Plein Air Painting in SketchBook with Mohammad Qureshi

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We’re long overdue on introducing our new team member to the SketchBook Community. Mohammad Qureshi joined the SketchBook team back in January, and has been cranking out beautiful artwork since day one. Mohammad is studying Game Design at Sheridan College nearby the Autodesk Toronto office, in Oakville, Ontario. He’ll be with us until the end of April when he returns back to finish his schooling. Mohammad is an artist, designer, and gamer. He comes from a Business and Software Engineering background. After spending some time studying at Western and Waterloo University, his interests shifted into art. Everything can be found on the internet today, so during the past few years he’s been learning art and design with industry workflows through sources such as Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Lynda, Digital Tutors, and tutorials from industry veterans. Mohammad is  always looking to expand his creative knowledge and take up any opportunity in film and games. He looks forward to working alongside the amazing artists and designers that inspired and pushed him to get into this field.


This tutorial describes a workflow for replicating traditional plein air painting in a digital workspace from the comfort of your own home.

“Plein Air” refers to painting outdoors, it means “open (in full) air” which originates from French. It’s a great way to study and paint nature as you see it outdoors in different weather, lighting conditions, and compositions. It can also be done digitally by bringing out a tablet or laptop with a proper setup.

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For those who don’t have the opportunities to get out much or travel, we can study through the power of the internet and photos. It’s important to carefully choose images for your studies, and avoid those that may be altered from post-processing. Drastic changes in hue, saturation, vignette or other effects can ruin the organic lighting and colours.

A unique way to simulate plein air painting, is “virtual plein air” painting. This is a process that involves using Google Streetview (or alternatives such as mapcrunch) to find and frame interesting landscapes/landmarks through 360 degree views. With this method, you can find images that interest you while also training your eye for to look for interesting composition, lighting, shapes and forms.

Follow along with SketchBook using Mohammad’s tutorial here!


Be sure to check in regularly to see more tutorials by Mohammad!