This was the very beginning of the background being added. It was pretty rough, aside from the cherry tree. I used this photo as reference for the tree, but I obviously simplified it a fair bit. The rest of the background was mostly blocking in basic shapes and colours.
I decided I wanted to have a sunset in the background at this point, but it didn’t really come together until the next step. I also fixed the colours for the grass, sky, and lake in the next step to make them more natural. I found it helpful to take a quick look at some photos of sunsets to plan how I would include the sun and how to better use a gradient for the coloured sky. But in this step, the sky wasn’t quite working. I had been experimenting with both linear and radial gradients, but I decided it was best to step away for a bit after I got to this point as it’s always helpful to look at a real sky when trying to emulate it in an illustration.
I hope you’re enjoying the progress posts on this piece. I’m still deciding how to finish up, but I think the next step is very close. You can expect to see the end result soon 🙂