Project: Townscapes

Exercise – Study of a townscape using line

First I made a preliminary drawing for this study to make sure the focus of the drawing was successful and the other shapes worked well with the main focus.

Study of a townscape using line - preliminary drawing.

Study of a townscape using line – preliminary drawing.

The weather on this day was cloudy and bright.  This meant the scene was well lit but not dazzling.  I was required to look for the centre of my paper and align this with the focal point of my preliminary drawings.  This was straight forward.

Study of a townscape using line

Study of a townscape using line

I also made another drawing of the same scene, but was over taken by expressiveness, so below is that drawing – a slightly more abstract interpretation of the view.

 

Study of a townscape using line - expressive

Study of a townscape using line – expressive

I really enjoyed this exercise.  I found that the exercises from the perspective project helped me with this drawing, while making this drawing helped me to develop my skills in perspective.

 Exercise – A sketchbook of townscape drawings.

For this exercise I worked on loose papers so that I could make a sketchbook at the end.  I cut the pages from extra large Fabriano paper, and I apologise that the drawings are at odd angles in some of my scans because the pages I cut were larger than A4 (so they would not fit on the scanner neatly) and smaller than A3.  Also there are embossed words on some of the drawings because the word “Fabriano” is embossed all along one edge of the paper.

I wanted to make certain that I chose an interesting viewpoint.  I made a range of thumbnail studies ( 21 x 15 cm ) in order to select a view properly. I made eight all together.  They are below.

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing (apologies for the angle of the box.

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing (apologies for the angle of the box)

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing (apologies for the angle of the box)

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

Here is the thumbnail study of the scene I selected to use for this exercise:

Thumbnail drawing

Thumbnail drawing

The exercise suggests making notes about my observations.  I don’t know if the place evokes an emotional response – the buildings are beautiful.  They are quite old, perhaps one hundred years old or more.  So there is a classic look about them, you might feel nostalgic.  Except that the old buildings have been enveloped by the modern world, and the shop fronts have less charm than the buildings themselves.  So just by looking you might not notice how beautiful they are.  The exercise is right when it says that just looking you cannot always see what is there.  Drawing helps you to look at something in a different way.

I really notice – in this scene and in the thumbnail drawings I made – how different each and every window is.  I would have thought that almost all the windows in a street would be the same.  And then failing that, I would have presumed that all the windows on a house or building would be the same.  But I have discovered that most windows are different.  (That is to say: the style of the window frame, colour, size, division, etcetera.) There are brown and white window frames, windows divided into two pieces of glass, six pieces of glass, twelve, four.  I don’t know if it is important to note this.  Some windows are more narrow than others.  They are also not symmetrical on buildings.  Some windows have been bricked in.

Most of the buildings have been painted a very pale cream colour.  One is white and one is unpainted deep red brick.  Up above the painted fronts of the buildings are chimney tops, with terracotta coloured funnels.  I think they are very pretty.  There is something very charming about this place which you can hardly see unless you draw it over and again.

Below is a detailed study in 3B pencil which is made in a 10cm square.  It shows a section of the building which is to try to describe the essence of the structures.

10cm square study 3B pencil

10cm square study 3B pencil

Below is a second 10 cm square which shows how the light falls on the buildings.

10 cm square study in 3B

10 cm square study in 3B

I would say that the light is coming from the left, which is south.  But it is a cloudy day, so it is not incredibly bright, and there are not dramatic shadows.  The time is around three in the afternoon.  I can see purples, blues and greens in the shadows.

I am making decisions about things to leave out which is as important as what to draw.  I am leaving out the passing people, cars and things which disrupt and distract from the essence of the buildings.

I made some quick drawings to get to know the view I was deciding on.

Quick drawing of chosen view.

Quick drawing of chosen view.

Above is a drawing in Quink ink, which is good for using with a pen; below is a drawing in acrylic ink with a very fine brush.  Going straight on with ink made these drawings interesting and unique.  Making these drawings helped me to decide not to include the tallest chimney, because I found that this chimney did not fit into the landscape format – in order to include the chimney I would have to scale down the rest of the drawing, and it would be very small by comparison.

Ink and brush.

Ink and brush.

I decided to make a test sheet just to see how I could make some of the colours of the buildings in my townscape.

A sketchbook of townscape drawings - colour studies

A sketchbook of townscape drawings – colour studies

Below is my townscape drawing.  It is slightly too big to fit on my scanner, so there are two pictures to look at.  I am really pleased with this drawing, and with all the drawings from this exercise.  But I think that this drawing really captures the essence of the location.

A sketchbook of townscape drawings

A sketchbook of townscape drawings

A sketchbook of townscape drawings

A sketchbook of townscape drawings

 Exercise: A limited palette study from your sketches

A limited palette study from your sketches - second drawing.

A limited palette study from your sketches – second drawing.

A limited palette study from your sketches - first drawing.

A limited palette study from your sketches – first drawing.

Exercise: Drawing statues

First I made two drawings of the peace statue in Lewes town centre.

Peace statue monument.  I made this drawing using ink and a fine brush.  The statue was made out of metal which is going a pale green colour in some places.

Peace statue monument. I made this drawing using ink and a fine brush. The statue was made out of metal which is going a pale green colour in some places.  If these images appear too large for the screen, they can be viewed individually if you open them in a new tab and they are fitted to the screen.

The peace statue again, from further away.  I am pleased with this drawing because I was able to successfully simplify it down.

The peace statue again, from further away. I am pleased with this drawing because I was able to successfully simplify it down.

After making those drawings I found I disliked the Peace statue in the town centre and changed to drawing a statue which is a monument for Herminie Beatrice Eckstein in a church garden.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein.  Statue drawing - ink on yellow paper.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein. Statue drawing – ink on yellow paper.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein - pencil on paper with inks and watercolour pencils.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein – pencil on paper with inks and watercolour pencils.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein - pencil and inks on tissue paper laid over magazine pages which have been painted white.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein – pencil and inks on tissue paper laid over magazine pages which have been painted white.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein - oil pastels on white-painted yellow magazine page.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein – oil pastels on white-painted yellow magazine page.  This drawing was expressive and exploring the colours of the scenery surrounding the sculpture, and the effect this can have on an image.  The oil pastels made interesting textures on the grain of the dried white paint.  This was good for describing the dark background in a simplified way.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein - white paint with a fine brush on blue textured paper.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein – white paint with a fine brush on blue textured paper.  This has been an interesting drawing because it is ghostly, which fits in with the atmosphere of a  memorial statue in a churchyard.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein - this drawing is incredibly feint because it was only made because I leaned on the pink paper while I drew the tissue paper drawing.  I like this ghostly drawing because it captures the atmosphere of a church garden, and reflects the fact that the statue represents someone who has passed on beyond physicality.

Monument to Herminie Beatrice Eckstein – this drawing is incredibly feint because it was only made because I leaned on the pink paper while I drew the tissue paper drawing. I like this ghostly drawing because it captures the atmosphere of a church garden, and reflects the fact that the statue represents someone who has passed on beyond physicality.

Check and Log - Copy (3)

How did you use a limited palette to create a sense of depth?

I used the red for some parts of the buildings and the brown for others.  I used the conte pencils to make darker values and the coloured pencils to create paler surfaces.  I used the white paper to make light areas.  I focused mostly on the buildings, not to be distracted by the other features in the view.  In future I could further explore limited palette drawing to build a more complete landscape view.

Did your preliminary sketches give you enough information for your final pieces of work?

Yes my preliminary sketches gave me enough information for my final pieces of work because I made a range of sketches of different views with different materials to help me understand my subjects.

Would you approach this task differently another time?  

I think if I return to this exercise I would like to draw townscapes on different types of papers; I would like to draw townscapes using collage; I would like to develop other views to final pieces of work to see how they would come out.

Have you got the scale of the buildings right?  Make notes on what worked and what didn’t.  

I found it difficult to draw scale correctly when drawing detached buildings.  My scale was all wrong from one house to the next in my limited palette drawings.  I also found tower blocks difficult to draw in a townscape – although I did not pursue this task at length because I did not find the views very interesting.  I found that it was problematic to have a very tall building in amongst smaller buildings; you need to be further away in order to draw the tall building, which means the smaller buildings – all the buildings – are at a disadvantage to be viewed or drawn in any sort of detail.  I might try in future to make a larger drawing in which I could experiment with different scales and views in one drawing, a bit like what David Hockney does (using a selection of small images to create a larger image. See below for examples) except with drawings instead of photos.

Have you captured the colour and atmosphere in your studies?  How did you do this?

I captured the eerie atmosphere of the sculptures well.  And in my drawings of buildings and streets I captured the stillness in some, and the movement in others.  I think observing the atmosphere has a lot to do with mark making.  In my “study of a townscape using line” studies I used expressive marks, scribbles and quickly drawn lines as well as carefully measured lines and angles.  Then with my “sketchbook of townscape drawings” the lines were more careful, less expressive.  This created a more quiet sort of picture.

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