I tried to illustrate a landscape, and I am very unsatisfied as it is

My current try

I think it lacks depth, I think the lighting is weak and and I just... I don't know. I don't what it all lacks, but I am just not satisfied.

What can I do to improve this? What are the basics of illustrating a nice landscape?

Also, might sound annoying but could you guys not use terms that are too high caliber? I am just a hobbyist, not a professional.


3 Answers 3



First thing that comes to my mind; it isn't landscape orientation. I would definitely start with making it landscape proportions.

Landscape orientation

Add some more color to the trees.

Tree with more colors

The snowflakes should be more spread out (like real snowflakes) and they should vary in size and shape significantly, don't just use circles.

Snowflakes with variations

The moon looks a bit like a sun (because it's yellow and lacks texture). To make it clearer that it's the moon, add some "craters" to the moon.

Moon with craters

Consider changing the color to a bit less yellow - unless you want a supermoon. In that case, you can probably make it a bit more orange.

Add more trees, snowflakes and stars which should get smaller as they move "further" from wherever the illustration is staged from.

More trees and snowflakes with distance

The image has a roundish feel to it, but the trees are very pointy. Round 'em up

Rounded Trees


  • I think you should remove the clouds, they are unnecessary.
  • You can add in shadows behind the mountains if you'd like.
  • If you're making this in Illustrator, make the shapes which you will be duplicating a lot into symbols (snowflakes and stars and maybe even the trees - if you are going to place a great amount). Now just duplicate the symbols as many times as you want, this will save faster and use a significantly smaller file size.

I made my own version following most of my input mentioned above, here's my result: [GIF]

Final result


  • I did a ratio of 3:2 to look like a postcard.
  • I made the mountains more like triangles to match the trees and to fit better in the landscape orientation.
  • I also made some of the trees snow covered, which I think adds a nice touch.

Snow covered tree

  • My final .ai file size is less than 1 mb because I used symbols.
  • Thank you very much for your input! I will try my best at following your advice.
    – Juan Naym
    Dec 24, 2018 at 7:18
  • @JuanNaym I edited my post and included a bunch of different changes and ideas (with images) which I think you would very much like. :D
    – Welz
    Dec 26, 2018 at 12:44
  • Thanks a lot for what you did :) Your card looks great. Mine ended up like this: i.redd.it/uz7g30x67g621.png I needed to finish it until the 25th, so I couldn't really to do much about the trees and the shading of the hills
    – Juan Naym
    Dec 28, 2018 at 11:39

First of all, I will try to maintain the original image's look.


Explore some basics of composition. In photography, a basic one is the rule of thirds.

This means that if you divide your frame in a 3x3 grid, some elements should be in those lines.

Look how none of your elements follow this composition rule.

enter image description here

If you place some elements on these lines, the image starts to look more interesting. It is regardless of any additional detail, maintaining the same style.

enter image description here


You probably want your image as it is, but to add more interest you can put elements of different sizes, making them appear as different planes, front, medium, back plane.

enter image description here

Point of interest

Add something to draw attention into. Something simple is ok, but to add context to your scene.

enter image description here

Besides that, you can try different styles, but that is another topic. Add gradients, textures or more detail to the images.

@Welz answer comments these points, but the truth is that those are changes in the style you have. The composition is the first thing you want to work with. Leave the details for later.

  • 3
    I had been considering adding a skier and just got tired (after spending quite a few hours working on it). Regardless this is a great answer, I agree that the most important thing is to add the "Planes" to solve what the OP was unhappy about.
    – Welz
    Dec 26, 2018 at 22:31
  • I greatly appreciate your input! Yes, the rule of thirds would've helped me a lot. I kinda always forget about it, honestly. My card ended up looking like this: i.redd.it/uz7g30x67g621.png
    – Juan Naym
    Dec 28, 2018 at 11:37
  • 1
    Nice. As you have the centered text, the rule of thirds is not needed as much. Merry Christmas to you!
    – Rafael
    Dec 28, 2018 at 16:02

When I was studying in fine art college, we had a task to make copy of some old artist. It's really help to gain skills and right vision. So I suggest you to visit Pinterest get there a lot of inspiration and make copy of some illustration you'll like.

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