Today I’ll be covering the basics of painting a sunset with you. To make this tutorial, I used Photoshop, but the same basic principles apply whether you’re doing a digital painting, or a traditional one.
To get our sunset started, we are first going to put down a base of orange. It doesn’t really matter if this orange is the perfect hue or not, because we will be blending it with some other colors later.
Next we are going to layer on some black at the bottom of our canvas. For this example, I’m going to be doing a mountain scene beneath my sunset.
Add some bright yellow radiating from the center of your page. This is of course where the sun will go.
Clean up your mountains a little bit and give them some more definition. As you can see from the image, I’ve also added a second row of mountains that are a deep red color. This gives the illusion of depth, as if the mountains are fading into the horizon.
Add a bright white sun hanging in the center of your sky—directly in the brightest area of yellow.
Next we will need to add a opaque layer of yellow over the bottom half of the canvas. This small amount of yellow creates some of the haze that often you see during a sunset.
What’s a sunset without clouds? Well still technically a sunset… but it’s not one that I want in my life. Paint in some sparse clouds that are bright yellow at the bottom (which is the side facing the sun), and a darker red on top.
Finally, add a little bit of a deeper red across the top of your painting to give your sunset a bit more dimension. And don’t forget to share your own sunset painting with me on our facebook page, or by email to [email protected]!
And if you’re looking for a little more help, check out this video from Aaron Rutten where he shows us how to do a sunset over an ocean. Really beautiful work!