Making of Frozen Hills

Making of Frozen Hills
Skill Level: Intermedite
Used Software: Photoshop
Completion Time: 6 hours

Hello and welcome to my landscape tutorial. I will focus on color, form and light.


I’ve worked with a Wacom Intuos 3 and Photoshop CS5 . I hope you will find this tutorial useful.

Step 1

I started with a photograph I took in a park near where I live.

Step 2

The next step is to sketch up the characteristic forms and proportions of the landscape, I paint with rough brush strokes to quickly bring up the
composition. The photograph in the background helps me
associate and imagine new forms.
In this tutorial, I will only use a hard and a soft round standard brush.
I think it is a good idea to experiment with custom brushes, but in this
tutorial I keep it simple with these two brushes.

Step 3

Now I have fliped the image horizontaly, it’s something I often do. It gives you “fresh eyes” and you will detect errors and
see things from a different perspective. I have also placed an orange light over the mountains.

Step 4

In this step, I begin to focus on color and light. I want to create contrast between the warm evening sun light and the cool shadows.

Step 5

I increase the intensity of the sunlight, darken some shadows. Just tries to create more contrast and atmosphere. It is important to be careful with light levels, I use Brightness/Contrast adjustment layers.

Step 6

For the sunlight i used a soft brush on low opacity with a Linear Dodge (Add) layer.

Step 7

I want to lead the eye into the landscape, therefore i painted a river that flows from side to side towards the horizon. This will create depth and make the landscape more easy to read.

Step 8

I did a few highlights on the mountains, I used a small hard brush on a Linear Dodge(add) Layer.

Step 9

I felt I needed a focus point in the foreground, I also wanted the viewer to feel that the painting reveals a story, something has happened here. Therefore I painted a cottage and a campfire next to it.
The fire is burning and in terms of color and shape it resembles the sun, this creates a visual relation between the two objects. I think it helps the composition a lot.

Don't miss more tutorials and guides, published daily - subscribe to 2DTuts by RSS. Also you could Follow us on Twitter or simply recommend us to friends and colleagues!


  • My name is Herman Hansson, currently I am studying Design at the School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg (Sweden). I also work as a freelance concept artist. I work a lot with digital art although I have a traditional painting and drawing background

    Website Twitter