another example of the sun as seen from Russia. I doubt it’s a coincidence that Japan and Russia are so geographically proximal. They’re so near to each other, in fact, that Russia and Japan are still in disagreements about which country gets to claim the territory of the Kuril Islands.

Alyonushka’s Tales (1935) by Yuri Vasnetsov (1900-1973), was a well-known Soviet painter and graphic artist.
Alyonushka’s Tales (1935) by Yuri Vasnetsov (1900-1973), was a well-known Soviet painter and graphic artist.
Boris M. Kustodiev illustrations of N. Nekrasov’s poem “Frost - The Red Nose”.  1921
Boris M. Kustodiev illustrations of N. Nekrasov’s poem “Frost – The Red Nose”. 1921
Kodomo no kuni (“Children’s Land”), 1922–30
Eric Carle sunrise Very Hungry Caterpillar
Winsor McCay Little Nemo
Ivar Gull circa 1930 The Land Of The Midnight Sun travel poster illustration promoting Norway
Ivar Gull circa 1930 The Land Of The Midnight Sun travel poster illustration promoting Norway
Switzerland sun
A sun from Switzerland

When taken to its extreme, a white sun surrounded by a corona of yellow with rays creates a powerful optical illusion for the viewer.

https://twitter.com/SteveStuWill/status/1261429436357853184

The sun looks quite different from Australia. When I lived in Japan I regularly left the house without sunglasses. Part of the reason is that sunglasses are considered a bit suspect by Japanese people, and a bit scary. But living here in Australia, I can’t leave the house at any time of year without sunglasses. I have a dark, wraparound pair for summer, and a lighter pair of lenses for winter. Australia and New Zealand share this in common; the sun is more glary down here. The archetypal storybook sun is yellow. But down under, the sun itself is white, and the sky around it is yellow. (Not that anyone should be looking directly at the sun.)

Maori language: Ata hāpara and atatū (dawn and just after sunrise). Ata mārie (good morning)

This is a realistic depiction from Australia — the final page of The Snow Dragon by Vivian French and Chris Fisher
This is a realistic depiction from Australia — the final page of The Snow Dragon by Vivian French and Chris Fisher
Jiří Trnka was Czech.
Jiří Trnka was Czech. This illustration is from 1962.
the-fox-and-the-hen
The Fox and the Hen by Eric Battut, who is French
DE VOGELVIS (1948) Piet Worm sun
DE VOGELVIS (1948) Piet Worm
Kill The Beast 1919 Dmitri Moor sun ship sea monster
Kill The Beast 1919 Dmitri Moor
Ivan Bilibin (1876 - 1942) 1906 illustration Fairy Forest at Sunset
Ivan Bilibin (1876 – 1942) 1906 illustration Fairy Forest at Sunset
Alexandre de Riquer- Composition with winged nymph at sunrise
Alexandre de Riquer- Composition with winged nymph at sunrise
MONSIEUR TÊTE (1970) Jan Lenica sun
MONSIEUR TÊTE (1970) Jan Lenica
Gerald Rose sun
Gerald Rose

However, even in Australian art, sometimes you do see the archetypal storybook sun. The picture book below is Aboriginal. The sun is often covered in a yellow haze, especially in fire season.

This is an Aboriginal tale from Australia, where the sun is most definitely yellow.

The picture book below is also a picture book mythology, this time from New Zealand. In this case, the sun itself is turned into a character. (The New Zealand sky turns orange when Australian bush fires are at their peak.)

How Maui Slowed The Sun

Over the next twenty minutes the eastern cloud lifted a little, rolling up like a slow curtain. A strange, red glow crept out from under it, filling the sky with a clear, furious light against which the hilss with their spiky crowns were plastered flat and balck, having no more dimension than a shadow. The rolled edges of the clouds were touched with gold and rose colour, deepening second by second to an intense brightness.

A description of sunrise in The Tricksters, a 1980s YAL novel by New Zealand author Margaret Mahy

Yellow and orange suns are the default and we see them often in illustration. The children’s book below is about an Indian immigrant girl in New York City.

This picture book is about n Indian immigrant girl in New York City
from The Very Hungry Caterpillar
from The Very Hungry Caterpillar
An orangish sun by Beatrice Alegmagna from Bologna, Italy.
An orangish hue chosen by Beatrice Alegmagna from Bologna, Italy.
And Into The Water They Fell
Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Birmingham
Tove Jansson playing flute
Tove Jansson playing flute
A Children's Garden Of Verses,1966 ,Robert Louis Stevenson,illustrated by Brian Wildsmith sun
A Children’s Garden Of Verses,1966 ,Robert Louis Stevenson,illustrated by Brian Wildsmith

MADELINE IN LONDON BY LUDWIG BEMELMANS

Bemelmans is an interesting case, having grown up in Europe then emigrating to America as a young man. It’s safe to assume Bemelmans saw the sun through a number of different hazes. Generally, Bemelmans depicts the sun as yellow. For him, yellow is the ‘unmarked’ version. But he does something interesting with the sun in his picture book Madeline In London — after the horse tragically eats all the gardener’s flowers, the flower-loving gardener gets out of bed, opens the door and sees a yellow sun in the shape of a flower greeting him. But once he realises his flowerbed has been destroyed, Bemelmans paints the sun as red. In other words, Bemelmans uses red to signify a downward emotional turn.

Header illustration: by Polish illustrator Zdzisław Witwicki, (1921-2019).

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Moon Symbolism In Storytelling

Alphonse Mucha- The Moon and the Stars

OVERSIZED MOONS

There is a rule that moons in picture books must be bigger than the look in real life, from anywhere on Earth. I didn’t fully realise this was a rule until a beta reader for Midnight Feast asked me why my moon was so small. In fact, the moon was the ‘correct’ size, but then I realised why he had asked the question: Every single picture book I looked at had an oversize moon.

Why is this? I believe it’s because picturebooks don’t happen in the real world. They happen inside this other reality, in which size is all out of whack. Children can behave autonomously as adults; adults can behave as children.

For the record, the moon at the end of Midnight Feast is now oversized. I did change it. And yeah, it does look better.

final scene from Midnight Feast
final scene from Midnight Feast

There is also an oversized moon in The Artifacts, but because it’s in a picture book, it doesn’t look big, does it?

The Artifacts sheep moon

Why is the moon so important in literature?

  • A (large) moon can infuse your story with magical powers, even when the story is not of the fantasy genre per se.
  • The moon is a physical manifestation of fate.
  • A moon can be seen from everybody, anywhere on Earth and therefore makes a story feel universal, much like a myth.
  • The moon can lend a feminine feel to a story, since it is connected to the menstrual cycle.
  • The moon is comforting, since it waxes and wanes predictably.
  • In picturebooks, for practical purposes, the moon provides a great source of light, making night scenes glow.
Woman in lunar landscape 1955,Virgil Finlay
Woman in lunar landscape 1955,Virgil Finlay

The Moon ‘Incorporated’

Sometimes illustrators emphasise the importance of the moon by incorporating the celestial object into the design in a way that makes the moon seem part of the earthly landscape.

On the cover of Slinky Malinki it’s done subtly, with the glow from the moon providing an illuminating frame for the title.

Slinky Malinki cover

Which Witch’s Wand Works? by Poly Bernatene

Which Witch's Wand Works01
Which Witch's Wand Works02

Kay Nielson’s illustrations incorporate the moon more fully into the story, as the story requires:

East of the Sun and West of the Moon, 1914 Kay Nielson
East of the Sun and West of the Moon, 1914 Kay Nielson

This is a crystal ball, but we’re lead to associate the crystal ball with the moon.

Red Magic, 1930, Kay Nielson
Red Magic, 1930, Kay Nielson
In Powder and Crinoline, 1912 Kay Nielson moon incorporated
In Powder and Crinoline, 1912 Kay Nielson
EIN KÖRNCHEN FÜR DEN PFAU (1970) Helga Aichinger moon
EIN KÖRNCHEN FÜR DEN PFAU (1970) Helga Aichinger moon
They soared up into the sky and flew away by Sakura Fujita taken from 'The Moon and the Fishes' by Sukeyuki Imanishi. 1972. Gakken
They soared up into the sky and flew away by Sakura Fujita taken from ‘The Moon and the Fishes’ by Sukeyuki Imanishi. 1972. Gakken

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MOON DEPICTED IN ART

One of the oldest portrayals of the moon was made at the height of the Bronze Age. The two-dimensional sculpture, forged from metal and gold, is called the Nebra Sky Disk because of where it was discovered in Germany. It dates to 1600 B.C. and is one of the oldest known depictions of the cosmos. Art historians believe it was probably an astronomical tool, hinting at how some Bronze Age cultures kept watch on the sky.

To the East and many centuries later, the crescent moon appeared in a sculpture called the Stele of Nabonidus. In ancient Babylon, King Nabonidus worshiped the moon god, called Sin, represented as the crescent moon. The king even gestures upward as a mark of his devotion. This piece dates to the sixth century B.C., during the last neo-Babylonian era, when religious worship of the moon was common.

NYT

Exception

In her illustrations of Beauty and the Beast, Schroder creates a fantastical moon which is actually smaller than a real moon.

Here's the Beast, looking very much like Beauty's little dog. He is depicted in this story as a chimera. Even more terrifyingly, his castle is full of chimeras — most startlingly, the table with leopard legs.
Here’s the Beast, looking very much like Beauty’s little dog. He is depicted in this story as a chimera. Even more terrifyingly, his castle is full of chimeras — most startlingly, the table with leopard legs.

Massive Moons On Book Covers

There’s a graphic design advantage to huge moons as covers — the moon provides a light-coloured circle upon which to showcase the title.

The Moonday Cover moon is massive.
This story was based on the author/illustrator’s dream.

Oversized Moons In Books For Adults

This design feature isn’t limited to kidlit. Adults and teens are also drawn to oversized moons.

Since Earth is about three times the size of the moon, the Earth from the moon would look about the size of a picture book moon from Earth. I imagine this is about right?

When I Go to the Moon, 1961, Leonard Weisgard; 1916-2000
When I Go to the Moon, 1961, Leonard Weisgard; 1916-2000

MOON EQUALS NIGHT; SUN EQUALS DAY

Here’s something you won’t easily find in fictional picture books: The moon out during the daytime. In picture books — as well as in comics, film and movies — you’ll find that the moon signifies the night.

Even our hand held technology reinforces this binary. Various apps on my phone use a crescent moon as the symbol for ‘night mode’, even though the moon is not visible every night and even though it is sometimes visible during the day.

Why is the moon visible during the day? It’s one of those questions you think you know the answer to until a child asks you. Then you might find you need to go look it up. Here’s a YouTube video for just such an occasion.

Moon As Part Of The Picture

The Cunning Little Vixen by Rudolf Tesnohlidek. This illustration is a good example of how storytellers sometimes pull the moon down from the sky and interact with it as if it were an object on Earth.
The Cunning Little Vixen by Rudolf Tesnohlidek. This illustration is a good example of how storytellers sometimes pull the moon down from the sky and interact with it as if it were an object on Earth.

Related Links

The Rule of Oversized Moons In Picturebooks — moons in picture books tend to be much bigger than in real life.

The Colour Of Sky — tell young artists, it’s not always blue!

from Bringing Down The Moon by Jonathan Emmett and Vanessa Cabban
from Bringing Down The Moon by Jonathan Emmett and Vanessa Cabban, in which a little mole tries to get the moon out of the sky.
Garth Williams illustration from 'Elves & Fairies' 1951
Garth Williams illustration from ‘Elves & Fairies’ 1951
Jessie Willcox Smith (September 6, 1863 – May 3, 1935)
Jessie Willcox Smith (September 6, 1863 – May 3, 1935)
Mostly greyscale June Moon poster from Broadway Music Corporation of woman and man looking up at yellow moon
Cover design and illustration by F. E. Phares, 1921 june moon
New Moon by Shirley Kite 1927
New Moon by Shirley Kite 1927
Miss Pickerell On The Moon by Ellen MacGregor, Dora Pantell and Charles Geer 1965
Miss Pickerell On The Moon by Ellen MacGregor, Dora Pantell and Charles Geer 1965
Cat sits atop a chimney on a two storied house at night
Illustration by Seymour Fleishman from the children’s book The Pussy who went to the Moon by Jane Thayer, 1960
When I Go to the Moon, 1961, Leonard Weisgard; 1916-2000
When I Go to the Moon, 1961, Leonard Weisgard; 1916-2000
A Rocket pokes out of a tower after a crash
Émile-Antoine Bayard (1837 – 1891) 1870 Illustration for Around the Moon by Jules Verne
Louis M. Eilshemius (1864 - 1941) City Street In Moonlight
Louis M. Eilshemius (1864 – 1941) City Street In Moonlight
Kawase Hasui illustration of moon at night behind wooden bridge with dominant colour of blue
Kawase Hasui, moonlight bridge
Fairyland Annual 1969 Stories By Joan Fisher, Illustrations By Hutchings, 1968
British painter Edward Robert Hughes painting of a naked woman posed as crescent moon in night sky
Edward Robert Hughes (British painter) 1851 – 1914 The Weary moon
Władysław Teodor 'W.T.' Benda (Polish, 1873-1948) The Earth and Milky Way and Moon 1918
Władysław Teodor ‘W.T.’ Benda (Polish, 1873-1948) The Earth and Milky Way and Moon 1918
Gustave Doré (1832-1883) 1868 A Voyage to the Moon
Gustave Doré (1832-1883) 1868 A Voyage to the Moon
View of Saturn seen from its largest moon Titan. Illustration by Lucien Rudaux (1874-1947)
View of Saturn seen from its largest moon Titan. Illustration by Lucien Rudaux (1874-1947)
Aspect of an Eclipse of the Sun by the Earth as it would appear as seen from the Moon Vincent Brooks, Day & Son (Nasmyth Murray), London, 1874
Aspect of an Eclipse of the Sun by the Earth as it would appear as seen from the Moon Vincent Brooks, Day & Son (Nasmyth Murray), London, 1874
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Header illustration: Alphonse Mucha- The Moon and the Stars

The Colour Of Sky

In Western cultures at least, little kids first learn to draw with a blue or (black for night-time) sky, and a yellow orb for the sun. In reality, sky can be many different colours.

And the sun is actually white, but that’s a different blog post.

Why is the night sky turning red? from Discover Magazine

Watch As Clouds Convince You You’re Underwater from io9

The illusion that lets you see ghosts of clouds, from io9

Why does the sky look green before a tornado? from Mental Floss

Changing the colour of the sky is a great way to significantly alter the mood of an illustration. A blue sky is cheerful, a stormy sky foreboding, an orange sky indicates evening, or early morning, and a purple sky might convey a fantastical or magic world.

OMBRE SKIES

Paris, view of the Seine, Night Mathias Alten, 1899
Paris, view of the Seine, Night Mathias Alten, 1899
Alfred Trueman Motor Boating magazine
Alfred Trueman Motor Boating magazine
1929 Swedish poster for a film version of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES Richard Oswald, Germany, 1929, uncredited illustrator
1929 Swedish poster for a film version of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES Richard Oswald, Germany, 1929, uncredited illustrator
Kinuko Craft - Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave yellow sky
Kinuko Craft – Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave yellow sky

What if you change the colour of the sky after the rest of the artwork has been done? I read a hint lately in a digital art manual which suggested filling a top layer with the colour of your sky, then setting it to multiply blend mode. This will tint the landscape/cityscape or whatever to the appropriate hue, since the colour of the landscape is influenced by the colour of the sky above. I haven’t had a chance to put this to use, but I did try it out anyway on an illustration I’d already done, and I do believe it would be a good way to get the sky matching the landscape, if you end up with a hue which draws attention to itself, or in which the sky looks somehow separate from the land.

Mikhail Bychkov - Tales of Scandinavian Writers
Mikhail Bychkov – Tales of Scandinavian Writers
Dean Ellis (1920 - 2009) 1979 book cover illustration for Bandersnatch by Kevin O'Donnell Jr
Dean Ellis (1920 – 2009) 1979 book cover illustration for Bandersnatch by Kevin O’Donnell Jr
Mikhail Bychkov - Tales of Scandinavian Writers
Mikhail Bychkov – Tales of Scandinavian Writers
Belgian artist  Pol Ledent ‘Magic Autumn’
Belgian artist Pol Ledent ‘Magic Autumn’

Header painting: John Muirhead – The Calm before a Storm 1881