My first love with art started with drawing, so that's where I start with each painting. But first, I need to prepare the paper. I use 40lb. French cold-pressed paper. It has a rough texture that seems to add a dimension to the art but, smooth enough for details. I soak in water then staple to a large smooth piece of plywood and let dry. This makes a tight wrinkle free surface that wont warp when I wet it. Then I sketch the layout with pencil, sometimes I use a straight edge (such as ship rigging) that I follow later freehand with ink. I use 5 different sizes of ink pens, the larger tips I use for heavy shadows and the smaller ones for distant objects and details.
I start the sky by wetting the top half. At this point I make sure that I have a scrap piece of paper that I wet with the same amount of water and test the depth of the paint, making sure it is strong enough and flows freely down the wet surface. When I have the right mixture of paint and the paper is just wet enough I hold the board at a 30 degree angle and apply the paint at the top so the color flows down, getting lighter as it reaches the horizon. This is a typical wet-on-wet technique. Immediately I soak up the paint with a large damp brush in the area I want clouds.