‘That day the sky fell on us’ is an illustration inspired by the disasters caused by war, especially the one still taking place in Ukraine. It is a personal study that belongs to a series of illustrations entitled ‘Smokes’, included in my Portfolio.
In this series, I explore the role landscape plays in terms of its compositional, emotional, and narrative potential.
The inspiration for the design of the city skyline comes from the buildings of Sofia, a city I love and have seen many times in the winter fog. When I draw, I like to start from the memory of a place I know, chase its atmosphere, and try to recreate it. Another foothold always comes from music, which I choose to reflect the atmosphere of the illustration as I imagine it. The music I listen to is always very diverse, and for this illustration, it coincided with a mix of Ezio Bosso, Deru, and Phoenix.
As for the theme, children appear very often in my works. In fact, I think one of the easiest ways to look at an event critically is to see it from a child’s point of view.
The colours are also crucial, of course. Choosing black to represent both the city and the starless sky is certainly an effective shortcut to framing the image. It also allows me to better contrast the strange lights reflected in the clouds.
For the process, I start with a series of quick thumbnails that allow me to view the image ‘from a distance’ and better control its composition. At this stage, I try to be very sketchy and use simple brushes in Procreate. Then I create the first draft in black and white to better control the colour values. Finally, I switch to blues and reds and render the final image in Photoshop.