How to Paint a Fall Scene Using Sketchbook Pro for Android Tablets

by EllieTaylorArtist

This article will focus on how to paint a simple fall scene using the android tablet app, SketchBook Pro. I will also emphasize traditional painting techniques.

One of the most colorful seasons is fall. Small wonder then that it is a popular subject for painters all over the world. In this lesson, I will show you how to capture the beautiful colors of fall trees. I used the SketchBook Pro android app. There is a SketchBook Mobile app that is designed for mobile phones, but it doesn't have as many features as the tablet app, SketchBook Pro. I used my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet with the S Pen to create this painting. For this lesson, I went with a simple composition of trees highlighted against background mountains.

SketchBook Pro for Android Tablets

SketchBook Pro for Android Tablets
SketchBook Pro for Android Tablets
Ellie Taylor Artist

SketchBook Pro for Android Tablets

This is the interface of the SketchBook Pro android app.  It has custom palettes on each side, one for your most used brushes and the other for your current project's colors.  There are sizes to choose from up to 2560 x 2560 pixels. This program has 165 brushes to choose from:  some brushes mimic natural media such as pencils,  markers, airbrush, paintbrush etc., while others are stamps of flowers, grass, silhouettes and more.  You can also customize the brushes by changing opacity, size, jitter, spacing, and more. You can also change your line from free hand to  straight, square, or circular and there are two guides (line and circular).  This app also supports layers.  The amount of layers is based on the size of the painting:  the bigger the painting the less layers you can have because of the amount of memory it uses.  There are many more features that are explained in the help menu. 

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (32GB, Deep Grey)

The S Pen makes this the best tablet for painting and drawing in my opinion.

$549.99  $349.99

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (16GB, White)

If you want a smaller tablet, but still have the S Pen support this tablet is 8 inches instead of 10.1 inches.

$399.99  $329.00

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SketchBook Pro for Android Tablets

Autodesk SketchBook

The app has limited free features and you can buy all the rest of the features with an in app purchase.

Only $0.00

View on Amazon

Fall Lesson: Step 1

Painting a Fall Season Sky
Painting a Fall Season Sky
Ellie Taylor Artist
Using an X-shaped Stroke
Using an X-shaped Stroke
Ellie Taylor Artist
Adding Purple
Adding Purple
Ellie Taylor Artist

Painting a Fall Season Sky

I wanted to paint a sky which would complement the fall trees.  The trees are shades of orangish red and gold and the complements to these colors are shades of purple and blue.  Color theory is a very good subject for artists to learn.  Color complements are pairs of colors that produce a neutral color when combined.  The basics are red-green, blue-orange, and yellow-purple.  This principle is usually displayed on a color wheel.  The color picker in SketchBook Pro has a good example of a color wheel.

I started out with a cerulean blue for the first layer of the sky.  I picked a brush that mimics traditional brushstrokes.  Then I painted the sky using an x-shaped stroke.  This stroke helps make a smooth looking sky and it also works well in traditional painting.  Then for the second color in the sky, I added a purple paint layer with reduced opacity.  Since the tablet version of SketchBook Pro doesn't have paint blending like the PC version SketchBook Pro 6, you can adjust the opacity of paint layers for blending.  You can also adjust the brush size and opacity using the resize puck.  There is a smudge tool that blends a little, but it does not give a natural paint look.  However, this layering technique is similar to the traditional painting technique of glazing.  Glazing is commonly used with watercolor, acrylic, and oils.  For traditional media you apply several thinned down layers of paint.

 

Fall Lesson: Step 2

Airbrushing the Sky
Airbrushing the Sky
Ellie Taylor Artist
Adding More Color to the Sky
Adding More Color to the Sky
Ellie Taylor Artist
Adding More Color to the Sky
Adding More Color to the Sky
Ellie Taylor Artist
Blending the Sky
Blending the Sky
Ellie Taylor Artist

Blending the Sky

In this step , I used the airbrush with a reduced opacity to add several paint layers to the sky.  First I added a lighter purple to the sky, then I added some more light blue.  To make more light on the horizon I added a light orange and purple and blended it with the airbrush on low opacity.

Fall Lesson: Step 3

Painting the Mountains
Painting the Mountains
Ellie Taylor Artist
Layers
Layers
Ellie Taylor Artist

Painting the Mountains

For the mountains, I added a new digital layer.  I chose the same paintbrush as I used for the sky and picked a grayish-blue color to underpaint the mountains. 

Fall Lesson: Step 4

Adding Highlights
Adding Highlights
Ellie Taylor Artist
Smudge Tool
Smudge Tool
Ellie Taylor Artist
Textured Brush
Textured Brush
Ellie Taylor Artist
Advanced Brush Settings
Advanced Brush Settings
Ellie Taylor Artist
Blended Highlights
Blended Highlights
Ellie Taylor Artist

Adding Highlights

In these steps, I added the highlights to the mountain.  First, I picked a light orange for the highlights and used the same brush as I used on the mountains.  Then I picked the smudge brush and softened the edges of the highlights.  I decided that the highlights needed more texture, so I chose a textured brush and used the advanced settings to customize it.  This brush helped further blend the highlights into the mountain.

Fall Lesson: Step 5

Adding Trees
Adding Trees
Ellie Taylor Artist
Brush for Branches
Brush for Branches
Ellie Taylor Artist
Draw in the Branches
Draw in the Branches
Ellie Taylor Artist

Adding Trees

For the photo reference of fall trees, I went to pixabay.com and downloaded this photo.  Pixabay.com has lots of royalty free photos that you can use for references.   One of the very nice features of my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet is windows.  There are quite a few apps that you can open as a window or a dual view.  The gallery is one of the apps that does this and it works great when you need a photo reference. 

Then I picked a brush with a rough texture to give the impression of bark on the trees.  I used this brush to draw thin trunks and branches on a new layer.

 

Fall Lesson: Step 6

Adding First Layer of Leaves
Adding First Layer of Leaves
Ellie Taylor Artist
Extending the Background.
Extending the Background.
Ellie Taylor Artist

Adding First Layer of Leaves

In this step,  I added the first layer of leaves, making them a dark rusty color for the underpainting.   It was at this point that I realized I needed to extend the background mountain all the way down to the canvas edge.  Since I had made a separate layer for the trees, it was easy to turn off the tree layer (tap the eye icon on the layers panel) and paint in more of the mountain. Then I turned the layer back on by tapping on the eye icon again. 

So what do you do when this is an actual canvas and you need to extend the mountain?  Well you just have to paint over the trees and repaint them.  There are some advantages to digital painting. 

 

Fall Lesson: Step 7

Adding More Leaves
Adding More Leaves
Ellie Taylor Artist
Leaf Brush
Leaf Brush
Ellie Taylor Artist

Adding More Leaves

Here I used the airbrush to underpaint the first layer of leaves and used dark oranges, yellows, and reds.  Then I picked a brush that looked like scumbled leaves and adjusted it to my liking.  When I paint leaves in the traditional way, I use a scumbling technique to get the leafy look.  Basically scumbling means making random, rough brushstrokes.  This technique works great for leafy trees of all kinds.

Final Steps

Adding Another Layer of Leaves
Adding Another Layer of Leaves
Ellie Taylor Artist
Redraw Branches
Redraw Branches
Ellie Taylor Artist
Final Highlights
Final Highlights
Ellie Taylor Artist

Final Highlights

The last steps were basically just adding highlights to the leaves and creating the tree forms.  I picked lighter shades of yellow and orange and painted them in bunches to give tree branch shapes.  Study your tree forms to see how to make natural looking trees.  To add more details,  I drew some of the branches back in before adding the final highlights.   When painting trees you want some of the branches showing to add realism.  I then picked very light shades of yellow and orange to add the final highlights and give the leaves a three dimensional form.  I covered up some of the branches, but left enough detail to give the impression of a real tree form.  I signed the painting and exported it as a jpeg file.

Books on Painting Trees

Paint Along with Jerry Yarnell Volume Four - Painting Techniques

This book has several lessons on painting trees in all different seasons including fall.

Only $19.99

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Jerry Yarnell's Landscape Painting Secrets

This book has some really good pointers about painting trees. Even though this is a book about acrylic painting, the fine art techniques still apply to digital painting.

$24.99  $16.14

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Examples of Fall Landscape Painters

The Hudson River School: Nature and the AmericanVision

Now these guys knew how to paint beautiful fall scenes!

$50.00  $29.11

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E-book

Hudson River School: 150+ Paintings - Asher Durand, Frederic Church, George Inness, Thomas Cole, ...

These little e-books are very nice to showcase large collections of art at an affordable price. You can get the kindle app for free.

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Kindle for Android

Only $0.00

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Conclusion

Since SketchBook Pro has picture sizes up to 2560 by 2560 pixels, you can have a fairly big image to print out.  Fine Art America has print sizes that start at 600 x 600 pixels and up.  For this painting size, Fine Art America will print up to 24 x 24 inch canvas prints. 

My Fine Art America Gallery

Riotous Color
Riotous Color
Updated: 02/06/2015, EllieTaylorArtist
 
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EllieTaylorArtist on 02/11/2016

Thanks so much! Yes, I have plans to do more Sketchbook tutorials. Especially since they have updated and revamped their app. I need to show the new blending features of this app.

Patty Edge on 02/11/2016

Very useful and I hope you do some more sketchbook demo's.

EllieTaylorArtist on 01/14/2014

Thanks, I'm glad this lesson helps.

Guest on 01/14/2014

Beautiful and talented work. Good info too!

EllieTaylorArtist on 09/08/2013

Thanks so much!

EliasZanetti on 09/08/2013

Very nice and useful guide, Ellie.

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