Render a Quick Cloud Background

Have a drawing that needs a fast background? KwikClouds™ to the rescue! This tutorial allows a Photoshop user to quickly create stylized cartoon-like clouds when you need a pesky background fast!

We’ll start with a gradient layer by picking a foreground and a background color. I’ve selected a light blue and a deeper blue. Depending on the time of day, remember that a full spectrum of colors can exist in the sky from reds, pinks, oranges, purples and blues. Select the gradient tool and fill the area with your base sky.

On a new layer, let’s draw the basic overall shape of our clouds with the Selection Tool. Choose a shade of white and press Shift +F5 then Enter to fill the area with the clouds flat color.

Now we’re going to use selections to fill the lower half of the cloud for the dark underbelly. Fill by using the same above method.

Now for these KwikClouds™ we’re going to add just a few details to give them a little personality. Add 2 more layers. One above the initial sky gradient and one on the very top. Use a large paintbrush on an airbrush setting and turn the opacity down to 10 or 15%. Choose a white and paint some strokes across the screen to add some atmospheric variety. Painting them on the separate layers will create this effect in front of and behind the clouds.

Go into the main clouds layer and use the Blur tool to mix them in a bit. I like to do this to create a painterly and cartoony amalgamation you often see in animation today.

Now we’re going to add a few highlights from the reflective color from the sun. Here we cut some small selections with the Lasso Tool. I’ve chosen a light orange and brushed into the areas on a lighter opacity level. Remember, the sun can create an entire spectrum of color onto clouds so you don’t have to play it as safe as I have in this tutorial.

A few more selections around the division of the light and dark areas of the clouds can fill in the darkest tones.

Voila! Easy breezy clouds to add in your art.





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