Ex 8 A sketchbook of townscape drawings

Streets in townscapes, from industrial to a collection of domestic houses, offer diverse opportunities as subjects for using a variety of colour media. 

For this exercise, carefully select a viewpoint that gives you somewhere to sit comfortably while you are sketching and making notes.  Focus on one particular building, for example a corner site or a building façade, and notice how the other buildings support your main focus.

I chose an old derelict building for this exercise which I could view easily from the other side of the road.

Detailed studies

Having to use a 10cm box felt very restrictive but made me focus on a small section.  I managed to get quite a bit of detail into the drawing even though I was using a 3B soft pencil which wouldn’t allow tiny details.  I picked 2 different sections of the building to concentrate on looking at architecture and the clock.

Sketchbook of Townscape 1

I decided to draw some features that I could get a good view of.  The details so seem to get a bit lost when the building is viewed from a distance, but I needed to step back to get the whole building in my viewfinder, and even further back when trying to relate it to other buildings.

As this is a lovely old building earmarked for renovation soon.  I looked very closely at the architectural detail, which by some buildings standards is quite basic.  There is lots of character about the building and some lovely shapes and I especially like the posters pinned up on the boarded up windows and the wrought iron work of the clock brackets.

Sketchbook of Townscape 2

What’s really nice about this sad old building is that every year the Council include it in the floral display and have over many years maintained flower boxes and they are just about to bloom just now.

I made tree quick drawings looking at the building from different directions.

The first one is looking down the side of the building at the adjacent houses giving an angular perspective.

The second one I managed to fit in the whole building and the neighbouring buildings.  As this is a street it is very linear.

The third one is looking up the street in the opposite direction to the first drawing using one point perspective.

Sketchbook of Townscape 4 Sketchbook of Townscape 3

I decided on the third sketch to develop as I could include foliage and people as well as different heights and shapes of buildings.  I took a reference photo so I could work at home.

I used pastels, coloured pencils and sepia Indian ink on multimedia paper for the final drawing.

It was a dull day, with no cast shadow as such the directional light was from the right hand side and behind.  Because of the distance from the building the architectural details have got lost.

Once I’d marked in the buildings and checked the perspective I used colour to create the character of the building.  The colours aren’t true to the building as it was a light sandstone in colour.  I completed the drawing and decided to enhance the lines and tonal depth with sepia Indian ink.  I got a really nice effect with the ink especially on the dark brown wall of the adjacent building.  I’d used brown pastels to create the texture of the harling on the wall and when I drew into it with the ink the texture really stood out.  Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo graph at this stage before fixing it using a fixative for pencil, charcoal and pastels.  When I did this the pastels went really dark and I lost quite a lot of the texture I had created.

I can see a few issues with perspective.  The road markings, which were an afterthought, are wrong and they, along with directional strokes of the pastels make the road slope down and away, impossible to drive on.

Overall I am pleased with this drawing as even though the building has been simplified it is still interesting to look at and I should have grounded the figure with cast shadow,

Sketchbook of Townscape final


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