Alpine environment illustration by Xavier Wendling


New environment drawing work


This week, between video and photography projects and various web development activities, I have been working on new visual development inspirations, including various environment drawing ideas.

Built in Illustrator, this alpine scene at twilight was one of them. It captures the mood of the moment in this part of the world where fall is slowly taking over the warm and sunny season.


After drafting the initial concept on paper, I further developed a sketch in Photoshop, refining my composition, adding the campfire as an interesting visual element in the foreground.

Alpine environment illustration, concept sketch, by Xavier Wendling

Tonal Painting

Creating a black and white tonal painting version allows me to better understand what the different layers of the scene are, to properly separate background, middleground and foreground elements and to further establish where the sun is and how it illuminates the scene and creates dimension.

Alpine environment illustration, tonal painting step, by Xavier Wendling

For this project, I opted to continue in Illustrator. I enjoy the flexibility of a vector-based workflow for the opportunity to draw resolution independent art, to easily build and reuse assets or for the opportunity to later animate the scene in After Effects.

Besides establishing a good composition, my main focus was to correctly render the atmospheric conditions of the moment, the silhouettes of trees and mountains at dusk, the fog rising and quietly enveloping the valleys, the pastel colored twilight sky, the warm campfire surrounded by darkness.

Initially I had envisioned the sun to be higher in the sky, allowing light rays to still be visible accross the scene. Eventually I chose to hide it lower behind mountains, introducing more haze and fog for added mistery and drama.

Alpine environment illustration by Xavier Wendling

You can find out more about my work in graphic design, brand identity and illustration in the related sections of this website.