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 from io9 Watch As Clouds Convince You You’re Underwater from io9 The illusion that lets you see ghosts of clouds, from Mental Floss Why does the sky look green before a tornado?
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 Alfred Trueman Motor Boating magazine 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
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.
Evarist de Buck Winter Landscape green sky Willard Metcal (1858 – 1925) Old Homestead Connecticut, 1914 green sky Mother Goose by Gyo Fujikawa, 1968 Trick or Treaters by John Falter, 1963 Alan Lee (born 1947) 1980s illustration for Castles by Alan Lee and David Day James Avati (1912 – 2005) 1974 illustration for the paperback cover of ‘Return to Paradise’ by James A. Michener Ernst Kreidolf’s ‘Das Hundefest’ (The Dog Festival) 1928 Eyvind Earl for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Green skies Utagawa Hiroshige, From One Hundred Famous Views of Edo 27 Plum Garden, Kamata (1857) Stewart Rouse 1931 Felix Vollotton, coucher de soleil a Villerville 1917 Cover of Pan magazine by Joseph Sattler (1895) Stanley Pitt Denise York 1964 Ford Smith 1949, cover by Robert Gwathmey Mel Crawford (1925 – 2015) 1954 book cover illustration for ‘Dale Evans & The Lost Gold Mine’ by Monica Hill Red sky Joseph Anthony Mugnaini (1912- 1992) 1964 illustration for War Of The Worlds by H.G.Wells yellow sky Arnaldo Mirasol The Saturday Evening Post, Dairy Farm, July 19, 1947, Art by John Atherton Harald Sohlberg (Norwegian, 1869 – 1935) Oslo, fra Akershus, 1900 ‘Simon-Mathurin Lantara, L’Esprit de Dieu planant sur les Eaux 1752’ Franz von Stuck (German painter) 1863 – 1928, Once Upon a Time, 1891 A parade of Easter Bonnets from ‘A Very, Very Special Day’ written by Frances Ullmann DeArmand, illustrated by Tom Vroman (1963) Otto Nielsen Scandinavian Airlines The Child’s Arabian Nights 1903 illustrated by William Heath Robinson Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski (1849 – 1915) Wyjazd powozem, 1890 Eric Sloane (1905 – 1985) The Golden Book of Little Verses illustrated by Mary Blair 1936 Eugène Grasset Harry Rountree (1878-1950) ‘Tween Devil & Deep Sea’ Franklin Booth (1874-1948) The Dream As The Ship Comes Into New York 1914 Tove Jansson The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My The Girl Who Became A Flower, From ‘Childcraft Vol 6’. First published in 1964 Roger Brothers, Chamonix-Martigny 1920s Jazz Age Calendar Art Pin-Up Poster Poster by Louis Rhead, 1899 ‘Santa Cesarea Royal Thermal Baths (Lecce)’ Illustrator unknown, 1930s Sotiris Christidis 1858-1940. Greek illustrator for ‘Golfo’ similar to Romeo and Juliet written by S. Peresiadis 1893 Lilian Hocknell Mikhail Bychkov – Tales of Scandinavian Writers Dean Ellis (1920 – 2009) 1979 book cover illustration for Bandersnatch by Kevin O’Donnell Jr Mikhail Bychkov – Tales of Scandinavian Writers Belgian artist Pol Ledent ‘Magic Autumn’
Header painting: John Muirhead – The Calm before a Storm 1881